Friday, November 30, 2007
Morning rumours were about a Prem club after Joe Ledley - and one may yet be - but by evening, it had emerged that it was Everton making enquiries for the third time about City's teenage defender Chris Gunter.
It's been a remarkable fortnight for Gunter who was overlooked by Dave Jones and couldn't make the matchday squad recently. Last City away game, he was in the away end with us as pictured above.
Since then he had superb games for Wales playing left back in the home draw with Eire and the superb 0-0 in Germany and he's enjoyed back back on the right playing his part in 2 more clean sheets for City with lat weekend's home win over Ipswich and Monday's bore draw at Leicester.
The profile of the club's youngsters are rising with Darcy Blake and Aaron Ramsey highly rated too, it would be good if we saw them more involved than they have been.
I've spoken with Dayo and it surrounds messages to Ridsdale conveying his feelings at Ridders gete-crashing a fans meeting at the time the club decided by stand by Dave Jones, allegedly less than 72 hours after Ridsdale whispered to media that he was ready to dismiss.
Dayo finds the arrest farcical and is more upset at being banned from Ninian Park. I hope it gets resolved between them without charges as that's in nobody's interests but don't expect Dayo to accept charges without a fight, it would seem he has plenty of information and counter-evidence that could enter the public domain.
Dayo's public version of events
Western Mail story: http://tinyurl.com/28a3hd
Cardiff City are believed to have been sounded out with a strong approach for one of their players, believed to be Joe Ledley, this week with the transfer window reopening in 32 days from now.
Get prepared for a lot more of this stuff in the newt few weeks as City really have to move a few players out for all sorts of reasons but it would be awful if a young Welsh talent leaves with a new stadium around the corner and City, against the tide, trying to push on.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
I've given up on the M4 reduced is reduced to 2 lanes, 50 mph and the slowest procession ever between Cortyton and past Cardiff Gate for two and a half years(!) to late 2009. My route is now to Cardiff Bay via back lanes from Barry to Leckwith and through around Southern Way. That's so far worked better and flows apart from serious motorway accidents (a couple this year have seen the motorway closed for a day).
Just as all seemed more settled, along comes the worst yet. A lorry with a crane on top hits a bridge on A48M into Cardiff and apparently drives on trying to get away from it until the driver realised that wasn't possible. The aftermath is Eastern Avenue is shut FOR A WEEK from Llanedyrn to Gabalfa sending all traffic along Southern Way or the M4.
Two nights home so far have averaged a 2 hour journey where you feel like you want to slash your wrists ... and both nights so far I left early to beat the worst of it! I've seen ambulances and police cars with lights and horns blazing stuck.
Oh how I wish it was feasible to commute by train but my offices are the other side of Newport tot he station and the journey would be no quicker.
With the Wales GB rally in Cardiff this weekend and City home on Tuesday, it ain't going to get any better. What a mess and disgrace our roads are.
Another week of road chaos for Cardiffic Wales - United KingdomRoads are expected to be gridlocked as rush hour chaos hits Cardiff for the next seven days while part of the A48 westbound remains closed for repairs to ...
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Fun read though
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
This was a man who forewarned the media of an intention to dismiss Dave Jones recently, refused to back him after the Charlton defeat, held an emergency board meeting to decide his fate, told media how results must improve consistently.
Now, after some basic basic football to grind out 4 points in 2 games, We're 18th in the Championship yet Dave's job is safe!! Cardiff City remain 3 points above relegation. It's more premature than a 16 yr old virgin on his first outing.
With comments like these, is it any wonder the football side of this club has not just gone stagnant but backwards? Time may back his judgement but it's a ridiculous call to make right now.
The Ridsdale quotes:
"I’m delighted, I hope the Cardiff City fans are delighted and I hope this puts to bed once and for all this nonsense about whether or not we are going to get a new manager.
I’m particularly delighted for Dave because he has come under a lot of personal pressure over the last few weeks. I think he and the team have answered the critics in the best possible way."I was disappointed at the disruption that could have been caused by all the speculation (about Jones’ job) a couple of weeks ago. But I think that has all been well and truly put to bed now.
"I’d like to remind everybody I was the one who came out and supported Dave in the first place. And anybody that had any doubts about whether the players were playing for him, got their answer in the last two games.
We played well on Saturday, battled hard, kept a clean sheet and got all three points. Then we had to come to Leicester and it was that nightmare where a new manager has his first home game, putting added pressure on us, but I thought the lads were magnificent."
Media coverage from Western Mail
Monday, November 26, 2007
CHAMPIONSHIP - Game 17/6 - at WALKER STADIUM
LEICESTER CITY (0) 0
CARDIFF CITY (0) 0
If Dave Jones really did have two games to save himself, then he's ok for a while longer and has to be satisfied with 2 clean sheets and 4 points in 3 days as City fought hard for a 0-0 draw at Leicester's Walkers Stadium in a game that simultaneously got the home side's best crowd of the season but surely Sky tv's lowest Monday Night Football Crowd this term too.
As a match and entertainment, it was shockingly poor quality. Defences triumphed but that was pretty easy when both sides showed no potency, little quality and nil composure in the final third. It can't have been easy for either side playing a game so soon after the weekend and with City fighting to keep their boss and Leicester trying to impress their new one but results are the only object for manager, players and club right now and both will fairly satisfied with the outcome.
Watching the build up on Sky, you wouldn’t know Cardiff City were playing at all, the sole focus being The Foxes Milan Mandaric, Ian Holloway and Leicester City. The main studio guest, former Leicester manager - one of 7 since April! - Mad Dog Martin Allen, a manager rumour to be dismissed for not signing Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink. The way JFH is going lately, it's probably many Cardiff fans starting to regret he didn't do that too
With the buzz of a new passionate, charismatic boss in Holloway - after caretaker flat capped moustachioed former Bluebird head Frankie Burrows departed last Friday - and offers of season ticket holders bringing a friend for free, the rest paying £10 for adults and £1 for kids (while City fans were creamed for £24!), the crowd in Walkers was an impressive 27,241 including 300 + travelling City followers. Commendable on a Monday night in our situation and the game live on the box.
City named the same 11 that started against Ipswich - Joe Ledley over tight hamstrings - but McNaughton still not fully fit so stayed on the bench while Robbie Fowler did not travel. So it was Play It Again Dave with Schmeicel, Capaldi-Purse-Loovens-Gunter, Parry-Rae-McPhail-Ledley, Thompson-Hasselbaink. Subs-Oakes, Johnson, Whittingham,
The Foxes were only 2 points and 3 places above City and Sky kept making the point about how they boasted the Championship’s best defence while conveniently forgetting to mention only the bottom three have scored fewer. They had a striker problem with Carl Cort and DJ Campbell injured and Matty Fryatt only able to play after appealing against a red card incurred in their win at Brizzle Zity two days earlier.
Holloway’s side were Fulop, Stearman-McAuley-Kisnorbo-Mattock, Newton-Wesolowski-Clemence-Sheehan, Hume-Fryatt.
City’s start was positive, Joe Ledley chipping at home keeper Fulop after 7 seconds when he could have had a crack and won an early corner too but the came soon turned poor. Neither side able to pass and move and both resorting to high, hit and hope balls. Action was non-existent with no efforts on or off goal in the opening 15 and when both sides got good crosses in the box, Newton and Hasselbaink respectively missed good headers then Thommo almost met another long ball but failed to challenge as Fulop charged out.
Chances finally came in the second quarter and Leicester could not believe how they opening the scoring as an angled free-kick was missed by 3 City challenges in the box and fell to Stearman 6 yards out but Kasper Schmeicel produced a world class stunning save by making himself big, throwing himself at the ball star-shaped and incredibly blocked the effort. Truly brilliant.
