Weekly review 15/6/14.

CoymayThe week started with an announcement that Simon Lim had become the latest CEO to leave Cardiff City under Vincent Tan’s reign. Lim’s departure prompted a reshuffle with Chairman Mehmet Dalman ending doubts about his future at the club by taking on many of Lim’s old duties under his new job title of Executive Chairman and Ken Choo coming in  as General Manager to, in Dalman’s words, run the non football side. The announcement also confirmed the departure of a group of three joining Swiss side Servette Geneva. The identities of two of those involved was not new news because there had been talk of Commercial Director Julian Jenkins and Development team manager Kevin Cooper moving to Geneva for a few weeks, but they will also be joined by long serving physio Sean Connolly – another departure is Dick Bate who was in charge of the club’s Academy.

Following the shambolic situation last year where a series of transfers that Messrs Tan and Lim were very critical of, despite, it seems, them having been signed off by someone in authority at the club (i.e. not Malky Mackay or Iain Moody whose departures were heavily linked to the overspending in these deals), a much needed change of procedure has also been introduced. A four man Committee will now discuss possible new signings before giving the go ahead for the deal to be completed.

Some reports I’ve read say Vincent Tan will be attending these meetings and others that he will have an, as yet, unnamed representative present, but definitely involved will be Messrs Dalman, Choo and Solskjær with it being emphasised that no deal will go ahead without Ole’s approval. For the signings so far this summer it seems Ole has worked in conjunction with Tan and Dalman, but it seems pretty certain that there will be more new players joining the club this summer despite us having bought in a fifth one since the end of the season this week.

New General manager Ken Choo. His CV looks pretty impressive, but there is still very little local representation in the Boardroom - Vincent Tan said he was quite keen on having supporter representation at Board level, I hope they were not just empty words.*

New General manager Ken Choo. His CV looks pretty impressive, but there is still very little local representation in the Boardroom – Vincent Tan said he was quite keen on having supporter representation at Board level, I hope they were not just empty words.*

Mehmet Dalman mentioned the possibility of another signing before the end of the week when talking about the staff changes outlined above a few days ago and commented that the emphasis would be shifting to the defence and midfield areas following the arrival of three new strikers in the past few weeks. Therefore, it did not come as too much of a surprise when the Bosman signing of Crystal Palace defensive midfield man Kagisho Dikgacoi on a three year deal was confirmed on Thursday.

Dikgacoi had been linked with City in the last fortnight or so as well, but, that said, given that my thinking on possible deals where we are in competition with teams who will be in the Premier League next season has tended to be that we stood little chance of completing them, I must say that the identity of the player did shock me a bit. In this case, the Premier League club involved were Palace themselves who had talked to Dikgacoi about a new deal, but with his agent making some critical comments about the London club’s attitude towards his client on completion of his move to Cardiff, I presume the length of contract offered and and wages agreed were better than theirs.

With the Bosman signing of Javi Guerra completed while we were a Premier League club and now another new arrival where we seem to be paying someone more than a top flight club was prepared to, I’ll admit to a few concerns about the size of our wage bill for the coming season. However, it seems fairly certain that we are going to be losing some high earners in the coming weeks (for example, Dikgacoi would appear to be a replacement for Gary Medel who is, increasingly, being linked to a return to Spain with Valencia), so I suppose the time to try to make a realistic judgment on the wage bill is on 1 September when the transfer window has closed.

One pretty high earner who appears to be close to the departure door is Fraizer Campbell who was reported a few days ago to be in Leicester for discussions with the winners of the Championship about an £800,000 move. If Campbell does go, then, despite the presence of Kenwyne Jones, Nicky Maynard, Joe Mason, Jo Inge Berget and Rhys Healey as forward options to go with new signings Guerra, LeFondre and Macheda, perhaps Ole  feels we need still another striker, so maybe the reports of us being one of a number of Championship clubs chasing Chelsea’s Islam Feruz on a long term loan deal are not as wide of the mark as they may appear to be at first?

