When will Cardiff City fans ever feel proud of their club again?

CoymayI think I’ve said it before on here, but I’ll repeat it anyway – I’ve thought for a long time that, in general, the people who make their living from the game have nothing but contempt for the footballing opinions of the people who turn up to watch games  every week.

Our opinions on the game and the way it is played are mostly derided on the grounds that we don’t really know the game like they do. I suppose there is a degree of truth in this because, for example, we don’t know how the player we want in the team is performing in training, both in terms of physical and mental commitment.

However, most supporters who have been watching their club regularly over a period of time will form an opinion on the team, it’s manager and players that is generally sound. Therefore, I believe it’s important to know what I heard supporters saying when they received news of the make up of the team which exited the FA Cup last night with a pathetic showing as they lost 1-0 at a near deserted Cardiff City Stadium to a Shrewsbury team that is struggling at the wrong end of the league below ours after being beaten 7-1 at Chesterfield last week.

I heard the same response three times to the team Russell Slade had picked from people who I spoke to separately before kick off – the exact words used may have been different, but the sentiment was always along the lines of “there’s still time to go home I suppose”.

I had thought the same thing myself on hearing the team, but I’m afraid that I chose the sarcasm that I’m increasingly turning to when it comes to the club I’ve followed for so long by saying “we’re going to kill them with our pace”.

In the days leading up to the game, I’d been awaiting the announcement of the team that would face Shrewsbury with more interest than normal because I figured it would say so much about Russell Slade’s thinking when it came to the players at the club who do not feature every week.

Three years ago in the middle of our Championship winning season we made an ignominious exit from the FA Cup when we were beaten in the Third Round at non League Macclesfield. Just as he always tended to do in the early stages of the cup competitions while he was at the club, Malky Mackay had filled the team with youngsters to give them some first team experience – we usually lost these games and it could be argued as to whether it did any of the young pros involved any good, but, give me that approach over the one Russell Slade opted for last night any day of the week.

Of course, everything we know about Russell Slade screamed out that he wouldn’t be following the Malky Mackay approach last night and it has to be said that a fair few of the candidates for inclusion if Slade had wanted to opt for youth were already cup tied, having played for other clubs in the competition while out on loan earlier in the season.

So, I went to the game with a hope that we would be seeing a side made up primarily of senior players not in recent starting elevens backed up with a smattering of youngsters – this turned out to be wishful thinking because we have a manager who far from offering encouragement to young players, appears to do as much as he can to discourage them!

The side which faced Blackburn in our last Championship side had an average age of twenty six, the one Slade sent out against Shrewsbury had an average of twenty seven as four players who would not see thirty again were drafted into the side.

Now, picking the two men who made up our central midfield for the first few months of this campaign was to be expected – Peter Whittingham and Kagisho Dikagcoi could both do with some game time after spells out of the starting eleven recently, but the inclusion of two 32 year olds in Gabriel Tamas and Alex Revell baffled me.

With all of his top level experience and international caps, there can be little doubt that Tamas has the ability to be able to cope with a cup tie against Shrewsbury, but it has to become more problematic for him when he is playing what I’m pretty sure was his first competitive game in at least a couple of months.

The signing of Tamas appeared an odd one at the time, but once he was here, you would have thought he would have seen some first team action before now – for example, he would have been used off the bench to shore things up when we were hanging on to a lead. Instead, Tamas played fairly regularly for the Under 21s for a month or two, but those appearances have long since ceased and so it hardly came as a surprise that the player looked somewhat off the pace at times.

There were rumours around the turn of the year that Tamas had walked out of the club in protest of his lack of playing time. As I say, it was only rumours, but the comments made by his agent in this story are a matter of fact.

As for Revell, he returned early from a loan spell at Wigan and almost immediately there were press stories saying that the club were willing to loan him out again. Last week, there was speculation that Revell, along with Federico Macheda, his striking partner last night, had been made available for transfer and, with our manager talking about bringing in a target man type striker to go along with the probable permanent signing of Tony Watt, that speculation certainly had a ring of truth to it.

So, the only conclusion I can come to with regard to the inclusion of Tamas, Revell and, possibly, Macheda is that they were in the shop window so to speak as our manager hoped would be buyers would be impressed by what they saw.

The outcome was entirely predictable, with none of the trio doing anything in the game to make up the mind of potential buyers to take the plunge so to speak – in fact, it’s hard to imagine any of the players involved for Cardiff attracting offers based on what they produced against Shrewsbury.

