Just a quick note to record thanks to Neil Ardley for the work he put in at Cardiff both as the manager of the club’s Academy and as a player during his first spell here from March 2005 to May 2006 and offer him best wishes in his new job as manager of League Two side AFC Wimbledon. I can remember Neil talking about his ambition to stay involved with the game after his retirement during an appearance on a City phone in show during his time here as a player and, given, the very impressive way he spoke on that occasion, it was no surprise that he was offered a post at City after he hung his boots up having had a season at Millwall after he left us.
During his five years in charge of the Academy there have been a pretty steady stream of youngsters who have come through the ranks to play first team football and, although MalkyMackay’s policy of playing youngsters in the League Cup game against Northampton probably means this figure is possibly not quite as impressive as it might sound at first, I make it that eight youngsters who played Academy football under Neil Ardley have played for our first team – I believe at least some of those will go on to do what Joe Ralls has done and get to play league football for Cardiff as well, maybe a bit sooner than most will think.
Neil has appointed his former Watford and Cardiff team mate Neil Cox as his Assistant and his first task will be to get his new club further up the table. With only ten points to show from their first eleven matches, AFC Wimbeldon are in twenty first place in League Two, too close to the relegation places for comfort – I’d back him to make sure a drop back into non league football does not become a reality and, who knows, perhaps there might be a Cardiff City youngster or two going to his new club on loan over the next few months?