Warnock and his team of battlers see off the old enemy.

Coymay

You can count the number of teams I really dislike on the fingers of one hand – on three fingers actually.

Leeds United are one of them because during a decade in my youth they had the best team in the country, but never won what they should have done because they played with an arrogance, cynicism and confrontational attitude which I’ve always believed cost them in the end because opponents, ostensibly with nothing to play for, would go the extra yard to beat them when they had a chance to do so.

Then there’s Chelsea. I can’t say I was a great fan of theirs anyway (I even wanted Leeds to beat them in the 1970 FA Cup Final!), but my dislike of them mainly stems from the fact there have only been two occasions when an opposing fan has tried to attack me as an individual at a game and they were both supporters of Chelsea at matches we played against them when they were in the old Second Division.

Finally, there’s Bristol City. As mentioned before on here, I’m one of an age group which “grew up” as City fans never having to face the jacks in league games because they were always at least one division below us – no, THE local derby during the first fifteen years or so of my existence as a City fan was Bristol City. It didn’t help of course that, after five or six years where we usually got the better of them, we then had more than three decades where the best we did was draw with them (the one time we beat them was in the first leg of a League Cup tie which they more than made up for by trouncing us in the return game).

Those barren years between 1971 and 2003 are why beating them in the Play Offs on our way to promotion will always be among my best ever City memories. Although the old order has returned somewhat now and beating the wurzels lately has come to mean not quite as much as it did thirteen years ago, last night’s 2-1 win over them was a very timely reminder that supporting Cardiff City can be a pleasurable experience.

Having spent two years and more often questioning why I continue to bother putting myself through something that I barely ever enjoyed, last night was a affirmation that when it is good, supporting your football team is very good. There was so much about last night’s match that reminded me what I, and tens of thousands more I presume, have been missing in recent years and for that we should thank one man more than most, new City manager Neil Warnock.

Mr Warnock is a Yorkshireman and is in the habit of sometimes mentioning that he is from that county, but, even if you read something he said without being told who had said it, you could probably take an educated guess as to where the person was from because there is often the bluntness and no nonsense nature commonly associated with that part of the world to much of what he says.

In one of his early interviews as City manager, Warnock asked what is the point of continuously passing the ball backwards and sideways when you have it, far better to get it forward and try to cause the opposition problems. In similar fashion, he questioned the need for the sort of reliance on statistics that is fashionable these days – once again, the “Yorkshireness” of the words leapt out at you if you were reading them.

Okay, it was hardly a goal of the season candidate, but, finally, finally, the Canton End has seen a goal scored in a first team game at that end. It was fitting that it was the man voted Man of the Match who got what turned out to be the matchwinner as Sol Bamba crashes the ball in from a yard out after Rickie Lambert's shot had hit the crossbar.*

Okay, it was hardly a goal of the season candidate, but, finally, finally, the Canton End has seen a goal scored in a first team game at that end!
It was fitting that it was the man voted Man of the Match who got what turned out to be the matchwinner as Sol Bamba crashes the ball in from a yard out after Rickie Lambert’s shot had hit the crossbar.*

In the cricket world especially, there are some who have, or once did, make media careers for themselves after they had finished playing the game out of being “professional Yorkshiremen” and, to me at least, they sound(ed) like caricatures. However, I believe that at the heart of what “Yorkshireness” is, there is usually a plain, common sense behind it which often gets right to the point of the matter at hand – Neil Warnock has been an example of this from the moment he took over at the club.

There was a element of back to basics about last night – there was “nowt fancy” about the way we played and, as most knew beforehand, any plans for “a Cardiff Way” were put very much on hold, but, in the position we were in, this was exactly the sort of approach we needed.

I’ve always had a mental image of what a “Warnock side” looks and plays like and, although I think back to his QPR team and one or two other recent sides he’s managed and feel I’m being a little unfair in my characterisation, it isn’t really a complimentary one. However, anyone who had watched all of our previous home matches this season, and a couple of the away ones as well, will know that becoming a typical Warnock side is far preferable to what we were – typical Warnock sides do not get relegated from this division and that what was going to happen to us if things continued on as they had done in the first two months of the campaign,

We defended like a typical Warnock side last night and, in doing so, we looked more secure at the back than at any time during this season. In the past year or so, there’s only been the Brighton win back in February out of our live televised games that I’ve bothered looking at for a second time, but, now there’s another and, having had that second look already, it only confirmed what was an impression that I got at the ground watching it live – I cannot remember a match in recent years where our back four and midfielders got in so many good defensive blocks.

