This story appeared in the local media on Friday during what was another very quiet week at Cardiff City. I’m not sure who the writer has been talking to, but the simple truth is that I’m not aware of much “exasperation” amongst City fans regarding the lack of signings so far – in fact, in a way, he ends up sounding a bit Corporal Jonesish with his urging of us not to panic when no one is!
On the other hand, I must admit that I thought this story had a ring of truth when I read it – I’m not talking about the link with Jonathan Williams there (why would Palace need to sell him now they’ve been promoted?), I mean the last paragraph where the writer says they we have, effectively, had to lower our sights on the transfer front after getting nowhere with our first choice targets. Although I had no evidence to back it up, I believed that there may have been something to this and, in a messageboard post, I used the example of our supposed link with Bafetimbi Gomis to back up my thinking.
To me, Lyon might not be the power they once were, but they still finished third in Ligue 1 last season and I found it very hard to believe that the leading scorer of a side which finished in that position in one of the strongest leagues in Europe would be interested in signing for a club which is about to spend it’s first season in top flight of their domestic league for more than half a century. However, I was reassured to a large extent when a messageboard poster. whose “inside info” record last season was so accurate that he has earned the right to be taken seriously, claimed that there was no truth in the Mirror’s allegations – most of the names mentioned as transfer targets so far by the media were well off the mark but, although no one is saying the signing is in the bag, it does appear that there may be some substance to the Gomis speculation.
So, it’s just a case of wait and see on the transfer front, but there was an announcement from the club on Friday of interest to non season ticket holders in particular. Apparently, such schemes are not uncommon in the Premier League, but it is still something of a kick in the teeth for supporters who are unable to, or decide not to, get a season ticket for all sorts of reasons. As an example of what I mean, my brother lives in Birmingham, but he and his son have come to one home game a season for a while now and I had agreed that I would pay for his ticket for the match they were going to come to in the new season as a birthday present.
Now, my brother’s support of the club can best be described as patchy even when he was living in Cardiff, but he saw his first game forty six years ago (Blackburn in January 1967) and there were certainly times in the eighties in particular when he rarely missed a home game. Likewise, I took my nephew to his first City game (Oxford in January 2000) when he was seven, so it’s hardly as if either of them have only discovered Cardiff City in the last few years when promotion to the Premiership was a realistic target and yet there is now every chance that they will not be able to watch us play in that league at Cardiff City Stadium.
Apparently, the cards issued to gold and silver category members will include a photo of that person. Does that mean that applicants will have to present themselves at Cardiff City Stadium to have that photo taken or will the club accept a picture or scanned image of the person concerned? If it’s the former, then a policy which could be seen to penalise exiled fans becomes that much worse for them. Of course, there are exiles who buy season tickets, but that’s not practical or affordable for many of them and I can see the imposition of these extra charges meaning that a lot of them will decide that they’ll not bother watching games from now on.
I’m not sure any of this will bother the club too much. When Vincent Tan talked about being able to replace supporters who stopped attending games because of the change of kit with others attracted by the prospect of top flight football, he revealed the mind set of so many in positions of power in modern day football – who cares about the type of person attending as long as the ground is full every week. That makes perfect sense from a business point of view of course, but it’s sad when, in many cases, Cardiff City means an awful lot to the people who no longer attend – a football club is not meant to be like your local supermarket, but, although Premiership football at Cardiff is fantastic in so many ways, it seems we are going into a league where it becomes harder to tell the difference.