Are bottom of the table Cardiff City a beaten club already?


I daresay there’ll be plenty who will be pleased to read that this won’t be as long a piece as normal- after all, you cannot keep on finding different ways to say, essentially, the same thing indefinitely.

Yesterday lunchtime Leeds became the third ordinary side to come to Cardiff City Stadium and win this season and every time the story has been the same – City are competitive in the first half and could be said to be unfortunate not to be leading at the break, but, come the second half, there’s just nothing in the way of a goal threat from the team and our opponents know there’ll be chances as they have the better of the last half an hour especially.

So, City have now lost the first two of a series of five matches which were supposed to offer us the chance to turn around what had been a slow, but, hardly disastrous, start to the campaign, but now, with four straight losses, the tell tale signs of a team in crisis becoming more commonplace by the game and a Head Coach whose future is “in grave doubt”, according to this report from the BBC, the use of the word “disastrous” to describe our season so far looks less like overkill.

There’s little point in me going into much detail about how the game panned out because those of you who watched it on the telly could probably describe what happened more accurately than me, but here are a few observations I’ll make:-

1. I thought Leeds were the poorest of the three sides to have gained away wins at our place so far and they started the match very sloppily, but, as is always the case with us, we’re not good enough to take advantage when we are on top unless we get an unfeasibly large amount of help from an opposition player.

2. It was very worrying to see how quickly confidence drained from the players. This was especially true after Leeds went ahead, but the lack of belief manifested itself in the first half with two poor errors which handed very presentable chances to the visitors – it was if the team knew it was going to be another one of those days when all of their early pressure came to nothing.

3. It wasn’t all bad news, there were some pretty good individual performances. I’ve not had much that was positive to say about Ben Amos so far, which is a bit harsh really when he hadn’t been given a chance to prove me wrong. However, there was little I could be critical about with him on his debut – he didn’t do anything that was spectacularly good, but there was a general competence that offered hope that goalkeeper may not be quite as problematic a position for us as many fear it will be. Secondly, Jazz Richards played as well as I’ve seen him do for us so far and was getting forward from full back more often that he did as a wing back. Finally, I thought Rickie Lambert had a good home debut which suggested that he could become a big influence if we can get players running off him.

4. That last bit may be a problem though. You can change the formation, as Paul Trollope did to a 4-3-3, but you cannot change the truth which holds to this Cardiff squad no matter what system you use – there is just not the pace there to get enough support to our strikers quickly enough or to mount effective counter attacks.

5. One thing that struck me in particular was that so many of our players took poor first touches when in attacking positions that offered some promise – some of this could be put down to tension brought on by the poor run we are on, but it also betrayed that this has always been a squad that compared poorly to many in this division in terms of craft and touch.

6. There has not been a single goal scored at the Canton end of the ground in a Cardiff game this season. That’s not all bad because I’m talking about our opponents there as well. Indeed, with us doing a good job of keeping visiting strikers quiet, there’s barely been a goal attempt because, yet again, we suffered a complete fade out as an attacking threat after the break with, bizarrely, the closest we came to scoring being when a Leeds defender almost made it three own goals before a Cardiff player finds the net down here this season!

A few words now about Paul Trollope, is his future really in “grave doubt”? My instinct is to say no – he is Vincent Tan’s man after all and it would be an admission that our owner had got things wrong again if he made a change now. I also feel it’s too early to think of sacking anyone yet, but I say that knowing that two years ago Ole had already gone following a start which was a lot better than this one and the stigma that goes with being at the bottom of a division has often caused the men in the Boardroom to say enough is enough.

I was happy to see that Trollope was willing to change the formation and don’t see that as any sort of admission of defeat on his part, but I must say I found it odd that the change of system saw, arguably, the two fastest players in the squad (John and Harris) left out from a side that is consistently accused of lacking pace. The late introduction of Fred Gounongbe was also a revealing moment because it really brought home how one dimensional we are in the striking department with our three target men and a converted winger who lacks serious pace.

I have sympathy with Paul Trollope to the extent that the hand he’s been dealt in terms of finances compared to so many other Championship bosses is a pretty poor one, but our complete lack of a speedy front player who can stretch defences and help turn ordinary passes into good ones with his pace does not reflect well on him.

More than in any other recent season, we are stuck with what we’ve got now until January and, at the moment, we look like a squad that was a work in progress in some areas and plain not good enough in others as the last chance to bring in reinforcements for four months disappeared.

I’ll finish by saying that Leeds manager Garry Monk remarked that their fans took control of the stadium during the game. Such talk will hardly endear an already unpopular man to Cardiff fans, but I believe he was right, because the unpleasant truth is that, both on the pitch and in the stands, Leeds didn’t have a great deal to beat.

In fact in so many ways, Cardiff City already feels like a beaten club this season. The team seems devoid of the spirit to fight back if things go against them and three years of ineptitude on and off the pitch have ground down a once passionate fanbase who now give the impression of not being too bothered by what goes on out on the pitch – as so often in recent years, there was resignation, rather than anger, from supporters as their team slipped towards defeat and, in this case anyway, the bottom of the league.

I daresay that Messrs Tan, Dalman and Choo will be believing that relegation is not even a possibility today, but I happen to think that it can be a natural consequence for teams that have been run in the manner that Cardiff City has since the decision was made to stop the extravagant spending two years ago.

Even now as we look up at the other twenty three sides in this league, I don’t think there’ll be many, if any, City fans who would criticise that decision, but a side embarking on such a cost cutting exercise usually needs one or both of a thriving Academy producing youngsters who can handle the step up into the first team or a well thought out and effective recruitment policy that enables them to deal efficiently and well in cut price markets to handle this transition phase safely – sadly, both of these things have been completely lacking at Cardiff since we decided to “cut our cloth accordingly”.