The second lowest crowd seen for a first team game at Cardiff City Stadium were given a preview of what was to come as the visitors carved out a real chance for themselves within fifteen seconds as they capitalised on City’s failure to win a tackle that was something like 60/40 in their favour and some dodgy defending by Bruno Manga.

After that, City plodded away, admittedly on a pudding of a pitch, with plenty of “safe” passing, but, little or nothing which asked serious questions of their opponents. For a while, there was the illusion that “class” was telling as Sammy Ameobi became an influence temporarilly, before fading back into what has become his usual anonymity.

Ameobi was unlucky with a shot which came back off the base of the post and Macheda and Revell has efforts blocked by visiting keeper Halstead in rapid succession, but, in essence, that was it as far as a goal threat went for either side in the first half.

After the break, Shrewsbury improved a bit, while City proved that it was possible for their abysmal level of performance in the opening forty five minutes to deteriorate further.

The match winning goal, which arrived around the hour mark, was down to a combination of a good cross, a firm close range header and some poor defending by Scott Malone and Tamas – Simon Moore might have come for the cross as well, but, to be fair to him, he probably thought our two defenders would deal with it.

After that, City huffed and puffed (or should that be spluttered and wheezed?) a bit as Macheda missed the sort of chance someone with his finishing ability should put away in his sleep and Manga headed wide when he should have scored from a Whittingham corner (forget Kenwyne Jones, City are really missing Sean Morrison when it comes to this part of the game).

However, with Clark putting a good chance wide and Black hitting an upright in the dying minutes, another Shrewsbury goal was more likely than a City equaliser and it was hard to begrudge them their win because they were a team in a way that Slade’s rag tag army of individuals never was.

Going back to my pre match remark about us murdering Shrewsbury with our pace, the overwhelming impression I got from the game was of the almost complete lack of that commodity in our performance (be it in running or passing speed) and yet in the ignored Declan John and Deji Oshilaja we had plenty of it on the bench.

With the latter match fit and having picked up very good reviews for the part he had played in Gillingham’s League One promotion challenge during his time there, Oshilaja, instead of the patently not match fit Tamas, made sense before kick off, not just in hindsight. However, this manager appears to not rate any of the young pros he inherited at the club with the exception of Joe Ralls, who was a pretty regular member of the first team squad a couple of years before he arrived anyway – even then, it took Slade months to finally realise that the midfielder was worth a regular place in the team.

Andy Mangan capitalises on some half asleep defending to head the game's only goal and Cardiff City depart this year's FA Cup in the sort of inept fashion that befits a club which, frankly, appears to be dying on it's feet.

Andy Mangan capitalises on some half asleep defending to head the game’s only goal and Cardiff City depart this year’s FA Cup in the sort of inept fashion that befits a club which, frankly, appears to be dying on it’s feet.

In fact, judging by the truly bizarre treatment of Matt Kennedy last night, it could be argued that Russell Slade does not rate the youngsters he has signed since he came here either.

Obviously stunned by the Shrewsbury goal and not thinking clearly, our manager turned to youth before the game restarted as Kennedy was introduced for Dikgacoi and, for a few minutes, the winger was allowed to put in crosses from the left wing position of a better quality than had been seen before then.

Finally regaining his senses about ten minutes later, Slade soon sorted the young upstart out by bringing on Craig Noone for Fabio and directing Kennedy to go to right back (a position which I seriously doubt he had ever played in before in his time as a pro) to replace the Brazilian.

Sorry, that’s my sarcasm coming through again and, to be fair, me and my mate were saying that that Fabio looked to be injured a few minutes before he was replaced – even so, this does not excuse the sheer absurdity of our manager’s attempted solution to this problem.

Just for a while after this switch, I thought our manager had done something completely out of character and switched to wing backs and a back three, but, no, Kennedy was indeed playing at right back and, of course, we stuck to 4-4-2.

By the end, Russell Slade had added another game to the long list that his critics use to beat him with. I described his management as “pathetic” yesterday on a City messageboard when I got home, but, it must be said that there is another side to all of this and I’m grateful to the supporter who posted this link on that board.

That’s some very strong stuff from media pundit and former City striker Ian Walsh and he is right to say that our manager should not cop all of the flak which deserves to be flying about after this awful showing. There are others who are more to blame for the sorry mess Cardiff City has become than Russell Slade and we now face three weeks before the end of the transfer window which will say so much about Vincent Tan’s attitude towards the club he owns.

