Sunday, November 30, 2008

CARDIFF home to Reading in F.A. Cup

City, last season's finalists, pulled a home draw but will be disappointed to have been drawn with fellow Championship side Reading. It's a tough game - as shown last Tuesday when the sides drew 2-2 at Ninian Park - and hardly glamorous.

Histon, the round's giantkillers having disposed of Leeds United, were rewarded with a home draw against Swansea City.

Championship Game 20: SWANSEA CITY 2 CARDIFF CITY 2

Four goals, two sent off, a penalty, controversial moments - dramatic would be an understatement of the first South Wales league derby for 9 years and first at this level for almost quarter of a century.

From the debris of this explosive encounter, Cardiff City emerged with a 2-2 but will be kicking themselves after skipper Steve McPhail got himself needlessly sent off at the Liberty Stadium for the second time this season when City were leading 2-1 and in complete control. It cost Cardiff 2 points and nearly all 3 as they hung on desparately for their draw.

City made a change in midfield with Gavin Rae dropped as Dave Jones at last looked at his under-performing central midfield, Joe Ledley was drafted in with his fingers in a cast. Paul Parry and Riccy Scimeca were on the bench but club captain Darren Purse found himself out of the 16 altogether with some speculation that he has fallen out with the gaffer for words in private as well as those expressed on his personal website.

Cardiff fell behind on 19 minutes, moments after Chops missed a cracking chance and in controversial style as Jason Scotland, clearly offside, was allowed to square a ball for PRATLEY to place home and celebrate with the swim away style.

However back came Cardiff and levelled on half-time with a screamer from JOE LEDLEY, a minute after he missed a far easier chance, it was no more than City deserved.

Boiling point came within 5 minutes of the restart as Chops won a dubious penalty - that cancelled the offisde Swans goal - which McCORMACK coolly despatched. City were now bossing the game until McPhail stupidly kicked the ball away after already having a yellow card leaving City with 10 men.

When Swansea equalised on the hour, PINTADO superbly converting a corner kick, I feared the worst but City held out despite Swansea having 80% possession and thanks to two superb saves from Enkleman.

Cardiff remain 7th, Swansea 8th, McPhail will face the wrath of City fans. Gutted though I am, that was a cracker-JACK of a derby that had just about everything.

Headline and Quotes of the Week

This Morning's Headline Reads
Stephen McPhail ready to gain revenge for Cardiff City in derby clash

Accompanied by pre-game Steve McPhail quotes that include;
"But me being sent off in a derby game won’t happen again"
and
“I need to keep my head this time and make more of an impact.”


Just how shallow and meanignless does that sound tonight??

He's not the first Cardiff City player to talk the talk but fail to back it up on the pitch where it matters and he certainly won't be the last.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

CITY DROP TO 7th AFTER SATURDAY GAMES

While Cardiff wait until the 11:15am Sunday for the SDouth Wales Derby, Saturday result's once again generally fell in their favour.

Despite collecting a miserable 4 points from the last 15 on offer, City had managed to stay in the play-off frame and seemed ton be shoe-horned in 6th spot.

However Preston beat Bristol City in a live tv evening game and have taken that position. Only a City win at Swansea tomorrow will see them regain the place, a draw would keep them 7th but the unthinkable (defeat) would also see City overhauled by the Jacks.

City could have fallen much lower again but the chasing pack continue to stumble too with QPR, Ipswich and Crystal Palace - each of whom could have passed Cardiff with victory - all settling for draws while Plymouth lost at home.

Ironically, Cardiff's next game post-Swansea is a fixture with Preston at Ninian Park next weekend so these are now 2 big games.

THE CHAMPIONSHIP - it is lower quality or not?



Ahead of tomorrow's Jacks v City Welsh Derby, there has been some debate about whether the Championship is strng this season. Noises from the Swansea camp have expressed their surprise/disappointment at the quality they have come up against this season while Cardiff skipper Darren Purse has agreed and said it was better a couple of years ago. So is it reality or perception?



From my viewpoint, without sitting on the fence, I believe there is genuinely no definitive answer as there contradictory evidence either way.



