Daft as a Coote or just plain incompetent?

CoymayAfter the win at Bolton a fortnight ago, I said our next three games offered both a challenge and an opportunity. Sheffield Wednesday, Brentford and Birmingham represented a trio of opponents within that pretty large group of clubs (which we are a member of) who were chasing that final Play Off spot behind the five who, a few weeks ago, had looked to have made a decisive break clear of the rest.

Burnley’s failure to win any of their last five matches has meant that I was a tad premature in saying that we were, essentially, chasing one Play Off spot because nine points from our last three games would have seen us in fifth place three points clear of the Lancashire side – albeit having played a game more than them.

The really frustrating thing as well is that it could and should have been nine points, not the four we ended up with.

Now, I said that while accepting that fans of teams that are not quite good enough to clinch a top six finish (which I suspect applies to us) spend much of the nine month season talking about what could and should have been.

The truth is that we were not really convincing in any of the three matches – I spoke in my piece about the Brentford game of how we have barely managed to produce one such performance all season.

There were self inflicted wounds which cost us two points against Sheffield and should really have done so against Brentford, but last night’s 1-0 loss against a Birmingham team that had virtually forgotten how to score at St. Andrews was down to one person alone and he wasn’t playing for our opponents.

Wikipedia describes Coots as “medium-sized water birds that are members of the Rallidae (rail) family”. They are probably best known to the general public for the common saying “bald as a coot”, but there is also another one relating to them which is not used as often – “daft as a coot”.

Stories like this provide some evidence of why these birds have been called daft and having had one jump out from a hedge and run in terror for fifty yards in front of my car rather than fly off while I was driving in the Drope (a village of sorts just to the west of Cardiff) once, I tend to think the description is an apt one.

City players surround hapless and hopeless referee David Coote after his game deciding decision to award Birmingham a penalty after what was an excellent, and entirely legal, defensive block by Matt Connolly

City players surround hapless and hopeless referee David Coote after his game deciding decision to award Birmingham a penalty following what was an excellent, and entirely legal, headed defensive block by Matt Connolly”

As can be seen in the photo of him from last night’s match, David Coote is not bald like the bird which is a phonetic equivalent of his surname, but daft? Possibly, however I’d say that out of daft or incompetent, it is the latter which most applies to last night’s referee.

The first game in which we were beaten by David Coote did not cost us a great deal – in fact all it did was mean that we won the Championship in 2012/13 by eight points rather than nine.

Mr Coote took charge of our game with Peterborough in December 2012 which resulted in our first dropped points at Cardiff City Stadium after we had started the campaign with a club record ten straight home victories.

My blog piece on Peterborough’s 2-1 win contained the following;-

“On the other hand, the performance of referee Mr Coote was everything I feared it might be when I read how inexperienced he was at this level before the game. The decision to penalise Heidar Helguson for the free kick from which Peterborough took the lead was the source of much comment (I’ve not seen the incident again on television, but I don’t need to – it was a dreadful decision which I was absolutely flabbergasted with at the time), but this has tended to mean that his overall incompetence has generally passed without attracting the criticism it deserved. To book eight players in a match where I can’t remember seeing a bad foul was ridiculous and too often Mr Coote gave the impression that he was not giving himself time to think before flashing his cards – on that performance, I don’t see much of a future for him in the games second tier.”

That decision I refer to went against Helguson for a foot up challenge on the edge of our penalty area  despite his boot not being as far off the ground as the Peterborough player’s he was challenging with was. However, as I mention, it was not just that decision which marked him out as poor – as is usually the case when an official is incompetent, both sides tend to suffer to varying degrees.

That game was the first time Mr Coote had taken charge of one of our matches and we were spared him during our Premier League season, but he was in charge for the home game with Ipswich last season when I described his performance as “weak” and also he saw fit to caution eight players again during our 0-0 draw at Portman Road in October. So, last night was the fourth time he has taken charge of one of our games and he has managed to beat us in half of them, but, unlike the first time, this time it could have a huge bearing on our season.

