Weekly review 5/6/16 – Russell Slade departs.


It was getting to the stage where I was going to struggle to put together a couple of paragraphs about the events of the last week when the news broke quite late on Friday afternoon that Russell Slade had left Cardiff City.

I had definitely been of the opinion that Mr Slade’s time at the club was going to come to an end sooner rather than later, but was expecting his tenure as Head of Football to be a bit longer than three and a bit weeks that it turned out to be.

I mentioned last week that Mr Slade had been linked with the vacant jobs at Blackburn and Charlton, well the appointment of Owen Coyle put paid to the first of those options, but the second one is still very much a possibility. In fact, it’s more than that – Sky are reporting that Mr Slade is in discussions with the London club as they face up to life in the division he probably knows best of all and the bookies have him at 8-1 on favourite for the job.

Therefore, although it’s fun to speculate on what brings about someone’s departure from a position they had only occupied for not far short of a month, the pretty banal truth in this instance would appear to be that the person concerned has had a job offer for a position which he feels more at home in than the one that had been created for him.

So, having moved halfway out of the door, so to speak, at the beginning of last month, the job has now been completed for the man who has been in charge for the vast majority of the past two seasons. No doubt, those City fans who had pushed for Mr Slade’s removal will be happy with this news, but I suspect that even among those who were prepared to fight his corner, there is relief that what looked like an unsatisfactory state of affairs has been resolved by a clean break being made.

Having been around long enough to have seen City finish a season as the third worst team in the Football League, I had problems with the attitude shown by some on Mr Slade’s appointment that, basically, said that a club like Cardiff was too big to be employing someone like him as manager. Such opinions were criticised in the local press as being arrogant and I tended to agree – however, as the man makes his departure from South Wales some twenty months after he was made manager, I can’t help thinking that those who were against Russell Slade because he was too “smalltime” for Cardiff City have been proved right.

In saying that, it doesn’t mean that I rate Russell Slade among the worst managers I’ve seen at the club. Indeed, in terms of league position at least, I think a decent argument can be made for saying he over achieved in 15/16 at first team level given the playing and financial resources at his disposal.

It should also be said that, in the eyes of many supporters, perhaps a majority of them, a manager is perceived as having done a good job if the first team are able to carry a promotion bid on until the penultimate game of a season.

Furthermore, anyone who saw the system we were playing as we into added time against Bolton (it was almost a return to the 2-3-5 of my youth!) would have to concede that our former manager was not averse to risking defeat in pursuit of going for a win sometimes.

However, that game has to be looked at in context. We were up against a team which finished at the bottom of the league a very long way short of safety that day, we were facing a team which only picked up four away points all season and we were facing a team which had to play for an hour with ten men – anything less than a win that day and I dread to think what the reaction towards the manager would have been.

Russell Slade applauds the supporters after the final match of the season against Birmingham. That match was like so many under his management - honest effort from all of the players, but a failure to totally convince. Now, he leaves the club with me thinking that most of those supporters are glad to see him go - I count myself in that number, but hope that someone who came across as a fundamentally decent man is able to finally enjoy some tangible success in his management career.*

Russell Slade applauds City supporters after the final match of the season against Birmingham. That game was like so many under his management – honest effort from all of the players, but a failure to totally convince. Now, he leaves the club with me thinking that most of those supporters are glad to see him go – I count myself in that number, but hope that someone who came across as a fundamentally decent man is able to finally enjoy some tangible success in his management career.*

We made our usual low key start to a home game against Bolton, which pointed to the caution that I thought was always at the heart of Mr Slade’s approach at Cardiff. Cautious and uninspiring tactics (at home and away), cautious and uninspiring substitutions, and, although he was hamstrung to a degree by the size of the budget he was given, largely cautious and uninspiring work in the transfer market (three of the sides which finished in the top six featured signings made from the league Mr Slade was supposed to know all about  – a league which he virtually ignored when it came to bringing in new players to Cardiff) all pointed to someone who, for me, never really believed he, or his team, could compete on equal terms with some of the Championship’s big names.

Just to confirm, I was talking about League One when I spoke of the league Mr Slade was supposed to know all about. During the 13/14 season when they so nearly got promoted, Russell Slade’s Leyton Orient played with a freedom and style which his Cardiff sides very rarely matched and I can remember being impressed by his Yeovil team at times – I don’t think the awful punt it upfield stuff we saw from City around the middle of the 14/15 campaign represented Mr Slade’s preferred method of playing, but I don’t believe he ever truly felt confident that he could really “go for it” in the Championship at Cardiff.

So, I suppose what I’m saying is that Russell Slade probably was too smalltime for a club whose owner believes they should be finishing in the top six in the Championship as a matter of course – it looks like he is returning to a league he feels more at home in and maybe he can now get that promotion which has eluded him up to now.