Once again, apologies for the lack of match photographs in this piece, but I cannot afford to risk possible court action by using photos taken by companies who do not see an acknowledgement as being sufficient when using their photos.

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20 Responses to Are bottom of the table Cardiff City a beaten club already?

  1. The other Bob Wilson says:

    Posted by Dai Woosnam under another piece – I’ll reply to this and any other messages received later.

    Dear Paul,
    Just watched this game at home here in Grimsby on SKY SPORTS.
    Would be thinking of asking for my money back, were it not for the fact it was a Month’s SPORTS PASS for free.
    Still appalled at the quality of the Cardiff display. Just heard Trolls say in his post-match Sky interview that his team were “unlucky”?

    Eh? So they hit the post twice…what does he want …a MEDAL ?

    Not one player deserved more than a five out of ten…maybe the keeper was worth a six, and perhaps Whitts.

    Senseless square passing between the back four…which nearly cost a goal around the half hour mark when Connolly was too nonchalant for his own good.
    And when they did get the ball forward, it was invariably swallowed-up by the Leeds defence.

    Lambert could be overtaken by a reasonably fit hedgehog, but that said, it is a nonsense to leave him upfield on his own, against two central defenders who Cardiff made to look like Leicester’s (EPL title winning) Huth and Morgan from last season.

    Had Trolls decided to stay with three at the back, that would have allowed him to play with two up front. But with Ralls, Noone, Pilkington and Gunnarson quite anonymous, only Whitts seemed to have any impact at all on the game. So there was nobody up there to support Lambert and get the two Leeds central defenders to put out their cigars and change out their of dressing gowns and carpet slippers.

    As for the penalty, it was a guaranteed cert, if only for the incident a minute before, when Gary Monk appealed vociferously for one to the Fourth Official. And that told me EVERYTHING. Monk is streetwise, whereas Trollope is wet behind the ears.

    My mind went back to that play-off game the best part of a decade ago now, when Reading’s Matt Mills threw himself to the ground when our Israeli tugged him back.
    Why do no City players do this, especially with the new directive on holding this season?
    Yet not one Cardiff player thought of throwing himself to the ground when they were collectively manhandled during the several corner kicks/attacking free kicks of the first half. The fellow from Bristol City (Ayling?) seemed to be auditioning for a role in WWE…correction… please strike that and make it MMA…such was the severity of his wild tackle on Richards (?) that got him a deserved yellow. And I kept thinking during the first half, if only these set plays were at the other end, Leeds players would be diving to the ground as soon as they were touched.
    And so it proved.

    Then let’s look at this chap Morrison. Was it the Grinning Kamikaze who paid nearly £5m for him? An extraordinary waste of money. He is a specialist in the art of back- pedalling. If running backwards was an Olympic sport (and God knows why it isn’t, given some of the bizarre things they include in the Olympics these days), then he would definitely take gold.
    Why was he retreating for the second Leeds goal? Get out there man, and tackle the fellow! Don’t let him get to the edge of the area and allow him to shoot !
    Dear me! If fans can see this flaw in a player, why cannot our coach? No point in expecting Lennie to tell him, as Lennie should have been sacked immediately after the QPR game at the Millennium and that fortunate 1-0 Play Off final win, in extra time.
    Folk here in Grimsby were amazed that Cardiff took him on in the first place, within days of him being sacked at Blundell Park.

    No, our friend Morrison is not a central defender, but he might make a centre forward, as long as he is up front in a two, and not alone like poor Lambert was in this game.

    We are going to need a miracle. I am hoping that our Mr Barry Cole can have a Damascene conversion, and maybe start a ginger group aimed at getting Mr Russell Slade back from The Valley.

    I have nothing against Trolls: he seems a affable enough fellow. But that said, it comes to something when our manager makes Gary Monk seem the man with charisma. By contrast, our man seems to possess char-ISN’T-ma.

    I am rather downcast right now. And I fear this is a relegation season.

  2. Colin Phillips says:

    Two good posts and if things don’t change quickly (something’s not right with the players attitude) then Mr. Woosnam will be proved right, we are certainly showing relegation form at the moment.

    Nice to see that Trollope is not as stubborn as Slade, at least he changed the shape yesterday. Not sure about Whitts’ and Gunner’s position, looked to me that they should have had Whittingham further advanced than Gunnarson.

    Our lack of pace is becoming embarrassing, we are short of it everywhere. Lambert looks fat and lacking in match practice but for a ten-minute period after half-time there were encouraging signs.

    Where do we go from here?

    Any suggestions should be addressed to the Management, Cardiff City AFC. They are desperate to hear from you.

