Thursday, July 31, 2008


A small but, perhaps, significant step towards the new stadium development and a better future for Cardiff City came this morning with the opening of the first unit on the accompanying retail park.

Costco, the US electrical giants, opened the biggest store on the park. They signed as the anchor tenants in May 2005, today it became a reality. Trade only, they promise big savings to customers ... all of whom will be able to use their spaces for car parking on matchdays too.


Throughout much of last season, if you heard the news that Tony Capaldi was out of the City side for three weeks, you'd be dancing in the street and shouting "the drinks are on me" down your local.

Capaldi prepares for another long throw

However, even if he still hasn't won everyone around, few doubt Capaldi has now settled, is in the side on merit and is a solid (if unspectacular) component of City's side.

News, therefore, that he is absent for three weeks putting him out of the opening to the season following a minor cartiledge operation is seen as another blow in a whole summer full of blows. Thankfully, it is only a short time though and if the prognosis rings true, it mans he only misses the opener against Southampton next weekend and the away trip to Doncaster in a fortnight.

Maybe thoughts were that Miguel Comminges would cover his absence but it seems that Dave Jones will be turning to Mark Kennedy to do the job. We'll get a better idea tomorrow when City entertain Ajax in an attractive friendly opening the final season of action at Ninian Park.


Cardiff City's miserable summer just seems to have no light at the end of the tunnel and has another low.

Lengthy talks between Peter Ridsdale, Dave Jones, Jimmy Floyd-Hasslebaink and the PFA broke down yesterday with the player quoted as saying, "It’s not resolved yet, We have to wait until we can resolve it. I would have loved to have played another year of football with Cardiff. I had a great year with the club last year but it is not to be. It looks like it could go to court.”

Hasselbaink - yes, I've got them!!

The background to this latest mess is that while Peter Ridsdale always delared in public that the option to trigger a second year on the contract was always up to Cardiff City, it transpired that only Hasselbaink played 23 matches, that clauses automatically triggerred.

However Ridsdale and Jones are adamant that they realsied last Christmas that Hasselabaink wasn't "fast or fit enough" or roght for the club to have a second year which reached a dilemma in February when JFH has played 22 games.

Ridsdale claims that player and himself reached a verbal agreement at that time over the second year being waived but nothing to that effect was ever signed. Ridders, a man of vast business and football experience who dosn't seem to be showing he's learned lessons, states he confirmed the converstaion in writing but that JFH told him he was 'a man of my word' so that was as far as it went at that time.

While Ridsdale obviously believes agreement was reached, it contradicts Hasselbaink stating many times in the second half of the season that he hoped to be with City for this season. He supposedly arrived for pre-season training but was turned away.

With Jimmy's contract being worth £15k a week, this could not only be a £3/4M gaffe by City, it must also be affecting the budget for replacements. What a mess and you can certainly argue about the incompetence of Ridsdale. Even if City win the day, how did they allow themselves to be put in this situation? This has to be City's worst summer for years.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

CITY SET TO MISS OUT ON KENNY COOPER - he's staying Stateside?

There's been several twists and turns but I think many of us feared City were likely to lose Kenny Cooper and it's starting to appear that way.

After City's bid was accepted came news that FC Dallas wanted to keep their man while Cooper himself provided indications that he would prefer Rosenborg of Norway if he was heading to Europe.

The signs tonight are that the home of J.R. Ewing have won the day. There may yet be another twist but this statement by FC Dallas General Manager Michael Hitchcock sounds ominously definitive.

“We received offers from multiple international clubs for Kenny Cooper during this transfer window, but we elected to decline them all. The international interest is a credit to Kenny, FC Dallas and the ever increasing talent level in Major League Soccer but winning championships is our priority, and we feel strongly that Kenny will continue to be an important part of our success as we compete for the MLS Cup this year and in the future.”


City remain unbeaten pre-season and will be relatively happy that a mix of mainly youth and experience possibly featuring no more than 2 players - if that - like to start Championship action in 12 days as they fought back to gain a 1-1 draw at Swindon who fielded their first team.

City's squad players used included Paul Parry, Enckleman, Purse, Dennehy, Blake, Comminges (playing against his former club), Scimeca and Brown with the rest made up of Academy boys.

Perhaps it was no surprise that Swindon had a strong first half and a deserved lead after several attempts on goal while City only mustered two Paul Parry efforts.

Swindon's goal came just after the half-hour as Lee Peacock met a through ball and squeezed his shot home despite Purse trying to keep the ball out.

However Paul Parry equalised within 3 minutes of the restart with a simple goal and simple finish as he latched onto a pass and finished comfortably.

The rest of the game was rather non-eventful. Half-chances at both ends but nothing to excite greatly - the closest being Swindon denied a penalty shout while Dennehy fired over for City after a goalmouth scramble.

City's next and final pre-season friednly is Friday evening when they entertain Dutch masters, Ajax. They will also be sure to feature all those absent tonight.


The AGM for the club was held at Ninian Park today and attended by many shareholders. Overall, it seems to have been reasonably upbeat.
This despite the ongoing Langston dispute and club debt, questions over the lack of investment in the team, some angst about Peter Ridsdale's 'fat cat' pay and, more starling in my view, City reporting a small profit only for 2007/08 despite above break-even crowd, the sales of three players for almost £8M, £400k from a Carling Cup last 16 match at Liverpool and, of course, that magical F.A. Cup run all the way to two appearences at Wembley and the final itself.
Dave Sugarman a.k.a. The Long Gunman posted his thoughts and report on the Cardiff City website which is reproduced below.

The top table at today's AGM, which took place in the Canton Suite at Ninian Park, consisted of chairman Peter Ridsdale, directors Alan Whiteley and Steve Borley, team manager Dave Jones, outgoing finance director Tony Brown, Keith Harris of Seymour Pierce Ltd and the club's auditor, Gareth Jones, from Chantrey Vellacott DFK LLP. Also present, although not sitting at the top table, were major shareholders Paul Guy and Mike Hall of PMG Ltd.

The chairman welcomed the shareholders to the meeting and introduced those at the top table. He announced that Keith Harris would be joining the Cardiff City board as a non-executive director directly following the AGM. In response to a question as to whether the new director holds shares in then club or not, Peter Ridsdale confirmed that his company, Seymour Pierce Ltd, already have a shareholding.Ridsdale also announced that a successor for departing finance director Tony Brown is currently being sought by the club, and when that person takes up their position they will also join the board.

Ridsdale outlined the position at the club at the moment and painted a very positive picture of the direction in which the club is heading, thanks in particular to the new stadium development and the new training facilities.He spoke of the management team's financial strategy in terms of their attempts to compete in the Championship and gain promotion to the Premiership. That involves selling players each year in order to raise enough revenue to pay the club's annual wage bill, which he suggested needs to be almost twice the amount that can be covered by the current gate receipts and commercial revenues.