Bristol City arrived in South Wales in fifth position on the back of a run of four consecutive wins, with the Championship’s top scorer in their ranks and I suppose much of the post match debate will centre on the degree to which their defeat could be put down to good Cardiff play or them falling short of the standards they have set for themselves so far this season.

Leaving aside what we did for now, I must admit to being somewhat surprised by how ordinary the wurzels looked – I was expecting to see something better than they have produced when they’ve come to south Wales in the last decade or so, but they were nowhere near as good a Bristol team as the one which had by far the better of the goalless draw between the sides at Cardiff City Stadium at this time of year last season.

Yes, they had most of the ball and at times passed it around in a controlled manner that we could never really match on the night, but their one shot on target came after they played on with a City player (sub Lex Immers) lying injured on the floor. There was some hesitation as to whether they should put the ball out of play to allow Immers to receive treatment, but this seemed to distract City who were, first, guilty of not being as defensively disciplined as they had been until then, and, second at fault when Lee “serial diver” Tomlin’s well struck shot beat Ben Amos on his near post.

Wurzel’s manager Lee Johnson was honest enough to admit that his side didn’t turn up in the first half and that this meant that City deserved their win, but he did point out that the prolific Tammy Abraham had been ill since returning from England Under 21 duty. Certainly, the teenager on loan from Chelsea was nowhere near the threat I expected him to be as our centrebacks spent the game handing him from one to the other to put in their pockets.

So, I think it’s definitely fair to say that Bristol didn’t come here with their optimum game in place, but, then again, I don’t think they will have met many sides this season who were more difficult to play against than us.

That’s not solely down to what happened on the pitch. For the first time in around three years in a club game, we saw what an atmospheric ground Cardiff City Stadium can be. If it wasn’t for the Warnock factor, the wurzels would have come here to play in front of a crowd of around 14,000 with the majority of the twelve thousand or so behind the home team quickly losing interest in proceedings if the match had started with as little goalmouth action as last night’s did.

Instead, there were twenty thousand home fans behind the City side for the full ninety minutes with Neil Warnock commenting afterwards on how much they helped the team after Bristol’s goal.

Tempers flare after Bristol City's goal which came after they refused to put the ball out of play when a City player was on the floor injured. Although it would be best if such incidents didn't happen, I was struck by how this incident and the way all of our outfield players ran to congratulate Sol Bamba after the second goal that this was a sign of a new team spirit - I believe the Paul Trollope team would have just trooped back to the centre spot with heads down if the same goal had been scored against them. On the right of the picture is scorer Lee Tomlin, who, having twice dived to try and earn a penalty and then get Peter Whittingham booked, then head butted Rickie Lambert in the chest during this incident - perhaps another ban (he'd already received one for five bookings) is on the way for Mr Tomlin as is it only Premier League players who get done on video evidence?*

Tempers flare after Bristol City’s goal which came after they refused to put the ball out of play when a City player was on the floor injured.
Although it would be best if such incidents didn’t happen, I was struck by how it, and the way all of our outfield players ran to congratulate Sol Bamba after the second goal, might be a sign of a new team spirit at Cardiff – I believe the Paul Trollope team would have just trooped back to the centre spot with heads down if the same goal had been scored against them.
On the right of the picture is scorer Lee Tomlin, who, having twice dived, first to try and earn a penalty and then get Peter Whittingham booked, then head butted Rickie Lambert in the chest during this incident – perhaps another ban (he’d already received one for five bookings) is on the way for Mr Tomlin or is it only Premier League players who get done on video evidence?*

Truth be told though, for much of the time it was the sort of “over my dead body” defending I’d mentioned earlier that was getting the plaudits from the crowd, because the lack of much in the way of goalmouth action at the other end of the pitch offered a reminder that the not all of the things which sent us to the bottom of the league for a while will just fade away because Neil Warnock is here.

Indeed, the manager acknowledged after the match that his team have their limitations and that they need to work hard on their attacking set pieces because they don’t have many goals in them. Certainly, when we did score (the first from a stonewall penalty where we got a little lucky a few seconds before the foul when an offside flag might well have been raised against Craig Noone and the second from a corner), there was little suggestion that a goal was coming because we never had enough controlled possession to create the sort of attacking momentum that can lead to such a feeling.

