Tuesday, June 24, 2008

THIS BLOG IS ON HOLS

It's summer, the only news is rumours and it's time to enjoy the weather so this blog is taking a fortnight's rest with several beers, topless girls and a big bunch of grapes - how I wish!

Back around July 12 ... or so.

Bye for now Amigos.

CARDIFF CITY PLAYER NEWS

SIGNINGS
Nothing has yet materialised. Boyd of Rangers does not seem to be going any further, the player is likely to stay there or sign for a 'bigger' club.
City are talking to a midfielder with Champions League experience - expect huge disappointment when it turns out to be be someone from Cyprus or similar who featured as sub in one game!
NEW CONTRACTS
It would appear that Peter Whittingham has commited to a new 3 year deal and the club are also expecting Roger Johnson to do likewise. Rumours of a RJ summer injury may not be true then.
Three other players - Paul Parry, Glen Loovens and Kevin McNaughton - are currently mulling over contract offers, all believed to be for 2 years. The club seem reasonably confident all will commit. Still no news that Robbie Fowler - anyone remember him? - is taking a pay-as-you-play contract but is likely too.
LEAVERS
Still no takers for the likes of Willo Flood, Warren Feeney and Steve Thompson amongst others but news is that Jimmy Floyd-Hasslebaink is linked with the vacant manager's post at MK Dons although the club are expected to go for an experienced boss.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Welsh Artist of the Year 2008

Take a look at the winning entries in Welsh Artist of the Year. Got to admit I'm no major fan of art and I can see a Bonsai Tree wrapped in thread (the winner) has some merit but is it just me or these crap, some looking as if they could have been made by schoolkids??

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/in_pictures/7468109.stm

Saturday, June 21, 2008

CARDIFF CITY SET TO INCREASE BOYD OFFER (and other City Scottish rumours)

Having had a club record bid of £2.5M turned down for Kris Boyd, the striker who almost signed for City 2 years ago then jumped to Rangers instead, Scottish media are suggesting that Dave Jones and Peter Ridsdale are returning with an improved £3M, offer with the extra apparently coming from incentivised offers.

Dave Jones seems very keen to land his target but Cardiff City now have a history of failing to land their public targets so many Bluebirds will treat, with some scepticism, club attempts to land the likes of Boyd, Ched Evans and Chopra until they are seen holding a City scarf over their heads holding their contracts. Each Dave Jones summer seems to see us linked with big names but we end up hitting the B or C list - Fowler and Hasselbaink being exceptions.

Let's see what develops particularly as newly promoted Premiership side Hull City seem set to move in too which means City wouldn't really be able to compete, such is football.







Glasgow Daily Record











In other news, City's Willo Flood and Robbie Fowler have both been linked, via the rumour mill of Setanta and 'In The Know' sorts in Scotland, with possible approaches from Celtic. With Flood having had an impressive season on loan at Dundee nited, I can understand that but surely any move for Fowler seems unlikely but they did express interest before he arrive at Ninian Park last summer. However, in a summer of a million and one rumours, don't believe anything unless it happens.

Friday, June 20, 2008

THE FOOTBALL LEAGUE'S SUPPORTERS SURVERY 2008

The Football League has just published its Supporters Survey 2008.

The report compiles the views of the 40,316 supporters who took part in an on-line survey, over half of whom reppresented Championship clubs, exactly 900 of them declared themselves as Cardiff City supporters.


The research reveals that:

- Respondents attended an average of 16 home matches and 5 away matches each season.

- 72% of supporters believe that Football League matches provide good family entertainment.

- Supporters identified match atmosphere as the single most important aspect of the matchday experience.

- 58% of fans prefer to see their clubs midweek matches scheduled on Tuesday nights compared to the 36% that prefer Wednesdays.

- Fans identified players showing dissent or a lack of respect to match officials as the most important area for the football authorities to address in the area of Fair Play, with 29% of supporters believing this to be the case.


To download a copy of the report, click here.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

EURO'2008 GAME 25: QUARTER FINAL 1: GERMANY 3 PORTUGAL 2

The Germans, although not overly pressive, still proved too good and far too organised and brushed aside the Portuguese who have played good football but showed they have limitations.

I think most observers called it a 50/50 game but the Portuguese started the better without getting close on goal and then were hit by two goals in 5 minutes midway through the first half which was highly entertaining with quality on display from both sides.

Those goals came firstly from a superb move sweetly finished by Schweinsteiger and then poor defence gave Klos a free header on goal from a free-kick after Ronaldo let him go.

Portugal could have caved but took the game to the Germans with Deco and Ronaldo causing problems and got reward when Ronaldo, now getting behind the Germans, saw his shot saved by Lehman but turned home on the rebound by Gomez. Ronaldo missed eqaulising by a whisker on half-time and then Pepe header over in front of goal at the start of the second half.

The second period didn't match the first half intensity but Portugal always looked the likelier to score until the Germans won another free-kick and once again Portugal were undone by their own criminal defending, this time their keeper gifting Michael Ballack a free header on goal delighting his national manager watching in a box as he was banned from the touchline but agonising his new club boss, Scolari, who was coaching Portugal.

The Portuguese came again but never got sight of goal and thier distance shooting was hopeless but then came an 88th minute lifeline as sub Postiga headed home.

With 4 minutes added time, it was set for a Grandstand finish but the Germans held on comfortably. Great start to the quarter-finals opf what has been an excellent tournament.


Video highlights of this game and all others can be found at this BBC link:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/euro_2008/schedule_and_statistics/default.stm

WALES AND SCOTLAND RENEW TALKS TO JOINTLY HOST EURO'2016

THE FAW and the SFA (not Supper Furry Animals!) have held further talks with a view to jointly hosting the Euro'2016 finals.

With joint hosts Austria and Switzerland enjoying a successful championships now and more joint hosts in 2012, it does seem the way forward. It's also possibly the only way Wales and Scotland will reach a finals again!


Wales and Scotland plan Euro bid
BBC News

JACKS vs CITY - NOW A SUNDAY SERVICE WITH SONGS OF PRAISE

This season's Swansea City vs Cardiff City Championship fixture, the first league clash between the Welsh rivals for 10 years, is being moved back a day to Sunday November 30th with a 11:30am kick-off and will also be televised live on Sky TV - what a treat for the viewers to watch and hear us lot going at it!

It was always believed this would happen once South Wales Police had their say and it is certain that it will be addionally confirmed as a coach-only "bubble" trip for Bluebirds followers. Police claims that one of the problems was that a Staurday game would clash with a Wales v Australia rugby international in Cardiff was probably of no major significance in truth. I can't even rememeber the last time a Cardiff v Swansea game had a bog-stand.

The question now is how many more Cardiff games will see their kick-off times or days changed for tv scheduling or police interference. I recall 5 games were moved before the season started and a few more during it. Even when we behave and get praised, City fans just cannot shake off the reputation tag.

DARREN DAY PISSED DOWN THE BAY, allegedly!

I don't there's too many more odious celebrities out there than Darren Day, that's assuming you still label as a celebrity these days.

He's in Cardiff currently appearing at a show in New Theatre but seems he was stopped cruising around Custom House Street(!) at 2am and has been charged with drink driving. It may stop him driving but I'm afraid he'll probably carry on acting which is a shame.

Darren Day charged with drink-driving after arrest in Cardiff
InTheNews.co.uk

CITY LINE-UP STRIKING TRIO

Will Fowler sniff out goals
for City next season?