In the three years since that Peterborough match, I’ve been proved half right with my prediction that he would not have much of a future in the Championship. Mr Coote still takes charge of more lower league games than he does Championship ones (this season, after starting off with four Championship fixtures, our game at Ipswich was the only one he had officiated at this level until Fulham v Brentford last Saturday), but it would seem that he has some friends in high places.

I say that because Mr Coote was selected to take charge of what was probably the biggest game of Russell Slade’s managerial career so far (the 2014 League One Play Off Final between Rotherham and Leyton Orient) and, in August, he was selected as “A future Premier League referee” in this piece in what appears to be a reputable site dedicated to improving refereeing standards – I must say mind that the name of the person given as the author of the piece rather tends to diminish it’s impact!

Being serious, I suspect that the identity of the supposed author of the article is a mistake and that, in reality, there are independent observers who know more about refereeing than I do who believe that Mr Coote is someone with a bright future.

Furthermore, I accept that me making statements like he’s beaten us twice in the four Cardiff matches he’s taken charge of, can come across as the rantings of someone looking for a scapegoat  when their team loses in much the same manner of so much that we see and hear online and in supporter reaction shows like 606 and Call Rob.

However, as I said three months ago after the lamentable Chris Sarginson’s showing in the Hull match, I invite anyone to go through the match reports I’ve been producing on here for more than six years now and find many, if any, that see me spending as much time as I’m doing here discussing the performance of the referee – as a rule, a ref either has to be very good or very bad for me to make any reference to him.

Even so, I maintain that David Coote, not Birmingham, beat us last night because all of the television evidence proves that his decision to award a penalty for handball against Matt Connolly was wrong – not may have been wrong, looked to be wrong or was probably wrong, it was plain wrong!

Match summariser David Prutton didn’t offer even the merest hint that the decision may have had some merit to it, neither did Ian Holloway or Lee Clark (a former Birmingham manager), the “experts” hired to offer their thoughts on the match after forty five and ninety minutes. Most damning of all though, Birmingham’s current manager Gary Rowett didn’t waste any time in trying to justify a wrong decision which went in his team’s favour in the manner that you see from so many in his profession under similar circumstances.

No, everyone who saw the incident didn’t think it was a penalty except Mr Coote. Now, of course, criticism of any decision made of an official in a televised game has to mitigated by the knowledge that he gets just the one look at the alleged offence, but, is that really true in this case?

In his post match interview an understandably annoyed Russell Slade said that the referee had a clear view of the incident – I’m not so sure about that. I tend to agree with Ian Holloway I think it was who said that the pictures from a certain angle made it look like Mr Coote could not have seen where the ball had hit Connolly as his view was obstructed. If this is true, then it makes the decision an even worse one (if that could be possible!) because the referee was guessing as to what part of the body the ball had hit – I appreciate that there has to be an element of guesswork involved in some of the minor decisions made during a game, but, surely, that should never be the case with the one which decides it’s outcome?

Given the very poor impression Mr Coote made on me in the first game I saw him take charge of, I’ve made a point of paying more attention to him in the occasional live televised matches he’s featured in since then. To be fair, he’s not been terrible in all of them by any means (I thought he did pretty well in that Play Off Final for example), but my overall impression is that he is a poor referee and, after last night, he is definitely on what is really quite a short list of refs I don’t want to see in charge of City games again.

The thing is though, that Mr Coote would not have had to make his woeful decision if David Marshall had kept hold of the cross he had looked to have fielded easily enough in the first place. In the last week, I’ve seen Marshall criticised for not stopping Sheffield Wednesday’s first goal and both Brentford goals and, in each of those cases, I’ve defended him, but he was at fault last night. Yes, sometimes he may have been rescued by a referee blowing for a foul on him which led to the dropping of the ball, but, in my opinion, that was a decision which Mr Coote actually got right.

