Weekly review 18/7/15.

CoymayI’m guessing that at the end of last season most people with the interests of Cardiff City football club at heart would have agreed that it needed to up it’s game all round over the summer if it was to start to reconnect with it’s support – I’m afraid that last week events did not help that ambition at all.

There has been evidence through the summer that the situation is not as bad when it comes to the relationship between club and supporters as some of the doom mongers might have you believe. As mentioned before, the new Adidas kit has proven to be very popular with record sales over the weekend of it’s release on the 3rd of this month and this shot in the arm appears to have had something of a knock on effect when it comes to season ticket sales. It needs to be said that it’s a measure of how bad the situation had got that the latest estimate I’ve read of 10,500 having been sold can be presented as some sort of triumph, but, although reaching the 12,000 target the club appear to have set itself would represent a drop of in the region of 35% from last season, I believe it would still be at the upper end of any expectations they would have had in the spring.

So, it’s not been all doom and gloom by any means and they do say absence makes the heart grow fonder, so a few months without watching City play will have devotees trying to convince themselves that 14/15 wasn’t really as bad as it seemed at the time. Also, I’ve probably mentioned before on here that if supporters cannot be optimistic about their team’s prospects at this time of year, when can they be. However, to reach, or possibly exceed, that 12,000 target, I can’t help thinking something more is needed in the next three weeks to really capture the imagination of potential season ticket buyers.

Unfortunately, in my opinion anyone wanting that extra bit of good news before committing to buying a season ticket is less likely to do so after the last seven days than they would have been this time last week. A series of events, some admittedly pretty minor in the grand scheme of things, have conspired to present the club in the poor light which I would argue people have become far too familiar with in recent years.

Firstly, there has been the announcement by the FA that they would not be taking any further action against Malky Mackay and Iain Moody over the controversial e-mails and texts they sent during their time with the club. Now the first thing that needs to be said here is that, having created a precedent with their whitewash concerning the sexist e-mails sent by Premier League Chairman Richard Scudamore, the FA had, effectively, painted themselves into a corner when it came to their decision regarding Messrs Mackay and Moody.

To exonerate the two men on the grounds that the offensive messages were sent in private seems a particularly feeble cop out to me and the club, in the form of Chairman Mehmet Dalman, were very quick to condemn that decision. All fair enough then, but, amid what I see as fully believable rumours that Vincent Tan is prepared to take the matter further to FIFA or the Court of Arbitration for Sport, I do find myself asking a couple of questions – firstly, would any further action Mr Tan takes be fueled by a genuine desire to fight racism, sexism and homophobia in all of it’s forms or a need to punish men he has spectacularly fallen out with as much as he possibly can (don’t forget that the messages were only found because of Mr Tan’s desire to find incriminating evidence against the pair on an unrelated matter)?

With the tedious Langston loan notes dispute also seemingly heading for the Courts again, my second question is who is going to end up being held responsible for all of the legal bills arising from these matters? Will we see the club being loaned more money by Mr Tan to pay these bills? That would be understandable and justifiable in the Langston case maybe, but I would argue that the other matter is a personal one between Messrs Mackay, Moody, Tan and certain other individuals on the club Board and, as such, there is no reason for the club’s already horrendous debt to be made any worse through it having to pay legal costs in the matter of the abusive messages.

So, why does any of this paint the club in a poor light? Well, I think it does because of a passage in the FA’s statement announcing the decision not to take any further action against Mackay and Moody which I’m amazed has not attracted more attention up to now. Here is the FA statement and the piece I referred to above comes under the heading “Other developments in The FA’s investigation”.

Now, if all of that means what I think it does, the lack of a response from the club disputing or clarifying that section of the statement (especially in light of their immediate criticism regarding the FA’s verdict) does look fairly damning – if I, and the others who have commented on that section of the statement, am jumping to a wrong conclusion, then I apologise unreservedly, but, as I say, it does send out a certain signal and I believe it’s in the club’s best interest to correct this straight away if they are able to do so.