Rickie Lambert did well considering that he was often having to plough the same sort of lone furrow that he has had to in his earlier appearances. We still didn’t get enough players close to our striker and, although like so many other City players, Joe Ralls served up his strongest showing for some time, he is hardly going to scare opponents to death when he is playing as our most advanced central midfielder.

On the wings, Craig Noone was another who was better than he has been lately and Junior Hoilett provided flashes of inspiration, while also, like Noone, putting in a strong defensive shift as well, This suggested there are a lot better things to come from Hoilett, but “wings” was the operative word for these two – we used the full width of the pitch and so I feel that, if Lambert is to get the sort of support close to him that he needs, it seems more likely to come from central areas, hence the feeling, and hope, that we will have someone in the team soon (Pilkington? Immers?) who offers more than Ralls in that role.

Besides Hoilett, there were two other debutants in the City team – Joe Bennett finally played his first match seven weeks after we signed him and had a decent game as he showed pace and a willingness to get forward, mixed with defending which could have been a little better (especially in the build up to the wurzel’s goal).

However it was Sol Bamba who really took the eye as, after one early missed lunge that could have cost us, he turned in a performance that earned him Sky’s man of the match award. Once again, Neil Warnock was interesting in his post match remarks when he said that for five years he has watched Bamba trying to play like a modern day Franz Beckenbauer when, if he just stuck to heading it and kicking it, he’d be the best in the division. I would add a slight caveat to this mind, by saying that the general view of him from Leeds fans is that he started very well for them, but his performances quickly fell away – that said, I thought the main reasons why Leeds did not get the beating they deserved when we gave one of our best home performances of last season were him and their keeper Silvestri.

Whatever the future may hold for him, Bamba was a huge reason why we won last night and a factor in why I feel it was Cardiff’s good, defensive, play that had more to do with how the result worked out than Bristol’s poor play. Once again, you have to come back to Neil Warnock who produced the most motivated City side that we’ve seen in ages, while also getting things right tactically (e.g. deploying Aron Gunnarrson in the position where he has been playing his most effective football, albeit at international level, in the last few years).

One win, even though it was a very, very satisfying one, doesn’t mean that we can all forget about the possibility of relegation now, but the thing that was concerning me most a fortnight ago was that I could see nothing that offered the hope of an improvement. Now, there is hope because there was little or nothing about Cardiff City, or the attitude of those in the stadium, last night to suggest that this was a club heading for League One.

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

 

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11 Responses to Warnock and his team of battlers see off the old enemy.

  1. Matt N says:

    Cheers Paul,

    It was a good match last night and the best atmosphere in the ground since perhaps the first weeks of the Premier. Credit where due, given the stick they get (from me included) – It has been a very canny couple of weeks from the Cardiff board I think.

    If you had asked me a fortnight ago of my feelings for Neil Warnock, they would have been quite Yorkshire in their directness. I didn’t like him. It was an entrenched and quite visceral opinion, which I don’t have about many people. I was quite vocal in saying I didn’t want him managing us. By the start of last week, my opinion had u-turned and I was quite shaken at how shakeable my unshakeable belief was. I tried to put my finger on what it was. Last night I started to understand. Warnock is no nonsense, yes. He is also seemingly good tactically. But I think his man management is the key here – he can read how people – and I don’t mean just players, but opposition, media and the fans – are going to react. From day one he was Cardiff through and through, he was one of us. And looking back, that’s exactly why I didn’t like him at Sheffield, QPR etc He was one of them!
    Last night I also thought he reacted well to the game as it unfolded and his substitutions made sense (although the subs had the poorest games of anyone on the pitch). I also liked before the final substitution how he held back on Pilkingtons intro until the outcome of a Bristol freekick had been decided. And I loved his kick every ball attitude and eventual celebration on the touch line.
    On the debutants, I have rarely seen such a good debut as Bambas and eve before he scored he was MOTM by a distance. I have to say though that Morrison had a great game beside a leader and I thought it was him who had Abraham (Sick? Really, Lee?) in his pocket rather than the media opinion that it was Bamba. Hoillet as you say offered a glimpse of what he can do and I also saw the beginnings of an understanding with Ralls that could be exciting – I have a bit more optimism on Ralls the Attacking Midfield than you Paul! Bennett (it’s not good that I can never remember his name and have to look it up is it?) showed a bit of forward flair. I can’t say I noticed him passing up his defensive duties in the build up to the (pretty good) Bristol goal as I was one of the baying masses focused on the lack of sportsmanship. Comment on this – would we really expect City to kick it out at 2-0 down if it wasn’t a head injury?
    I came away from city last night euphoric, which quickly disappeared as I remembered why I should never park in the ground, and also hopeful this good feeling can continue. I think Wednesday will offer a sterner test than the (as you say) sub par Bristol, but I’m confident we will give it a good go.
    All the best, Matt

