Just one more game to endure and we’ll be free, free!!!!!

CoymayWhat was I supposed to be doing now, I know there was something, but………… oh yes, I remember. Cardiff City entertained some team from London who played in yellow and are likely to be relegated to whatever the league below us is called these days yesterday – the other lot really needed to win the game, but didn’t.

The match got off to a misleadingly bright start when some City player (it was probably Mason or Whittingham because they were wearing long sleeves) headed not too far wide after about thirty seconds, but things soon settled down to the normal pattern for home games this season – i.e. very little happening.

Actually, I’ve just remembered who we were playing and that I forgot to mention what the score was. It was Millwall and….oh bugger, I forgot to post that birthday card!

City were not creating much, but it seemed to me that they were enjoying the better of things in midfield where we had the very rare luxury for this season of Whittingham and Gunnarsson playing pretty well at the same time and there was a flurry of action around the half hour mark.

It was 0-0 by the way. Anyway, back to that flurry of action I mentioned. Former City keeper David Forde made hard work of a Whittingham shot from twenty five yards that was well struck, but virtually straight at him. Forde was also greatly concerned by what I thought was a cross by Ralls that glanced off the crossbar.

The one time in the match when City's hoofed balls forward found their target - ex Cardiff man awakes from his snoozing to get his head to  a pass.*

The one time in the match when City’s hoofed balls forward found their target – ex Cardiff man David Forde awakes from his snoozing to get his head to a pass.*

A fine run down the right by Doyle got the crowd excited for a moment, but the striker’s cross was just out of the reach of Mason and someone else, while some bloke from um, yeah Millwall had a potshot from thirty yards that Marshall dealt with easily.

Note to myself, I must check if I need to get bread and milk for tomorrow

This first half report was written in the style of City’s performance during the opening forty five minutes – vaguely interested, but, essentially, distracted.

The first peeryod hadunt been anything special, but compared to whAT followed it was top drawer stuff.Just as against Wigan in their last home match City basicAlly stopped playing at half time.

In that match on Good Friday City came up against opponents who were roofless in there finishing, butt, luckily for them, this time they were up against a side who had left they’re shoe tin boots at home.

Centerback Mark B Vers smacked an effort off the crossbar and Marshall did brilliantly to turn Gregorees follow up effort on to a post. ALexander then saved well with his legs after Ravel Morrison had carelessly given the ball away.

Worst of all for the visitors, sub Fletcher-Taylor made a complete mess of a simple chance provided by another sub Fullher after he had shaken off Bruno Manga too easily – Jeez why am I stuck in here writing this on a lovely evening like this?

All City had in reply during the second forty five minutes was an effort form Owen Doyle from a good position ten yards out that he skied a long way over the top – I honestly can’t think of any other times when we threatened the Charlton goal.

This second half report was written in the style of City’s performance in the closing three quarters of an hour – full of basic errors, while showing a desire to be elsewhere.

Now the serious bit, City made it just two wins in their last thirteen home league games with a dreadful 0-0 draw against relegation haunted Millwall. The visitors really should have won as City spent the second half seemingly hell bent on gifting them the three points that would have given them a decent chance of staving off the drop.

Millwall weren’t good enough to capitalise on their host’s generosity though and must surely be thinking that they missed a glorious opportunity yesterday.

City were just about reasonable I suppose during a first half that I thought they just edged, but a stat which says so much about what watching us play at home this season is like is that it is now nine games since we scored in the first forty five minutes of a game at Cardiff City Stadium.

My heart goes out to those poor souls in the Family Stand who have not seen their team score at their end in a league match since Sean Morrison’s scruffy match winner in the back to blue game against Fulham. Those of us sat at the opposite end of the ground should be grateful to have witnessed a whole five goals at our end during that time – riches indeed!

However, the two forty five minute periods I’ve watched in our last two home matches while the team have been “attacking” the Canton Stand have to be among the worst I’ve seen in terms of creative play – now I know fans have a tendency to apply “worst ever” labels to stuff they’ve just watched, but what has there been in the second half of our last two home games to get even mildly interested about?