Moving on, a few weeks ago I wondered if anyone at the club who recalled Swansea’s cancelled game with NAC Breda during a pre season tour of the Netherlands would have asked if a week’s visit to that country, which we were told would feature a couple of games against top quality Dutch clubs, was such a good idea. Well, after last week’s developments, the tour has begun to resemble the sort of thing you’d see in an episode of The Thick of It or Veep.

At one time it looked like concerns over crowd safety would see no matches played by the team while in the Netherlands, but about ten days ago it was announced that a behind closed doors match with Sparta Rotterdam had been agreed and that Israeli side Ironi Kiryat Shmona would be the other opposition we’d face in a game to be played in Putten.

What has happened in the past few days regarding the latter game has all been pretty predictable. Firstly, news broke of a petition calling on the fixture to be cancelled amid condemnation of City for their insensitivity, which was countered by an  open letter of support from “the North West Friends of Israel”. Now, I have my own views on this, but I’m not going to make what is going to be a long piece anyway even longer by going into them now – they are not important anyway, given the point I am trying to make here.

Joe Mason after scoring at Forest Green on Friday  - with Adam LeFondre available for transfer and banished to the Under 21 team and Kenwyne Jones off representing Trinidad and Tobago, the young striker took the opportunity to put himself at the front of the queue for a starting place against Fulham - indeed, I've got to ask, apart from Frazier Campbell and Jones when he is interested, who out of the multitude of strikers who have played for the club in between times, has performed better than Mason did for us back in 11/12?*

Joe Mason after scoring at Forest Green on Wednesday - with Adam LeFondre available for transfer and banished to the Under 21 team and Kenwyne Jones off representing Trinidad and Tobago, the young striker took the opportunity to put himself at the front of the queue for a starting place against Fulham. Indeed, I’ve got to ask, apart from Fraizer Campbell and Jones when he is interested, who out of the multitude of strikers who have played for the club in between times, has performed better than Mason did for us back in 11/12?*

With Israel able to play in FIFA and UEFA sanctioned competitions and Israeli clubs regulars in the Champions and Europa Leagues, City are not guilty of breaching any rules by agreeing to play a friendly match with a club which, apparently, is more racially diverse than many in that country. However, the reaction to this fixture has shown what a minefield (perhaps not the best word to use in the circumstances) City have entered by agreeing to this game.

I’ve seen messageboard criticism accusing City of being “insensitive and provocative” in taking this game on and I’ve got to agree with that, although I would add that I don’t believe they have been deliberately so.  No, for me, they have been careless for, seemingly, not recognising the possible problems that may arise when touring the Netherlands and then naive and, to be frank, stupid, for not spotting the potential for attracting the wrong sort of headlines arranging a game with Israeli opposition would cause.

I daresay that compared to what has gone before, the next two matters I mention will seem quite trivial, but, again, the amateurishness shown by an organisation in desperate need of some goodwill from supporters is, I’m afraid, typical of so much we have seen from the club lately. Firstly, a Development team match with Haverfordwest arranged for Sunday has been called off at very short notice – to be fair, the piece makes it clear that this is because of injuries and City have said they will fulfill the fixture later in the season, but, surely, there are players from the club’s Academy who could have been drafted in to make up a team which would ensure a competitive fixture?

The second point concerns the club botching what should have been a good news story concerning the first team’s only home pre season match against Watford in ten days time. You get the impression that the club are making a real effort to repair the damage in the relationship between them and the fans caused mainly, but not exclusively, by Vincent Tan’s rebrand and the news that season ticket holders could attend the Watford match for free could, and should, have been another step along that road. Instead, the deal was announced on the club’s website in such a confusing way that many supporters (including myself) took it that what was being announced was that they would have to pay £10 for their ticket, but this would entitle them to a free complimentary ticket for someone else – more confusion and misunderstanding where there should not have been any.

Now, some of the things I’ve detailed here would not warrant a mention from me under normal circumstances, but they all help to present a picture of a club that is making things harder for itself than they need to be as they try to rebuild bridges – so much of what I’ve talked about could have been avoided with a bit of forethought and professionalism.