On the local scene, The Jacks are undoubtedly a classy footballing side (and one who have, so far, played better football and more entertaining to watch than ourselves. Yet they haven't been able to break into the play-offs.



On the other hand, we're there despite never convincing, never beating any Top 10 side and with a points return (29 in 19 games) that probably wouldn't be enough to have us in 6th place any past season since we've been in the Championship.



Of course, it may well be that Swansea are enjoying first season syndrome just as we did when we first made it to the Championship and may eventually level out.



The other two League One promoted sides - Forest and Doncaster - occupy the bottom two places and have broadly been there all season. At the other end of the scale, two of last season's relegated Premiership sides are in the Top 3 while only Derby have struggled and they're slowly coming to life. That's a key indicator to me that it remains a big step up trying to compete at this level for promoted sides while relegated teams still have the real clout.



Some suggest it's not as boring as a couple of years ago when Reading and Sheffield United walked away with it but isn't that exactly what Wolves and Birmingham and threatening to do right now? Both are averaging well over 2 points per game and are on course to 100+ points. Nobody else is close to that.



We're 6th yet we're 17 points behind 1 of them and 11 points adrift of the other after just 19 games and have won just 7 games - that's a gulf!



The core difference, to me, is that's there's nothing much to choose between two thirds of the Championship sides. Just 9 points separates ourselves in 6th and Southampton in 20th. We have been glued into 6th recently but have fallen adrift and just 3 points away from more mid-table obscurity, it's a very fine line.



Cardiff have generally stayed above the rest by being better defensively, not because they're a better stronger unit. It's ironic our strength may now lie with our forwards but will that make us a better winning, results grabbing unit? We're about to find out.



Maybe the fact we're all much of a muchness - any side could quickly win a few or lose a few - means there has been a general levelling out of quality. That doesn't means it's better or worse, just that many clubs are on a par. Anyone can beat anyone, it remains as unpredictable as ever and, to me, that keeps it exciting and interesting.

Friday, November 28, 2008

TONIGHT'S CARDIFF CITY PHONE-IN ... with Alan Curtis


Tonight's show looks ahead to Sunday morning's much anticipated South Wales clash between City and The Jacks and includes an interview with Alan Curtis, one of very few players much loved by both clubs.
Listen or download via this link:

CITY LEAD THE BANNING ORDERS LEAGUE

Cardif City continue to top a "League of Shame" - having many more banning orders than most clubs.

Headline writers will argue it shows we are still the most troublesome club, the club will say it underlines how they are determined to ban troublemakers while fans an overwhleming majority of bans are for drunkenness as opposed to violence, City fans are subjected to more policing and control thasn most clubs and that they have a high conviction rate. Manchester United, for example, had far more arrests but only 11% convictions to Cardiff's 75%.

Bluebirds fans damned in league of shame

Thursday, November 27, 2008

CARDIFF CITY 2 READING 2 - how the press saw it














Cardiff 2 Reading 2Wokingham Times

PURSE - Gutted to miss Swansea

Writing on his own website (www.darrenpurse.co.uk), Captain Pursey has dropped an early hint that he will remain on the bench for the weekend Derby clash at Swansea and expressed his disappointment at being dropped believing that he didn't deserve that.
It's all about opinions and you wouldn't expect the player to say any different, it shows his passion and his care.
However, in my view, Purse hasn't played great all month, got caught out on a couple of goals conceded and shows signs of slowness/recklessness which saw him caught out in key incidents on more than one occasion.
City's defensive unit wasn't working and the centre halves were struggling. I think change was needed and Gypes deserves his chance. That said, in fairness to Purse, Roger Johnson has been just as average recently but I always felt it would be Darren who made way out of the two. If only DJ could be as decisive with our central mid duo as well as they're a pair overdue a change as well.


Purse's Article
http://www.darrenpurse.co.uk/blog/20470.Gutted%20to%20miss%20Cardiff_s%20big%20match

City are Ball # 10 in this weekend's big F.A. Cup Draw


While all Bluebird eyes will be on the Liberty Stadium and CARDIFF CITY hopefully giving Swansea City a miserable Sunday lunch this weekend, it's also the F.A. Cup Third Round draw.


