The busiest week of the summer so far at Cardiff City Stadium saw plenty of new arrivals at the club who I’ll come to shortly, but, before that, a couple of other developments. Firstly, there was a confirmation that we will be going to Spain for a week long pre season training camp, but we will play just the one game, against Charlton in Seville on 15 July, as the rumoured match against a Gibralter XI has been cancelled – this leaves us with four warm up matches which is one or two less than normal, but, given all of the recent changes at the club, that’s hardly surprising really.
Shareholders of the club have also been invited to an EGM on 28 July in which a conversion of some of the club’s debts to shares will be on the agenda. Seemingly, some £9 million owed to the likes of Steve Borley, Michael Isaac, Paul Guy and Mike Hall at PMG and our Malaysian investors will be turned into equity – this is a great show of commitment to the club by all of those mentioned and, although the Langston debt (the subject of an investigation by forensic accountants) and the Ray Ranson loan on income from player sales remain in place, this has to be a big step in the right direction for the club.
Turning to new arrivals, it was announced on Thursday that three of Malky Mackay’s backroom staff at Watford were following him to his new club and a day later this was confirmed on the official site. The first thing that has to be said is a thank you to Terry Burton, Paul Wilkinson and Alex Armstrong for their efforts over the past few years and, in my opinion, the replacement for Burton in particular has a tough act to follow. That man is David Kerslake who, as a player, won what was a record number of England Under 21 caps at the time, during a playing career which took in a lot of top level football at QPR, Swindon, Spurs, Leeds and Ipswich as well as a loan spell at Wycombe – Kerslake’s coaching career started at Forest, before he moved on to become first team coach at Watford.
I remember Joe McBride as a tricky left winger at Everton, but he went on to have a long playing career, mostly in Scotland, before becoming a coach at Albion Rovers (he was also caretaker manager for a short while). His next coaching appointment was at Celtic and from there he had a spell in Hungary with Ujpest FC, before arriving at Watford a year ago. The fact that our new first team coach has spent most of his time since ending his playing days as a youth coach looks to me like a confirmation that the City team will have a younger look to it under Malky Mackay, but I might be adding two and two and getting five there. The role of Richard Collinge is a harder one to define, but, at a guess, I would say that it is one that takes in all aspects of player fitness and conditioning as well as diet and preparation (hopefully, there will interviews with him on the club’s website or in the media soon which will make clear what his duties are). Despite Collinge’s arrival, current physio Sean Connely remains in place, as do goalkeeping coach Martyn Margetson and youth team manager Neil Ardley (who will also be in charge of the newly formed Under 21 side).
Before going on to new signings for the first team, I’ll mention the new intake of Academy scholars for the 11/12 campaign – thanks to the official site for this informative piece about the twelve youngsters involved by the way. Hopefully, I’ll be able to write some nice things about all of them in Academy match reports during the coming year. As for the first team, Malky Mackay returned to Watford to complete the signing of 28 year old, three times capped Scottish international, Don Cowie on Friday. Cowie, a hard working midfield player who is something of a dead ball specialist, was used primarily on the right at his former club and was believed to have a year left on his contract, but, instead, there was only an option for a further year which came into play once Watford were safe from relegation. A contract was offered apparently, but it had not been signed and so, Cowie arrives on a free, signing a three year deal with us in the process. Watford are not happy about us having taken five members of their staff this summer and while that’s understandable in a way, it has to be remembered that in the case of two of the back room staff involved (and possibly the third as well), Cardiff were offering them a promotion and they have also had something like three months to sort something out with Cowie.
Although I’m always reluctant to mention new signings until the deal has been confirmed on the official site, pieces like this in today’s Wales on Sunday make it fairly certain that Andrew Taylor will become our third new signing of the summer tomotrrow. Taylor, who can play on the left of midfield but will probably be used as a left back by City, chose us despite being offered deals by his old club Middlesbrough and Bristol City (who were willing to pay him more than we are) and this has to be mainly because of his loan spell at Watford during the first half of last season. Just as with Craig Conway and Don Cowie, Taylor has expressed how impressed he has been by Malky Mackay and I think that it’s clear that he has been a major factor in us being able to bring in three players, who have all had generally positive reviews from supporters at their former clubs, without spending a penny in transfer fees.
There are plenty of posts on messageboards saying that David Goodwillie will also be having a medical tomorrow after City and Dundee United have, seemingly, agreed on a deal of around £2 million for the player. However with it being reported that Blackpool and Rangers are still after Goodwillie and that none of the interested clubs will buy him before his “personal problems” are resolved (reportedly, a decision will be made on whether to proceed with the rape case against him next week, while he will be appearing in Court on 11 July on an assault charge), it seems unlikely that he will be coming here for a while yet and that, of course, leaves the field open for others to come in with bigger bids. Most of the other players being linked with us have been mentioned in previous weeks on here, but there is one new name – Coventry’s Icelandic international Aron Gunnarsson, who is out of contract, keeps on cropping up and we do certainly need an energetic central midfield player.