Red is the colour…of champions

Leicester V Cardiff

Vincent Ralph takes a look at the four English league champions...and one thing they all have in common.

So it is official: for one season at least, red is the colour of champions.

The winners of all four English football leagues pulled on that colour for every home game and a large proportion of away ones this campaign. And at the end of it, Manchester United, Cardiff City, Gillingham and Doncaster Rovers all got their hands on the trophy.

But that isn’t the whole story, at least not for the winners of the Championship and League Two. For very different reasons, red became the new blue for the Bluebirds and the Gills.

For Gillingham it was welcomed and temporary. For Cardiff it was anything but.

A football team’s home colours are more than just a fashion statement, they represent everything the club was and everything it will be.

While players and managers move on, those colours remain. They speak of history, of legacy and of the memories of fans past and present.

Gillingham weren’t the first and won’t be the last side to change their kit to mark their centenary year. And so for one season only they wore a version of the kit last seen 100 years ago - red with blue sleeves and collar.

For Cardiff the decision was less easy to explain and, for their fans, digest.

Their Malaysian owners claimed that changing from blue to red would make the club more marketable in Asia, where red is seen as a lucky colour.

In football, there are few things as anathema to fans as changing what has always been.

But despite petitions being signed and a campaign group called Keep Cardiff Blue being formed, the Bluebirds started and will end the season in red.

And their Malaysian owners’ belief that red is a lucky colour is a little harder to dispute as the club finally make plans for a season in the Premier League after years of dips in form and bad, well, luck.

There are Cardiff fans who are no longer Cardiff fans following the changes. There are others who accept if not embrace them. And there are those who accept change is necessary in football, that it is a game that can destroy as easily as it can offer hope and elation if you do not adapt.

Some people will say it is just coincidence that all four champions wear the same colour: some as they always do, some as they were forced to and some to mark a moment in time.

Other will say Doncaster play in red-and-white stripes but that is just being picky.

Maybe next season blue will come up trumps, or perhaps there will be a rainbow of champions.

Then again maybe red really is just that little bit luckier than the rest.

How do Cardiff and Gillingham fans feel about being crowned champions in red rather than blue?  And should a team's home colours be sacred?

images: © joncandy

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