He stressed that the latest set of accounts, which show a loss of almost £5 million for 2006/07, do not include any player sales as Cameron Jerome was sold just before the relevant period began and Michael Chopra was sold weeks after it ended.Ridsdale said the accounts for the period covering June 2007 to May 2008 were in the process of being signed off and would show that the club made a profit of approximately £750,000 during that time.

He stressed that the sale of Aaron Ramsey and the revenue from a record 14,000 season ticket sales are not included in that figure as they will be covered by the following year's accounts (ie: June 2008 to May 2009).

The chairman mentioned the club's success in avoiding summary judgement in the Langston court case and he also confirmed that Langston's recent appeal had failed. He estimated that the court case had cost the club approximately £400,000 and stated that regular dialogue with Langston's representative, Sam Hammam, is now very much ongoing. He said he is extremely confident that this business will be sorted out once and for all in the very near future.

Ridsdale then threw the meeting open for questions from the floor. The first question concerned his wages and bonus payment during 2007, which it was suggested were far too big for a company of the football club's size. The chairman defended his right to his level of earnings by outlining the progress the club has made since he took over his position. He was backed up by Keith Harris, who claimed Ridsdale's basic wages are in line with chief executives at other Championship clubs. He said there are other chief executives in this division who earn far more and stated his belief that Ridsdale's bonus was well deserved given the situation the club was in when he first arrived.

The chairman was asked a question regarding a debt write-off of almost £2 million that was contained in the 2005 accounts. He explained that this money was written off in agreement with Rudgwick Ltd, a company owned and controlled by former chairman Sam Hammam, who were the club's parent company at the time. The figure largely related to management fees which had been charged to the club by Rudgwick in previous years but had never actually been drawn as the club could not afford to pay them. Tony Brown mentioned that this debt write-off was crucial in order for the council to pass the club's stadium project business plan.

A question was asked regarding a large loan, believed to be in the region of £1.5 million plus interest, which is due to be repaid to former vice-chairman Michael Issac fairly soon. The chairman reported that friendly talks with Isaac are underway in a bid to renegotiate the terms and repayment date of that loan.

In answer to a question about the size of the club's current players wage bill, Ridsdale stated there are ten to twelve teams in this division whose wage bills are in excess of £12 million pa, six to eight whose wage bills are between £7 million and £12 million and the rest whose wage bills are less than £7 million. He said City are in the second bracket with a players wage bill of approximately £8 million pa at this current point in time.

The chairman fielded a question about people who had apparently bought season tickets for the forthcoming campaign but had then attempted to cancel their payments following the FA Cup final. He said they number less than a dozen in total and that includes a couple of genuine cases where people have either unexpectedly moved due to work or have passed away. He said the situation is absolutely nothing to worry about.

Ridsdale spoke briefly and proudly about the club's Academy set-up. He stated the current crop of Under 16's are particularly promising and suggested the manager already has his eye on a couple of them with a view to involving them in the senior set-up in the not too distant future.

The chairman was asked about the fee involved when Aaron Ramsey moved to Arsenal. He stated that the agreement made with the Gunners stated that they should pay £2.5 million immediately and then a further £2.5 million one year later in what was effectively a straight cash deal and was not dependent upon appearances. However, he added that Arsenal have in fact reached a further agreement with City since whereby they have already paid a little over £4.8 million in one lump sum to complete the transaction early.

One shareholder complained that the fee for Ramsey was too small by today's standards. Ridsdale explained that Liverpool and Arsenal both initially offered £1 million up front with a further £2 million based on appearances. Manchester United then moved in with a bid of £4.5 million plus a further payment of £500,000 if he made a set number of appearances for City this season as a part of a loan-back agreement. Arsenal effectively topped that with a straight £5 million cash bid. Liverpool dropped out of the running at that stage. Everton then made a late entry into the market and said they were prepared to match the £5 million deals being offered by Arsenal and Man Utd. Agents working for Arsenal, Man Utd and Everton indicated they were not prepared to improve upon those bids, so Ramsey was given permission to speak to all three clubs, which he duly did.

Ridsdale and Dave Jones both stated the club wanted the player to stay here for another season and then go on to Man Utd, but he and his family eventually chose Arsenal and were very clear in that choice.

The chairman then moved on to the formalities of asking the shareholders to vote to accept the 2005, 2006 and 2007 accounts, and reappoint Chantrey Vellacott DFK Ltd as the club's auditors. All present with the exception of former chairman Tony Clemo voted to accept the 2005 accounts, the 2006 and 2007 accounts were accepted unanimously, and Chantrey Vellacott were reappointed with only one shareholder voting against.Overall, I felt the mood at the AGM was a very positive one.

Ridsdale's performance as chairman of this meeting was probably the finest I have witnessed from him since he arrived at the club. He dealt with all of the questions asked of him patiently and confidently and the answers he gave were generally plausible. Once again today he demonstrated just how good he is at public speaking and how comfortable he is with dealing with questions from supporters.

The permanent involvement in the club of Keith Harris can only be a good thing in my opinion. He is a real high-flyer within the British game and is certainly not known for backing losers, so his becoming a member of Cardiff City's board must be seen as a step forward for the club.

Dave Jones needed to say very little during the meeting itself but he spoke to a number of shareholders afterwards and seemed far more relaxed than he has done previously in public situations.


Singalong with Orville
You're Not Orville


With Cardiff City's AGM taking place today, the club have announced that football's Mr. Fixit has joined the Board as a non-executive Director.

Harris has brokered major finance and takeovers at other clubs although his story isn't always one of brilliant success. Peter Ridsdale is clearly excited by this development with a press release that, "Keith Harris has been offered, and has accepted, a position as non-executive director of Cardiff City. I am absolutely delighted that somebody of Keith Harris’ stature has agreed to join the board. This signals again that we are moving from a phase of survival to one of restructuring the group financially so that we are able to compete in our attempt to progress to the FA Premier League.”

It's interesting news but should we be excited or worry. What does it mean to the club and it fans?

Harris was associated with the club in late 2006 and said to be bringing hedge funds to the club which ultimately made Sam Hammam stand aside. However, after he did that, the hedge funders never showed up.

He has advised or helped many clubs in the past but never been a Director with one before. So why now? Especially when it is non-executive. You can read into that that Harris may be taking funds from the club but it remains very unclear what is expected from him.

Time will tell.


It's now been 3 days since MLS leaked that they had accepted Cardiff City's offer for Kenny Cooper but, strangely, the player starred next day for FC Dallas in a win over L.A. Galaxy and there is no news yet if/when the player is flying to meet Dave Jones and Peter Ridsdale which is expected to early happen this week.

The other club officially known to have enquired about the player is Rosenbourg of Norway who doesn't offer the same level of football but can provide European exposure. However they've been unable to match City's offer - and it's doubtful that they will - and would seriously struggle to get near the personal terms that The Bluebirds are prepared to put to Cooper.

