League Cup Final Special: The Bluebird Leads the Way, OK?

‘Y Ddraig Goch Ddyry Gychwyn’ – ‘The Red Dragon Leads the Way’ – is the motto on this official Cardiff City blazer badge from the 1960s. Full of positives vibes, you might think. But nowhere near as good an omen for Sunday as the slightly confused Bluebird adopted around the dawn of the 1970s… 
Bluebirds over the White Roofs of Wembley?

Above the Welsh inscription the old badge frankly gets a bit messy, and embroidery techniques don’t seem to have progressed much since they banged out the Bayeux Tapestry some 900 years earlier. The yellow blob on a green stick is a daffodil and the little red chap is a dragon. The yellow figure on the left is supposed to be a seahorse and the one on the right a goat – or so we’re told, as we’d never have guessed. The thing on top is the Prince of Wales Feathers, rather than a satellite dish.

Imagine the relief at the embroiderers when City opted for a neat and simple Bluebird motif for their shirts, as modelled by Peter King in this 1971-72 A&BC bubbly card.

Just one weeny problem: there aren’t any bluebirds in Britain, except in zoo cages.

All that business about the ‘Bluebirds over the White Cliffs of Dover’… that was simply a failure of American songwriters Walter Kent and Nat Burton to do their Google homework back in the 1940s.

However, the ‘bluebird of happiness’ is a common symbol of good times, prosperity and the joys of spring among indigenous cultures across the world from America to southern Europe (not to mention south Wales).

So… 1-0 to Cardiff?

Got, Not Got for just 12 quid? Yep, it’s seven quid off on Amazon for the book described in this month’s Backpass mag as ‘exquisite’ and ‘sumptuous’ and ‘golden’!?!

• “This exquisite book is a homage to the game of 40 years ago – not just the mudheaps and the mavericks but a celebration of its wider culture [which] rises above lazy, modern-life-is-rubbish nostalgia… The design is so sumptuous and the stories so well chosen and written that it’s hard to resist the authors’ conclusion that much – call it charm, character or even romance – has been lost in the rush for cash. Regardless of whether it really was a golden age, this is a golden volume, as much a social history as a sports book. If you’ve not got GOT, NOT GOT, you’ve got to get it.” – Backpass

“The book’s great fun. It’s an essential if you grew up watching football in the 60s, 70s or 80s.”Paul Hawksbee, talkSport.

“Obviously, everybody over the age of 40 is going to absolutely love this. There’s something for every fan of every club.” – Andy Jacobs, talkSport.


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One Response to League Cup Final Special: The Bluebird Leads the Way, OK?

  1. If you’re reading this blog post and you have not yet purchased “Got, Not Got: The A-Z of Lost Football Culture, Treasures & Pleasures,” then I advise you to acquire it as quickly as possible.
    I received mine for Christmas, and have yet to go more than a few days without picking it up and rejoicing once again it its trove of memories.

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