  3. Barry Cole says:

    Well said Paul and it’s been going down hill with a club run by three people who believe that they have the answer to running a football club without any real knowledge of how football works.
    There is no doubt that the three choices of manager from Mackay have been disasterous. That blame is firmly on those three people. There were options in the managers choice at each of these and they have got it badly wrong.
    Then we have the transfer committee and yet again we have complete failure. If tan thinks that mackays centre forward was a bad buy then he really needs to look at what we have now.
    The decision to sell Marshall is unbelievable for two things, one we had already sold our second keeper and two hull will be relegated this season anyway. I just cannot believe that Marshall really wanted to go and that this was a balance the books move.
    Make no mistake that the slade appointment was the catalyst to all this, when he arrived we had a team capable of getting back to the premier. His lack of man management skills turned good strikers to shells and although we finished 8th just have a good look at his last six games.
    This has carried on this season and I do not put the blame solely on Trollope, but he took the job on and he has to turn this round.
    With the playing staff he has now I doubt whether he will achieve that. It was quite obvious that when we had the ball we were that slow that we either passed it back, passed it across and when we speedily moved the ball forward there was no one in the penalty area when a cross was attempted or when we found ourselves in a good position.
    Like Paul Leeds were not a good team and we should have murdered them in the first half but we just haven’t got the killer instinct. They rode their luck and although we hit the post twice they could and should have scored two goals from our mistakes and they weren’t in the game.
    I cannot believe that Trollope thinks that the referees are inconsistent because it was plain penalty and it’s about time this stupid tugging and pulling was dealt with severely.
    So what’s the way forward, the next game will decide trollopes fate but even if we win I cannot see the pressure easing on him and it will take its toll on him and on the players.
    Unless we put a number of wins together then we will be entrenched and our season will be fighting relegation as I said at the start of the season.
    Should Trollope go and I believe that may happen sooner than later but I would personally give him a lot more games to bring this round. The reason – this was coming from the end of last season and the loss of some key players hasn’t helped.
    If he fails it will need a good manager to pull it round and with a substantial amount of money to back him which means all tans idealology would go out of the window.
    There is also the problem of the transfer committee tan has the wrong people in place and right from day one a football person should have been in this committee.
    Let’s face it we have watched big foreign investors buy British clubs and stay in the background and watch their investments grow in Leicester, tan didn’t have the systems in place and was burnt but he cannot disguise his input has turned this club upside down. He should be seen as a saviour but he has made all the mistakes, some of which have been disasterous for us all.
    He has ploughed a lot of money into the club but most of it has been totally bad investments. I wish it could have been different as I believe when he started he just wanted the best for Cardiff.
    So until next week I really hope that Trollope can turn round the team, if he is looking at playing 4-3-3 then he needs fast players and I didn’t see any on the pitch to meet that criteria.

  4. Matt N says:

    Hi all,
    Sadly, I thought this was the best we’ve played all season! I’ve not seen any of the highlights, so I am not sure if the penalty was a penalty, but it certainly sucked the last dregs of confidence from the team, as Paul says. Their second,mwhen it came looked a beauty from where I sat but, as Dai says, Morrison abdicated position, responsibility and for me his right to captaincy. Someone needs to pass down some inspiration, and he doesn’t play the Mark Hudson role at all.
    The players yesterday lacked pace yes, but it was the speed of thought which I was most disappointed with. The reason I said at the start that this was the best we’d played is that we made a lot of promising groundwork only for the last ball (or the one before the last ball!) to be poorly delivered, controlled or, too often, held up (Ralls, Noone I am looking at you). The Leeds keeper was one of the poorest I have seen, with no command of his box, yet still with Morrison, Connolly and Lambert all in the box, they weren’t found for set pieces. Either they are setting themselves up wrong or Whittingham is missing the target, but this is the sort of thing they must be practicing all week in training.
    Lastly the subs. Immers made me glad he only had 5minutes, he must have lost the ball six times in that time. Kadeem Harris – a long time favourite of mine – showed purpose if not product and Freddy G, I thought, played with a bit more confidence than when I watched him against Reading.
    I have a glimmer of hope that we’ll get better.

  5. Anthony O'Brien says:

    Congratulations to the above contributors for their interesting and informative reportage and comments — as is always the case.

    Some years ago a young man from our street joined the Army. On his first leave he came home and boasted that he had been given an IQ test and had scored something like 87. No-one had the heart to tell him that the norm is 100 and that anything below is less than average. I wonder if there is an IQ test for football intelligence. What would you give an experienced professional, lauded for his dead ball skills, who persistently lobs the ball into the opposition goal area, only to see it EASILY CLEARED EVERY TIME? Similarly, what score to a man famed for his long throw-ins who insisted on hurling the ball into the goal area only to see it EASILY CLEARED EVERY TIME? Are these players totally lacking in personal initiative, or are compelled to remain “under orders” EVERY TIME?

    And do those orders insist that wide players on the right have to be left-footed and ones on the left be right-footed so that they need to delay and turn back on their stronger foot to cut inside instead of crossing or passing the ball immediately. I’m also puzzled by the fact that our long-throw expert was often playing a more advanced role when his lack of speed and instant ball control inevitably let him down, perhaps adding to his manifest exhaustion well before the end of the game. Was this another order from the sides. There was also the case of an obviously unfit centre forward, not noted for his pace at the best of times, who showed certain talents but received little support even from Pilkington whose football IQ would normally be somewhere above the norm. Why was this situation not foreseen? Lack of pace has now become an integral part of the Cardiff tradition (though I accept that pace on its own, without experience or skill, is not the great panacea,

    And how should we assess a team which rapidly ran out of ideas and no-one could, on the field or from the sidelines, could come up with anything different in terms of a tactical plan? For the once proud Cardiff City, bereft of ideas and even team spirit, the outcome was predictable.

    Watching the game as it progressed yesterday was a kind of agony (meaning extreme suffering). But it was also agony in the Old English sense (meaning death throes) for we saw the team itself expiring on its feet, except that the expiring was more a case of going out not with a bang but a whimper. Ask not for whom the bell tolls.

  6. Matt N says:

    Just a note following Anthony’s comment on long throws – Peltier’s managed to achieve similar distance with his one throw without the run up or rigmarole of wiping off the ball. Is Gunner inventing a use for himself?

