What is a football club if not an identity of a community? What is a football club without its specific colors and symbols? What is a football club if not thousands of fans loving it just because it is their club? A club is childhood memories of thousands and it’s the relationship between a person and the community around him/her.
“This is my contribution to Malaysia, ” said Cardiff City’s owners, Vincent Tan after “his team” secured promotion to the Premier League. Not to Cardiff or even Wales – but to a country 8500 km away from where fans celebrated yesterday night. Yeah, I’m sure millions of Malaysians also celebrated Cardiff’s return to top flight football after more than 50 years in the lower divisions. They had a riot.
This promotion is depressing. It’s depressing because the message it sends: A billionaire can buy a club, which is a set of values, symbols, memories and a community around it – and do whatever he likes with it: change its name, colors and personality. Tan changed Cardiff’s colors from Blue to red. Blue is Cardiff City’s color since 1908 but it didn’t matter to Tan – he has the money to do what he wants so he also changed the club’s crest.
What it all means is that if Tan would like, he could change Cardiff’s name to Kula Lumpur City next season. It is good for the “brand” after all.
If someone can do that to a 114 year old institution like Cardiff City, what stops Stan Kroenke from changing Arsenal’s red to pink? What stops Roman Abramovich from changing Chelsea’s name to London FC – because it’s “good for the brand”. What stops a Belgian billionaire from buying Leeds and changing its colors from White, yellow and blue to Red-Yellow and Black? What stops billionaires from all over the world from buying the things we love for what they are and changing them completely?
Everything is a commodity. Your feelings, your memories. your community, your favorite color. It’s a depressing thought.
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