After scoring in just one out of their previous seven home games, Birmingham's Paul Caddis scores the games only goal - defeats at places like Rotherham and Leeds show that this season's City side are just the sort of visitors you need if you are going through a long run of poor home results.*

After netting in just one out of their previous seven home matches, Birmingham’s Paul Caddis scores the games only goal – defeats at places like Rotherham and Leeds show that this season’s City side are just the sort of visitors you need if you are going through a long run of poor home results.*

One final thing about the penalty incident. Although I don’t blame him at all for his part in it and I still rate him as one of our best performers so far this season, with his two own goals in added time at the end of matches that have cost us three points and now this which cost us a further one, Matt Connolly has become someone who could do with being less accident prone.

As it is, Connolly’s place looks secure for the foreseeable future, because an early injury that could keep Sean Morrison out for a month according to our manager, has offered Bruno Manga a route back into the side amid talk of Ben Turner possibly being recalled from his loan spell at Coventry.

By and large though, after their recent troubles at the back, it was at the other end of the pitch where City didn’t fully convince in a performance that was pretty good up to a point without really demonstrating the qualities which suggested we were a watching a top six side in action.

As has happened in the past when he has been given a start, Sammy Ameobi did not produce a display which demanded inclusion next time around as he missed what was probably our best scoring chance on the night.

However, it was the performance of Kenwyne Jones which disappointed most. To hear his fan club on Wales Online talking about him being the best of his type in the Championship, you would think that all City fans are united in believing he should be an automatic selection every week, but Messrs Clark and Holloway outlined at both half and full time why I, for one, believe that we are taking a risk by relying so heavily on someone whose attitude and level of performance blows as hot and cold as Kenwyne’s does – reading the comments section on here makes me believe there are at least some out there who feel the same way as me as well.

*pictures courtesy ofhttp://www.walesonline.co.uk/

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15 Responses to Daft as a Coote or just plain incompetent?

  1. barry Cole says:

    another in depth piece this time on the referee but my worry is that we didn’t do enough against what is a very poor Birmingham team. Yes the penalty decision was totally wrong but the sqame referee missed a certain penalty when peltier clawed down the Birmingham player.
    Furthermore it is clear that slade picked the wrong team yet again with the inclusion of ameobi. worse still was the need for his number 2 to remind him that he had substitutions as he seemed totally out of it not knowing what to do next. What he did next was totally unbelievable by taking off potential game changers and putting on whittingham. Now tell me if I am wrong but surely the answer would have been to put Fabio on and take off Malone and noone for ameobi. which would at least allowed a quicker response going forward.
    I am sick of the tip tap and pass back football which eventually leads to losing the ball .
    We are playing teams which are nowhere near the standard of our players and it seems that slade just cannot get the best out of them.
    He really needs to go now to make sure that the person coming in has the time to get us back on track and at least give us hope of promotion.

  2. Clive Harry says:

    Despite possibly deserving all three points never mind the one we were robbed of last night, our display did little to convince me that the time is right to rekindle my love affair with Cardiff City (it’s still there but it’s dormant). This is surprising when I think of City sides I have stuck by in the past containing players such as Carlton Leonard and managers such as Alan Durban. Having said that, the much maligned Durban had to work in much more difficult circumstances than our present incumbent who is receiving some praise for operating in difficult circumstances when, compared to many of his predecessors, he still has a strong squad to work with. He has also said that ‘ he is no longer shopping in Harrods’ but is at least able to buy in metaphorical Marks & Spencer whereas many previous managers were in Poundshop. Allied to what I consider to be a complete lack of innovative thought and tactical rigidity, I believe that any improved results or performances we come up with are down to the lack of quality in this season’s Championship rather than anything engineered by Mr Slade. Last night was a classic example of this with a Birmingham side being talked of as play off contenders looking more like a relegation threatened team to me.
    As usual, we set up in our usual 4-4-2 which opposing sides can bank on us using and generally sticking to throughout the game no matter what. With a donkey up front and a show pony in midfield, (Ameobi’s attempt at converting our best chance of the game was appalling), we rarely looked capable of scoring despite another lively display by Tony Watt and the bulk of possession. How Fabio is not a regular in this side is a mystery when in front of him we play Peltier, who is admittedly a solid but very uninspiring player, and Malone on the other side who I think is barely Championship standard. Also on the bench as usual was Manga who showed he is probably our best centre back but Russell appears to be unable to make meaningful changes to the team out of choice with players often brought in simply because of injury or suspension rather than because of any tactical change to the team’s set up. Joe Ralls was anonymous last night but can be forgiven the occasional below par performance with Gunnarsson similarly uninspiring. Pilkington, despite playing quite well, and Ameobi both showed a complete lack of finishing power and with the shocking Jones looking more concerned with sorting out his pony tail than anything else, it’s hardly surprising we couldn’t score.
    To sum up my rant, it wouldn’t take too much to get me back but I can’t see it happening in the near future under the current manager and a regime which seems to be in a state of torpor.