  7. Clive Harry says:

    Morning Paul and Everybody,
    I mentioned on here last season about how disillusioned I had become about how our club was being run and lost all interest in attending matches although I still watched them in full on CC Player (usually with relief afterwards that I hadn’t actually attended!).
    This season, the appointment of PT underwhelmed me but it seemed nevertheless like a fresh start and I looked forward to reconnecting. However, an unambitious summer in the transfer market and the loaning out of players such as Oshilaja and Healey without even looking at them in a first team friendly once again planted fresh seeds of doubt. These seeds have definitely germinated and are now flourishing nicely thanks to inept displays such as yesterday – to the extent that I wasn’t particularly surprised or disappointed by the result. I’ve watched terrible City teams over the last 50 odd (some very odd) years but they were my team and you just put up with it. These days, I don’t know if it’s a growing cynicism about the game generally as well but
    I have never felt so apathetic or disconnected from the Club as I do now. It beggars belief to me how a successful businessman and his acolytes can make such a horlicks of running a football club and continue stubbornly making wrong decisions whilst the fan base slowly disappears. They don’t realise that watching football is almost a habit and once that habit is broken many supporters simply find other things to do. Fortunately, the enjoyment of watching the U23’s (I’ll be there tomorrow) still means that although I’m estranged, I’m not divorced from the club yet!
    Going back to yesterday, I wonder if the run of bad results needs to continue to jolt the owner into actually doing or saying something because sterile mediocrity won’t bring about change. Unfortunately, with no player movement possible, a change of manager seems the only action that can be taken. Whether this would improve matters is debateable but something needs to happen soon.
    Ah well, onwards and downwards – at least there’s an afternoon at The Vale tomorrow to look forward to.

  8. The other Bob Wilson says:

    A great set of replies, but it’s sad to see that there is no one who can really say anything positive about things at the moment apart from Matt’s “glimmer of hope”. That’s hardly surprising I suppose it’s the same at any club that finds itself bottom of their league. I try to be positive (honest I do!), but it’s so hard to be isn’t because we are neither a well run club going through a bad patch or a badly run one that can still point to a playing staff that are, obviously, good enough to climb away from the bottom – there are problems wherever you look and now it seems we have another one because we have to somehow find a way of ending the lack of hope we saw both on and off the pitch as soon as we went behind yesterday.
    AMO, you make a great point about the depressing similarity behind all of those free kicks and corners yesterday with the only one I can remember really inconveniencing Leeds being the one Morrison headed against a post in the first half – I know Whitts is THE man when it comes to dead ball delivery at the club, but would have been worth just having a right footer (Pilkington?) to take a few of them just to change the angle?
    Good to hear from you again Matt. Again, I think you make an excellent point about players speed of thought which you allied to a lack of technique (in Noone’s case, he is a player who frustrates me more and more I’m afraid, it also includes a lack of football intelligence and he combined all of those things yesterday with a wildly optimistic half volleyed shot from about thirty yards where he got his body position into completely the wrong place to attempt such a difficult skill). You mention Joe Ralls who I feel is struggling more mentally than physically in that he seems bereft of confidence this season and has been since day one it seems to me, but if there was one incident which summed up City’s lack of technique and execution it was when Gunnarsson, ludicrously selected as our attacking midfield playmaker, made a complete mess of a simple pass which would have opened Leeds up in the first few minutes – he spotted the pass which would have done the job but overhit it completely to send the ball out for a harmless goal kick. Ally those sort of things with the slowness of thought you talk about (which typified itself with the way players were having to stretch to reach passes which they were too slow to read) and you have to conclude that it’s easy to see why we are having so many problems to create chances in home games.
    Barry, I believe Paul Trollope seized on the penalty decision and all of the stuff which goes with refereeing dead ball situations these day as a means of distraction because, obviously, he wouldn’t have wanted to talk about his job security. I’ve not seen the incident (yesterday’s game has been added to a long list of recorded City matches which I’ve deleted without bothering to watch them!), but everything I’ve read about the incident, as well as the lack of protests from City players at the time) makes me think the ref got the decision right – I mentioned on here last week that Matt Connolly was having his shirt held for about five seconds during one of Rickie Lambert’s close misses at Norwich and nothing was done about it, but that’s how things go at the bottom of the league, City have got to start making their own luck because we’ve not had much of it since Shane Duffy’s man of the match performance for us a month ago. Also, regarding your comments on Vincent Tan, I agree with everything you said right down to him just wanting the best for the club.
    Colin, good to see that you thought Trollope being willing to change the formation yesterday – I was picked up for my not seeing it as an admission of defeat by him line on a City messageboard this morning as it was said to me that it was a “unique view”, at least you’ve gone a long way towards proving this wasn’t true!
    Dai, you have an ally regarding Morrison in Matt. I’m not disagreeing with you because I lean towards your opinion myself, but I think that’s how defenders are told to play these days (granted, Morrison probably takes it to extremes) and, if they are going to get a bollocking after the game, I’d guess they’d get a bigger one for “diving in” than they would be standing off a player and trying to jockey them into a safer area – not saying it’s right, but that could well be the way things are.
    Regarding the captaincy, Peltier, Gunnarsson and, maybe, Lambert strike me as possibles, but I don’t see Gunnar as regular starter these days and, sadly, Lambert tends to be awfully isolated from the rest of the team currently, so I’d be inclined to give it to Peltier (who is also arguably our most consistent player), but am not surprised Morrison got the job.
    I see Pilkington has picked up an injury which Paul Trollope thought could be a serious one – he said it was looked like a thigh injury, but I remember Pilks was out for virtually the rest of the 14/15 season when he picked up a hamstring injury which would not clear up in the November of that season – he could be out for sometime and if he is, I’ll repeat my opinion that Kadeem Harris should be played as a striker right up alongside Lambert.