Cardiff were playing the better of what little football there was and looked more composed but it was little better than dire, I was still on my first tinnie when the half-time whistle blew! Hasslebaink hit a screaming free-kick that curled viciously but was inches over, Thommo’s header across goal was blocked and JFH on the turn almost found a runner in the middle.
Paul Parry had an indifferent half which epitomised the game itself. Never saw enough of the ball, beat his teenage marker with his only run, had two free-kicks in excellent positions but failed to beat the first man both times with City‘s big men up and waiting then limped away at the interval after slipping heavily and being challenged at the same time.
City were comfortable, composed and will have been happy to be level but they failed to work the Leicester keeper all half and the contest as a football match was dreadful. So poor it was almost tempting to watch a programme about the Royal Family on the other side and I’d rather roast my nuts on a gas hob than do that. Watching it on telly, at least my neck didn’t have to crane watching the high balls played constantly and I didn’t have to take half day off work, spend a fortune, travel halfway across the country for that and I could head for a warm bog with a decent magazine to read while in there.
H/T: Leicester 0 City 0
With City attacking towards our fans in the second half, both sides made a change as Paul Parry did not recover from his fall and collision so was replaced by Peter Whittingham who produced the game’s best shot immediately as his 25 yarder curled and dipped but smacked off the bar. So unlucky. Leicester removed defender Mattock in a tactical switch and brought on wideman Haynes. 10 minutes later with the game making the hyperactive sit motionless, 17 year old Chambers came on as Leicester’s second sub. The next chance was an hour gone, Hasselbaink and Rae linking up, the latter almost connecting goal wards on the slide after an unusual couple of quick passes but the awfulness immediately returned as Whittingham had a free kick on the angle of the box and scuffed the ball 5 yards. Championship, you’re having a laugh!
By 63 minutes Leicester had used all their subs and gambled on youth for energy and tempo with a 17 yr old, 19 yr old and 20 yr old for fresh impetus with both sides playing their second game in less than 60 hours but City were starting to create some pressure and Cardiff fans could be heard making the noise as the home side’s followers were numbed. Whittingham hammered a free-kick just over off a deflection, two quick corners came to nought then Thommo struck our first effort needing the one green armed, one black armed Fulop to stop but it was at him and Ledley was better placed had he looked up but the home side hit the woodwork themselves as Hume hit a snap shot that beat Schmeicel hit the post and bounced behind off his head on the rebound for a corner, better than the pre-game warm up according to my brother who was there
as a ball smashed the post, hit his head and flew in!
Sixteen minutes remained and Sky Call Centres were being bombarded by viewers complaining there was no decent sport to watch when City had another let off as Gunter superbly cleared off the line meeting a close range header from a corner. Leicester were winning corners and whipping them under Schmeicel’s bar as the home side enjoyed not just their best spell but their only spell. Schmeicel knuckling one ball across goal under extreme pressure but it flew away.
With 10 to go, City made a positive change with Steve MacLean replacing the knackered and frustrated Hasselbaink who again had an overall poor game but never enjoyed any decent service all night. The striker was a fraction away from meeting a Capaldi long throw but with both teams tiring, up field went Leicester and City had another escape as Loovens was beaten near post, Gunter slashed wildly with a striker bearing down on him and got lucky.
On 87, Kasper confirmed his status as both City’s and the game’s man of the match as he sprawled across goal to push away a cross that ricocheted off Loovens and was heading for an own goal. He was excellent but there was no competition - the other 26 who played were either very average or poor.
In the three minutes added, Leicester won as many corners as they continued to finish the stronger and Fryatt missed a golden chance as he failed to react to a header back across goal which looked there for him to bundle home but it would have been harsh on City who fully deserved their point.
The result left both teams in their starting positions, Leicester 15th and Cardiff 18th, but City now have a 3 point cushion and a vastly superior goal difference over the bottom three and must take heart from staying unbeaten and collecting clean sheets and failing so dismally to do that any time recently. If only we could sort out midfield - where the Rae/McPhail combo never really showed up all night - and up front where Thommo/JFH as a duo have a similar story, maybe we could climb this table. But surely it has to change and the present personnel there don't look like sorting it out anytime soon.
As for those of us who stayed at home, Babestation started as the Sky football credits rolled, no wonder so many enjoy being armchair fans!
Don't know about you but, much as I love seeing Leckwith develop, I'd lost my enthusiasm for this stadium a long time ago.
Cut back to the extent it's well behind Premier clubs, little better than new stadia in lower division, only 3,000 more than archaic Ninian Park, has to be shared with a bloody rugby team and the revenue it produces largely goes to clear debt to Langston, the odious Hammam and co, it's a shadow of whatever it was going to be.
If the club get shafted, who gives a f*** that our new stadium is guaranteed?
You plonker Rodney!
South Wales Echo story
Sunday, November 25, 2007
It was concise and consisted of little more than a few photos and artefacts plus some school drawings (I especially enjoyed a Valleys boy who designed a new City kit completely in Burberry check - imagine life in that hose!) but it was interesting.
Photos are attached of some of the key Cardiff City segments but the best part was the nintentional humour of pressing a button to hear a man and woman's voice harmonising "Caaaardiff, Cardiff, Bloooobirds".
The exhibition closed today so no time to see now but enjoy the pics which are attached here
The Red Dragon has come up against all opponents in recent times except Lichenstein.
Germany, of course, won the Euro2008 and played Wales to a 0-0 draw just 4 days ago.
Russia knocked us out of Euro'2004 in a play-off.
Finland were in our World Cup 2006 group and I can't wait to go back as Helsinki was one of my favourite ever Wales away trips.
Azerbaijan were in our Euro'04 and World Cup'06 group so there'll be a lot of fmailiarity.
The small stafe of Lichtenstein complete the group.
It will be a huge ask in a group where only the winners qualify and runners-up go into play-offs if their record is not one of the worst of all runners-up.
At least John Toshack doesn't seem unduly disappointed and it will be a prime opportunity to see if Wales are developing as an exciting crop of youngsters continue a sharp learning curve.
Tosh's reaction on BBC
Who stops and listens to them?
Who buys their ****ing CD's?
Every City Centre you go to and they're there. They probably work in call centres in the week and the closest they've been to South America is ordering an Hawaiian burger but come weekend, they don fancy dress, mime or blow a few notes to pre-recorded music - the music we used to make in school with flute and got tired of then - and shoppers become mesmerised.
It's now an epidemic ... this lot in Cardiff have set up a reservation in Queen Street!
Saturday, November 24, 2007
More intriguing however is that the semi-final draw was made too and we're on schedule to be home to Swansea if both win their ties. That could be mildly interesting.
Quarter/Semi Final Draw 24/11/2007
The Quarter Final draw earlier today was as follows:-
Carmarthen Town v The New Saints
Llanelli v Wrexham
Welshpool Town v Cardiff City
Newport County v Swansea City
Matches to be played on as yet to be agreed dates.
The Semi Final draw was as follows:-
Welshpool Town or Cardiff City v Newport County or Swansea City
Llanelli or Wrexham v Carmarthen Town or The New Saints
CHAMPIONSHIP - Game 16/46 - at NINIAN PARK
CARDIFF CITY (1) 1
IPSWICH TOWN (0) 0
The smell of (temporary) relief must have been pretty sweet in Ninian Park's corridors at 4:45pm as Cardiff City and Dave Jones attempted to start may be a long road to recovery as they finally won a game and stopped freefalling down the league table for the first time since the end of October.
Victory over a dossile, lethargic Ipswich side who showed perfectly why their 2007/08 victory record is 100% at home and 0% away was only Cardiff's second home win in 8 months. The common factor compared to the last victory (over Burnley last month) was Paul Parry's identical beautiful match winning finish.