Probably the closest we came to scoring  - Eoin Doyle's cross just eludes Joe Mason with the Millwall defence having been opened up. At the time I thought Mason had not been quick enough to get to the pass, but it turned out that the ball as played him - credit to Doyle for a very good run, but , typical of this team, the final ball wasn't good enough.*

Probably the closest we came to scoring – Eoin Doyle’s cross just eludes Joe Mason with the Millwall defence having been opened up. At the time I thought Mason had not been quick enough to get to the pass, but it turned out that the ball was played behind him – credit to Doyle for a very good run, but , typical of this team, the final ball wasn’t good enough.*

It’s funny how you remember things sometimes, but I can recall writing after we beat Sheffield Wednesday to record a record breaking tenth consecutive home win in our Championship winning season about how the team grew stronger attacking the Canton End, but if there was a magnet of sorts drawing the ball into the net in those days, there’s been a force field around our opponent’s penalty area in the last two games.

In the unlikely event of anything interesting threatening to break out on the pitch, we had referee Mark Brown and his linesmen officiating as if they thought they had an audience of poorly patients watching the game who were not to get excited under any circumstances. Virtually every time there threatened to be any penalty area action, the awful Mr Brown was there to blow his whistle and stop the game – his insistence that an injured Millwall player receive attention on the pitch while City tried to take a corner deep into added time defied belief.

So, those cursed individuals unfortunate enough to possess 2014/15 season tickets have only one game left before they complete their sentence. Who knows, perhaps this insipid Cardiff side and already relegated Blackpool will come up with a classic next Saturday which will mean that, Bournemouth’s visit last month will have some company when it comes to truly watchable league games staged at Cardiff City Stadium this season.

Those nine matches in which we’ve not scored at the Family Stand end began with Derby’s visit on the Saturday before season tickets for 2015/16 went on sale, so the club have had the thankless task of trying to convince people to part with hundreds of pounds at a time when we are losing far more than we win at home and goals have become something of a novelty.

I looked around the crowd during the so called more entertaining first half and it was really revealing. So many people were fiddling with their phones or finding something else to do rather than watch the football – it’s got to the stage where it’s a case of anything but the football, even for many of those who have not been able to kick the habit of going along to Cardiff City Stadium every fortnight – they will eventually though, just keep serving up the current dross and Russell Slade will soon have the two men and a dog he is, supposedly, used to managing in front of.

* photos courtesy of https://www.flickr.com/photos/joncandy/

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10 Responses to Just one more game to endure and we’ll be free, free!!!!!

  1. Big Mike says:

    Great piece considering what you had to watch yesterday, and a fitting end paragraph!!

    Well I must admit I didn’t go to the game yesterday, instead I went to the RHS flower show in Bute Park with a friend. Yes….it’s true!! I didn’t even check the score during the game. Sounds like I missed very little.

    I’m sat here wondering why I’ve renewed my season ticket for 2015/2016, I keep checking my bank statement just to make sure it’s true.

    Oh well I’ve got time I suppose to get rid of my desperation, sadness, frustration and total lack of interest in my Team in time for a ‘New Dawn’ that is just over the next hill (like an oasis in the desert). I think though it might just be a case of “Hope for the best and prepare for the worst”

  2. Anthony O'Brien says:

    Einstein said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results. He must have been a little bit clever – or thinking about the current Cardiff City displays:

    Pass it square, square, square.
    Pass it back, back, back,
    Kick it up in the air -
    Another failed attack.

    Perhaps another definition of insanity might be putting square pegs into round holes – as was demonstrated by the choice of players in key positions in the Cardiff team yesterday. Someone to lead the attack, for instance, would have been helpful. The one incisive pass into the Milwall goal area came to nothing because the chasing Cardiff player has no turbo-charged burst of speed and he’s not alone in that! And what has Ademyemi done to be excluded as a matter of course? He is certainly more capable than other members of the midfield on yesterday’s showing – which was effectively limited going forward to one miss-hit cross that bounced off the bar.

    I’ve said enough. Anyone would think I just love to complain. In fact, I’m too bored and too kind to continue this tale of woe. And yet, I continue to hope for better next season. What would Einstein think of that?

  3. Dai Woosnam says:

    Loved your sublimely imaginative and artistic take on the two halves, Paul
    I swear that you could write a blisteringly good account of just about ANYTHING. John Cage’s 4′ 33″” for instance. Thank heavens you don’t review CDs and the occasional books: were you to do so, supplies of at least half my work might dry up!
    As for AMO’s comment, what can I say?

    [Well Dai, a THANKYOU might be the first order of the day when you consider the adjective he applied to you in his most recent comment prior to the one above. After all, he has yet to detect that you possess feet of clay, size 24.]

