When the result is more important than the performance.

CoymayI posted the following on a City messageboard yesterday morning;-

“I listened to the end of the QPR v Hull game on the radio and David Pleat summed up the Play Off battle by saying that anyone down to eighth or ninth could still make it into the top six. Assuming that wasn’t a throwaway remark made without a great deal of thought behind it, it means that he has already given up on us finishing in the top six.”

We were in tenth position when David Pleat made his remarks. I went on to say that I didn’t agree with him, but when a side makes the sort of improvements to the weakest aspects of it’s game (for me, it was our almost complete inability to create chances in open play) that we have in the last two months or so, you would expect that to be reflected in a higher league position.

I mentioned in my piece for the Forest match that I believe we have become a different sort of team since the game with Reading on November 7 – more entertaining to watch and a better goalscoring rate, yes, but we were ninth in the table going into that game and we were one place lower than that when David Pleat seemingly wrote off our Play Off chances.

So, despite a big improvement on a weakness that had been holding us back and a tangible result in terms of goals scored as a result of it, we still managed to drop down the table. I concluded by saying that such a team “has got little or no chance of making the top six – I’m not giving up on our Play Off prospects yet, but everything I’ve seen since August tells me that David Pleat is probably right.”

Those defeats at Birmingham and MK Dons saw many saying that the home games against Forest and Blackburn that followed them were make or break for our promotion prospects. Now, I thought that was over dramatising things a bit, but when you consider that the two dropped points in the first of these, seemingly, season defining matches combined with Ipswich’s impressive win at Brighton had seen the gap between us and the last of the Play Off spots grow to six points, maybe those who were making such claims had a point.

This isn't  a photo of the worst part of the Cardiff City Stadium pitch, it's just typical of what you'll find all over it. For the first time since the stadium opened, the pitch is a factor in deciding the outcome of games - paradoxically, it may have been a factor in our winning yesterday's game as it probably added to the difficulties Blackburn got into as they tried to play out from the back before we scored.*

This isn’t a photo of the worst part of the Cardiff City Stadium pitch, it’s just typical of what you’ll find all over it. For the first time since the stadium opened, the pitch is a factor in deciding the outcome of games – paradoxically, it may have helped us win yesterday’s game as it probably added to the difficulties Blackburn got into as they tried to play out from the back before we scored.*

We barely ever win both times when we have successive home matches, so I had no great expectation  of six points from the Forest and Blackburn matches, but the draw in the first of them meant that, for me, yesterday’s was the closest thing we’d had to a must win game so far this season.

When I put labels like that on a match, I go to it with no great expectation of being entertained and, with City trying to, partially at least,  redeem what had been a very disappointing holiday period and Blackburn in a poor run of results themselves, anyone who went to Cardiff City Stadium expecting a goal fest were deluding themselves.

In the event, City got the win they needed and, if there was anything surprising about the 1-0 scoreline, it had to be that they were able to keep their first clean sheet since that Reading match ten games ago.

The three previous games between the teams had finished 1-1 with Blackburn pegging us back each time after we had scored, so, when you also consider our problems with holding on to leads in recent home, I wouldn’t have thought a single City fan was counting any chickens after Joe Mason’s fifty eighth minute goal.

After all, Blackburn had the man who has probably been the Championship’s most consistent goalscorer in recent seasons in Jordan Rhodes and so nothing could be taken for granted. However, if there is a good time to face Rhodes who, as it turns out, has never managed another league goal against us after scoring for Ipswich in a 1-1 draw as an 18 year old in 2008, it was probably yesterday, because he is going through a dry goalscoring spell the like of which he has barely ever suffered before in his senior career.

Rhodes did go nine games without a goal in season 13/14 and it’s seven without scoring for him now, but, with just two in his last fifteen matches, these are lean times indeed for such a fine finisher. Mind you, he has still netted nine times so far this season, which is a good return for a team which finds goalscoring as hard as Blackburn do.

Only the current bottom three plus MK Dons and Preston have scored less Championship goals than yesterday’s opponents. Blackburn are not averaging a goal a game at the moment, but one thing they are is resolute defensively, because they’ve let in a goal less than they have scored.

Therefore, in a league where scoring the first goal is deemed even more important than it is in other divisions (albeit, City have been doing their best to disprove this theory in recent home games!), this appeared to apply even more to yesterday’s match.

