Can all of City’s problems really be solved just by sacking the manager?

Coymay

Before this season, twelve of City’s last thirteen seasons have been played in what is now called the Championship and, although things looked dodgy for a while in 07/08, the only one of those we have had to really worry about being relegated in was 2004/05.

Twelve years ago, our record after eleven matches was identical to what it is now, right down to how we were doing at home and away. In fact, the similarity between what was happening in home matches is uncanny – after a 2-1 win to start with against Coventry, we had lost the next four games without scoring a goal.

So, we had eight points from eleven matches back then, just as we do now, but there were differences then to what we are seeing now which makes me think the current situation provides more cause for concern than it did back in the days when Lennie Lawrence was our manager, rather than some shadowy presence in the background whose role is still not clear to this writer.

I’m not going to go into the 2-0 defeat at Burton Albion in any detail because, to be frank, my time yesterday afternoon was taken up more with the Ryder Cup than listening to what seems to have been more of the same old, same old against a team who we would not have even contemplated playing in a league fixture three years ago, let alone being beaten by them.

I’ve since seen the “highlights” and read a few reports on the game – I was particularly interested in one of them which, it seems to me, goes to the root of problems that, I feel, has been present in the side virtually from day one. As a rule, I can’t stand these “five reasons why………….” type pieces that fill the papers, and quite a few online sites, these days, but I believe this one is an unusually good example of the genre. For a start, there are some some very telling points about our defending all season (Burton’s two goals were far too easy and ensured that we still haven’t kept a clean sheet since our opening day draw at Birmingham) and the nature of our 3-5-2/5-3-2 compared to the one Burton used, but it was what Mr Smith had to say about Rickie Lambert which I think goes right to the heart of why we are struggling so much.

I see Paul Trollope has called the system he is currently favouring a 4-3-3, while whatever we were playing earlier was generally reckoned to have a “2″ at the end of it, indicating that we were playing with two forwards. So, according to our Head Coach, we have been playing with at least two, and sometimes three, players who are meant to occupy our opponent’s back three or four.

Why is it then that, all season long, we have had one player in advanced areas who often has no team mate within twenty or thirty yards of him? Now, I can understand your target man striker getting somewhat isolated when you are under the cosh away from home, but it has become the norm to see Gounongbe, Zohore or Lambert toiling away while being completely outnumbered by defenders in home games as well.

On the face of it, this is an unusual picture because it shows one of our players within earshot of our striker, but, then again, we all know how a camera can foreshorten distances - Lord knows what will happen if we ever play a game in a fog as bad as the one in that match with Mansfield about twenty five years ago - he could go the whole ninety minutes without seeing another Cardiff player!*

On the face of it, this is an unusual picture because it shows one of our players within earshot of our striker, but, then again, we all know how a camera can foreshorten distances. Lord knows what will happen if we ever play a game in a fog as bad as the one in that match with Mansfield about twenty five years ago – Lambert could go the whole ninety minutes without seeing another City player!*

I say that while knowing that our lack of pace in central areas means that our midfield three are always going to struggle to get forward, but what are the other one or two, who are supposed to be there close to our target men, doing? It’s the same when we were playing with alleged wing backs – the truth of the matter is that, whether it be at home or away, we have been playing with one, completely isolated, forward all season and Paul Trollope’s 3-5-2/5-3-2 was actually a 5-3-1-1 and his 4-3-3 is a pretty rigid 4-5-1.

So, has the Head Coach been sending out his team to play so cautiously in every match? I’m not sure about that, but our daft, and depressing, goalscoring record can hardly come as a surprise given that we are so loath to get players into forward areas. Bizarrely, we either score twice or not at all and it’s been the latter in an incredible two thirds of our competitive matches this season.

If you were to pin me down, I would have to say that our reluctance to support the poor unfortunate who has to play up front for us stems more from a lack of confidence in our players than orders from the coaches that we must not commit too many forward. However, my suspicion is that in the early weeks of the campaign, it was an unfamiliarity with and wariness of the new system they were being asked to play which made them cautious.

Whatever the reason for our one man attacking policy, we are in serious, serious trouble now. Back in 2004, Lennie Lawrence would ask to be judged after ten matches as the early defeats mounted, but, he came under severe pressure from fans after successive home defeats by Watford and Derby by 3-0 and 2-0 respectively in mid September.

Club owner Sam Hammam was forced to clear the air after the second of these games as he made it plain to the media that Lennie would be staying, but he made what was, with hindsight, a very good footballing decision to recruit Watford’s Terry Burton as Assistant Manager instead.

