Ironic cheers and laughter mark a new low for clueless City.

CoymayAdmittedly, it’s something of a moot point, but if you were a professional sportsman or woman, what would you least prefer to hear from your own supporters, booing and jeering of your efforts or ironic cheering and laughter at how poor you were?

Others may disagree, but I would hate it if I heard the sort of reaction (laughter) which greeted Aron Gunnarsson’s sliced volley from thirty yards that turned into a precision pass to Craig Noone out on the touchline during last night’s truly abysmal 0-0 draw with Brighton at Cardiff City Stadium or the widespread ironic cheering that broke out when Gunnarson’s deflected shot forced visiting goalkeeper David Stockdale into a routine save on fifty five minutes – it was the first on target goal attempt of the game.

For me, booing and jeering shows that while people may be angry at your efforts, they do at least still care enough to show their annoyance, when those supposed to be encouraging you start mocking your efforts then it means that the “bond” between players and spectators is broken – my character is such that booing and jeering would probably make me try a bit harder, but mockery would only make my performance get worse.

There was what has become the usual booing in home games at half time and at the final whistle and there were also outbreaks of it at times during the game (notably when Peter Whittingham knocked a completely pointless backpass to David Marshall who promptly blasted the ball towards the City dug out and out of play), but those moments when the crowd showed their contempt by laughing at the efforts of what Ole used to call their “heroes” really struck home for me.

For myself, I didn’t join in with either the booing or the laughing – I used to say that booing your own team is not justified in any circumstances, but how can you blame people for registering their displeasure at the end of the dire (a much over used word when it comes to Cardiff City and season 2014/15) spectacle of that first forty five minutes? Likewise, although it might have sounded earlier as if I was critical of those who were mocking their own team, I would add that, given what was being served up on the night, and has been over the past year or so, it is understandable that it has reached this stage for some.

I think I may have mentioned on here before that you come out of matches thinking that at least performances cannot get any worse, but they do, oh boy they do! I began by mentioning moot points and I believe an argument about whether last night’s was the worst performance seen yet this season is another one (my feeling was that the ninety minutes wasn’t as bad as the second halves in the two Reading games) – suffice it to say that it was awful, simply awful.

Kenwyne Jones had his moments I suppose, but it was a night where those in a Cardiff shirt charged with trying to create something once again fell way below the required standard.  Only defenders could be remotely satisfied with how they played - Manga and Morrison did okay at centreback, but best player for me was Lee Peltier who was very solid and looked to me as if he had the spirit to try to lead by example.*

Kenwyne Jones had his moments I suppose, but it was a night where those in a Cardiff shirt charged with trying to create something once again fell way below the required standard. Only defenders could be remotely satisfied with how they played – Manga and Morrison did okay at centreback, but the best player for me was Lee Peltier who was very solid and looked to me as if he had the spirit to try to lead by example.*

I must say mind that, as against Derby, we valued possession more than we had been doing for much of November, December and January and tried to play a bit more football. I also agreed with Russell Slade when he remarked about fans booing when Sean Morrison played a sideways pass instead of lumping it forward – I can’t help thinking that those very same people would have been on Morrison’s back for playing hoofball if he’d done what they wanted him to and he’d handed possession back to Brighton.

The fact that we weren’t wellying the ball forward all of the time made me feel more sympathetic to the team and I really wanted them to get some reward for their more patient approach, but, just as in the first half against Derby, all we did really was show how bad we are at both winning and retaining possession – as for doing anything creative with that possession, forget it, the only vague threats on the Brighton goal in the first half came from the usual suspects of corners and free kicks.

As the first half wore on, Brighton, just like every side we play, began to dominate possession and they knocked the ball around in midfield at times in a manner that we are completely incapable of matching, but they gained nothing whatsoever from this because when it came to a goal threat they looked exactly what they are – a relegation threatened side, barely averaging a goal a game.

Brighton at least looked capable of creating something though and were able to enjoy almost two thirds of possession in the first half against a side that, for me at least, was trying to play a more possession based game. Ironically, in the second half as we went more direct with Eoin Doyle on for the anonymous Stuart O’Keefe, we rallied to the dizzy heights of 40% possession by the end of the match.