However this has not stopped agent Jan Schiefloe - who is believed to be representing Rosenborg in any deal (so self-interest isn't a factor here eh?!!) claims Norway is where Cooper would prefer to move. Schiefloe claims, "Cardiff are in the race but the move is not interesting for him. We hope to get clarification of Cooper's situation in the next few days but it is too early to say anything definite." So why say it then pillock!?


Meantime a new twist in the Glenn Loovens will he stay/will he go saga as no new bids have been received but Marco Van Basten's Ajax of Amsterdam, Cardiff's opponents in a friendly on Friday night, are believed to have registered an interest in taking the player back to his homeland with a fee of upt £4M. This blows Glasgow Rangers out of the water as they were only offering a ridiculous £1M.

City fans, of course, will hope against hope that Glenn stays as he is a pivotal member of the side and his partnership with Roger Johnson is arguably the best in the Championship.

Monday, July 28, 2008


With South Wales temperatures hitting the 80's for the third successive day - very welcome after a dreadful summer to date - popped over to Cosmeston Country Park near Penarth for an hour to two to enjoy it.

Within 5 minutes of getting back to the car, the mother of all thunderstorms and torrential rain, started which soaked hundreds there ... lucky escape for us.

KENNY COOPER shines in (we hope) last MLS game before signing for Cardiff City

We'll see if Kenny Cooper turns out to be Cardiff City's next signing, the latest dead end or another who is pinched from under our noses by someone else but he certainly played last night as if he wanted to sign off in style for FS Dallas.

The struggling MLS side trounced L.A. Galaxy 4-0 with Cooper the star of the show by scoring two in two minutes to open the scoring, set up another, being denied a hat-trick by the wood work and having 9 attempts on goal.

At final whistle, Cooper was seen to be praying on the pitch, many reading into it that it was the player saying his private farewell.

Although it remains unclear whether the player is flying in this week, all the signs seem promising with Peter Ridsdale now officially confirming that Cardiff City's bid has been accepted by MLS - who hold all player contracts - that Rosenbourg (of Norway) have not matched City's offer and that no other club have made a move so far. He did acknowledge hower that personal terms with the player are still to be sorted.

Ridsdale also confirmed that City have monitored the player for some time and that he tried to get him when he was at Barnsley as Cooper was being released at Manchester United when he was, briefly, on their books and impressing them in a US tournament about 5 years ago.

The player is noted for his goalscoring celebrations ... if he comes to Cardiff City and does well, he's going to be loved.


Incredible live tv pictures this morning as Weston-Super-(night)Mare's Grand Pavilion burned down in less than an hour and is still in full flow with, I imagine, the whole pier endangered.
(NOW YOU SEE IT, NOW YOU DON'T - This picture was about half-hour into the fire, another 30+ minutes later and the whole pavilion had gone)

It's a shame as it strikes chords with most of us in South Wales who are probably the group who visit the place more than anoy other with Weston being a 45 minute drive from Cardiff. The town is a bit of a hell-hole and so obviously seen better times while the beach is more mud-flats than sand but I tended to visit it most years for a day out with the family although hadn't been this year - as my parents did with my brother and myself when we were kids.

The Pavilion is more an amusement arcade cum fairground these days with dodgems, bowling, ghost train, fun houses and more to go with the multitude of fruit and games machines.

The Pier is probably the one thing that makes the place worth a visit, it's hard to imagine going there without it.

Ross McCormack compensation fixed at £120,000

It has been confirmed that Cardiff City and Motherwell agreed a compensation figure of just £120k for the talented young Scottish striker Ross McCormack.

With City buying the out of contract SPL star before the age of 24, a tribunal was due to set a compensation fee but the clubs mutually agreed a figure instead for the player has earned his first Scottish cap this summer (as pictured). 'Well apparently declined a £1.75M bid for the player from Birmingham City in January - which seems strange when they realised they were likely to lose him for a fraction of that figure now.

However Birmingham tried to hi-jack the move now, as they did with Marcus Bent, and pinch the player off The Bluebirds but MacCormack himself said he had already given his word to Ridsdale and Dave Jones and had not even spoken with the Brummies although aware of their late interest.

Scotland is proving to be a fertile hunting ground for a cash-conscious, budget-limited club like City. They also got Kevin McNaughton for a relative pittance under the same terms as MacCormack and picked up free transfer bargains in Thommo and Gavin Rae. The players themselves have also found out the attraction of moving South where wages are bigger - MacCormack is believed to be earning four times as much as he did in the SPL.

He has impressed with City so far and looks set to be a huge hit with the fans and a fantatsic bargain for the club - a winning combination.

Sunday, July 27, 2008


I knew we were going to win the Cup this year!

Since City won the pre-season Algarve Cup tournament after beating Guimares and Celtic this week, nobody had seen the cup or presentation. Even Bluebirds followers in Portugal at the ground missed an informal handover of the trophy and it wasn't shown in the tv coverage.

But now we have a picture of Steve McPhail with the Algarve Cup ... ok, it looks like a model of a new block of apartment towers but we'll have it anyway. Thanks!


Who knows how many more twists and turns before the serious action starts versus Southampton in 13 days and before the transfer window shuts firmly at the end of August but there is more news and counter-news today.

Wales on Sunday have splashed big on Cardiff City agreeing a fee with incentives totalling £2M for MLS star Kenny Cooper who they want to feature against Ajax in City's keynote final friendly this Friday.

However they revealed that Cooper is to choose between City and Norwegian Champions League side Rosenbourg and will fly in to visit both clubs this week before making a final decision.

A quick trawl of the net, though, reveals some gossip that any move by Cooper to Europe may be on hold or scrapped altogether and that he has been named in the FC Dallas squad to play Devid Beckham's LA Galazy tonight which suggests he isn't coming at all this week.

Meanwhile, while Rangers still seem to be deciding whether they want to make a more appropriate offer and increased bid for Glenn Loovens, the rumour mill suggests Celtic and Gordon Strachan are going to gazump them. Loovens was mightily impressive making Celtic's forwards look ordinary in last Thursday's friendly and it has alerted Strachan.

(O'Riordan - is it me or does he look like a midget in this picture?!?!?)

Another twist is that he may offer past City target Derek O'Riordan as a sweetener. The 25 yr old forward who chose Celtic over City 2 years ago has only has 25 games since and been told he has no future there and can move on.

Finally, it's believed Cardiff City are currently talking to 4 strikers in the hope of landing 2 so we may end up with players completely different to these names ... on current form, if we get anyone at all, they almost certainly will be!

Saturday, July 26, 2008


While there has been no known developments regards Cardiff City's accepted multi-million bid for a European based striker, one recently linked target (Carlisle's Joe Garner) has signed for Nottingham Forest but we are now linked leading American Major "Soccer" star Kenny Cooper according to U.S. website MLS net.

i know little of him but he is a FC Dallas player playing at the awfully-named Pizza Hut Park (yes-sireee), he was briefly on the books of Manchester United a while ago while his English father will mean it should not be a problem bringing him to the UK. He is currently also featuring in a select MLS All Stars side currently playing the likes of West Ham and Manchester United who are touring Stateside. At 6'3" and believed to be strong in the air, perhaps he is the type of line leader that City urgently require to spplement their pace going forward.

