Cardiff RFC chairman Chris Norman believes the recent olive branch extended by his Cardiff Blues counterpart Alun Jones could lead to a more positive outcome in the future of both entities.
While the Blues are fighting battles on every front to try to keep their business afloat, Cardiff RFC are trying to find out where they sit in the overall equation.
Jones chose his words carefully, but for the first time suggested his board is seeking to build a joint identity with Cardiff RFC.
“Cardiff Blues is effectively the progression of the old Cardiff RFC, but we also have an obligation to the region. I accept entirely that we need to leverage the Cardiff brand more,” he said.
“We know it’s there, having done the work in the fan-base. It’s very much a live issue for us as a board.”
Norman rightly sees his rugby committee as guardians of more than 140 years of rugby history. As the Blues near their 20th anniversary in 2023, Cardiff RFC will mark their 150th anniversary in 2026.
“I was delighted to finally hear someone at the Blues talk about building on the heritage of rugby in Cardiff, rather than continuing to forge a separate identity for the region,” said Norman.
“These are dark days for professional sport that require forward and positive thinking. I hope the Blues board can find a way to fully embrace Cardiff RFC and what it stands for.”
Since Richard Holland took over as chief executive of the Blues in 2012 he has been consistent in saying the main priority was re-negotiating a new lease with Cardiff Athletic Club beyond February, 2022.
“As Alun suggested, the clock is ticking, and I hope his comments were not merely a charm offensive. If he believes the Blues can celebrate the Cardiff heritage alongside embracing their regional obligations, let’s hear how he intends to silence the sceptics,” added Norman.
“If he believes the Blues are a progression of ‘the old Cardiff RFC’ then he has to find a way to back up his words. The Professional Rugby Board rules state no region should be investing in a Premiership club.
“If that’s the case, why don’t we find a way to properly unite and make the Blues and Cardiff RFC one true club. The first thing I’d say is there has to be a name change – Cardiff Rugby.
“Jettison the Blues at professional level, re-brand as Cardiff and take on board 144 years of wonderful tradition. One city, one club.
“From our perspective, we either have to find a way to operate as a stand-alone rugby club or find a partner willing to adopt our history, values and name to safeguard our future for another 150 years.
“The perceived ‘master and slave’ approach over the course of the current relationship between the two of us has to change. We need to become brothers in arms.”