As it's been a long time since Cardiff City actually landed the players named in newspapers, I can't get too excited at this stage but Peter Ridsdale is confident things are moving in his direction so we'll see.
The most certain 'arrival' appears to be that Robbie Fowler is set to sign a 1 year pay-as-you-play deal with Dave Jones and the club more excited about this than most supporters who have been distinctly unimpressed by Robbie and have every reason to speculate that he can't get the 20 goals that the boss suggests - 7 seasons of missing half the games and averaging 7 goals being as good as any. However, it's likely to be his last hurrah so we can only hope he does succeed.
More interesting is emerging news, eminating from Manchester too, that City are very close to landing Ched Evans on a season's loan from Manchester City. He's been a target for some time but some feared Mark Hughes would want to retain the Welsh starlet but as he chases down Brazilians and world stars and is set to splash the cash, it seems that he wants the player long-term but is considering allowing Cardiff - and possibly several other interested clubs - to give him more experience.
The names of Michael Chopra, Steve Howard and, worryingly, Mamady Sidibe continued to be linked as the club look set to play their own version of "Bargain Hunt" where we have antiques and stars are sold. :>)

Euro 2008 quarter-final line-up

The Group games are ended but starting form tonight, Euro'2008 swings straight into the quarter-finals with one game each night. Every game looks fascinating with the line up as follows;



Euro 2008 quarter-final line-up


Tonight - Germany v Portugal

Friday - Croatia v Turkey

Saturday - Netherlands v Russia

Sunday - Spain v Italy

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

EURO'2008 GAMES 23 & 24: GROUP D - SPAIN 2 RUSSIA 1, RUSSIA 2 SWEDEN 0

People get ready, The Russians are coming! A sensational Swede-bashing performance sent the previous faltering Russians into the quarter-finals to play Holland with absolutely nothing to fear. The Swedes, meanwhile, becmae the third team to win their opening game yet still be knocked out after game 3.

The Russian attacking display was refreshing and compulsive viewing. The shot count probably around 30 to 5 in their favour with every player pouring forward, even at 2-0, and a telling factor was that both goals were assisted by both full-backs making the final pass after lung-bursting runs to get deep inside the penalty box.

The key difference was Arshavin, who ran Rangers ragged for Zenit St Petersburg in their recent winning UEFA Cup winning display, ruled this encounter from start to finish but the whole team display was so powerful and consuming, making Sweden - who only needed a draw to go through and knock Russia out - looked a one paced clueless outfit.

Goals came in each half through Pavlyuchenko and that man Arshavin with sweeping moves, both started by Arhsavin. They also hit the post twice, produced numerous saves from Isaksson, went close several more times whilst battering the Swedish defence and midfield and peppering shots on goal at every opportunity.

The Swedes were mauled and lucky to get away with 2-0 although that represented their biggest ever defeat in a Euros final. Larrsson and Ibrahimovich never linked up front although the former hit the bar with a clever header and a 2nd half shot hit the post but, truth is, they only had 1 decent 5 minute spell all night which came at the end of the first period. However one first half shot in the Innsbruck venue probably ended up in Switzerland which did link the co-hosts.

Dare I suggest it now puts Wales' World Cup qualifying group and hopes into sharp perspective?

Our kids are developing fast, we look more competitive and have picked up some good results, albeit in friendlies. It also encouraged that Germany and Russia have looked decidely dodgy in their early games which I liked too. But now reality dawns, we're facing two Euro quarter-finallists. I bet our will be the only group that will be able to 'boast' that. While they may not be the best German side ever, they're still quality and so organised. Russia, meanwhile, look a terrifying prospect in this mood. It'll be one hell of a job to be anywhere near them.

In the other fixture, Spain were already through and had won the group played defending Champions Greece who were already out and would finish bottom. The Spaniards made 10 changes yet still won 2-1. The Greeks opened the scoring with a terrific powered header by Christeas, the man who scored the Euro'2004 winner.

However the Spanish were the superior side throughout with Liverpool's Alonso so close three times with a shot from the halfway line that missed by inches and sent the Greek keeper clattering into his own post, a 25 yard free-kick that almost whistled past the post and a 30 yard screamer that hit the inside of a post and rolled across goal but victory came with goals by the spendidly named De la Red's shot just past the hour and Guiza's guided header with two minutes left.

Greece, 2004 Winners, were therefore sent packing as the only team in the tournament to lose all three games while Spain equalled their international best record of 9 successive wins. When they last achieved it, they played Italy who stopped that sequence continuing and, yes, their quarter-final opponents just happen to be Italy!


Video highlights of these games and every Euro'2008 match plus stats and other info can all be found on this excellent BBC page
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/euro_2008/schedule_and_statistics/default.stm

CARDIFF WAGAMAMA RESTAURANT VISIT


Went to the latest addition to the Cardiff Bay eating scene this evening, Wagamama - an Asian styled noodle restaurant which has taken off around the UK and this is their first venue in Wales.


Got to admit, part of the reason I went is that it's 2 Meals for 1 all month if you print off a voucher at this link > http://www.menshealth.co.uk/Down-time/2-for-1-at-wagamama/v2


It only opened last month and is upstairs at Mermaid Quay with an entrance downstairs between restuarants facing the Millennium Centre.


The weather wasn't good and the Bay wasn't busy but Wagamama's was packed but we got a table straight away. It's open, spacious and with minimal decoration but is seen as trendy as that's the crowd they pull in, lord knows what they thought of me then! Having said that, I bet most were there on 2 for 1 vouchers anyway!


It was my first time in this sort of place and the menu was minimal - either noodle, rice or curry dishes. The staff were very friendly and every meal is freshly cooked but this does mean your food could arrive before your friend or partner, that's the way it is.


Fortunately, food for the other half and myself arrived pretty quickly after each other and it was excellent. I had teryaki steak noodles, my missus tried chickle noodles both were enriched with various additions and flavours and bloody gorgeous. Filling too.


My meal cost £12, my wife's cost £7 which is about the average cost per meal and a side dish was £4 so came to about £20 with drinks and the discount voucher but would have been nearer £30 otherwise.


Would I go there again? Yes definitely - although in truth probably only when the offer gets repeated which is regularly. I don't think it would have been worth £30.


Well worth a visit though and a refreshing change from the usual resturants and foods.






WALES' WEST HAM CARDIFF TRIO READY FOR PRE-SEASON

John Toshack's Wales have receieved a boost ahead for the Autumn World Cup 2010 qualifiers commencing with news that ex-Cardiff City men James Collins and Danny Gabbidon plus Cardiff-born Welsh skipper Craig Bellamy are all aiming to take part in the Premiership club's pre-season programme.
"Bells" briefly featured in Wales' end of season games and trained with the Bluebirds prior to the F.A. Cup Final after almost a year absent with various problems.
Gabbs has not played since before Christmas with back and hip problems but has had undertaken extensive treatment in Italy, he is understood to be ready and eager to get training and playing.
Ginge's return would be the biggest surprise of all since he had a cruciate knee ligament injury and was expected to miss the whole of 2008 and after regular action at the end of last season but his recovery appears to be well ahead of schedule.
Wales' first World Cup games are Azerbaijan and Russia in September, it will be good to have all three available.

Roger and Out at Ipswich as they sign two centre-halves

Media Rumours that Ipswich Town were about to offer an increased bid of £1.75M for Cardiff City centre-half Roger Johnson have ended almost as quickly as they started as the Suffolk club have signed two centre-halves within 24 hours.

Following the wonderfully named Pim Balkestein arriving from Holland, Town boss Jim Magilton has now signed Leicester City centre-half Gareth McAuley. It was widely believed that Magilton was after McCauley or Johnson and having obtained the former, there will no longer be any follow up enquiries or offer for the City man.