Possession figures have almost assumed a mythical status at Cardiff these days – there are those who swear that there was once a Championship game where we had the ball more than our opponents did, but I dismiss such people in much the same way as I do those who swear they’ve seen Arsene Wenger admit he saw the incident which led to one of his players being red carded. Being serious, it’s now four months and sixteen matches since we had more of the ball than the opposition in a Championship game and, after hearing our manager’s thoughts on this in his post match press conference, I have to wonder if this bothers him at all.

When asked about being beaten 60/40 in the possession stakes by a side just outside the bottom three, Slade responded ah, but Brighton are a possession based team. My initial response on hearing this was to think “so we aren’t then?” – our manager did qualify this by saying that it’s where you have possession that is most important, but we get into threatening areas so rarely that I think it completely nullifies any argument he might try to come out with to claim that his way is more likely to succeed.

Are every side we play “a possession based team” Mr Slade, because since you took over, only Millwall have had less of the ball (by 51/49) in the nineteen Championship matches we’ve played – we had managed to clamber above Blackpool in the possession table before last night, but with them managing 43% against Middlesbrough, we’re probably back in our rightful place again now. So, does our manager not care about how little of the ball we have every week – let’s face it, we are crap in this respect and so, although I hate the type of football we had been playing, maybe we are better suited to the thud and blunder stuff?

The trouble is, we are pretty hopeless at that as well, as was shown in the second half last night when an early “siege” on the Brighton goal saw Gunnarsson have the shot that prompted the ironic applause and another header that dribbled it’s way into Stockdale’s gloves for what I think should have been a second effort on target (the BBC disagrees and maintains that we just had the one). What with his pass out to the winger when everyone thought he was trying a shot and his two goal attempts, Gunnarsson was certainly in the thick of the action, but, seriously, the close range header he put over from a Whittingham corner with about a quarter of an hour left exemplified how much things have changed in two years for three important members of the Championship winning squad.

I’m sure Gunnarsson would have buried that header a couple of years ago, but this is now, and the man who scored so many important goals in 12/13 has had the confidence drained out of him, just like Craig Noone (the odd good moment last night, couldn’t make up for the usual, so frustrating, lack of an end product from the winger). At least those two players didn’t hide though on a very difficult night, unfortunately I cannot say the same about Peter Whittingham – I get no pleasure out of saying that when the player concerned has been such a great (and I mean great) servant for the club, but Tom Adeyemi and Joe Ralls must have watched him last night and asked “am I really worse than that?”.

In a side playing like we are currently, a player who actually wants to get on the ball can be worth their weight in gold – Ralls is such a player, while Adeyemi is the only central midfielder I’ve seen at the club this season who, to use modern parlance, can play between the lines like Jordon Mutch used to, but, with Gunnarsson and Whittingham, seemingly, undroppable and O’Keefe being given a starting place all of the time despite it still not being clear to me exactly what he is bringing to the team, the two of them look as far away from selection as they have done at any time this season.

So much of Russell Slade’s thinking strikes me as being confused. Conor McAleny, so impressive at Hillsborough apparently, was shifted out to the wing where he was starved of possession and looked a bit lightweight when he did see the ball. This was to allow Whittingham to be utilised in a central advanced role that he had done little in when used there against Colchester and Derby recently, then when the young Everton loanee began to show a little of what he was capable of, he was hauled off and replaced by Kadeem Harris – there were at least three more suitable candidates for the “hook” in my opinion.

With so little happening in front of goal, the non use of Alex Revell was a mystery to me especially in the last ten minutes when it became clear how lacking in confidence Brighton were. Despite their dominance in the possession stakes, the visitors were a poor side who I thought were there for the taking as they started to make silly mistakes late on possibly brought on by anxiety caused by them closing in on their first result after three consecutive losses.

