I’m sick of it, to be honest. The debate goes round and round on Twitter about Cardiff, Blues and Cardiff Blues. Even after we’ve just beaten Dragons on their own patch!
So I’m putting an end to it, and I’m doing it for two reasons;
Firstly, the debate only gives those who don’t support us, and never will, the opportunity to beat us with a stick again. To peddle the untruth that Cardiff Blues are not a team for anyone north of Whitchurch to support.
Secondly, to appeal to the fact that we as Cardiff Blues supporters all know the team is called Cardiff Blues, so what are we actually arguing about?
The ‘Cardiff Blues’ brand came into being in 2003, but the history can be traced back to 1876 as Cardiff RFC Limited paid £1million to form a standalone team.
All the players of 2002/03 Cardiff RFC became 2003/04 Cardiff Blues players and the first ever Cardiff Blues jersey actually had the new badge sewn over the top of the Cardiff RFC badge.
At the Cardiff Blues launch event in June 2003, then Chief Executive Robert Norster is directly quoted as saying, “A huge amount of effort has been made to ensure that the past 127 years of club traditions are not lost. We are delighted by the way these aspects have been respected within the new modern brand.”
So this is where the Cardiff name comes from, and there’s a reason why it stays.
In this day and age of professional sports, money is a hugely important part of rugby union.
Everything is sponsored, from players and jerseys, the stands and man-of-the-match awards. Just look at this season’s Scarlets kits to understand how necessary they are.
Sponsors look for success, first and foremost, and that’s a point that really transcends this whole blog that names and what-not don’t matter when you’re winning, but they also look for something to identify with.
When Cardiff Blues are looking to attract new sponsors do they pitch 15 years of history, or do they pitch 140 years of history as one of the most widely known rugby brands in the World?
Aside from the rugby aspect, do they not mention the location of the team? Or do they play on the fact that Cardiff is one of the fastest growing cities, in a business sense, in the UK, and is the capital city of Wales?
So, the Cardiff name adds value, but there’s also a reason why it’s ‘Blues’.
Now, I don’t profess to be an expert in commercial type things, what I write here is from the horses mouth, so to speak, and although I think ‘Blues’ in isolation is somewhat unimaginative, I see why it works as a whole. That’s what I’m trying to get across here.
There are always examples in sports that can be found to back up or oppose an opinion, whether that be ownership or branding, but when the evidence is so overwhelming as every sports team in the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB having a location and a nickname in their team name, it’s difficult to ignore.
Add in the majority of Gallagher Premiership clubs operating in the same way, Bristol added ‘Bears’ just this off-season, as well as all the top football clubs having nicknames, and you get the idea. I was a Cardiff City season ticket holder for nine years, and pretty much only ever referred to ‘the City’.
And so we make it to the entire point, that ‘Cardiff Blues’ is perfect for where we are, and where we’re going.
I understand why people have been perhaps over-protective of the name over the last few years. The fact that the Cardiff Blues management have had to ask for the whole name to be used is due to the fact that there has been dilution of ‘Cardiff’ which, as mentioned above, is important.
That is changing though. ‘Cardiff Blues’ is now the first point of reference in both written and visual media, before the name is shortened either way. Eddie Butler provided the perfect example of this on Saturday, talking of both ‘Cardiff’ and ‘Blues’ at Rodney Parade.
This links in with the importance of ‘Blues’ in terms of the modern world, as it reaches out beyond the city walls and provides brevity in this age of text talk and 240 character tweets.
You will never be able to please all of the people, all of the time, but ‘Blues’ is something that non-Cardiff folk can identify with and is what youngsters around the pathway who are being engaged by the superb work of the Community Trust are using.
Which in the end means we reach the conclusion of the team being called Cardiff Blues. That’s how it’s going to stay, it can be shortened either way, and there’s no need to argue!
Would it be handy if Cardiff Blues themselves came out and said this? Yes.
Would it be handy if the Welsh Rugby Union came out and said there was no threat of changing the name? Yes. Martyn Phillips liked a tweet of mine essentially saying the above in shorter form on the weekend.
In the absence of either of those things happening though, you’re stuck with this blog.
This will be filed in the ‘opinion’ section of the website, but the history of the team going back to 1876? That’s fact. The commercial value of ‘Cardiff’? That’s fact. The modernity of ‘Blues’? That’s fact. I’m not preaching, just putting all the facts in one place.
The team is called Cardiff Blues. It can be shortened to ‘Cardiff’ or ‘Blues’. Please never argue again. Thank you.