Steffan Bateman, Cardiff Socialist Party
Cardiff City fans are celebrating their club’s return to blue. Billionaire owner Vincent Tan, who changed the strip to red in June 2012, was forced to back down by a mass campaign of supporters.
Tan’s massively unpopular decision looked to be unshakable. Representatives of the owner only met with fans after years of work and several protests.
The largest demo saw over 3,000 supporters march through the city. A match boycott caused the lowest ever attendance at Cardiff City Stadium, playing Colchester in the FA cup.
Tan only last month claimed “Protesting will not make me change my mind… Cardiff will stay red” – a last statement of defiance before he was given no option but to undo the rebrand.
When Cardiff started at home, in blue, against Fulham last Saturday, the attendance was up and so was the atmosphere. This helped the team get their first win in five league matches.
As well as the return to blue, and the crest being redesigned to feature a prominent bluebird, season ticket prices will be reduced. These are big concessions, but there are many other issues on-field and off which need to be resolved.
Fans need to be the ones making decisions about the future of the club, not unelected billionaires. There is still a big debt problem: the club owes £118 million, with just over half – £66 million – owed to Tan.
The vast majority of fans never stopped wearing blue, and the campaign worked because it was unified: 15 different supporters’ groups joined forces on protests. Many fans have learnt lessons from this protest movement, and will be just as organised if further attacks on their club come from the owner.
This isn’t the biggest victory working class people will win in the coming year. But it does show, if we’re united and determined, we can take on the bosses and win!