  9. Blue Bayou says:

    I realise football is all about opinions, and I know we are all probably far from happy to find ourselves bottom of the division, but I wonder when I read Barry’s reply if we’re on the same planet, let alone supporting the same football team. I know Russell Slade had his critics, but how you can say he was a disastrous appointment has me thinking ‘Has the world gone mad’?
    The way I see it, as soon as Vincent Tan realised that OGS wasn’t going to take us straight back into the Premier League, he knew there were going to have to be massive cuts in player numbers and wages to adjust to the vastly smaller sums of money available to Championship clubs (even allowing for Parachute payments).
    Mr Tan had seen lots of his money squandered, and seeing what had happened, understandably wanted massive changes.
    In the circumstances of cutting the wage bill by over £10 million and significant reductions in the playing staff, including selling our top scorer, I think Russell did an amazing job of achieving 11th and 8th place finishes in the Championship.
    There is an argument that he could have tried harder to keep Javi Guerra and Juan Cala and the others, but they came here expecting to play premiership football, and once we’d parted company with OGS, they could probably see the writing on the wall, and also wouldn’t have appreciated getting bawled out by Scott Young for not trying hard enough.
    It’s no surprise therefore that their hearts may not have been it, and so Russell decided that with the wages they were on, they weren’t going to be cut out for the cut and thrust of Championship football. As an example, I see similarities between Matts Daehli and Welsh international Johnny Williams – both gifted footballers, but both prone to injuries in that style of football.
    So while I agree that OGS was a very unwise appointment, I think Russell Slade carried out Mr Tan’s wishes of overhauling the club, while keeping us competitive in the top half of the league.
    I think the jury should still be out on Paul Trollope. I wasn’t in favour of his appointment as Russell Slade’s replacement, because everything I read said that he’s an excellent coach, but taking on a manager role requires much more.
    I’ve heard players who were playing under Slade at his various clubs, say that his coaching sessions weren’t the best, but his big strength was his man-management and being able to motivate players to get the best out of them.
    With Slade gone, I just wonder if that may be why we haven’t seen anywhere near the best of players like Joe Ralls and Lex Immers so far this season.
    I do agree with Barry about the fiasco of the sale of our two top keepers within a couple of weeks though. I heard Rob Phillips justify this on Radio Wales last night by saying that the club had already agreed to sell Simon Moore before the Hull offer for Marshall was received. However, to be left with having to throw-in a young 3rd choice keeper at short notice to make his league debut, only reinforces the view that those running our club lack sufficient understanding of how football works.
    Finally, my view on yesterdays game was ’same old story’. Leeds were a no better team than either Reading or QPR, and I didn’t think either of them were much cop, although accepting that they all have new managers so are also a work in progress.
    Once again we were unable to convert the chances we created, and once again I saw our heads drop once we’d conceded – we seem to be missing a leader on the pitch (like a Mark Hudson).
    I don’t think we are a beaten side yet, as has been suggested though. I think Rickie Lambert will come good with a run of games under his belt, and the understanding between keeper and defence will only improve with games played too.
    We just need Ralls, Immers and Noone to regain their previous form, get at least one leader on the pitch, and some pace in the team, all from the existing squad until January at least.
    That’s not too much to ask is it?
    Or am I living on another planet?

  10. Dai Woosnam says:

    Huge thanks Paul for re-directing my wayward posting: possibly “wayward” in both senses.

    And what a pleasure to see my words in italics: they looked for all the world like they were printed on papyrus. [Yes I know: you've scored an own goal there Dai: the modish non-thinkers will class your views as antediluvian !!]

    And how nice to see our Barry back amongst us. He has been missed by me and Mike (amongst others). But clearly no Damascene conversion then: au contraire, FAR from it. Barry is it seems prepared to cut Trolls some slack, on the grounds that he reckons this current nosedive had its roots in the final days of Slade.

    [It has just dawned on me that the Category C, HMP where Norman Stanley Fletcher was housed was called ...(wait for it ...)
    ... SLADE Prison !!
    Could it be Barry's love of Ronnie Barker at work in his subconscious, and making his animus run full throttle against our former PT teacher? I was gonna say that our ex-manager was not doing a bad job at The Valley, but I noticed he was turned over at home yesterday by Neal Ardley's PROPER Dons ...who it must be said, had previously been as brittle as POPPA-doms ...and could hardly BUY a win this season.
    Certainly the ex-PT master has a droll line in humour: he made sure he was not instantly forgotten at the CCS, by bequeathing his job to a man with the "you-could-not-make-it-up" initials of ... PT...!!]

    And mentioning there “not being able t buy a win”, makes me cast my mind back half a century to one particular season when I seem to recall that it was the first week in October that we registered a win. I need Richard (Holt) to tell me if I am dreaming this or not.

    But here’s the thing…
    that season – under Jimmy Scoular – we ended up surviving the drop. And I am sure we can this season too. It is just that the manager does not inspire me. And worse, his boss – nice man though Lennie clearly is – is a fifth wheel on the wagon and a waste of space. Either Trolls is up to the job or he is not. He does not need a nursemaid. And God help us if he is sacked and Lennie is moved in as a safe pair of hands.

    About as safe as Albert Pierrepoint’s.

    What is about it about Mr Trollope that makes me gloomy? Well, take that post-match interview yesterday.