As well as all of this, it was another frustrating week on the transfer front which offered little evidence that the boost needed to take that season ticket sales figure up to 12,000 will come via an exciting new signing who would get people upbeat and expectant about the new campaign. Increasingly, I get the feeling that we will not see any new arrivals until there are more departures from the club and, on that score, Tom Adeyemi has been loaned to Leeds for the season with a view to him signing a permanent deal with the Yorkshire club next summer.

There’s two ways of viewing this news – on the one hand, you can say that, as someone who was never able to establish himself in a badly misfiring central midfield last season, Adeyemi won’t be missed and then there’s the view, which I tend to subscribe to, that he was never given the opportunities he should have been given how poor we were in that part of the pitch. Either way, while Kagisho Dikgachoi may turn out to be the equivalent of a new player after his injury and fitness problems in 14/15, the fact is that the squad is weaker at the moment than it was last season in the area of the pitch it struggled most in – you can only assume therefore, that when we do make a signing, it will be someone to replace Adeyemi.

Given the lack of new players, it would appear that Vincent Tan gave Russell Slade a very limited budget to work with this summer and, when you consider the lack of a worthwhile return on the funds he had made available in the previous two summers, I for one don’t blame him for that. That said, all of this is another thing which makes it harder to get a feelgood factor around the place. Furthermore, it is has to be said that a great deal of the wasted money has come through contracts which were, seemingly, negotiated by club officials not employed on the football management side of things.

On the playing side, the first team are at Shrewsbury  today and the Under 21s at Carmarthen as they both play their second pre season games. On Tuesday, the Development team beat Barry 4-0 and the following evening the senior side drew 1-1 at Forest Green in a match which, by the sound of the commentary on the club’s website, they really should have won, but they were caught out shortly after Peter Whittingham had seen his penalty saved when former Newport man Aaron O’Connor equalised Joe Mason’s second half effort.

Mason’s performance was one of the pluses in an encounter that saw City almost completely change their team at half time (only Joe Ralls was not substituted at the interval and he was replaced around the hour mark) with youngsters Macauley Southam and Robbie Patten both showing up well in midfield and Dikagcoi able to get forty five minutes in as well. Unfortunately Matt Connnolly and Deji Oshilaja picked up injuries which will keep them out today and, having been absent for the start of last season, a minor operation means that Ben Turner will not be fit for the big kick off against Fulham in three weeks time.

Finally, the club’s second kit for the coming season was revealed last week – here it is.

* picture courtesy of

http://www.walesonline.co.uk/

 

 

 

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10 Responses to Weekly review 18/7/15.

  1. alun woodruff says:

    The real reason why Mackay was sacked- and why he so unexpectedly publicly apologised to Tan- was because he got found out over the transfer dealings of, among others, Cornelius. The textgate affair is/was a sideshow, regrettable as that undoubtedly is.
    There were large sums of money involved- high six figure sums- and, as a Director of a one-time premiership club, now playing in Division 1,told me, Malky is well-known in boardroom circles for this.That is why West Ham, Norwich, Celtic,Leeds, Crystal Palace did not consider appointing him as manager when many thought he had a shoe-in at Norwich and Palace in particular, and he ended up at hard-up Wigan.
    Interesting how our most successful manager- who many of us idolised- cannot find another club.Interesting but not surprising.
    Slade is an honest and genuine man, but nowhere near as talented as Malky, sadly, but what a triumph it would be if he were to lead us to the promised land, however unlikely that would be.

  2. Graham says:

    I’m afraid I do not see our owner as a great campaigner against racism, sexism, and homophobia and I do want him and the Club to just shut up about Mackay and Moody .. the cancellation of the Haverfordwest game was insensitive, stupid, and unnecessary given the number of players on our books .. who captained the team against Forest Green? Who will captain the 1st team this season? Not our brilliant goalkeeper I hope .. an on-field inspirational, example-setting general [yes, like Bellamy was]is needed .. so who?

  3. Anthony O'Brien says:

    Very well said, Graham.