Another difference back then compared to now, was that we were still able to bring in players on loan and so Darren Williams was recruited from Sunderland to add some steadiness at the back, but, more importantly, young midfielder Gary O’Neil came in from Portsmouth.

Once O’Neil settled in, he transformed the team. The goalless run at home went to five matches in our twelfth game in a 0-0 draw with Leeds, but the truth was we battered them and, just as in a subsequent draw by the same score with Leicester, it was only bad luck which prevented a big City win. It all came right for us when West Ham were thrashed 4-1 and we seemed to be on the way to climbing well clear of the drop zone, but O’Neil was playing too well and his parent club called him back as he was put straight into their Premier League team on his return.

Without O’Neil, City soon started struggling again, but they were able to scramble clear of the drop in the end because they had another thing that the current side lacks – a solid defence built around a pair of centrebacks who would be playing top flight football for West Ham in the following season.

There is one other significant difference between then and now which I’ll come to later, but, for now, I want to say something about the big question arising from our run of six defeats in seven matches – should Vincent Tan show the same loyalty to Paul Trollope that Sam Hammam did to Lennie Lawrence a dozen years ago?

I’m afraid that, reluctantly, I’m forced to agree with what seems to be a large majority of City fans - it’s time for our Head Coach to go. I say that because all he can offer in his post match press conferences lately is more of the sort of approach which is patently not working.

When Paul Trollope talks about the need for more hard work on the training ground, is he saying that there hasn’t been hard work taking place before now? I don’t believe he is, so what we are getting in reality is an admission that his methods have not worked so far, but what’s needed is more of the same.

You only have to see how the performances of key players from last season have fallen away so badly to conclude that either the word isn’t getting through to the squad or they don’t believe it in the first place. I strongly feel that our players have to share a large portion of the blame for our plight and that the reaction of the squad as a whole to adversity has been a very poor one with only a few of them showing that they have the mental toughness to accept, and even relish, the challenge they find themselves facing.

With no chance of getting the sort of help from outside that Lennie Lawrence was able to rely on in 2004 in the next three months, it’s really hard to see how the situation is going to change unless a way can be found to motivate a group of players that, sadly, includes a few who are virtually giving up once we go a goal behind at the moment.

Therefore, it seems to me that “more of the same” is not going to work and something needs to happen to spark a different response from our players – can Trollope change his ways and start motivating in a way he, apparently, cannot at the moment? It seems very unlikely to me and so someone else should be brought in to try and get the required response.

However, is it really going to be as simple as just changing the manager for us to achieve the required turn around in performance and attitude from the players? I think the following has some relevance when considering what can and should be expected of any City manager under the current circumstances at the club – it also offers a clue to the sort of club Cardiff City has become since our relegation in 2014.

The website “Transfer Markt” lists the transfer dealings of Championship clubs in terms of players signed and sold, while also giving what I would term educated guesses as to the transfer fees received and paid. Some of the figures they quote are open to debate (for example, they say we paid a fee of £1.7 million for Rickie Lambert, whereas I read a piece on the BBC’s website saying we had not paid a fee for him) and, in other cases (e.g. Emyr Huws and Lex Immers) they do not give a figure, because they do not have a source which quotes one, so, their figures should not be seen as completely reliable, but I believe they can be used as a guide as to whether a club is willing to buy their way to promotion, ambitious, but prudent or determined to live within their means while obeying the Football league’s FFP rules.

Here are the profit/loss figures in terms of transfer fees and  details of significant player sales with a value of £3 million plus during last season;-

Hull City profit (+) £21.85 million – significant sales James Chester £9.61 million, Robbie Brady £8.42 million, Tom Ince £5.7 million, Nikija Jelavik £3.49 million

Burnley loss (-) £4.25 million – Danny Ings £7.06 million, Keiran Trippier £4.17 million, Jason Shackell £3.57 million

QPR – £5.55 million – Charlie Austin £4.42 million, Alex McCarthy £4.47 million

Middlesbrough – £21 million – Lee Tomlin £3.66 million

Brentford + £12.83 – Andre Gray £10.54 million, Moses Odubajo £4.25 million, James Tarkowski £3.4 million

Ipswich + £9.25 million – Tyronne Mings £9.61 million

Wolves + £4.76 million – Benik Afobe £11.31 million

Derby – £28.95 million – none

Blackburn + £21.74 million – Jordan Rhodes £10,12 million, Rudy Gestede £7.23 million, Tom Carney £3.57 million

