Another away win, now City need to prove they are not on the change…….again.

CoymayCardiff City can be a hard club to feel any affection for at times. The events of the past week meant that before City’s visit to Huddersfield yesterday I was determined to make this a largely negative and critical piece because, yet again, the club had acted in a way that had me questioning why I bother continuing to give them both my support and a significant portion of my, dwindling, finances every year.

This time last year we were being told about how costs were being cut, the salary bill reduced and modest amounts were being spent in the transfer market because the Football League’s Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules contained sanctions for any club that were unable to adhere to them.

The following months saw us loan out two first team regulars for “financial reasons” with the clear implication being that these were necessary steps to be taken to avoid penalties based on what the club accounts for 2014/15 showed.

My attitude, and that of many other supporters I would guess, was to have a moan about the situation, before, grudgingly, accepting that, if these measures meant we wouldn’t be fined or put under a transfer embargo in the future, then they had to be taken.

Now, of course, we find that they weren’t enough. The club weren’t able to control their finances well enough and the authorities have put us under an embargo which makes the stated aim of manager, CEO and some squad members (i.e to finish the season in the Play Off places) that much harder to achieve – once again it seems, the club have botched things.

In their defence, they do say that they dispute whether the FFP regulations have been breached. Perhaps understandably, exact details of the breach(es) of the rules that have resulted in the club being penalised have not been released, but the distinct impression given is that the matter at issue is a technical one that is very much dependent on how the rules are interpreted.

Now, my, perhaps unfair and harsh, attitude towards that is to think that the club deserve little sympathy because the implication is that they have been too liberal in their interpretation of the rules and have paid the penalty for trying to be too “clever”.

Therefore, when the club, having a week earlier put a £5 million valuation on the player amid stories that he was not for sale, accepted a bid from Championship and Play Off rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers for Joe Mason, my reaction was to shake my head in a resigned manner as my anger level at them grew.

Consecutive away wins have come as a big shock after our results on the road in the three months which preceded them. However, the biggest surprise from these matches is that everyone with City's interests at heart were able to enjoy a stress free last few minutes at Molineux as we sat back on our two goal lead - it was service as normal yesterday, as this Harry Bunn effort ensured that we spent the last three minutes or so in a state of high agitation!

Consecutive away wins have come as a big shock after our results on the road in the three months which preceded them. However, the biggest surprise from these matches is that everyone with City’s interests at heart were able to enjoy a stress free last few minutes at Molineux as we sat back on our two goal lead – it was service as normal yesterday, as this Harry Bunn effort ensured that we spent the last three minutes or so in a state of high agitation!”

It must be admitted that the £3 million (some reports say it was as much as £3.5 million) City received for a player who, in recent months, was not playing to a level that justified such a fee looks to be very good business on the face of it.

However, I can’t help remembering what a good player Mason looked in his first season with us or that, in my opinion, he had been given a raw deal by Malky Mackay during the 12/13 campaign and then by Ole who, just as with Kevin McNaughton, got the player to sign a new contract with us and then promptly loaned him out to Bolton!

I’d also add that, by and large, Kenny Jackett has proved himself to be a pretty shrewd transfer market operator at this level during his spells with Millwall and, now, Wolves and I would not be too surprised at all to find that in a year or two’s time the decision to let Mason go will be haunting us.

Russell Slade justified the sale by saying that it was on financial rather than footballing grounds and talked about it being needed to enable the embargo to be lifted for the summer. However, for me, this confused matters somewhat because the club’s briefing up to then had made it sound like the embargo had been imposed as a result of a minor breach of the rules which should see us being able to buy players again this summer – there was no mention of the need to sell players to make that situation happen.

However, having misinterpreted matters on the embargo last week on here, maybe I’m doing the same thing again,  but what is clear is that, with Mason’s departure, the apparent willingness to let Alex Revell leave (probably on loan) before the window closes tomorrow and Idriss Saadi considered not ready yet for first team consideration, we are struggling for strikers currently and are really in need of another loan signing or two to boost our scoring potential.