  3. Dai Woosnam says:

    Thanks Paul for that truly astounding probe into the background of this Coote fellow.
    It is YOUR kind of journalism that triumphs every time over the superficial coverage by the print press.
    I watched the game on TV here in Grimsby and want to say a hearty Hear! hear! to this comment by Barry:
    ‘…
    I am sick of the tip tap and pass back football which eventually leads to losing the ball .
    …’
    As the Man Utd fans keep chanting at LvG…Cardiff City must “Attack, attack, attack!”
    But how can we attack with a lazy blighter like KJ? The time has come to start thinking outside the square.
    If our reserve keeper of just a few years back, can now be scoring a vital goal as a STRIKER to take Northern Ireland to Euro 2016, why cannot we experiment down at The Vale?
    Make KJ a centre BACK…not forward. When Morrison returns, try him, Connolly or Bruno up front. (No it is not April Fools Day here in Grimsby honest!)
    We never make the most of our players.
    Take someone like Craig Conway. Forget about “False number nines”…under the negative Malky, he was a “false number THREE”…spending half his time joined at the hip with his left back!!
    He goes to Blackburn and they play him as the fine LEFT WINGER he is.
    Must dash now. Christmas shopping.
    Kindest,
    Dai

  4. All right, it wasn’t handball – but it was certainly a dangerous tackle by Connolly and maybe that’s why the penalty was given.

    I totally agree about “tiptap football” and despite the “we wuz robbed” complaints we didn’t actually score, either. One glaring miss in particular leads me to my next point.

    Relying on one-footed players, left footed in most cases, seems to be another failing of Cardiff (and other teams nowadays) and I have remarked in the past on Cardiff’s pre-match warm up in which forwards hit the ball towards goal, invariably with their “stronger” foot, whereas attempts by the weaker foot might be more efficacious (but more likely to be “stiff-legged” and potentially embarrassing). In this respect I have also mentioned that two (formerly) much lauded strikers habitually scuff the ball instead of hitting it hard with the instep. (Sadly, and in spite of the received opinion, I have never seen much to praise in either of them).

    This brings me to Dai Woosnam’s (tongue-in-the- cheek?) suggestion of playing Kenwyne Jones as centre-half. Fine in theory? -No – not fine – as I’ve never seen the aforesaid KJ actually tackle anyone effectively. However and strangely enough, in agreement with Dai, I have thought several times that it might be worth trying one of our central defenders “up front” since they would be more likely to win something in the air than is normally the case.

    But my ideal front two is not hard to guess – a fit and ready Saadi in combination with Watt, who again worked his socks off. I hope he is not disillusioned by the lack of on-field support he get, or that he might be “gazumped” by some other team before Cardiff can sign him on a permanent deal.

    All that said, Cardiff at times looked a rather promising team in comparison with Birmingham, who are supposed to be viable top-six candidates. In fact, I am looking forward to the remainder of the season with a degree of optimism!

  5. Graham says:

    Always some small consolation to read your reports, Paul, and Anthony’s intelligent and thoughtful comments .. watching on TV in Johannesburg on my annual December relinquishing of my Ninian Stand season ticket and knowing that travelling to be at a game from here is more hassle than I can cope with given my usual visits from my home in London, all I want to say after last night’s misery is that the sooner Jones goes the better having long believed his major contribution is going forward defensively from our goal-line during the other team’s corners .. and our manager keeps making substitution decisions – or rather not making them when he should – which increases my belief that he simply isn’t up to doing the job .. we don’t seem to have anyone who simply galvanizes the rest when the going gets rough and tough – urgent need for a mid-field organizer ?