  4. Dai Woosnam says:

    AMO and Graham should realise that nobody is saying that Vincent Tan is Martin Luther King exactly, but please do not accidentally smear him by suggesting it is six of one and half a dozen of the other. Do not equate him with two racist rogues.
    And let nobody buy the argument proffered by that blogger in The Guardian that the FA had created a precedent with their attitude to the Richard Scudamore affair.
    Scudamore and Dyke pulled off the old pals’ act.
    The FA’s decision on those sexist texts would not have mattered a jot in this case.
    Please read my assessment of the case in the last item.
    They spent ten months on this…the only “kicking out” that the FA did, was kicking the matter out into the long grass…hoping that we would all forget it.
    And then planning the BEST POSSIBLE date to release their whitewash. A day when the sports pages would be full of other stuff, and it could be lost on the bottom corner of an inside page.
    And deciding that the best day would be several months away in July 2015…the day when the Open Golf Tournament started at St Andrews, and a vital Ashes Test took place at the home of cricket, Lord’s.
    The sheer cynicism of that move is breathtaking.
    The truth is here that we so miss Mr David Bernstein.
    Here was a man of the deepest principles, who went after John Terry even after the criminal courts had found him innocent. John Terry is just about my favourite player, and I was mad with Bernstein at the time…but I reluctantly realised that Terry had transgressed when it came to sporting behaviour, and had to face the music.
    Had Bernstein still been at the helm, these two bounders would not have been given a get-out-of-jail card.
    But alas Dyke is not made of the same moral fibre.
    Forgot the £16K watch he was bribed with from FIFA : which he was eventually made to give to charity following a significant press campaign.
    I marked his card many years ago in the Andrew Gilligan affair, when Alistair Campbell and Antonio Blairescu told the BBC to sack him, following his claims that the Iraq War dossier was “sexed up”. And Gilligan was duly forced to “resign” in shame, by The Board of Governors …even though ALL his claims were later fully substantiated.
    And the man at the top of the BBC at the time – Greg Dyke – refused to lift so much as a little finger to help him.
    And of course, the biggest insult here, is the insult to our collective intelligence…i.e. the nonsense that because the texts were “private”, that meant they were immune to any further action!
    Eh?
    Like I said the other day…I could send a private text to a friend to say I was going to fly a Jumbo Jet into the WTC next week. Would I be immune to prosecution because it was a private text?
    In the immortal words of Eliza Doolittle….
    …” Not bloody likely!”
    A very sad day indeed for basic justice.
    Kindest,
    Dai
    PS. I do agree with Graham though on the Haverfordwest cancellation. A shameful decision.
    But then…what can you expect when the FA show such a bad example?

