Weekly review 20/06/2015.

CoymayAfter a few weeks where it was hard to find things to write about at times, there has been plenty happening with City this week and the problem I may have is that I will forget something important!

The first thing to mention is that on Tuesday the draw for the First Round of the Capital One (League) Cup gave us a home tie with Neil Ardley’s AFC Wimbledon. This match will take place on Tuesday August 11, three days after the Championship season starts and, when the fixtures for that competition were announced twenty four hours later, City were given their first home opening day fixture for three years with Fulham providing the opposition for the big kick off.

The four league matches which follow (QPR A, Blackburn A, Wolves H, Forest A) look tough on paper, but one thing that more than a decade of Championship football since 2003 has surely taught all City fans is that it is a league where things rarely turn out as expected – maybe stranger things haven’t happened than Russell Slade being named August Manager of the Month, but you get the point I’m trying to make!

City’s programme for 15/16 can be viewed here and, before finishing with fixtures, I should mention that the club appear to have run into problems arranging games against opposition of the desired quality for their week in the Amsterdam area next month. This story shows that City are, apparently, having trouble getting local permissions for matches against top flight Dutch opposition, so, while the tour still looks like going ahead, it may be that it will see City having to play lower league teams. Finally, on the fixture front, it was confirmed that City will have a home pre season match with Watford visiting Cardiff City Stadium on Tuesday 28 July.

Cardiff’s new kit for the upcoming season was also unveiled yesterday. As far as this subject goes, I was guilty of not knowing my own feelings when the change to red was first announced because my initial reaction was that I didn’t think the colour we wore was that important, so I couldn’t get too worked up about the fact we were going to wear a red and black kit. It took a few months for the penny to drop, but what I really felt was that I wasn’t (and never have been) too bothered about the kit we wore as long as we had blue shirts.

That said, my preference would be for us to wear the white shorts which were considered good enough for the first forty or so years of our Football League existence, but I’m not going to die in a ditch about the fact that they will be blue next season. Here is the kit, and probably the best thing to be said about it is that, unlike so often in the past, supporters won’t have to wait until about November before they can buy it – well done to those at the club who enabled it to be available from 3 July.

On the transfer front, there was little in the way of speculation this week, but, better than that, there were a couple of actual moves to talk about. Actually, the first one didn’t really feel like we were losing a player because I’d guess I wasn’t the only City fan who thought we’d never see French full back Kevin Theophile-Catherine play again for the club once his loan move to St. Etienne for virtually all of last season was announced. Well, after a year where he was a regular starter for the Ligue 1 side, the move became a permanent one in the week with the club paying around £1.5 million for a player who, like so many others, fell away during the second half of our Premier League season after a decent start to the campaign.

City's latest signing Semi Ajayi in action for the Development team during his loan spell from Arsenal at the back end of last season.*

City’s latest signing Semi Ajayi in action for the Development team during his loan spell from Arsenal at the back end of last season.*

All in all, I’d say that was a decent fee from City’s perspective and they didn’t have to give another club any of it to make Semi Ajayi our first signing of the summer. The young centreback, who had been on loan to us from Arsenal for the closing few weeks of last season, was not going to be offered another contract by the Gunners when his current deal runs out at the end of this month and so joins us as a free agent on a two year contract.

The Nigerian Under 21 international, who moved to the Emirates from Charlton two years ago, looked pretty promising in the couple of Under 21 team games I saw him in (given that the Development team largely gave up on scoring goals from about December onwards, the fact he got two in one game against Coventry was probably enough alone to get him his move!), but, at the risk of sounding like someone who always looks for the negatives with City these days, I do find it a bit sad and a little concerning that we get rid of a locally produced centre back in Josh Yorwerth, who Ipswich (a club which finished well above us last season) manager and former Republic of Ireland international centre half Mick McCarthy thinks is good enough to merit a two year contract with the Suffolk team and bring in a player who McCarthy decided not to offer a deal to after a trial period at his club in January.

In saying that, I accept that Yorwerth and Ajayi are at different stages of their career development, but it would be good to see some evidence soon from our manager which counters the growing suspicion about him I have that he is doing little or nothing to offer encouragement to local youngsters that they can work their way into the first team squad under his management.

Finally, although the cynical view would be to say that anything above, say, 5,000 could be rounded up to arrive at the “approximately 10,000″ season tickets sold  as mentioned in this announcement by the club confirming the Watford friendly, I think this is something which should be seen as good news given the dire pronouncements about the number sold from the “in the know” brigade. Whether the earlier figures such as 2,500 sold at the end of March and about 4,000 as the league season ended were true or not, it looks like there have been pretty significant sales in recent weeks and, who knows, perhaps reaching three quarters of last season’s total of 16,000 by the beginning of August isn’t completely out of the picture – if that were to happen, I would say it would be an impressive figure given the way 14/15 went.