According to MLSnet, Norwegian side Rosenbourg upped a transfer offer but that Cardiff City are "aggressively" matching their offer (a fee up front and incentives based on success with the player) and are working hard to conclude the deal fast.
MLS story here:
YouTube action of the player:

Thursday, July 24, 2008

CARDIFF CITY 1 CELTIC 0 - City win the Algarve Cup

CARDIFF CITY have won their first silverware of the season ... 16 days before it start ... with a professional, richly deserved 1-0 success over Celtic to claim the Algarve Cup tournament.

Tournament or not, it was still very much a pre-season friendly lacking the pace, intensity and bite as both sides strived to get match fit for their big kick-off in a fortnight.

The Bluebirds were close to full strength with the resources they currently have. Enckleman, Whittingham and Parry on the bench and a side which was Heaton, McNaughton-Johnson-Loovens-Capaldi, Comminges-Rae-McPhail-Ledley, MacCormack-Thompson. The rest of the squad were listed as our 9 substitutes but Dave Jones gave all the starters a full 90 minutes, only Comminges coming off in added time for Darcy Blake as precaution for a knock.

Celtic meanwhile put out ,mainly a second string - only 4 players are likely to start their first league game - but they did beef it up using all 5 subs with more experience in the second half.

The Glasgow side may have had a fair bit on the ball but walked off at half-time without even testing Heaton with a cross, let alone any efforts on or off target and they were made to look second best by City were in charge in all departments and playing the more flowing, b
etter passing football even if it was largely at training pace.

Three big chances fell City's were in the first half with Thommo smashing the bar with a superb shot on the turn form an angle in 6 minutes and just being snuffed out before the interval but the goal fell to The Legend - JOE LEDLEY - on 17 minutes, a superb finish after McNaughton launched a high ball, Thommo beat the commanding Balde in the air, MacCormack flicked on with his thigh and the ball sat up just right for Joe to lash home across Celtic's keeper Brown.

Once ahead, Cardiff were happy to control the game by staying tight, organised, hard working and disciplined with some smart passing and movement at times and Celtic just weren't good enough to do anything about it.

The second half saw Celtic make those changes and try to step it up but still City remained calm and comfortable, Heaton did have a couple of saves but none of any significance. When Celtic sent off their fearsome striking due of Van Hesselink Long-name and Scott McDonald for the final 120, you wondered whether it would change but City got tighter again.

Dave Jones will be pleased with the individual and team performance of his side. Heaton in goals had very little to do did that well, shouted and organised. The back four - McNaughton, Capaldi, Loovens and Johnson played as well as they did last season, Loovens can only have impressed the watching Rangers management team as he bossed Celtic around.

Rae and McPhail showed why City can do with an extra midfielder as they dominated first half but faded after the interval - something that was observed a few times last season. .

Joe Ledley showed his class and Miguel Comminges raised eyebrows with an energy packed performance working his socks off and no mean pace either while Thommo and MacCormack linked very indeed but didn't pack enough punch emphasising why Jones needs to get his squad numbers 8 and 9 positions filled urgently.

Overall though, City will be very satisfied with their Portuguese training camp and can come home and prepare for games away at Swindon (next Tuesday) and home to Dutch side Ajax (next Friday) while Celtic will surely bring back their big guns for a bigger clash with Sporting Lisbon this weekend before heading tp Holland for another tournament next week..

Ee-ay-adio-We won the Cup!


Peter Ridsdale - who didn't want to talk about signings anymore until the deal was done! - has confirmed that Cardiff City have had what has been described as "a multi-million for a young European club striker" accepted and talks over personal terms are about to start with the club hoping to have the man in place for next Tuesday's away friendly at Swindon Town.

The Riddler confirmed that, “We have made a substantial offer ... I am talking to his agent but we will keep the identity of the player private until we know exactly where we are".

City are looking for other players, mindful of all the previous let downs, but remain tentative about Wolves forward Jay Bothroyd who has been linked all sumer loan. If him, Ridsdale added, "He is available and a player we have talked about" but continued, "We have not made any offer ... and he is not a player we are in contact with.”

In the outgoing scene, Rangers still seem to be on the trial of entre-half Glenn Loovens apparently with 3 of their managerial team in Portugal to watch him oplay against Celtic tonight and rumours that R's boss Walter Smith will also fly in to make a personal check.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


It has been revealed that Rangers assistant manager Ally McCoist was despatched to the Algrave by Walter Smith to take a personal check on Cardiff City's dominating centre-half Glenn Loovens which rasies speculation that Rangers may return with a new bid for the player.

There is a stalemate at present with Rangers offering £1.5M for Watford's Danny Shittu and unable to agree personal terms with the player which saw them turn to Loovens but they have substantially under-valued him at only £1M which met with understandable objections for Peter Ridsdale and Dave Jones who would both like to keep the player anyway.

However, Rangers have a deadline of this Thursday if they are to register a new centre-half in time for Champions League action and are desparate for a new face.

McCoist will have learned nothing lat night as Loovens only played 2nd half and had little to do in a quiet game which City bossed.


It's been a bit quiet on the Langston/Hammam vs Cardiff City and its debts front recently after Langston lost a summary hearing in March, were encouraged to start negotiations with the club and were denied a right to appeal.

Langston, it appears, didn't want to take that decision and went to the Court of Appeal asking for the right to appeal but City's official website have confirmed that application has been denied too.

Hopefully, this matter can now progress in talks but the option remains for Langston to take an extremely high risk, high value full hearing. It seems very unlikely but who knows with that lot eh?


Although there has not yet been official club confirmation whose website states only that Roger Johnson is staying "for the forseeable future", the BBC and South Wales Echo have reported that the Cardiff City crowd favourite has signed a three year deal as offered.

Rather than keeping him at the club to 2011, it doubtless means he's here for another two years unless a Premiership club offer a 'release trigger' valuation.

It leaves Glenn Loovens as the only squad member that the club have been unable to tie down to a new contract but with Rangers making derisory offers and no other club making a firm bid, he looks set to stay on at City too with Dave Jones determined to keep his pivotal defensive team in situ.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


The Bluebirds remain undefeated pre-season and recorded an excellent and comfortable opening 2-1 win over local side Guimares in Portugal to head the table in the Algarve Cup, new forward Ross McCormack building on his promise scoring both City goal with the Portuguese side getting an injury time consolation with a dubious penalty.
City mixed up their side with Darcy Blake at right back, Mark Kennedy on the left, Darren Purse partnering Roger Johnson, Paul Parry put into right midfield and a second half which feature Loovens (for Purse), Rae (for Scimeca) and Comminges (for Parry) but were comfortable and largely in control from start to finish.
McCormack's goals came on 16 and 67 minutes and will send them in good heart into Thursday's prestigious encounter with Glasgow Celtic, a match that can be seen live on Setanta Sports.
The Bluebirds also lead the group by 3 points on 5 points (the Cup awards 1 point per goal as well as three for the win) as Middlesborough and Celtic drew 1-1 in the other fixture with the Glasgow giants reckoned to be the better side but needing a late equaliser to avoid defeat.