Any move to Ipswich seemed out of the question anyway as Johnson would not have left for another Championship club while Ipswich's valuations were substantially below the fee of £3M set by Peter Ridsdale.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

EURO'2008 GAMES 21 & 22: GROUP C ITALY 2 FRANCE 0, HOLLAND 2 ROMANIA 0

The repeat of the 2006 World Cup Final saw Italy and France, who both qualified form the same group edging out Scotland, fighting to stay in the competition knowing a win would not be enough if Romania beat Holland in the simultaneous group fixture.

As it was, the Dutch, even with 9 players rested, eased past a disappointing and ultra-cautious Romania 2-0 even with 2nd half strikes by Huntelaar and Van Persie. The Italians also found it rather too easy to repeat that scoreline against the worst French side seen for many years and who look in need of a drastic rebuild.

With the point shared between them in their dull opening clash being their only return of the finals, the French and Romanians head home while Italy and Holland march on although the Azzuri will have do make do without the suspended Gatuso and Perlo in their quarter-final.

The Italy v France contest was virtually over in the first 25 minutes as France lost their star man Franck Ribery to injury very early and then went one behind to a Perlo penalty and had Abidal sent off for bringing down Toni in thhe move that produced the spot-kick.

The French should have been out if sight by the interval but Toni somehow missed a literal hatful of chances with 6 clear sights of goal each failing to hit the target while Grosso hit the postt from a free-kick.

It got little better for France after the interval as Buffon has only one save of note to make all night as Thierry Henry, now a shadow of the player he was, rarely influential and it was ironic that Italy's clinching goal just past the hour was cruelly deflected in off Henry's boot after De Rossi's highly speculative 30 yard free-kick was heading wide.

Italy will face Spain in a tough quarter-final while Sweden and Russia effectively face off tomorrow for the dubious honour of taking on the unstoppable looking Dutch in the last 8.


Video highlights of all Euro'2008 games including the above matches can be found here:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/euro_2008/schedule_and_statistics/default.stm

FLEETWOOD, FROM CITY REJECT TO NON-LEAGUE TO CHAMPIONSHIP RIVALS


Cardiff City Academy product Stuart Fleetwood in back in league football and at Championship level too after signing a contract with Charlton Athletic.


Fleetwood always looked a useful player but his character wasn't right at City and he was discarded by Dave Jones with few appearences and fell away firstly with Hereford United and then into the non-league game with Forest Green Rovers. However he revived himself last season, netting 36 goals to make him leading Conference scorer and that brough him to the attention of league clubs.

Forest Green Rovers must be kicking themselves after Fleetwood himself turned down a January transfer to Crewe for a reported £200,000. Four months on, he can walk away for nothign although there is the matter of a compensation fee to be agreed.





SWANSEA ALREADY COUNTING THE DAY TO PLAYING CITY

Good to know we're still the centre of their universe!

MONK CAN'T WAIT FOR DERBY DAY AGAIN
South Wales Evening Post

JOHN HEYDA'S 2007/2008 CARDIFF CITY STATS PACK

Hope Mr H doesn't mind me repeating his posting to the Cardiff City mailing list but, for you CCFC trivia and stas buffs, this is a very worthy read.

Remember City's 4-2 League Cup win over West Brom in September? The Baggies had 16 attempts on goal in that match, the Bluebirds six. Or, how `bout City's 1-0 loss at Southampton in October? City had 13 attempts on goal compared to the Saints' three.

Match stats don't always tell you that much when it comes to individual games. Can they tell you much more when they're added together to produce season totals for the familiar categories - shots on goal, shots on and off target, corners, fouls, offsides, etc.?

Here are totals for City's games from the season just completed. See what you think.

Attempts on goal - City had 676 shots on goal in 56 games played (46 league games, six FA Cup and four League Cup games). That's an average of 12.1 attempts per game. City's opponents had 531 shots on goal for 56 games, an average of 9.5 per game. In short, the Bluebirds had 27% more attempts on goal than their opponents. City had the edge in league games 547 to 429 (or 11.9 to 9.3 per game), and in cup games by a margin of 129 to 102.

Attempts on target and off target - City put 385 of its 676 shots on target (or 57%), 280 off target (or 41.4%). Opponents put 288 of 531 on target (or 54.2%), 234 off target (or 44.1%). In league games, the Bluebirds had 313 on target (6.8 per game) and 225 off target (4.9 per game), opponents had 245 on target (5.3 per game) and 177 off (3.8 per game). In cup games, City had 72 on target and 55 off, opponents 43 and 57.

Hitting the woodwork - City hit woodwork 11 times, with nine coming in league matches, the other two in cup games. Opponents whacked the woodwork nine times, seven coming in league tilts and the other two in cup games.

Corners - The Bluebirds had 336 in total, 269 in the league (5.8 per game), 67 in cups. Opponents had 279 overall, 239 in the league (5.2 per game) and 40 in cup games. City had 20.4% more corners than their opponents in all games.

Fouls - City committed 563 fouls in all games (472 in the league, 91 in cups), while opponents were charged with a total of 743 (612 in league games, 131 in cups). In league games, the Bluebirds averaged 10.3 per game, opponents 13.3. Overall, opponents committed 32% more fouls than City.

Offsides - City were offside 194 times (181 in league play, 13 in cup games), while opponents show a figure of 211 (177 in the league, 34 in cup games). In league tilts, the Bluebirds averaged 3.9 per game, opponents 3.8. The offsides total for opponents is 8.8% higher than City's for this category.

Yellow Cards - The Bluebirds had 58 yellow cards (45 in league games, 13 in cup tilts), while opponents had 88 (70 in the league, 18 in cup games). Overall, opponents received 51.7% more yellows.

Red Cards - City had three, all in league matches. Opponents had only one, that coming in a cup game.

Substitutes - City employed 125 substitutes (100 in league games, 25 in cup matches). Opponents used 151 substitutions (124 in league games and another 27 in cup tilts). Opponents' total for this category is 20.8% higher than City's.

Scoring first - The Bluebirds scored first in 29 of the 52 matches featuring at least one goal. In league play, City scored first in 22 of 42. In cup matches, the club got the first goal in seven of 10.

So, what to make of all of this? Cardiff City finished 12th in their division in 2007/08, with a league record of 16-16-14, scoring 59 goals and conceding 55. Including ten Carling Cup and FA Cup matches, City won 24, drew 16 and lost 16, netting 76 and conceding 62. Do these marks sound like adequate return for a season in which the Bluebirds had 27% more attempts on goal and 20% more corners than their opponents in all games, not to mention seeing opponents commit 32% more fouls, get whistled for 9% more offsides, and pick up 52% more yellow cards?

In short, should City have done better with the edge they had in these categories? Or is this just further evidence that it's a funny old game (and good luck making much sense of it all)?

IPSWICH READY TO RAISE THE STAKES FOR ROGER JOHNSON

News emerges from East Anglia that Ipswich Town are ready to come back to Cardiff City with an increased offer for centre-half and fans favourite Roger Johnson.

Town had a £1M turned down by Peter Ridsdale last month but it's being reported in the media that they will now make a new bid of £1.75M.

That looks just as unlikely to have success as Roger Johnson would surely only leave Ninian Park for Premiership football but Cardiff City have already stated they would want £3M for the player who they do not wish to sell anyway. They have, however, offered new contract terms for Johnson which has not yet been signed.




Monday, June 16, 2008

FIXTURES ARE OUT AND, AS THE SKIDS SANG, THE SAINTS ARE COMING

CARDIFF CITY's fixture list for the 2008-2009 season has been published and, as per information which leaked onto CardiffCity.com messageboard, it all kicks off with a home game against Southampton on Saturday August 9.

The first away fixture will be the following weekend at newly promoted Doncaster Rovers, this info also become known in advance.