  6. Dai Woosnam says:

    Paul,
    Just back in from shopping.
    I knew there was something I forgot to mention, and it is this…

    When the January window opens, it will be great to try and offload several players. But I fear there may be no takers for Mason, Macheda, Declan John, O’Keefe…and yes…maybe KJ too (for my patience has finally been exhausted with this gifted but lazy player).

    But I guess we can all live with it, if nobody goes out.

    But what is imperative is that Russell NOT be allowed to sign anyone new. His signings so far warrant only a mark of 3 or 4 out of 10.
    He has got to learn to get the BEST out of his players, and I submit he needs to think “outside the square” to do it.

    And also abandon TIKI-TAKA sleep-inducing play, from this moment on.

    And talking of making the best of what you’ve already got, and not being obsessed with new signings (and upsetting the apple-cart with too many new faces), I have just spotted this great little clip.

    Gary Neville again.

    And if you have not had a Gary Neville overdose from my recent posting, try this much shorter one on for size.
    Less than two minutes.
    But wonderfully wise.
    His rhetorical question re the three young boys at the end, quite MOVED me.
    How one man’s image can change, eh?
    I never liked this bloke’s personality as a player. But gee, how I have grown to like him now. I do not care for Mr Roy Hodgson either, but he has gone up in my estimation if it was his decision to appoint GN as his coach.
    And Mr Vincent Tan take note: do not give Mr Slade any money for transfers. Tell him to watch this clip and DEVELOP the talent he already has.
    Just three years ago, Declan John for instance was the next big thing in Welsh football.
    What happened there?

    http://youtu.be/CuDdH-WMbMQ

    Kindest,
    Dai

  7. Geoff Lewis says:

    Paul,
    Good in depth report by yourself and constructive response from our readers.
    Beside the awful decision by the referee to award the penalty, did you not notice the cheating Birmingham players advocating handball to the referee, Sportmanship!!!!
    Another point why did Pilkington not head directly for goal against the goalie instead of passing to lazybones Jones and Ameobi says it all , he cannot finish one footed
    Regards
    Geoff

  8. russell says:

    Think your a bit harsh on Slade,he has adapted from a long ball badge,up until Birmingham we had seen some great games and goals.
    We were never going to be top 2 due to the teams imbalance and lack of team togetherness at the start.
    We could have won at Birmingham if first half chances were taken.
    This league takes an exceptional team and manager to get out off,so perhaps we need to cut some slack,and see what the new year brings.
    Merry Xmas Keep the posts flowing it’s all about debate and perception.

  9. Dai Woosnam says:

    Geoff Lewis is dead right…one footedness is the curse of our current squad. Who can ever forget Ameobi’s amazing miss from 5 yards against Bristol City because of his refusal to take the ball with his weaker right foot?
    As for the “cheating” Brummagem players: Geoff is right again. Alas however, I must say that it is a malaise that has permeated all levels of the game, right down to Sunday pub leagues.
    And trust me, had yesterday’s game been at the CCS and our opposition had a defender’s face in the way of one of OUR shots, well…every Bluebird player would be appealing too…and our crowd to boot.
    But as you Paul, rightly say, the referee should not have given a penalty for a handball he did not actually SEE. But I reckon the roar of a crowd is a major factor. It sways the referee’s judgement.
    And it was ever thus, Paul and Geoff.
    Some 30 years ago I did an experiment …and laboriously checked the football results every week for a WHOLE SEASON to see how penalties were being divvied up between home and away teams.
    Now…I will never make a statistician or some kind of psephologist. Why? Well, because my “science” had a great big HOLE through it !
    You see, I realised halfway through, that I had no way of knowing exactly how many penalties were awarded IN TOTAL: I could only know the ones that had been successfully dispatched !! Newspapers did not – and still do not – show missed penalties as far as I know.
    But that said, the results of my research were illuminating. Just under 80% of the scored penalties that season went to Home sides. (78% as I recall)
    Now there are innocent reasons for that. Away teams often are more negative and park the bus…thus more of the game is played in their half of the field. Plus teams are usually stronger at home than they are away.
    But those two factors together, still should not amount to 3.9 penalties out of 5 going to the HOME side.
    So it must be the REFEREE methinks…