  5. The other Bob Wilson says:

    Thank you for a very varied range of replies. Alun, I don’t remember having seen you post on here before, so welcome to the comments section if I’m right. As for what you say about Malky Mackay, you may well be right, but I would point out the following;-
    1. If he was well known in Boardrooms up and down the country for the sort of financial chicanery you and others talk of, why is it that, twenty one months after the accusations were first put into the public domain, Mackay has not been charged, let alone found guilty, with anything relating to the Cornelius deal etc.?
    2. Everything I read and heard at the time strongly suggested that Mackay would get the Palace job until City released details of some of the offensive texts available to the Daily Mail – incidentally, why did it take the club three months and more to act from the time Mackay and Moody issued their apologies to Vincent Tan and dropped their court cases against him?
    3. Of course, there has to be the possibility that Mackay and Moody were issuing their apologies after they had been made aware that they had been found out on their financial wrongdoings, but, if that were the case, why are we still waiting for the club to pass the evidence to the relevant authorities? The only answers I can think of to that question is that they are holding on to the evidence and waiting for a moment when they can cause Mackay/Moody maximum embarrassment or that they are using it to maintain a hold over the two men – either way, the club are surely guilty of just the sort of cynicism that Dai accuses the FA of it that is the case.
    4. Mention of Iain Moody takes me back to Crystal Palace. Even if you are right and they were never going to appoint Malky Mackay, they did appoint his “partner in crime” and he was with them for over eighteen months – if the two men are really as notorious in Boardrooms as you say they are, it seems odd that Palace were prepared to act in different ways when it came to the possibility of employing them both.
    5. I assumed that the former director you talk of was at Wigan, but I suppose there are other clubs that fall into the category you mention. However, Wigan were prepared to appoint Mackay – his time there turned out to be a bit of a disaster, but, again, it seems odd to me that they would have appointed a man with the sort of reputation Mackay had, apparently, got for dodgy deals.
    That said, I thought Mackay would never work in the game again after those texts were made public. Once again, you might well be right in what you say, but, as I’ve tried to point out, there are contradictions which suggest that it’s not all as straightforward as you and others who accuse Mackay/Moody of lining their own pockets through illegal behaviour make out – if they are guilty of it all and many within the game know this, then you have to think those in authority in football on a national level are as corrupt as those who run the world game appear to be.
    Dai, broadly I agree with you about the FA’s attitude towards the racism shown by the two former City employees, but the Scudamore case gave them the chance to claim they were applying a consistent approach – the original decision was flawed in my opinion, but I was not surprised in the slightest by their verdict on Mackay/Moody. Incidentally, John Terry your favourite player?? We really do differ in our footballing philosophy (I’m talking about Terry the player there by the way, not Terry the man)!!!
    Graham, I see Terry Phillips said City were “poor” at Shrewsbury in his match report on yesterday’s game – they must have been pretty bad to get him to be as critical as that. Of course, it’s too early to read too much into results and performances yet, but the couple we’ve had so far are not going to improve Russell Slade’s standing among (a majority perhaps?) City supporters. I agree about the need for an on field leader. I think Peltier may have been captain at Forest Green, but, for me, the sort of mistakes he made that resulted in Shrewsbury’s penalty would need to be eradicated for him to be a regular starter – I’d prefer that much more accomplished footballer, Matt Connolly to him at right back.
    One last thing, once again I find myself being surprised by the lack of comment regarding the “Other developments in The FA’s investigation” part of the FA’s statement.

  6. Dai Woosnam says:

    Paul,
    As usual a very thoughtful summing up from you, of all our contributions. I was particularly struck by your assessment of Alun’s contribution.
    But first, a word on your views on mine.
    Oh yes Paul, nobody doubts that the Scudamore “ruling” was the fig leaf that the FA could use to hide behind here. But where I differ from that Guardian blogger, is that it is patent nonsense to buy the FA’s tacit line that they have been spending many months trying to find legal ways of nailing the Cardiff Two that would not be lost on appeal by the two bounders citing “one rule for Scudamore and another rule for us”.
    The FA know full well that “consistency of treatment” can not be held up as a reason for inactivity, if that original decision was manifestly unsound…as the Scudamore ruling patently was.
    Like I said, it was the worst kind of Old Pal’s Act: an unprincipled man helping out a deeply sexist chum.
    Were Vincent to employ a half decent “silk” to sue the FA re that ruling, he will get it overturned. But I am possibly with Graham in that we maybe should move on now.
    But we should all treat any further sanctimonious attempts by the FA to claim that they hold the high moral ground on racism, with the total contempt they deserve.
    On a much lighter note, Paul…
    …re your playful taking me to task on my saying that JT was my favourite player
    …I wonder why on earth should he NOT be?!
    But I think I have sussed out the misunderstanding here.
    Remember Paul that if I listed all my manifold faults, a glib and unthinking choice of adjectives, would not be anywhere to be seen! So what am I saying?
    Well, that favourite means favourite, and not BEST.
    Indeed, paradoxically, “favourite” can almost mean WORST.
    I think back to the close season when Danny Malloy left. (Now there WAS a favourite who really was rhe best!)
    And at the eve-of-season trial match between the PROBABLES in blue against the POSSIBLES in red, Frank Rankmore wore blue and a blond chap named Trevor Peck wore red. And Rankmore – although no Malloy – was by far the more accomplished of the two.
    Yet I developed a real soft spot for Trevor. Why? I guess because I related to him in that I too had two uncultured feet both in the same boot. So he became MY personal representative in the squad, so-to-speak!
    But back to JT…a million times better player than Trevor Peck…
    Why is he my favourite?
    Easy.
    Because, he was never blessed with any true pace, and was not the fastest on the turn, but overcame both by being the best “reader of a game” of modern times. If only the vastly overrated Steven Caulker could have had a season or two learning the game alongside JT…he would not be caught out of position so often.
    And JT Is a magnificent tackler – not an occasional thug like that chap Shawcross at Stoke – and a fine distributor of the ball. And he can head a ball too: often very effectively clearing his box one minute, and heading home a corner down the other end, the next.
    So I am totally standing by JT as my favourite player these days. Interestingly, several good judges thought that his 100% appearance record last season at his advanced age, was worthy of him pipping fellow team member Eden Hazard for the Footballer of The Year award.
    JT is my favourite English player, just as Carles Puyol was my favourite Spanish one. Very similar players. Superlative readers of the game …a skill that made them overcome their natural shortcomings.
    Gosh…look at the time! I have to break off now.
    I will be back to you later in the week re Alun’s posting.
    Kindest,
    Dai.
    daigress@hotmail.com

