Hope is the thing without feathers

Without a true understanding of our History, we cannot hope to understand the present, let alone get to grips with current events. Only once we have understood how we arrived at this place, will we begin to develop an understanding of Colonialism and the damage it has done.

If you have sighed, tutted, rolled your eyes or stopped reading altogether then chances are you are you probably think I’m unhinged or a radical of some kind. Unfortunately for you and other Unionists who like to try and Pigeon hole us Republicans nothing could be further from the truth. I work as a Civil Servant. It just so happens I like to do my own thinking and have arrived at an age and time in my life where I will not tolerate being spoon fed, and having read widely on the History of Cymru, Colonialism and read Chomskys Manufacturing of Consent many moons ago, I’m not daft and I won’t dumb down for a quiet life.

Like most CPD Wrecsam fans I try and support my club financially as much as I possibly can. Being a proud Socialist I am delighted with our status as a fan owned club and hope that quietly we become more involved in the community and we evolve into a healthy sustainable Football Club. Thanks to the graft of the Trust and others over the years we are on our way. I write for the programme, I have raised thousands of pounds designing and selling bags and t shirts, and for the last few years have been a season ticket holder. I am very proud of our Club and I am very proud to be a Wrexham lad, I think we are unique in Wales and wear my Civic pride like a badge. We are the Republic of Wrexham!

This leads me to a conversation I had with a waiter in Egypt last week on my holidays. The waiter asked me what the writing was on my Wrexham shirt (he was referring to ‘Ich Dien’), I explained to him what it meant and he went on to ask if it was Welsh, presumably because I’d made such a fuss about being from Wales and not England…explaining to him that it was German was soul destroying, and if I’m honest was the straw that broke the camel’s back. The confusion and pity in his eyes confirmed everything I already knew, but chose to ignore because I love my club and love buying the shirts; I want to represent the Town wherever I go.

I knew the History and meaning of the Feathers, and realised that we have only had this badge since the 70s, when we the fans chose the design. I think it’s fair to say these are different times, and we should seriously consider putting it out there again to the fans to see what the general consensus is now. My exchange with the waiter in Egypt really brought home to me how ludicrous it is that we simply accept our badge and feebly limp on proudly sporting a badge that represents nothing short of Colonial Oppression and Cultural Genocide. Strong words? Know your history. From the Act of Union, to the Blue Books and the Welsh Not, we are not talking about a gentle and benign landlord, we are talking about hundreds of years of a nation fighting for its very survival as the first colony of the British Empire. Make no bones ‘Ich Dien’ represents just that, but sadly we are complicit and have colluded in our own demise to some extent by becoming ‘British’ and accepting the Status Quo, accepting the symbols of Colonialism and having our thinking done for us.

I can almost hear the moans and groans of ‘lighten up’ or ‘it’s just a badge’…if you believe that then you are at best naïve, because it’s a symbol , and symbols are have meaning, they are a visual representation of an idea, that is why they exist and why we use them. The Feathers symbolise our status as a colony of the British Empire (ironic as it is) and as a nation we collude and accept the crumbs from the table, too afraid to make any fuss, not wanting to look like a curmudgeon, or a radical, or dare I say it a well-rounded person with a grasp of the historical facts and a sound idea of where you would like your country to go, and what you would like your Football Club to represent.

Given our status as the Worlds 3rd oldest Professional football Club and the oldest Professional Football Club in Wales, wouldn’t you think our unique selling point should be our ‘Welshness’ ? Being practical about it I think the Feathers are simply muddying the waters of what could be a very straight forward badge, reflecting the area, community and culture of the Town. A Welsh Badge for a Welsh Club wouldn’t be too much to ask would it?

The club have made great strides in recent years in their commercial department, and the Trust is for me something we should be incredibly proud of. They have taken steps to ensure that our Welshness is represented, the presence of Yma O Hyd being played on Matchdays, the bilingual announcements. Great stuff. Not enough though.

Just so it’s on the record I will not be buying any Wrexham AFC merchandise with that badge on, I’ll obviously continue to support the club in the ways I always have with all my heart and soul, and sincerely hope that more people come forward to express their distaste for our badge. The Feathers are an insult to Welsh People and I can no longer pretend I don’t feel ashamed of it.

A Welsh badge for a Welsh Club. Let’s be like Celtic FC, they are a club that knows how to celebrate and embrace their culture and history.

CPD Wrecsam Yma O Hyd

Why on earth would it be Ich Dien?

Hope is the Thing without Feathers.

Article first published on Shinner1978 blog and used with full permissions.

NB: 0161festival.com is a platform for sharing a variety of articles about sports, arts, politics, history and Manchester. 


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