The close season and the World Cup 27/06/2010Posted by NB in Uncategorized.
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“The close season”. What a a fascinating term. We don’t have anything like that in the Norwegian language. In practice the close season is a pretty dull time of the year footballing wise for followers of any British team. Of course there’s some excitement in which players come and go, but it’s nothing compared to have one or two games a week and all the action that comes with the season.
This year there’s the World Cup to alleviate the absence of League football somewhat, but with no Norway and no Wales and no Cardiff players participating it’s limited how exciting it is to watch the matches from South Africa. Seeing Germany versus England today was the highlight so far and having adopted the Welsh disliking of England, I was very pleased to see the Germans win so convincingly!
Cardiff are on the telly too 26/06/2010Posted by NB in Cardiff City, season 2010/11.
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Pun intended! Had Cardiff won promotion to the Premier League I would be able to see EVERY SINGLE CARDIFF GAME in the upcoming season thanks to TV2 now having the rights to broadcast the Premier League matches in Norway. Now I’ll have to settle for the few City games Sky in their might decide to show during the season. Having said that I’m of course very pleased the first game of the season will be televised!
Fixtures 17/06/2010Posted by NB in Cardiff City, season 2010/11.
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The fixtures for the 2010/11 season are finally out, and a home game against SheffieldUnited in the opening round is a nice way to start.
It’s not exactly Manchester United of course (or Wigan who Blackpool meet in their first game in the Premier League…), but it’ll be the losing Championship Play Off finalists from the last two seasons coming up against each other, and as I think Sheffield United will be one of the teams to be reckoned with in the upcoming season it’s just as well to see them off in the first match.
Other than who Cardiff face in the first few and last few games, it’s of course always worth noting the dates for the Welsh derbies versus the Jacks, but just as important for me is seeing when City play away against the teams in and around London, as that’s where I most likely will go to watch them. In that respect I’m glad Crystal Palace avoided the drop and that Millwall were the ones promoted from League One through the Play Offs! Last season I saw the Bluebirds live away versus Reading, Crystal Palace and in the Play Off final at Wembley.
Other than hopefully making my way to London a few times next season, it’s my ambition to travel to Cardiff as well and visit the new stadium for the first time.
Mind the gap after tangerine nightmare 16/06/2010Posted by NB in Cardiff City, season 2009/10.
Tags: Blackpool, Dave Jones, Jay Bothroyd, Joe Ledley, Michael Chopra, Peter Whittingham, Play Off final, TG, Wembley
Cardiff City 2 Blackpool 3
It’s been three and a half weeks now since I left Wembley deeply disappointed as Blackpool and their fans celebrated to no end. I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to write about it, but it still hurts.
With the fixture list coming out tomorrow and the League Cup draw today I guess it’s about time to try and put the Play Off misery behind us and look ahead to the new seasons and the new possibilities.
Glory, an estimated £90 million and a place in the Premier League was up for grabs. Blackpool took it all and left us empty handed (except for a tremendous occasion and the gate receipts which compared to the money Blackpool will cash in is nothing). That’s the sad thing about finals: there has to be a loser and as hard at it is to fathom this time the losers were us.
The day started brightly as having flown out early from Norway my father and I were able to collect the tickets at a Royal Mail delivery office as planned, which was a huge relief. On our way to Wembley we made a stop at Baker Street where there had been a lot of Cardiff fans gathered at the Globe pub prior to the F.A. Cup semi-final I went to two years ago, and this time as well the Bluebirds supporters were there in numbers making themselves heard and noticed! Making our way to Wembley the excitement grew and entering the stadium two hours before kick-off everything felt great.
As expected the match was a tight one and as expected there were plenty of goals. The final was just as much of an emotional rollercoaster ride as the second semi-final match against Leicester had been.
Cardiff took charge of the game from the start, and the emotions that were let loose in the Cardiff end of the stadium as Michael Chopra, who really is a man for the big occasions, made it 1-0 were unbelievable. You could sense how much this victory and promotion would mean to everyone. To see Blackpool score just a few minutes later was equally disappointing and with Jay Bothrooyd limping of with only fifteen minutes gone it meant it would be even harder for Cardiff to fight back. When Cardiff then regained the lead you couldn’t help but feel it was going to be our day after all.
Both Cardiff goals were top quality. Ledley’s one-two with Whittingham and his intelligent run and clinical finish shows why he’s bound for the Premier League (or some other European top league) next season even though Cardiff are not.
Just too bad that City’s defending was so incredibly woeful as we gifted Blackpool two more goals before half-time. Having been 2-1 up with 37 minutes on the clock we were suddenly 2-3 down at half time. Unbelievable. Defensively Cardiff looked shaky throughout the game though. I’ll refrain from mentioning names. Blackpool was allowed plenty of time and space in and around the penalty area far too often, and when clearing the ball it usually ended up straight in the feet of an opponent. Blackpool deserve credit for their hard work and discipline in their style of play. A lot of times during the game it felt as though they had more players on the pitch as they seemed to be all over the place winning a lot of tackles and picking up most second balls. Cardiff kept having to play catch up and the more I think about it the more I feel Blackpool deserved winning on the day.
If you believe in omens there were at least three bad ones for Cardiff on the day. The first was that it was the Blackpool side of Wembley that was bathing in sunlight while the Cardiff supporters were in the shadow. The second one was Jay Bothroyd leaving the field so early and the third one was that at the start of the second half the majority of the Cardiff following were sitting down and not making half as much noise and singing as at the beginning of the game when everyone was standing. With such a subdued atmosphere it felt like we were resigned to losing already although there was 45 minutes left to be played. When the team needed the support the most it was as if the fans failed them. Over all though it must be said that both sets of fans made it an occasion to remember if not for the outcome, and on the way to the underground station from Wembley there was a lot of singing from the Cardiff fans despite the defeat showing what great supporters the Bluebirds have got.
There was so much as stake in the final against Blackpool both financially and from a sporting point of view, and it’s devastating to think how close we were to making it. If it’s not quite back to start for Cardiff City Football Club it’s at least many steps backwards. Look at what happened to for example last year’s losing Play Off finalist Sheffield United this season. It should be a warning to everyone and how we respond from this heartbreaking setback is what matters now. It’ll be interesting over the coming weeks to see both how many of the best players we manage to keep and how much money the Malaysian investors are able and willing to spend. Thankfully it at least seems clear that Dave Jones stays on as manager.
Hurtful as it is to have been so close and lose out there’s nothing else to do but to lift our heads and like we did this season use the failure of last season as a lesson and motivation for next season. Promotion is still the next step for Cardiff who have improved every season since Dave Jones became manager, and “TG” is spot on when he says Cardiff have to target a top two placing next season.
Do I regret travelling to London to see the match? Definitely not. As a Cardiff City supporter it was marvelous to be at Wembley and witness the most significant match in the club’s history so far no matter what the result was. We’ll get there. Some day.