Therefore, when it was reported in the Danish media towards the end of last week that City would be signing OB’s target man Kenneth Zohore, that appeared to be a step in the right direction. Although his CV is not wholly impressive (for example, he didn’t play a game for Fiorentina after signing for them as an eighteen year old), Zohore did have a good goalscoring record for Denmark’s Under 21 team, while he is scoring at a rate of one every two and a half matches during the few months he has been with his current club.

Zohore started his career at FC Copenhagen and many City fans (myself included) learned a lesson about reading too much into You Tube videos when we viewed those on offer for another striker we were being linked with from that club.

Andreas Cornelius turned out to be nowhere near the player he looked on You Tube and, truth be told, Zohore’s videos hardly have me thinking “we MUST sign this guy”, but one thing they cannot do is lie about someone’s pace and, for a big man, he looks to have a degree of that quality which Russell Slade has identified as one of his biggest priorities when it comes adding to his squad.

So, if we are interested in the player (and the signals emerging from our manager’s pre match press conference on Friday was that we were), let’s go and conclude the deal if the embargo allows it.

Trouble is, this is Cardiff City we’re talking about and so there have to be complications! Although Russell Slade confirmed that Zohore was on our radar, he also said that there was no truth in the story that he was having a medical in Cardiff later that day and that we had a “few sensitive things happening” regarding the player.

That cryptic comment was clarified to some extent when it emerged that the plan appears to be that Zohore will be signing for Vincent Tan owned Belgian club KVK Kortrijk and then, apparently, be loaned from them to us.

Certainly, that is the gist of this story, but, surely, the bit about Zohore being seen as a “developing talent” by KVK who “is not expected to be a first team regular at Cardiff” cannot be right with us only be allowed a limited number of loan signings under the terms of the embargo?

Call me a cynic, but, that doesn’t half look to me as if City are maybe not aiming to actually break the rules regarding their embargo in terms of what they can pay in terms of signing fees and wages for the players they bring in on loan, but maybe to bend them somewhat!

Now, speaking as someone who thought the Watford owners were acting against the spirit of the rules back in our Championship winning season when they, effectively, tried to go up with a team made up of loan signings from the club they co owned, Udinese, I wouldn’t be too happy with us heading down a similar sort of route. If that report is right, then I don’t think what we are doing is on a Watford scale of things, but, again, I find it hard to avoid the feeling that we are attempting to exploit grey areas to try and get more than the rules intend.

So, taking all of that into account, I repeat that Cardiff City can be a hard club to feel any affection for at times, but then, something happens regarding the thing about the club which attracted you to them in the first place (i.e. what you see on the pitch) and, despite everything, you find your mood being lifted unexpectedly.

Yesterday’s 3-2 away win didn’t come as such a shock to me as the 3-1 triumph at Wolves did a fortnight ago, but when you consider that we are now without the two players who have, undoubtedly, been our first choice strikers this season (as well as Tony Watt, who scored in his his first game for his new on loan club Blackburn yesterday, and injured two goal hero at Molineux, Craig Noone), then it was, arguably, a more impressive outcome.

City’s win didn’t move them up the table (they remain in ninth place), but it did enable them to take advantage of a game on a day when most of their Play Off rivals didn’t play, by closing the gap on sixth placed Birmingham (who drew 0-0 at Bristol City) to three points. With a couple of matches against sides currently in the league’s bottom five to come, there has to be a hope that the gap will be narrowed further by the time we entertain Brighton in a televised game on 20 February.

As always with a team as inconsistent as City have proved to be this season, there is a danger of getting ahead of yourself a bit and I think we probably all know by now that a home game with MK Dons next week hardly represents an automatic three points – especially if you consider what has tended to happen to the team over the past eighteen months or so.

What I mean by that is that, as befits a team which has tended to occupy a position in the middle third of the table, we have parts of our game which we are good at, but just as many where we don’t shine. What has always fascinated me though is that what we are good at and what we are bad at appears to be completely interchangeable!