    Is it not scandalous that someone paid as a manager of a Championship side can say when questioned about the validity of the penalty, that both sides go in for holding and shirt-pulling !!? Hey Mr Trollope, you have been issued with a directive from the FA, have you forgotten? And it was thus I reckon, incumbent upon you to insist that any player flaunting the new rule would be fined a week’s wages. And furthermore, insist to your players that “when anyone tries to pull you over, you do not stay standing but immediately fall down theatrically…and I will do my bit and get in the ear of the 4th official”.

    I will take a lot of persuading that the Leeds penalty wasn’t WHOLLY down to having a more streetwise manager. I would not mind betting that the 4th official and/or the lino, was/were not straight on their earpiece walkie-talkie to the ref, immediately Gary Monk tossed a wobbler in their direction, just a minute before when a Leeds player fell in the box at the previous corner. They’d have said something like “Monk is screaming for a penalty for a pull down”. Imagine then, this referee’s mindset a minute later: at the best of times, this referee looks like the sort of chap I would have loved as a fellow juror, when I was foreman of the jury at Cardiff Crown Court in 1999. Malleable to the nth degree. So the penalty was a formality, even though the big Swede was pulling Connolly’s shirt too.

    A couple of other things to say. Why were the Leeds fans making most of the noise…even when it was 0-0? That is easy.

    Paul, you know I have railed in these pages before on the subject of a club song. Our With My Little Pick And Shovel (“I’ll Be There”) effort from the boy from Merthyr (dad of Ciaran Jenkins, the C4 News roving reporter) isn’t desperately poor… but it is hardly a song to man the barricades for.

    We either adopt a song, or get a new one specifically written.

    When it comes to the latter, I submit that it is not that easy. To my way of thinking, only two such songs since WW2 have cut the mustard. One is Chelsea’s “Blue Is The Colour” …and the other is …
    …you’ve guessed it…
    “Marching On Together”. Great song, even without the wonderful brass accompaniment.
    Any ideas from our readers ? No black humour please like “Tomorrow Belongs To Me”.
    And a final word re yesterday. The enormity of City’s rapid decline this past few months (this is a decline the sort that Dave Jones trademarked, Barry, not Russell Slade), can best be illustrated by what PT called a “spineless capitulation” at Deepdale where we were brushed aside 3-0 by a rampant Preston, and 4 days later, that same “rampant” Preston have their biggest defeat for more than a decade, crushed 5-0 at Griffin Park by a team who until yesterday were not even in the play-off places.
    That puts City’s abject performances in perspective.

    The thing that shocked me most about yesterday, was not the fact the City fans were out-sung by the Leeds fans; not that the City manager was out-thought by his Leeds counterpart…but that we hardly tested Robert Green.

    Sir Vincent is right: the team do not shoot enough. Quit your “fancy dan” square passing in your own half (Matthew Connolly), take the ball forward at pace, aim at the goalie’s eyes, and let fly. And you might be surprised how many such shots end up in the corner of the net, or are fumbled and bounce out to the twin strikers we should have.

    And AMO – a man incidentally whose IQ runs off the graph! – is so right when he asks what it is about our club that we have to play wingers on the wrong side? Is it too much to ask that right footed wingers take the ball to the byline and cross from the right for (say) Rickie and Fred, and left footed wingers similarly?

    Football to me is a simple game (albeit I am man enough to take my hat off to a genius like Pep Guardiola who makes me assail all my cherished beliefs !!)

    Forget all these numbers !! You know how it is when an employee in a widget factory is asked to write his job description? He goes out of his way to pad it out with all sorts of bogus detail. To try to make his job seem much more complex that pulling a lever every 15 seconds.

    Well that is how it has been since oh…way back when, in football. Rinus Michels did not invent totaalvoetbal…ex-Grimsby Town player Jack Reynolds did… nearly a half century before Michels. And with all-thinking managers, out came the blackboard and easel: and the coaches tried to out-coach each other in moving players hither and thither.

    And I will admit it had its thrilling times. The revolutionary (pun unintended, but I will happily take it) totaalvoetbal of the pre-Hungarian Revolution, Magical Magyars, thrilled kids like me just learning about the game. Indeed their deep-lying centre forward role was much emulated: most famously here in Britain by Manchester City’s Don Revie, and a few years later by Cardiff’s golden boy, Graham Moore.

    But it has gotten ridiculous this past fifty years. Complication for the sake of it. You hear ostensibly sane men say things like “Yes but understand that his 4-3-3, becomes a 4-5-1 when we are overrun in midfield, and alternatively can become a 4-2-4 if we have got our opponents by the short and curlies”.

    Oh dear, gentlemen. It is largely Emperor’s Suit of Clothes stuff.
    They are all guys who are working in the same widget factory.

    To sum up…

    It is so simple really. You have a goalie and three backs (right left and centre). In my schooldays playing for Porth YMCA, they were called right back, left back and centre half. They then had what is today called a “two man defensive midfield” to protect the back three. These covering two were called in my day “wing halves”.

    Then you have a forward three – largely attacking – midfield players, which in my day were called a deep lying inside forward or schemer (today known as a play-maker), and two wingers. These wingers were often under express instruction not to come inside more than 15 yards, but to try an keep the touchline chalk on their boots. Great days seeing the peerless Stanley Matthews and Jinky Johnstone do just that.

    And all three of these attacking midfield players had a bounden duty to give good service to the front two: in my day called a centre forward and an attacking inside forward.

    Nobody bothered about how vital it was to match up numbers in midfield. If the opponents suddenly outnumbered you 5 to 3, well simple: when they come up against what was – de facto – your 5 man defence, you just use the ball to bypass their midfield. It ain’t called “football” for nothing: you put your foot to the ball and make the ball do the work.