Match reports:



I suppose things can go wrong, airport staff have clearly messed up but how did they still anage to get on the wrong plane altogether and not realise? Muppets!


Late last evening, the official Cardiff City website brought confirmation that talisman and Player of the Season Roger Johnson has signed a new contract with the Ninian Park outfit.
Premiership outfit Middlesbrough were rumoured to have made summer enquiries and an under-value bid but that died away and Roger has committed to stay but, whether intentional or not, the vague announcement has left fans wondering for how long it is.

Get The Flags Out - Roger's Staying On

Newspaper speculation has been rife for a couple of weeks that RJ was to seal a new 3 year deal. This may be the case but the club's official website states only that he is staying "for the forseeable future", whatever that means.

While City fans are no mugs and know a 3 year contract doesn't mean he will stay for 3 years while any new contract will inevitably have get out clauses, it would be nice to know what the basis of the new deal is.

Maybe all will became clearer when newspapers report later today but at least a critical player is tied down ... for the forseeable future anyway!

Cardiff City official website announcement,,10335~1348356,00.html

Monday, July 21, 2008


Great work by the fella at the link below.

Beats the personal best I experienced - a member of staff (female too) locking herself in her manager's office and then attacking him with anything she could lay hands on which was mostly his plant and flower collection.


It would appear that Rangers' interest in Cardiff City's Gleen Loovens is fading as quickly as it arose. The Scottish side are believed to have only offered a ridiculously low £1M for the commanding Dutchman, a player valuied by the club - and City fans too - at around £3M.

You can't entirely dismiss it however as Rangers are desparate to sign a centre half in time for Champions League registration this coming Thursday so they may yet be tempted to splash the cash or come back with a more attractive player exchange deal even though thoughts of Kris Boyd in South Wales are now gone.

It does leave City in an awkward position as Loovens has less than a year on his contract and is hoping for a move to the Premiership but the only clubs believed to have expressed interest - newboys Stoke and Hull - haven't particularly excited the player but, more importantly, haven't made any bid or enquiry either while already recruiiting many new faces.

It means City have to try and pin down Glenn to a new contract or face anxiety over keeping him until the transfer window closes in late August, lose him for a low fee in January or for nothign next summer. High stakes poker indeed.


DJ's reaction when asked 'are you happy with how it's gone so far?"

Rather than having the Midas Touch, anything Dave Jones and Peter Ridsdale have promised this summer has, with rare exception, turned out to be the exact opposite.

- Ramsey will go to Manchester United and back for a season on loan here

- We have new foreign investors who are keen on us

- Van Der Schaaf will be signing for City

- Marcus Bent "has signed" for Cardiff

- Robbie Fowler will be staying

- We will have the players we need before we fly of to Portugal

- Ched Evans is likely to be coming on loan

- We will have two new signings by the end of the week (last week)

The list can go on too.

So, should we pay any more than lip service, to Dave Jones' latest declaration that, "there is no panic. We will get the players we need. There are still plenty of quality strikers on our list. We don’t have a number one, two and so on – the players we are interested in can all make an impact at Championships level and beyond.”

Dave Jones' record with strkers for Cardiff City, Michael Chopra apart, has been little short of disastrous. Whatever his public denial, it does appear that he has exhausted his list of key targets this summer - a few of whom didn't particularly excite anyway.

We can only hope he pulls the proverbial rabbit out of the hat and fast. "No panic"? My arse!

Sunday, July 20, 2008


A Cardiff City Messageboard user, Banc Blue, took to the air over South Wales this morning and snapped a few aerial shots of the fast emerging new ground.

Thanks to Banc Blue, who I hope doesn't mind, a couple of them are shown here.


CARDIFF CITY have been sensationally rocked with news that the new season's kit - which City's official website revealed was "signed" this weekend - has jilted the club and is now in talks with Telford Town leaving a vexed Peter Ridsdale, but not the shirt, on the floor.

Fowler and this shirt have one thing in common -

neither want to be with City after saying that they did.

A dreadful summer has, so far, seen the club fail to deliver on its promise to build on FA Cup Final and income success. Instead, it's been a tale of woe with Marcus Bent and Fowler both agreeing to sign but walking instead, a furore with Ridsdale's "we shook hands - honest, on my life" farce with Jimmy Floyd-Hasselbaink while Ridsdale himself appears to be doing very nicely thank you whatever happens. This latest embarrassment may prove too much for some.

Clearly in despair, Peter Ridsdale confirmed, "Yes it is true. We have been in talks all summer with our new shirt who has told us all along he wanted to sign for City. They haven't been easy negotiations - our shirt made some outrageous demands which we conceded but I don't let our fans down as they know".

Those demands are believed to have come from the shirt's agent who didn't like City's latest badge and demanded a return to the old style as well as adding "The end of an era" inscription as the shirt's agent retires next summer.

While every other club announced its new kit, Cardiff were in protracted negotiations. Another sticking point was believed to have arisen as Ridsdale promised the shirt a glamorous sponsor but was told it would have to put up with Vans Direct.

However, breakthrough came as Ridsdale reached verbal agreement that the kit was coming to South Wales but it has now asked its manufacturer to speak to Telford instead.

"I've spoken to the shirt and it said a move to the Midlands would suit it better - why didn't it tell us this before?" said PR - the man whose initials have proved to be inappropriate this summer.

Ridsdale blasted the shirt and agent adding, "It confirmed a deal and personal terms last Thursday, all that remained was a medical and material quality control. The kit told me it just couldn't wait to be "in the box" for City and then I found out it's changed its mind. You don't expect it to as good as look you in the face, give every indication everything is fine and then say no."

Dave Jones is not worried despite City having to use emergency Joma shirts for the Portuguese pre-season tour. "I have promised two new signings - a home kit and away kit - before the season starts and the search will continue. We will go worldwide if necessary but I expect them to be here before we play Southampton on August 9.

The Bluebirds declined to comment on speculation they are in discussions with local Sunday league side Lazarou Bros for their shirts on loan.


Talking to media after Cardiff City's 1-1 private friendly in The Algarve with Vitoria de Setubal, Dave Jones spoke of his frustrations and hopes in trying to bring new players, strikers particularly, to the club.

After a summer in which he landed the promising Ross McCormack but has failed so far to bring in a line leader or big name striker with main target Kris Boyd proving impossible, Darren Bent and Robbie Fowler agreeing to sign then walking away, a legal battle underway with Jimmy Floyd-Hasselbaink, an anticipated loan of Ched Evans fail too amongst others, DJ has now revealed City have also lost out in bids for Watford's Darius Henderson and Wigan's Marlon King - but both of these were becuase City's offers weren't sufficent.