Last season, while we were winning all the time at home in the autumn, we couldn’t do anything away, then, in the winter, when we started to slowly get our act together on our travels, we completely lost our way at home.

This time around, despite too many draws lately, our home record is the fifth best in the division, while, after a decent start to the campaign, our away results between mid September and mid January saw us gain only six points (with just the one win) out of a possible thirty.

Now, having picked up as many points in our last two away games, we really need to stop the recent trend of home draws (four out of the last six matches at Cardiff City Stadium have ended up all square) from continuing or, worse still, a few losses to start appearing. All four of those draws came from matches we could, and probably should, have won – averaging two points a game, like we have done our past two matches, until the end of the season would see us more than likely make it into the top six, but it almost certainly won’t happen if we increasingly have to rely on away games for our wins.

We’ve also gone from being a low scoring, but defensively sound team, which relied on set pieces for most of our goals, to one that now scores pretty often in open play, without being able to maintain our previous scoring rate from free kicks and corners, but lets in far more than we used to – as I’ve mentioned before, it’s as if progress in one area has to be “paid for” by a decline in another.

My thanks to the messageboard contributor who worked out that Peter Whittngham's goal yesterday was the first he'd scored from a free kick for us in 1,217 days. It was against Blackpool in September 2012 that he last scored from one and the quality of his effort yesterday from a position so close to goal had you wondering why on earth the gap between them was so long. It will be a real bonus for us if Whitts has really got his mojo back with free kicks and there was also a rare goal in open play for him as well - congratulations too to Lex Immers for his first goal for the club.*

My thanks to the messageboard contributor who worked out that Peter Whittngham’s goal yesterday was the first he’d scored from a free kick for us in 1,217 days! It was against Blackpool in September 2012 that he last scored from one and the quality of his effort yesterday from a position so close to goal had you wondering why on earth the gap between them was so long. It will be a real bonus for us if Whitts has really got his mojo back with free kicks and there was also a rare goal in open play for him as well – congratulations too to Lex Immers for his first goal for the club.*

However, as our manager comes under the unwanted pressure of losing important players because of our financial situation, while having his hands tied to a large degree as to how he goes about bringing in replacements, it’s to his great credit that, despite the inconsistencies mentioned earlier, he has been able to turn out a side which week in, week out, has given their all to the cause.

There were times last season when I questioned the attitude of some players, but for about the last third of the 14/15 campaign and all of this one, I don’t think the team’s level of commitment can be questioned. This was exemplified yesterday by Anthony Pilkington lasting seventy minutes, despite the hamstring problem he picked up in the dying moments of last week’s game with Rotherham making him a big doubt to face his old club.

So, while I and others are quick to criticise Russell Slade when things go wrong, it’s only fair to acknowledge that his job is being made into a tougher one than it would be at many other clubs in this division as a consequence of bad financial decisions taken by a variety of people regarding transactions which were, mostly, carried out before he arrived – he is not, and never has been, the complete and utter buffoon his strongest critics make him out to be.

To finish though I have to go back to a familiar theme of mine regarding our manager – his complete lack of regard for youth development. In his pre match press conference, Mr Slade talked about the current situation offering an opportunity to young players at the club and spoke of how some of them (Declan John was named) were part of the squad for Huddersfield.

In the event, Declan did not even make the bench, but Kadeem Harris was an unused sub, so I suppose we should be grateful for small mercies!

Rather than repeat myself by making the same arguments I have plenty of times before, I’m going to list a few facts which I believe show how the perception of who qualifies as a young player at Cardiff City has changed under this manager;-

Kadeem Harris will be 23 in June.

Deji Oshilaja (loaned back out to Gillingham last week) will be 23 in July.

Tommy O’Sullivan turned 21 last month.

Declan John will be 21 in June.

So, in a few months time, all of these players will be too old (two of them by two years!) to play for the team which is supposed to be for players which fall into the category that Mr Slade appears to rate the four of them in (i.e youngsters not ready for regular first team football at Cardiff yet).