    Before signing off Paul, I have just written a lengthy appreciation of Jimmy Hill to a friend in the USA who is a keen English soccer fan of many years. As there are references to our team and Ninian Park, I hope you will allow me the indulgence of reprinting it here for your many readers.

    Graham has my blessing to switch off.

    Thanks in anticipation. Here it is:

    ‘…
    A word about the death of a leading figure in British soccer from 1960 till about the year 2006…Jimmy Hill.
    He was the man who led the Players’ Union and broke the salary cap in 1961…so that Fulham’s Johnny Haynes could be the first ever £100 a week football player.
    It was a sum unheard of back then.
    Today, a player of Haynes’s class would be poorly paid at one hundred THOUSAND Pounds a week! He would earn DOUBLE that.
    Incredible, eh?
    Jimmy Hill’s breaking of the salary cap, was instrumental in my team Cardiff losing their INSPIRATIONAL captain and star player, who went for an extra £10 a week (yes!) to Doncaster. Following his sale, the Cardiff team were relegated from the top tier and had to wait a full HALF CENTURY to get back again…but were recently as you know demoted again after just a year in the EPL (this time I reckon again due to managerial incompetence).
    So I should have felt sore at Jimmy Hill, for losing us our star man. But I did not. I always loved the bloke, even if he was a Maggie Thatcher idoliser and rode with his local foxhunt.
    He became an ace soccer pundit, and was deposed from the BBC flagship programme on ageist grounds. And then went to SKY SPORTS for the best part of 10 years, until Alzheimer’s came calling.
    Mentioning, Fulham back there, I saw him play two or three times in the late 1950s at Ninian Park. I thought him an excellent attacking No 8. And unlike today, he stood out as being the only player with a beard who came to Cardiff. (There may have been another playing in a lower division: hence me choosing my words with care.)
    A boyhood pal of mine swore blind that Hill was a rabbi, and at first the 11 year old me, believed him!
    We have lost a good man at 87.
    And what better way to remember him, than him changing the colours of the Coventry team he took over, in 1961? Just shows how supporters will happily take a colour change, if they have a powerful personality to explain the raison d’etre for the move. Say a Don Revie, a Jimmy Hill or a Gary Neville (!!)
    And to get the fans behind the move to sky blue, he re-wrote the Eton Boating Song. A masterstroke.
    Here he is 44 years later in 2005, at the last game on their old ground. The fans have chanted his name, wanting him to speak. Listen how silence descends as someone hands him a microphone.
    Here, 35 seconds in, he starts the singing of The Sky Blue Song…his re-working of the Eton Boating Song. Stirring stuff.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nuX3JTOuapU
    R.I.P. Jimmy.
    …’

    DW

  10. Richard Holt says:

    I have to say Paul that I think Russell Slade is a very lucky manager that most of the attention to last night’s defeat is focussed on a shocking refereeing decision just as on Tuesday the fact that we had yet again let a two goal lead slip was made ‘alright’ by Jones’ last-gasp winner. In all honesty I didn’t think we deserved anything from last night’s game and it was a performance that reminded me of those drab defeats at Blackpool and Millwall last season. Russell Slade has said he is ‘pleased by our performance’. Well I’d like to know how the performances of Peltier, Malone, Pilkington, Marshall and worst of all Jones gave him any pleasure at all. His substitutions had the effect of bringing to an end any of those improvised rather scruffy attacking moves that did give the occasional possibility of an equaliser. Putting Whits on to sit in front of the back four made it even more comfortable for Birmingham’s midfield and though replacing Pilkington with Noone was understandable, Noone’s seeming failure to touch the ball during the final 14 minutes hardly helped the cause. (Maybe he did touch the ball at some time but i can’t recall it).
    Like you Paul, I’ve tried to look for positives in Russell Slade. He’s probably a decent chap and is hampered by financial restrictions. He inherited a ridiculously large and over-paid squad and has to work for a pretty dis-functional owner. Our league position is probably better than most of us expected when the season started. My brain weighs up all these things but what I see on the pitch has something in my bones telling me that he is utterly inadequate in providing what the club needs at the moment.