The first attractive awayday will be Derby County on September 20, Birmingham City - also demoted from the Premiership visit Ninian Park the following week.

Blackpool away on October 4 is a good date for those who like occasional stayovers and the illuminations will be in full swing.

Of course, it's the dates with our closest rivals which everyone looks for and City will visit Swansea on November 29 with the return at "Parc Nin" on April 4. The Wuzels visit City early on September 13, the visit to Trashton Gate comes next March. It's Reading (home) and Plymouth (away) at Christmas while Easter brings Crystal Palace (away) and Burnley (home).

This is the final season of football at Ninian Park and Ipswich Town get the honour of being City's final league opponents at the ground, that game takes place on April 25 before City finish the season at Sheffield Wednesday the following weekend.

For reasons that make little sense, I am not allowed to publish the fixture list since they are copyrighted.

However, if you are interested in an outlook version of all the City and Wales fixtures which will auto-populate your calendar, please mail me via the contact details on this blog and I will sort you out.

They can also be viewed on the official Cardiff City website > http://www.cardiffcityfc.premiumtv.co.uk/page/NewsDetail/0,,10335~1328872,00.html

IT'S 2008/2009 SEASON FIXTURE LIST DAY

In just a few hours, the new Championship fixture list for Cardiff City will be revealed.

When will be play Swansea and Bristol? How many games confirmed on the list will have thier days and times changed for tv or due to police? Will Blackpool away yet again be midweek in the middle of winter? Will I get a new job with good money to carry on supporting City away? What games will have to be rearranged with our FA Cup March to Wembley next season?

Some, but not all, of those questions will be answered later.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

EURO'2008 GAMES 17 & 18: GROUP A TURKEY 3 CZECH REPUBLIC 2, PORTUGAL 0 SWITZERLAND 2

The final games in each group are played simultaneously so with Portugal already through and Switzerland already out, their clash was relegated to ITV4.

Unsurprisingly in that encounter, Portugal rested 8 players but still looked the likelier to win until Swiss hero Hakin Yakin entered the scene with a double, one smart finish and a late penalty, to send the co-hosts home happy. The main entertainment on ITV1 however was more dramatic than any Sunday Night film and with a script that would have been rejkected as too far fetched.

The Czech Republic and Turkey knew it was a winner take all clash with victors in the quarter-finals and losers heading home. With identical records, a draw at 90 mionutes would have meant a unique penalty shoot-out to separate the sides.

The Czechs looked the better side for long periods, The Turks played a negative game suggesting they were happy to take the draw and the lottery until Lurch aka Jan Koller nutted home a trademark header from a cross in the first period. Turkey woke up after the interval but looked vulnerable on the counter-attack and were duly caught out with 25 minutes remaining as The Czechs doubled their lead through Plasil, Turkey furious as they were down to 10 men through an injury and unable to bring a sub on.

That should have been it but a turning point came when the Czechs hit a post to be denied a 3-0 lead and Turkey grabbed a lifeline through Turan with 15 to go.

Czech Republic seemed to be coping with few problems dealing with any late Turkey onslaught but then came the real drama. Peter Cech, who has looked dodgy throughout the finals, made perhaps the biggest gaffe of his career in dropping a routine corss onto the feet of grateful Turkish skipper Nihat to equalise with just 3 minutes left and a penalty shoot out looked odds on.

But more incredible late drama as Turkey swept forward, a Czech defender was too slow out and Nihat was played in onside to finish brilliantly in the final minute, his cross shot form the edge of the box crashing in off the bar.

Four minutes added time and even more amazing scenes as Turkey keeper Demirel was beaten to a late ball, a header just going wide but he pushed Koller in the chest and got red carded. With all subs used, Middlesbrough's Tuncay had to play the final 2 minutes but the ball was kept away from his goal. What an incredible turnaround.

Turkey, minus a couple of suspended players, have to face Croatia in the quarter-finals. The Czech Republic will probably spend the rest of june trying to figure out how it wasn't them instead but they only have themselves to blame for that.

MAKE MY DAY JONESY says EASTWOOD



In a week where Dave Jones went on record as saying he didn't believe Freddy Eastwood wanted to join Cardiff City but he was looking for bigger and better players anyway, Eastwood spoke to the media about how he would be more than happy to be with The Bluebirds.


The adopted Welshman signed for Wolves for £1.5M last summer but despite being appreciated by fans, boss Mick McCarthy has not rated him and has him on the transfer list.


In today's Wales on Sunday, Eastwood is quoted as saying, "I need to get away from Wolves and play - and Cardiff would be a very good move for me. They would be attractive to anyone. They got to the FA Cup final and have got a lot of good young players - you only have to look around the Welsh squad to see that."


"They have brought a lot of good players through and I know they had a little bit of a difficult season in the league, but they showed what they can do by getting to the cup final and in the end they were unfortunate not to win it. So anyone would fancy something like that. I have had my problems with Wolves but I have shown what I can do at international level, and I know I can do the same at club level if I get the chance."



In this game of verbal tennis, the ball is now back in Dave Jones' court.

FLOOD EXPECTED ON SOUTH COAST?


Cardiff City's forgotten man, Willo Flood, is linked in today's news with a move to Championship rivals Southampton.


The 23 year old Dubliner, a midfieler cum wideman, was signed by Dave Jones for a reported £200,000 from Manchester City in 2006 but never set the world alight at Ninian Park. At 5'6" and weighing well under 10 stone, he looked as lightweight at his stats would suggest and that was the reason Man City let him go too. He only started 5 games for Cardiff but had plenty on appearences off the bench.


However, few can fault his battling qualities and he is returing to Cardiff City for a very successful season on loan at Scottish Premier side Dundee UInited where he feated in a Cup Final and became a favourite. The Tangerines, though, don't have the funds to finance a permanent deal and with Flood out of the picture at City, odds are that he will move on before the new season starts. The Saints would apper to be a good opportunity for him.



EURO'2008 GAME 15: GROUP D SWEDEN 1 SPAIN 2

The Spaniards are through to the quarter-finals with a game to spare but never matched the hieghts of their opening performance and needed a dramatic 92nd minute winner that nobody could see coming to dispose of Sweden.

The game was no classic and, later winner appart, all the key moments were in the opning period.

The contest started well and Spain grabbed the opener with just 15 minutes on the clock with Liverpool's Torres finishing a quality move in the same style. The Swedes, however, showed they are a useful side, even if limited up front, and grabbed an equaliser on 34 with Ibrhahim netting his second of the tournament after no Swedish goal for two and a half year. His goal against Greece was spectacular, this was a scrappy stab home.

It looked game on but apart from Spain being denied what looked a clear penalty, there was no other action of note. Spain showed glimpses but never when it mattered until the 2nd of 3 added minutes at the end, a ball pumped downfield, Villa got behind the defender with a deft touch and suddenly found his way to goal unbarred and his finish was cool.

Video Highlights
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/euro_2008/7455067.stm

Saturday, June 14, 2008

EURO2008 GAME 16: GROUP D RUSSIA 1 GREECE 0

Defending Champions Greece are out of Euro'2008 with a game left following their second successive 1-0 defeat, this time to Russia. The result meant that Spain are through from Group D while Sweden and Russia go head-to-head in hte final game, a must win for the Russians but a draw would suffice for the Swedes.

It was an unremarkable contest and, in that vein, was decided by Zyryanov who scored from close range, set up by a team-mate making the most of an error by the Greek keeper.

Chances were missed by both side, a couple were sitters, but the Greeks were second best and never threatened to progress beyond the group phase so will be going home in 5 days. It's very likely they'll be joined by The Russians who haven't shown a great deal to worry Wales in the forthcoming World Cup qualifiers.

