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Sydney FC in blue over new Melbourne Heart colours

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Man City giving Melbourne Heart the blues?

What is the price of being showered in petro-dollars? The answer for Melbourne Heart seems to be the colour of their strip. Their fans and Sydney FC are not impressed.

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Sydney FC have lodged a formal complaint to Football Federation Australia in response to an application from Melbourne Heart's new owners to rebrand the A-League team as a franchise of Manchester City, including a change of their playing strip from red and white to sky blue.

Melbourne Heart as we know them may have already played their last game as Fairfax Media has been informed that their new owners submitted a request to the FFA to make the club's name, logo and playing colours synonymous with the English Premier League giants. Under the application, the club will be renamed as Melbourne City, have a new logo and play in a sky blue jersey with white socks and shorts.

However, the proposed changes have not gone down well with the sky blue half of Sydney, with Sydney FC chairman Scott Barlow lodging a formal complaint to the FFA due to the clash of identities. Barlow is unhappy with Heart's bid to play in a similar strip to Sydney FC, who have become so renowned with the colour that "Sky Blues" has become their nickname. 

The real big blue: Sydney FC are protesting the Heart's proposed new playing strip.

The real big blue: Sydney FC are protesting the Heart's proposed new playing strip.

"Sky blue is much more than just a colour for Sydney FC, it's central to our identity. Sky blue represents our club, our harbour city and is the traditional colour of NSW," Barlow said. "We're extremely concerned about the proposed use of sky blue by Melbourne Heart, and we've made our concerns very clear to the FFA."

Manchester City's bid to change the identity of Melbourne Heart is yet to be approved by the FFA, which owns the trademarks of all 10 A-League clubs. It's understood that the FFA is open to the possibility of the rebranding of the Heart, just as they were with Newcastle Jets changing their shirt colours from gold to red and blue following the takeover by Nathan Tinkler in 2010. Any move will be met with fierce resistance by Sydney FC, who are unwilling to share their colour and identity with another club in the A-League.

"In a competition with only 10 teams, the idea of two teams wearing sky blue is nonsensical especially when sky blue is so closely associated with NSW. I believe it's critical to the integrity of the A-League that clubs have identities that are also in representation of where they come from," Barlow said. 

Colour clash: Melbourne Heart's new owners have applied to change the club's colours to Manchester City's sky blue, a direct clash with Sydney FC.

Colour clash: Melbourne Heart's new owners have applied to change the club's colours to Manchester City's sky blue, a direct clash with Sydney FC. Photo: Getty Images

There has been a mixed response from Heart fans over the proposed name change to Melbourne City but a change of colours from red and white stripes to sky blue has been met by widespread protest including large-scale banners displayed at games. Heart's current strip was inspired by the colours of the flag of Melbourne, and banners reading "Keep Melbourne red & white" were on display at the final game of the season against Western Sydney Wanderers on Saturday. 

"In football, club colours are sacred, and they should represent where a club comes from and not the identity of its owner," Barlow said. "Melbourne Heart fans understand and value the history as to why the club wears red and white, and understandably they would want to protest that."

It's not yet known what the new emblem will look like although Manchester City have shown their willingness to give fans some voice with other football investments, such as their MLS club, New York City FC. The New York club will make its debut in 2015 and play in a strip identical to Manchester City although fans were given the choice to select their new emblem which was recently unveiled and incorporated symbols of the city such as the five boroughs and the subway token.

54 comments so far

  • There are lots of clubs in the same leagues that have the same colours - don't Sydney have an away kit?

    If you are supporting these teams or even watch the A league in general - are you really going to get confused.

    Sydney don't attract fans because of their colours - the fact that the colour is central to their identity will not change if Melbourne City start wearing it.

    Commenter
    Pr
    Date and time
    April 15, 2014, 6:39AM
    • If Sydney was switching to the Heart's colour's the stink from Melbourne would be louder then the one Sydney F.C. is making. The colour Sky Blue is the N.S.W. State colour . NRL , Rugby Union and Cricket Team all play in Sky blue and if the Heart want to became a second N.S.W. of football team good for them may as well go with the strength.