Birmingham +£4.57 million – Demarai Gray £4.34 million

Cardiff + £5.02 million – Joe Mason £3.32 million

Charlton + £1.04 million – Joe Gomez £4.17 million

Sheffield Wednesday – £13.68 million – none

Nottingham Forest + £8.08 million – Michail Antonio £8.08 million

Leeds – £1.24 million – Sam Byram £4.08 million

Huddersfield + £8.30 million – Jacob Butterfield £4.68 million

Fulham + 7.25 million – Patrick Roberts £12.75 million

Bolton £+1.25 million – none

Reading + £2.93 million – Michael Hector £4.59 million

Brighton – £11.43 million – none

Rotherham  £0 – none

Bristol City – £2.95 million – none

MK Dons £0 – none

Preston – £1.05 million – none

Here are the figures for this season so far and this time I’ve also included the number of home grown players in each club’s squad for their midweek match played a few days ago.

Newcastle +£30.98 million – Moussa Sisoko £29.75 million, Georginio Wijnaldum £23.38 million, Andros Townsend £13.26 million,Daryl Janmaat £7.57 million, Rémy Cabella £6.8 million, Papiss Demba Cissé £4.97 million – home grown players 1

Norwich + £1.45 million – Nathan Redmond £11.45 million - 3

Villa – £33.45 million - Idrissa Gueye £7.23 million, Ciaran Clark £5.1 million, Scott Sinclair £3.49 million – 2

Brighton – £4.46 million – none – 2

Derby + £255 thousand – Jeff Hendrick £10.03 million – 3

Sheffield Wednesday – £8.08 million – none – 1

Ipswich + £1.56 million – none – 4

Cardiff + £3.74 million – David Marshall £3.49 million – 2

Brentford + £425 thousand – none – 1

Birmingham – £2.38 million – none – 4

Preston + £1.22 million – none – 1

QPR + £4.15 million – Matt Phillips £5.53 million, Leroy Fer £4.76 million – 2

Leeds – £1,34 million – Lewis Cook £5.95 million – 5

Wolves – £8.93 million – none – 4

Blackburn + £10.07 million – Grant Hanley £5.61 million, Shane Duffy £4.46 million

Nottingham Forest +£11.43 million – Oliver Burke £12.75 million – 2

Reading +£1.59 million - Aaron Tshibola £5.02 million – 2

Bristol City + £2.74 million – Jonathan Kodjia £10.97 million – 3

Huddersfield – £2.13 million – none – 1

Fulham – £2 million – Ross McCormack £12.16 million, Konstantinos Mitroglou £5.95 million – 2

Rotherham – £.0,94 million – none – none

Wigan – £0.99 million – none – none

Burton – £3o4 thousand – none – 2

Barnsley +£5.02 million – Alfie Mawson £5.02 million – 1

There are stacks of conclusions which could be drawn from all of those figures, but, from a Cardiff City perspective, I would say that they show us to be on a par with sides like Ipswich and Birmingham in terms of our approach to transfer spending. As for producing our own players, two doesn’t look too bad compared to many in the league, but the two sides I just compared us to have double that number and, in Birmingham’s case, they were able to fund their summer spending on the back of the sale of a recent Academy product of theirs.

I think the figures show we are cautious spenders (something we knew already) who had to fund their modest transfer outlay this summer by selling their best player for what looks to be a knockdown fee when you see some of the deals done by other Championship clubs.

Like a lot of clubs within our division who are not going down the Derby, Sheffield Wednesday or Brighton route, City have to be careful with their transfer business, but where they seem to suffer to me is that they have not shown the ability to spot, say, a Tyrone Mings, Andre Gray, Benik Afobe or Alfie Mawson who could have been bought for a modest sum and sold for ten or twenty times that or more.

When you look at how clubs such as Birmingham, Charlton, Leeds, Reading and Forest have benefited from the sale of player(s) that have come through their Academies, it brings home how our failure to develop our own players in recent years (the two home grown players in our last squad made their debuts for us four and five years ago) has cost us the chance to finance the sort of team development that we have been crying out for in the past three seasons.

Jon McLoughlin turns away a Craig Noone shot in the first half - actually, we had more goal attempts and more efforts on target than our opponents, but our confidence is shot at both ends of the pitch (and in the middle of it too!) and we are now the sort of side that Burton Albion can record

Jon McLoughlin turns away a Craig Noone shot in the first half – actually, we had more goal attempts and more efforts on target than our opponents, but our confidence is shot at both ends of the pitch (and in the middle of it too!) and we are now the sort of side that Burton Albion can record “routine” wins against.*

Possibly worse than that though is a case like the one of Jonathan Kodjia, a player I know we were watching well before he signed for Bristol City for what now looks like an absolute bargain fee of £2 million. My understanding is that we balked at paying such a fee for Kodjia when I would have thought that he would have preferred to sign for a club like us that had recently been playing in the top flight, rather than one that had only just got promoted.