Today's goal was a classic finish to a sublime, sweeping move. The one telling moment of quality and movement from City all afternoon. Parry was a match winner in more ways than one as he also bundled Ipswich's late goal attempt off the line. The Bluebirds will also be joyous at their first win in 6 games, the first clean sheet in 15, a little bit of luck, their dogged determination and improved intensity which deserved those 3 points but this was an ugly win and uninspiring game on a day when only victory mattered.
A fortnight's without club football produced more talking points that had there been games at Ninian Park. The perceived turnaround of Peter Ridsdale and Board to give Dave Jones a vote of confidence after dropping hints of his dismissal, the general disbelief at that decision, the debates over whether Jones would change system and which players and some debate over whom should replace Jonesy if it all goes wrong again.
Any truth in the rumour that Heather Mills-McCartney is a leading contender because she could sort out our problems as she knows how the get the most out of Scouse mutli-millionaires (watch out Robbie) while having only one foot, she could advise McPhail?
However at least the break ended with some overdue football delight with City youngsters doing themselves proud for country at U21 (Ramsey and Blake) in a stunning 4-2 beating of France then senior level (Gunter and Ledley) in a superb 0-0 draw in Germany ... on and then England got knocked out of Euro2008 too. Now I've never had a threesome - never took up chance! - but I can't imagine it can possibly be any better than final whistle in Frankfurt and then changing channels at the exact moment Croatia netted their winner against Ingerlund's 42 years of hurt ... forever counting ... and our immense joy!
With the visit of Ipswich having a midday kick-off due to the non-event of an egg chasing Wales v South Africa game pulling Prince William and 50,000 across town for in the name of money-making, City deserve commendation for the brilliant offer of £10 for adults and £1 for oaps/kids/students in any part of the ground. It had success as attendance on a chilly grey day with some drizzle during the game was 15,173 which (although it didn't quite look that many to me) was 3,500 up on last outing vs Crystal Palace but 1,250+ of that was a superb travelling support from Suffolk who must have set off on Wednesday to get their tractors down here for 12 on Saturday.
I doubt anyone predicted Dave Jones' side which amounted to 2 defensive changes only but not quite what was expected. Back came Glenn Loovens and in came Chris Gunter to replace Roger Johnson and Kevin McNaughton. See McNaughton on the bench and Capaldi on the pitch - whom most fans expected for demotion - seemed incredulous but news emerged McNaughton had a knock. Other than that, it was as you were with Schmeicel (his loan extended until January and possibly all season) in goal, defence were Gunter-Purse-Loovens-Capaldi, midfield Ledley-Rae-McPhail-Parry, strikers Thompson-Hasselbaink. On the bench were Oakes-Johnson-MacLean-McNaughton-Whittingham. Fowler was dropped to the bench last time and was not in sight this time despite media reports of his successful hip injection and freer ability and sharpness on the training fields, whispers persist that retirement maybe under consideration.
The only thing you can say about Ipswich is that they are consistent - consistently fantastic at home, consistently awful away. They've won all 7 at home and dished out some handsome pastings too (Sheff Weds 4-1, Cov 4-1, Wolves 3-0 and Brizzle Zity 6-0 last match) yet it's now 4 points out of 27 (all draws) on the road. Whilst Cardiff deserve credit for their efforts, you can't disguise that Ipswich were one of the least threatening, ambitious team to come to Ninian Park in ages - Dave Jones and his Merry Men could not have picked better opponents.
Their side, of course, included City old boys in Neil Alexander (his effective release being one of the biggest crimes on Dave Jones' lengthening charge sheet and who rightly got an ovation each half and at final whistle), Alan Lee, the enigma who seems to be successful everywhere except his time (he had polite applause) and a Bluebirds supporter in midfielder Gavin Williams. Once those acknowledgements were out of the way, The Grange End got down to real business - chants about England, Steve McLaren and Croatia!
In centre-half Alex Bruce, son of Steve, Ipswich also had a player who would have grown up playing conkers with Kasper Schmeicel. Jim Magilton went with a 4-5-1 come 4-4-1-1 system with Alexander, DeVos-Bruce-Harding-Wright, Miller-Walters-Garvan-Williams, Counago, Lee.
One departure from normal routine was the non-appearance of City players "high fiving" each other before kick-off, instead they re-adopted the "huddle". Bless'em.
Darren Purse perhaps thought he was still in that huddle as, straight from kick-off, our dozing skipper completely missed a high ball falling for him,. Alan Lee was away on the bounce and his first time lob had Schmeicel beaten but smacked off the bar then the inside of the post after 14 seconds! The mass groan wasn't City fans reacting to early morning burgers and beers but mild panic, however we also enjoyed some rare luck and, in fairness, that was Ipswich's only sight of goal all half apart from a Lee effort straight at Schmeicel.
City weren't brilliant but did dominate, put together some exciting and flowing football at times, found some previously missing tenacity and desire, played the more controlled football and, in Paul Parry and Steve Thompson, had two players who made the game rise above ordinary.
Thommo was showing some great touches, turns and flicks and, just as importantly, was holding up the ball - a quality rarely seen from City forwards this term. Pazza was electrifying on the burst and driving City forward even if his final ball was of variable standard but he was also winning corners and applying pressure. City's first shot, a Thommo shot on the turn, was parried behind well by Alexander. Just before that, one of several goalmouth scrambles in the Ipswich box saw Loovens go to ground for a penalty appeal then got involved in shoving with De Vos. That was Loovens' 5th yellow card of the season which will mean a very early recall for Roger Johnson. It has echoes of last season already where none of our trio of centre halves seems to get a long run in the team.
The rest of the half was City good play, domination and control. It wasn't perfect and Tony Capaldi was infuriating by doing nothing more with the ball at his feet than chipping it 10 yards forward which nearly always conceded possession but did make up for it with a top tackle to stop a Tractor Boy breaking on
Shots were blocked, went wide, a Hasslebaink free-kick at the edge of the box was wastefully chipped into the Grange End. Just as we started to wonder if a goal was going to come, along came an absolute beauty. Capaldi, for once, played the ball on the ground, Thommo's flick into space for Gavin Rae was pure quality, Rae raced over halfway and swept the ball to Parry who, for almost the first time, cut inside his man and let fly with a rising rasping drive across goal that had Alexander beaten all the way as it tucked inside his far post. City's Goal of the Season so far without a shadow, a supreme moment.
City were in complete control for the remainder of the half but never threatened to add to that lead.
H/T;: CITY 1 HORSES 0
There is next to nothing to write about the second half, it was uglier than the girl gorging on chicken curry off the bone at 3am in Caroline Street who still looks a complete minger even with the beer goggles on! City had no effort at goal at all, Ipswich's sole effort - 10 minutes from time - at a corner saw Parry become a bigger hero by blocking a Miller shot on the line with Schmeicel beaten.
Other than that, it was gritty and dour. Up front, City were in trouble as Thommo went lame (it later emerged he had been ill on the day of the game and almost didn't play) while Jimmy Floyd-Hasslebaink looked completely shot, he must have been inexplicably offside 3 or 4 times simply by being unable to even trot back at a basic pace after a City attack. To shore up victory, Roger Johnson replaced Thommo in attack for the closing minutes.
Another subs saw Peter Whittingham replaced Joe Ledley who limped away just after the hour - hopefully nothing serious. Whitts must get stronger and show more determination but his superb low free-kick across the face of goal should have found someone there to turn it home..
Ipswich used subs and pressed harder but never broke down or broke through City, they were as limited as Cardiff themselves have often looked recently. The picks were Glenn Loovens, showing his old no nonsense form, who won possession time and again by reading the game so well and stepping up to take the ball and playing simple passes to set City on their way. Chris Gunter completed a brilliant personal week with an excellent performance, not just winning some big challenges and showing some great interceptions but by bringing the ball forward at every opportunity. The problems were Capaldi and Hasslebaink, neither were good enough today I'm afraid.
