Weekly review 11/07/2015.

CoymayCity were portrayed as the underdogs in the battle with Wolves to secure Newcastle’s Sammy Ameobi on loan, but when it came to decision time last week, the winger chose us and so, we finally have a second new player for 15/16.

Mind you, if this story is to be believed, it almost didn’t happen. Based on what occurred last season, Wolves seemed, on the face of it, to be the more attractive option for the player, but something happened to change his mind and the most realistic explanation for me is that some sort of promise was given by City that Ameobi  would be starting in the side every week – maybe I’m wrong, but, like any Premier League team loaning a player out to a club from a lower league, Newcastle would want him to be playing regular first team football and maybe City went further towards giving them such an assurance than Wolves did?

It would appear therefore that City were desperate to get their man, but I have to wonder if that desperation sprang from a belief that Ameobi was a terrific talent who could help transform what was a pretty featureless outfit lacking pace, style and flair last season into a team with more of the sort of class needed to achieve such a transition or if it came from almost a sense of panic arising from the fact that we were just not attracting the men who Russell Slade had on what has been called his A list?

More often than not, the answer to the sort of question I’ve asked there tends to fall somewhere in the middle of the two extremes set out and I suspect it may be the case here. Again, you tend to get extremes when looking at the player himself – on the one hand, you could argue that anyone who plays as much Premier League football as Ameobi did last season has to be good enough to make a significant impact at the level below that, but, then again, he was featuring in a team which was in free fall down the league from about January onwards and he’s hardly receiving glowing recommendations from the fans and pundits in the North East who have given their opinions on the player since our interest in him came to light about two or three weeks ago.

Now, from a distance of 300 miles plus, it seems to me that Ameobi is being judged on the fact that he was a pretty regular selection in a team that was producing awful performances and results week in and week out after Alan Pardew left for Crystal Palace. However, as a young local lad having his first prolonged spell in the team, shouldn’t the old hands in the Newcastle team (surely, the real culprits when it comes to the lack of character and confidence shown by the side) be more deserving of criticism than him?

Ameobi has played Championship football before – in fact, he was a match winner in his first appearance in a loan spell at Middlesbrough in 2013 when his fine performance and quality goal were major reasons for our 2-1 defeat at the Riverside in March of that year. Six defeats in the eight games which followed that though meant that Ameobi was unable to arrest Boro’s decline from title chasers in the first half of our Championship winning campaign to also rans in the second and he had been dropped to the bench by the time he returned to his parent club.

Sammy Ameobi in action for Newcastle - can he provide the attacking pace and flair we largely lacked last season?

Sammy Ameobi in action for Newcastle – can he provide the attacking pace and flair we largely lacked last season?

So, there’s plenty of contradictory evidence about concerning Ameobi and how he will perform at Cardiff. In fact, there’s so much of it that my attitude is that I have a completely open mind on him and have very few preconceptions as to what he will or won’t do while he is here. Others have mentioned Wilfried Zaha and Ravel Morrison as precedents as they argue that we’ve had other “hugely gifted” loan players from Premier League clubs who have done little or nothing for us, but, surely, as long as Ameobi, who, almost certainly, comes third to those two when it comes to natural ability, has a better attitude than they did while they were here, he’ll make more of an impact than either of them.

Moving on, Derby’s signing of the talented, but, on the basis of what’s happened in the last two seasons at least, very over rated Tom Ince for around £5 million has, reportedly, seen City’s interest in Johnny Russell reignited. I mentioned when this rumour first surfaced that I would like to see us sign Russell, but, with Ameobi now here to add to the likes of Pilkington, Noone, Kennedy and Harris, we seem to have a surfeit of wingers already, while the central midfield which I believe most fans would identify as our biggest problem area last season, remains unchanged.

I say unchanged, but the emergence of the Kagisho Dikgacoi who was an effective midfield presence in the Championship for all of those years at Crystal Palace would be like a new signing I suppose.

It could be argued that the fact that the player has spent the summer on an individual fitness regime designed to make him ready for first team football come August gives a pretty big clue as to the reasons behind the non event that was Dikgacoi’s 2014/15 season, but it probably also hints at how Russell Slade would defend himself against charges of it being the same old, same old at Cardiff if we are unable to bring in more new players.

City have spent the week away in Leicestershire on what sounds like a glorified team bonding exercise. I tried to avoid such things like the plague during my previous existence as an employee of her Majesty’s Government because I have a natural aversion to transatlantic corporatespeak and the sort of role playing nonsense such gatherings deal heavily in, but I’d say the fact that Russell Slade thought such a course of action was required is significant.

Also, given the number of times the manager made reference to the fitness levels of the squad he inherited during the course of the season, you would have thought that there would be a big emphasis on fitness training at the moment – certainly, there have been media stories since the players returned from their holidays emphasising how much work is being done in that regard.

Therefore, I daresay our manager will claim that, even if the players end up mainly being the ones who made last season such a miserable experience, they will be different in terms of attitude and fitness, thereby bringing about an improvement in performance levels – it’s a case of the proof of the pudding being in the eating I suppose.