  2. Colin Phillips says:

    Excellent report and analysis, Paul, thanks.

    What a relief, the feeling of inevitable relegation has, for now, been pushed to the back of my mind.

    I was concerned that the expectations stemming from a new manager and the new signings wouldn’t be fulfilled but thanks to that amazing miss by the Bristol player late on those thoughts were proved wrong. If we had dropped two points there we would be in a very different mood today. As it is we can relax and enjoy the weekend’s televised football.

    A very big negative last night was the goings-on ‘downstairs’ at half-time. My daughter (adult) went to the toilets and came back in a very distressed state someone (hopefully a Bristol knob) had let off two flares/smoke-bombs/fireworks that frightened the life out of here but more concerning to her was the sight of a gent collapsed on the floor holding his chest (a heart attack perhaps?). She was shaking like a leaf when she got back to her seat. It was her first experience of crowd trouble and she was concerned that there would be more aggro on the exit from the stadium. I am hoping she will get over this experience by Wednesday night.

    Getting back to the game what struck me most about Warnock’s Cardiff and Slade/Trollope’s side was the increase in energy and the desire to find a forward pass rather than turning on the ball and passing back or sideways.

    Hopefully this is the beginning of a period when supporting Cardiff City becomes a more rewarding experience.

  3. Anthony O'Brien says:

    What excellent and insightful comments from our Blogmeister and other contributors. Yes, a first-class night all round, and even though the football may have not always been first-class. Joe Bennett seems to be the left-back we have been lacking, and Bamba and Hoilett gave ample evidence why Mr Warnock had recruited them.

    I’m still somewhat puzzled, however, why the manager retained the previous system of a wide left-footer on the right wing, and vice versa. Tellingly, it was only when Noone ventured to the left and tried to go outside his defender that he won the penalty which turned the game. Playing on the right and controlling the ball with his left foot, Noone continually tends to move inside, generally to no avail. If he took the more difficult option of speeding down the touchline he then has to turn the best part of 180 degrees to do so when he receives the ball out wide, thereby giving the defender extra time to put in a tackle. Furthermore, if he does race down the touchline he then turns back on his left foot to cross the ball — which also takes time and makes it more difficult for his centre-forward or colleagues to powerfully head a ball moving away from them and towards the goalkeeper or a waiting defender. The same argument applied to Hoilett (though he did show an ability to cross with his left foot) and to Kadeem Harris when he came on.

    Perhaps the thinking behind this managerial decision is that the centre-forward tends to be somewhat isolated when the ball is being crossed into the goal area, which raises another concern I (and Paul, among many others) have noted — namely, that as a rule there is no Cardiff teammate playing off Lambert’s shoulder. ie. no immediate support. His good hold-up play needs someone running beyond him towards the goal. Paul suggests Immers or Pilkington for this role, but to me a more natural goal-scorer might be a better option, (a fact suggested by the striker that Mr Warnock has already signed).

    Incidentally, in the light of yesterday’s game, perhaps Mr Warnock would be better named as Mr Warlock, a man who can perform miracles. All in all, it was great to come away from the game feeling upbeat and optimistic at long last. Long may it continue!

  4. Chris Roberts says:

    Spot on analysis as normal,apart from Brighton last season there has been very little to tickle my taste buds for a couple of seasons. I agree with the comments on Noone,I cannot understand why is isn’t hitting the chalk on the opposite wing,you know he is going to cut inside and this makes him predictable.
    I would love to see a place for Pilkington supporting Lambert,I think that is where he is most effective,he has good pace and an element of physicality about him, Bamba was immense last night,a real centre back who seems to love the physical side of the game,a bit like Fergie said about Vidic,not all centre backs have this.
    A great night with a proper atmosphere,I’m optimistic going forward,I never thought I would be able to say that two weeks ago!.