      Commenter
      michael
      Date and time
      April 15, 2014, 9:41AM
    • Well, SFC will hate it when the League becomes fair dinkum and there is promotion and relegation - if Marconi win, will SFC want them to change colours??
      With the ever mounting losses in the A League threatening its viability, I think we should happily welcome Man City to the fold, and if that means Melbourne City is in blue, big deal!! BTW Melbourne's city colours are not red and white anyway

      Commenter
      reg date
      Location
      sydney
      Date and time
      April 15, 2014, 4:11PM
  • Sydney FC's mockup should have included all the sponsorship for both sides...I think they'd be sufficiently different then :)

    Commenter
    Sam
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    April 15, 2014, 7:47AM
    • In other news, Coventry City wish to formally protest Manc. City's continued use of light blue in their kit, and Liverpool, Manc Utd, Arsenal, Middlesborough and Cadiff will all have to get new kits so that they don't clash, Sunderland and Southhampton etc etc etc.

      Or maybe they could wear their away kits when they play each other - which they do anyway -and kill the entire issue.

      Commenter
      roy
      Location
      Tasmania
      Date and time
      April 15, 2014, 7:48AM
      • Cardiff went from their famous blue to a red strip just last year - no complaints from the FA, but massive complaints from their fans.....nobody was listening.

        In the modernisation (sic) of our game the marketing types are killing tradition. It's too late, the tide has turned and business is now running and ruining football.

        Fairplay? Not at all.

        Commenter
        Reality Check
        Date and time
        April 15, 2014, 9:23AM
    • Mr Barlow doth protest too much.
      Just last week SFC sent members a survey seeking feedback on a number of items (I hope they enjoyed my novella regarding what it would take to get me back to games [sack Frank]).
      But one of the questions related to home and away strips and colour preferences.
      It could be interpreted that the club was readying itself to play in a mostly black strip.
      Which would sit fine with me.
      The away strip has always looked better and, to be honest, I'm not sure people would be up in arms on the basis of colour, more why it's being changed.
      If switching to black meant the team would play in an organised, creative and fluid manner, then let's do it in time for this weekend's game against Melbourne Suburbs.
      That's what we'll have to call them from now on, right?

      Commenter
      Big Fish
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      April 15, 2014, 7:58AM
      • What are you talking about??? The question to members was about actually WEARING the away kit for once. Also, asking what other colour preferences they wanted to see included (Orange, White, Navy etc.) There is no way they would drop the Sky Blue shirt!

        Commenter
        Michael
        Date and time
        April 15, 2014, 6:01PM
    • Our brand of football is unique, that's why we have 'away' strips. West Ham, Aston Villa, Burnley all have the same/similar strips but have different away strips, so what's the problem?

      Originally no team was permitted to wear an all black strip as it clashed with that of the referee, now we have away strips in black and referees in alternate outfits.

      The day clubs had a moral position on strips is over once they started charging over $100 per shirt and changing their design every season. If your strip and history is so precious, why keep changing it?

      All these A-League clubs are totally manufactured marketing machines. Their is no historical argument - if it didn't work for Cardiff, a club with an enormous history....what precedent is Mr Barlow trying to hang onto?

      Commenter
      Reality Check
      Date and time
      April 15, 2014, 8:14AM
      • It is perfectly clear that Sydney FC's colours have always been TWO blues: sky blue and dark blue. They have never been simply sky blue. Therefore, Melbourne City is entitled to sky blue and white as their colours.
        Look at the EPL: How many red teams are there? Liverpool, Man U and Arsenal, just for starters ...

        The majority of teams in any sport will be red or blue. Sydney FC cannot expect to have the exclusive use of all shades of blue forever and a day in the A League.

        Commenter
        Macroma
        Location
        Sydney
        Date and time
        April 15, 2014, 8:19AM

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