Nothing else to be added ... especially as I didn't watch any of it other than the goal!


Video Highlights
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/euro_2008/7455160.stm

THAT'S GOOD!

There's limited vocabulary and there's the reaction of the Bournemouth manager, Kevin "Good" Bond, to his side's Carling Cup home draw versus Cardiff City.

Talking to South Coast journos, Bond told them, "It's a good draw for us. They are a good side, they play good football and it'll be a good fixture for us. It's tough but it should be a good game as well.'

Oh good!

ACADEMY GO OVERSEAS FOR PRE-SEASON TOO

The first team go to Portugal, the resereves go to ... mmm ... Chippenham and now the Academy are off to Dublin on a mini pre-season tour.

Neil Ardley is taking the next set of future "sell'em for cash" men (can't call them Cardiff City stars of the future anymore, can we) to Ireland for 2 games against University College on July 16 and Shelbouurne U20's on July 19.

DEVO TO SUE McDONALD'S

NEW WAVE NIGEL
(no, it ain't based on me!)


Most Devotees were chuffed recently to see a Devo-eque character called New Wave Nigel wearing a Devo hat, Devo sunglasses and Devo jump suit being given away with McDonald's Happy Meals. By all account, he played a Devo-style tune too.


Only problem now seems to be that they didn't ask Devo and the group are not best pleased. Whether it's on moral grounds or the fact they're getting no income from it is open to debate, and whether they have a chance of being successful in any claim, but I do like Jerry's comments.



Friday, June 13, 2008

EURO'2008 GAME 14: GROUP C HOLLAND 4 FRANCE 1

After beating current World Cup holders Italy 3-0 in their first game, the Dutch were equally emphatic in pasting runners-up France.

The French had Thierry Henry available after injury and he scored a smart goal too with the deftest of touches with less than 20 minutes remaining. That gave the French hope and it reduced the deficit to 1-2 but the Dutch scored within a minute to oput it beyond doubt.

Holland again had those lucky(?) powder blue socks and gave out lessons in counter-attacking and smart movement. France, like Italy, had more and maybe better chances but the Dutch absorbed and hit back with interest.

Liverpool's Dirk Kuyt put the Dutch ahead inside 10 minutes and it stayed that way until almost the hour although Henry missed a couple of prime chances of the type he would have buried eyes closed a year or two. He was made to pay as a blistering three man counter-attack was finshed by Arsenal's Van Persie just 2 minutes after appearing as sub.

When Henry scored, it looked game on again but Robben spectacularly finished from an angle and Sneiders wrapped it up in added time.

The Dutch are through while France, like Italy, may not be in the quarter-finals at all.

EURO'2008 GAME 13: GROUP C ITALY 1 ROMANIA 1

A cracker of a game which saw Italy staring elimination in the face after trailing and being indebted to neckerchief wearing keeper Buffon for a late penalty save in a 1-1 draw against Romania.

The World Champions' hopes remain hanging by a thread and the modd is deparate with the inquest already underway in Italia and boss Donadoni making 5 changes for this game - desparation many reckoned.

A dramatic first half saw Italy take the game to the Romanians, come close a couple of times and have a goal wromngly disallowed but it was Romania who threatened most with a deflected free-kick coming off the inside of a post - the aftermath of which saw two Romanians inadvertently headbutt each other. One was carted away with a serious head injury, the other carried on with a bandage on his forehead that made him look like someothing out of Dr. Who. Mutu was played through one on one but shot straight at Buffon from an angle.

Both keepers made fine saves but the deadlock was broken in dramatic style when Zambrotta misjudged a back header and Mutu got behind him to finish emphatically as Buffon dashed out. The Italians looked in disarray as that happened but levelled in a minute, Panucci heading hiome at a corner as Romania forgot to put a man on the post.

There were thrills and spills at each end but the real drama came 6 minutes from time when Romania were awarded a contentious penalty, Mutu hit it well enough but Buffon saved it superbly and a Roman orgy followed.

Italy know their only hope of progression now is winning thier final game versus France and even then, they need a favourable result in the Holland v Romania game. Hanging by a thread.




Game video highlights here
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/euro_2008/7363356.stm

RAMBO COMPLETES MOVE TO THE EMIRATES

Cardiff City's loss is Arsenal's gain. On a day when Aaron Ramsey completed his £5M move to Arsenal and Cardiff City have sent out a typical warning that we shouldn't expect to see the money spent on replacements - they know how to motivate us! - you wonder what the benefit is to the club overall if your interest is the football team but it's sensational for Ramsey himself.


QUOTES BY RAMSEY AND ARSENE WENGER


After formally signing his contract today, Ramsey commented that, "Arsene (Wenger) talked to me for a long time about the club and the plans for the future, which really excites me as it's a club which always gives young players an opportunity at the highest level of the game and I am going to work my hardest to be part of future successes here."


Rambo added, "It was a really difficult decision to leave Cardiff City, they are my local club with great supporters and I would just like thank everyone at Cardiff City for their support and help in my early career. I will still look out for their results and there will always be a place in my heart for the Bluebirds."


Arsene Wenger admitted he had been a Ramsey admirer long before he got into The Bluebirds first team as Rambo shone at Highbury in a narrow F.A. Youth Cup defeat for City in February 2007.


"We're delighted to have signed Aaron Ramsey," said Wenger "as he is a young player who has shown huge potential with his performances for both Cardiff City and Wales at Under-17 and Under-21 levels. Although still only 17, he already shown that he is a very intelligent and mature player with great quality."


Wenger concluded, "Although he mainly plays in midfield, Aaron is a versatile player and can also play across the defence. We are all looking forward to welcoming Aaron to the Club for our pre-season preparations."


CARDIFF CITY drawn at BOURNEMOUTH in CARLING CUP


CARDIFF CITY have been drawn away at Bournemouth in this season’s Carling Cup First Round. The tie is expected to take place at Dean Court on Tuesday August 16th and it’s easy to imagine a few fans may take a mini break on the South Coast at that time.

The clubs last met in the third round of the same competition in a thriller in October 2004. Cardiff were denied victory in the last minute of normal time and extra-time, Cameron Jerome scored his first Bluebirds goal and Tony Vidmar was sent off but City won 5-4 in a penalty shoot-out with Neil Alexander making his first penalty save on a bitterly cold but brilliantly entertaining night.

After reaching the last 16 of the Carling Cup with an unforgettable occasion at Anfield as well as reaching the F.A. Cup Final last season, fans will be hoping City continue to take the competition more seriously as they hadn’t under Dave Jones before last season.

Elsewhere in the draw Reading (you’re not Premier anymore!) head to Dagenham & Redbridge while league newbies Exeter and Aldershot host Southampton and visit Coventry respectively.

The full draw, with ties due to be played week commencing 11 August, reads;
Preston v Chesterfield

Chester v Leeds

Leicester v Stockport

Sheff Utd v Port Vale

Grimsby v Tranmere

Crewe v Barnsley

Hartlepool v Scunthorpe

Derby v Lincoln

Notts County v Doncaster

Sheff Wed v Rotherham

Shrewsbury v Carlisle

Wolves v Accrington

Bury v Burnley

Rochdale v Oldham

Nottm Forest v Morecambe

Huddersfield v Bradford

Macclesfield v Blackpool

Walsall v Darlington

Coventry v Aldershot

M K Dons v Norwich

Wycombe v Birmingham

Brighton v Barnet

Gillingham v Colchester

Southend v Cheltenham

Swansea v Brentford

Luton v Plymouth

Exeter v Southampton

Watford v Bristol Rovers

Bournemouth v Cardiff City

Bristol City v Peterborough

Charlton v Yeovil

Millwall v Northampton

Swindon v QPR

Crystal Palace v Hereford

Dag & Red v Reading

Ipswich v Leyton Orient


It's a bizarre coincidence that the day Aaron Ramsey finally moved from Cardiff City to Arsenal coincided with news of the death, at the age of 75, of Derek Tapscott who served both clubs with distinction. Indeed, both official websites of the clubs are paying their respects.

