Another quiet week with most of the news being made by “Tan’s Folly”. That’s the name I’ve given to the extension to the Ninian Stand which is being built during the summer, thereby increasing the capacity of the stadium to over 33,000 at a time when all of the indications are that there will be something in the region of 20/21 thousand at games next season. In the absence of the debt to equity conversion that was supposed to be “imminent” over two years ago, this development is only pushing the amount the club owe to Vincent Tan up by a few more million and, as such, is completely unnecessary at this time.
Anyway, the reason Tan’s Folly made news this week is that there was an article on the club’s website in which Steve Borley answered questions about the development. Now, I try not to use transatlantic corporate speak terms which have crept into use during my adulthood because I tend to think that the language I learned while I was growing up is perfectly adequate already thanks, but I’ll make an exception here because there is a huge elephant in the room represented by the red seats shown in the picture of what the stand will look like when it’s completed – whatever side of the red/blue divide you are on, it seems like a mistake to me for the interview to ignore the fact that the colour used is going to prove highly controversial.
I think putting new red seats into a stadium that has predominantly blue ones just doesn’t look right – it jars. I suppose it’s reasonable to respond “well you would say that, given your dislike of the re-brand”, but the truth is that, although I don’t like to see the red seats, they are a relatively minor matter for me when set against the main priority of seeing the team play in the colours that virtually everyone except for Vincent Tan wants us to wear. If we were to change back to blue after next season, I wouldn’t be losing any sleep about the fact that the stadium would continue to have a block of red seats in it.
Whatever happens, the news that supporters who have purchased season tickets for the wings of the new stand have been told that they will have to relocate to the centre block because poor ticket sales have made the club decide to keep the new seats at either end of the pitch empty means that supporters in other parts of the stadium (plus the television cameras?) will be seeing plenty of empty red seats in Tan’s Folly next season – if anything sums up the uselessness of the new structure at the present time, then surely it’s this.
One last thing on this subject – “class” was a quality almost completely lacking on and off the pitch at Cardiff City during the season just ended and, after seeing the Ayatollah representations used in the seating design, I note that the malaise is continuing through the summer.
Nothing really to report on the transfer front. The Echo says that Ole is only looking for one more player (a centreback) to complete his rebuilding for the new season and that up to ten players will be leaving the club in the coming months – one of these is almost certainly Fraizer Campbell, but his move to Leicester, which has been reported as if it is was a done deal for the last fortnight or so, is taking a long time to complete and there are now stories appearing that Crystal Palace are preparing a bid for the striker.
Another player almost certain to leave is Steven Caulker who it seems to me has been linked with about fifteen Premier League teams over the past month or so. I hope for his sake that the stuff I’ve read about QPR winning the race for his signature are not true – talk about jumping out of the frying pan into the fire! We inherited the title of Premier League laughing stock of the season from QPR last year by showing total ineptitude off the pitch while spending money like there was no tomorrow on players who, largely, failed to do the business for us – if QPR, already massively in debt and facing fines for breaking Financial Fair Play rules, are really chasing even a quarter of the players they are being linked with this summer, then there is every chance of them regaining their mantle for 14/15.
Whatever happens with the likes of Campbell, Caulker and Gary Medel (again excellent during Chile’s defeat on penalties against Brazil yesterday), it shouldn’t come as a surprise to learn that there are likely to be other departures from the club in the coming weeks – with around forty players with pro contracts on the books, it seems to me that a Championship club should be looking to cut that number by about a quarter. Someone like Tommy Smith barely kicked a ball for the club last season at first or development team level and I can see there being four or five others in the same boat this time around if the club doesn’t have a playing staff which is more in keeping with the size it needs to be at this level.