I believe people can understand why Mr Tan has decided that the sort of spending seen under our two previous managers had to end, but, in typical Cardiff style, we look to have gone from one extreme to the other and it still seems to me that the best chance of our owner ever getting back the money he has loaned the club has to lie in him speculating, on a fairly modest scale, to accumulate.

Even so, serious questions have to be asked about the man Mr Tan told us was his personal appointment as manager. As I was leaving for the game yesterday, an entertaining televised encounter was just starting it’s second half – Tottenham and Leicester are both in the Premier League’s top four and, after years of pretty madcap spending, the first named seem to have reined that in somewhat and, instead, gone for a manager who prefers to trust, develop and improve the young talent already at his club.

Now, I’m not for one minute trying to say that Russell Slade is in the Mauricio Pochettino classas a coach or manager, but it is interesting to compare and contrast the Argentinian’s approach with what I believe to be the old fashioned and unimaginative philosophy of our manager. Everything I’ve seen from Russell Slade in the time he has been in charge makes me think he is making the job harder for himself by, seemingly, ignoring what Spurs have decided is a very important part of their philosophy – youth development.

I’d like to finish by saying that we didn’t always lose when Malky Mackay filled the team with youngsters for those cup ties. In his first cup game as City boss, we went to Oxford United and won 3-1 in the First Round of the 2011/12 League Cup and it was interesting and informative to see that team beating the jacks yesterday in what was just about the most entertaining and enjoyable game I’ve seen this season.

Oxford have put together a side which includes a player who put Swansea to the sword in Kemar Roofe who was released by West Brom last summer. He’s much too good for the league he is playing in and Oxford will do well to keep hold of him this month, but there were other very impressive young players in their side yesterday who were brought in by shrewd transfer dealing in the permanent signing and loan markets and through the club’s own youth system.

The atmosphere generated by a crowd that was in raptures at seeing their team deservedly beating a Premier League outfit was terrific and the pride those supporters felt in their team was tangible.

The contrast between the Kassam Stadium and Cardiff City Stadium a few hours later was both obvious and telling - where there was pride in the one ground, there was cynicism and gallows humour in the other one (don’t forget either, that the four thousand or so City fans who turned up last night were supposed to be the real, loyal, diehard fans of the club).

Thinking about it, the last time I felt something approaching what those Oxford fans did yesterday was perhaps when we beat Man City nearly two and a half years ago, so it may still be possible to get that feelgood factor back under Vincent Tan’s ownership, but I very much doubt if it will happen while Russell Slade remains our manager.




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17 Responses to When will Cardiff City fans ever feel proud of their club again?

  1. Ask not for whom the bell tolls – it tolls for you, Mr Slade – or at least it must if
    even the always fair-minded and incisive opinions of our Meisterblogger are now metaphorically putting our manager to the sword. We should certainly remember that there is a background team at Cardiff (even if, usually, they were only mentioned when our team seemed to be improving) but the man at the head of the pyramid is the one who carries the can.

    I know this missive is full of mixed metaphors, but they reflect the sense of confusion I feel at Cardiff’s present predicament. In fact, I do think that ostensibly good players purchased by Cardiff have gone backwards, and some who have gone out on loan have miraculously recovered their form – Doyle and Adeyemi, for instance. Now, we have to ask, is this mere coincidence? Or, is the manager and his background team failing his (and our) players by his team selection, his choice of players brought on, and his literally “stick-in-the-mud” tactics? I think we are clear where the consensus now lies. It amounts to saying that the manager and trainers at Cardiff have failed, for a number of reasons, including man-management and tactics, to get the best out of more than one player. This is a major indictment.
    As another point, why does our manager seem obsessed by the idea that we need an old-fashioned man-mountain at the centre of our attack. If he signs another like – God forbid – Kenwyne Jones, then our team is headstrung in playing in only one way – a way that has proved singularly unsuccessful and unattractive, unless he can get someone on loan such as Rudy Gestede, who currently seems somewhat unhappy at Aston Villa. Far better, I would argue, that Mr Slade should look, not only at himself and his criticism of last night’s players, but at ways and means of improving both results and the style of unpalatable football to which we have been routinely subjected. Otherwise the closing bell seems imminent.