  5. russell roberts says:

    Thanks Paul , last night as you say reminds us why we have rocked up over the last 40 years in hope of nights like this, which have been rare over the last few years .

    I’m old skool , ticky tacky passing in triangles with an objective to finally end up pass it back to the keeper because the opposition has had endless amount time to set up in front of us and cover off our attacking options ,in the name of possession ,is not for me , so yes bring on the Warnock years,who does bring a blunter simpler style ,however he does pressure the opposition .

    I noted we defended with passion , and were 10 to 15 yard further up the pitch and some players were spotted in the opposition half .

    We got some nice bookings in and a few fights , are commitment and passion has thankfully returned .

    We are way off the finished article , lack of match games will tell on the older new lads , NW has a careful balancing act to keep the squad together with the new arrivals and established players and our penalty box threat is woeful. .

    Thought Hoilett was excellent , holds the ball up very well for a smallish man , has a terrier tackle about him , got pace, many foot skills , cracking signing , it was interesting matching his skill and contribution against Kadem’s.

    Sol Bamba fell out with someone at Leeds , that where the quote ” he’s alright for a few games” comes form and I am taking it with a pinch of salt, anyone leaving a club in the way he did on a “on mutual consent” suggest he told a few home truths to a pretentious, nutty club , its owner , and many Mgr’s, how many did he play under in his 33 appearances , 3, 4 ,5 ??? , I would remind Leeds a club I also loath , they made him captain ?? ( wish I could swear at this point ) Our center backs will be squabbling for a while now over a single place now,perhaps Manga should sharpen up his midfield skills.

    Thought Bennett showed good promise, looks fit ???, has a natural footballers balance, why didn’t we play him sooner , bearing in mind we were crap at the time, did he dare to move forward over the halfway line before the obligatory 20 passes in our half first ?

    Though Lambert looked a very bit labored at times , don’t think he’s 100% fit , and its still our problem area now , wish we still had Watts on the books, ( Neil give Kadem a run their or Hoilett and put Pilks wide ??? . )

    It was interesting he gave Pilk’s a run in front of Chamakh ,that may not be the case next time Pilk’s is not a natural forward .

    Though we got the Iceland performances out of Gunnerson , as you point out , he is a Warnock type midfield warrior , you got to have a few them in your side when it gets tough .

    I do wonder where poor old Emyr Huws and Jazz Richards fit into all this .

    Don’t think Guardiola will re run much of last nights feast , it was a real old fashioned football fans night though. There is no better feeling leaving that stadium with fans actually still singing, beeping horns , even the endless wait to exit the stadium and clear the surrounding roads didn’t matter last night, our club delivered a football experience , which Paul points out is the reason why we still go after all these many years.

    Dare I say it ( as this is not the CCMB ) “”thanks”" VT for staying in for the long haul and acting so quickly this season, the PT was worth a punt . And thanks to NW for turning a club inside our within a week , two people that many have faced fierce criticism over the years .

  6. MIKE HOPE says:

    Great report and comments.
    Chalk and cheese is the expression that comes to mind when comparing last night’s game with the previous match against Derby who arrived with subdued supporters and a team totally lacking in confidence. Derby’s expensive players began with a series of wayward passes and looked ready to be beaten but as the game progressed they realised that we were even worse and we finished as a despondent team with equally despondent supporters watching jubilant Derby fans.
    Last night was opposite in every way for which the management cannot be overpraised.
    Lee Johnson said that in the first half his players did not carry out their pre-match plan and he referred to their difficulty in playing in a ”toxic” atmosphere -music to my ears!
    If there is a ‘ match made in heaven ‘ it is surely Neil Warnock and Aron Gunnersson
    who took to his role like the Peppa Pig family shown a muddy puddle!

  7. Dai Woosnam says:

    Fine report on a fine performance.
    What Cardiff City lacked in ability, they more than made up for in energy.
    Great to see Noone playing like a man possessed…even if it rarely came off for him.
    Joe Bennett’s booking showed the sneaky unpleasant side of his character. That said, he played better than I expected.
    Peltier, Gunnarsson and Morrison are the three players who will most benefit from having Warnock as manager. They are his sort of players.
    And you are right Paul in being forthright in your condemnation of Lee Tomlin’s diving tendancy. That said though, I do so like his ability, and he was still the best man in red last night.
    DW.