    Yes, of course, thanks AMO.

    But even GREATER thanks go to you for your mini-poem above. (Paul’s temporary ripping up of the conventional vanilla football match report, has clearly proved delightfully infectious.)
    You are so right AMO. Passing square and passing back is the CURSE of football.
    If only Cardiff City would hire a manager who would have 11 against 11 training sessions where players are FINED if they pass back or square in their own halves of the field.
    Where that manager further insisted that all goal kicks were precisely just that: if the kicks did not make the halfway line, a further fine would be imposed.
    We are driven mad to the point of distraction, at evidence of goalkeeping kicking howlers on our TV every
    weekend.
    Last night it was that kamikaze moment where Brentford effectively said goodbye to their hopes of making the Play Offs. The week or so before, it was Begovic at Stoke with a kamikaze roll-out …something else any decent City manager would ban.
    I mean to say, the keeper rolls it out to the right full back. He passes square to the right centre back, who then passes square to the LEFT centre back.
    He then passes BACK to the keeper.
    GORDON BENNETT !!! Spare me please! Everything I do at this stage of my life is a race against the undertaker. Life is TOO SHORT to watch this pitiful football.
    Yes, I guess one can get away with it if those defenders are Franz Beckenbauer and Bobby Moore. But ordinary mortals who fill up our TV screens every weekend just do not have the ball control to carry it off…forget the fact that this square passing is ultra negative. Goals result when they lose control with the second or third square pass.
    Charles Hughes is 95 or 96 now…I forget which, and am too lazy to google*. It is a major indictment of our society that people like Trevor Brooking and Geoff Hurst get knighted, and not a brave and great football thinker like Charles Hughes.
    Modish thinkers who possibly descended not from the APE but from the SHEEP, might pooh-pooh his POMO phillosophy, but I do not.
    Kenwyne Jones could have been a great player at Cardiff if we had played proper wingers who enjoyed taking the ball to the byline and crossing it for an ONCOMING Kenwyne.
    That is where his strength is! Not taking the ball down on his chest with his back to goal !!
    To sum up then, let me leave you with the word almost as famous as “no pasaran” in the Spanish Civil War.
    Those brave boys from Cardiff and the Valleys who left their bones in the arid soil of Spain died with one word on their breath.
    ADELANTE !!

    Better to go down dignified to the Conference playing ATTACKING FOOTBALL** than win the Champions League playing Tiki-taka.

    * Deliberate use of lower case.
    ** And no…I emphatically do not mean HEADLESS Chicken football.
    Kindest, as ever,
    Dai.

  4. Peter Gutmann says:

    Yes, free for the summer but then it all starts again. And given the club’s financial position, it’ll be worse! I think we have been spoilt by the excitement and achievements of the past decade. You are judging performance by that standard. By the standards of the dire 1980s and 1990s, mid-Championship is great. The sharp decline in season ticket sales is due to the defection of those who started supporting the club during the successful period and can’ t adjust to the new normal.

  5. Geoff Lewis says:

    Paul,
    A great article on that dire performance.Those who watched this dismal affair should get a refund as our side did not turn up for the second half. The actors or players should donate their weeks wages to a charity of their choice.
    The orchestra led by Slade and his assistants Young, Trollope and Megetson should be shipped out a one way ticket to Alaska and take Mason along as one of the huskies.
    All I can say it was diabolical. Why he did not bring Kennedy before 85 minutes baffled me, those 5 minutes of his play was all I can remember.
    Geoff

  6. rhondda blue says:

    after watching another load of tripe under the name of football, young and slade come out with some pearls of wisdom yet again.( are these guys tripping out on LSD or something) because they both keep saying we are making progress, but after 6 months of utter dross i am yet to witness this. the only progress i see is that we cut our playing staff, which in all honesty needed trimming as it was on the big side with some average players,other than that i see nothing on the pitch that fills me with confidence for the coming season if we stick with said management. the players he has signed( kennedy apart) are i think not up to championship standard, and if that’s the standard of footballer that we are after with rusty god help us, we will be in the first division by christmas the best thing mr tan should do after the last game is get rid of young and rusty, rip up all the dead wood players contracts, get a top manager in (who can manage) so he can have the summer to recruit a proper team, and get a proper football man as a go-between for owner and manager. paid for my season ticket for next year mr tan and i would like to watch some football not this cr@p that i have put up with this year under rusty and his side kicks. TRULY AWFUL

  7. Richard Holt says:

    Brilliantly written Paul – almost worth a dire performance in order to enjoy your piece. I’m clinging to the hope that Slade is also muttering the title of your report under his breath. By the way – my final goal per mile ratio for this season stands at 216 miles driven for each goal scored. Insane.