As it is, Bristol City have been able to revamp their side into one that is currently in the top six entirely on the back of the sale of Kodjia and yet still show a decent profit on their transfer dealings this summer while we languish in the bottom three.

It’s a situation which puts me in mind of the yachting events in the recent Olympics where some competitors become becalmed because they fail to identify the best currents and breezes, but the trouble is that we have been passed not just by the Bristol City yacht – we’ve had about half the field sail past us in the last few months because they have gone about their business in a much more efficient, and I would argue enterprising, way than we have.

There was another reason why we managed to avoid the drop in 04/05 and that was the dose of youthful enterprise and enthusiasm that the promotion of teenagers Cameron Jerome and Joe Ledley into the first team squad provided. This was the first season in which we had Academy status and Jerome went from scoring a hat trick for the Under 18s against Charlton a few hours before our loss to Derby, to making his league debut for us in a fortnight – he was very quickly followed by the even younger Ledley.

Now, I accept there’s an argument as to whether we have any potential Jerome’s or Ledley’s in our ranks at the moment, but you have to wonder whether it would make any difference even if we did, because the conveyor belt from youth football to the first team has been stalled at Cardiff for some years now.

When you see that someone like Theo Wharton (who will be twenty two next month) has still not played any meaningful football on a regular basis against senior professional players yet, you have to question the whole Academy and Development team approach which sees youngsters possibly consigned to age group football until they are close to their mid twenties. I can remember seeing a 16 year old Aaron Ramsey scoring a stunning goal against Yeovil reserves at Jenner Park months before he made his record breaking bow as our youngest ever player and that was a proper reserve side he played against full of senior pros not in first team reckoning at that time for all sorts of reasons – our youngsters just don’t get to play in games like that these days.

However, as shown above, this hasn’t stopped a number of our Championship rivals picking teenagers in their first team squad and, in some cases, this policy has led to them getting the sort of spending power they couldn’t have hoped for otherwise, to build a team that is now in the upper reaches of the division.

The facts are that whoever our manager is, Cardiff City is a club that doesn’t produce it’s own first team players any more and they barely ever sign players that they can sell on at a profit. They do not appear to have a coherent scouting network, have a senior off field management structure that utterly fails to convince when it comes to an understanding of footballing matters as they zigzag between extreme approaches in terms of spending and a fanbase that is increasingly disillusioned and apathetic.

We are a club that you just cannot see making a Terry Burton type appointment at the moment and if,  more by luck than judgment, we were able to appoint the “right” man to replace Paul Trollope, even an experienced old hand like, say, Neil Warnock would be taking on one of the biggest jobs of his career if he came here – we are getting it wrong on so many levels and have been doing so for at least a couple of years.

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

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18 Responses to Can all of City’s problems really be solved just by sacking the manager?

  1. Matt N says:

    Hi Paul,
    I didn’t see the game or even listen yesterday as I had other commitments, so won’t comment onthe game. From results and the games I have seen, I agree Trollope should exit. I usually have more patience in a manager, but nothing I have seen (since a bizarrely successful preseason) merits flogging a dead horse.
    On blooding youth, I don’t know what the problem is. There are so many plus points from bringing through at least 2-3 players each year from youth. 1. Give a player a chance and he’ll try to impress – we have lacked enthusiasm and pace especially in midfield and attack. 2. A reserve team player, even making the bench, gives the rest of the reserve pool hope and incentive. That raises performance levels and should guard against stagnation. 3. A player with first team experience is WORTH MORE than one who has only sat in the reserves for 5 years. A business, as we are so often reminded that CCFC is supposed to be, should be increasing the value of its assets, not letting them degrade to write off levels. 4. And this isn’t the last of the positive points, but I’ve run out of steam, Trollope has not got much to lose now, so why not experiment? After all can’t really get worse than no goals scored, multiple conceded.
    Here’s hoping for some new faces on the pitch and off it next game. Some hope that is…
    Matt

  2. Anthony O'Brien says:

    Humour is a funny thing, especially British humour. It is often said that our national characteristic is to find humour in adversity. In fact, after the First World War it was concluded in Germany that the British sense of humour had been one of the main factors why we emerged victorious. Some of the diehard Cardiff fans yesterday remained true to this tradition when they began to sing “Trollope for England”" — a bit cruel, I’ll admit, but very funny and nothing like as vitriolic as the presidential elections in USA, where they don’t do irony. What is more, the Cardiff fans, as well as providing the most entertaining part of yesterday’s shambles, were also making clear their assessment of the manager and his team.

