In my previous piece I, naively no doubt, expressed the view that what happened at Tuesday’s disrupted Keep Cardiff Blue meeting might see people step back from the insults and accusations which have typified a miserable summer for Cardiff City supporters. The club also expressed the view that “it is now time to draw a line under the recent publicised changes and hope that all fans will put aside their grievances and allow the football on the field to be the main talking point, thereby avoiding a detrimental effect on our collective aims and goals” in this statement issued on their website on Thursday – there’s fat chance of that happening though because, if anything, it seems to me that the divide between between fans has widened over the past two days.
All of this on the day that City play their first pre-season match as they visit Conference side Forest Green Rovers this afternoon, but football is almost an afterthought (actually that’s wrong – it is an afterthought) for some at the moment because with a squad already in place which looks stronger than last season’s, there should be mounting excitement and anticipation as we go into August. Instead though, the re-branding which, almost three months after most supporters first knew of it, still looks so needless given the lack of any credible evidence as to why it was considered necessary. still dominates matters.
During the week, Etien Velikonja completed his transfer to Cardiff after being an unused substitute in Maribor’s victory over Željezni?ar in a Qualifying tie for the group stages of the Champions League and the striker is likely to feature this afternoon along with fellow new signings Joe Lewis and Jordon Mutch. However, there has now been a fourth newcomer announced this week with the club confirming that they had completed the signing of South Korean midfield player Bo – Kyung Kim (he played ninety minutes for their Olympic team on Thursday in a 0-0 draw with Mexico) from Japanese club Cerezo Osaka for a fee believed to be in the region of £2.4 million.
The capture of Bo-Kyung Kim (this would appear to be the correct way of using his name as opposed to the Kim Bo-Kyung which has been used up to now – he will wear Kim, the equivalent to a surname, on his shirt apparently) was announced in the early hours of yesterday morning on the official site in what was a rather oddly worded statement. I say oddly worded for a couple of reasons, firstly, if the transfer hinges on him getting a work permit, then why not just say that instead of using the term the term “completing necessary work permit processes”? I have previously expressed doubts as to whether Bo-Kyung Kim qualifies for a work permit under the existing regulations, but there is an appeals procedure which has been known to overturn decisions which go against clubs (e.g. Japanese player Tadanari Lee at Southampton last January) in the past. Now, it may be that our application to bring in someone who shows all the signs of becoming a regular in a South Korea team currently ranked at twenty eight in the world is just at the initial stage as far as any work permit goes, at the appeal stage or even in a situation where the Home Office is waiting on the club producing documentation which would enable them to rubber stamp the whole thing - ”completing necessary work permit processes” could mean all three of those! The second thing about that statement is that “candour” appears to be a strange word to use in this context – I’m baffled as to what it might mean!
Assuming that the ”completing necessary work permit processes” works out okay, then it would appear that we have got someone who is capable of making a big impact at this level – there have to be questions about how Bo-Kyung Kim will adapt to Britain both on and off the field of course, but my impression is that players from his part of the world have proved pretty adaptable in the past when it comes to settling in this country and it would appear that Malky Mackay and his scouting staff are satisfied that this will happen with him. Before finishing with Bo-Kyung Kim, I should just mention that there has been some speculation on the messageboards that the main reason for him coming here is to help increase the club’s profile in the far east – perhaps that is the case, but my attitude is that, if the player concerned is going to improve the team (and the evidence suggests that Bo-Kyung Kim will) then what’s the problem?
With Craig Bellamy (a scorer for Great Britain in their 1-1 draw with Senegal on Thursday) strongly rumoured to be coming here once the Olympics football tournament has been completed, the squad appears to be shaping up nicely, but there could well be a few more new recruits (as well as some squad departures) before the transfer window closes. Someone on the messageboards who, fair play, has been pretty much spot on with their transfer info so far this summer has named West Ham’s Nicky Maynard as the striker we are interested in signing to replace Kenny Miller. Maynard may have found starting opportunities more difficult to come by at Upton Park as the Hammers built a squad which, to be frank, should have walked the Championship last season, but he was a proven goalscorer at this level during his time with Bristol City and you’d like to think he could be the consistent source of goals which we didn’t have from January onwards last season.
Finally, with our interest in Richard Keogh coming to nothing, there would still appear to be a need for another defender to come in and the source mentioned above talked of a possible loan move for a young player with first team experience at his Premiership club. Of course, this led to guesses galore as to who it might and, for what it’s worth, I’ll say that our manager’s friendship with Brendan Rogers could mean that the club concerned is Liverpool with the player being either Scottish centreback cum left back Danny Wilson or local boy right back Jon Flanagan.
* picture courtesy of http://www.walesonline.co.uk/