  8. Richard Boon says:

    Much of what I thought has been said by the other posters. All I can add is that it was hugely enjoyable sitting in a bar here in France and enjoying every second of the match. It’s been a while since I have actually enjoyed watching the City and despite some of the negativity attached, by some, to Warnocks style of playing I have a feeling it may just be what is needed, in the short term.

  9. Barry Cole says:

    Well done Paul in getting the feeling we all seen to have regarding Neil Warnock. Even in the dark days of slade I was always hoping we would get this man. He was the one and only one who could bring our fans back into the belly of the club, the reason he not only was a good manager but he also had a great football knowledge. Within that knowledge this man quickly made the decisions (that both Trollope and slade failed to achieve in nearly three years )within a week. I am sure he will complete the task in January. There is no doubt that the fans feelings are getting through to tan but credit where credit is due he has realised that the idea of managers without championship experience has got Cardiff in this position and he needs to get us out.
    Onto Neil Warnock , i have always had a secret regard for this man, whenever we played his teams they gave their all and I expect that to continue here. He is marmite, I don’t like marmite but I certainly like him.
    Having started the season against what I consider were the teams likely to end up in the lower reaches of the league and as we hadn’t got too many points it wasn’t looking good.
    Warnock has come in when we are about the play the good teams and I am not expecting miracles before January but each game I know the players will give their all. That will help turn around a number of games we would certainly have lost. I believe Warnock will get us mid table by January and will get the players needed to boost our standing and with the aim for his eighth promotion, I can see him achieving that aim come May. I base this on his knowledge that he knew we were only 12 points behind a promotion place last week. This week we are just nine points, see what I mean because Warnock sees his record getting nearer and he knows he can do it.
    I remember going to Sunderland with my mates from the north east and bragging about how we would get promoted after beating them at the stadium of light. We all know what happened as Sunderland rose from the bottom of the league to take the championship.
    To that end I don’t bet but £20 was put on Cardiff getting promotion this season at 100/1. That was before the Bristol game as I knew already that the feel good factor had been spreading since warnocks appointment.
    We then get to the match and from my perspective it was wonderful as I walked away knowing I had seen the best Cardiff match for nearly three years and possibly more.
    The fight was back and the tippy tippy football where it was passed across and back was minimal. This was why I just couldn’t get slade as we were too slow in going forward to worry any team. Make no mistake Bristol will be there or thereabouts and the reason they looked average was that we made them look average.
    Like everyone before me bamba was excellent, gunnarson was excellent and the team gave their all. It was great to see two wingers again and the enjoyment was back big style. I don’t think people can blame Bennett for the goal as the team as a whole failed to protect and defend. To be honest Amos should have got to that but I take nothing from him as he certainly looked better at crosses than Marshall had been and he certainly can get distance with his kicks.
    The three subs were not that effective although pilkington didn’t get a lot of time, the other two certainly did.
    So having seen a vast change in such a short space of time, I am looking forward , at last , to the next game, knowing that the team will give their all and that the boring years of not really wanting to turn out to watch my team has come to a close and I can enjoy the Saturdays / Tuesday’s once more supporting the great Cardiff city once more
    Well done tan you got this one exactly right