On Henderson, of whom Jones is a known fan and who scored a double in Watford's win at Ninian Park last term, the gaffer commented that "“We made a bid ... but the price went too high." On Marlon King who has struggled the past couple of seasons but is a talent, DJ added, "We simply can’t afford the fee plus his Premiership-level wages".

So on the search goes with Peter Ridsdale talking of trawling the globe for the right man (i.e. someone we can afford and who wants to come here) and Jones concluding, "We will get the players we need.".

The kick-off countdown clock keeps ticking ... ... ...

Saturday, July 19, 2008


Cardiff City's third friendly of the season but their first with the full squad together ended in a 1-1 draw in a private game in Portugal this morning.

The hosts - who finished 6th in Portgal's 16 team Division One (and not 4th as Dave Jones likes to claim) - started the better and opened the scoring on 14 minutes with a sitter after an initial shot hit the post.
The match had a 10:30a.m. start but in temperatures still reckoned to be in the mid-80's, it was still a hot workout for the boys.

City, however, improved as the game progressed before equalising in the second period throgh a magnificent Steve Thompson striker, Thommo almost snatching a late winner too. Mark Kennedy and Tony Capaldi had their first outings of the season, Peter Whittingham was absent was a niggle but 16 players a run out.

The Bluebirds head into Algarve Cup action against Guinmares and Celtic in the coming week while Setubal face more British friendly opposition with Sunderland and Norwich heading over for pre-season training.

Wales Online match report has more details:


Picked this up from the Devo forum (

A Spanish country rock group with the excellent name of Redneck Cassanovas have a myspace forum with 4 very listenable tunes including a cover of DEVO's Beautiful World. Well worth a listen while working away on your pc.


Some interesting comments by Wenger about Rambo who, if he gets games at Arsenal, will have obviously made the right personal move over Man United and a season back with City.

Note how Wenger sees him as a central midfielder, a contradiction to Dave Jones strange quote that he didn't see him as strong enough to play that role.

Friday, July 18, 2008


Rangers boss Walter Smith despite yet making any official bid or enquiry to Cardiff City according to some went public yesterday over his interest in Cardiff City centre-half Glenn Loovens.

If some City fans were warming to a swap and reluctantly losing Loovens for Boyd, the message is Forget It. Smith confirmed he is not allowing the player to go while sources in Scotland say Kris Boyd himself has nil interest in moving to Wales.

It is believed, though, they Rangers may dangle the carrot of another Rangers striker Daniel Cousin but this may hit problems too as Cousin has refused to accept a new contract in Scotland, his terms apparently are well beyond anything City would consider.

Denying no contact with City, Smith said: “We have been making enquiries – and Glenn is a player who has been recommended to us. We are looking to bring in another central defender and we have had a look at Loovens. That is where we are at this stage. We have not taken things further, but we want to strengthen our squad.”

Rangers want a new centre half by next Thursday in order to register for Champions League football so need to act fast.

On Boyd, Smith commented: “I don’t want to let Kris Boyd leave Rangers. I have said that from day one. We have a few strikers here and I am sure one or two will go, but not Boyd. He is under contract and is remaining with Rangers.”

The next move still belongs to Rangers while City will continue to play hardball simply becuase they don't have to sell by next week. However they also won't want start of season plans thrown into chaos. Who will give on this one first?

Thursday, July 17, 2008


For those of you interested in the developments that go with the new stadium which is now bowl-shaped and growing by the day, here's something for you to read over your next sandwich or cuppa.

ScS to open store at Cardiff City retail development
WalesOnline - United Kingdom

Incidentally if, like me, you're far more interested in the new stadium itself, then this website shows you the latest pictures and has a live webcam.


It been such a poor few weeks for Cardiff City and Peter Ridsdale that news of a player signing a contract to stay is worthy of official website release and some celebration amongst City fans but who can blame them when the player is SuperKev.

With Cardiff City now away at pre-season training camp in Portugal, it has been confirmed that the Championship's best defender (my view!) and my Facebook friend(!), Kevin McNaughton, had signed the new contract offer and will stay with City for the forseeable future.

Four key City players are out of contract next summer and have been offered new terms but McNaughton is the first to sign. We know Glenn Loovens is holding out in favour of a move. The other two players are Roger Johnson and Paul Parry who have both agreed to sign but haven't yet completed full negotiations. City better pin them down soon.


There's a game of hardball at play between Cardiff City and Rangers over the Scottish side wanting Glenn Loovens and City desiring their main summer target Kris Boyd (but does Boyd want City?).

Cardiff City recently bid £2.5M for Boyd and value Loovens at £3M so, in their eyes, it should be Boyd and a cash adjustment in City's favour ... although I'd hazard a guess they'd take a straight swap.

Rangers, however, want Loovens and Peter Ridsdale to pay £1M extra to get Boyd.

The added dimensions are that City will be forced to sell Loovens if he continues to refuse to sign a new contract offer on the table but Rangers have a more pressing deadline as they need Loovens' signature by next Thursday (July24) if he is to feature in Champions League action and with only a couple of centre-halves on the books, the Scots must have a new face.

Their initial target, Danny Shittu, may still be in the picture too as Rangers agreed a lesser fee of £1.5M for his signature but the deal broke down over the player's excessive personal terms but Shittu has since gone public saying he is hoping talks can resurrect and he would like to join them.

Let's see what the next epidsode brings.


Unfortunately not a headline that the prodigal Bluebirds son, Michael Chopra, is on his way back to NP Towers buut a Daily Mirror "showbiz" release that ex-Cardiff City hitman Chops marriage is breaking down after just 4 weeks with talk of problems starting the morning after their wedding night and a honeymoon that ended early.

It seems a pity as Chops and his 'wife' Heather met while at school so have been together for several years.

Some City fans have remarked - tongue firmly in cheek - that one of them must be missing South Wales ... let's hope it's not Heather!
Link to Mirror story

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


After announcing his signature for Cardiff City at the weekend, the deal blew up in Peter Ridsdale's face as Darrent Bent failed to arrive in South Wales for his medical and told the club he wanted to talk to Birmingham where he preferred to be based.

That transfer was rumoured to be in jeopardy over Birmingham initially offering lesser terms than Cardiff but it was always suspected that would sort itself out and so it has.

Time to move on ... not a great experience for Ridsdale, Cardiff City or its supporters but it may be a lucky escape. As disappointed and angry as we may have been by events, there was a distinct underwhelming feeling when Bent's name was first mentioned - a striker whose scoring record isn't really much better than Thommo's!


Datatock, the Scandinavian computer indie disco outfit, who released one of my favourite albums of 2007 have a new download E.P. being released newxt month which includes DEVO remixes.

The group readily admit to being heavily influenced by DEVO (although it would appear to be their latest synth led efforts than the early quirky guitar-led blasts) and Jerry Casale has expressed his mutual appreciation of their wrk so I can imagine he was specifically behind the remixes.

