In my previous piece I, naively no doubt, expressed the view that what happened at Tuesday’s disrupted Keep Cardiff Blue meeting might see people step back from the insults and accusations which have typified a miserable summer for Cardiff City supporters. The club also expressed the view that “it is now time to draw a line under the recent publicised changes and hope that all fans will put aside their grievances and allow the football on the field to be the main talking point, thereby avoiding a detrimental effect on our collective aims and goals” in this statement issued on their website on Thursday – there’s fat chance of that happening though because, if anything, it seems to me that the divide between between fans has widened over the past two days.
All of this on the day that City play their first pre-season match as they visit Conference side Forest Green Rovers this afternoon, but football is almost an afterthought (actually that’s wrong – it is an afterthought) for some at the moment because with a squad already in place which looks stronger than last season’s, there should be mounting excitement and anticipation as we go into August. Instead though, the re-branding which, almost three months after most supporters first knew of it, still looks so needless given the lack of any credible evidence as to why it was considered necessary. still dominates matters.
During the week, Etien Velikonja completed his transfer to Cardiff after being an unused substitute in Maribor’s victory over Željezni?ar in a Qualifying tie for the group stages of the Champions League and the striker is likely to feature this afternoon along with fellow new signings Joe Lewis and Jordon Mutch. However, there has now been a fourth newcomer announced this week with the club confirming that they had completed the signing of South Korean midfield player Bo – Kyung Kim (he played ninety minutes for their Olympic team on Thursday in a 0-0 draw with Mexico) from Japanese club Cerezo Osaka for a fee believed to be in the region of £2.4 million.
The capture of Bo-Kyung Kim (this would appear to be the correct way of using his name as opposed to the Kim Bo-Kyung which has been used up to now – he will wear Kim, the equivalent to a surname, on his shirt apparently) was announced in the early hours of yesterday morning on the official site in what was a rather oddly worded statement. I say oddly worded for a couple of reasons, firstly, if the transfer hinges on him getting a work permit, then why not just say that instead of using the term the term “completing necessary work permit processes”? I have previously expressed doubts as to whether Bo-Kyung Kim qualifies for a work permit under the existing regulations, but there is an appeals procedure which has been known to overturn decisions which go against clubs (e.g. Japanese player Tadanari Lee at Southampton last January) in the past. Now, it may be that our application to bring in someone who shows all the signs of becoming a regular in a South Korea team currently ranked at twenty eight in the world is just at the initial stage as far as any work permit goes, at the appeal stage or even in a situation where the Home Office is waiting on the club producing documentation which would enable them to rubber stamp the whole thing - ”completing necessary work permit processes” could mean all three of those! The second thing about that statement is that “candour” appears to be a strange word to use in this context – I’m baffled as to what it might mean!
Assuming that the ”completing necessary work permit processes” works out okay, then it would appear that we have got someone who is capable of making a big impact at this level – there have to be questions about how Bo-Kyung Kim will adapt to Britain both on and off the field of course, but my impression is that players from his part of the world have proved pretty adaptable in the past when it comes to settling in this country and it would appear that Malky Mackay and his scouting staff are satisfied that this will happen with him. Before finishing with Bo-Kyung Kim, I should just mention that there has been some speculation on the messageboards that the main reason for him coming here is to help increase the club’s profile in the far east – perhaps that is the case, but my attitude is that, if the player concerned is going to improve the team (and the evidence suggests that Bo-Kyung Kim will) then what’s the problem?
With Craig Bellamy (a scorer for Great Britain in their 1-1 draw with Senegal on Thursday) strongly rumoured to be coming here once the Olympics football tournament has been completed, the squad appears to be shaping up nicely, but there could well be a few more new recruits (as well as some squad departures) before the transfer window closes. Someone on the messageboards who, fair play, has been pretty much spot on with their transfer info so far this summer has named West Ham’s Nicky Maynard as the striker we are interested in signing to replace Kenny Miller. Maynard may have found starting opportunities more difficult to come by at Upton Park as the Hammers built a squad which, to be frank, should have walked the Championship last season, but he was a proven goalscorer at this level during his time with Bristol City and you’d like to think he could be the consistent source of goals which we didn’t have from January onwards last season.