Final whistle and you would have thought we'd gone top of the league, not climbed all the way to 18th! A long, long way to go. This wasn't a performance that convinced City are going to climb the table with authority or suggested Cardiff are capable of putting together a strong run anytime soon but you hope it breeds confidence. For now, it's a welcome relief and a boost but with Leicester away Monday night, no more than a short-term one for all concerned at this stage.
£25 - there were 6 of us!
Friday, November 23, 2007
Green, a £10k gamble, from Newport in January needs games and goals to get his career moving and that's just not going to happen at Cardiff City at present so it makes sense all round.
A loan to League Two Darlington ending last month saw Green perform very well in his first outing during a live Sky Johnstone Paints game v Leeds but he returned after a month with no goals and had dropped to the sub's bench.
Better luck at Oxford Matty.
Always a gamble, he was signed by City, apparently via the connections of Peter Ridsdale, from Eircom in January for £100k. Apparently, he was the leading scorer for 4 seasons in Irish football and he's the cousin of Spurs Robbie Keane. Eyebrows were raised when it was discovered that City signed him a month before his 29th birthday when he had nil experience of this level of football.
It seemed like fantastic business however when Byrne scored a winner on his City debut coming off the bench late at Wolves' Molineux which was sweet justice on a day City fans were banned from attending. Ridsdale described it at the time as, "worth the fee for that goal alone",
However his only other appearance since was for an injury ravaged side at West Brom when he looked completely off the pace and he was subbed long before the end. It fitted with stories from Ireland that Byrne had been in decline before his arrival, injuries having taking some toll. That was 8 months ago.
Since that time he's never got close to the 16 and rarely featured in the reserves becoming so anonymous that many fans had wondered if he had left the club and they hadn't told us. In a side with woeful striking options, Byrne seems to have found himself ranked 8th out of 5 as Cardiff have tried other players out of position as forwards instead of contemplating the Irishman.
Truth is, Byrne has been affected by injuries. It scuppered his chances of an August move or loan when City would dearly loved to have done that. This week, he limped out of a reserve defeat at Swansea in midweek (a youthful City side losing 3-0 to a more experienced Jacks outfit, all the goals coming after a mass of substitutions). This is an injury that could impact on his chances of a January move or loan.
The only certainty is that, whatever Jason's future, it somehow has to be away from Cardiff City.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Had a fantastic night watching Foo Fighters rock Cardiff in the CIA tonight. Took the missus who's not so hot on classic rock but at least it meant I had someone to get the drinks at the bar while I watched, swayed and sung along.
Dave Grohl and his men blitzed the place, it must have been hotter than the Sahara and just as difficult to get a drink there too!New stuff, all the old classics and some top banter too. Even the ballads were powerful.
New stuff, all the old classics and some top banter too. Even the ballads were powerful. Each musician was awesome, Taylor on the drums just incredible, and, boy, can Grohl scream out a note like nobody else. How does his throat survive a tour?
Joe Calzaghe was in the top balcony box with his boy and bounced and danced the whole set, must have been better than his normal workout. What a night.
I took a load of pics which can be seen at the link below. Some a bit blurry and they get better later. My cam doesn’t work so well in dark gigs and venues when they are truly bouncing and it was all that last night and more.
Full pics here > http://tinyurl.com/yqax9b
However it wasn't all bad news as Sven Goran Eriksson agreed a loan extension for Kasper Schmeicel - one of the few hits in a miserable season so far - until January with the likelihood it could be all season notwithstanding an injury crisis at Man City.
Join in and singalong
You made me laugh
Thinking how you were worlds apart
You may be in magazines
But rely on Beckham, a has been
How shit is Robinson?
Maybe not as shit as Carson
But now it's all too late
You're not at Euro 2008
When it pisses down,
You look a clown
Told you you'd be at the finals ... never
Here's the message I'd like to send
Good or bad, I'm Welsh to the end
To 90,000 in Wembley's dome
Who didn't suffer at home
Don''t worry you will next summer
Your manager can't hide under his nonce umbrella
Your manager can't hide under his nonce umbrella
(Ella ella eh eh eh)
Under it, he didn't look a fella
(Ella ella eh eh eh)
But made me enjoy my Stella
(Ella ella eh eh eh)
What a nonce umbrella
(Ella ella eh eh eh eh eh eh)
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Wales Under 21's last night were awesome in pasting France even though their average age was 18 and 7 were with the senior squad. Just brilliant to see Aaron Ramsey and Darcy Blake leading the way.
Tonight, no expectation at all and admittedly Germany were unbeliebavbly inefficient but for that side to perform as they did and gain a fantastic draw had me full of pride after a campaign that provided little of it. For Wales to do that shorn of so many players and with half the team City or ex-City men (well done Joe and Chris G) was magic.
Then to see England feck up and have a national stadium on a pitch that wouldn't look out of place at Pontcanna in January topped it all.
I love football - hope City can keep up my rediscovered love for it all this weekend!
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
WALES UNDER 21 4
FRANCE UNDER 21 2
Just as you feared there was little hope for Welsh football, a stunning Under 21's performance and result breathes new life.
Wales demolished France 4-2, deservedly so, and provided the best football entertainment seen at Ninian Park for many months in a show also beamed live on Sky tv.
What made it more incredible was that Wales were much younger and considerably more inexperienced that their French counterparts yet played them off the pitch. With 7 U21 players away with the seniors in Germany and an average age of just 18, it was astonishing.
From a Bluebird viewpoint, Aaron Ramsey and Darcy Blake both underlined the acute embarrassment Dave Jones must be feeling by standing by his same misfiring players whilst ignoring our up and coming talent.
With 4 wins in 5 and such superb football, the U21's have put themselves into a strong position of making the finals in Sweden next summer. They certainly won''t lack for support in upcoming games.
Monday, November 19, 2007
" WINTER " a poem by Abigail Elizabeth McIntyre
" WINTER " a poem by Abigail Elizabeth McIntyre
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Still hard to work out how we got into such a mess and it's no easier trying to forsee the way out ... if there is one.
Have a read here:
Saturday, November 17, 2007
However The Red Dragon can take some pride in their performance as they fought and challenged, never gave up and got the result they deserved. For the Cardiff City fans amongst us, Joe Ledley did will partly in central midfield and wide left but the big shock was right back Chris Gunter - who can't get in Dave Jones' 16 right now and was stood near me at Charlton in the away end last week - was starting at left back and he did well too.
Shorn of Bellamy and Bale to injury amongst others, it was threadbare and, on paper, didn't look as strong as Eire. However Wales deservedly took the lead with a smart move and a far post Jason Koumas header from a superb Ledley cross.
The Welsh youngsters fought like demons but the Irish had some quality going forward and that lead only lasted a few minutes when Danny Gabbidon - one of the few Welsh players to have a poor outing in my view - never lunged at a through ball, Robbie Keane was away and made light work chipping past the advancing Hennessey.
Half-time saw a number of fans leave for the pubs and warmth instead as the game and occasion was a bit of a non-event. My missus left and went home after 15 minutes although she was feeling unwell.
The second half saw Wales applying pressure without really getting anywhere although Shay Given made a couple of superb stops and was definitely the busier keeper all afternoon. Jason Koumas, the game's best player by a mile, was tapped on the tun and got booked for diving. It means he misses Wednesday's trip to Germany and kept his record of somehow missing every Wales away match for more than 2 years.
All that work went to waste when Eire brought on Steven Hunt as sub, 20 seconds later and first touch, our defence criminally failed to clear his cross and Kevin Doyle steered home.
It looked all over and fans, many depressed with Dave Jones and Cardiff City, were discussing what next for Wales and Toshack. However Koumas was trying everything, Given denied him twice, but with a minute to go, late sub David Cotterill charged on a through ball and held off Nicholson until he got into the box then was taken down. Jason Koumas spanked away the penalty beautifully.