  2. Geoff Lewis says:

    Hi Paul,
    My wife and I were away for the weekend, did not bother to record game as I thought we may lose, luckly(joking) caught the last 20 minutes on S4C. I thought at first the game was being played behind closed doors, did not see any spectators there, well until the end and they were the Shrewsbury fans.
    The nightmare continues with the ownership , the Board and the so called Manager.
    In the old days the Chairman of the club used to attend most of the games, Melmet is hardly ever there. Since we changed back to blue I think Tan has been to one game at home and that was against Wolves in February 2015.
    I listened to Ian Walsh comments and agreed with most of them, except for one, we cannot blame Slade altogether for what is happening with the Club. On the field of play we can criticise Slade in his team selection, tactics , use of substitutes and training methods.
    I was hoping for a nice little cup run, but it was not meant to be.

  3. Graham smith says:

    When will I be proud of City again? For me it is when Tan goes.

  4. MIKE HOPE says:

    The professionalism on display last night was neatly wound up after the end of the game by the Tannoy man.As we left the ground in a cloud of despair and expletives, he cheerfully and without a hint of irony, gave us the information he must have thought we were itching to hear- the date of our next home game!
    Thank God it’s not against Chesterfield!

  5. Richard Holt says:

    Full admiration for you Paul in feeling motivated to write so fully and intelligently about football after watching such a painful and turgid performance. My reaction was to try and forget anything to do with football for as long as possible. As far as feeling ‘proud’ of our club is concerned I would agree that the Man City was about the last time although even then the red shirt issue still lurked as a slight dampenner.
    The problem and danger now is not that people aren’t proud it’s that increasing numbers of former fans are going to soon stop caring. I thought Ian Walsh’s comments were pretty spot on yesterday. Russell Slade and his inadequacies are a symptom of the problem rather than the cause. Nevertheless I wouldn’t be that surprised if Slade is replaced sooner rather than later. I know many think he’ll be given till the end of the season but I wonder whether concern over season ticket sales will not force an earlier move – mind you who we’ll get instead is anybody’s guess and it wouldn’t surprise me if any new appointment would be as uninspiring as our current one.

  6. Dai Woosnam says:

    Dear Paul,
    Let me do the usual and thankyou for a wonderfully detailed report…one that was harder than usual, in that you were having to describe the indescribable.
    A bit like having to write down instructions on how to tie up one’s shoelaces.
    Right. That said, I am not sure I can add much to the very sound comments made by the 5 chaps before me.
    But I will try.

    And I want to come at this from my own geographical angle.
    Just been laid low by shingles, as you know. And whilst in bed, I have been reading that highly acclaimed Victorian hokum from the pen of Wilkie Collins…The Woman In White.
    And I was astonished to read this passage:
    Anne (Catherick)’s terror of being discovered in London or its neighbourhood, whenever they ventured to walk out, had gradually communicated itself to Mrs. Clements, and she had determined on removing to one of the most out-of-the-way places in England – to the town of Grimsby in Lincolnshire, where her deceased husband had passed all his early life.”

    Were the author to reappear today, I would not be surprised if he reckoned that Grimsby is now perhaps even MORE remote …the best part of a century and a half later.
    The M180 notwithstanding.

    And gee, how grateful I am that my location saves me the nightmare of having to watch that rubbish in the flesh. But I did see the whole thing on a muted S4C with commentary from a KGB-jammed Radio Wales…(alas a crystal clear Radio Wales commentary on my iPad, had a totally disorientating 25 second time lapse…and the game was bizarre enough, without that head-banging factor thrown in).

    Just one further thing to add re the game…do we know WHY the pitch is THAT bad…compared say to Oxford’s earlier in the day? More rain in Cardiff must be a factor…plus Oxford currently have an end open to the wind and the sun.

    But let’s compare like-for-like climatically. The CCS and The Liberty.
    Is it my imagination, or am I right in thinking that Swansea’s surface is much better?
    And that is surely much more heavily used…for rugby scrums to boot.
    Is our groundsman coming under pressure for an explanation? And is that pressure FAIR PRESSURE ?

    Right before signing off Paul, pray grant me a small indulgence.

    I have the same belief that you have, that some of our regular gang here do not bother with your quizzes. Maybe they found them fiendishly hard, and like Times readers who struggle with the famous Times crossword, choose to automatically now give it a miss every morning.

