There has been a lot of speculation recently about the possibility of dropping the Cardiff name as part of the need to embrace a wider geographical area for regional rugby. I ask myself why that should be either desirable or necessary?

I was born in Cardiff, grew up in Cardiff and still live in Cardiff. I went to primary school in Cardiff and high school in Cardiff. My first job was in Cardiff and my next job was in Cardiff and now I run a business in Cardiff.

I took an early interest in sport and started watching Cardiff City at age 7. A few years later I used to catch a Cardiff Bus to Cardiff Arms Park to watch Cardiff RFC. Fifty plus years on I am a season ticket holder for both clubs. I think it is fair to say that Cardiff is a big part of my life

That makes it very difficult for me to accept the stance taken by  some that our regional rugby team should have a different title to express the geographical coverage of the clubs under its umbrella.

To suggest that history and heritage is unimportant to a sports organisation is quite reckless. We only have to look at the position that multi-millionaire and successful businessman, Vincent Tan found himself in at Cardiff City to draw a different conclusion. His re-brand of the football club was allegedly overturned on the advice of his mum – sometimes older people do know better!  I am inclined to think that it had more than a little to do with the reaction of the majority of the fan base who voted with their feet. The fan base is extremely loyal to the football club despite the fact that a large majority of the supporters do not live in Cardiff. The club had a massive problem in trying to register a change of colours so it is difficult to imagine what resistance they would have had if they had tried to change the name.

There are other lessons to be learned from football – a sport with a far higher profile and earning potential than rugby union. One for the quizzers ……………..How many of the 92 Premier League and English Football League clubs do not have the identity of their city or town in their name? The reason is mainly one of pride in their roots. The resistance to change is unquestionably driven by the fear of losing identity, support and sponsorship.

I played football at semi-pro level and was very proud to play for a local club ( Barry Town ) that greatly valued its name and its place in the community even though its players, including me,  were drawn from far and wide. Being chosen to play for a “region” constituted representative honours and that, in my opinion, is how it should be. That club had a name change forced upon it through legal action but they steadfastly hung on to their heritage by adapting the previous name to suit the regulators and continuing successfully without loss of identity.

The situation with rugby in Cardiff is far more pronounced. The WRU undertook an independent survey that established that the fan base for Cardiff Blues was largely concentrated in 2 CF postcode areas. If those supporters are alienated then there is more likelihood that the number of hard core followers will reduce rather than increase.

We risk a situation where we become a new entity with no identity.

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