Next up is Germany away in Frankfurt. Koumas will be missing and so, I guess, will Karl Robinson who was stretchered off in the first half and seen on crutches in Westgate Street at final whistle. That's going to be a long night for our kids.
BBC report and interviews:
Koumas complains about his booking:.
At last bringing a decent music and local station to South Wales, it promises much. Transmissions are 106.8 in most areas but can vary slightly around South Wales.
Looking forward to it starting in earnest even if some of its presenters seem a little dubious i.e. 2 from Goldie Lookin' Chain, 2 from Dirty Sanchez, Stuart Cable etc.
Friday, November 16, 2007
Serious stuff but, for City fans, also now very boring. You'd have hoped there would have been some progress in the (not so) secret meeting or two between Ridsdale and Hammam but it looks as if both sides are as far apart in their views as ever.
Given the case is due to be heard December 10, it is very wise of Hammam and the club not to respond. It doesn't say much for Langstone solictors that they put out press statements.
Article in today's Times
My random thoughts in response:
I note your article regarding asking why Dave Jones is under pressure but not having answers.
While I have remained behind him until the last week, here's a few reasons why.49 points from our last 50 games in over a year - everyone remembers the blistering start to last season, few appreciate how bad it's been since which included the worst ever finish to a season in Cardiff City's history last term, form that has carried on so far this season. In football, you cannot on the past, especially when that past was one blistering patch of form out of context with anything else.
Just 1 home win in more than 8 months - is there any manager anywhere with a similar or worse record over this time who still has their job?
Revealing stats such as just once in over two years have Cardiff come from behind to win a game - and that was to bottom of the table Norwich this season.
Jones tells us he has provided City's best ever squad (a laughable claim to many of us) but, even so, persists with the same 11 or 12 every game, regardless of result or performance, with the same tactics and a highly dubious (non) use of substitutions.
Maybe City haven't spent as much as some sides in the Championship but I think he's spent a lot more than you realise but, above that and without question, City's playing budget is amongst the highest in the league.
We could have spent to replace Chopra - and how I wished we had - but Jones agreed to bring in Fowler and Hasslebaink on wages in excess of £2M. Capaldi came for free and is widely known to have tripled his wages from Plymouth.
He bombed players out of this club on a personal whim as he didn't rate and publicly chastised them (notably Chris Barker and Neil Alexander) but replaced them with more inferior players.
We're currently on our 4th keeper trying to replace Neil Alexander since March and the present one (Schmeicel) is simply a short-term loan.
The signings Jones has brought to the club, with a couple of exceptions only, have been poor.
This season, many would argue City's best two players have been certainly Joe Ledley and probably Paul Parry - both were here before Jones.
Recent cash signings cannot get in the side - examples, Willo Flood (on loan in Scotland), Warren Feeney (loan at Swansea), David Forde (3rd keeper), Peter Whittingham (on the bench occasionally), Jason Byrne (hardly good enough to get a game for the reserves, let alone the first team) - that's £850,000 worth of signatures wasting away! There's been a catalogue of horrendous free transfers and Bosmans too.
There are many obvious problem areas in the team - left back (Capaldi), central midfield (Rae and McPhail) and the failings of our legends (Hasslebaink and Fowler) and an overall effect of a side with no pace and a considerable lack of movement who cannot keep a clean sheet for love or money (largely as they have an inability to defend set pieces) but none are being addressed.
You ask "did Dave Jones moan"? He's dubbed Dave Moans around these parts which should tell you a lot.
For the past year, all we've heard is Jones moaning on carious topics, blaming anyone and anything (other than himself) for bad results, bad performances and more.
Where I will agree with you is that Cardiff are not a bad side but that's why the manager has to assume accountability and realise what he's providing simply is unacceptable. Maybe the fact Jones is your mate is tainting your view of the reality here?
This is a club where our passionate support has been remarkably patient throughout this sorry mess but seeing City fall by the week, draining our enthusiasm and even our support (dropping every game and several thousand gone already this season) has reached the point where if Jones won't or can't turn this around, then I am afraid he will have to be changed himself.
Nothing personal, that's how the game works as well you know.
Best Wishes, enjoy your column and your knowledge and love of football at this level.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
There's little doubt Peter Ridsdale's lack of support since the weekend and hot gossip that he indicated he was on the verge of dismissing not just Jones but the entire CCFC coaching set up on Sunday, everyone awaited confirmation today.
Instead came a club statement that they were continuing with their man - a unanimous decision by the Board and key shareholders believed to be Paul Guy and Mike Hall of PMG. To say it left supporters open-mouthed, shocked and accusing Ridsdale and the Board of being bottlers would be a huge understatement. The inevitable conclusion is that this has little to do with football and plenty more to do with City's perilous state with finances, the impending legal case with Langston, even Jones' too cosy relationship with Ridsdale.
For Ridsdale to have set this up and then not executed is quite embarrassing and doe him few favours. Suggestions are that Dave Jones has two games to save himself. He seems like a Dead Man Walking right now.
CCFC club press statement:
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
However Dave Sugarman aka The Lone Gunman provided the excellent write-up on the Cardiff City messageboard at www.cardiffcity.com
Link to write up: http://tinyurl.com/25qdov
As a supplement, The Echo also covered the meeting and their accounts can be found here:
A SXHEDULED SUPPORTERS OPEN FORM THIS WEEK WAS HI-JACKED BY PETER RIDSDALE TO CONFRONT SOME VERY PASSIONATE AND EXTREMELY ANGRY FANS. MY DATE WITH THE FOO FIGHTERS MEANT I COULD NOT ATTEND BUT DAVID SUGARMAN SUMS IT UP TO www.cardIffcity.com
MESSAGEBOARD. HIS POSTING IS REPRODUCED HERE.
Tuesday night’s meeting at the Municipal Club on City Road came about as a result of another meeting at the same venue on Sunday afternoon. At the first meeting, a number of fans expressed their dissatisfaction with the way the local press have been reporting on the events at Cardiff City in recent months.
Some of those who were present are on good terms with the South Wales Echo’s chief sports writer, Terry Phillips, so he was asked to attend a second meeting in which it was hoped that the fans would be given a chance to air their views to the paper.Terry kindly agreed to forego the annual SA Brain Welsh Football Awards ceremony at the Millennium Stadium in order to hear what the supporters had to say, and arrived at the meeting with one of the Echo’s photographers.
Club chairman Peter Ridsdale had apparently been informed about the meeting at some point during the afternoon. He offered to attend and field any questions the fans had on the day that he and the rest of the Cardiff City board had given their backing to under-fire manager Dave Jones, and he left it up to the supporters to decide whether they wanted him there or not.
After a brief discussion and a show of hands it was decided that Peter should be invited to join the meeting. Cardiff City Supporters’ Club official Vince Alm was given the daunting task of keeping order during a gathering that was always guaranteed to be somewhat lively. Those also present amongst a group of nineteen fans included Annis Abraham, Wayne Anderson, Lee Beames, Paul Corkrey, Gwyn Davies, Keith Morgan, Peter Morgan, Sam Murphy and Chris Nelson.
The chairman answered the supporters’ questions for almost two hours in what was an emotionally charged and occasionally angry atmosphere, and in all fairness to the man the only queries he failed to answer were one or two about the nature of the on-going dispute with major creditors Langston. Peter explained that he was unable to give direct answers to those particular questions for legal reasons.
What follows is a rundown of the topics covered during the discussion:
The Manager’s Position
The main talking point of the evening was, of course, the board’s decision to continue to back manager Dave Jones despite an appalling record of just nine victories in forty four Championship matches during the last twelve months. A quick show of hands revealed that eighteen of nineteen fans present thought the manager should have been sacked after the 0-3 defeat at Charlton, while the one remaining fan said that his feelings were fifty-fifty on the matter.