    Fair enough. Life is too short to spend doing something one is hopeless at.

    But that said, I urge your non-quizzers reading this, to go immediately to your previous posting.

    It is – even by your high standards – a colossal effort in quiz question setting !!

    And so here, I want to reprint my contribution to it, so that our gang members can see what they missed, and feel suitably contrite in not writing to acknowledge your sheer INDUSTRY…in getting and collating all those photos.

    Right. That is me finished. I will sign-off with me pasting my aforementioned views below my initials. Sorry this is not proof-read due to time factors…so apols in advance for any typos above.
    I am amazed Paul, that our regular gang have not all written in EN MASSE to salute you for the sheer efforI am amazed Paul, that our regular gang have not all written in EN MASSE to salute you for the sheer effort you have made here.
    They are not usually lacking in good manners.
    Could it be that they do not ever bother with your quizzes?
    If so, they are half excused.
    But if they HAVE studied your fantastic photo quiz and still not had the decency to say a big thankyou for you making the effort, well…all I can say is that they are not the boys that I thought they were!
    Right…rant over.
    As for my attempt at the answers…I failed with approximately two thirds of them. Pathetic, I know.
    But I am quite pleased with the ones I got right.
    Griffin Park has 4 pubs on its corners…so the pub was the clue there. Got that right.
    The Vetch was easy because of the skyline and the fact I had seen a documentary on it now becoming a public area which included allotments.
    Really pleased that I guessed Highbury. Intuition. Apartments were the clue.
    And I did not make the mistake of thinking Diana Dors was at the County Ground in her native Swindon. I guessed it just must be a big London stadium, and remembered the pillars at White Hart Lane.
    After thinking it was Ms Dors…I then decided it may have been Miss Jayne Mansfield…but looking at the breasts, decided DD was in fact correct !!! (The pun there was accidental…but I will happily take it !!)
    Also got the plastic tunnel at The Emirates…I ought to, as I have walked through it on a stadium tour about 6 years ago. (I also did stadium tours of The Etihad, Twickenham,
    Old Trafford, and the daddy of them all…Wembley. The last named has the added bonus of letting you climb up all the steps and be presented by a Queen lookalike with a replica of the FA Cup.)
    Did all the tours in close proximity, as my legs were fast giving up on me.
    One final pat on my own back…
    I am so glad I got Ynys Park correct.
    If I had not, I would need to shoot myself.
    Well, when I was a boy, my late uncle Jimmy Davies, of 5 Clara Sreet, Ton Pentre, would regularly take me marching with the throng down Ton Row to the stadium to see some magical football there.
    I recall two ex-City stalwarts playing out their careers there: Billy Baker and Stan Hollyman.
    But most of all, I recall a great forward line…Clive Owen and Gwilym Hicks on the wings; Albie Davies as a Greaves type inside forward, and Norman Davies as the Ivor Allchurch type…and a bustling Trevor Ford type centre forward…whose name I currently have forgotten…Reynolds, maybe?
    Happy days.
    But I have total recall of that stadium.
    And looking at that picture, you can see why (was it about about 23 years or so ago?) Norway took one look at the stadium and refused to play an Under 21 international there, and had the venue changed at the last minute, to Ninian (I think).

  7. Colin Phillips says:

    Mr. Woosnam, some great names you mention there playing at Ynys Park ( the football seemed much more skilful if played at a more leisurely pace than we see from Slade’s crew). Billy Baker was well past his sell-by date by the time I first saw him play. Small,but forgivable, blip in your memory – it was CYRIL Hicks (he went on to become my PE teacher at Porth County). A couple of other names to throw at you from that period – Garnon Davies, Ivor Mort, Tipple (can’t remember his first name?) and a centre-forward who wasn’t aware there was such a thing as offside but had one of the hardest shots seen at that level – Georgie Collins. All of course managed by the Mourinho- like Tom Alf Davies. I’m reminiscing again but after the fare we were served with on Sunday that’s hardly surprising. The moment I saw his selection I said to my daughter we ain’t going to be able to score. Machida may have found somewhere near his level, showing much more often against League 1 players but he should have put that chance away. Revell did his usual impression of the chicken-with-no-head with zero end product. Ameobi was Ameobi, Cardiff seem to have a lot of players who are totally one-footed and, of course, Mr. Slade, perversely, plays the right-footers on the left and the left-fo……………yes!
    I’ve seen a lot of criticism of Tamas on the forums but I thought he had a reasonable game in the circumstances, have to admit I don’t know if he was at fault for the goal because I didn’t see the actual scoring move, I was distracted by my daughter who was so bored she was watching some action in the Canton Stand where a crowd of stewards had gathered, hope no- one was taken ill. I have seen a replay of the goal and it didn’t appear to be Simon Moore’s finest moment.
    Slade’s substitutions again mystified, nothing too much wrong with bringing on an attacking midfielder for a defensive one but to replace Fabio (presumably carrying a knock) with Noone (moving Kennedy to right back) seemed like the actions of a man in a panic and for once the chant of “you don’t know what you’re doing” seemed justified and that substitution alone suggests it’s time for a change of manager (can we let Scott Young go as well please).
    I see there is talk on the forums that Slade is on his way out, I hope that some clear thought is given to who is to replace him- no panic appointments please.