What Russell Slade leaving will do is silence the talk about nothing having changed at the club despite the shake up announced a couple of days before our final match of 15/16 – Paul Trollope is assuredly in charge now and, hopefully, we will soon learn the identity of the back room staff he wants to bring in to help him.

The only other items to mention are the announcement of a couple more pre season matches – we travel to Forest Green on 13 July and there’s another game for the first team in Germany when we play Bochum (who finished fifth in Bundesliga Two last season) at Herne on 26 July, so, for the first time in my memory, it looks like we won’t be playing any warm up matches at home.

There was also the, almost compulsory, transfer speculation when it was claimed we were chasing experienced former Celtic centreback Terry Wilson who has been released by Forest and then was promptly denied by “club sources” within hours.

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

This entry was posted in Down in the dugout, Out on the pitch and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Weekly review 5/6/16 – Russell Slade departs.

  1. Paul with no other name says:

    Once again a great report which I fully agree with. Although my view on Mr Slade is that he was a manager who believed in his way and only his way was right. Ignorant of other ways and players in the squad. Take Guerra for instance, I felt he was a quality player who needed a run of games and whilst he was being payed by CCFC Slade should have used him for the hols we needed. The same goes for other players in the squad. I
    I have mentioned Malone on here previously and do it again as it highlights Slades stubbornness, sitting in the Ninian stand I could see how teams attacked down Malones side of the pitch and how many goals we conceded due to it.
    Nice man Mr Slade but sadly he was not up to the standard of the championship. I say that and not Cardiff because if we were in s lower league then perhaps he would be OK. So I am glad to see Jim go and wish him the very best but more importantly I wish Paul Trollope the best and hope he proves to be the man to get the very best out of the talent in the squad and those he brings in.

  2. Anthony O'Brien says:

    At least the fact that Mr Slade was not actually sacked will mean he is not carrying “a monkey on his back” if (and, hopefully when) he gets another managerial job, otherwise he would have a major task to win or retain respect from recalcitrant players. I genuinely hope he gets a new position very rapidly, because it would also fortify his own sense of self-respect, which must have taken something of a hammering in recent times. Good luck to him.

    I was interested in reading Paul (and the rest be Nameless) for his excellent comments. but especially with regards to Guerra, whom I thought was potentially the best natural centre-forward to be signed by Cardiff in the last few years. I don’t know, of course, what tensions there were in the background, but I was certainly surprised that he was not given much of an opportunity by the powers-that-be — though, this can be said of several other players frozen out by the managerial team for whatever reason.

    While I’m on the theme, the best NATURAL STRIKER, “the fox in the box” as people say, was — no, NOT Joe Mason of the go-nowhere running in circles — but Etien Velikonja. In the brief instances I saw him in action, he struck me as exactly the “snapper-up of unconsidered trifles” needed by Cardiff, and yet he remained frozen out during his entire time in South Wales. Again, I don’t know the background, but his fate reflects a common theme among so many of Cardiff’s signings, as Paul, Just Paul, points out.

    On other matters, Paul the Blogmeister’s comments on Mr Slade are typically fair-minded and well expressed, even if I have a nagging feeling that in some respects they could also be assigned to Mr Trollope. I also want to congratulate Paul the Blogmeister on foreseeing that Mr Slade was likely to be head-hunted by teams from a lower division, and also to commend him for his absolutely outstanding obituary of Mohammed Ali (aka Cassius Clay).

  3. Dai Woosnam says:

    Thanks for this fine balanced piece.
    Only one thing I know for certain re Mr Russell Slade…and it is this:
    …I can hear the Champagne corks popping at the home of our esteemed contributor Mr Barry Cole…!!

    Re AMO’s comments re the death of a boxing legend…
    I recall the first fight with ‘Our Enery’ and the 16 year old me dancing for joy when Cassius Clay stopped him, having himself being saved by the bell in the previous round, and needing Angelo Dundee to cut his glove to give him more time to come to his senses!!

    Why did I love Clay so?
    I guess because all my mates HATED him and called him a braggart.
    Plus ‘Enery was a constant thorn in the side of our beloved Joe Erskine. That said, I grew to like Mr Cooper, and even splashed on the Brut…which sent my Mexican girlfriend Socorro up in Porth (a great girl, alas now dead from cancer) HALF-MAD with desire! Even gave me the greatest gift a beautiful Mexican senorita has !!

    Back to Mr Muhammad Ali…
    And I sooo loved his rhyming predictions.
    (John Toshack did too…for I see a lot of Ali’s rhythms and rhymes in Tosh’s book of poetry.)
    BTW, AMO…I wonder who you reckon gets the title of GREATEST HUMAN BEING OF YOUR LIFETIME…?
    Please see my comment re this under Paul’s excellent obit.