    Round about the time I was being born there was another important event — namely, the publication of a thought-provoking book. It was called “Ideas Have Legs” by Peter Howard. The title provokes me to think that Cardiff City have now run out of ideas and never had legs. That is a prescription for disaster in what a spokesman for Newport County yesterday called ” a result-driven game”.

    Can you think of any individual who understands football, has played at the highest level, knows the value of speed on the pitch, would immediately have the respect of the players and guarantee to bring back and enthuse the crowds, has shown total commitment to Cardiff City, is not driven simply by financial greed , as is proven by spending well over a million pounds of his own money to help deprived children in Africa, has volunteered to work with youngsters at Cardiff, and has the strength of character to be his own man? There must be someone somewhere who meets all the above criteria and would be a “Good Friend” to Cardiff City. I wonder who that could be?

  3. Blue Bayou says:

    A few points I’d like to make from the above:
    1. Please don’t bring in Neil Warnock yet – he is only a really last-gasp solution if we are close to being relegated at Christmas. The quality of football would be awful, although he may be able to fire-up a team to play.
    2. Why not bring in someone (like a Terry Burton figure) to help Paul Trollope now? After all, Trollope himself was brought in last season to help Russell Slade when it was identified we needed to improve the coaching side of things, which worked well.
    3. Sacking the manager is unlikely to improve things. As has been pointed out elsewhere, if you look at the teams occupying the bottom 7 places in the Championship, 6 of them had new managers for this season. I know football fans are impatient, but 12 games is not enough time for a new manager to build a successful new team.
    4. It’s too easy for fans to blame the owner and the Board for our plight – this is the owner who saved us from going into administration, and financed our rise into the Premier League, after all. However, in my view the team has not been helped by the sale of our top 2 keepers within a couple of weeks of each other, and also thinking we had sufficient striking options at the start of the season in Pilkington, Zohore and Gounongbe. Defences and keepers need time to build an understanding, so until that happens we are likely to concede soft goals because we don’t know where our team mates will always be. I know strikers cost lots of money, but we either needed to buy one or find one, and if we no longer have decent scouting or Academy systems, then buying is the only answer. I think Rickie Lambert is a very good buy, although because of his lack of games, he will take time to get match sharpness and build-up the fitness needed for this division.
    5. Finally I hope all those ‘fans’ who wanted Russell Slade out will put their hands up and acknowledge their responsibility for our current plight. I doubt if they will because they’ll probably look for someone else to be responsible, not themselves. I hope however at some point they can soberly reflect on the old adage – ‘Be careful what you wish for, because you may just get it’. And look where it’s got us!

  4. Russell says:

    Thanks Paul , gosh not sure what to add to what’s already been said today and last weeks excellent contributions.

    Like Blue Bayou’s point 5 we made a mistake losing Slade to early on in our evolution .

    The players are not responding to the new tactical formation and I would suggest their maybe elements of disquiet in the squad.

    Loan signings cannot help us now however out of contract players may instal some benefit?

    Or is it as simple as swallowing some pride and reverting to 442.

  5. Dai Woosnam says:

    Last season was a bit like the movie, TWELVE ANGRY MEN.
    Slowly, Barry won some of us over to his Slade is the antichrist position: from 11-1, it quickly became 6-6, but some of us stayed loyal to good old Mr Chips.
    It then became 9-3 in favour of booting out Russell, but I hung on in there, sending out for coffee and sandwiches in an effort to play for time.
    I even called on my one-time hero Hilaire Belloc, and his famous Cautionary Tales For Children
    ‘…
    And always keep a-hold of Nurse
    For fear of finding something worse
    …’

    But to no avail, and I eventually caved-in to Barry. It was a fantastic job that Barry did…he got us all to renounce Mr Slade three times before the cock crowed. I was the last of those who surrendered and he got his 10-2 majority.

    But Hilaire Belloc’s words have come back to bite us.
    Barry manfully blames all Paul Trollope’s results on the demon “slade”, and I admire Barry’s brio, but it just won’t wash. The fact is that if Cardiff were to have three straight relegations and ended up in the National League, Barry would STILL be blaming Russell Slade.
    No, my friends. Just look at the plain facts.
    The most obvious one being that Mr Chips has been replaced, and his successor has all the personality of a …paper cup …!!
    Now tell me this folks…when did we last have a successful manager in the professional game here in Britain with the kind of non-charisma that made the guys who take the tolls on the Severn Bridge seem like they were incorrigible wags?
    Answer? Well, for those of you old enough, maybe Bertie Mee back at the Arsenal?