  8. Dai Woosnam says:

    Good stuff from Colin…bad stuff from me, alas.
    I am hoping that Paul can kindly remove my complete entry timed at 10.55 last night.
    And just let its replacement timed at 11.32 stand.
    The earlier entry had a bizarre double pasting of my comments re the quiz, plus some typos. All this was corrected in the later version.
    If there was an edit button I could have erased it myself, but hey, we cannot have EVERYTHING…and I should be thankful for Paul taking the trouble he does in allowing us this opportunity for self expression.
    When I say all this was corrected by me, I am talking cojones…for Colin rightly spotted an error.
    Quite how I got Cyril Hicks first name wrong, I know not…as he taught me to play basketball at Porth YMCA, and was a colleague of my bro Graham on the staff at Porth County grammar school.
    And years later (circa 1985) I found myself in the seat on the other side of the aisle from him on a Ferris Holidays (Senghenydd) coach ride to the Costa Brava. Gee …were I a playwright, I would have got at least FOUR plays out of that surreal journey. The return journey took us 35 hours…a series of incidents delaying us…the most memorable being the fact the driver’s credit card was not acceptable at the services on the Spain/France border, and we had to have a whip round from the passengers!
    The following year I flew with Rose Day, a girl from Wern Street in Clydach Vale, from Rhoose to Alicante (a good deal further south) …in two hours exactly!!
    But all that is another story…for another time, and not for this blog.
    So thanks Colin for correcting me re Cyril Hicks. (The first syllable of Gwillym and Cyril kinda morphed into one another in my befuddled memory! Apols.). Cyril was fleet of foot and a conventional left winger, in contrast to Clive Owen on the other flank who was singularly idiosyncratic…though never less than exciting.
    And you are right again Colin in telling me that the bustling centre forward was Collins.
    The name Reynolds relates to a Porth Welfare centre forward hewn from the same seam of anthracite, a chap I recall making a big impression on me when I was about 6 years old.
    PS…hope some of you gang can write a note here of appreciation to Paul for that phenomenal quiz of his!

  9. Colin Phillips says:

    Well as far as the quiz is concerned i enjoyed all the old photographs and applaud the industry involved with putting the whole thing together but as I have only once watched Cardiff City play away – a disastrous journey to see Norwich City beat us 3-2 on a freezing day at Carrow Road – I didn’t have a clue.

    Didn’t recognise the away bench at Ynys Park, a ground I played at and watched many games, shame on me.

    The old shot of Ninian Park did make me think of the old grandstand there but I wasn’t bright enough to work out that City had managed to play an away tie there.

    Well done, Paul.

    Poorly done, me.


  10. Adrian Lloyd Pickrell says:

    I assure you Colin that you probably did better than I did. I am quite good at guessing players names and identifying managers of the past but those grounds completely foxed me! Paul took us by suprise there, well done Paul!

  11. Lindsay Davies says:

    Bravo, Paul, on managing to make so many intelligent points about what was a complete fiasco the other night…and for still going along to the matches. Even if I lived in Cardiff, I’m ashamed to say that it’s unlikely that I’d be one of the 4,000.
    The Quiz – Pak Doo-Ik, Jayne Mansfield, and Graham Vearncombe…how’d I do?
    As a London-based Bluebird, I’ve seen them everywhere from Luton to Portsmouth, Aldershot to Orient, and points in between…but, I’m hopeless at recognising grounds.
    p.s. can anyone tell me whatever happened to one of my favourites, Tony Evans, (of Alston-and-Evans)?