Probably the closest either side came to scoring - a relieved David Marshall watches Lewis Dunk's header drift narrowly wide.+

Probably the closest either side came to scoring – a relieved David Marshall watches Lewis Dunk’s header drift narrowly wide.+

The visitors might have come closest to scoring when Lewis Dunk’s header from a corner flew just wide with the fit again David Marshall rooted to the spot and the City keeper was forced into the one semi awkward save of the night when he turned a Teixeira free kick over the bar. However, I have watched their struggles from a distance this season thinking that they were too good to go down, but on last night’s evidence they most certainly are not and when you consider that we caused them so few problems, you have to conclude that the same applies to us.

Lately when I’m writing these pieces I often feel the need to apologise for being overly negative, but then I think again and realise that there is virtually nothing happening to be positive about. The return to blue and then Simon Moore’s penalty save against Derby were two things that got the crowd going for a while, but in both cases, the players and manager were not good enough to come up with anything that created a sense of momentum going in our favour. Therefore, we are now back to square one as far as on field matters go in that large numbers of season ticket holders are staying away (the attendance announcement of a lowest of the season 19,000 was greeted with derision) and an awful lot of those that still attend do so with no enthusiasm and expectation whatsoever – hardly the backdrop against which tickets for 15/16 should go on sale!

I’d really love to write something upbeat about City right now, but I can’t and will finish with three conversations I had during last night’s game which say so much about where the club and team are now;-

1. About twenty minutes in, the mate I go to games with said, “this is going to finish 0-0″, I nodded my agreement.

2. With about twenty minutes left, the bloke who sits behind me said “I’d genuinely forgotten Whittingham was on the pitch” – I’d quietly said exactly the same thing to my mate about ten minutes earlier.

3. The bloke behind me said the second half had been “much better” than the first – he was right, it was only very bad.

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

+ picture courtesy of https://www.flickr.com/photos/joncandy/

 

 

 

 

 

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14 Responses to Ironic cheers and laughter mark a new low for clueless City.

  1. Dave says:

    Congratulations on your article. You’ve summed up my own feelings so well about the game , the crowds reactions, the extremely poor standard of play and the general malaise around the club. The second rate players being brought in is only going to make things worse. I think it is entirely possible we will get relegated. Keep up the good work. At least you’re entertaining to read.

  2. Geoff Lewis says:

    Paul,
    As usual you summed up everything so well about last night’s game. I think it my long time in supporting CCFC, this has to be one of the worst games I have witnessed.
    To me it is all down to Slade and his so called coaching staff and Tan and the board who made the appointment.
    If the club intended to seek Premiership football next season, why would you go for a league one manager. who was on the verge of getting pushed out from Leyton Orient?
    The guy has not got a clue in picking the right team or making substitutions
    We have no chance this season , only looking down to the rear end of the Championship table.
    My last comment is why would you loan out Le Fondre( I know he was unable to score for us) to Bolton who are on the same par as us, and he scored last night as this could bite us back towards the end of the season, if they earn more points than us and stay up and we find ourselves relegated.
    Regards
    Geoff

  3. Big Al says:

    Staff don’t respond to poor leadership. Slade is a dead man walking. Need to bring in a Manager with a proven track record of success at Premiership level. Ex Swansea Manager could be our saviour?
    Go for it VT.
    Big Al

  4. Mike Rees says:

    As a season ticket holder for some years….the 120 mile round trip…£6.50 bridge fee…. £70 on food , drinks, programmes and petrol for each home game……to watch the type of rubbish which is being served up week on week under this manager is becoming tiresome……I want to support the club through thick and thin…but the cost of doing so and having to sit through what I sat through last night makes me question the purpose of spending that money and inflicting the suffering on my children too. Despite their age, they even comment on how bad it is……. Slade has to go….I will not be renewing my season ticket unless it changes….