    That said, I would sooner have a decent man – like I suspect Paul Trollope is – at the helm, than a smart suited charismatic character who is out to shaft Sir Vincent? (To borrow from AMO’s brilliant final para: any guesses, anyone?)

    For what it is worth, I reckon PT made a rod for his back by bringing in his old buddie, Burnt Out Lennie.
    Immediately this very act told the playing staff that he was not good enough to hack it.

    Elementary psychology. Vanilla stuff. A101.

    Will close now. But add this…
    If you want to avoid relegation, let this order ring out…
    “Taxi for Messrs Trollope and Lawrence!”
    Thanks Paul for a phenomenal report which was full of details where you have gone and done the hard yards.
    And again AMO, thanks for the last brilliant hagiographical para …all you needed to add was that Craig gave up a brilliant career as an organist to be a doctor to the lepers in Lambarene in Gabon…!!
    That said, you speak sense there…albeit, he has a boiling point of zero.
    And you will be given a green light by Barry. For if Craig fails, he will blame it on the antichrist…!!*
    * nothing remotely personal, Barry. I really do admire the way you stick by your principles. Just a little gentle -albeit, weak – humour on my part.
    DW

  6. Russell says:

    As an add on thought , and in consideration of higher skilled operators than PT , such as LVA recent stint at Man Utd where he attempted a cultural change of tatical approach to the club’s way of playing, ,it failed miserably , which has me thinking ,if a strong charecter such as LVA cannot impose such change, how could we expect PT to deliver such a change to fair less adaptable players .

  7. The other Bob Wilson says:

    Morning everyone. The usual high quality feedback I see, here’s my take on some of the points raised.
    Russell, would we have struggled so much if Russell Slade was still here doing the job he accepted first of all when he was relieved of the manager’s job I wonder? I ask that while noting that he certainly seems to be having his share of problems at Charlton at the moment with a squad which he has put together with a large budget by the standards of that division. I’m with you about so many of our problems being located between the player’s ears, but I think a general lack of confidence and fighting spirit is the bigger problem and, to that end, suggested that if Vincent Tan is concerned about the financial implications of another change at the top, he could maybe get in a sports psychologist for the duration of the international break. I agree that it might be worth looking at the list of out of contract players, but, given how long it seems to be taking for Emyr Huws to get to a state of fitness that our Head Coach believes could give us the player he thought he was signing, any one we went for would have to have been training as if they were still attached to a club.
    Dai, really enjoyed the Twelve Angry Men analogy, but I struggle to see you as the Lee J Cobb to Barry’s Henry Fonda! Maybe more of a E.G Marshall?
    As for myself, I would have been one of those who didn’t need too much persuading by Barry/Henry – Edward Binns perhaps.
    You make an interesting point about Lennie Lawrence. I mentioned Terry Burton, who, I believe, came in and made a big difference at a time when Lennie was manager, but this time you’d imagine that he would be a Burton type character who is already in place, but the trouble is it’s still not really clear what he is there to do this time around.
    Blue Bayou, it’s good to see an alternative point of view (alternative to mine anyway!) on here. I don’t like the idea of sacking any manager/Head Coach after just twelve games, but, let’s not forget that Paul Trollope had a full pre season and a programme of friendly games to help get his methods and preferred system across and, as someone who had been with the club for fifteen months before he was appointed to his present job, it’s hardly as if he was a stranger coming into the club in say, November. Trollope said he didn’t want to use our lengthy injury list as an excuse after the Burton defeat, but why shouldn’t he – I believe that he has had it tough with the number of first teamers who have been out at times over the past couple of months, but, when all’s said and done, performances are getting worse if anything and there’s been nothing to suggest there’s a light at the end of the tunnel in the last month, apart from a somewhat fortunate win at Rotherham. I respect your opinion regarding Paul Trollope and would not think it was a disaster is he were kept on with a Terry Burton type figure alongside him (my doubts about how that would work with Lennie Lawrence still at the club notwithstanding), but, as far as I’m concerned, the job description of such an appointment would have to include liaison and advice duties with the non football hierarchy at the club. Yes, credit is due to Vincent Tan for the part he played in getting us promoted, but you compare where we were in late February 2012 (just about to play in Cup Final while chasing a top six Championship place) when he told us he was going to become more “hands on” at the club, with where we are now and you can only conclude that, billionaire backer or not, we have gone backwards. Mr Tan isn’t solely to blame for why we have deteriorated, but he, and others at executive and Boardroom level, have been found lacking in judgment in matters where football and finance overlap.
    AMO another very good analogy regarding “Ideas have legs” and, as a confirmed Bellamy fan, I agree wholeheartedly with your last paragraph, but would the “strength of character to be his own man” be a problem for some at the club?
    Matt, I’ve not got much to say about your message because it contains what I believe to be so much good common sense about us becoming a club where there is a clear, and always open, pathway between youth football and the first team – last Tuesday against Derby, we had both Bruno Manga and Semi Ajayi on the bench, what is the point of having two centrebacks among your replacements? Far better surely, to have had a youngster with a bit of attacking flair (e.g. Jamie Bird) or pace (e.g David Tutonda) there – yes, there would have been little or no chance of them being used, but it would show a way into the squad for youngsters and would have been great experience for the lad.

