Time to watch our backs 27/02/2010Posted by NB in Cardiff City, season 2009/10.
add a comment
The 0-2 home defeat against Barnsley shouldn’t have come as a shock – but it did.
For the first time this season I’ve started to look at the bottom half of the table and keeping an eye on how many points we’re from the relegation places. It’s not that far down. It’s actually further to the top spot (not taking into account games in hand). Look at Crystal Palace. They chased a place in the Play Offs but once they were deducted 10 points because they were put under administration to survive off the field they suddenly found themselves battling for survival in the Championship currently holding a relegation spot. I don’t seriously fear that Cardiff will plunge so much down the table that relegation will become a worry (neither because of off field financial mess or, injuries or for simply not being good enough at playing footballing), but I realize that when Dave Jones not so long ago said that “we’re five points from safety” he wasn’t joking as much as I thought…
Loosing 0-2 at home to Barnsley was embarrassing. I trust there has been a lot of defensive drilling on the training field this week and that last seasons 0-6 defeat at Preston will fire the players up for tomorrows game. Dropping out of the Play Off zone would be a massive psychological blow, and should that happen I don’t City will get back in there this season. That’s how pessimistic I am at the moment. It doesn’t exactly help to see the Jacks ahead of us and hearing how their manager boast that they’re the team playing the best football in the Championship. Yuck!
Come on you Bluebirds!
Limping on – but towards what? 18/02/2010Posted by NB in Cardiff City, season 2009/10.
Tags: Dave Jones, West Bromwich Albion
add a comment
Cardiff City 1 West Bromwich Albion 1
A good result against a strong side. The players yet again “worked their socks of”, “showed great character”, “dug deep” and “can’t be asked any more of”.
But how long are we going to limp on before we hit the ground? Sorry if I sound pessimistic, but I’m becoming a bit disillusioned. Back in December there was a light at the end of the tunnel: the January transfer window. Cardiff were going to bring in new players to bolster the squad in the first real push for promotion since entering the Championship. In stead all we got was financial gloom and injuries to reduce the squad even further.
It’s fantastic that we’re still in the top six and that we keep seeing good performances and good results from the Bluebirds. I would be over the moon should Cardiff get promoted and as a supporter I can’t stop hoping that will happen come May. Realistically though I can see us just missing out on the Play Offs or (perhaps even worse) reach the Play Offs and experience the agony of being so close but yet so far away…
Hopefully the players are able to stay more positive than me and really believe that a top two finish is still within reach, as Dave Jones has stated, and that they’ll keep on fighting to the very last kick on the ball and bring my pessimistic predictions to shame!
No olympic fever, but snakes and ladders 15/02/2010Posted by NB in Cardiff City, season 2009/10.
Tags: Dave Jones, Gavin Rae, Jay Bothroyd, Stephen McPhail, West Bromwich Albion
add a comment
While Olympic fever has hit most of Norway with the Olympic winter games in Vancouver well underway, my interest these days are more directed towards the fortunes of Cardiff City in the division that Dave Jones has brilliantly phrased as “a crazy division” which playing in “is like being on a snakes and ladders board”.
Having shrugged of the worst disappointment from having been knocked out of the FA Cup by Chelsea, I look forward to tomorrow night’s tough home match against West Bromwich Albion, who Cardiff so impressively beat 2-0 in the away game at the beginning of December last year. A win would mean so much. I only hope we’re able to field a decent starting eleven.
I didn’t like that Jay Bothroyd was risked at Chelsea being given an injection before the game to be able to play, and I didn’t like to see Gavin Rae (at his own wish) being rushed back into the starting line up either. Especially not as Stephen McPhail is out again for three to four weeks having cracked two ribs against Peterborough.
Will the W.B.A. game be one of the downturns that Dave Jones has warned us about will come at intervals before the end of the season or will Cardiff rise to the occasion and prove themselves worthy of the high placing in the Championship by pulling off another win against the Baggies?
It could be heaven or hell tomorrow.
Out but not down 14/02/2010Posted by NB in Cardiff City, season 2009/10.
Tags: Chelsea, FA Cup, Jan Åge Fjørtoft, Michael Chopra, Ray Wilkins, Thor Eggen
add a comment
Chelsea 4 Cardiff City 1
As expected Cardiff are out of the FA Cup after losing to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, but although it was deserved that Chelsea won and the scoreline was a bit ugly, Cardiff gave a good account of themselves and as I hoped the players (and the fans) could leave Stamford Bridge with their heads held high. Chelsea’s assistant manager Ray Wilkins even admitted afterward that Cardiff were a tougher opponent than they had anticipated.
Not many teams score against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge this season, so Michal Chopra’s equalizer was an achievement in itself. But I guess not many teams have let in a goal at Stamford Bridge as early as Cardiff did either, and going behind early was as I wrote before the game one of my worst fears. Drogba did well scoring, but it was an awful attempt to set an offside trap that gifted him the chance. And it was disappointing to see Cardiff’s defense fail in the same manner when Chelsea went ahead in the second half. Up until the 2-1 goal I had a small hope that Cardiff could manage to get something from the game, but as Chelsea upped the tempo and Cardiff’s brave players grew tired it became obvious that Chelsea would go on to win the match.