More details here:

MONARCH of the GLENN - Loovens to Rangers?

Today’s Daily Express are reporting that talks have taken place between Scottish SPL side Rangers and Cardiff City over The Bluebird’s commanding centre-half Glenn Loovens with the value reckoned to be circa £3M.

Rangers have been trying to snag Danny Shittu from QPR but that deal, valued at about £1.5M, has stalled by player greed with Shittu asking for a reported £25,000 a week so the Glasgow giants have turned their attention to Loovens.

Glenn has been offered a new and improved 2 yrs contract extension by City with his present deal expiring next summer but is holding out with a view to moving to the Premiership, his interest aroused by rumours of new boys Hull City and Stoke City showing interest in him but no bid has yet to materialise.

City’s failure to tie him to a new contract would see his value decrease over the season and mean he could walk away for nothing next summer so they may be forced to deal now. The SPL may not be as glamorous but Rangers offer the attractive carrot of Champions League football which may well appeal to the Dutchman.

There is no doubt Cardiff City are a better defensive side when Loovens plays – the stats of points gained and fewer points conceded bear overwhelming testimony to that. The centre-half partnership of Loovens and Roger Johnson is pivotal in the City side and probably the best in the Championship. Losing Loovens on top on Aaron Ramsey would be yet another bodyblow to City fans particularly when we seem unable to bring in adequate replacements or improvements but that’s the game these days.

Cardiff, apparently, have tried to use the talks top broker another move for original striking target Kris Boyd but Rangers have refused again to sell according to the Express but this morning’s Western Mail believes a ‘swap’ involving Loovens, Boyd and some cash adjustment may still be possible. Another linked target at Rangers, their forward Cousins, is apparently also being dismissed, partly due to the player’s unrealistic contract demands.

This appears to be a story that will develop – watch this space.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Ridsdale created the expectation by announcing Bent's signing and talking openly to the media about it all over the weekend but doesn't seem to be enjoying the flak he's now having to take now it's all gone tits up.

However the tone is that City will bring in more players but it's another season where all the big targets appear to have been missed.

Peter's Official Website Statement


Although not yet officially confirmed, it appears Marcus Bent's preference to snub an agreement to sign for Cardiff City in order to talk to Birmingham City may have backfired as he has been unable to agreed terms with the Midlanders.

According to Charlton Athletic forums, Bent - a player they don't want and can't wait to get rid of - is returning to the South London club and will join up with the squad as they fly out to Germany for pre-season training and games tomorrow.

On the face of it, Bent has lost out as he is clearly not wanted at Charlton and may be set to sit it out in the reserves but I get the funny feelings something will be sorted out either with Brum or by another club stepping in.

Just like the Robbie Fowler episode, Bent's snub may well turn out to be another lucky escape for City.

Monday, July 14, 2008




When Peter Ridsdale sanctioned an official website announcement last Saturday evening stating that Marcus Bent - and I quote - "has SIGNED for the Bluebirds pending a medical on Monday" - I bet I wasn't the only one thinking it was premature and had a sneaky feeling Bent would snub us.

Sadly, that's how it has turned out.

In hindsight, the suspicion is rife that Peter Ridsdale following an immense amount of flak after rvelations regards his pay and bonuses and complete farces handling Hasselbaink and Fowler wanted to make amends and himself look good. So he jumped the gun by announcing Bent's signing 2 days ago before it was a done deal without any medical taking place or contracts being signed.

Peter Ridsdale has been in the game long enough to know that was an incredibly foolish - nay idiotic - thing to do and there was a chance it would bite him on the bum and that's how it appears to have turned out.

I always thought that with City going public like that, it gave Bent's agent and the player a last chance to get another deal fixed up and that;'s how it proved. It has transpired today that Marcus Bent failed to arrive in South Wales and, instead, has arranged a deal with Birmingham City instead.

Charlton manager Alan Pardew hinted yesterday that other clubs were sniffing after Bent so the warning signs were there while Peter Ridsdale entertained the media with talk of Bent being the missing link in the City side.

Ridsdale and Jones set themselves up for the fall, Ridsdale in particular is fast losing credibility with his public comments and he's brought it himself. Prat!

I wonder who will squirm the most - Peter Ridsdale when he has to explain away this latest piece of self-inflicted chaos or Cardiff City supporters having to listen to another set of excuses.


City boss Dave Jones has made scathing comments about Cardiff City supporters expressing their angwer and dismay at the way Robbie Fowler has dumped the club where he verbally agreed to sign a new contract in favour of training only ahead of a possible short-term deal at Blackburn.

Fowler: You expect me to wear this again? F**k that, I'm off!

On the one hand, I think Jones has a point. The messageboards have been awash with no holds barred flak towards Fowler, much of it coming from fans who didn't want him to be offered a new contract or to stay anyway. In that sense, their comments are contradictory and hypocritical.

On a personal level, I am delighted Fowler is off the club's books - even if it took him to leave City than the club to realise enough was enough.

However, the flip side of the argument is that DJ has failed to show any understanding why supporters should express their feelings on a poor episode and the behaviour of Fowler plus his agent. He may not agree with it but he should be realistic enough to appreciate why Cardiff City fans will have their fully justified views.

Here's the article from WalesOnline

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Bent signing for Cardiff City

CARDIFF CITY have announced the signing, subject to Monday medical, of Marcus Bent from Charlton Athletic for an undisclosed fee.

City were declined with a £1M bid for the player, apparently with £500k paid up front, last week so whether they have offered a higher price or more money in advance is a matter for speculation.

Marcus Bent and Gemma Atkinson

sunning themselves at Barry Island as the new Gavin and Stacey

(*ok, it's not Barry Island really)

It will be Bent's 11th club and the fee means the 30 yr old strong 6 foot striker will have been sold for a value of over £10M during his career. He is set to sign a 3 yr deal with City.

Most opinions are favourable as he is a strong hold up the ball player that City need as a pivotal point of attacks but chief grumble is that his goalscoring record, especially in recent years, is nothing to get excited about.

On loan at Premiership Wigan last season - a deal agreed after Charlton dropped out of that division - he notched 7 goals in 25 games plus 6 sub outings but that included a hat-trick and he has failed to score since last November - a run of 18 games. Prior to that, he scored just 4 times in 46 games for Charlton in the Prem and 7 in 38 (+ 17) sub outings with Everton.

However his record is much better than 1 in 3 at all previous clubs played for at this level including Ipswich, Sheffield United and Dave Jones will be hoping that's how it works with City.

Cardiff fans are also delighted as Bent is a favourite of the WAGS and is currently dating Gemma Atkinson. Doubt we'll see her eating a Clarks Pie on the Grange End but you never know!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Pre-season friendly: MERTHYR TYDFIL 1 CARDIFF CITY 3

While I was at Carmarthen, most City fans went to Penydarren Park, Merthyr. It's a bit closer to home - especially for the Valley Boys - and you're able to take your drink into the game.