With Kenwyne Jones not in the match day eighteen after it was confirmed that he was talking to another club about a move, which now appears to be a permanent one with any fee paid being a nominal one, City began with Mason recalled to partner Tony Watt up front in the usual 4-4-2 formation and neither got anything that could remotely be called a meaningful chance in a dour first forty five minutes.

Despite Jones’ absence, City approached the game for much of the time as if he was still there. Blackburn made things a little difficult for them through the simple tactic of pushing up on our centre backs and deep midfield player (usually Joe Ralls) with the result that the usual recipients of the ball from David Marshall were not an option.

Instead, the keeper chose to launch the ball upfield towards Mason and Watt with the result that the visitors’s towering centrebacks Grant Hanley and Shane Duffy invariably got their head on the ball to usually ensure that their team regained possession.

Whenever I’ve seen Blackburn in televised matches this season, the commentator has  mentioned the danger Hanley and Duffy represent from  set pieces (the former got the equaliser in the 1-1 draw at Ewood Park in August). This is a testimony as to how powerful they are in the air and yet for too much of the time, City chose to play to their strengths despite having a front two whose games, basically, revolves more around brains than brawn.

So it was that City only worried Jason Steele in the Blackburn goal once in the first forty five minutes as Anthony Pilkington’s well struck shot required a decent diving save. There was also a twenty five yard effort from Ralls that wasn’t too far wide and a Pilkington cross was scraped behind for a corner by a defender with Mason lurking close by, but, after all of the recent matches where we have looked much more likely to score in the first half than we did in the second period, it was ominous that half time arrived with so little sign of a City goal.

However, an early shot across the face of the Blackburn goal by my man of the match Aron Gunnarsson and a cross aimed towards Pilkington which Steele had to punch away under pressure in the minutes after the restart  at least suggested that, this time, City would improve on their opening forty five minutes. Although it was hardly a case of the visitor’s goal being under siege, this is what they did as they played with a shade more fluency, while also showing some variation in their game.

For their part, Blackburn had what their manager Paul Lambert called a stonewall penalty turned down in the first half when referee Andy Woolmer chose to book Hope Akpan for a dive rather than penalise Gunnarsson for a challenge which, for me, fell into the home sides might get it, but an away side doesn’t category and Duffy had a header from a corner easily held by Marshall for his first real save of the match.

A few minutes later came the game’s decisive moment when, instead of playing to their strengths, City managed to exploit a weakness of the Blackburn centrebacks.

Centrebacks “splitting” to make themselves available to their goalkeeper when he is in possession is very much part of the modern game. I mentioned earlier that Blackburn did not allow City to do this by using a ploy which, essentially, worked, but, sometimes we get ourselves into a mess whereby a slightly risky throw out by Marshall develops into a situation where every succeeding pass puts the recipient under more pressure until we end up conceding possession, or giving away a free kick, in a dangerous area of the pitch.

This time though, it happened up the other end of the pitch as Steele’s throw out enabled City, with Gunnarsson to the fore, to put a pair of centrebacks who were much less assured with the ball at their feet than they were when it was in the air under pressure. For a while, it looked as if Blackburn had got away with it as they managed to make it to the halfway line, but possession was then turned over and Ralls was presented with the ball in a position where the right pass would open up the visiting defence.

Ralls found that pass by feeding Craig Noone who cut inside left back Olsson and hit a shot which beat Steele, but was cleared off the line by the covering Duffy only for the it to fall to Mason who volleyed in from six yards.

Blackburn’s response to falling behind betrayed a lack of confidence in front of goal which was only to be expected I suppose from a team that had lost both of their previous games 1-0 and had drawn 0-0 in the one before that.

Joe Mason scores his first goal in over three months to win the game for City. With Tony Watt's loan move perhaps being made permanent and Russel Slade talking of the need to get in a target man striker to replace Kenwyne Jones, Mason will need more goals to keep his place in the starting line up, but it should be remembered that he is now our outright top scorer again and we don't have many strikers who instinctively put themselves in the right position at the right time when the ball is bouncing around six yards from our opponent's goal.*

Joe Mason scores his first goal in over three months to win the game for City. With Tony Watt’s loan move perhaps being made permanent and Russell Slade talking of the need to get in a target man striker to replace Kenwyne Jones, Mason will need more goals to keep his place in the starting line up, but it should be remembered that he is now our outright top scorer again and we don’t have many strikers who instinctively put themselves in the right position at the right time when the ball is bouncing around six yards from our opponent’s goal.*

Watching them toil in vain for that elusive goal (Craig Conway, given a good reception by City fans before and during the game, had a frustrating and fruitless return to his old stamping ground) brought back memories for me of that awful run in October/November where we looked totally incapable of ever finding the net without the help of an opponent.