  11. The other Bob Wilson says:

    Once again, a series of replies which prove that there is so much more to enjoy on here lately than my ramblings!
    There is too much really for me to go into great detail on, but I want to say a few words as to why my piece on the Birmingham match was relatively light on criticism of Russell Slade. Firstly, I must admit to getting a little bored by the way so much of what I write lately ends up as being critical of our manager – I say this knowing that so many of the things I find unconvincing about him remain in place and, if I’m being honest with myself, I have little faith in him being able to deliver on his self imposed target of a top six finish. However, so much of my strongest criticism of our manager derived from the lack of entertainment on offer with his teams and recent home matches have, most unexpectedly for me, proved to be enjoyable occasions, so I suppose I’ve been willing to cut him a little slack.
    The second reason is that I honestly didn’t think there was a great deal to be critical of Russell Slade of during this game. Yes, the dropping/resting of Fabio struck me as odd when he has missed so much football lately and I must admit that, having resolutely refused to use Peter Whittingham from the bench in the previous matches that he had been dropped from, I was somewhat perplexed as to what was different about Friday night compared to the previous three matches.
    Maybe it was because we were chasing the game on Friday whereas in those other ones we were leading or drawing at the time (which you can usually set your watch by!) when Russell Slade makes his substitutions because I must say that descriptions of Birmingham being the worst team we’ve played this season (which I’ve read on messageboards, but I don’t believe has been put on here) seemed a long way off the mark to me. Not too threatening in terms of creating much maybe, but they were solid and efficient (certainly far more than we are lately!) once they had been given a lead to defend.
    That’s why I pointed both barrels at the inept ref. Without his intervention, it was very hard to see how Birmingham would score and, as their anxiety at having their goalless run at St. Andrews extended would have continued, I would have been hopeful of us edging a win with a goal in the closing stages – I say this while fully recognising Richard’s point about how we often look lightweight and lacking in belief against teams going through bad runs (I alluded to it myself in the caption to one of the photos I used in the piece).
    A couple of points about individual responses – Dai, as usual with you, I find myself disagreeing with some of what you say and in complete agreement with other parts. Sorry, but I couldn’t help but smile when I read about City playing Tiki Taka type football – put it this way, if we are really trying to embrace that philosophy and all that goes with it, we are as bad at it as we were this time last year at playing a long ball game! I’m happy to see us valuing possession of the ball more than we did for portions of last season and, generally speaking, we’ve been a bit better at passing with a purpose (i.e. trying to move forward with the ball) lately.
    That must have been a mighty effort to come up with those figures on penalties. Your findings do not surprise me at all – as for missed penalties, while I suppose players taking one away from home are put under more pressure by the crowd which may lead to a slight increase in numbers missed as compared to those being taken by home players, I’d say that it’s probable that the overall home/away breakdown of penalties given would be little different from your figure for those scored from.
    Just to say, I’m in complete agreement with you as to how City fans would have reacted if exactly the same incident had happened to a Birmingham player at Cardiff City Stadium rather than Matt Connolly at St. Andrews – you get laughable cries of “handball” at home games when the ball goes within two yards of an opposing player’s arm in the penalty area as it is, so the place would have been up in arms if one of them did what Connolly did!
    Thanks for that nice tribute to Jimmy Hill and I’ll rise to your bait about the kit change at Coventry somewhat by saying that Hill was a true innovator who completely transformed Coventry City with a series of ground breaking initiatives, one of which was the adoption of a sky blue kit as opposed to the blue and white one worn for around forty years before that. However, sky blue had been used intermittently by Coventry since late in the nineteenth century, so there was at least some connection with the new colours at that club, which was never the case when it came to the red and black inflicted on us by Vincent Tan. Furthermore, City’s kit change was trailed back in 2012 as being part of a package of measures in much the same way as Coventry’s was fifty years earlier, but, unlike that club, that package of measures has never been delivered in full by the Cardiff hierarchy.
    Finally, I’d say Clive has raised a matter which I’ve thought of occasionally in the past year or so – long term supporters who have been prepared to put up with far worse, in terms of playing ability from the team, than what is on offer currently, are deserting Cardiff City as well as those who, hardly surprisingly, decided to ditch the Bluebirds after a short term, casual, acquaintance with them which lasted for about as long it took them to win the Championship and then get relegated from the Premier League.
    Yes, the current manager, the change to red, boring football and inept financial management have all been contributory factors to the general decline in attendances. However, my guess is that those at the club who are in a position to carry out a thorough breakdown as to the type of person who has stopped going to games have got something of an unpleasant surprise from the number of people whose attendance they would have previously taken for granted have decided they have had enough. My feeling is that somewhere along the line, Cardiff City has stopped being to them what they had assumed it would be for the rest of their lives – it’s obvious that there has been a big disconnect between club and supporters in recent years, but I’m not sure we’ll ever be able to completely identify all of the reasons as to why this has happened because, compared with, say, the sale of John Toshack, this seems much more of general loss of faith for multiple reasons rather than just one thing which everyone can identify/sympathise with.

