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26 March 2014

'Optimistic' Bluebirds protest

Steffan Kitka Bateman, Cardiff Socialist Party

On 22 March 3,000 Cardiff City fans protested before Cardiff played Liverpool, demanding a return to the club's blue kit and original crest and an end to billionaire Vincent Tan's undemocratic rule.

Socialists rarely oppose a change to red but Cardiff Socialist Party did as we joined the demo. We talked to fans about our demands for cheaper ticket prices and a massive increase in fan power.

We sold the Socialist saying: "A working class paper for a working class club!" and sold the Socialist Party's book Reclaim the Game, which offers a fighting programme on football.

Cardiff fans have a history of struggle, including their large contingent on an anti-racist march which chased Welsh Defence League out of the city.

The song 'My little pick and shovel' was sung on the demo, commemorating Welsh miners' role in the 1926 general strike and City's FA cup win in 1927.

15 fan organisations united to support the Bluebirds march, one of the loudest in the city's history.

At 19 minutes and 27 seconds, hundreds of fans in the stadium raised blue scarfs in the air. Despite Cardiff losing to Liverpool, fans were optimistic that a mass campaign to put pressure on the owners, the Welsh Assembly and Westminster could force big changes.

As socialists we point out that until we get rid of capitalism, football clubs will always be playthings for the rich.

Fans will have to fight again to stop being forced out by increasing prices and the effects of austerity.

Poverty wage FC

The media believe the world of football begins and ends with millionaire owners and very highly paid footballers.

But many football clubs including the rich top clubs pay essential ground staff such as turnstile operators, club shop workers, burger and beer sellers below the national minimum wage.

The Yorkshire and Humber TUC conference passed a resolution condemning the low pay and calling for clubs paying below the minimum wage to face fines and deduction of league points.

The GMB union says it will take the campaign around the country, starting in Yorkshire.

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