  7. The other Bob Wilson says:

    Point taken about “favourite” not necessarily meaning “best” Dai, but, for me, Terry is the sort of player who typifies the misguided values which have kept the English international team in the role of also rans in the past forty odd years. Five years ago Terry looked well past his best as his lack of pace and mobility was exposed in a pretty shambolic England defence during the 2010 World Cup. I agree that he was a prominent member of the Premier League’s best defence last season, but we are talking about a competition where the general quality of defending is pretty poor.
    Terry and the rest of the Chelsea team were given a lesson when they bowed out of the Champions League at Stamford Bridge, beaten by a PSG side reduced to ten men who were still comfortably better than them. I’ll admit that I probably do let my dislike of Terry the man cloud my judgement of him as a player, but I genuinely have never rated him that highly. He’s certainly no Puyol (a player who can show you considerably more than just one winner’s medal, gained from a match in which he didn’t play, in truly major tournaments) in my book and I view him much like Gerrard, Rooney and Lampard in that they have barely ever done it for their country on the biggest stages (the only genuine World Class individual performances I’ve seen for England in major tournaments in the past decade have come from Ashley Cole).

  8. Anthony O'Brien says:

    Re favourite players – Mine would be one who consistently reveals a sense of fair play, a man of principle who would, for example, never seek to benefit from an unfair advantage, would never cheat, would accept the referee’s decisions no matter what, would abide by the rules, would genuinely congratulate an opponent for a skilful or sporting action, and so on. Sadly, I can’t think of anyone in the modern game with such altruistic attributes. In passing, Cardiff City’s “explanation” for calling off the game against Haverfordwest certainly seems, at the very least, to lack veracity – but there we are, football does have its own moral (or rather, amoral) code and often tends to be a reflection of society in general

  9. Dai Woosnam says:

    Paul,

    Thanks as ever. I said I would come back to you re Alun’s somewhat eyebrow raising piece.

    And here I am…at the end of a long day celebrating (if that is the word!) my 68th birthday. It is 46 years ago today that NASA gave me the honour of asking Neil Armstrong to set foot on the moon to mark my 22nd birthday!*

    Before I get on to Alun’s interesting contribution, I want to just respond to your last sentence re Ashley Cole. Interesting that you should mention him. (I agree with you BTW re his performances in an England shirt.)

    He is the guy who stood up for JT in the racism allegations…at considerable personal cost.

    You will recall that someone tweeted a comment calling AC a “choc-ice (black on the outside and white on the inside), and Rio Ferdinand then disgracefully re-tweeted it.

    But Cole was adamant: JT was no racist.

    And I am sure that in many ways JT has an exemplary record of providing true friendship to players of other racial origins to his own. But the fact remains that in attempt to get at Rio, he used racial abuse on Rio’s brother.

    So that makes him guilty of racism. A prima facie case. He used the abusive racist language.

    No point re-educating him, because I am confident that he only used the language to psyche-out his opponent…and ipso facto, his brother. He did not believe in his heart that he was racially superior to Anton.

    But PUNISHED he had to be, because he committed a crime against sportmanship. (And yes I felt for him, having this Rio character nakedly trying to steal the England captaincy from him: all the time Rio trying to appear like Sweet Reason personified and like he had ownership of the High Moral Ground.)