Although memories of Burnley, Sheffield Wednesday and Brentford meant you never thought the points were already in the bag, looking back now, it’s easy to see that if the game was to have a second goal, it was much more likely to be scored by City.

It could have come when Watt proved Duffy had not learned the lesson of a few minutes earlier when he robbed him of the ball and embarked on a run towards goal which was only ended by a foul on the edge of the penalty area which earned the defender a booking. Noone’s shot from the resultant free kick flashed just wide and there were also a couple of good saves from Steele after Watt (much more like his normal self after his subdued showing against Forest) created chances for himself.

The striker will probably feel he should have scored from the second of these opportunities, but, with Steele having to deal with a series of crosses which forced him into hasty action, while Marshall remained relatively untroubled, City had far fewer alarms than might have been expected in holding on for what I would have thought even a committed Blackburn fan would concede was a deserved win – there was even a spell of keep ball which drew Oles from the crowd rather than the usual desperate shouts and whistles imploring the referee to end the game when we are a goal in front !

With Ipswich and Burnley drawing to follow Brighton’s loss on Friday, the gap between us in ninth place and these clubs in the Play Off zone is four, five and seven points respectively. With sixty three more points up for grabs, any clubs in a position like ours has to believe those three sides are catchable, but with our next couple of games being at third placed Hull and in form Wolves, we will need to see a big improvement on many recent away showings to get anything from them.

A ground out home win against a team who have stopped scoring went a little way towards making it an adequate Christmas/New Year for City, but it’s still hard to avoid the feeling that Russell Slade (who, praise be, abandoned his 4-4-2 for the closing stages yesterday when Stuart O’Keefe came on for Mason for the closing ten minutes!) will have to do some work in the transfer market of a quality that we’ve not seen from him up to now in the next month if this season is not going to eventually fizzle out in much the same way as the last one did.

*photos courtesy of https://www.flickr.com/photos/joncandy/

 

 

 

 

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15 Responses to When the result is more important than the performance.

  1. Colin Phillips says:

    Must have been a much better half-time talk yesterday.

    But in fairness after a dire (not sure if that is a strong enough word) first half things could only get better – couldn’t they.

    We were poor and we have to be thankful that Blackburn were even worse.

    The playing surface is becoming a bit of a concern but if we have some dry weather and it not being played on a lot for the rest of January perhaps it will recover.

    Thinking back to the bad old days, today’s players should be thankful of the state of pitches these days.

    Back in the sixties some pitches, Upton Park springs to mind were almost devoid of grass and the playing surface resembled the beach at Weston-super-Mare.

    Another fine and accurate report, Paul.

    Regards,

    Col

  2. Barry cole says:

    Excellent report Paul but I have given us no chance of getting into the top six, when in fact we have the players to get into the top two.
    The game was totally boring to me from two teams devoid of any confidence. It just happened that Blackburn were worst.
    Because it’s so up and down I don’t see us even making a move on the top six and with two difficult games ahead I only see slades inconsistency continuing.
    We will finish where we finished last year and that came about by the bad Xmas results with brum and my dons.
    I have absolutely no confidence that slade can improve the team but had we changed manager before year end then my mind set would have been totally different.
    I cannot believe sladde will be able to improve on his signings that he has already brought in and tan will only waste his money again.
    Never mind it’s his money he is losing but it’s the fans backing he is losing fast again. You would think he would have learnt being the businessman he is.

  3. For much of the season our two-man frontline has been dire. Thankfully, one is lumbering on to pastures new (lucrative ones I’m sure) while the second emerged from obscurity for yesterday’s game. I know he scored but – in Harry Redknapp’s attempt at wit – “My missus could have scored that one.” In fact, more by accident than design the ball just fell to Mason. The goal was more or less his only positive contribution to the performance. He does not make things happen, merely relies on defensive mistakes or flashes of class from his colleagues.
    The goal itself developed from an excellent pass which went, not to Noone’s feet as usual, but into space allowing him to run onto the ball and hit a shot which the goalkeeper couldn’t hold. Incidentally, it seems obvious that, at half-time, Noone had been told to try crossing with his right foot, which he did – and quite well – for a time
    Tony Watt was another who made things happen on occasions, but his big failure as a striker is a marked reluctance to use his left foot.
    In addition, I was frustrated, to say the least, at our goalkeeper’s insistence on pumping high balls towards Mason and Watt in the knowledge that it was like manna from Heaven for the Blackburn defenders. Football intelligence would be a welcome novelty.
    Our defence was good, too, apart from some (traditionally) wayward passing, and Manga is surely destined for a higher level of football than he is likely to experience with the current squad.
    But, a win is a win, despite one of the worst displays in the first half I’ve seen from a Cardiff team this season. Now, it’s a New Year, and new hope!