After last season's never-to-be-forgotten run including two Wembley visits and going so close in the Final against Portsmouth, the draw will evoke the strongest memories amongst the City faithful. City's run last season started out at Chasetown, the lowest ranked team ever to make the Third Round. Who knows where we'll be this time or how far we go but here are the numbers for the draw.


CARDIFF CITY will be ball number 10.

The FA Cup (Sponsored by E.on)
Third Round Draw
1 ARSENAL

2 ASTON VILLA

3 BARNSLEY

4 BIRMINGHAM CITY

5 BLACKBURN ROVERS

6 BLACKPOOL

7 BOLTON WANDERERS

8 BRISTOL CITY

9 BURNLEY

10 CARDIFF CITY

11 CHARLTON ATHLETIC

12 CHELSEA

13 COVENTRY CITY

14 CRYSTAL PALACE

15 DERBY COUNTY

16 DONCASTER ROVERS

17 EVERTON

18 FULHAM

19 HULL CITY

20 IPSWICH TOWN

21 LIVERPOOL

22 MANCHESTER CITY

23 MANCHESTER UNITED

24 MIDDLESBROUGH

25 NEWCASTLE UNITED

26 NORWICH CITY

27 NOTTINGHAM FOREST

28 PLYMOUTH ARGYLE

29 PORTSMOUTH

30 PRESTON NORTH END

31 QUEENS PARK RANGERS

32 READING

33 SHEFFIELD UNITED

34 SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY

35 SOUTHAMPTON

36 STOKE CITY

37 SUNDERLAND

38 SWANSEA CITY

39 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR

40 WATFORD

41 WEST BROMWICH ALBION

42 WEST HAM UNITED

43 WIGAN ATHLETIC

44 WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS

45 CHESTERFIELD OR DROYLSDEN

46 PETERBOROUGH UNITED OR TRANMERE ROVERS

47 EASTWOOD TOWN OR WYCOMBE WANDERERS

48 NOTTS COUNTY OR KETTERING TOWN

49 LEICESTER CITY OR DAGENHAM & REDBRIDGE

50 BARROW OR BRENTFORD

51 BRADFORD CITY OR LEYTON ORIENT

52 SOUTHEND UNITED OR LUTON TOWN

53 FOREST GREEN ROVERS OR ROCHDALE

54 HISTON OR LEEDS UNITED

55 SCUNTHORPE UNITED OR ALFRETON TOWN

56 TORQUAY UNITED OR OXFORD UNITED

57 FLEETWOOD TOWN OR HARTLEPOOL UNITED

58 MORECAMBE OR CHELTENHAM TOWN

59 GILLINGHAM OR STOCKPORT COUNTY

60 MILLWALL OR ALDERSHOT TOWN

61 CARLISLE UNITED OR GRAYS ATHLETIC OR CREWE ALEXANDRA

62 AFC BOURNEMOUTH OR BLYTH SPARTANS

63 KIDDERMINSTER HARRIERS OR CURZON ASHTON

64 PORT VALE OR MACCLESFIELD TOWN

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

TONIGHT'S CARDIFF CITY PHONE IN ... with Andy Legg Legg Legg



Tonight's show on GTFM looked back on City's eventual frustrating and disappointing home draw against 10 man Reading last night and includes an interview with Andy Legg.

You can listen or download here:

Young Bluebird becomes a Temporary Dragon

CARDIFF CITY's pacy young striker JON BROWN has hooked up with North Wales Blue Square Premiership Wrexham on a 1 month loan deal. The loan, due to be completed today, will see the 18 yr old Welsh Under 21 star get some valuable regular football in the absence of reserve games at Cardiff.
Brown, who has only occasionally been a non-playing sub this season, is currently regarded as 6th choice striker at the Ninian Park club behind the likes of Chopra, Bothroyd, McCormack, Johnson and Parry so it will be an invaluable experience. He is one of 4 teenage loan players recruited by Wrexham boss Dean Saunders who believes that getting a number of young, hungry players on low money is better than 1 costly loan. Good Luck Jon.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Bothroyd and MacCormack back for Reading, Joe back for the Jacks?