    Stop obsessing over numbers !!
    Get real, and smell the embrocation.

  11. Barry Cole says:

    To those who feel that slade did a good job I say you should smell the roses and try another planet. This is my personal opinion from over 50 years of watching Cardiff and any amount of criticism will not change my mind and that of most of the fans that turned up last year to watch the diabolical football that was served up. Personally I want to forget the man but use him as comparisons with Trollope who I feel given a proper team which slade at his disposal may have turned this round.
    I said last year with a proper manager we would have been in the top six, that thought has never changed. Trollope has picked up where slade left it devoid of industry and totally lacking in fight and the change will not come overnight especially when we sold two key players. Instead of blaming the manager just take a long hard look at the transfer committee and see what they have and haven’t done and you will see why we are holding everyone up
    Unfortunately I don’t see Trollope surviving but I dread to think who the next manager chosen will be

  12. Geoff Lewis says:

    Hi Paul and fellow Bluebirds,
    A bit late with my response, but the comments made are all in unison.
    My main beef yesterday, as already mentioned , was the number of corners and free- kicks which came to nothing. Is Whitts the only player capable of taking them. not once did he vary his corners, why not hit one back across the pitch and let a full back bang it in from a different angle! Pressure first half, but no pace or good final ball. Players lack leadership, and basic skills. Not too impressed with Lambert overweight and lacked pace( he looked tired and should have been taken off after 65 mins). They say he is on £32k a week! Perhaps the full backs and Whitts are okay,the rest are very poor. Trollope no idea, he is a coach ( so they say) not a Championship Manager. This is all down to Tan, The Chairman and Ken Choo, who are say we are are going in the right direction and Trollope says he has their support! This would not happen in Industry. A prime example when the chairman appointed OSG, after the Malky sacking Now we have got the “cream” . Yes and it soon turned “sour”. Dai love the way you put football into a wonderful world of “words”.
    Take care

  13. Dai Woosnam says:

    Dear Geoff,
    Very kind of you, comrade.
    Whereas the work I put into my postings here is as nothing compared to Paul’s, it still means a lot to me to see my efforts appreciated.
    Note that I say “appreciated”. I never seek “agreement” – in fact I am suspicicious of it (ha!) – just appreciation.
    And so you, Geoff, have made my day.
    Big thanks.
    Oh, and I nearly forgot…
    Being the perfectionist I try to be, I spotted a “that” for “than” in the sentence below.

    To try to make his job seem much more complex that pulling a lever every 15 seconds.
    Not a typo.
    Just carelessness.

  14. Russell says:

    Thanks Paul and the other posters inputs, it has made interesting reading , albeit I dont fully agree with the all the comments.

    I left the stadium with a view that Trollope side is not as good as Slade’s.

    I understand the negative careful approach Slade teams applied, and the frustrations that brought to fans , however he won anc drew games, and up until the last 6 games he did produce some entertainment ,that saw us edge towards the play offs.

    Slade’s team seemed to have more battle and commitement about them.

    He got the best out of Immers,who looked a very committed dangerous player .

    He converted Pilkington into a decent committed central striker.

    He energised O’Keefe into a fiery commited midfielder

    He managed to commit his sides to at least getting over the half way line more often than , Trollope’s side.

    Slade’s sides at least attempted to shooting at that white netting thing surrounding the goalie , some even on targets and at tmes keeping keepers and defences busy.

    Our central defenders were a commited threat from set pieces, than they are now.

    Looking at the body language of the current players, matched with last year , I can only see a lack of commitment, compared to last year ,which suggests we have a motivation problemband kack if commitment .

    Nah, I don’t buy “” this all started with Slade”" , he was as good or better than Trollope ,and the mistake the club has made in my view , was employing Trollope , where they could have extended Slade’s contract for another year.

    Least we not forget Slade operated in a worse situation than Trollope, moving out 12 players for massive cost savings, then hit with an embargo which was so badly timed as we were so close to the play offs .

    You will note in my rant , and applogies for that, as I’m well miffed today , the use of the word commitment, which I belive is derivded from motivation and sound clear man management.

  15. MIKE HOPE says:

    Some great reading this week on a depressing situation.
    Good to see that Barry is back with some sensible comments apart from a hint of bias when mentioning Russell Slade.My recollection is that when we were in or near the top 6 he was blaming Russell for not getting us in the top 2.On the whole I think our blogger Russell [it's not him is it ?] gives a more realistic picture of our two managers although if given time Trollope might improve.
    After Trollope’s public criticism of the players following the Preston humiliation, the lack of any mea culpas from them did not augur well before the Leeds game. Did they think the criticism was unjustified ?
    We have heard about the ”Cardiff Way ” though are not sure what it means.What about the [so far] highly successful ”Huddersfield Way ”
    Their manager David Wagner is a disciple of Jurgen Klopp and I suspect that their wage bill is substantially lower than ours.
    There was an interesting article about Wagner in the Guardian on Sept 10. I’m sorry I can’t give a link but our blogmeister [as brilliantly named by AOB I think ] perhaps can.
    Amongst his methods/principles are that players must live within 15 miles of the training ground and training session times are switched so that they coincide with the kick-off time of the next match.
    During our pre-season optimism one of our most praised appointments was that of Dr Ryland Morgans as Performance Director. His job I believe was to make our players literally ‘ fit for purpose ‘
    How much influence has he actually had ? How many of our players live locally?
    I believe Connolly lives near Watford.
    Last weekend’s double away fixture would have presented a challenge for travel and training schedules which I would have thought should come under Dr Morgans’ remit.
    A few years ago when we were big spenders a long trip to Norwich would probably have involved air travel and over-night hotel.After the game the whole squad would have decamped to accommodation and training facilities near Preston.
    It would be naïve to think that travel expenses have been exempted from the club’s cost cutting but whatever travel and training was put in place between the Norwich and Preston games the result suggests that they were not fit for purpose.
    Did they also give the players,at least in their own minds, an excuse for their inept performance and did their resentment at the criticism roll-over into the capitulation against Leeds ?
    My speculation is probably wide of the mark although I heard Nathan Blake say on his boot room last week that pro-footballers will always look for an excuse for a bad performance!
    Whatever is going on behind the scenes I am not optimistic about seeing an improvement unless the players have confidence in the management – not just in the manager.
    At the moment we are ideal opponents for managers threatened with the sack.
    How safe are Stubbs at Rotherham and Pearson at Derby?