  4. rhondda blue says:

    Hi Paul, even though we won against a very poor side in Blackburn and we played a little better, i have NO confidence in rusty on the transfer front to get us the right players to kick on. Be honest city fans the dross that he has served up over a year has been nothing short of diobolical. People keep carping on he had to cut the wages (fair enough) and trim the squad but look at the rubbish he’s signed, and out of about 15 players, 1 maybe 2 of his picks are playing in the team. We struggle big time against sides lower than us in the league and when they make changes Russ seems stumped of ideas how to swing the game in our favour. Thought it was april 1 against forrest because his subs were a joke. Think the club and Mr Tan needs to have a good think of where this club is going (if we keep slade div 1 methinks) because they will want fans to renew in Feb/March, and why are we fans renewing when the season is not over. I have supported this club for 50 years and my patience is being tested to the hilt, i used to look forward to every game regardless where we were in any division, but apathy is now starting to kick in, and i think that’s happened to a lot of fans. If our club needs the fans backing it needs a clean sweep from top to bottom else we will be dragging our backside on the floor. (gripe over)

  5. MIKE HOPE says:

    Great to start 2016 with a win and the usual well balanced report from Paul.
    If the first half on Saturday was depressing the car journey home listening to Rob Phillips phone in was even worse.I did not hear the whole programme because I arrived home and perhaps the latter part was more balanced but the early calls were on the theme ‘Slade is rubbish so the team is rubbish’.
    Rob Phillips did a professional job as Devil’s Advocate assisted by two football experts Owain Tudur Jones and David Giles.OTJ as the Swansea expert was still at Old Trafford as was RP but I don’t know where DG was.OTJ was impressive in his responses to the Jack callers and dignified in the discretion shown to our rabid callers.Gilo,on the other hand,seemed keen to curry favour with our most critical callers and dived in in support with both feet and studs showing.
    It was mob mentality at its worst and some of it reminded me of the bloggers of a few years ago who regularly denigrated the heading ability of Rudy ‘50p head’ Gestede.I wonder where they are now.
    Amongst the pearls of wisdom that I heard was ‘ Slade should be sacked but where would we find a decent manager who would be prepared to work for Tan.’Well exactly!Who would trust a man who apparently tells his manager to ’slash the wage bill without getting us relegated’ and then sacks him for doing just that!The word ‘oxymoron ‘ comes to mind for more than one reason.
    Criticising the manager will always be an acceptable and frustration relieving part of football but some of the callers seemed to take pride in saying in saying that they were not at the game because they do not want to watch such rubbish! It was an intimidatory atmosphere for anyone to call and offer any praise.One of the less biased callers did however provide an element of sanity when he said that there are many football supporters who do not really understand football.
    Perhaps I should not have been surprised when Giles revealed that he had not actually seen the game but had heard part of the radio commentary! He also said that Cardiff had been ‘nicking wins’ whilst playing badly and this was no way to get promotion.This was a strange statement from an ‘expert’ for two reasons.Firstly I thought it was essential to get some wins in this way and secondly what imaginary wins was he talking about? I was left with the impression that not only has he not seen us play but he hasn’t been following our results either.He also gave us the usual cliché that the standard of this year’s Championship is very low and any half decent side should easil get promotion.
    I didn’t hear the latter part of the show but Rob Phillips had invited calls about Wales chances in the Euros so I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that Gilo maintained his standard by warning us not to underestimate the Germans
    In view of the anti Slade bias shown by the phone in and elsewhere I would like to offer an equally biased and unbalanced view of Saturday’s game from a pro Slade angle.
    TEAM SELECTION
    Perfect .50/50 between Fabio and Malone with Mason the obvious choice to replace Kenwyne.Some missing names on the bench but I can’t be critical not having seen their form and attitude in training.
    FIRST HALF
    Great defending to keep a clean sheet.Black burn’s main attacking threat is at set pieces and their supporters~the quietest at CCS this year~became audible when they won their first corner. Despite the absence of Kenwyne and Blackburn’s glut of giants supported by the prolific Jordan Rhodes our superbly organised defence meant that Marshy was not tested.In attack Noone is rapidly developing into the Championship’s Arjen Robben.After cutting inside his shots are now getting as far as the goalkeeper and with Kenwyne even further away from the six yard area[in Dubai we are told] there is room for a predator like Mason to pounce on any fumbles.
    HALF TIME
    Obviously a team talk from the manager in the legendary vein.
    WINNING GOAL
    Superbly planned and executed.Arjen Robben cuts in and releases a fierce shot which is blocked on the line.As anticipated this gives Joe Mason the chance to do what he does best.His instinct to be in the right place at the right time combined with his natural flair in front of goal and the ball is in the net.
    SUBSTITUTIONS
    Perfect.Joe Mason had done his job but rather than go like for like the midfield was strengthened.Whitts or Digkacoi could have done the job but O’Keefe was the right choice because of his extra mobility.Tony Watt had been excellent but the fresh and speedy legs of Sammy were the ideal replacement against tiring defenders
    THE RESULT
    Perfect and never in doubt after we took the lead.Instead of defending our penalty area like the Alamo our new formation combined with the class of Bruno Mr Composure Manga and the 90 minute dynamism of Gunnarson meant that we dominated possession.As the crowd yelled ‘Oles’ of appreciation Marshy had time to sign autographs for the boys behind his goal.Surely a result to bring the crowds flocking back to CCS!
    ps
    I owe Dai Woosnam an apology for saying that he lived in Cleethorpes. I obviously got hold of the wrong end of the stick when he told us it is where Grimsby play their home games.Sorry Dai.
    Mike