  12. Russell says:

    I totally agree with the comments on Kenwyne, I have felt for some time that although his presence is undoubtedly useful,however in the long run I don’t think his on /off performances help us or the team .

    We certainly don’t get the alleged 35k worth of performance ,and that must bother team morale, it would me if I was sitting in that dressing room after running my socks off for 90 minutes and picking up a third of his money ( for the 20 minutes of effort he has put in )

  13. MIKE HOPE says:

    I have been away over the weekend and have only now had the chance to read your report and other comments. If it is not too late I would like to make two comments on the referee,Firstly I am amazed that Barry Cole does not blame Slade for the mistake! Secondly I recall an interview with a retired referee about a year [perhaps longer] ago.He was generally sympathetic towards modern refs and the impossibility of getting all their decisions right but he was emphatic that the big No No for any referee was making a decision based on” seeing” something that did not happen.If this sensible opinion is shared by the Football League we may not see Mr Coote again.

  14. Dai Woosnam says:

    Mike’s very witty comment re Barry made me LAUGH OUT LOUD. Mind you, I am sure that Barry appreciated the joke too…after all, he seems a fair chap (attitude to Russell Slade apart, that is).
    And that said, I am also sure we will all now say to Barry that whether we agree with him or not re Mr Slade, we know deep down that Barry has Cardiff City tattooed on his heart.
    And in that, all of us who inhabit Paul’s fine blog, thus have a common cause.

    Before signing off, I have just been to the BBC SPORTS website, and looked at the stats for today’s Watford v Liverpool game. (Let us hope they do not change them!)
    And I noted that Liverpool had TWICE the possession that Watford had…yet lost 3-0.
    So my NewYear’s Wish is for City players to NOT be afraid of playing a brave pass that may go straight to the opposition!
    But I would add a proviso: that pass that goes astray needs to be in the OPPONENT’S half of the field…and not the Bluebirds’ own penalty area!!
    DW.

  15. The other Bob Wilson says:

    I found Mr Coote’s list of fixtures for this season interesting Mike. I’m reading between the lines here and there has to be a chance that I’ve got it wrong, but he started the season doing four consecutive Championship matches and then it was all League One or Two stuff until last week when he was given Fulham v Brentford on the Saturday and our game on the Friday. It seems to me that he has only just been forgiven for something he got wrong in those first four matches and, if I’m right, then what happened on Friday could see him facing a few more months at places like Morecambe and York.

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