Cardiff City blues may go red because Asian owners saw it’s luckier
CARDIFF City's controversial plans to change the club's home kit from blue to red have enraged fans and provoked a sceptical response from branding experts.
Officials met supporters last night to discuss the possible new livery, although a change to the nickname, the Bluebirds, has already been ruled out.
However, the kit, which Cardiff have worn since 1908, and the club badge might change in the hope that the major rebranding will attract fresh investment. Even the seats at the Cardiff City stadium might change colour.
Brand experts claim claim this almost unprecedented move could alienate the club's fan base.
Phil Carling, global head of football, at sports agency Octagon, said: "Ultimately any club's value is driven by its supporter base and you mess with their traditions at your peril. Supporters could see this as the dead hand of commercialism taking over their club."
Carling, former marketing director at Arsenal, added the success of the club, rather than its shirt colour, was the key factor in attracting investment. "To secure popularity in China, regardless of the colour, Cardiff City would need to be a Premier League club, enjoying considerable on-field success, to overtake Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester United and Liverpool - Asia is already a crowded market."
Angus McGougan, business director at Fast Track, agreed that consulting with fans is the first, all-important step.
He said: "It's easy to alienate supporters pretty quickly as we saw at Newcastle when Mike Ashley tried to rename St James' Park as the Sports Direct Stadium."
But Jeremy Sice, chief executive of agency SAS, and author of The Extraordinary Football Fan, added: "People misunderstand with football, it’s more than a brand. It's a life brand. The colour of your team's shirt is part of your identity.”
A gentle approach by Tan and Cardiff's management team is needed to get fans on board. Tactics such as giving out a free shirts or introducing the colour gradually through secondary kits would be advisable according to Mr Carling.
He concluded: "Changing the entire livery is an expensive undertaking at a time when only the elite football clubs are performing well financially."