    Like heck he did! This fellow who managed to forget that the drugs testers were coming to Man Utd’s training ground and conveniently went shopping in the Trafford Centre so as to miss them !!? Alex Ferguson then supports his “innocent mistake” nonsense, and the pusillanimous FA then reduce what should have been a mandatory 2 year ban, to 9 months or thereabouts. (This is the same Alex Ferguson who for many years told us that Ryan Giggs had an injury whenever Wales came calling !!)

    So let us get it clear: racist behaviour includes using abusive epithets of a racist kind. Nothing to do with “banter” or “political correctness”. And the JT case proves to me that you do not have to believe in your own racial superiority to be a racist. Just using the insulting language is enough.

    And now to Alun’s contribution.

    Paul, you have rightly queried some apparent non sequiturs in his reasoning. Things like Malky not getting the Crystal Palace job for reasons of doubts re the trustworthiness of the duo, are obviously way off the mark, given that airmiles crazy Moody was already well ensconced on the Board at Selhurst, and Malky was just about to put pen to paper when Vincent quite magnificently timed his moment to throw in a hand grenade. It was his way of saying words to this effect: “You choose to shaft me by leaking my email, and I can fight dirty too.”

    But I want to deal with the murky subject of that Cornelius deal. It has to be put in the context of the George Graham bung scandal of the early-mid 1990s.

    Here was a guy who in many ways came over like a Malky role model. He was a Scot from the same locale, carried himself well, and seemed like the quintessence of integrity.

    And then the footballing world was shocked to hear that this man – of what we had assumed to be unimpeachable rectitude – had stolen over £400K from his Arsenal FC employers (and more importantly, the FANS of that club, as it was they who provided the money!), after getting a backhander from the Scandinavian agent.

    We could scarce take it in. Apart from his uber-vanity meaning he had a penchant for spending a fortune on fine clothes, Gorgeous George had seemed to be a man to go to the barricades for.

    And then we saw the secret film of him being confronted on the London Colney training ground by Scandinavian TV with the allegations, and his threatening belligerent response. And suddenly the scales fell from our eyes.

    Subsequently when asked, he came up with a “pass-the-sickbag-Alice” reply that he only took the money for his kids !!

    Oh yes?

    Hardly. All the kids bar one were in their twenties and well set in life.

    Mentioning “life”: that is what he should have got. A lifetime ban from the game. And ten years in prison. Instead of which Arsenal refused to press charges (feeling too embarrassed already, in that they had been made a mug of, by their own manager) and the FA did their usual whitewash and only banned him for a year…and allowed him to immediately stay in the game by working as a well-paid match broadcaster while he “served” his sentence!

    But ever since the Graham bung, boards of directors have figured that if someone with the bearing of George Graham can hoodwink their clubs, then ANY manager can. And thus transfers from Scandinavia that appeared out of the ordinary, were given SPECIAL close scrutiny.

    Thus it was that when the Bluebirds paid FC Copenhagen £8.5m for a barely 20 years old player, very few Brits had heard of, called Andreas Cornelius…the alarm bells started ringing.

    And they rang with a deafening intensity, when it was discovered that this fellow performed like George Weah’s “cousin”, Ali Dia. (!!) The only difference was that Dia cost Southampton nothing: whereas our lame accursed Hamlet cost Cardiff City fans £8.5 of their hard earned disposable cash.

    Now of course, Vincent will have had his legal boys swarming over this deal with the finest of fine-tooth combs. And clearly they have found nothing to incriminate our two bounders. So Alun must withdraw his allegations.

    But part of me sympathises with him.

    You see, the thing is so fishy that I have to say that were it to go before a Scottish court, I cannot help but think that whereas a GUILTY verdict is out of the question, a NOT Guilty one is also a bit improbable.

    I fancy a Scottish court might come up with their classic third option that I wish all UK courts also had available to them, viz. NOT PROVEN.

    I am always mindful of the Arthur Scargill and the “hidden money stashed away in Paris” case.

    Several years after the Miners’ Strike, and Scargill no longer at the helm of the NUM, following ex-colleague Roger Windsor blowing the whistle, a 7 figure sum of Pounds Sterling was found in a Paris bank. It was money that the NUM in the UK were unaware of.