  6. The other Bob Wilson says:

    Thanks once again for a set of replies which, thanks to Mike’s contribution, covers the debate on our manager from both sides of the spectrum.
    I’ll come back to Russell Slade shortly, but I’d like to address some of the other points made first. Colin, I posted the following on a City messageboard yesterday which seems to show that the weather is not solely responsible for this season’s problems with the pitch;-

    “I’ve mentioned on here before that I spoke to a club employee who really should know about these things after the recent meeting between Trust members and Russell Slade and Ken Choo. I was told then that there would have been problems with the pitch this season even if we’d had a dry winter.

    Also, Russell Slade said in one of his press conferences recently that, if anything, all of this rain may be helping the pitch because it could helping it to hold together better than it would have done otherwise.”

    AMO, agree with you completely about the pass Ralls played to Noone in the build up to the goal and I think you are right about Watt’s left foot. However, I’ve more time for Mason than you and, with Watt not really convincing me as a finisher yet, I’d say Mason or Macheda (who needs to improve his attitude as far as I’m concerned) are the best we have in that department. The unknown factor in all of this is Saadi who I know impressed you in his one appearance for us – Lord knows when he’ll be back though.

    As for our manager, based on what we’ve seen so far, I’d say he should be given credit for bringing Watt to the club and any doubts about this player would appear to be more down to attitude than ability. However, in the main, I agree with rhondda blue that Russell Slade’s signings are hardly an inspiring bunch. In fact, overall, I’d say that those who want him out can point to the lack of impact made by his signings as a legitimate reason to dispense with his services. I don’t agree with Barry about our squad being top two material, we’ve seen little or no evidence in terms of ninety minute performances from them to suggest they are good enough for the Play Offs, let alone automatic promotion – I’m with him though in having little confidence in us getting much from our trips to Hull and Wolves.

    I’m grateful to Mike for putting over an alternative view to what appears to be the prevailing one about our manager in the various forms of media available to supporters these days. I fully agree with him about the Call Rob programme on Saturday and believe that many of the calls do nothing to make the situation the caller wishes for more likely to come to pass. I also agree about David Giles who contributed little to add to the notion that he was an “expert” with greater knowledge of the situation at the club than the ordinary fan in the street. Like Mike, I have little time either for those who say they don’t go to matches because of the lack of entertainment. Okay, Saturday was something of a return to the bad old days on that front and the second half against Forest was very poor, but in the first half of that game, we played very well at times and this came on top of four home matches where we may not have always got the results we should have, but I’d say few could legitimately complain about the level of entertainment on offer.

    I didn’t mention Russell Slade much in the report I did of Saturday’s game because I didn’t see a great deal he did, either good or bad, which merited me talking about him. On the downside, I am puzzled by the seeming alternating selection policy when it comes to the left back position and it looked for much of the first half as if we’d only found out that Kenwyne Jones was not playing about twenty minutes before kick off and so hadn’t made any provision for the fact that neither of the front two selected are natural candidates to play the same sort of role as Kenwyne was supposed to for us.

