CHRIS KIRWAN: What's in a name? Plenty despite over a decade of squabbling for Newport Gwent Dragons
9:06am Thursday 8th May 2014 in Sport
EMOTIONS run high when it comes to the name Newport Gwent Dragons but the decision about what the region is called needs to be taken with the head and not the heart.
The squabbling was inevitable when a web poll was started last week to decide a new logo for the Rodney Parade outfit.
The comments section of the Argus site shows that it doesn't even take a story about the name to fire up the rival factions; Andrew Coombs talking about Ulster's scrum could prompt a war of words between those that want to return to being Newport and those that want to simply be known as Dragons.
The logo vote was pulled after just 16 hours because of the reaction but it's a debate that needs to be had and a situation that needs to be solved one way or the other.
Of course, the region's bosses could opt to just leave it alone and one imagines that the safety-first approach of staying as Newport Gwent Dragons may just win the day for now.
But we need a Battle of Bosworth.
That would once again stir the passions of the rival groups and the ones who decide the direction that the region/superclub/team goes down must be those that actually are prepared to invest their time and money into it.
The spat over European competitions caused consternation in some quarters about the English and French wanting to make more pounds and euros. Rugby still have some way to go as a professional sport if the pursuit of more revenue can be seen as dirty.
But cash has to be king when making a decision regarding the name of the pro team that plays at Rodney Parade.
If some wishy-washy ambition about being a region for the greater good was put above the financial future then the appropriate name would be Newport Gwent Dodos.
With that in mind the region's bosses cannot afford to simply take people on their word when it comes to the name; they cannot change just so somebody in Newbridge goes from hating Newport Gwent Dragons to being generally supportive of Dragons Rugby from their living room.
They need tangible backing and with over half of their season ticket holders hailing from Newport it would be a risk to remove the city from the name.
Maybe they feel it is a risk worth taking.
If by going down the Dragons route they feel that they can bring in more sponsorship and backing from the wider area then they should go for it.
But success drives attendances in pro sport and it's fair to assume that we are some way off an all-conquering Rodney Parade side. Therefore they would be wise to heed those that still turn up despite season upon season mediocrity.
The crux is that the region should be free to decide their route after doing proper, detailed research and be responsible for the implications.
If they change to something more Newport-heavy and it goes pear-shaped, that's their fault. If they change to Dragons Rugby to be met by indifference and dwindling crowds, that's their fault.
It is inevitable that some people will not be happy with the choice and the bosses cannot afford to just try and include everyone; that is what has got us in this mess.
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