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

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4 Responses to Weekly review 20/06/2015.

  1. Dai Woosnam says:

    Thanks as ever, Paul.

    I am loath* to comment on the merits of selling this player or that one: other than to say that a squad needs no more than two players for every position…perhaps three for the goalkeeper slot. The size of the squad under OGS at the start of last season was frankly …disgracefully wasteful.

    But, rather than hear me moan, I will instead give your readers some light relief here!

    CCS…the gift that keeps on giving !! Check out this link:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3133783/Footballer-arrested-pitch-Player-held-two-officers-scene-described-like-Carry-film-missing-court-appearance.html

    * Steve Tucker please note the spelling !! Do you reckon they have subeditors any more at the Echo?

    LITERATE people like your goodself should be their journalists. The current crop – plus their sleep-inducing bloggers – are not fit Paul to fill your INKWELLS.

    Kindest, as ever,
    Dai
    daigress@hotmail.com

  2. Adrian Lloyd Pickrell says:

    Hello Paul,

    superb post as always.(and thank you Dai for that link 🙂

    Firstly, let me apologize for not being a regular commenter on this blog. I live abroad and I do not get to see many games, I usually end up glued to the radio and I feel that the other “commenters” are in a much more qualified position to comment on the games than I am.

    However I can assure you all that this blog is my “first port of call” on the day following a game and I enjoy reading the sensible and well written comments as much I enjoy reading Pauls superbly written und thoroughly informative blog postings.

    I just wanted to give my opinion on the new kit. I am, of course, delighted that it is blue. I am personally a fan of simple kits and for me, a royal blue T-shirt with a bluebird badge and white shorts would be enough to keep me happy.

    I was a little worried at first as I heard that Adidas were making the kit as over here in Germany they tend to go a little overboard with some of their kits, adorning them with patterns and stripes galore, so I was very pleased when a relatively simple shirt was released. I don’t mind the shirt getting slightly darker the higher you go but it does seem to look like the lads have either been sweating buckets or its been raining heavily as the shirt looks quite “wet” to my eyes.
    The overall darker appearance would have been improved and brightened up with white shorts but that’s just my taste I suppose. I am just happy that we haven’t got a fire breathing red dragon climbing over the left shoulder with its tongue between the bluebird badge and “visit Malaysia”.

    As for the coming season I am more excited about it than I was about the last season. I have rarely felt such a disinterest in a football season as I did last season. Maybe it was the high expectations at the seasons beginning (expectations I never really shared for some reason) and all the squabbling off the pitch. It looks like we are “starting new” and nobody can guess how things will go. So here’s to an exciting new season with hopefully more action on the pitch than off it…and everyone getting behind the team.
    All the very best to you all.

    Adrian

  3. Anthony O'Brien says:

    How good to hear Adrian’s “glass-half-full” comments re the coming season. Foolishly or not, I share his optimism – but isn’t that what being a football fan (even of Cardiff City) is all about! Roll on 8th August.

  4. The other Bob Wilson says:

    Good to hear from you again Adrian and thanks as well to Dai and Anthony for their comments. I’m sure you realise already that you were not alone in feeling disinterested last season. I suppose it would be wrong to say that I’ve never experienced anything like it before because there have been times when our gates have been about a sixth as high as the real attendances for last year (as opposed to the “official” ones), but so many of those who were still going to games seemed to have little interest in what was happening out on the pitcb. I can only guess as to the reasons for this, but one of my strongest feelings would be that the rebrand has turned out to be just one of many symptoms of a, fairly obvious, loss of faith in the club by what I would now say is a majority of those who were regular attenders in the two seasons before 14/15 – the rebrand may have been the catalyst for this process, but it’s reached a stage where many supporters now seem to relish the opportunity to knock the club despite us being back in blue. Is this fair? Probably not, but I’d say so many of the wounds which have created the current apathy were self inflicted.
    As for the coming season, the release of the fixture list always has me looking forward to what is to come and it was no different last week. We are getting very close to the stage when Russell Slade was saying we should expect some new signings and I’m almost as interested in the sort of player we sign as I am in how good or bad they may be because it will tell us whether our manager plans to play a more attacking game than the turgid stuff his team tended to serve up even when results weren’t too bad.
    Dai mentioned a few weeks ago that we may not need new players and I could see the point he was making, but a couple of signings that would excite the fans could yet see season ticket sales climb to a level which I very much doubted we’d reach when 14/15 ended – conversely I think staying with what we have will lead to a situation where Russel Slade and the players will be under pressure from day one as they perform in front of a crowd that will have little patience if they do not hit the ground running.
    One last thing for Dai. You’ve mentioned the comments section on Wales Online two or three times on here in the last few weeks and so I decided to have a look at it a couple of days ago – all I can say is I see what you mean, is it compulsory that the replies have to end with the words “Slade (and Young) Out”?

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