Cod Almighty | Article
by Rich Mills
20 July 2012
Summer and no Town news to speak of. I don't recognise any of the names Town are signing. They're playing the same old pre-season friendlies. And now it looks like Field Marshall Fenty is looking at a new site for a stadium again. A disappointing Euro 2012 (was it ever going to be anything else?); the beautiful game dragged through the gutter thanks to Mr Terry et al; and north of the border? Well, it's like a footy version of The Thick of It.
It's at times like these that I find my mind straying to other sports. Not the bloody Olympics, no, but other more worthy sports - cricket and our genuinely exciting and world-class team and individuals; the Tour de France and in particular the team effort involved to support Bradley Wiggins' tilt at the Paris podium. Before that I even found myself following the tennis!
It's a stop-gap though, isn't it, until I find myself fidgeting at 4:30 on a Saturday afternoon or an increasingly regular Tuesday evening and I watch Town's progress through the Conference Premier as they tease me with their promotion potential. Until 11 August, though, I find myself skimming through my Twitter timeline in search of something a little different. Odd bits of football-related news or a well put together (and grammatically correct) blog - which is where I came across this...
Ben Dudley is a sports journalist and Cardiff fan, and a little ticked off by his club's rebranding. I'm assuming at this point that if you read Cod Almighty then you'll also be aware of what's happening with Cardiff (is this too much of an assumption? Am I wrong to think there's a Cod Aalmighty demographic?). Anyway, Ben has decided to do something quite brilliant. He's boycotting his team and auctioning his support on Ebay, arguing that he isn't giving up on the Bluebirds because they're rubbish but instead that following the rebrand they might as well be a new team.
The auction offers "My support for the 2012-13 football season (with certificate and free pint)" and as I type this the bidding stands at £205 with nine days to go. Ben is obviously surprised by the bidding and the auction has been amended with a note to say that 50 per cent of the proceeds will be going to the Ty Hafan children's charity. I assume the rest will go towards his expenses supporting his new team, which might be considerable. Ben also runs a website, where he reports on matches he attends (as well as articles relating to the demise of the team he loved) and his auction includes his reporting on all the matches he will attend supporting his new team. It's a great website too.
He also adds a caveat that he doesn't mind which team the winning bid entails "apart from Swansea City and Bristol City due to the likelihood of me being discovered and chased away from the stadium by angry mobs with flaming torches. I would also prefer if you didn't play in red or have a dragon on your badge if at all possible."
The auction also includes some Q&As and shows interest from as far afield as Inverness, but would the Caley Jags' gain be the Mariners' loss? Is Ben someone we should be making a play for in the summer transfer market? Forget signing another journeyman, five goals per season striker or yet another lumpy, lazy midfielder. Shouldn't we be luring passionate fans with a sense of what is right and what really matters in football?
Bastard Franchise Scum
On a serious note (although I would of course love Ben to find himself a Mariners fan at the end of this auction), this and other campaigns really highlight the fact that many fans aren't happy with the direction their clubs are taking. What is the club? What is the team? The Wimbledon/MK Dons franchise arrangement and the decision by a large group of supporters to throw their support behind AFC Wimbledon must have been considered when Cardiff City's board accepted this foreign investment and agreed to change the colours and badge?
Will fans walk away if they see their club change beyond all recognition? Does the promise of money and the chance of 'success' mean fans will accept anything? The coverage of the Rangers case was and still is compulsive reading for many reasons. But it was heartening to see that many chairmen mentioned input from the fans as informing their decision to vote against allowing Newco Rangers back into the SPL. Fans threatened to walk away from the game if sporting integrity and a level playing field weren't upheld.
What next though? Which will be the next club? Would we throw our support behind Carphone Warehouse FC, playing in pink shirts and shorts (but red socks)? Would years of mediocrity and/or failure blind us to our club's history and heritage being sold to the highest bidder? Or any bidder in fact. I'd like to think that it wouldn't be the case and hopefully that won't be tested. But you never know.
Need another reason to visit Ben's auction page? Really? OK then: Scunthorpe gets a mention...