Finally, with our interest in Richard Keogh coming to nothing, there would still appear to be a need for another defender to come in and the source mentioned above talked of a possible loan move for a young player with first team experience at his Premiership club. Of course, this led to guesses galore as to who it might and, for what it’s worth, I’ll say that our manager’s friendship with Brendan Rogers could mean that the club concerned is Liverpool with the player being either Scottish centreback cum left back Danny Wilson or local boy right back Jon Flanagan.
* picture courtesy of http://www.walesonline.co.uk/by The other Bob Wilson
what happened at last night’s disrupted KCB (Keep Cardiff Blue) meeting might just turn out to be a good thing if it becomes the moment when people involved with Cardiff City decided to take a step back and take in exactly what is happening to the club this summer.
I mean this to those on both sides of the kit debate. Although it’s not true of all on the blue side by any means, it would be good to see some at least acknowledge that those who don’t think like them are not sell outs – at a fraught time like this, coming over all superior does not help things one bit.
However, if we have to play the blame game, it seems that the blue side were blameless last night. I wasn’t there, but the testimony of people who I respect and have posted on City messageboards for years will do for me. Those who were there just to heckle and, seemingly, intimidate only had disrupting the meeting on their minds and, in doing so, it seems to me that they scored a massive own goal against their “cause”.
Some of the more idiotic people on both sides of the argument appear to view this needless conflict as some sort of a war, so let’s indulge those who feel that way on the red side by analysing the tactical thinking behind last night’s escapade.
Your enemy are committed to their cause, in some cases it would appear fanatically so, but, despite their best efforts, they are small in number. They only amount to around 2% of the club’s support and just 120 were present last night. Yet, by acting like they did, those who were there because, apparently, they don’t want to keep Cardiff blue, have ensured that a Wales online journalist is portraying the “enemy” as completely the innocent party in last night’s events.
One of the most effective arguments the pro re-brand camp can come up with is the one that asks what will happen if Vincent Tan decides he’s had enough and walks away from the club. The anti re-branders have never been able to answer that question effectively in my book, but argue that, given his level of financial commitment, that’s not going to happen. They might be right in thinking that, but if they are not, can I ask what would be more likely to drive him away, a peaceful meeting involving a tiny minority of the club’s fanbase who are opposed to the change of kit he has imposed on us or reports like this?
It’s been commented on at times about how the vast majority of City fans are fairly oblivious to what is happening or, at least, not as committed to one faction or another as your typical contributor to a Cardiff City messageboard – they have their opinions, but they have, by and large, steered clear of the dispute because all they’re really interested in is watching their football team play.
However, if what happened last night attracts the headlines in a way I suspect it might, how many of those are going to be converted to the pro re-brand side by the actions last night of those six or so who disrupted the meeting – precisely none would be my guess, if it did get any of them more fired up, it would be to join the anti re-brand side I’d say.
More likely though is that there will be some who are parents who read that story and decide they won’t bother taking their kids, and possibly themselves, off down to Cardiff City Stadium any more if they think they are going to be faced with the sort of threats and intimidation described by those who were at the meeting last night.
One of the best things about the last few years has to be the increase in the number of young fans coming to games – we stand to lose many of the younger element amongst that group if this crap keeps up. Also, you just have to wonder what the slightly older group who are able to go to games without their parents (e.g. 13 to 16) think about a bunch of old men (because that’s what we are to them) who will qualify for bus passes and be able to pay the same as them to get into games soon, saying what they are going to do to other old fogeys if they display a banner during a game? I’d say it was pathetic if I were their age and I say it’s pathetic at the age of 56!
If last night makes a few stop and mellow their approach a bit, it will have done some good because it means less of the support will be at each other’s throats. However, there are those at the club who should be realising that their actions have, at least partly, contributed to this mess – I don’t just mean Vincent Tan there either.
The club should have been far more proactive than it has been and, frankly, holding consultative meetings at which the change of kit cannot be discussed is a complete waste of time. I also believe that at least some of the frustration on both sides of the divide boils down to matters such as why a settlement to the Langston dispute (which was described as “imminent” by a club official nearly three months ago) appears no closer now than it has ever been.
One of the parties involved in those negotiations has been telling us of his love for Cardiff City for more than a decade now, I wonder if the sight of supporter versus supporter, friend against friend and father arguing with son will persuade him to accept a settlement of the debt which is at the heart of virtually all of our financial problems – somehow I doubt it.by The other Bob Wilson