  8. Russell says:

    Didn’t expect anything else from the game . Yet again I simply cannot understand why we cant blood the younger lads , especially if the regulars on their last legs or mentally tuned elsewhere , even more reason , very frustrating, oh well the sun was out , bring on the Ashes .

  9. The other Bob Wilson says:

    As always, thanks for your replies- I honestly didn’t know what sort of response the piece would get, but it seems to have been a positive one so far.

    Just a few comments on some of the points raised. Dai, Anthony got it spot on with his poem. Games like Saturday tend to justify your views, it reminded me of last season when we had Odemwingie up front as a lone striker and Medel in front of the back four- Marshall would invariably roll the ball out to one of the centrebacks or Medel and there would be three or four passes between them before they gave up on trying to build from the back, gave it back to Marshall who booted it towards our man up front who stood no chance of winning the header and the opposition had the ball again.

    As for wingers, I’m going to defend Russel Slade a little here and say he has used two wingers most of the time, but the mistake I believe he has made is insisting on only two central midfielders – the evidence of the whole season is that Whittingham and Gunnarsson in the middle in a 4-4-2 just hasn’t worked. I’d have Ralls in his more natural position with them and use two out of Pilkington, Noone and Kennedy (the last two named are incapable of playing anywhere else but on the wing in my opinion). As for Kenwyne Jones, I think that system would have suited him if Slade had been prepared to give it a fair try – Kenwyne would have had to have been in the mood as well of course.

    As an aside, I came across Anthony’s definition of insanity remark again within a few minutes of reading it on here when Glamorgan captain Jacques Rudolph (an impressive speaker) used it in a radio interview,

    That takes me on to Russell’s Ashes remark. Sadly, after a winter made miserable by City’s ineptitude on and off the pitch, I fear it will be more of the same in the summer as we have to put up with crowing Aussies telling the world all about their latest test win – a 3-1 defeat for England I reckon.

  10. Anthony O'Brien says:

    Re Dai Woosnam and Charles Hughes who was, I think, what the Spaniards call el tecnico (ie manager) for the English amateur team some time ago.

    Charles Hughes advocated a long-ball PASSING game as the quickest and best way to arrive at Positions of Optimum Opportunity (POMO) for shots on goal.

    This system, I should think, needs three interlocking factors to succeed:

    (1) A player capable of hitting LONG and ACCURATE PASSES to a team mate or for a team mate to run onto. Johnnie Haynes could do it, so could Glenn Hoddle, and – I think, given the right support – so could Peter Whittingham.

    (2) A commanding centre forward with mobility, plus the strength and the skill to hold off hatchetman defenders, and heading ability to challenge successfully for high balls – all of this to enable him to find the feet or the space for his co-attacker.

    (30 A Co-Attacker with the speed and skill to feed off the balls he would then receive.

    This system would not suit Kenwyne Jones, who – as Dai Woosnam rightly points out – would thrive on crosses from out wide which he could then attack. Neither would it work for constant hit-and-hope up-and-unders, especially when two small or smallish front men can be bullied and leaned upon by towering defenders who can head the ball away with consummate ease.

    But, the system could certainly work with – let’s say for argument’s sake – REVEll and DOYLE in tandem. Indeed, when they played together recently, Peter Whittingham was able to spray long and accurate PASSES as of yore until Revell suffered an injury and had to leave the field – and we even clapped the team off at half-time!

    That’s what I think, anyway.

    I’d like to add another comment. For many Cardiff fans, promotion to the Premiership and defeating Manchester City at the start of the following season created expectations which were never likely to be fulfilled. From this point of view, this season (and of course last) has been a reality check. It is sheer arrogance (the posh word is “hubris”) for so many to denigrate Russell Slade for lack of experience of promotions or the top flight. We have to cut according to our cloth, and accept that players and management from the charity shop level are now our staple diet – BUT remember, the charity shops can usually provide REAL BARGAINS if you’re willing to give them a chance!

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