Tapscott is a Barry boy who started football with his hometown club (and it's hard, if not impossible, to think of any other notable Barry-born footballers) was snapped up by Arsenal for £2,750 in 1953 and was a huge hit with the Gunners grabbing 68 goals in 132 games.

With City, he was just as successful netting 101 times in 234 games in 7 seasons to 1965 before playing on for many years in local Welsh football. He also got 14 Welsh Caps.

Two years ago, an authorised biography (Tappy by Terry Grandin) was released with launches at Ninian Park and Highbury and Tappy remained a frequent visitor to Ninian Park.

Cardiff City commented, "We would like to pass on our sincere condolences to everyone who was fortunate to have known 'Tappy'."

DEVO enchant PARIS

DEVO briefly popped into Europe last week for a date in France but missed the UK this time. Sadly, I wasn't able to make it which makes me feel more angst which I read this excellent review. The boys still got it!

http://www.realbuzz.com/en-gb/article/index?pageID=18424

EURO'2008 GAME 12: GROUP B AUSTRIA 1 POLAND 1

Austria and Poland both lost their first game and this draw will mean both are probably are the way home this weekend, neither look good enough to progress, but it will be the Austrians who are more buoyant as progress is in their hands and they were saved by a 93rd minute penalty that not all refs would give.

It was Premiership ref Howard Webb who awarded it after the second bout of penalty area wrestling

Austria should have been ahead early on but Celtic keeper Boric made three good saves before the Poles, whose fans outnumbered the home side, grabbed the lead on half-hour with their only chance and this was controversial too as Guerrero netted while clearly offside.

After the Poles survived a more obvious penalty shout early 2nd half, the game was going nowhere and drifted to the 1-0 result until that late, late penalty netted by 38 yr old Vastic became the oldest scorer in Euro Finals history and he will get free beer for life as offered by a Vienna brewery.

At least it meant the co-hosts, who have now won just 2 of 18 games, avoided the early exit embarrassment that the Swiss had. Progress will only happen if they beat the Germans in their final game, a tall order but it's taller for the Poles who can only progress by beating Crotia by a greater margin thatn the Austrians manage. Book your flight home boys!

EURO'2008 GAME 11: GROUP B GERMANY 1 CROATIA 2


Croatia have caused Euro'2008's first upset and I couldn't be happier.


The first - and only - Euro Finals match I watched was in Euro'96 held in England when I saw Croatia v Germany at Old Trafford. Croatia, then in their infancy, were so unlucky losing 2-1 to Germany. I like their colours, I love their fans and they knocked out England in the qualifying group which makes me love them more. Tonight, they got their revenge over Germany with a fully merited 2-1 success and they had more fans present than the Germans who looked vulnerable, good news for Wales when we play them in World Cup qualifiers.

Have you noticed the teams are marching out to White Stripes' 7 Nation Army with the crowds doing some Euro-style humalong to it? I like it.

This was rthe first game I watched in a pub, Lloyds Bar in Greyfriars Road to be precise and the Germans were there in number which made it all the more enjoyable to cheer for Croatia!

Srna opened the scoring on 24, Olic doubled the lead midway through the second half with a bit of a freakish goal but no more than deserved. The hugely impressive Croatians they took the game to the Germans and looked the better side in every area of the park, quicker of thought and feet. Modric, heading for Spurs, looked a class apart. So heavy was their domination that camera seemed to spend most of the match showing Jans Lehman in the German goal and, in particular his new emerged and large bald spot. With his perm, maybe he's been sleeping against a velcro headboard?

The Germans had a fortunate way back into the game with 12 minutes left, Podolski getting his third of the tournament, but there was no late onslaught as the Croats closed the game in style and the Germans finishing with 10 as Schweinsteiger who ran the show at Millennium Stadium in qualifiers and looked fantastic here as a late sub, got a straight red for a silly bit of argy-bargy.

Croatia are qualified for the quarter-finals and there were emotional celebrations, the Germans should be there too but have have work to do and will be reassessed them as potential winners.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

CITY BID FOR JASON ROBERTS, BLACKBURN SAID NO, NO, NO


I’ve gone all Amy Whinehouse!

Cardiff City’s undisclosed bid for Jason Roberts has been declined by Blackburn Rovers. It is believed that Dave Jones put Roberts at the top of his list some time ago and had been deep in chat with Rovers then boss Mark Hughes.

However with Sparky now gone to Manchester City, Rovers awaiting a new boss and reported other interest, some form Premiership clubs, it now looks a dead duck for the 30 year physical and pacy Grenadian who has a better than 1 in 3 career scoring record but has only started 20 times in 2 seasons at Ewood Park but appeared more often off the bench.

Peter Ridsdale has commented about developments, “It looks like Jason is staying at Blackburn now from what I have seen but we are still working on bringing in the strikers we need. I spoke to a Premiership manager over the weekend about a potential target and we will keep working hard.”

With some irony, City’s hope of getting one of their other chief striking targets in Wales starlet Ched Evans on loan from Man City has probably disappeared too with Mark Hughes haven taken over at that club.

Never mind, we still got Warren Feeney to rescue us!!!

CITY’s BASE TEMPORARILY MOVES FROM THE VALE OF GLAM TO THE VALE DO LOBO

For those of you who like being Bluebirds groupies or hanger-on’ers (and just setting off fire alarms!!), Cardiff City will be basing themselves at Vale de Lobo and setting up training camp there during July 20 – 25.

Longh gone are those days of running up and down Barry Island beach, taking assault courses at St Athan, those tortured dunes at St Athan or jogging around Jubile Park, the modern day City player heads for 5 star luxury – albeit with serious training and competitive football – overseas.

Cardiff will be based there from July 20 – 25 during which time they will be playing a ‘behind closed doors’ friendly versus Vitoria de Setubal and more high profile games in the Algarve Cup against hosts Vitoria de Guimares and Scottish giants, Celtic on the 22nd and 24th respectively. As City move into their luxury villas, the players and management of Real Madrid will be the occupants moving out. Nice!

The resort of Vale de Lobo … not quite Merthyr Mawr
http://www.designholidays.co.uk/pages/algarve/vale-do-lobo.htm

PUTTING THE “HEAT-ON” ENCKLEMAN

In part one of what looks like being the briefest of in-depth interviews, Tom Heaton talks a little about his decision to sign on loan for Cardiff City this coming season and his past experiences. Let’s hope his time turns out to be more successful (and longer) than the failure of Ross Turnbull this time last year.

http://www.cardiffcityfc.premiumtv.co.uk/page/NewsDetail/0,,10335~1327095,00.html

SA GOES SMOOTH AND DILUTED


What is wrong with drinkers these days?


Got to admit I don’t mind the odd so-called “Premium Beer” which is no beer at all when the weather is good but gimme Brains Dark over Dark Smooth and Brains SA over SA Smooth anyday ... even the thought of it and weakened too!

The problem is that you don’t get a choice. So many pubs sell Smooth beers and not the cask version, they don’t know how to keep or serve “proper” ale but they know how to shift chemical crap.


SAVE OUR DARK, SAVE OUR S.A.
Cardiff brewer’s beer goes smoothic Wales - United Kingdom

TODAY’S AARON RAMSEY NEWS




It’s almost a daily bulletin but these two stories in today’s Echo are quite revealing. Have a read and see what you think.