  4. Anthony O'Brien says:

    Dai Woosnam has asked who I reckon 1s the GREATEST HUMAN BEING of my lifetime. All I can say, who am I to be a judge?.

    I certainly admire people of unwavering principle combined with an outstanding talent, whatever that talent may be. But sadly, I cannot think of anyone who TOTALLY meets that criteria. I will say, however, that I have always been impressed by a sportsman who is also a good sport, giving credit when credit is due to an opponent and refusing to cheat, even if it means being defeated. Does such a perfect human being exist in the modern world? I doubt it.

    Since the 18th century, certain politicians have been described as being “too fond of the right to follow the expedient”. Again, I cannot think of anyone in this category. Some are totally beyond the pale of principled behaviour, including a perpetually corrupt lady in USA who aims to become President. There is also a charlatan/buffoon I saw on TV this very morning as he tried to remember the script written for him by his cynical advisers, and failing in so doing.

    I don’t want to muddle fame or notoriety with greatness, and so will say to Dai, Sorry, your question is unanswerable. However, I was pleased to read his mention of certain sporting heroes. I remember Joe Erskine waiting for a bus outside the Maindy Stadium in 1958 or thereabouts, and how pleased I was to get his autograph. It’s just a pity he couldn’t punch as well as he could box. I also remember Henry Cooper knocking down Cassius Clay, whose manager showed a total lack of sportsmanship in slicing Clay’s glove to give him time to recover from a potential K.O. Henry Cooper had family links with what is now the Park View café in Pontypridd, and I can recall seeing him there a few years ago and feeling my old sense of respect for all he achieved and the way he achieved it. Mind you, I felt much the same about Cassius Clay despite his “big mouth”, though I still feel doubtful about the way that Liston went down from an apparently innocuous punch to make Clay a champion. But, as I hinted above, corruption is part of the American way.

    As a final note, I was delighted to learn that Dai Woosnam once had a girlfriend called “Socorro” (assistance or aid in Spanish) which leads me to maintain that someone who gives aid or assistance to other human beings is likely to rank high on my list of the GREATEST HUMAN BEING of my lifetime.

  5. Dai Woosnam says:

    Just for the record, I do not want readers thinking that I have whimsically asked AMO as to who was the greatest human being of his lifetime.
    Not so.
    Nothing whimsical about it. (Gee, I am idiosyncratic enough, as it is. !!)

    My last sentence of my posting above referred to Paul’s obit…one needs to read THAT to get my question in its true context. (And some City fans might have unwisely skipped it, given the Press overkill on his death.)

    So AMO…if you read Paul’s piece again, you will see it is not ME who raised the subject of the greatest human being of all time.
    It is clear to me by your wording that you had forgotten it was Paul who raised the subject.

    Casual readers here might get the impression fromyour otherwise well-crafted piece AMO, that I had raised this question for no apparent reason

    Dear AMO …you might have added that ’twas PAUL who raised the subject of Ali being “the greatest human eing of my lifetime”…(as a legitimate closing piece of his lyrical farewell)…not me.

    In truth The Louisville Lip is not in my top ten…though I loved him to bits.
    My choice is shown in my response under Paul’s fine obituary.

  6. russell says:

    I am and have firmly of the opinion Slade came and did a job as contracted. This was always a clearing out programe,and settling period after the disapointment of the promotion year and it’s fall out the year after.
    With regards to updates why don’t we reminse about past years and players ?

  7. The other Bob Wilson says:

    I’d argue that other clubs have adapted to relegation much better than we have Russell. Yes, there are also those who’ve struggled more than we have as well, but I don’t believe that the previous two seasons had to what I’d call holding operations – especially the one just finished.
    Regarding “past years and players”, I’m fine with what you say, but I’m not so sure about boxing, so I’ll put my reply to Dai and AMO on the Ali piece in the that feedback section for that story.
    Paul, I agree with almost everything you say, but I’ve never been convinced about Guerra, in this country at least, as many others appear to be – that said, I do think that, as with one or two others, his absence from the first team had more to do with finances than playing ability.

  8. Dai Woosnam says:

    Just a quick afterthought re the always admirable AMO’s comments above…

    I note he says the following…
    Dai Woosnam has asked who I reckon 1s the GREATEST HUMAN BEING of my lifetime. All I can say, who am I to be a judge?.

    I certainly admire people of unwavering principle combined with an outstanding talent, whatever that talent may be. But sadly, I cannot think of anyone who TOTALLY meets that criteria.

    Leaving aside the fact it was dear Paul, not myself, who initially raised the matter, I need to ask the question: WHAT “criteria” comes with the word “greatest”?
    I would suggest…precisely …NONE…!!

    The greatest – in extreme cases – can simply be the best of a VERY bad lot.

    I am reminded of a Nicaraguan who once told me that in his country there were three playwrights, and that the greatest of the three they called the “Nicaraguan Shakespeare”.

Comments are closed.