Contrast that with the following;-

Damon Searle had played around 120 first team games for City by the time he was 21.

Joe Mason had played around 100 first team games for Plymouth and Cardiff by the time he was 21.

Joe Ledley had played 108 games for City by the time he was 20.

When those three players were younger than Harris, Oshilaja, O’Sullivan and John are now, I never looked upon them as little more than kids – they were all established first teamers who weren’t given, and didn’t seek, excuses because of their age.

Under Russell Slade, the thinking at the club has changed to the extent that the age where a player becomes considered as a realistic possibility for the first team has increased by two or three years – I believe that has huge consequences for the club, especially in terms of what it can expect to get in transfer fees for their best young players.

*pictures courtesy of http://www.examiner.co.uk/

 

 

 

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14 Responses to Another away win, now City need to prove they are not on the change…….again.

  1. Matt N says:

    Paul, thanks. The one silver lining of this embargo is that, if injuries and suspensions start to build, there will be no other option than to use our (as you point out ) aging “youth”. I’m not a fan of how we have used the loan system, and I don’t think I have seen a less inspiring YouTube talent sweep than the one of Zohore – it more resembled a gag reel!
    Seeing a youth player rise up through the ranks is one of the ineffable joys of following a club. It builds an affinity and identity for a club – rather than a motley crew with no roots or maybe loyalty to a team.
    Look at Tottenham. I think their average age is around 22-23. They have the trust of the manager and, although you have a fair number of imported product, there are a core who have risen through youth and b-team like Danny Rose, Ryan Mason and local boy Harry Kane. The supporters adore them and they give it back in effort on the pitch (I think 90% of Kane’s success has been through sheer hard work, rather than talent).
    Even though many of our youth team aren’t local boys, they’ve grown up at the club. City have invested in them too. If they aren’t on a planned progression to the first team, then you have to wondr what the exact point of signing them was. Which brings us back to the management of the club, which was the starting point to your piece. It all seems a bit haphazard at best, negligent at worst.

  2. The other Bob Wilson says:

    I agree with every word of that Matt. Your Tottenham example is a telling one which highlights a completely different philosophy to the one at Cardiff. It’s often said that youngsters are easier to work with compared to “done it all, seen it all” seasoned pros and, to me, that has to be a correct and logical assessment – other City managers have been far more willing to trust in youth than our current one, but the truth is that we have been like a poor man’s Chelsea for years now because the first instinct has always been to spend, as opposed to look at what you may have coming up through the age groups.

  3. Robert Thomas says:

    Another excellent summary of our club’s current predicament. I do not understand why we don’t give “young” players a chance. We r a mid table side so let them loose.

    I can see us drawing against MK Dons and the saddest thing at moment for all of us that it is a real effort to go down and support the lads. We go with no expectation of being entertained and if we win it comes as a surprise. Slade is doing the best he can in the circumstances – yes he is tactically limited, but the best would struggle given the constraints he managers under.

  4. The other Bob Wilson says:

    Thanks Robert. Ironically, I believe that the events of the last ten days or so have been good for Russell Slade in that it’s led to a better understanding from many City fans, myself included, as to the conditions he is having to work under. As I pointed out in the piece, I still have issues about his management of the club and I can’t ever really see me ever ranking him that highly among the City managers I’ve seen, but it’s hard not to sympathise with him when, on the day the embargo was announced, he was talking about signing Tony Watt later on that day. You get the impression that, through December and for the first half of January, he was thinking that he would be given at least the opportunity to do a bit of wheeling and dealing which would help us pay fees for the players he believed could improve us, but, instead he had that rug pulled away from under him. Similarly, during the week before Joe Mason was sold, there were stories that anyone wanting to buy him would have to pay at least £5 million – we can all talk about a new, and better, manager coming in, but, you’re right, without a change in attitude from the people/person at the top, it doesn’t really make much difference who is in charge.