  12. The other Bob Wilson says:

    Thanks once again for some great replies and a special thank you to Dai for his efforts on behalf of the quiz!

    As usual, just a few quick observations regarding some of the points raised;-

    1. AMO, I’ve noticed as well that it seems to be cast in stone as far as Russell Slade is concerned that we must have a giant centre forward. I’m not saying that we don’t need a target man in our squad, but you get the impression with our manager that we must have one to replace Kenwyne Jones even if it turns out to be someone who is on his Z list of possible signings. I always say that the best managers are the ones who come into a club, assess how the squad he has inherited are best equipped to play and work to improve them in a system which will best suits them. Many managers just come in with a pre set approach which they take from one club to the next and try to inflict on to his new squad even if it does not suit them at all – by and large, that’s how Russell Slade has worked at Cardiff.
    2. Geoff, you are right – Vincent Tan has only been to one home game (Wolves) since we got relegated, but he was at Loftus Road earlier this season for the Malaysian derby with QPR. I agree with you about Russell Slade. He has got a very tough job in terms of finances and working with our owner, but what happens on the pitch when it comes to things like tactics and substitutions is down to him and him alone and I’ve never been too impressed by him in that regard – for me, his selection and tactical decision making hit a new low on Sunday.
    3. Graham, I’m sure you’re not alone in that wish – can’t see it happening any time soon though.
    4. Mike, thanks for making me laugh – as usual.
    5. Richard, it looks like you may be right about our manager – I was thinking that, with an offer seemingly accepted by Bolton for Josh Vela and it being reported that Tony Watt will be signed permanently later this week, these were signs that the Board still have confidence in Russell Slade, but I suppose that with this Committee approach to transfers, we can still go ahead with proposed signings even if there was a change of manager – we brought Clinton Morrison in last season in the interim between Ole leaving and Slade coming in.
    6. Dai, I think I’ve mentioned before that I was told by someone employed by the club who should know about these things that the problems with the pitch are, essentially, down to Wales v Belgium match in June making it impossible for the normal summer work to be done on it because there wasn’t enough time. The only pitch I’ve seen in the top divisions which may rival ours is Brighton’s – the excuse for the poor quality of their pitch apparently being that it has suffered because of the rugby World Cup games played on it and that all of the Brighton ladies teams home matches are played at the Amex. Russell Slade did say that there have been discussions about relaying the pitch in the coming weeks (Wales have concerns about it ahead of the friendly with Northern Ireland in March) and, according to a post on a City messageboard, the relaying process started today.
    7. Col, Russell Slade confirmed in his post match press conference on Sunday that Fabio was withdrawn because he was carrying an injury – maybe we can expect to see Kennedy playing right back tomorrow night if the injury is serious!
    8. Adrian, if Huddersfield win their replay at Reading and we don’t have a game on January 30, I’ll do another big quiz then. Failing that, it’ll be the following week when we face MK Dons – not got a clue what it will be about though!

  13. Dai Woosnam says:

    Tony Evans still walks on water, and lives on as the WalesOnline nom-de-plume of our very own Barry Cole.

  14. Clive Harry says:

    Evening All.
    I posted this rather belatedly under the quiz but I may as well repeat myself as it seems to have some relevance to this thread -
    “Ah well, I got Fred Davies and Ninian Park correct! As for Ton Pentre, I remember taking a Wednesday afternoon off work to watch Ton Pentre play Falmouth in what might have been the FA Cup final qualifying round in 1969. The FA Cup is a fantastic competition in the early rounds and it would be great to see Welsh teams back in it but that’s never going to happen. A year or so ago I went to watch Redhill v Lewes in an early round and Gavin Gordon was on the bench for Redhill!”
    For Tony Evans fan Dai, here’s a little bit more info on Tony and what he did after leaving city – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tony_Evans_(footballer,_born_1954) – Evans and Alston – sighs wistfully!
    Turning to last Sunday, I’m afraid it simply confirmed my view that Russell has little idea of tactics and team selection. A lot of managers use cup games as a means of rotating their squad and having a look at fringe players with a view to assessing their possible value to the team in future. Conversely, Slade cobbles together a bunch of players who appear to be mostly of little use to the Club and have only short term futures with us whilst ignoring a chance to play youngsters who need to be seen such as Deji Oshilaja and Declan John. It reminded me of the time I ran a Sunday league team – the eleven blokes who actually turned up first were picked and sent out with no particular tactics in mind and no real planning.
    How I long for the return of Alan Durban!