It was nice to see that City even at 1-3 down didn’t stop playing a neat passing game and not going for the long balls. Sadly the quality wasn’t anywhere near the opponent’s quality, so it was in vain.
It was also nice and very impressive that it was the Cardiff fans that made the most noise at Stamford Bridge. My compliments to everyone who was there!
I have to give a mention to Viasat’s commentator Thor Eggen. He couldn’t have been less enthusiastic and having to endure his inept commentary didn’t help my mood as the game went on. In the studio Jan Åge Fjørtoft was the host. Hearing his terrible English speaking to the guest Tony Woodcock makes you wonder how he can possible have been a professional footballer in Britain for over five years.
Into the lion’s den 12/02/2010Posted by NB in Cardiff City, season 2009/10.
Tags: Chelsea, FA Cup
add a comment
Cardiff are traveling to London tomorrow having come through round one of the winding up scare to enter the lion’s den. But the opposition is not Millwall. It’s Chelsea and the venue is Stamford Bridge.
With so many players missing through injury from Cardiff’s small squad I can’t see how there could possibly be an upset tomorrow. If Cardiff could field a full strength team than maybe they could rise to the occasion and cause Chelsea a few problems. Now the main concern seems to be if we’re able to fill the substitutes bench or not. Even if Chelsea decide not to field their strongest eleven their lineup will probably be of such quality that it will be good enough to have won the Championship with ease.
The advantage the Cardiff players do have going into the match is that they’ll be a lot more motivated than the Chelsea stars. Other than that everything speaks in favour of the FA Cup holders and Premier League leaders. All Cardiff’s players must be at their absolute best, the tactics must be perfect and luck must be on our side shall we even dream to get anything other than defeat from the game.
I just hope Cardiff don’t let in a goal too early, as that would make the game a lot less exciting to watch, and I also hope that it won’t be another thumping like at Newcastle. If we manage that then at least the players will hopefully be able to hold their heads up and take it as nice experience that will give them some inspiration for the Championship run in.
The around 5000 City supporters in the stands will probably enjoy the match and the day out in London no matter what the result.
Most other Championship teams are in league action tomorrow, so after the Chelsea match the focus will be on those results. As Newcastle in my view are as good as promoted already, I would love to see them batter Swansea. If Doncaster can beat Nottingham Forest as well then that might give some consolation to Cardiff being knocked out of the FA Cup. Promotion is all that matters this season.
Bright result – despite no grow lights! 10/02/2010Posted by NB in Cardiff City, season 2009/10.
Tags: Darcy Blake, Dave Jones, David Marshall, Jay Bothroyd, Peterborough United, Stephen McPhail
add a comment
Cardiff City 2 Peterborough United 0
Brilliant that Cardiff beat Peterborough yesterday!
It was the perfect response after the 1-5 defeat at Newcastle, and remembering with agony the 4-4 draw back in December where Cardiff surrendered a 4-o advantage at half-time it was particularly sweet to beat them. That draw felt like a defeat and probably no more so than for the players. Yesterday, in a match were Cardiff didn’t impress, they did enough to grind out a comfortable 2-0 win. The bad news was injuries to McPhail, Bothroyd and Blake, but hopefully they’ll all be fit again for the home league game against W.B.A. on Tuesday. I wouldn’t protest if Dave Jones decides to field the entire youth team against Chelsea on Saturday. Keeping it up in the Championship is all that matters now.
Jones made a point at the post match press conference about how the bad condition of the pitch affected the game, and he also had a rather lengthy speech about how the absence of grow lights was to blame. Jones actually seemed to be very knowledgeable about grass and pitches, and I suspect he might have had a few chats with the groundsman (Wayne Nash still, is it?) and his staff about the subject. It was amusing to hear him go on about how grow lights (has anyone else who’s not a gardener heard about grow lights before?) would have made the pitch better and how grow lights were one of the commodities the club hadn’t been able to afford this season.
Results elsewhere confirmed yet again the unpredictability of the Championship with Newcastle losing 0-3 at Derby and Coventry beating Nottingham Forest. W.B.A. replaced Newcastle at the top, while sadly Swansea keeps up with Cardiff having won at Crystal Palace. Fortunately Cardiff have scored lots of more goals than the Swans, and from bitter experience of last season all Cardiff supporters know how important a good goal difference is! Great therefore that City and keeper Marshall kept another clean sheet yesterday.
A drubbing 09/02/2010Posted by NB in Cardiff City, season 2009/10.
Tags: Aaron Wildig, Dave Jones, Newcatle United, Stephen McPhail, Wayne Routledge
Newcastle United 5 Cardiff City 1
As expected Newcastle proved a tough test for Cardiff. I wasn’t too surprised by the defeat, but I was a bit surprised that it became a drubbing.
The warning signs were there. Number one: Dave Jones was nominated for manager of the month. It seems that every time Cardiff’s manager gets the manager of the month award it starts going downhill the next month. This time the nomination was apparently enough, as Dave Jones (luckily I’d say) didn’t get the prize. Let’s hope that means there won’t be any jinx on the rest of February.