  16. Dai Woosnam says:

    Two very readable postings there that have just followed mine.

    Very impressed with Russell’s defence of his fellow-Russell (Slade) in his desire to tell-it-like-it-is with regards to Paul Trollope.

    And Mike made me think that double training sessions oughta be de rigueur at Cardiff City too. And…does anyone know where PT lives? Which side of the Severn?

    As for Mike’s most interesting observations on team transport …Trollope should have made them all hitch-hike home from Preston. And no hiding behind hedges, and obtaining the help of a girl in a short skirt.

  17. Lindsay Davies says:

    Wonderful contributions – analytical and thoughtful…like a series of Vermeer paintings. Unfortunately, my reactions are more Jackson Pollock – wild, primitive, flailings-about.

    Saturday evening – an e-mail from an old pal of mine (Canton HS and, latterly, Our Man in Minsk, Tashkent, and points East)…”it’s such a relief, reaching bottom…”.
    My feelings precisely – no longer any realistic place for dreams and aspirations.
    A return to the familiar decades of mediocrity (and worse), with which many of us became accustomed to live – we didn’t expect much, but hoped for something.
    By way of some Play-Offs and some Cup Finals, we emerged – blinking – into the sunlit uplands.
    Nervously, uncertainly, we dared to dream.
    As Paul knows (though I don’t expect him to remember, what with all those football matches he watches, and thinks about), I date the downward spiral from 22nd Feb 2014 – seven or eight weeks into OGS’s ‘reign’?
    CCFC 0 – Hull City 4.
    We made Bruce’s boys – who had barely been promoted with us just months before – look like a squad of uber-athletes, each skilful and enviably certain of his role.
    Our fellows, on the other hand, lacked fitness, pace, intelligence, dynamism, organisation, drive; in fact, anything recognisable as professional football.
    I continued to make the round-trip from London for another season, before collapsing, emotionally drained, onto my sofa, from which I’ve barely moved since.

    Regarding Saturday, I’m with Mike…I was pleasantly surprised at the performance in general – I was expecting even worse!
    And – thanks to Dai for his Norman Stanley Fletcher reference.
    And, I’m with Barry on Slade – more Noddy Holder than School of Art (sorry, Paul – you’ve ‘heard’ that one too).
    Ironically, I had thought that reactions to his original appointment had been unfair – but, I soon put myself right on that one.

    Back to Saturday – Ayling’s tackle on Jazz was only rescued from being the worst of the weekend by Mainz’s Rodriguez on Augsburg’s Kohr.
    Check it out, if you can bear to.
    There are calls for Senor Rodriguez to be banned until Kohr recovers, which may be a very long time.
    Speaking of the Bundesliga, and on a brighter note (I really do mean brighter – yellow lettering on black), I’ve just received my Borussia Dortmund T-shirt. I’m thrilled.
    I am 68.


  18. Russell says:

    No Mike not the same Russell that one is “” far far away ” yes I’m an oldie.

    I hate criticism of players and managers alike , until they have had a decent chance to prove themselves, I never joined in or accepted that Slade was taking us nowhere e , e in fact took us to 8th place , produced a good team spirit with players looking at least committed to the cause , now those very players this year look “away with the fairies” and I can only link that to dressing room chats, tactics that don’t work and motivational speaking correctly set up and delivered .

    Slade should have been given another year with a young coach brought on aka Beller’s/ Giggs .

    Next step , go and get Steve Bruce before someone else does he will put some fight in the team and forget the ticky, tacky, sideways football, three at the back , massed midfield scared witless to pass forward or run over the halfway line , we ain’t got the players for it , we ain’t going to be some super football in the near future , we ain’t Wales , who lets be far get away with with a super hero’s up front and few good midfielders, who can cross the halfway line into that magical penalty area we avoid .

    Get back to bread and butter footie , this is a tough league , so lets get tough , at least Slade had that one right , we definitely had a bit of bite and commitment about us last year .

  19. Dai Woosnam says:

    There was a mention of long throw-ins earlier in this thread.
    It made me think of this staggering video.
    Go to 1.55 in this clip and watch transfixed until about 3.10.
    Amazing…no other word for it.
    And twenty years ago I might have added “and not unerotic !!
    Gee…will this catch on at the CCS…?

  20. The other Bob Wilson says:

    Here’s that tackle Lindsay
    I differ with you about the start of the downward spiral, I’d put it about five weeks before the Hull game when Ole decided to address the crowd before his first home game against an injury hit and woefully out of form West Ham team – the 2-0 defeat that followed had me thinking we’re in serious trouble here.
    I’m with you completely on Russell Slade by the way.
    Here’s the link to that Wagner article Mike talked about – I can’t read it because I’m not going to disable my Ad Blocker like the Guardian told me to.

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