Peter explained that the club’s three-man board had been unanimous in their decision to stick with Jones. He said the opinions of major shareholders Paul Guy and Mike Hall had been canvassed, and that they too had given their backing to the manager, so the vote was effectively five-nil in favour of Jones, although only three of those votes counted officially.
The chairman revealed he had spent two hours with Jones after the board had reached its decision. He said he had made it crystal clear to the manager that the current run of results is wholly unacceptable, and that he expects to see a rapid improvement in form if Jones is to keep his job. Peter refused to put any timescale on how much longer the manager will be given to arrest the current slide, although the clear inference from his comments was that the forthcoming games against Ipswich and Leicester are now of critical importance. A failure by the team to gain acceptable results in those two matches could well signal the end of Jones’ spell in charge at Ninian Park.
Peter mentioned that he had also spoken to a number of the club’s senior players during the day, including team captain Darren Purse, and said that he had impressed upon them the importance of the next couple of matches and, indeed, the remainder of the season. He reported that the players had given the manager their backing, and had resolved to work hard on putting things right.
Several fans bemoaned the fact that Jones had been given another new contract last summer, and some suggested that he has managed to keep his job despite such a poor start to the season simply because the club can’t afford to pay him off. Peter strongly refuted those claims, and explained that a reasonable severance package had already been negotiated as a part of that new contract deal, so money wasn’t one of the major factors that contributed towards the board’s decision.
The chairman said he agrees that recent results and performances have been totally unacceptable, and admitted the situation cannot be allowed to deteriorate any further, but he added that he doesn’t feel there is anyone available right now who is better qualified to turn things around than the man who is currently in the Ninian Park hot seat. He said he considers it would be a bigger gamble to change the manager than it is to give Jones another chance to arrest the slide.
Peter mentioned the on-going legal dispute with Langston, and hinted that even if the board had decided to dispense with the manager’s services it would’ve been almost impossible for them to attract a high-calibre replacement with such an important court hearing only a month away.Mention was made of the fact that Jones often appears totally inanimate in the dugout during matches. A number of fans said they get irritated by that, and prefer to see managers showing a bit of emotion during matches as they feel that has more of an effect on the players. Peter said he could understand that viewpoint, but added that Jones had stated during his initial interview that he is not the type of boss who jumps around on the sidelines, so we’d have to accept it’s just not his style.
Several supporters said they believed the manager’s conduct in recent interviews had left a lot to be desired, and they felt he’s been making both himself and the club look stupid with the some of the comments he’s been making to journalists. Peter said he has already expressed similar views to Jones, and added that he hopes to see a quick end to the manger’s current rift with the members of the local press.
Peter was asked about the circumstances that led up to Neil Alexander leaving the club during the summer. He said that the goalkeeper had been offered a new contract that involved a 50% pay rise if he was selected for the first team and the same basic wage if he wasn’t. The chairman claimed that Alexander and his agent had rejected the offer out of hand, so it was withdrawn. He denied that any previous contract offer had been made to the player, either verbally or in writing.
This statement led to a particularly animated exchange, during which one fan accused Peter of lying – an accusation he strongly and angrily refuted. He said it was no secret that the manager didn’t rate Alexander particularly highly, and that was obviously a significant factor in the contract negotiations. He reasoned that the club were not prepared to pay out considerable wages to a keeper who might well spend much of the season in the reserves.
The Forthcoming Court Case
This subject was not discussed in any great detail for obvious reasons. Peter stated his belief that the club has a strong case, and said the team of lawyers working on the club’s behalf are extremely confident they will win. However, he added that the case is currently casting a dark shadow over the club, and it could drag on for as long as two years provided it gets past the initial hearing stage next month.
He said he still retains a hope that the issues can be resolved with Langston out of court, and hinted that at least one meeting has already taken place between the relevant parties with that aim in mind.Peter stated that the case has so far cost the club around £225,000 in legal fees, and he revealed the initial hearing that had been set for this month was postponed at the request of the court as opposed to either Langston or the club.Club Finances
Among the many facts and figures that he mentioned during the evening, Peter declared that the club had earned approximately £350,000 from the recent Carling Cup match against Liverpool, and said that this season’s break-even crowd figure is somewhere in the region of 14,000.
The Recent Book Launch
Several fans voiced their disapproval of the fact that Peter had taken the manager, three players and various members of staff with him to London for the launch of his book ‘United We Fall – Boardroom Truths About The Beautiful Game’ last week.
The supporters were particularly irritated that the manager had missed a reserve game in order to attend the book launch.Peter responded by saying that the launch had been organized long before Jones had set the reserve fixture up, and the clash of dates happened because City’s opponents, Cheltenham, could only play on the particular day.
He said the manager felt the game was essential to give some of the squad players a run-out, but he was happy to leave his deputies in charge and rely on their reports regarding those players’ performances. Jones also had the game videoed and was able to watch it the following day.
The chairman said all of the first team players had time off scheduled for the day of the book launch as it came directly after the Crystal Palace match, and two of them had already been in London attending to other matters with their agents during the daytime anyway. He added that they had not touched any alcohol during the party, and were back in training as normal the following day.
Peter has clearly been upset by the criticism that has followed this event. He became quite emotional as he told the supporters that the book launch had raised tens of thousands of pounds for a Leeds hospice which is very close to his heart for family reasons, and he was adamant that the manager and the players were right to attend the party.
Communication with the Fans
A couple of supporters expressed the view that Peter is spending too much time these days talking to, e-mailing and texting fans. They suggested that it might be more beneficial for both the chairman and the supporters if he was to restrict his contact with the fans to monthly open forums or something along those lines.
Peter responded by saying that he is fully able to do all the jobs he needs to do for the football club and to answer questions from fans whenever they are posed, so he is happy to maintain his current open door policy.
One of the supporters, who works within the club’s scouting system, spoke passionately about the importance of the academy, and asked if the good work which has been done in that area in recent years is set to continue.
Peter said he regards the academy as an essential element of the club’s future success, and that he intends to ensure it will continue to be properly funded and maintained.
A Supporters’ Trust
In what proved to be the final question, Peter was asked if he would support the idea of a supporters’ trust for Cardiff City, and he gave the scheme his backing.
The chairman will have known in advance that he was walking into a lion’s den when he offered to attend Tuesday’s meeting, and so it proved. If he was in any doubt beforehand, then he can no longer be in any doubt whatsoever as to how a significant percentage of the club’s fans feel about the current situation at Ninian Park.
There were some angry men in that room in City Road, and they let their feelings be known in no uncertain terms.
Whatever you think about him, one thing is clear about Peter Ridsdale: he certainly doesn’t lack for courage. It would have been easy for him to keep a low profile after making what was undoubtedly a difficult and unpopular decision, but he chose instead to spend his evening in a dingy room full of disgruntled supporters.
That definitely says something about the man, although I’m not sure what exactly!
Have he and the rest of the Cardiff City board made the right decision regarding the manager’s position? Can Dave Jones and his team get out of the mess they currently find themselves in? Only time will tell.
The general consensus of opinion at the meeting hadn’t changed significantly after the chairman had left the room. Most, if not all of those present still felt that Jones should have been shown the door this week, and that the club has merely delayed the inevitable by not relieving him of his duties now.
However, a couple of wins against Ipswich and Leicester and things may look altogether different in a fortnight’s time. (Following the open forum, five fans from the group were nominated to talk to Terry Phillips in a one-on-one situation about the manager’s position. Those brief interviews appeared in Wednesday’s edition of the Echo along with a report about the meeting with Peter Ridsdale.)
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Peter Ridsdale confirms Jones’ position to be clarified by end of Wednesday
The dust has settled, the Board has met and the overwhelming view still appears to prevail that a change of manager is necessary.
The smart money still says Dave Jones will fall on his sword for a year’s worth of terrible results, some terrible costly decisions in the transfer market and building his own side which appears to have taken City considerably backwards.
