In this weeks Roker Ramble we head to Wales, where things behind the scenes at Cardiff City prove to be a welcome reminder that we should be very happy with the ownership of the club we've enjoyed for the last 6-7 years or so.
It remains difficult to understand just how receptive a proportion of Cardiff City fans - and even the local media - were to Sri Vincent Tan and Dato Chan Tien Ghee's proposal to rebrand the Capital club. The supposition that the club would crash and burn without the Malaysian investors hung over pre-season proceedings, but Tan had his way after a double-bluff and a promise of £100m investment. And that was that. Except it isn't.
Should City go up, even with the new Premier League TV rights deal imminent, the club still has a burden of over £50m and are widely quoted to be losing £1m a month - all precariously balanced upon the whims and actions of one man. Where this differs from a similar fate we have all forecast for Chelsea or Manchester City at one point or another is that in time their ‘brand', another fall-out of football modernity, has been remarkably increased. Cardiff City, the brand and the football club, has simply become of one of the crowd; one that would fail to distinguish itself from the hoard of Manchester United shirts already worn in Asia. Perhaps that was the plan along?
Even domestically, City have taken their identifiable nickname and emblem that enabled the regular football fan to recognise the club's crest despite design changes in recent seasons and hid themselves under the Wales national rugby union team. The application of the rebrand even confounds its logic; the Cardiff City Stadium remains blue - very blue. A solitary MS Paint effort on the front of the Canton Stand reminds that you all is not what it used to be. On the field however, much is the same. The ‘Bluebirds' have started the season well, although the 100% home record is more a result of Tan's investment in the squad than the ‘lucky' red shirts, but until Tan follow the trail blazed by Ellis Short and converts his loans into shares, then the Langston aftermath of Sam Hammam's time in the Capital will forever hamstring the club.
After Hammam, and Peter Ridsdale, Tan could seemingly do no worse until taking a cleaver to his own reputation and Cardiff's badge. Simply delivering promotion - a first to the Premier League and parity of some sort with rivals Swansea - would have sufficed. Perhaps my perspective is skewed by what happened at Sunderland. Modern football is not all happiness and underdogs and Niall Quinn and eight liquid medic men and women. Matt Le Tissier tried to resuscitate Southampton from a far more desperate situation that Cardiff was in. After the madness of Sam wore off and people were able to question what went on behind that smile, and Ridsdale arriving with the same grand plans that almost killed Leeds United, City needed tranquillity, not transformation. The same questions will confront City this season irrespective of the new kit colour: can you last the pace over 46 games?
With Quinn out of Sunderland and frequently in Sky Sports commentary booths, many may reconsider the way he departed. We shouldn't. He took the club that meant most to him, nursed it back to health and found someone willing to see it fly again. It is incredibly unfortunate that Cardiff City has had its fingers burned on three occasions, perhaps more alarming that sections of its support do not, cannot and will not see it that way - threatening to ‘bury' anyone who opposed the history and identity-stripping process.
Just what this holds for Cardiff's future is uncertain; some have speculated that Tan's desire is to improve on his country-sponsoring club and become ‘Malaysia FC'. Others think that should City earn promotion then the 39th game will be a topic revisited. But this is what happens when you play with Fire & Passion.