  5. Barry cole says:

    Some good comments here regarding youth but having just returned from Huddersfield I am still not sure that the players are being used to best advantage. This game should have been cut and dried long before the poor goal we let in at the death.
    If you look at it carefully slade continued with his lop sided 4-4-2 until recently . All the fans saw the problem months and months ago. He doesn’t pick up things quickly and that is why we lose to teams in the lower reaches.
    Add to that the players he has brought in are really very poor and to continue with Malone instead of Fabio shows his lack of initiative . Everybody goes on about his hands being tied but he took the job on knowing that.
    So now we come to youth and again he fails miserably, the fans screamed out for ralls to go centre midfield. Slade never saw it until it was forced on him. Now we have players who are getting older and the chances under slade for these players have been nil. Surely they are good enough to fill the positions we need and if given the chance would have snapped it up.
    So nothing has changed for me , we have a very average manager who has not been proactive and cannot see the wood for the trees. We have always had the players to get us promoted and had we had that manager in place we would have been in the top two of a poor championship.
    So nothing has changed for me slade is still a least two games behind the thinking of most fans and only when he has been put in a position where he had no option to change has he done that.
    Until we get someone in who has football experience and a manager who won’t be bullied by a owner who hasn’t a clue about the game of football, then we won’t move forward.
    I am not being too critical of tan as he would be more appreciated if he showed an interest but not get too involved with the football side of things until he has the skills for that. He should not listen to people with little or no knowledge of football but just make the right noises to appease him.

  6. Russell says:

    Its a mad season , as are most , the politics and internal wrangles makes it even more unbelievable we are still just in the hunt , however after this coming Saturdays 2-2 draw with MK Dons, all will be back in place.

    Your right we know nothing about the latest Dane, at least we weren’t robbed of our money this time .

    Tom Lawrence is a positive , and the rumors of a couple of other under achievers heading out is great news .

    Like you I’d love to see bench time for the youngsters , however perhaps Slade is advised to play certain players in a “shop window ” situation ?? We will never know ,

    I wonder if we sat Russell down with a few pints and chasers , we could sit opened mouthed in sympathy , who knows , ?? all I do know we are no normal club, and it cant be easy to manage .

    Will view with interest what happens end of season ,when we should see a more balanced book situation in terms of players contracts, I suspect Bellamy will rise from the ashes with D.O.F. , once Slades two year project is over , no evidence just a feeling .

    Ah well bring on Saturday ,its my round I think, CAN’T TURN UP SOBER .

  7. Dai Woosnam says:

    Thanks Paul…as aever.
    Fine piece of work.
    Just a word to Barry who I know has Cardiff City tattooed on his heart…but he repeats his allegation that Mr Slade is a yes man.
    And I cannot let that go unchallenged.
    Yes, he acts on his owner’s instructions.
    But so does every manager in the British game.
    Give me one example in the top two tiers this year Barry, of a manager who resigned rather than carry out company policy.
    There is not one.
    So no “yes man” stuff please. You are too good a chap for that.
    If Mr Slade is a yes man, then so are them all.

    And Barry, give me one Vincent Tan before a million Samuel Langston Hammams.

    LANGSTON?

    There’s a surprise …I DON’T THINK …!!’

    I always knew in my bones that the fellow had Langston as his de facto middle name.
    I could never see what that fan in Nelson ever saw in the fellow.

    Hammam is a bloke who goes into a revolving door behind you, and comes out in front of you.
    He should face a liferime ban from CCS.

    Paradoxically, I have always seen Sri Vincent Tan as someone who is far more an adherent to British values, even if I have little to base it on. (Well, strike “British”, and insert “Western”…as Vincent will have nowt to do with a sheep’s eyes and bulls’ testicles…he is a blessedly (pause here Dai, listen to AMO) …

    ….he is a blessedly NORMAL McDonalds man.)
    DW.
    PS. I always assume that Sri is not “Mr” in Malay Chinese, but rather a repeated typo by a dyslexic typist.
    So from now on,, our greatest ever benefactor, and provider of “Vincent’s Vision” in our national colour to ensure that Chris Coleman does not take his team to The Liberty, will be SIR Vincent to me.