  10. The other Bob Wilson says:

    A great night for City on Friday and a set of replies that do it justice – thank you all.
    I’m having problems with my Internet connection currently, so I’ll keep this brief while it seems to be working fine.
    1. Matt, excellent stuff regarding how Neil Warnock is “one of us” – I think I’m like you regarding him in many ways, but either he or I have mellowed in the last five years or so because I have more time for him now (even before he came here) than at any time in his managerial career.
    2. Colin, sorry to hear about your daughter is feeling better about what happened now. For most of the first half of my time supporting City, seeing examples of bad behavior was the norm – I saw less than many because football violence has never interested me in the slightest, but it was impossible not to become caught up in it from time to time in the 60s, 70s and 80s – for people who have started going to games since then, experiencing what you daughter did must have come as a real shock. We still have some nutters who tend to turn up when Bristol or, say, Leeds visit, but it’s virtually a thing of the past now and I think I’m right in saying that Bristol City are now definitely the most likely to misbehave when they come here.
    3. AMO, I think you probably know that I’m with you about playing Noone on the right, but I was saying after the game that I reckon that’s five managers now (Young and Gabbidon may have done so as well) who have seen some worth in using him on the right because Mackay, Ole, Slade, Trollope and Warnock have all done so at least once – of course, Noone’s one truly great game for City came when he destroyed Zabaleta, Man City’s right back, when we played up there in the Premier League.
    4. Chris, I agree with you about Pilkington.
    5. Russell, even if the appointment of Warnock doesn’t work out, there can be very, very few City fans who will be able to say “I told you so” because the response to the appointment has been overwhelmingly a positive one among supporters. I don’t say this often, but well done to Messrs Choo, Dalman and Tan for this appointment – in many ways one of the best things about it is that Mr Tan has shown that he is prepared to look outside a very small list of candidates (the majority of which already worked for the club) to look for a new manager because there was a time when I definitely believed this was the case.
    6. Mike, your comparison between Friday’s match and the one before that is very telling – it was great to see people’s attention being fixed on the football match being played in front of them, not on their phones.
    7. Dai, it’s a great compliment to City that, while Tomlin might have been the wurzel’s best player, I wouldn’t have rated his performance more than, say, a seven out of ten one, whereas I’d say more than half of our team merited that mark or better.
    8. Richard, agree with you whole heartedly – we had to go back to something more simple.
    9. Barry, I’m not as optimistic as you, but I accept that there is still there are still a possible 102 points to be won and there are precedents which say a side at the lower end of the table at a later stage of the season than this can go up – on 9/12/03 Palace were in the bottom three with twenty two points from the twenty two games and they ended up going up via the Play Offs.

  11. Dai Woosnam says:

    I have loved all the comments, but particularly Barry’s…and his praise of Sir Vincent.
    He is right in saying that this is the manager we should have had in the Slade/Trollope period, and I would go back a few more managers than that.
    Not because Neil Warnock will necessarily perform heroics at Cardiff – relegation is still a possibility – but thank heavens we have a manager at last who wants to play forward and not sideways and backwards. And wants wingers and service to the man/men up front. And wants to win not just every 50/50 ball, but every 35/65 one too !!
    Barry also refers to a keeper who seemingly deals with crosses very well, and can deliver a mighty kick. I will thank The Lord, if we now can see an end to the crazy “rolling the ball out”, that might have worked for Pep at the Nou Camp, but only works with supreme technicians as your back four: ordinary mortals cannot control the ball well enough, and lose it in the second or third phase of bringing it out of defence, and present an immediate goal scoring opportunity to the opponents.
    And whilst nobody – apart from the players who voted for the PFA Team of the Year 2013/14 – can deny that David Marshall’s superb shot-stopping made him the best of the 20 keepers that season, I wonder if we have not perhaps sold him at the right time.
    Whilst the 3 goals in Slovakia and the 6 goals in Bournemouth were not down to him in any way, one cannot help but think that the David Marshall of three years ago would have saved two or three of them.
    And I am by no means certain that he would have saved that Tomlin shot on Friday. It was hit very sweetly indeed, and the keeper was possibly also slightly unsighted.
    One final thing. Clearly there is no love lost between Lee Johnson and Steve Cotterill. There they were out on the pitch after the game, doing the usual SKY analysis of the previous 90 minutes, and when Johnson’s bit was over, he left the group, pointedly shaking hands with the SKY host presenter, and one of the two SKY analysts, Peter Beagrie.
    But he had to walk past the other analyst, Steve Cotterill, to get to Beagrie. But no handshake there…not even a pat on the back. Indeed, the previous 4 minutes had been noticeable for the fact that Cotterill pointedly stayed silent in the middle and did not ask a single question…in contrast to the interview of Neil Warnock just previously, where he indeed did tell Neil that his 4-1-4-1 was the exact formation that Steve had used as manager of Burnley….!!
    (NW wisely, did not let that comment influence his answer !!)
    So clearly there are problems between Bristol City managers past and present, and before and during the game, Mr Cotterill ponted out that some of these were “my boys”.
    I fancy there is a fair deal of friction between the two.
    DW.

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