New signing Kagisho Dikgacoi in action against Mats Dæhli during Palace's embarrassingly easy 3-0 win at Cardiff City Stadium in April. I'll admit he's made little impression on me in our games with Palace down the years, but he started twenty seven games with them in the Premier League last season, so the South African international must have something going for him.*

New signing Kagisho Dikgacoi in action against Mats Dæhli during Palace’s embarrassingly easy 3-0 win at Cardiff City Stadium in April. I’ll admit he’s made little impression on me in our games with Palace down the years, but he started twenty seven games with them in the Premier League last season, so the South African international must have something going for him.*

Another name linked with City recently is Ferencvaros defender Muhamed Besic. Twenty one year old Besic is in the Bosnia and Herzegovina squad for the World Cup and has been singled out by coach  Safet Susic as the man to mark Lionel Messi in tonight’s game with Argentina.  Besic has plenty of admirers, reported to include Anderlecht, Borussia Monchengladbach and Fenerbahce, so, on the face of it, he’s another who falls into the category of “unlikely” as far as I’m concerned, but, given some of our deals so far this summer, I’m certainly not going to say impossible.

One other bit of City related news, I can imagine how “old school” Cardiff fans will feel about this, but we were voted the best in the Premier League when it came to entertaining away fans last season (I’ll avoid the obvious jokes!) – indeed, only Plymouth Argyle of the ninety two clubs making up the Premier and Football Leagues were rated above us.

Finally, just a few quick words on the opening days of the World Cup in Brazil. Yes, there have been some shocking decisions by officials in the first few games, but, overall it has been a very promising start to the competition. England’s campaign began with defeat by Italy last night, but it was a much more open affair than I was expecting and, as such, continued a trend that has seen twenty six goals scored in eight matches. Chile, with Gary Medel at centreback scored three of them in their win over Australia, but at the moment the South American side that has impressed me the most is probably Columbia who beat Greece 3-0. Brazil were pretty good in beating Croatia 3-1, but they benefited from home town decisions and the scoreline flattered them, while Uruguay came a cropper against unfancied Costa Rica.

Of the European teams, Croatia aren’t out of it by any means, neither are England on their showing last night, but the result which towers above all others so far is Netherlands 5 Spain 1. The Netherlands (who I was pretty dismissive about in my piece on their warm up win over Wales!) were excellent with Van Persie in great form and Robben absolutely brilliant in the second half, but they were helped on their way by a woeful defensive showing by the team that has won their last three major tournaments. Spain looked like a side with important players in decline. Some of them are simply coming to the end of their careers, but others, notably their centrebacks and one or two in midfield, gave the impression that they were struggling to get themselves up for yet another competition after all the success, at club and country level, they’d enjoyed in the past six years – I think they may well not get past the group stage.

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






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4 Responses to Weekly review 15/6/14.

  1. Dai Woosnam says:

    Good morning, Paul.
    Thanks for your update. I am that much better informed now, as always, after reading your blog.
    I will just make a comment on your final para.
    I love the World Cup because all my theories are proved correct …BIGTIME.
    Take that Spanish debacle against the Netherlands.
    Had Cassias stood on his line, he easily saves that van Persie header. Why do goalkeepers everywhere stand outside their goal area as a matter of policy thesedays?
    And as for his mis-control of the pass back: why the heck was the ball being passed back to him for ANYWAY ?!!
    It should have been put into Row Z.
    Hopeless defences might make for exciting games, but there is a narrow line between excitement and exasperation at total incompetence.
    And still on the World Cup: you can see why Malky is susceptible to the charge of GROSS DERELICTION OF DUTY when it came to his madcap spending.
    I told you when he signed Medel that he vastly overpaid for him. He would not pay £2m for Leon Barnett, yet paid some SIX TIMES that for Medel. Incredible. And I said then he was too short.
    Yes I know he was not signed as a centre back as Chile use him, but even so, I want a defensive midfield player to have an aerial presence. Tim Cahill had him on toast.
    Let us hope that he has two blinders for Chile in the remaining two group games, so City can recoup most of that crazy fee.