  15. The other Bob Wilson says:

    It’s the fortieth anniversary of the 1975/76 side’s promotion this year. There are so many City fans who still name that as their favourite team and I was hoping that the Supporters’ Trust would have one of their celebration nights to commemorate them like they have done for the Real Madrid side, the 2002 win over Leeds and the 82/83 and 92/93 promotion winners – doesn’t look like it’s going to happen though.
    Don’t think I’d go quite as far as you regarding Alan Durban Clive, but, I’ve just been doing some research about Declan John. Last year he played the full ninety minutes in our Third Round FA Cup win over Colchester and, if I remember correctly, he was one of our better players on the night. Since then, he has featured just three times in first team matches as he made substitute appearances in the home game with Fulham (9 mins) and the defeat at Norwich (24 mins) in January and the 0-0 draw at Preston (he came on in added time) in October. So, he has played something like a total of 35 minutes in the first team since that game with Colchester.
    Now, we can argue as to whether Declan is worth a first team place currently and my guess is that most fans would say “no”, but when Russell Slade arrived he was in and around the first team as a likely choice to come in if someone like Brayford or Fabio wasn’t available. Under Slade’s management, he’s dropped down the pecking order and, if we are to believe that Matt Kennedy is now seen as a full back (!!!!), then I’d say Declan is probably about seventh choice in that position (Joe Ralls has been picked in front of him as a left back under this manager) at the moment.
    Generally speaking, good managers improve the teams they take over by bringing in better players through the transfer market and developing the ones they inherited from the previous regime. If we accept that Slade is right in thinking that a teenager the two previous managers were perfectly happy to see in the first team in the Premier League and Chris Coleman was willing to pick in a World Cup qualifier is not good enough for a mid table Championship side as a 20 year old, then doesn’t this show a complete failure on his part to improve the game of a player who Leicester City and Tottenham Hotspur were reportedly wanting to buy before our manager came here?
    Actually, forget about Declan John, can you think of any players that were here when Slade arrived who he has improved? For me, the only one would be Joe Ralls and, even in his case, I get the strong feeling that his career would have progressed in much the same way as it has done in the past year if we had brought in a different manager after Ole left.

  16. Paul,
    Your comments 0n Declan John, and the research which went into them, are absolutely first class. His big weakness when I saw him play was to be unaware of a man running from wide and going behind to pick up a through pass. I think if he had gone out on loan at that time, he would have been much improved on his return. As I haven’t seen him play recently, is he now a better player, and if he is, did Cardiff achieve this, or is it simply the result of more experience and maturity. If he has not progressed, then something has gone seriously wrong with someone who was originally hailed as a rising talent – and who must carry the can for that?
    On the matter of incisive passes inside the opposition fullback, I can’t really remember one since Dikagcoi;s excellent one some time ago. Of course, this may be the result of the lack of speed among the forwards which has blighted us for a very long time, or the fact that a left-footed wideman is consistently played on the right, or the general ineptitude of our players when it comes to passing. One thing I should add in Declan John’s favour, by the way, he is far from a slouch.
    Final comment – there have been so many mixed messages from the Cardiff hierarchy and the media about players Cardiff are chasing, or about to buy, or kick out of the door, that it seems the entire transfer policy is – like last time – a total mess. I just hope we don’t rush into a panic signing as we did in the summer when we couldn’t get any of our targets – with one exception, who has not really enhanced his Premiership credentials – to sign for us.

  17. The other Bob Wilson says:

    You’ve identified a weakness there that was apparent throughout our season in the Premier League AMO. You are right when you say Declan John was caught out quite often by passes played inside him, but, in truth, we were susceptible to such balls whoever was played at full back.
    I think the fact I can remember that pass by Dikagcoi you mention (it was in the opening day draw with Fulham and I even mentioned it in my piece for that game – “his early ball inside the Fulham left back was the best of the game from a City player for me”) shows how few of its type we play! That said, Whitts hit a good one like that on Sunday to Ameobi who, presumably, thought the sub warming up in a blue tracksuit on the opposite side of the pitch was our left winger because he belted his cross across goal and out for a throw in!
    Like you, I have no confidence in our so called transfer committee and so am waiting for something to go wrong with the “done deal” for Tony Watt.

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