Weekly review 5/7/2015.

CoymayIn the last few weeks I’ve praised the club on a couple of occasions for ensuring that the new kit for the upcoming season was going to be on sale from early July – a huge improvement on what has become the norm at Cardiff down the years. While doing so, I have to admit that there was a part of me of me waiting for the cock up which ensured that the club would not be able to live up to that promise, but, this time, they were as good as their word and, seemingly, around £100,000 was taken in sales at the club shop and online when the kit went on sale on Friday with plenty more sold yesterday as well – this story confirms that Friday was a record breaking day for the club.

I may be wrong, but the thought occurs to me that there have been more sales of this blue kit in the first couple of days it has been on sale than there were of the various red kits we wore over the two and a half years of Vincent Tan’s discredited re-brand.

This is a good news story for the club to publicise at a time when it really needs one and it is also something which suggests that, perhaps, the disconnect between club and fans I’ve mentioned on here in the past is not as pronounced as I think it is. Although I’m sure someone will disagree, my main hope for the coming season is not promotion – it’s that we see a return to the relationship between team and fans which saw us united as one at home games in particular.

Along with better than expected season ticket sales, kit sales on the scale we’ve seen since Friday at least give the hope that enthusiasm among fans is not as low as I thought it was and that the ground may not resemble a public library, as it has over the past eighteen months or so, for the coming campaign.

I’m still to be convinced that this is the case, but it does show that there is an opportunity for an improvement if City hit the ground running in August – especially if Russell Slade could make a couple of exciting signings before we play Fulham. Unfortunately, the signs are not great on that score after yet another quiet week – and let’s not forget that we are now bang in the middle of the period that our manager said was the time when we could expect the transfer market to pick up.

Although it’s still perhaps too early to say for sure, the notion that Russell Slade has moved on to his second shopping list after getting nowhere with his first has gained some credence over the past few days – certainly if some of the most recent names we’ve been linked with have any truth in them.

Before discussing possible arrivals though, I should say that there are growing rumours that Hull City will be bidding for Peter Whittingham (by the way, CEO Ken Choo said a departure was “imminent” when asked about players leaving in this piece from Friday) soon  - I wonder how strong the club’s resolve will be to keep our longest serving player if there really is something to the Humberside club’s interest?

Mentioning Hull brings me on to the news that their midfield player Stephen Quinn opted to sign for Reading on a Bosman deal this week. It was reported that we were also in for the player and I’ve every reason to believe that this was the case – I’m happy that Quinn will not be playing for us next season  and, judging by quite a few comments I’ve read recently, there are quite a few other City fans who feel the same way.

It turns out that I’m not the only one who remembers Quinn’s antics at Sheffield United’s referee influenced 3-0 win at Ninian Park in 2008/09. He is one of three Sheffield players that day who I hope to never see wearing a City shirt during their career – Kyle Naughton (now at Swansea) got Ross McCormack sent off with a blatant piece of play acting and Jamie Ward (who was at it again last season when his effort, which was going wide, was deflected in by Scott Malone for Derby’s first goal in their 2-0 win in January)  saw fit to wind the home fans up, along with Quinn, after scoring that day.

When you think that “skull breaker” Chris Morgan also featured in that Sheffield United team, you can see why that particular Blades side is not one I recall with much affection. Also in the visitors team that day was Cardiff born Welsh international David Cotterill who scored from the early penalty that brought about Gabor Gyepes’ dismissal and he is one of those players we’ve been linked with which suggests that our manager might now be looking at second choices when it comes to new signings.

Cardiff born David Cotterill scores the penalty in Sheffield United's win at Ninian Park in 2009 which he says led to him receiving death threats from City fans  - that's disgraceful if true, but it does give the club about why him signing for us may not be a good idea for all sorts of reasons.