Unfortunately, a few City young pups couldn't handle it and engaged in a drink throwing and then fighting contest against each other which led to a police presence and some arrests. Incredible.

As for the football, Cardiff City cruised to a 3-1 victory, nowhere near as satisfying in standards as Carmarthen but the object today is to develop fitness, nothing more.

City's side featured the rest of the first teamers in Peter Enckleman, Darren Purse, Roger Johnson, Riccy Scimeca, Darcy Blake and Joe Ledley plus first year pro Jon Brown and Academy boys. Joe Ledley played an hour, Thommo 80 minutes and the rest got a full 90.

Thommo set up JON BROWN to open the scoring on 25 minutes but Merthyr levelled when Peter Enckleman made another gaffe, this time Steins profited. THOMMO made it 2-1 at the interval after Brown's shot found him off the post.

Like Cramarthen, the second half was a non-event but City rounded off the afternoon when BILLY TAYLOR scored only 2 minutes after coming on as a late sub meeting a Darcy Blake cross.

Pre-season friendly

At Waun Dew. Carms


Paul Parry (3)
Own goal

The Bluebirds opened their pre-season calendar, just as last year, by splitting the squad into two and heading to simultaneous games in Merthyr and Carmarthen. I got picked up by my brother fully expecting to head to Merthyr's Penydarren Park but he had other ideas and we were off to Y Dre to watch City's other game at Carmarthen. I'm glad I went as I'd been to Merthyr numerous times, Carmarthen was a new experience and it was a chance to see the City new boys and it was also the better encounter of the two.

It was almost as quick to reach Waun Dew as Merthyr - an hour even with police cameras - and cheaper too at just £6 for adults and £1 for kids (compared to £8/£3 at Merthyr), programmes were free as was car parking, hot dogs (with a double sausage) were £1 for the kids, no queues at the clubhouse bar and the added bonus of passing the City dressing room to get to the clubhouse bar. Others were watching the game from the beer garden of a nearby pub, presumably for free. As I came out of the bogs, I almost led the City team onto the pitch, it was that intimate.

Cardiff had all the new players on show except for Mark Kennedy who was absent. That's keeper Tom Heaton, centre half Darren Dennehy, left back Miguel Comminges and forward Ross McCormack. They were supplemented by Kevin McNaughton, Glenn Loovens, Steve McPhail, Gavin Rae, Peter Whittingham, Paul Parry and Academy player Rhys Kelleher. The bench consisted of another 7 Academy boys, all of whom got 2nd half playing time.

The weather was mild, some rain driving to the game held off, the ground was decent for its level with flat ground terracing on three sides, a smart pitchlength stand, a small but friendly clubhouse over the changing rooms and various portakabin buildings. The crowd was probably around 400 - just over half there to support City. Is it possible to have any greater contrast to the last City viewing at Wembley 7 weeks ago in the F.A. Cup Final and these surroundings next game?

While City took time to settle, Carmarthen were out of the traps and put everything into an opening 20 minute blitz. However they failed to convert that into shots on goal, a couple from distance were high and wide, and once that subsided, their threat had gone. In that spell however, the home side did put some good pass and play moves together and were enjoying some success in attacking City's braided left back Miguel Comminges who was quiet on the pitch and looked a little rusty as they won corners and got around or behind him a couple of times. Dennehy was strong in the middle while Loovens did what Loovens does and there was no passing McNaughton on the right, his Midnight Express number 1 all over haircut enough to put off anyone wanting to attack SuperKev!

The Carmarthen player who stood out for me though was one of their subs who was barely 5 foot and made me look a giant. I felt good! The corner-flag looked bigger than him. Rumours are he can only play for Carmarthen until November as he's needed by Snow White for panto afterwards.

The tide turned as McCormack, already showing well, won a free-kick which Whittingham placed towards top corner to be met by a flying save. After that, City's passing and movement shifted up a couple of gears and the home side couldn't deal with it. McPhail must have been enjoying looking up to see the runs Parry and McCormack were making and chances came after Parry was narrowly wide, McCormack hit a post and just missed while the Carmarthen keeper made a smart stop but then it was 4 goals in no time at all.

The opener was clever as McCormack played in PAUL PARRY and he rolled his effort across the keeper into a corner, the second goal saw Parry beat a challenge to find Academy man RHYS KELLEHER who showed no first touch all afternoon to this point but then finished exceedingly well. The third was a comedy OWN GOAL that Darren Purse would have been proud of. McNaughton's cross saw the keeper darting from near to far post while his centre-half ran the opposite direction and chested the ball into the empty nearside of goal. Then on half-time, PARRY grabbed his second with another good finish.

Half-time: Carmarthen 0 City 4

City declared at the interval and were always going to use Academy players and the full bench through the second half so the game lost its cohesion and flow. Even so, a few of the big names put in a good shift and some played the full 90. Can't really say any of the Academy kids stood out in the way Aaron Ramsey did this time last year at Merthyr, most of them looked like they should be tucked by 9pm.

PAUL PARRY got his hat-trick in completing the scoring to make it 5-0, a smart finish high into the top corner from 12 yards after being set up by McCormick. After that, there was still time for McCormack to test the keeper with a clever 20 yard effort, Whittingham to smash the bar and miss a sitter skying the ball over the bar but that was topped by goalkeeper turned striker Josh Magennis who found himself clear on goal yet almost hitting the corner flag with his close range effort, the ball did sit up as he fired. Enjoyed hearing him shout "**** off" to one of his team-mates taking the proverbial.

All of the new players acquitted themselves well for their first outing and showed promise to varying degrees. I'd summarise them as;

Tom Heaton - very little to do but kicked exceedingly well and long with the ball from his his hands, not as well with the ball on the floor, a good shouter and organiser. His size surprised me a little bearing in mind Dave Jones' known preference for big keepers. He is Neil Alexander dimensions, perhaps a touch shorter. His father came down to follow him and revealed his girlfriend is someone he pulled in his maths class at school. The things you learn from me!

Miguel Comminges - stands out with his braided hair but didn't stand out in the opening 25 as Carmarthen attacked his right side of defence and enjoyed some success. Looked a little off the pace but settled more as Carmarthen opening spell faded to nothing.

Darren Dennehy - he almost makes Roger Johnson look overweight. Slight but very tall and, like Johnson, puts himself about very well. Not very vocal for a centre half but definitely looked half decent.

Ross McCormack - probably the most impressive of the signing's on today's display in which he troubled Carmarthen throughout. Made excellent diagonal runs, always found space, tricky on the ball and able to/wanting to vary what he did. Someone commented how he reminded them of Paul Brayson which was a good shout. If City can get him a good strong striking partner, he could prove to be an excellent acquisition.

Final whistle blew and we were back in Cardiff by 5pm managing to pass Gavin Rae and Kevin McNaughton in their Audi and Merc suv's but blazed by Glenn Loovens who is a hell of a lot faster behind the wheel than he is on the pitch.