  8. Hullo Dai,
    How long do I have to stay on “pause”? – because I’d like to read the rest of your letter. Seriously though – as most comedian manques tend to say – what a clever bit of wheeler-dealing to get Zahore in by the back door ostensibly “on loan” when his parent club were only interested in selling him for a fee. Mr Tan, whose pockets are ultimately behind such cleverness, deserves our continued gratitude. At least we know he’s not in to line his pockets (unlike a certain somewhat manipulative predecessor). And what good business on Cardiff’s part to get rid of the two strikers who kept us in football paralysis for so long – saving the wasted wages on both and getting an unbelievable £3 million for a player so obviously lacking in a change of pace, whose idea of incisive running was to go round in circles. Sound “catty”, I know, but I’m now actually looking forward with some eagerness to Saturday’s game. Please, please, Cardiff City, please don’t let us down!

  9. Dai Woosnam says:

    Well said, AMO, re the sale of Mason. And thanks for your words on Vincent.
    Btw, Paul…will Plymouth Argyle get a percentage of the fee?
    Or was Joe too young when he came to Cardiff for that sell-on clause to apply?
    One error…something in the back of my mind told me that “Sri” was a bit more than “Mr”…and it is.
    Cor blimey…it is only the second highest honour in his country!!!
    So when I call him “Sir Vincent”, I am nearer to the truth than I thought.
    DW

  10. The other Bob Wilson says:

    I half agree with you Barry – with you all the way about the young players, but I believe Russell Slade was led to believe he would have a bit of money to spend during the January transfer window and I’d say it’s perfectly understandable if he feels a bit let down by the club at the moment.
    Russell, I’m no fan of Russell Slade and feel that the lack of opportunities for our younger players come directly from him, not Messrs Tan, Choo and Dalman. That said, I do have sympathy for our manager regarding the events of the last couple of weeks and I must admit that, if he really did have three games to save his job after the Hull defeat, he’s got the right type of reaction from the players in those matches – I’ve always thought he’d be with us until the end of the season and that seems more likely now than it did early last month.
    Dai, regarding a sell on clause for Joe Mason, it all depends who you believe – this story from local press in the Plymouth area
    http://www.plymouthherald.co.uk/Joe-Mason-cash-come-says-Plymouth-Argyle-CEO/story-28631046-detail/story.html
    suggests there is one, but a report from Plymouth’s Administrators at the time we bought him mentions sell on clauses for other players they sold at that time, but nothing for Mason – seems to me that the story with quotes from Plymouth’s current CEO must be the correct version and it looks like they get around 15% of the fee.
    Regarding Sir Vincent, if he was the visionary you believe him to be, shouldn’t there now be Follies built on the other three sides of the ground to go with the one above the Ninian Stand? The thing with Tan’s Folly is that it is one of those arguments that you cannot really lose because there will, no doubt, come a time when it will be full for a Cardiff City league match and, if we are still around when it happens (can’t help thinking we won’t be mind!), then no doubt you will complement Mr Tan on his vision and remind me of my short-sightedness! However, I’ll repeat myself by saying that in the fifty three years I’ve been watching City play, we’ve only had one home league gate above Cardiff City Stadium’s current capacity. The original plan was to wait and see whether we could establish ourselves in the Premier League and then gauge whether demand for tickets justified an increase in ground capacity, but it seems that was way too sensible for Mr Tan and his colleagues.
    Completely agree with you about Sam Hammam. but, as I said on a City messageboard this morning;-
    “I do find it odd that he (Hammam) lends us £24 million at 7% interest and is thought of as a villain and then another man lends us four times that (if not more) at 7% interest and some supporters think he’s a saint”!
    AMO, I’m enthusiastic about the Lawrence signing because he’s looked a player whenever I’ve seen him in a Wales or Blackburn shirt and it’s just nice to see a Welshman with a chance of making the first team at the club, as for Immers and Zohore, I’ll have a better idea after Saturday.