WALES WORLD CUP FIXTURE DATES CONFIRMED



All the home games, despite John Toshack’s pleas, will be played in Cardiff at Millennium Stadium. As always, they’ve given themselves a chance of a strong start but it didn’t work out that way with Euro’2008 so let’s hope for a far better campaign this time around.


Wales 2010 World Cup qualifiers - Group 4


6 September 2008 Lichetenstein v Germany, Wales v Azerbaijan
10 September Finland v Germany, Azerbaijan v Lichtenstein, Russia v Wales
11 October Germany v Russia, Wales v Lichtenstein, Finland v Azerbaijan
15 October Germany v Wales, Russia v Finland


28 March 2009 Germany v Lichtenstein, Russia v Azerbaijan, Wales v Finland
1 April Wales v Germany, Lichtenstein v Russia
6 June Finland v Lichtenstein, Azerbaijan v Wales
10 June Finland v Russia
19 August Azerbaijan v Germany
5 September Azerbaijan v Finland, Russia v Lichtenstein
9 September Wales v Russia, Lichtenstein v Finland, Germany v Azerbaijan
10 October Russia v Germany, Lichtenstein v Azerbaijan, Finland v Wales
14 October Germany v Finland, Azerbaijan v Russia, Lichtenstein v Wales

AJAX GETS TO THOSE HARD TO GET AT PLACES - including Ninian Park!


Although not yet officially announced, news has emerged that Cardiff City's now traditional one home pre-season friendly only against foreign opposition the weekend before the new season gets underway will be against Dutch masters Ajax of Amsterdam.


The media, as usual, are far more excited about it than fans will be. They never prove to be as exciting as they can be and many give it a miss. Ajax will be managed after Euro'2008 by current Dutch boss and legend Marco Van Basten. They are a side shorn of stars - The Ecgho talk about how one played for Charlton in the past, another for Newcastle and another played twice for Norwich. That whet your appetite eh? You can however imagine that Van Basten may well bring some new faces with him.


The game will take place Friday August 1st at 7:45pm.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

EURO'2008 GAME 10: GROUP A - SWITZERLAND 1 TURKEY 2

That's not yodelling you cow bells you can hear in the Swiss Alps tonight, it's howls of despair as one of the co-hosts are out just 5 days and 2 games into the Finals in a game both sides needed to win but Turkey deserved to scrape home in dramatic style with an injury time winner.

This was one of the best contests so far but possibly watched by the lowest UK audience as Beeb pushed in onto BBC2 so the rest of the nation could watch the Final of The Apprentice.

For the first 20 minutes, even those more interested in the final were probably preparing to switch channels as it was tepid but then the fun and frolics started as someone decided to mix football with Jeux Sans Frontieres and introduce water. The most amazing monsoon style run lashed down for 20 minutes leaving puddles all over the palce, defenders sliding in, the ball stopping dead with nobody able to run with it and general hilarity - if only we had Stuart Hall to commentate!

It was getting close to the stage where it was getting dangerous and unplayable, it possibly had reached that, when the Swiss scored as the pitch suited their direct style. A long ball sent wide by Sendero, it stopped in a puddle to hold up nicely for the winger, he came in and sent a ball across the face of goal which saw Turks trying to run oun when players were yards offside and then, brilliant comedy. as the ball stopped still in a puddle in front of goal for Hakan to tap in from 3 feet and even then he scuffed it.

The Swiss should have made it two as Hakan missed a sitter in similar style but this time, the cross missed the puddle and zipped off the surface and arrived to quick so he put it wide of the gaping goal. The Turks were trying to play a passing game while the Swiss, attacking the shllow end!, found conditions perfect. The Turks did hit the post via their impressive striker, Arda, who needed to try, well, Arda!

Then the rain stopped, half-time must have saw a few frogmen, the local swimming group and some immense work taking place as the sides returned wih the pitch much improved and suddenly Turkey were able to pass.

They equalised on 58 minutes, simple header which the keeper perhaps should have saved and then it ebbed and flowed. The Swiss almost nicked it 5 minutes from time but then The Turks senstaionally knocked them out after playing left all 2nd half, then finally broke right, Arda ran 35 yards, the defender crucially invited him inside and he shot, caught a defender and looped over a helpless keeper.

The Swiss sloped home ... to the slopes ... time to get back to winter sports!

EURO'2008 GAME 9: GROUP A - PORTUGAL 3 CZECH REPUBLIC 1

Portugal, just 4 days and 2 games into Euro'08, all bar confirmed themselves as first quarter-finalists with an excellent, if flattering win, over Petr Cech's Czechs.

The Czechs played far better than their opening game which they won. By dropping 6'7" veteran status Kohler (BBC pronounce him as Coller and ITV as Cola so take your pick!), they had more energy and pace going forward even if his replacement was Milan Baros - not good enough to play against Cardiff City in the F.A. Cup Final 3 weeks ago. What they didn't have , though, was the quality and flair of Ronaldo, Deco and co.

Slightly against the run of play Deco opening the scoring early - a scrappy goal set up at the second attempt after a scrappy Rnaldo run to make the chance - but the Czechs levelled it just past 15 minutes through a free low header at a corner by Sionko.

An excellent first half but the tempo dropped as there were suggestions of a stalemate until Deco made space and Ronaldo's early edge of area shot left Cech helpless.

The Czechs attacked hard but didn't have a finish to level it again and Portugal repeated their opening game scoreline with a 93rd minute quick Deco free-kickc sent Ronaldo clear and he squared the ball across Cech for Quaresma to tap into an empty net.

RAMSEY - "Gut Feeling" made me choose Arsenal

Haven't heard Devo's Gut Feeling for a while but may dig it out now. Instinct and gut feeling are as good as any reasons when making choice, especially when there is little to choose between the main players.

Good Luck Aaron

DAVE JONES is "amazed" that Aaron Ramsey has chosen to join Arsenal over Manchester United but why?

He's joining one of the top three clubs in the country, will live near or with his mate Chris Gunter, won't be coming back on loan (he wasn't keen on that) and been promised first team football for the Gunners next season ... even if that's likely to be Carling Cup. Man United offered to send him back to Cardiff for a year!!!

Jones can't disguise his feelings (above)

Story in today's Western Mail

I知 amazed Rambo has chosen Arsenal over Euro champions United ...ic Wales

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

EURO'2008 GAME 8: GROUP D SWEDEN 2 GREECE 0

Simple, bland but effective. That's Ikea for you but that''s also how it's nation of origin, Sweden, looked too brushing aside the limited challenge of current Euro Champions of Greece with a 2-0 margin.

There was little to enthuse about except the Swedish fans who filled two thirds of the stadium and, without exception, were donning a replica shirt.

The goals, both coming around the mid-point of the second half were sublime (Ibrahim's instinctive 20 yard drive probably the best individual goal so far) and ridiculous (as the Greek keeper missed a punch and a Swede just about bundled the ball home form a couple of feet with two Greeks on the floor). Sweden will be happy of course but they didn't suggest they'll be serious contenders when it gets to the business end of these Finals.


That's the first round of games over and rather than cagey football, it's produced 7 positive results. Can't say it's been the highest quality but it certainly has been entertaining and is set fair to get better and hotter as some sides have the win their next games or face early elimination.

EURO'2008 GAME 7: GROUP D SPAIN 4 RUSSIA 1

Y Viva Espana! Spain finally look the real deal in a tournament - always fancied but they always cock it up but in this showing, they may finally live up to expectations.