  8. Russell says:

    Paul , your right , its like its an ever revolving door when it comes to playing youngsters at our club , or even putting them on the bench , Slade was poor at and and now its Trollope turn . The rest before weren’t that good either favoring the old loans system.

    You do wonder why we have these squads In the first place and what it does to their confidence by being continually overlooked or loaned out , were not talking about full games but introductions of 10 to 15 minutes to see what these lads do have in the locker its is so frustrating as a fan , we had nothing to lose on Saturday and plenty to gain by playing a few .

    If they are no good enough, then lets start afresh , or better still let’s be bloody brave about it and play them, would certainly get my respect and interest ,even if we lose , lets lose trying something different .

  9. Lindsay Davies says:

    I agree with Paul – high-quality feedback all around. Being Mr Angry (Lee J. Cobb?), I have a lot to learn from you guys, and your thoughtful, reasoned, analysis. I’m going to calm down, restore the faith, try to be a little more considered, and start to enjoy what I can. I guess the speed of the downward spiral since 2012/2013 had just been too much for me.
    Forza Bluebirds!
    signed,
    Victor Meldrew (aka Lindsay Davies)

  10. Anthony O'Brien says:

    I meant to add in my hagiography of Saint Craig Bellamy (how did Dai Woosnam know that’s who I meant?) that he also is known for his contacts with and knowledge of Dutch football (and by extension, Belgian football) which might also tie in with Cardiff’s existing links with European football. An immediate and radical solution to the club’s failure even to produce signs of improvement from the encouraging start to this season calls for drastic action, if only to bring one small ray of sunshine to the clouds of gloom around our failing club. Players and supporters are clearly desperate for anything, however small, to give us the merest glimmer of optimism in the prevailing gloom. The really sad thing is that there were hopes of reaching the play-offs a couple of months ago, and now our hopes are already directed at avoiding relegation!

  11. Dai Woosnam says:

    In view of the title of your report, Paul, I hope you will accept my musing on the two high profile sackings of earlier today, as relevant to the discussion.
    What really prompted this posting from me, was that I paid a rare visit to the Walesonline site to get the facts on the Swansea change of boss.
    And what I found there, depressed me.
    There is a 35 second clip of Bob Bradley giving a “locker room” last-minute team pep talk to his USA men. And Walesonline, called it “inspiring”…
    [...Surely not...eh?]. It was absolutely hopeless. I’d expect a better last-minute “call to arms” at AFC Porth, let alone at Ton Pentre or Merthyr Tydfil.
    And that got me thinking…
    How much is team management about footballing knowhow, and how much about the ability to lift people to a higher level, by getting inside their heads?
    I genuinely wonder.
    It seems to me that our greatest British managers have been Leaders of Men. Shankly, Busby, Ramsey, Clough, Stein, Ferguson, etc. But Cardiff City alas, have had virtually no Leaders of Men in my lifetime (though the occasional Follower of Women, one suspects).
    Those abovementioned top managers, did not have a vast array of FA badges like the bosses of today, but they knew how to get into the heads and hearts of their players. And as I will soon enter my eighth decade, I have now come to a conclusion (arrived at after a lifetime head-over-heels in love with the game), that the ability to LEAD is almost everything. Much more important even than tactical nous.
    It was brought home to me even more, by recently looking at the performance of Dean Saunders as a pundit on Sky Sports.
    Now, one looks at this guy and one cannot help but marvel at his insightful footballing comments, his great sunny personality, and his genuine wit. He would seem to have it all going for him. Yet his management record has been disastrous.
    And one can only conclude that he is not a Leader of Men…just a very nice knowledgeable chap.
    And I fancy Paul Trollope is a toned down version of Dean.
    Roberto Di Matteo and Francisco Guidolin (sp?) are others who are variations on this theme…though the last named has the linguistic hurdle masking maybe a real ability to inspire in his native lingo.
    Where, Inask, is our leader, who can make players feel ten feet tall…? Is Craig Bellamy one such? I don’t honestly know.
    All that I do know is that it won’t be enough to say “here are my medals”, when someone asks.
    (Mind you, a player would need to be a proven self-harmer to ask such a thing of Craig!! Not for that kamikaze, hm being lost for three months in the Hensol Triangle, which was the relatively benign fate of poor John Brayford for asking such a thing of Malky !!)