Finally, City pay their usual visit to Forest Green on Wednesday to play their first friendly and it’s been confirmed that there will be a couple of games played when City visit the Netherlands for a week in ten days time, with Israeli side Hapoel Ironi Kiryat Shmona at the ground of SDC Putten (it’s about an hour’s drive from Amsterdam) on 21 July and Sparta Rotterdam in a behind closed doors match three days later providing the opposition.

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15 Responses to Weekly review 11/07/2015.

  1. Barry cole says:

    I have never held back on my feelings that slade is out of his depth, last season I witnessed such poor football that I am dreading this season. The games I saw were not cardiff City it was like park football. I remember going to haig avenue in the f a cup against southport (played in the mauve and yellow) and I hoped that we would never play as bad again. This season there were numerous games when we played worse.
    We have managers and directors saying we know what we are doing , but we know that isn’t the case.
    I know from friends in the north east that ameobi was going to wolves but cardiff promised first team football, how crazy is that for a very average player who would be behind no one and pilkington anyway.
    That’s my rant , I keep hoping it won’t get any worse, but it does , every week while slade is in charge I cannnnot see the premiership. Unless I have missed something we are unlikely to feature in the top 6 this year

  2. john davies says:

    What morons you Cardiff fans are, ameobi chose you because he had a massive backhander of your “foriegn” owner, why else would he choose a promotion battle for a relegation battle!
    It’s our gain and your loss, most of the Newcastle fans are saying he’s shite and hope he doesn’t go back.
    On our sites a lot of fans couldn’t understand why we were after him!!!
    As I said what a bunch of morons!

  3. The other Bob Wilson says:

    Thanks for your reply Barry. If you are old enough to have gone to Haig Avenue for that FA Cup match then you’ve seen plenty of poor Cardiff sides in your time. I certainly have, but the “football” we played in the couple of months either side of Christmas was as poor as I’ve seen from a City team in ages – I’ve said a few times on here that I used to think of myself as someone who wasn’t too bothered about being entertained as long as we won, but Russell Slade’s City team taught me otherwise!
    That said, I thought things improved a bit on the football front towards the end of the season (I suppose they couldn’t have got worse) and I want to see if having the squad for a full pre season programme will bring about a further improvement, but, deep down, I must admit I have little faith in this manager and I think our finishing position last year flattered us – at the moment, I can’t really see us doing better than eleventh next season.
    John, I always make a point of welcoming opposing fans when they reply to one of my pieces and I can tell you that, if you looked, you would see that yours is the first message I’ve ever received in the six years the blog has been going which falls into the category of what passes for banter these days. There are plenty of places where you can indulge in such mindless and inane ramblings if you want to, but my aim is to provide something more mature than that on here and so you may as well go somewhere else – if you want to discuss football in a friendly and grown up manner, then I’ll reply to you (and I’m sure there may be others who will as well), but, if you want to keep on with the feeble insults, then you’ll be ignored from now on.

  4. Big Al says:

    Hi Bob,
    Good to hear you remain in good form. To be fair to Slade he does have some very positive Leadership skills. He has shown a lot of Courage in the last few months and deserves his chance to start the new season. I wish him and his players the best of luck.
    On negative side I still feel Slade’s technical nous is well below Championship standard. However, if he can find better support in this area he may be able to do a good Job. Failure to improve this obvious weakness in the first ten games and he should be replaced.
    Good luck Russell.
    Big Al.

  5. Anthony O'Brien says:

    Even when smacking down the obnoxious John Davies so soundly, our “other Bob Wilson” does it with such good-mannered restraint that it makes his no-punches-pulled admonition more effective than any foul-mouthed ranting from a non-gentleman – further testimony to the unique character of this admirable site. Well done, yet again.

  6. The other Bob Wilson says:

    Good to hear from you again Al. I think our feelings when it comes to our manager are quite similar – I don’t want him to fail, but think he will probably end up doing so. One of the big problems Russell Slade has got is that although there will be many prepared to say “I was wrong” if we end up playing well and challenging for promotion next season, there will also be plenty who will be putting any success we enjoy purely down to the players as they use the line that anyone could do well with a squad as good as ours – there are those who believed from day one that Russell Slade simply wasn’t good or high profile enough for a club like Cardiff and I don’t think he will ever change such views.
    Anthony, the knowledge that I was going to be in sole charge and free to run the blog as I wanted was an attractive thought when I started it up in August 2009, but it’s a source of personal pride that, apart from when requested by the writer, I’ve not edited or deleted anything I’ve received in reply to my pieces in the past six years – I hope and trust that john davies’ post isn’t a sign that this is going to have to change. Of course, the fact that the comments received have been of such a consistently high standard while being both interesting and informative have helped tremendously on that score as well.