    On the other hand, I thought there was little to be critical of our manager about when it came to his substitutions and, for the first time in a while, the standard of our performance improved in the second half – we also seemed to last the pace better than we have been doing recently. So, having written a piece on the Forest game which questioned our manager when it came to these two things, it’s only right that I acknowledge now that neither of them were an issue on Saturday and that our manager has to take some credit for this.

    Russell Slade doesn’t convince me in many ways (e.g. his completely negative attitude to youth development, his uninspiring and, largely, one dimensional tactical approach and, as already mentioned, his overall record in the transfer department), but when I look at the squad he has now and the one he started the season with, I’d say we are currently about where our level of ability merits. I say this while noting that our manager has said the target for this season is a top six finish, that our CEO, seemingly, agrees with that assessment and that two players (Peltier and Pilkington) have both said in the past month that we should be in the top six. Therefore, if we finish up around the position we are now, I’d say we may see a change of manager in the summer, but I’d be very surprised if anything happened on that score before then.

  7. Paul,
    A superb original report and equally balanced and informative response from you to all the other contributors. But there is a question I need to ask: Do you know what is the current situation re Idriss Saadi. Potentially he is the best striker we’ve had at Cardiff for a very long time, provided – and this is the big issue – provided he is (1) fully fit; and (2) the Cardiff training regime has worked out a system to get the best out of him. My own view is that he and Tony Watt could form an excellent STRONG-RUNNING partnership, with appropriate support from colleagues behind him, even – let it be said – the much maligned Alex Revell in a kind of deep-lying centre forward role reminiscent of Graham Moore in years gone by. But there again, that might be thinking so far out the box that Mr Slade would scratch his shining pate in despair.
    As you and Rhondda Blue and Barry rightly point out, the manager’s record on the transfer front is, at the very least, debatable.
    Also, I feel it is a mistake to say we are aiming to get into the top six. Would we gain promotion in a play off? And if we did reach those heady heights, would the team then rest on its laurels? Surely, a manager should ALWAYS say “We aim to be Number One.” – even if he doesn’t in his heart of hearts believe it likely.
    As regards the state of the pitch, it may be giving grounds for concern, but – in support of a telling observation made by Colin – we have all seen much worse over the years — and of course, it is the same for both sides. Some of the opposition players I’ve seen at Cardiff recently had no problem coping with the pitch, or for that matter with the wind and the rain. Good and skilful players can surely adapt!
    And what is more: I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all the above observations and points of view, and I’m really glad that Mike has prepared us for the amazing possibility that David Giles might perceptively be telling us to watch out for the Germans this summer. Where would we be without such revealing assessments from the wireless experts! Mike, like many others on this site, does a superb job in wittily reminding us that even the experts are fallible. Wit – in the original Old English sense – is something sadly lacking in many blogs. Thank you for the exception.

  8. I also meant to mention Barry Cole, who shares with many of us a degree of doubt about Mr Slade’s transfer expertise. Barry adds that it’s Mr Tan’s money to waste, which is fair enough. But the current financial scandals within the top reaches of the Malaysian government may also have repercussions for our revered owner who, I believe, does not entirely control the purse strings of his investment in Cardiff City.

  9. Dai Woosnam says:

    AMO tells us there is a malaise amongst the Malays.
    I did not know, as I have long abandoned CNN in favour of Talksport.
    But that said, I always did suspect that their central government had a stake in Vincent’s investment, as I am sure they are also linked to Tony Fernandez’s input into QPR.

    Visit Malaysia, eh?
    Whatever happened to FLY CAMBRIAN AIRWAYS ?

    Personally, I have no intention of revisiting Malaysia in 100 lifetimes.
    I could not wait to get out of the country the last time I entered their country…what with all those signs as you went through customs saying “the penalty for drug smuggling is DEATH”…and ghoulish signs on the wall depicting nooses and gallows.

    A silent prayer that nobody had planted anything in my luggage.
    And the best cure for constipation ever invented.

    Oh and before closing…
    Lovely joke from Mike re oxymoron.
    And a remark of Geoff’s from 2 weeks back…re the C5 duo being redolent of the types on the shopping channels.
    This latter image refuses to leave my head.
    Plenty of cut-price football teams, judging by the stuff they serve up.
    Ha!
    But in fairness to them, they are not the weak link.
    The Dalglish girl is proof positive that not all relatives make their way into top presenting jobs because of nepotism. Just like Terry Yorath’s girl, she is very capable.
    And so is that George fellow with her.