Cardiff born David Cotterill scores the penalty in Sheffield United’s win at Ninian Park in 2009 which he says led to him receiving death threats from City fans – that’s disgraceful, but it does give the clue as to why him signing for us may not be a good idea for all concerned.

To be fair, Birmingham City’s Cotterill is coming off what is probably his best ever season after shining for club and country over the past eleven months and he has turned around a career path that had been gradually heading downwards over a half a decade or more – I believe he would make a decent addition to our squad if he could repeat his 14/15 form. Moreover, I can’t remember anything in his behaviour in that match referred to earlier that makes me want to include him alongside Quinn, Naughton and Ward as someone I’d never want to see play for us, but, with him having also played for Bristol City and Swansea against us during his career, I’d say he’d have a bit of a job on his hands trying to win over some sections of our support.

In fact, in view of what the player said in this story, you would have to wonder if he would want to come here if the gossip linking him to us were to be true. Given this and the positive reaction the news of Quinn turning us down got from some supporters, it prompts me to ask whether City give any thought to the way their support may react to a certain player before going in for them?

My mind goes back to a notorious game from 1999 when the powers that be saw fit to pair us with Millwall on the opening day of the 99/00 season – predictably, there was trouble galore before, during and after a match which I’d say saw the last serious crowd violence in a league game at Ninian Park. Go forward five years and we sign Millwall’s goalkeeper that day Tony Warner, whose short stay at Cardiff became a thoroughly miserable one for the player for many reasons. Not least among them though was the fact that some City fans had not forgotten that Warner was charged with throwing a plastic bottle into the crowd during the Millwall match .

I can remember Warner playing for us in a pre season friendly against Lazio about a month after he signed where he was getting terrible stick from some of the crowd – it seemed to me then that he would never win over those people no matter how he played for us.

On the other hand, Jason Bowen and Andy Legg faced a difficult task getting supporters onside because of their Swansea connection when they signed for us about six months before that Millwall match and yet both players (particularly Leggy) were able to do that within quite a short time.

In the case of Warner, the City manager when he signed (Lennie Lawrence) had no connection with the club at the time of the Millwall game and so he could hardly be blamed for not knowing about the possible repercussions of the signing and I’d say much the same could be applied to Russell Slade when it comes to Quinn and, if there is any truth in the rumours, Cotterill – indeed, with the lack of Welsh players featuring for us last season attracting some critical comment, he may think the signing of a Cardiffian would help his standing with the fanbase.

Therefore, I wonder if there is an onus on those who have been at the club long enough to know these things to at least hint to someone in “authority” that this possible signing or that possible signing may not be a very good idea? I ask that question without really knowing the answer to it, while also suspecting that they wouldn’t be listened to even if they did. However, we have a situation here whereby a manager, who is certainly struggling to convince large sections of his club’s support as to his worth, is seemingly chasing players whose arrival could,  perhaps, only make matters worse for him.

One final thing, it’s being widely reported that Sammy Ameobi, who is currently out of contract at Newcastle, will sign a new deal with the Tyneside club in the next few days and then the winger will make a decision whether to join us or Wolves on a season long loan with the Midland club reckoned to be favourites to be his choice.

 

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7 Responses to Weekly review 5/7/2015.

  1. Geoff Lewis says:

    Thanks Paul,
    A very interesting article and bringing back memories of those players from Sheffield United.
    Good news on the sale of the new shirts( I may be in the minority at this moment,( not that keen in the two tone colour), lets hope we can increase the sale of season tickets.
    Transfer activity, we have said it since last season we need a midfield general, not any more wingers.
    There is strength in Noone, Harris, Kennedy and Pilkington. Strikers plentiful if they can link up with each other and get the support from midfield.
    We also need a new captain on the pitch and let Marshall be the club captain for his great service to the club.
    One player hat impressed me last season was the loanee from Evertom McCelny(spelt it wrong)Go for him.
    Enjoy the seasom Paul.
    Regards
    Geoff

  2. The other Bob Wilson says:

    Hello Geoff, good to hear from you again.
    I can’t get too excited about the new shirts either, but, fair play, they do seem to be very popular – I daresay their “target audience” are not old fogeys like us!
    I’d go along with making Marshall club captain, but Mark Hudson’s influence was missed more than his playing ability in my book.
    I liked McAleny as well, but he seems very injury prone and I get the feeling Everton still see him as a potential first team player – maybe he’s someone who we could look at again later in the season when his team may have decided to let him go while they can still get a fee for him?