Warning sign number two: players (was it Chops?) telling journalists how “we’ve beaten W.B.A. and Middlesbrough away, we can beat Newcastle as well”. I guess it’s okay to try and boost your confidence by telling yourself these sort of things, but it might also lead to a complacency that might have been a factor in the opening minutes at St.James’ Park.
Warning sign number three: Cardiff have in many ways been overachieving in 2010. A thrashing was looming.
I treasure the live mobile score service I subscribe to, but it’s not always a very pleasant way to follow Cardiff’s matches. I came off a plane about twenty minutes into the Newcastle match, and turned my mobile on. Four new messages. I only expected one – the one that says the match has started… Going straight to the last one of the four messages i got the shock: 0-3 with only fifteen minutes played. Game over. It was a lot nicer when I came back to my car after football training when Cardiff gave Bristol City a beating and the last of the seven unread messages said Cardiff were 5-0 up!
Hats of to Newcastle though. They’re a Premier League team playing in the Championship. And having a solid squad already they strengthened during the January transfer window. As we all know Cardiff with their already small squad weren’t able to bring in a single new player, and as Dave Jones pointed out after the match, the other teams around Cardiff on the table have also brought in new players in January for millions of pounds. The terms are very uneven going into the last third of the season.
Wayne Routledge is the very incarnation of the gulf between Cardiff (and other even more cash-strapped teams in the Championship) and Newcastle (and other wealthy Championship clubs). As most of you will remember he dumped Cardiff in a not very respectable way for Q.P.R. a year ago. If what was written in the press back then was true, Cardiff and Aston Villa had already agreed a fee of £300 000 for the player and he had been offered a lucrative three and a half year deal. Then Q.P.R. raided in doubling the fee to £600 000 and pouring large sums into Routledge’s pockets as well. I was fuming at the time, and to make matters worse Routledge allegedly didn’t even bother to say farewell to his Cardiff team mates before setting of to London. Now Routledge has left Q.P.R. probably cashing in even more money and with the prospect of Premier League football next season. Rumour had it that Dave Jones was interested in bringing him back to Cardiff this time around had the funding been available, but I fear that an enormous amount of money would have been needed and I doubt very much Routledge would even have considered going to Cardiff anyway being the “golddigger” he obviously is (like most modern footballers you might argue, but that’s another discussion).
But back to the game. To qoute Dave Jones: “We’re going to be like that from now until the end of the season. That’s the way we’re going to be – up, at it, winning games and now and again we’ll lose games”.
Two positives from the Newcastle match was the return of Stephen McPhail and Aron Wildig getting his first goal for Cardiff.
Tonight’s game at home to bottom placed Peterborough is a “must win” match.
“Gold and brown till Risdale steps down”? 05/02/2010Posted by NB in Cardiff City, season 2009/10.
Tags: Peter Risdale
add a comment
When I read on Cardiff City’s official site that they’re encouraging supporters to wear the yellow away shirt when Cardiff travel to London for the FA Cup match against Chelsea “to stand out from the crowd” I couldn’t help smiling and thinking about the Manchester United fans who are protesting against the club’s American owners by wearing the club’s original colours of gold and green at matches until there’s new ownership in place.
The United supporters’ slogan is “Green and gold till the club is sold”, so how about Cardiff City supporters dressing up in the original colours from when Cardiff were formed as Riverside AFC under the slogan “Gold and brown till Risdale steps down”? I ‘m sure The Old Fashioned Football Shirt Company (TOFFS) would be delighted! It’s hardly a coincidence that it’s the shirt of United’s predecessors Newton Heath that is currently the main front page item there!
I see the club’s stunt of launching a half price sale to get supporters to wear the yellow away strip for the Chelsea game purely as a preventive measure so that should Cardiff fans chose to protest against Peter Risdale by wearing other colours than blue it won’t be that noticeable!
Window closed, now bring on the Magpies 02/02/2010Posted by NB in Cardiff City, season 2009/10.
Tags: Michael Chopra
add a comment
It was good to see the transfer window close without any players leaving Cardiff, and we can now focus on and look forward to Friday’s away game at St. James’ Park against table topping Newcastle.
Michael Chopra is scoring again, and nothing would be sweeter than to see him put a few past his old club. From what I understand he’s still very much a Newcastle fan at heart, although as many others I do question how deep his feelings for the Magpies run. What I have in mind is of course his surprise move to Newcastle’s arch rivals Sunderland from Cardiff back in the summer of 2007. I guess the lure of the Premier League is just to hard to resist for most players. Luckily for Cardiff Chops didn’t do too well at Sunderland is it was unbelievable when he rejoined City.
The Newcastle fan who allegedly spat at and verbally abused Chopra when he saw him at a Newcastle match recently was of course completely out of order, but I suppose the same could have happened at Cardiff if a former Cardiff player who was also a self confessed fan chose to join Swansea had they been in the Premier League (ok, so there’s far to many unlikely eventualities in that example but you get my point).
Thanks to Watford for beating Sheffield United 3-0 this evening by the way!