Two goals in each half with a David Villa hat-trick and a last minute Cesc Febregas header after a smart move demolished Russia, whose defence must be their worst since the Kremlin came into existence. Russia looked half decent going forward and grabbed a late consolation which at least made them the first losing side to score a goal but the way they defend, they got no chance of progression.

Commentary was as insane as ever with Mark Lawrenson - about as funny as a drunk uncle at a family wedding - kept making references to the Eurovision Song Contest. It's the Euros, get it. Genius Lawro! Radio 5 meantime wanted to fill the aiwaves talking about the stunning scenery from their commentary box. And, of course, they pondered how Russia qualified from England's Group, Steve McLaren deciding not to take part in that. Wonder why?

So that's Holland, Germany and Spain in the reckoning so far ... watch as they somehow mess it up.

RIDSDALE OFFERS HIS THOUGHTS ABOUT RAMBO TO THE ARSE

http://www.cardiffcityfc.premiumtv.co.uk/page/NewsDetail/0,,10335~1325950,00.html

ARRON RAMSEY IS GOING TO ARSENAL


The early morning speculation has proved correct as Rambo has told Cardiff City that he wishes to sign for Arsene Wenger and Arsenal. It now remains between the clubs to wrap up the finer detail but Peter Ridsdale has already confirmed it is the best 'up front' offer with some talk that The Gunners are paying the full fee now but that there will be no sell-on clause.


Rambo will now be close again to his best mate, Chris Gunter, who is nearby at rivals Spurs. Ironic both of them were sold by City before Cardiff fans had much chance to fully appreciate them as each only played 20 games for the The Bluebirds.


City fell over themselves to sell Rambo to United talking about the special relationship and thinking how they'd have Ramsey back next season. That's why I believe they too quickly snapped up United's offer when they could have had an auction and got more.


How ironic that the reason City wanted to get him to United - to get him back for City - is probably the biggest factor why it didn't happen ... well that and Alex Ferguson leaving it with Ramsey and his family to meet Gary Neville instead of him. That's poor!


Think Ramsey will be a better player with Arsenal and their style of football and I fully understand why, if he's leaving Cardiff then there's no way he would want to stay on. Can't escape the feeling that as good as the fee is, Ridsdale still cocked it up.
BEST WISHES AARON.



Cardiff City official statement


The Greatest Cardiff City Video??

A cracking vid of 60 of the Greatest Cardiff City goals ever ... it's shcoking how many of them I was there to personally witness!

RAMBO ANNOUNCEMENT EXPECT IN 24 HOUR, RISDALE UNSURE WHERE HE'S GOING, ARSENAL NOW FAVOURITES???


The reasons Cardiff City wanted Aaron Ramsey to go to Manchester United may well be one of the key factors that prevents it.


Ramsey and his family, all United fans, did not meet Alex Ferguson and it was left to Gary Neville to show Rambo about the place. Ferguson, of course, has also made a loose agreement to loan him back to Cardiff City for next season but the player himself doesn't appear keen to do that.


Understandably to all bar the most blindly Bluebirds followers, if he's moving on then he's moving on.

By contrast, Arsene Wenger was also away from North London but flew the Ramsey family to Basle to personally meet him by private jet is is understood to have assured him of first team action next season as well as not loaning him out either to Cardiff or anyone else.

Man United are believed to be in panic and chasing more talks, it's a fair bet that not sending him back to Cardiff will be part of that.
Whatever happens, it's now odds on that we've seen the last of Rambo in a City shirt something which the hierarchy appear to had taken for granted.


Pointless but Humorous


Got to smile at SLEEVEFACE, the latest fad which started on the 'net where people hold album covers featuring faces in front of their own. This has now rolled over into club nights, the latest of which was held at Clwb Ifor Bach in Cardiff last Friday as per this picture.

Some other funny examples can be seen at http://www.sleeveface.com/?p=75


See http://www.sleeveface.com/ for full details and more pictures.


Monday, June 09, 2008

EURO'2008 GAME 6: GROUP C HOLLAND 3 ITALY 0

The future's bright, the future is indeed orange.

The Dutch who make a habit of disharmony and messing up tournaments did the exact opposite in a blistering team performance to demolish the World Cup holders. As Wales only lost by 2 to them last week usuign kids, how good does that make us?? :>)
The scoreline flattered Holland who opened the scoring in controversial fashion as Van Nistelroy netted from close range midway through the opening half clearly standing ofside but it was allowed as an Italian who was injured in the previous attack had rolled off the pitch behind the goal which apparently meant he was onside.
Horse face was superb and Holland's other two goals were not total football but counter-attacgking at their best as Van Bronkhorst headed off the line and they scored at the other end seconds later with Sneiders with Van Bronkchort running 80 yards to send in the cross and it was almost identical in the second half when Van Der Saar made a brilliant free-kick save and then Van Bronkhorst went lung bursting to the opposite end to steer home a header.
Italy, officially the oldest side ever in the finals with average age more than 31, actually played very well and were so unlucky with several chances but without talisman Canavarro at the back, they were hopeless and ripped apart defensively.
Special mention must go to Holland's kit. Traditional orange shirts and white shorts but what the heck were their powder blue socks and straight line shirt numbers that looked like they had masking tape on look like? Shocking!

EURO'2008 GROUP C: ROMANIA 0 FRANCE 0

Group C - dubbed the Group of Death as it contains Italy, Holland and France - may as well be renamed to Coma Group if this evidence is anythign to go by. So bad was this game that it almost made me fondly sentimental about some of the dross Cardiff City were serving up at Ninian Park last Autumn!

Romania were cynical, set up defensively for a 0-0 and showed no ambition so they will be the happier side of the two even though they don't look like scoring or winning all tournament on this showing. France had the better possession but where unable to create and made to look poor and slow - a fear some held for their ageing side in which veterans Thierry Henry and Patrick Viera (who almost make Fowler and Hasselbaink seem young) were injured and Captain Lilian (lovely name) Thuram (not so lovely name) was winning his 141st cap.

Romania's star man Mutu couldn't sniff a half chance. Funny that, he had no problem sniffing at Chelsea! The quality of the game was best summed up when Romania brought on a sub who plays for the mighty Inverness!

I gave up and ate salad, it was more exciting.

PETER RIDSDALE DEFENDS RAMBO SALE AND THE FEE

Peter Ridsdale attampts to justify why he accepted the fee for Ramsey to go from Cardiff City to Arsenal or Everton or Manchester United as news emerges Rambo may be opting for life in North London and United completely jumped the gun.

Peter Ridsdale defends Ramsey sale

AARON RAMSEY TRANSFER ROADSHOW OVER, DECISION EXPECTED WITHIN 48 HOURS


Having completed talks with all three clubs chasing his signature following a meeting with Arsene Wenger on Saturday night, Rambo will have mulled over options with family and advisors yesterday and in his own mind, maybe heart too, will know what he wants next. It is being reported that he will give a final decision by no later than this Wednesday.


Manchester United jumped the gun last week announcing he was on the way via their official website when that was not the case. They still believe themselves to be favourites, especially as Ramsey is a lifelong United fan. It is the preferred choice of Cardiff City too since they hope to retain the player on a season's loan and strike some form of partnership with United. However don't count on things falling naturally into place.


There are rumours that Ramsey is not keen to stay on at Ninian Park and it is understandable that if he is sold, then it is time to move on too. Everton are Arsenal are also believed to be offering him first team chances next season which has to be attractive while Rambo's best mate, Chris Gunter, being at Spurs may make Arsenal an attractive proposition.


Could it be that City's eagerness to sell to Man United at a fee they appear to have agreed when the bidding war was hotting up and set to go higher will prove costly in more ways than one?