  7. Richard Holt says:

    Like you Paul I’ll wait to see Ameobi in action before passing judgement on the merits or otherwise of this loan signing. I do hope the rumour of his guaranteed first team place is not true however. I can’t think of anything more damaging to the morale of the rest of the squad than having a player signed with those sort of conditions attached. The central midfield issue is still the one which I feel is the most urgent to address and merely hoping on Dikgacoi finally coming good is hardly a strategy which gives me much optimism. Well done on giving that Wolves fan a clip around the year by the way.

  8. Richard Holt says:

    I mean ‘ear’ !

  9. Dai Woosnam says:

    Richard’s typo there, made me smile.
    Easy…because I fancy that deep in his subconscious was the South Walian idiosyncratic pronunciation code that we all take in with our mothers’ milk.
    What do I mean?
    Well…take the word “tooth”.
    We are unique in the UK in not pronouncing the double O in “tooth” as in “loo” and “moo”.
    Equally there are lots of “Woosnams” in South Wales and they all similarly pronounce their double O to rhyme with the double O in “wood” and not the Chinese way as in “Fu Manchu”.
    And then there is the word choir, that was always pronounced by elderly relations and neighbours as KOI-a.
    But best of all is the word “year”.
    In South Wales, one sound has three meanings. That sound is YER.

    1. Come by yer (here)
    2. What yer is it? (Year)
    3. Lend me your yer (ear)

    We monoglot South Walians have a priceless linguistic history.

    PS. AMO is so right re the graceless tribalism from that WOLVES fan.
    It reminds me that I detest tribalism more than anything.
    I am really ashamed now of my whoops of delight when the Swans lost to PNE at the semi final stage in 1964.
    Now, I truly admire them, and they are my second team.

  10. Anthony O'Brien says:

    Re Dai’s comments on “yer”. It has always amused me when English speakers think Welsh people habitually say “Look you” when in reality we are saying “Look here” as in, for example, “Now look yer, butty.”

    I should also like to mention Dai’s constantly brilliant use of English words, as in his latest example, “graceless tribalism”. It sums up the unfortunate John Davies and his ilk so perfectly!

  11. Richard Holt says:

    Year year !

  12. The other Bob Wilson says:

    I wonder if this sentence has ever been spoken anywhere in South Wales – “Yer yer, this yer I’m able to yer from yer in this yer”?
    Richard, I think there is a good chance that Ameobi (or his club?) chose us because we said he’d play every week – I suppose it’s like most things in football, if someone’s doing the business game in, game out it will be forgotten, or tolerated at least, whereas it will have the sort of affect you fear if he isn’t. Agree with you about the midfield, with Adeyemi off to Leeds for the season by the look of it, we are currently weaker in the area that virtually everyone recognised as the part of the team that most needed strengthening than we were last season.

  13. Dai Woosnam says:

    Thanks, in no particular order to …
    … AMO for his lovely compliment (though I fear I am not worthy, as my ability to shoot down words on the wing has long left me: a neighbour wished me ‘good morning’ the other day, and it took me a full twenty seconds to articulate a response!)
    …RICHARD for reminding me that there is a 4th word with the same sound
    …and PAUL for his example that inspired this sentence…

    Unlike Van Gogh, our Vincent has two good YERS, and this YER magnanimously showed he could YER the blue-till-I-die fans YER.


    Kindest, as ever,

  14. Dai Woosnam says:

    A couple of quick unrelated points to all the above correspondence:

    1. Just saw this interview with Anthony Gerrard. Golly, it is quite something eh? He was never a favourite of mine, but I have to say I warm to him after reading it. The scene on the train with the Liverpool fan wanting a photo is just crying out for a movie to me made! And gosh…one cannot help but be simpatico with his views on Wembley.
    2. Now to something, I know you will write about: the Malky whitewash. Hardly surprising: we all predicted it. Here is my take on it.

    The F.A.’s part in the Kick It Out campaign has now been shown to be a worthless PR exercise. Greg Dyke is thoroughly discredited and must resign. He refused to stand by Mr Vincent Tan, just as he refused to stand by Mr Andrew Gilligan in the sexed-up Iraq War dossier (when all Gilligan’s claims were later found to be true).

    The only “kicking” that the FA did here was to kick the Malky Mackay racism texts into the long grass, take an unconscionable amount of time assessing what decent people could see in ten minutes (thus hoping we would all forget about it) and then release their disgraceful whitewash on a big sporting news day, hoping we would not notice.

    And what better day to choose than the opening day of a vital Ashes Test at Lords, and also the first day of the Open at St Andrews?

    And their get out of jail card was laughable in its absurdity: apparently these were “private” texts. So that makes them okay, then? Imagine if I text my neighbour to say I am going to fly a plane into the World Trade Center! The fact it is a private text thus makes me immune to prosecution? I don’t think so!

    Get out now, Mr Dyke. Ethnic minorities clearly have no champion in you.

    Thanks for letting me express myself in your pages Paul.


  15. Dai Woosnam says:

    Oops …I forgot the link in my posting of 2 minutes ago.

    Here it is. What a compelling read THIS is:



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