  5. Anthony O'Brien says:

    Comments spot-on, as usual – and obviously from people who know football and genuinely feel for their club. Apart from the incidents previously mentioned in Paul’s excellent match report, there was another occasion that summed up the whole game for me. Gunnarson was preparing to take his predictable long throw at the Cardiff statues crowding the Brighton penalty box, when – I think it was Peltier – was standing completely unmarked some ten or fifteen yards from Gunnarson and pleading for the ball. A quick throw to a colleague’s feet from Cardiff? Unthinkable!!! Gunnarson carried on towelling the ball, finally – a long time finally – hurled it into the area, and – predictably – saw the ball easily cleared by the defence.
    Making my despondent way home after the match I was listening on the wireless – I think it’s now called a radio – and I heard an Aston Villa fan complaining after his team’s traditional defeat that good players had been turned into bad at Villa. “And at Cardiff,” I thought. Is it the training (or lack of) which is to blame. Don’t the Cardiff players practise ball skills, controlling the ball, passing it on the run, and other necessary aids to being professional? I hardly think so. Indeed, I’d like to suggest a new club badge to be worn by players and non-players alike – a white flag with a long pointed hat bearing the letter “D”.
    And to think, I’ve already bought season tickets for my grandson and myself for next season!!!!!!

  6. Graham says:

    Back home in London and really resenting train fares and hotel bills and wishing I hadn’t already got both sorted out for next Tuesday’s game against Blackburn .. I agree with what everyone else has said about what we actually do on the pitch, the way we play : never moving forward looking for space, those with the ball never looking for any who may have found space .. when and why did it all start going so wrong? Leadership matters – on and off the pitch – and if there has been some there’s not been enough .. so who sorts that out?

  7. Dai Woosnam says:

    Thanks Paul, as ever.
    Let me say this to Geoff: worry not that Bolton will finish on the same points level as Cardiff. Bolton have a manager of rare quality: a chap I recommended Cardiff recruit before they got dear old Russell, who is still regarded as something of an amiable failure, here in Grimsby where I live.
    I always knew that RS would never get City back to the Promised Land in a million years, but I confess that his performance has been more underwhelming than I had expected.
    Still, with RS, there is gallows humour abounding, wherever you look.
    Just spotted this (at the end of my piece below)on WalesOnline.
    I now try not to frequent their comments pages: the contributors are all 20/20 hindsight men who are often as articulate as a lorry.
    I say “men”: in truth, I suspect many of them are 12 year-old keyboard warriors!
    Hey don’t knock 12 year olds, Dai! I was 12 when I had my first letter in the Pink Un, and between 13 and 17 (when I moved to The Smoke), regularly won the Star Letter 7/6 postal order, dispatched promptly from Thomson House. Those letters are yellowing (yes pink newspapers CAN “yellow”, trust me!)up in my loft.

    But one chap who is not a keyboard warrior is the marvellously balanced Alan Blacker. Just spotted this gem of a comment from him.
    I promise you that I will wake at 3am laughing at this great line!
    ‘…
    no point in sacking him now, no good manager will want to come to Cardiff. Put us all out of our misery now Mr Tan and check all his emails
    …’
    Thanks again, Paul.
    Kindest, Dai.

  8. rhondda blue says:

    so another game of dross by rusty spades boys, first time in 50 years that i left any game 15 minutes before the end, but sorry lads i could take no more,it is getting worse by the week. why at home rusty plays one up front when we need the points is beyond me and still sticks with whitts and gunnerson in midfield when it has not worked all season, time for addy and ralls to shine. i watched our subs training at half time and our so called coaches did nothing with them apart from injuring kadeem, they should be sacked along with rusty and young for taking money under false pretences, unlike brighton who were training properly with their coaches. steve tucker w.o.l. gave gunnerson man of the match, don’t know what game tucks was watching , but i thought he was awful alongside whittingham. i am fed up hearing rusty saying we are in transition, how long for russ, till we reach the 1st division that you know so well. he should man up and quit before it’s too late. maybe we should try and get raymond van the ex walescoach, can’t do no worse surely.