    Arthur quite reasonably said that it had been put there to avoid Maggie Thatcher sequestrating it.

    The allegation widely made in the British press at the time was that Arthur would wait another a year or two for the fuss to die down, and then split it with a French colleague.

    I do not believe that was his intention.

    But it shows what can happen. And in football too.

    So theoretically an agent can agree with a manager beforehand to pay him say, half of the circa 12.5% of the transfer fee that is his agent’s share. So that means £500K could find its way into a manager’s bank account for a transfer as ludicrous as that of Cornelius.

    But mindful of the fact that accountants will be all over the money trail with a magnifying glass, you can be sure they will not make the mistake of sending it to an anonymous bank account just opened in Monaco or Switzerland in the name of a dog !!

    Why? Because whilst that would not – until he drew from it – incriminate the manager, it would certainly hole the agent below the waterline.

    So the agent would “do an Arthur” and hold on to it for a few years, and then – and only then – transfer the money…when the bloodhounds had been long called off.

    Anyway…none of us will ever know, methinks.

    But that transfer was sooo bizarre.

    A bit like paying 5 million for a £500K house in Cyncoed…or rather £8.5 million for an £850K house in Lisvane or Radyr.

    It stands out a mile.

    Kindest,
    Dai.

    * Lest anyone wilfully misunderstand, it really was an attempt at humour from me!

  10. The other Bob Wilson says:

    I’ve not got a great deal to add to what I’ve already said about John Terry Dai. I mentioned in passing that I do perhaps let my dislike of him as a man influence my judgement of him as a player at times, but I can honestly say that the Anton Ferdinand incident has little bearing on this as that took place after my mind had been made up on the man.
    As for Mackay/Moody, I think your “not proven” analogy is a good one. In relation to the Cornelius deal in particular, I think it is fair to point out that, as a teenager making a very big impact in a fair to middling division in Champions League terms, there had been Premier League interest in him before we signed him and that he was a better player than many City fans are now prepared to give him credit for. I defended Cornelius a lot while he was here and I still feel sorry for the lad in many ways – especially because of the serious injury he suffered a few months back. However, his transfer is one of two things which makes me think I would give serious consideration to voting “not proven” if Mackay/Moody ever appeared in a Scottish court to answer charges of financial irregularities.
    Very unusually, the Cornelius transfer attracted comment from a couple of managers at other clubs – not only that, these managers could boast records which I’d say were more impressive than Malky Mackay’s. Martin Jol remarking that we had overpaid for Cornelius could perhaps be dismissed as mind games being played by a man whose team were playing City a day or so later, but Nigel Pearson’s Leicester were a division below us when he said they had considered bidding a small fraction of what we paid for the player but thought better of it and so, if he was playing mind games, I don’t get to what purpose.
    Those comments from rival managers only emphasise how much we overpaid for Cornelius and, when the player started his Cardiff career so poorly, it was understandable that some began to smell a rat. This brings me on to the second thing which looks particularly bad for Mackay and Moody – the way they issued those grovelling statements calling off their court actions against the club.
    This must have been manna from heaven for those who had been accusing the two men of financial misdemeanors in the months beforehand, but, even here, someone wanting to defend them against allegations of financial wrongdoing could argue that it was the offensive nature of the text messages/e-mails that had brought about the apology in the hope that they were not put into the public domain.
    All in all, even a not proven verdict would have to be arrived at on purely circumstantial evidence – despite the apparently considerable amount of time and money spent trying to find something to prove Mackay/Moody were on the take, there is still nothing that I’m aware of in the public domain which even hints at confirming beyond doubt the two men’s guilt. The alternative to this conclusion is to accept that the evidence does exist, but has not been forwarded to the relevant authorities yet – in which case, any claims about Vincent Tan and the club being on some sort of moral crusade to clean the game up begin to look very hollow.
    I tend to agree with you when you say that we will never know what really happened – did a manager whose record in the transfer market while at Cardiff up until the Cornelius signing had been good make a serious error in his judgment of the player or were we seeing the sort of dodgy dealing that George Graham got caught for? I honestly don’t know.

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