Rumours have it that Peter Ridsdale had made up his mind Sunday afternoon to change manager and the whole coaching set up.
However, has some sleep, the club’s delicate finances (and legal matters with the Langstone case now set for court on December 10) or other board members affected matters? We'll soon find out.
Friday, November 09, 2007
I supposed being a Kaidiff-ite, finding it easy and just as quick to get to Cardiff from where I live and not having any great affinity with, or love for, Barry nightlife, it's never held any interest for me.
However there has been investment in the town. An emerging waterfront area, a painfully long time trying to regenerate the shopping area, a cafe area is starting to emerge in Holton Road and the Braod Street area now sports a couple of decent bars and some good restuarants. It has its hidden treasures.
Enjoyed a couple of quiet drinks and a Chinese but was in and out before the madding crowd turned up and, I think, that's another of my hang ups about the place. It's a town with a village mentality - everyone knows everyone and everyone else's business. Everyone seems to be someone's friend, cousin, ex-lover, knows them. I find it a little bizarre that a lot of Barry folk only seem to go out in Barry and rarely venture beyond but I guess what they like about it is what I don't.
You either love that - or get conditioned to it - or you don't. It's not for me. Give me Canton anyday where you can be yourself, go into Cardiff where you can meet people but then move on, travel where you can be yourself.
I think my 'phobia' comes from living in Rhoose for 15 years - loved it at first, resented it later on for many of the views I hold about Barry.
However, have to say tonight made a pleasant change and I'd do it again ... maybe next year!
According to Dave Jones, he's only going for an injection - couldn't he have had that at home? - but no truth in wicked rumours that, with his lack of movement, it's not for hip replacement. Is it being offered as an excuse to give the much maligned Fowler some slack as he is coming in for heavy criticism based on his Bluebird displays?
Maybe it's another reason for Robbie to be rested at Charlton or placed on the bench because he has been massively struggling for City recently. Completely ineffectual in recent matches, barely having a touch and burned out long before the hour mark.
It's a shame to see a football great performing like this at present but with City now in a precarious position, supporters are rightfully unhappy that continuing with two ageing legends in Robbie and JFH is a luxury we just cannot afford.
Link to BBC story:
Thursday, November 08, 2007
According to El Tel, he's unsure if Robbie Fowler reads internet messageboards but, if he does, then he must stop immediately. Apparently, God is full of running and sharp in training but, come matchday, he suffers with nervous tension playing as if stifled by the critcism at games and on the 'net.
There is, of course, not a shred of evidence Robbie reads the messageboards at all but having played at leading clubs for years and having experienced a lifetime of criticism for certain events and performances in papers, radio phone-ions, tv etc with a career in decline for 5 or 6 years, I'm sure he's got used to it.
Ok, we all know you get extreme views at both end of the spectrum for sure but Terry goes on declare how messageboard users share their views but not their identities.Funny that, I'm sure all users of http://www.cardiffcity.com/ registers e-mail addresses and a significant number of us know each other or of each other.
Some of the story made reasonable reading but some of his claims are, at best, flimsy. The irony also seems to be lost on Terry that he may as well have been talking about his own newspaper.
Following his article, ,The Echo goes on to print fan views including "City fan" slating Steve McPhail and "Ambassador Season Ticket Holder of 35 years" wanting Jones out. The Echo itself has contained an endless number of anonymous text messages and more from its own on-line football forum by similar names in his paper over the past 18 months.
Obviously, it don't count when it's in The Echo.
Terry Phillips' Echo view of the under-performing Fowler
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Never mind, that'll give Peter Ridsdale more excuses for not being able to spend in January and allow more more time to take money from this club while spending most of his time appearing left, right and centre in tv and radio promoting his book on his old club, all for charity. What a hero!
Meantime, Dave Jones and Robbie Fowler - the two personnel most under the microscope - apparently spend the day after the night before in London helping promote the book launch.
Anyone would think all is swimmingly well at Cardiff City.
Link to story:
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
TUESDAY NOVEMBER 6th
CHAMPIONSHIP - Game 14/46 - at NINIAN PARK
CARDIFF CITY (1) 1
CRYSTAL PALACE (1) 1
Watson (pen) 44
Bluebirds fans walked into Ninian Park after being leafleted to buy bricks for the new stadium (I knew we couldn't afford it!) with your names engraved on them for between £40 and £80. It was just as well there wasn't an instant sale as they would have no doubt found their way pitchside. .
City and Crystal Palace collectively cannot buy a win between them so it was (dis)honours even at 1-1, a result that leaves Cardiff in 19th and only 2 points above the drop zone and Palace in 23rd. The game was every bit as bad as league standings would suggest, looking every inch the proverbial 6 pointer. Entertainment shocking, quality non-existent. Standards so low at times and I was starting to wonder if I'd walked in a time machine and been transported back to City's darkest days in the 80's and 90's, it really was that awful.
Darren Purse lead by example giving City an early lead but, yet again, instead of building on it, City sat back and lost it and their way. Palace's equaliser was an unjust penalty and the refereeing was shocking but don't allow them as excuses, it won't wash with those who endured this encounter. Once again, what we watched was nowhere near good enough from the boys in blue and , in many phases, simply unacceptable.
Cardiff's problems remain so obvious that David Blunkett and Stevie Wonder could see through them and it startles that still nothing is being done to address any of them. The same players get picked no matter what and the words of defence for Dave Jones and from Dave Jones resound increasingly hollow. Little wonder crowds evaporate every match (just 11,781 tonight including 250 from Sarf London), many of the near minority who waited to final whistle again booed Dave Jones and the team off the pitch. They were boos of complete frustration and despair more than abuse but with a solitary home league victory in 8 months and 11 attempts,
It's really not helped by the barrage of cheap talk coming out of Ninian Park. Darren Purse has spent the past few days talking of automatic promotion, Peter Ridsdale trying to give his assurance of a Top 6 minimum finish and back his beleaguered manager and Dave Jones backs his perpetual misfiring, even inadequate, personnel and believes that by giving Fowler and Hasslebaink better service, everything will be alright. Each will only ever be judged by results and performances and I'm afraid it's time for all of them to wake up and stop acting so ignorant and bloody deluded about our problems.
Dave Jones again pedaled the now tiresome line about how brilliant his squad is, one of our best ever, but when it boils down to it, he only ever uses 13 players. Tonight, other than the return of Schmeicel for Oakes, he used the same starters as at Anfield, when he got more carried away about that one-off performance in context of the league than anyone I know.
So Cardiff started with Schmeicel, McPhail-Purse-Johnson-Capaldi, Parry-Rae-McPhail-Ledley, Fowler-Hasslebaink. Subs were Oakes-Loovens-Sinclair-Thompson-Whittingham.
At a time when some have debated about giving youth more of a say in the Cardiff 16 with Gunter, Blake and Ramsey mentioned in dispatches, Neil Warnock threw a 15 year old into the fray with his full league debut in John Bostock and what a good player he looked too even if he needed a note off his mum for the afternoon off school!
If City's start to the season has been awful and getting worse, Palace's has been a nightmare. In 23rd. ex-boss Peter Taylor sacked for his failings and Neil Warnock yet to taste victory in 5 attempts. Scoring goals has been their key problem bests exemplified by Clinton Morrison waiting for his 100th league goal with a 100 not out t-shirt worn under his Palace shirt. It must be stinking as coming on for the 2nd half, it was his 11th blank since hitting goal 99. Warnock's side = Speroni, Lawrence-Hudson-Fonte-Hill, Watson-Bostock-Songo'o-Soares-Kennedy, Scowcroft
Palace’s game plan was very obvious, just as most teams who visit Ninian Park, but we have no answers, the die is long set. Five across midfield, a lone striker in Jamie Scowcroft. It allows City territory and possession but Palace to absorb what little we have to offer since Fowler and JFH play narrow and statuesque leaving our ponderous central midfield with so few options when they are too similar and unable to hurt defences like a Steve Gerrard can. . Very simple but that’s all it takes to stifle City these days. The opening phase was quiet, maybe the tone was set was a Palace player getting injured within 2 seconds - surely a record? - and needing treatment after challenging Rae. Schmeicel was tested early but when City showed rare energy, they showed rarer quality, Palace cracked but how Cardiff must regret not killing the game early.