    Will sign off now…and dream of really inspiring pep talks from a Carwyn James, a Jim Telfer, an Ian McGeechan, and above all, a team talk from the best manager Grimsby Town ever had…
    …Bill Shankly.
    DW.

  12. Dai Woosnam says:

    Awake now, after a night’s sleep, and can see what I wrote before I counted the zeds.
    Oh dear…the usual two or three silly typos, which come from lazily typing on my iPad, while only half propped-up in bed.

    But I do not write now to tell you this !! Rather, to tell you that I did indeed dream a dream that centred on an impassioned teamtalk at halftime. Trouble was that I woke up in a sweat when the manager went off the deep end, when I asked for a translation. Turned out that our manager was a certain Herr Schiklgruber…(at least they said that was his real name!!)
    And I had wondered why we were pkaying in unfashionable brown shirts !!

    But I do not write to inform you of my pathetic – if albeit, idiosyncratic – nocturnal journeys !!

    But rather to flag-up the finest piece of writing I have ever seen from Chris Wathan’s pen. Just beautifully crafted.

    I had gone looking for more on Bob Bradley, and just came across this sweetly constructed work. And don’t you just LOVE the way he gets his very first sentence and his very last sentence, to interlock so sweetly?

    That said though, I take nothing back re my previous posting re Bradley’s hopeless attempt at a dressing room pep talk. But maybe that was just an “off day” for him.

    Well we are all allowed one occasionally.

    As sure as heck though, this is not an off-day for Mr Wathan. He is cooking with gas here alright…

    http://www.walesonline.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/swansea-city-chiefs-cannot-afford-11974031

    DW.

  13. Dai Woosnam says:

    OMG. Just heard the news.
    Surely, this must be a first in “consecutive day” South Wales dismissals.
    Monday – Swansea sack their manager.
    Tuesday – Cardiff sack their manager too.

    Now don’t let me down tomorrow Warren Feeney. I’ve got you down for a HISTORIC treble.
    DW.

  14. Dai Woosnam says:

    There was me attempting to re-work an old joke, and I have just heard on Radio Wales that Feeney was sacked last Wednesday !!
    Let me switch it to Gary Mills then…assuming HE is still there.
    DW.
    Oh…and Sir Vincent ought to lend Neil Warnock his helicopter, so he can commute across the sea from Cornwall.

  15. Anthony O'Brien says:

    I see that Neil Warnock is favourite to become Cardiff’s new manager. Despite everything I’ve written on this site, I do feel sorry for Mr Trollope. whose sacking perhaps highlights the difference between a manager and a coach. I long ago remarked that the role of manager is actually to be a MAN-MANAGER, one who can “handle” and enthuse others. Sadly, Mr Trollope seems to have been somewhat lacking in this respect. It had reached the stage of Great Britain in 1940 when the war was going badly and Leo Amery called out to Neville Chamberlain, “For God’s sake, go.” Within a very short time the Winston Churchill was announced as the new Prime Minister. His first task was to rally the country, to stiffen determination and create a refusal to be beaten, to give the country hope. I have to wonder whether Neil Warnock is the right man to infuse a similar spirit among the Cardiff players and at the same time bring back the crowds by exciting and successful football? Perhaps he is, perhaps not, but my preference as the new manager remains as it was, a preference incidentally shared I believe by lots of Cardiff fans, perhaps by the majority. Craig Bellamy’s low boiling point, which is rightly mentioned above by Paul and Dai, could, in effect, be an advantage and similar to the Churchill style of getting things done. Just a thought!

  16. Russell says:

    Dai I can think of one great leader at the City ,Jimmy Scoular.

  17. Dai Woosnam says:

    Yes Russell…if I was to go into the jungle for hand-to-hand combat, and could choose any Cardiff City manager of my lifetime to guard my back, then Jimmy Scoular would be that man.
    Followed by another Scot. One whose limited negative tactics were not my cup of tea, but I’d have to be a fool if I could not admit he had considerable qualities of leadership…
    Malky Mackay.
    (But then I perhaps WOULD say that, wouldn’t I …because I am conveniently, not a Malaysian billionaire businessman/philanthropist.)
    DW

  18. Russell says:

    I’d chose Eddie May ahead of the lose fingered ,texting , Scot, would worry what he was saying about you behind your back , as you fought off the johnny foreigners

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