  11. Dai Woosnam says:

    Thanks Paul for the info on the Mason sell-on clause.
    And now, that said…
    A different matter.
    Can you settle a bet, please?

    I have bet a friend that my pronunciation of GESTEDE is right, and his wrong.
    I always pronounce it with a soft G …he like 99% of radio commentators/pundits, pronounce it with a HARD letter G.
    I follow the rule with French names and words, that before an A, the initial G of a word/name is hard. Examples would be GARCON/GARE/GAMIN.
    But before an E, it is always soft.
    GENDARME, BEAU GESTE, etc…
    What sayest thou, Paul?
    And even if you rule against me, I will probably not pay up, since sports commentators keep calling my third cousin (once removed) golfer this strange Chinese-sounding surname.
    If I see Peter Alliss I will call him Peter ELL-is …and see how HE likes it!
    The thought occurs that if you have no definitive answer, we should ask our friend ‘AMO’ O’Brien to adjudicate, as he is a linguist of some note, and not a monoglot like me.
    And finally a further thought on Mr Samuel Langston Hammam…
    Not only do I reject racism, I reject looksism too…(well, I WOULD, wouldn’t I, with MY looks!)
    But that is INTELLECTUALLY speaking…at least with the latter of the two isms.
    I say that, cos deep down, something in us does tend to judge a book by the cover.
    And we should not.
    So shame on me when I say what I am going to say in the next sentence: when it comes to Mr Sam L Hammam, way back before he was ever associated with Cardiff City, just looking at him interviewed in Plough Lane, and I would get instant heebie jeebies.
    It strikes me that the red tops got the wrong man when they suggested Sir Vincent became the next Bond villain.
    DW

  12. The other Bob Wilson says:

    I’m not best qualified to answer your question Dai. What I would say is that he always seemed to be Gestede with the hard G during his time at Cardiff, but since he’s been at Villa, I have heard a few commentators using the soft G pronunciation – maybe they asked him how it should be pronounced? My instinct is that you are right, but, having looked into it on Google, I’m afraid all I can do is confuse the issue further because the following links on how to pronounce Gestede offer conflicting answers!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTF-w3lP4Ic

    https://www.howtopronounce.com/french/gestede/

    Sir Vincent = nothing like a Bond villain, but then when he puts those dark glasses on! Sam Hammam = more like the Hood from Thunderbirds with a wig on than a Bond villain!

  13. Dai Woosnam says:

    Thanks for that, Paul.
    I guess we will have to just grin and bear the mispronunciations.
    I have given up shouting at the radio…

    “Not … Ab-RAM-oh-vich,
    but …Ab-ram-OH-vich.”

    “Not …Shar-ap-OH-va,
    but…Shar-AP-oh-va.”

    “Not…BERB-a-tov,
    but…Berb-AAHT-ov.”

    “Not Sebastian Vett-el
    but Sebastian Fett-el.”

    But I have given up the fight. I save my breath now to cool my porridge.

    And I reflect on what other cultures have done to our own sporting stars.
    The great John Charles was known in Italy as “John Charrl-ez”.
    And Mark Hughes in Barcelona as “Mark Ewe-HEZZ”.

    Apols that I cannot write phonetic symbols!
    Probably a good thing I cannot, for I would guess that not many of our CCMaYA gang know how to read them !!
    I certainly do not. I ain’t that bright.
    DW.

  14. Dai Woosnam says:

    Oh …I firgot to add Roberto Martinez.
    Why do people insist on saying MART-in-ez…?
    There is an accent on the letter “i”.
    And that is your guide.
    You must stress it, for in Spanish, if a word/name ends in a consonant, you normally stress it, but only if the syllable before is unaccented.

    Thus it can only be “Mart-EE-nez”.

    Btw, I was pleased to recently see grainy b&w footage of ‘Plum’ Wodehouse, pronouncing the surname of his character Bertie Wooster, as one would the town that was the birthplace of Elgar. It comforts me to think that Wodehouse would have pronounced MY surname right!
    DW.

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