Joe Ledley advanced left, sent over the first of several stunning deliveries which The Seagulls defence put over the bar, almost scoring an own goal. Paul Parry’s corner was whipped in, DARREN PURSE stormed through the static crowd on both sides and powered a header past the pony-tailed Speroni. One up after 9 minutes and in general control. On our way at last?
No chance but we should have been when a guilt-edged chance was spurned almost straight from the restart with sparkling play as Fowler’s only worthwhile touch of the night sent Rae charging, he played Ledley clear, albeit wide, but instead of going for the angled drive, he opted (or was he instructed?) to roll the ball across the box for Robbie or Jimmy, Palace was grateful to scramble away.
Apart from a later shot by Gavin Rae, which hit the side netting, that was the sum extent of City’s first half efforts despite general domination. The reasons why were the usual factors. Sitting back on their lead, devoid of imagination and creativity in the final third, a series of high hopeful balls which Jimmy, and Robbie especially, will not chase or get and when there was quality delivery, a couple of beautiful Ledley crosses and a Parry ball across the face of goal, we are too ordinary and slow to capitalise. One of them floated inches above JFH and was perfect but he neither moved or jumped for it, so annoying.
The ever enthusiastic Schmeicel caught crosses and quickly advanced to the box or kicked upfield to find absolutely zilch movement or running for his kicks, what a waste of what he can provide. The much maligned McPhail had one of his better games but a valid criticism is that, not once, did he get near Palace’s penalty box to add attacking presence. It’s barely good enough to call one dimensional.
While leading, Dave Jones ayatollahed to the Grange End who called for it. Apart from his management by numbers all too predictable substitutions, that was possibly his only work during the 90 minutes of the game. I know he’ll never shout and bawl at the touchline but if all he’s going to do for matches is pick the same team, do the same subs and stand or lean with arms folded, the least he could do is pay himself and endure it in the stands or terraces with the rest of us as he contributes next to nothing during matches.
The kid Bostok tested Schmeicel with a smart shot on 15 minutes – what a tidy, quality player he looks - and there were ironic cheers when McPhail snapped into a couple of challenges against him. Trust him to pick on a 15 yr old. Bully!
You can hack this blandness if you're winning so the target instead was the eccentric performance of ref Lee Mason who, you can safely argue, gave the critical decision that cost City the win but should never be allowed as an excuse for the crock of sh*te that was anything but Championship football. His first ineptness came when Joe Ledley brilliantly won a corner kick, pacing past a Palace defender and back-heeling the ball off him. Goal kick was the decision, the howls of derision would instantly have made Mason know he had it wrong. Then we saw a free-kick against Rae for a high challenge less, it was knee high! A Palace player handles, free-kick to them. The decisions he gave for pushing in both halves were laughable.
You hoped he wouldn’t influence the result but he did when Soares charged at Capaldi at pace and crashed, quite deliberately and “professionally” a yard or two outside the box. I’m not even convinced it was a foul but, incredulously, Mason awarded a penalty instantly, blowing almost before the boy hit the deck. TV has proved it to be a diabolical call but why didn’t he call on the linesman who was level with a perfect view or why doesn’t the lino help out?
Schmeicel placed the ball in front of him and danced about long before the kick was taken to put off WATSON, Fowler tried to put him off with words but it was perfectly taken, he went one way while Schmeicel, Alexander-like, went the other. By now of course, NP was ringing out with boos, whistles and chants of “you don’t know what you’re doing” and “you’re not fit to referee”. However, in the cold light of day, City have to look at themselves for once again sitting back and allowing a poor team to come at them instead of keeping going when they had perfect momentum. The last 8 times we have taken a lead, we’ve given it away.
Half-time: CITY 0 PALACE 0
It’s been driving many of us to drink but I couldn’t even be bothered doing that and going to the bar to give the club more money. I sat numb through half-time while people kicked balls at a garden shed and two fans won a competition to have haircut on the pitch while the pillock from Kiss FM cackled mic on and mic off all in the name of entertainment. The standard and quality very comparable with the football (I use that word loosely) on display.
If the first half was poor, the second half was only astonishing in its awfulness. Palace, realising we really weren't much to worry about, made 2 changes at the restart and went 4-4-2 with two strikers as Morrison and Ifill replaced Song'o and Scowcroft. However Palace were worse but City have to be grateful to Schmeicel for one superb 2nd half save from Ifill meeting a rising drive top corner bound with a dive and two handed catch. It looked a bit showbiz but his old man would have been proud of that one. Another attack saw Capaldi hopelessly out of position but Rae went to the rescue with a brave block. Other than that, City's defence enjoyed domination with Purse, Johnson and McNaughton all looking strong and Capaldi looking like, well, Capaldi - enough said.
Robbie Fowler was now a passenger but it's either in his contract or Dave Jones' mentality that we cannot make any change until the hour. Sure enough, 59 minutes, Thommo strips and warms up and is on a minute later. He was nearly off just as quick too and he woke up City and the crowd when an energetic burst down the channel to win a deep throw and, clearly hyped up, got into "handbags" with a Palace defender. I thought Thommo was going to get sent off but as he appeared to throw an arm out but it was yellow as was the visitor.
The final half-hour made you just despair at how awful Palace were, how awful the ref was and how awful City were. Cardiff should have won it as they had total domination and all the ball but wasted the chances when they came. Parry was clear on the angle, just like Ledley, as same as before elected to roll the ball across goal but nobody was there and a Palace defender somehow scooped ball over bar standing on line, if only he'd put pace on it. Hasslebaink was even worse, two edge of area free-kicks, both hit directly at Speroni but I screamed as I watched him fail to go for a free header in front of goal from a perfect Ledley ball when he tried to kick instead 5 foot in the air then a similar chance saw him head right at Speroni. It's not good enough for a player of his calibre. "Give them service and they'll score", counters Dave Jones, Hasselbaink and Fowler were given perfect crosses and failed to do a single thing with any.
Over the tannoy came a message for two car owners to leave the ground for their vehicles immediately. Apart from wishful thinking that one would have been Dave Jones' taxi, those guys should be grateful they weren't there to the bitter end. So bad was this that even Warnock never bothered shouting, arguing and stood there passive, is he on sedatives?
The final 10 minutes saw Sinclair replace Parry, City have moments with everyone in Palace's half and Schmeicel looking like he wanted to join them but it was just never going to happen. All desperate, high balls, panic, kick and rush. We weren't good enough to even make our luck. The effort was there, the quality and desire where needed just wasn;'t.
The last whistle saw a chorus of boos and so many targets to aim them at - Dave Jones, the ref, City's performance, certain players, the (non) standard of football.
It is now reaching a stage of farce and where action just has to be taken by Dave Jones. Fowler has to make way, maybe Jimmy too, central midfield has to be broken up as well and there remains a case for Capaldi being left out. The spine and the balance of City is badly wrong and just is never going to change with existing personnel picked every time no matter what. Time to act Jonesy and make big managerial decisions. Be it on your head if you don't because Cardiff fans have now had and seen enough. . I couldn't protest at the game and I'd never boo but I still felt angry next morning, never mind all night afterwards. It is completely unacceptable to persist with his.
£37 (2 in the Grandstand)
£8 - all before the game, not at NP
Total Cost for Game:
While JFH and Robbie pocket £30k for that and Dave Jones gets whatever he does, I shell out £53 for that pile of pants. No wonder fans hurt and feel it more.