    No, their one remaining problem (now that they have rid themselves of their police identification parade of ne’er-do-wells), is…
    …their guest pundits.

    Clinton Morrison seems like he is permanently auditioning for a part as South London’s new gangland leader (now that the Richardson Gang have long been disbanded). Michael Gray likes the women and the good life too much to be there regularly. As for the boy Virgo…he has something, but somehow smacks less of the Shopping Channel, and more of a Chief Male Nurse.
    I see they are persevering with Michael Bridges, despite his howler the week before last, when he completely failed to grasp the point that the Accringtom manager was making re the inherent unfairness of Carlisle playing the next few home games on neutral grounds. And I noted that Kelly (or is it Kellie?) and George refused to throw Michael a rope to stop him drowning.
    DW.

  10. Dai Woosnam says:

    I am laid low with shingles right now, which explains why I forgot to respond to this from Mike…
    ‘…
    It was mob mentality at its worst and some of it reminded me of the bloggers of a few years ago who regularly denigrated the heading ability of Rudy ’50p head’ Gestede. I wonder where they are now?
    …’
    I will tell you where they are Mike. They are part of the missing thousands from CCS, but are not in their local pub or down The Liberty. Instead they have all decamped en masse to Villa Park, and have season tickets in the Holte End, where they are leading the hoots of derision!

    (Yes, a weak joke from me I know. Put my erring judgment down to my shingles!)

    Let me end on a serious note.

    Mike is sooo right on “mob rule”. I am a firm believer in the dictum that when everybody moves west, it is often smart to go east.
    I am reminded of the fact that in late April 1999, my fellow jurors were generous (or daft?) enough to elect me as foreman in a case in Cardiff Crown Court.
    I was praying that I might find myself a lone voice against the other eleven, but alas I was disappointed to find that the guilt of the accused was so obvious that – along with the Great Wall of China – it was the one thing on Planet Earth that could be observed and identified from the International Space Station.
    (So much for my delusional attempt to change the minds of the other eleven jurors…TWELVE ANGRY MEN style.)
    And we quickly announced a unanimous verdict…even though a couple of us wanted to delay that verdict at least three days so we could milk the generous financial allowances payments.
    DW

  11. The other Bob Wilson says:

    Wishing you a swift recovery Dai.

    Just a quick few words on some of the matters raised. Apparently Idris Saadi is due back in training some time next week, so I suppose he could be ready for first team consideration towards the end of the month.

    Apologies in advance if I’ve got this wrong, but I get the strong impression that those who contribute on here are, how shall I put this, of an age where they can talk about the terrible pitches of forty and fifty years ago from memory rather from what they’ve read or seen on grainy You Tube videos! The mention of Upton Park brought back memories of Sunday afternoons spent watching the Big Match as West Ham drew yet another home game 3-3 on a mudheap of a pitch, but if there is one stadium that I call to mind when I think of those terrible old pitches, it has to be the Baseball Ground, Derby.

    It’s inevitable that we compare even a very poor pitch like City’s with what we saw in our youth and conclude that it’s not a patch on those from decades ago. However, the modern day footballer is a cossetted individual and is used to the best when it comes to equipment and pitches. Because of this, they have very limited experience of surfaces that are not up to today’s norm – in fact, given how pitch technology has advanced in the last couple of decades or so, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if the current Cardiff City Stadium pitch is the worst they have played on as professionals.

    In a funny way though, playing on that pitch could be an advantage to us in the end because at least our players will get fairly used to it over the next few months, whereas it will be a one off to most of the sides we face – I believe the difficulties Blackburn got into in the lead up to our goal and then again a few minutes later, could be partially attributed to them playing on a surface of a kind they had not encountered before.

    One other thing, given what’s happened at Cardiff and QPR in recent seasons, if the Malaysian Government is involved in the running of those two clubs then we’ve surely seen conclusive evidence that nationalisation of football teams is non starter!

  12. Colin Phillips says:

    My first visit to Ninian Park was in the mid-fifties, Boxing Day game against Brizzle City. Cardiff won 1-0 the visitors right full-back putting the ball into his own net at the Canton Stand end. Not a memorable game, the only Cardiff player that sticks in my ear from the game was good old Joe Bonson.