  2. The other Bob Wilson says:

    Morning Dai and thanks for your reply. Regarding the Netherlands’ first goal, it might be argued that Casillas could have got to the ball first if he was further off his line when Blind played the pass. I wouldn’t argue that this would have been a good position for him to be in, but it may well have got him to the ball before Van Persie. If he had stayed on his line then Blind’s pass would not have needed to have been as brilliant as it was, because Van Persie would have been in on the keeper and he usually scores in such situations. I suppose it’s about the balance of probabilities and Casillas (and the Spanish goalkeeping staff I would guess) would argue that he was in the likeliest position to stop a goal being scored, but the quality of Blind’s pass made him look at fault – it still needed a great header from Van Persie to score despite that pass mind.
    With the fourth goal, this just comes down to footballing philosophy, Spain (and Barcelona) have won trophies galore by not using the “Row Z” option unless it is absolutely necessary – I would say that, despite occasional disasters like this one, both teams are way in credit in terms of games and tournaments won.
    I mentioned in a messageboard thread about Medel’s defending for the Australia goal that Cahill has made a career out of scoring headers when jumping against defenders who are inches taller than him – Medel could have been six foot tall and I would have backed Cahill to score that goal. I think Medel was a good player for us overall last season (thought his attitude wasn’t the best at times from December onwards though), but I agree we paid too much for him – that said, although I daresay there may have been one or two of them, I can’t think of a single goal off the top of my head (sorry about that!) we conceded because of his lack of inches.

  3. Dai Woosnam says:

    Dear Paul,
    All my Christmases are coming at once with this World Cup.
    Take the woeful England performance against Uruguay.
    All those negative square balls from Cahill to Jagielka …then back again. Drives me nuts.
    And then this obsession with protecting those two, sees Gerrard trying to head a proper “goalkeeper’s kick” down the field* and the ball skims off the top of his head to Suarez!
    It is not rocket science. Kick the ball down the field and your opponents will make mistakes, and football becomes much more exciting.
    And we are not talking “hoof it” here: like I have said in the past, when Johnny Haynes, Danny Blanchflower and Glenn Hoddle hit precision balls 70 yards to drop on a sixpence, it was called VISION.
    And if a keeper can see his main attacking colleague in a dangerous position down the other end of the field, why NOT aim for him? One certainly puts immediate pressure on the opposition defence, if the kick out is anywhere near to accurate.
    Personally, I would not devalue the English language by calling the “little triangles short ball game” a different PHILOSOPHY.
    To me it is closer to being a DISEASE.
    It has ruined football for me, and made it a big yawn.
    But hey Paul, we are happy enough to agree to differ on this, eh?
    Re Medel, I don’t think I suggested that his lack of inches directly cost Cardiff goals last season (maybe his lack of inches between his EARS did. Stupid free kicks conceded for pulling opponents back, cost two that I remember).
    No, what I was saying is that anyone playing just in front of the back four needs a bit of height to cut out aerial cross field passes.
    However, if Paul Abbandonato’s barmy idea of playing Medel as a central defender comes to pass, I forecast unmitigated disaster.
    Rudy Gestede is rubbing his hands at the prospect.

    * Her Majesty must grant a Knighthood to the aged Charles Hughes while there is still time.
    Kindest, as ever,

  4. The other Bob Wilson says:

    Morning Dai. As always, I take point about hoofing and long passes, but the goal England conceded was a shocker – they are simply not good enough defensively to progress any distance in major competitions.
    1970 in Mexico is always the benchmark for me when it comes to gauging the quality of a World Cup competition. I’ve always said the one held in the same country sixteen years later was the second best one I’ve seen, but, if this one keeps up it’s current standard, I may have to reconsider that opinion (possibly the one about my best ever World Cup as well) – if this World Cup is disease ridden, then let’s hope it’s a very contagious one!
    As for Gary Medel, to be fair to Paul Abbandonato, he did say he could not play centreback in the Championship.
    Disagree with you about Medel being too short to play the holding midfield player role. There’s a player who was so effective in that position that, for a while, it was named after him – Claude Makelele was five foot seven.

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