NEIL BONNAR: Foreign owners are killing the traditions of the beautiful game

THE trouble with foreigners running English football clubs is they don’t have any feel for community or tradition.

Picture the scene: you turn up at the Want A Loan At An Exhorbitant Interest Rate Arena at Middlebrook to watch Bolton Trotters playing in red shirts.

Like the idea? Probably not, but that’s the kind of thing which happens when your club is run by foreigners.

Take Hull City for instance. Their foreign owner is talking about changing the club’s name from Hull City to Hull Tigers so it can make more money.

Cardiff City’s foreign owner has changed the club’s shirts from the traditional blue to red. It makes a mockery of their nickname being the Bluebirds for goodness sake.

And Manchester City’s foreign owner has changed the name of the ground from the City of Manchester Stadium to the Etihad. Why? Money.

I’m not saying it’s a bad thing to have a head for business if you run a football club. Of course it is.

But their are limits. Take a straw poll and most people won’t know the names of the foreigners who run England’s Premier League clubs, but they know the names of the clubs, the traditional names of the stadiums and what kit they play in.

When the owners have sold up, the damage to tradition will have been done and there will be no way back.

Fans already feel disenfranchised by high prices to the point where increasing numbers of real fans are watching their teams in pubs on weekend afternoons on, ironically, foreign channels.

Changing the club name and shirt colour – which are sacrisanct to fans, and so they should be – will only do the game more real harm in the long term New fans who have only gravitated to football because it’s in fashion will move away again once something new comes along.

Old school fans have grown to like watching football in the pub. And they don’t like how their clubs have treated them since the game became all about money.

Every club comes under fire from their fans when their team is not doing well.

Bolton Wanderers are no different in this respect as we have seen over the last couple of years.

But fans should be careful what they wish for. Bolton are owned and run by English people, local people in fact, and they play in white shirts and are called Wanderers.

Their was an issue with the sponsor when a high interest loans firm almost got their name on the shirt this season.

But Wanderers listened to the community outcry and pulled out of the deal. Do you think that would have happened if they’d been foreign owned? No, neither do I.


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