  9. Dai Woosnam says:

    What an interesting suggestion from Rhondda Blue.
    Raymond Van is definite “thinking outside the square” stuff…and could save City from the drop.
    And like Rhondda Blue, I fear this Russell Slade train is heading for the buffers.
    But I fear what will happen is what I predicted 10 months ago in my disaster scenario, viz that Ole would be sacked by New Year’s Day, and that the egregious, paranoid Dave Jones would be invited to take the hot seat again.
    I had not bargained for the PE teacher from Nottingham being the meat in the sandwich, but I fear that the DJ return could be imminent.
    DW

  10. Geoff Lewis says:

    Well said Dai, lets get DJ back. How as fans can we get the Board to get rid of RS and SY for the shambles they have put this club in. It is a disgrace they are allowed to carry on this way.
    Cheers
    Geoff

  11. The other Bob Wilson says:

    Thanks again for your replies. Often you know that a match is a very significant one for your club as you are watching it, whereas sometimes it takes a period of time before it becomes clear just how significant another one might be and I wonder if Tuesday’s game falls into the latter category? I mentioned in passing in my piece that I didn’t think Tuesday was as bad as one or two other nightmare performances this season, but the overwhelmingly negative reaction to it offers a clue that most disagree with me.
    There are plenty who have wanted Russell Slade out for some time now, but there were probably as many saying that he should at least be given the chance to see how what is much more like his team fared in the coming weeks (I’d say I belonged in that category). However, since Tuesday, I’ve not seen or heard anyone argue that our manager should be given more time – as for myself, I think I said on here last week that all my instincts say that you should not be sacking a manager this soon into his time in the job, but I’ll make an exception in this case!
    What’s made me change my mind is the sheer, grinding monotony of our football – sometimes with struggling sides you get the feeling that a good performance and result is just around the corner. I can remember our last struggling season at this level in 04/05 and, in particular, a game against a West Ham side that ended up being promoted that we won 4-1 with a performance which had been coming for a few weeks – even in their wildest dreams, I don’t think any City fan unfortunate enough to have watched Tuesday’s game would think that about Russell Slade’s transitional team!
    Lord knows, it costs me enough to go to matches, but I only have a twenty minute drive to my car parking space and then a short walk to the ground. When you look at the replies here from Rhondda Blue and Graham and Mike (I know Geoff was an exile as well, so I assume that’s still the case) to see the distances people are willing to travel to watch their team (my co author of The Journey Back and sometime correspondent on here Richard Hoad made the trip up from Bournmeouth again as well) it makes them entitled to except far more than they’ve been served up with by Cardiff City since they got promoted two years ago for the sacrifices they make and the commitment they show- in fact, I’d say that they should be refunded their travelling expenses for Tuesday by the club! On another level, the club, probably rightly, thought that they could take the attendance of people from outside South Wales for granted while we were in the Premier League, but that has certainly changed now and Messrs Tan, Dalman and Choo really need to consider the impact that our manager and the style of football he favours is having on gates – speaking as someone who is finding it hard to summon up the enthusiasm at the moment to make the short journey I mentioned earlier for next Tuesday’s match, the thought of someone willing to make a round trip of hundreds of miles to watch will almost certainly be more dross is awe inspiring!
    Just a few comments on some of the issues raised in the replies;-
    1. I’d give a partnership between Dutch Ray and Vincent Tan about a week before the former was on Twitter announcing his departure!
    2. Geoff, I tend to agree with Dai that Bolton won’t feature in the relegation scrap now, but, in a way, it would serve City right if they were sent down by the goals LeFondre scored while on loan to them.
    3. Anthony, I saw that incident with Gunnarsson and Peltier that you mentioned. Peltier’s frustration was obvious, and justified in my opinion, he looks to me like he might be one of the few in the squad that would be willing to fight their corner in a relegation scrap.
    4. Great line about Vincent Tan going through Slade’s diary Dai!

  12. Geoff Lewis says:

    Paul,
    Thanks for the mention as an exile , I live in Llandeilo and the round trip is around 130miles(cost of fuel, hope late on Tuesday nights) Not too bad as I am 71 years of age and retired, not like some supporters, who have work the following day.
    Regards
    Geoff

  13. Tony Carrafa says:

    hi Paul

    You are spot on with all you’re comments!

    I like many supporters am really worried for the future of our Bluebirds because since getting to the Prem we seem to have only taken steps backwards week by week. Iinevitably this can only end up with us never recovering!!!

    You would probably do a better job of steering our overpaid, underachieving supposed ‘Star’!!

    Keep up the good work mate!

  14. The other Bob Wilson says:

    Not so sure about that Tony! Great to hear from you – as someone once said somewhere, all opinions are welcome.

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