A few weeks ago Russell Slade said this would be the time when you could expect to see more transfers in and out of the club and, with the players having reported back for pre season training last Wednesday, we would, in an ideal world, be seeing these three new players that our manager tells us he is chasing arriving in the next week or so, thereby giving them more or less a full training programme at their new club to help integrate them by the start of the season in six weeks time.
While I understand and, in some ways, sympathise with the view that the grass isn’t always greener when it comes to bringing in new players to any club (see Ole’s many and varied signings last summer for proof of this), I do believe that, at this moment in Cardiff City’s life, it needs the stimulus that a couple of exciting signings which get people talking about an upcoming season can provide more than most times in it’s recent history.
In a way I feel sorry for local newspapers in particular during this time of year as they strive to find something worthwhile to say about the clubs they cover and it seems to me that some of the stories you read in the South Wales Echo these days have an air of desperation to them as hacks try, and largely fail, to engender some interest in a subject where, to be frank, little has happened in the last couple of months to raise enthusiasm levels.
Now, I wonder how many read that reference to nothing interesting happening for a couple of months and thought I was being generous – try the last eighteen months, not two! Notwithstanding the encouraging announcement from the club last week about almost 10,000 season tickets having been sold (well, I thought it was encouraging!), that sort of response typifies the attitude of what seems to me to be many Cardiff fans at the moment – they need something to happen to get them fired up about their team again and they are far from convinced that the current squad, ownership and management have it in them to provide that catalyst.
There are valid reasons why such thinking is somewhat unfair, but an attitude that emphasises the negative over the positive (in fact, any positives are barely acknowledged) has taken hold among vast swathes of City fans, myself included, over the last couple of seasons and, surely, even those who see any criticism of City as disloyalty have to acknowledge that there is an awful lot that the club has got wrong on and off the pitch in since getting promoted.
So, in an effort to accentuate the positive, I say well done again to the club for ensuring that the new blue kits are going to be available by the end of next week and also for getting season tickets out to fans in the last few days – both of these things represent considerable improvements when compared to what has happened too often in the past and tends to add a little credence to my theory that Ken Choo has overseen an improvement in some aspects of the club’s administration at least.
That said, something happened last week that didn’t put the club in a good light when there was an acknowledgment that it was looking less likely that the training week in the Netherlands next month will include the hoped for couple of fixtures against top rated Dutch clubs. Besides that, with Russell Slade not prepared to see the team play on artificial surfaces in the two matches against junior sides offered as replacements, it seems that our pre season trip abroad this year could be a training only event – just as they were in Malky Mackay’s last two seasons with the club.
The reason for this is explained in this piece, but the reference to Swansea having had a match called off for similar reasons in the past, could beg the question as to why no one at Cardiff thought to raise this when the idea of going to the Netherlands was first mooted or is this an another example of the sort of willingness to only judge the club negatively which I referred to earlier?
For the third consecutive week, there was an announcement of a player leaving the club. This time it was Uruguayan centre back Maximiliano Amondarain who agreed to a termination of his contract halfway through what I understand was a four year deal. Amondarain signed after a successful trial in the summer of 2013 after having been a member of the Uruguay squad which had reached the Final of the World Under 20 Championship a few weeks earlier. Amondarain didn’t got any game time in that tournament though and never once made it into the City first team – he was largely solid, steady and composed in the fifteen or so Development team games I saw him play for us, but I’d say that Deji Oshilaja and Tom James overtook him in the central defender pecking order at the club during his time with us and so letting him go looks a sensible move for both club and player.
The only other piece of worthwhile info I can think of from last week is that City’s Head Coach Paul Trollope will be Wales’ new Assistant Manager. There’s been no formal announcement yet, but it looks certain that he will be the replacement for Kit Symons, who stood down after the win over Belgium this month to give his full attention to his job at Fulham. Like Symons, Trollope will work with Wales on a part time basis and continue at his club, so, it seems that, despite our conspicuous lack of Welshmen on the pitch, there will be a Cardiff City presence in the parties that link up for international games.