    Two most memorable games was the 3-2 defeat of the unbeaten Tottenham Hotspurs on a Saturday evening with Derek Hogg getting the winner and the Easter Saturday event when Cardiff won promotion by beating Aston Villa 1-0. The goal scored by Golden boy Graham Moore, but my man of the match that day was Colin ‘Rock’ Hudson, who surprised all of us that groaned when his name was read out as being the starting line-up. He played out of his skin that day and surpassed our limited expectations.

    Forgive the reminiscing, I am getting very old.

    Col

  13. Can I, like Colin, indulge myself in a bit of reminiscing – but not about a Cardiff player on this occasion, although I remember with pleasure all those he mentions above. It must have been about 1961 and our team of self-confident fifteen year olds travelled up the valley to play on the Abercynon pitch beside the river. Within a few minutes an Abercynon cross came into our area, and a powerful figure came zooming in from the right, leapt high into the air brushing aside our defenders, and powered a header into the net. We all looked at each other in bewilderment. Nothing like that had happened before in our experience – but it happened again soon afterwards. In fact, it happened several times, and the player in question scored, I think, at least four goals. This was our first – memorable and sobering – introduction to John Roberts – and what a player he was, even at that tender age. We all learnt a lesson in humility and received a reality check from his performance. Of course, he went on to play for Arsenal, for several other teams, and for Wales. How sad to hear he has now died at the age of 69. I offer my condolences to his family and all who remember him.

  14. Dai Woosnam says:

    Thanks Paul for your kind “get well soon” wishes.
    The vesicles have now stopped multiplying, so I am (hopefully) over the worst.
    Sometimes shingles can pack its bags and be gone in ten days…on rare occasions though, it can overstay its welcome by many weeks.

    Right, preamble over, and down to soccer business.

    I was struck by the recent contributions of Colin and AMO.
    First Colin.

    I too was there that Saturday night for the Spurs game. It remains the most thrilling game I ever saw in my life. How we survived that Spurs Alamo-type siege through the last 20 minutes, I will never know.

    (Well actually, I do know. It is called “inspired leadership”. And Danny Malloy was that man. He threw himself at everything. Heroism was not the word.
    Even the George Cross would not have been adequate recompense for that night.)

    And Colin reminds us of that great goal Derek Hogg scored. How can I describe the looks of this winger we signed from Leicester (or was it WBA?…I cannot use Mr Google when on my iPad, or I will lose all I have just written) …I think he arrived from Filbert Street.
    Not that it matters where he came FROM…
    It is where he was going TO that matters…
    And he was going to a permanent place in the Cardiff City Hall of Fame for that great individual goal.
    But like I say…
    …to describe his looks…?

    Well, imagine Arthur Lowe’s Captain Mainwaring with 35 years and four stones off his clock. And you’d be pretty close.
    As unprepossessing to look at as…
    …Tosh Chamberlain of Fulham or that brilliant left winger for Ipswich in Alf Ramsey’s title winning team…LEADBETTER, was he called?
    But then great wingers who did not look the part, are both legion and legendary.
    John Robertson for one.
    Oh I have just remembered the best of them all…
    …little bandy-legged Garrincha.

    And Colin goes on to mention a winger who did look a bit more conventionally athletic…”Rock” Hudson.

    If that game against the all-conquering Spurs was the most EXCITING that I ever saw, then the 6-1 thrashing of Liverpool was the most EXHILARATING.

    And Colin Hudson started the rout that day, with an unstoppable shot.

    And now to AMO.
    I did not know we had lost John Roberts. Sorry to hear it.
    AMO and myself are are almost direct contemporaries. Most of our pals are appearing in the obit columns these days.
    I recall my first ever visit to Wembley. JR was playing for Wales that day.
    Never really fulfilled his potential. Built like a Greek god…could have passed as a brother of Graham Moore.
    I never played for Porth YMCA at Abercynon, but I do recall playing for them at Aberaman in 1961…we lost 2-0 as I recall.
    I remember one particular game that year near the mountain top in Foch Rhiw, in temperatures and winds that even Captain Oates would not have gone out in.
    But that is another story …
    …for another time.
    DW

  15. Adrian Lloyd Pickrell says:

    What a superb set of comments. I love reading them as much as I love reading the blog. I believe I am a little younger than some of you but I too remember “The Big Match” on Sunday lunchtimes (a real highlight on an otherwise rather boring and usually rainy day). I remember boggy pitches and goalmouths with more sand than Porthcawl …. and waiting in vain for a glimpse of City on the telly which was a rare thing back then.

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