  3. Dai Woosnam says:

    Yes Paul, some fans have long memories.

    Maybe I am am an unforgiving soul, but I find I can never put aside the nefarious aspects of a player, from my thinking.

    For instance, when everybody banged on about what a nice guy our clueless Norwegian manager was, I could never forget that utterly disgraceful red card foul on Robert Lee…a foul that were it committed in – say – an Old Firm derby, would have caused mass rioting and fisticuffs.

    And likewise, now that folk are all saying what a noble soul Slaven Bilic is, I cannot help but recall that utterly disgraceful sending off of the very decent Laurent Blanc, that Bilic engineered by clutching his face back in that 1998 semi-final (when he had been pushed in the chest), and thus ensured that Blanc missed the game of his lifetime.

    And even 13 years later, Bilic still had the brass neck to justify his behaviour (see below).

    And Blanc the decency to let sleeping dogs lie.

    Personally, to use KK’s parlance, “I would luv it – LUV it – if West Ham get relegated this key season for them before they move home!”

    http://www.goal.com/en-india/news/2292/editorials/2011/03/29/2416207/it-was-laurent-blancs-fault-he-missed-the-1998-world-cup

    Kindest,
    Dai.

  4. The other Bob Wilson says:

    Thanks Dai. Having met the guy, I have to say Ole was a nice bloke – it’s a cliche to say someone is too nice to make a good manager, but it may have applied to him. I also liked Bilic as a player and he is an interesting guy, but that link you provided is pretty damning.
    One other thing, the loan signing of Sammy Ameobi makes it a bit more unlikely that there was anything to that story about David Cotterill.

  5. Dai Woosnam says:

    Yes, Paul…
    Sammy Ameobi is some capture…if only on loan.
    Who can forget that brilliant goal for Boro against us, a coupla years or so back?

  6. Dai Woosnam says:

    Paul…a couple of my pals have read our above conversation and wrote to say they thought I was too hard on Slaven Bilic and West Ham United.
    No! No! No!

    I was not hard enough.

    Truth is that Bilic is the darling of our sporting media…not least because he was the man in the rival Wembley dug-out, the night when Steve McLaren’s vanity notoriously got the better of him and he determiined that the incessant rain would not show up his thinning hair. So, ipso facto, Steve McLaren’s enemy was our new friend !!

    But the truth is he is a deeply flawed fellow, and that Laurent Blanc incident is so incredibly damning.

    Look, I kinda understand why he fell to the ground shamefully clutching his face. But the day after, any man with any kind of conscience would have pleaded with FIFA for retrospective justice for Blanc. Okay, so Bilic would have been banned from the third place play off game. Hardly a big deal.

    But Blanc missing the game of his life, WAS.

    Imagine if a similar incident occured in 1966, and Bobby Moore thus missed the game of his lifetime due to a squalid bit of cheating. THAT is the true analogy.

    And all this might STILL be forgiven were it not for the fact that a full THIRTEEN years later, Bilic is still brazenly self-righteous about his act.

    A thousand curses on the fellow.

    And also on West Ham too, who give us all this twaddle about their fine traditions, yet hire a proven CHEAT as the man to be custodian of their reputation.

    Kindest, as ever,
    Dai.

  7. The other Bob Wilson says:

    Again, I can’t add much Dai – I agree with you. Incidentally, it would be good to have those friends of yours taking part in our on line conversations on here – the more the merrier!

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