It is being reported that Cardiff City are set to face a treble player return this week as forwards Jay Bothroyd and Ross MacCormack will return from their hamstring injuries in time to play against Reading at Ninian Park on Tuesday night while Joe Ledley, with a splint attached, should be able to face the Jacks next Sunday lunchtime.

More news as it emerges.

Plymouth 2 Cardiff City 1 - how the media saw it


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Championship Game 18: PLYMOUTH 2 CARDIFF CITY 1

Circumstances meant I could not travel to Devon today so I settled for the live Sky tv viewing which made me grateful I had stayed at home. Cardiff lost 2-1, thanks to an appalling first half display and two defensive suicidal goals in the closing moments of the first half, they pressured 2nd half although Plymouth remained dangerous on the break, Chopra pulled one back but we never got close to equalising so City fell to their second successive away loss and third defeat in 4 games yet stayed 6th and in the play-offs thanks to sides around Cardiff also slipping up.

This was a poor spectacle. If Cardiff and Plymouth are the 6th and 7th best teams in the Championship and City stay in the play-off zone despite hardly ever impressing all season long, it was a good advert for watching something else instead!

City were without Joe Ledley (who was sitting in the Soccer AM studio instead) but he was replaced by new loan man Wayne Routledge, one of four City players on loan to the club which must be a record for us. City lined up Heaton: McNaughton-Purse-Johnson-Kennedy; Parry-Rae-McPhail-Routledge; Johnson(Eddie)-Chopra.

Argyle had useful forwartds in M'Penza, Gallagher and ex-Jack Fallon who proved too much for our defence and ex-City men Chris Barker giving his usual solid show at left back, the £500k signing from City in Steve MacLean who has done nothing in Devon (saem as South Wales) while their record signing Simon Walton could not get in the 16 and turned down a loan to Crewe in the week. How on earth did they spend £750k on him, £7.50 would have been too much.
Wind apart, we are far too regularly starting games too slowly. Nathan Blake on the radio was suggesting some on our players must have still been on the M5 on the bus 15 minutes into the game. City rode their luck and seemed to be settling into a game where they played into a strong wind that was impacting on the match but then cocked it up completely in the five minutes before the interval.

How many more soft goals are we going to give away? Both today's were diabolical and the whole back four need to take blame. Johnson (allowed himself to be beaten without challenge) and Purse (allowing M'PENZA to get around him and hook a shot without challenge either) on the 1st, Kennedy, Purse and McNaughton for the 2nd with Heaton looking a complete novice) for the 2nd scored by GALLAGHER. No alertness and completely dozy, shocking.

.
City won a number of second half corners, none carried a threat but CHOPS showed quality finishing to bring City back into the match. However a speculative Rae effort aside, that was pretty much it and all the old faults were there to see.

Rae being anonymous and McPhail playing too deep and ineffectively, the pair being invisible is now past a joke. We'll see the best of McPhail now we have Chopra some say, how long do we need to wait? I'd give Blake a chance yesterday, probably at the expense of Rae who I wouldn't even know was on the pitch these days if it were not for his wayward shots. And just what has happened to Paul Parry? Retired for Wales, he plays as if he's done the same with City lately.

At the back, it's time to give Gypes a chance. Purse and Johnson haven't looked a good unit for some time and neither are playing that well but Purse is always the more vulnerable of the two. His lack of pace and agility regularly catches him out and he's unable to atone for his errors as Johnson can/does. It's not clicking, make a change.

City may also have new injuries on their lengthening list? McNaughton didn't appear for the second half (giving Blake 45 minutes but in defence) while Heaton limped out for the final couple of minutes giving Enckleman his first league show this season.

Not all gloom and doom though. Routledge is going to be a joy to watch and it's two in two for Chops but no matter how much they work on him, I'm more and more sure Eddie Johnson will fall short. It's getting absurd we bombed Thommo and brought in a lesser version of him on treble the money (or more). Nice flicks 35 yards from goal but no presence whatsoever in and around the box, he's nowhere near sharp enough to grab goals. It's crazy we've got a Premiership international player on silly money and have to work night and day just to get him towards bare minimum standard. He will score eventually but he'll never get enough.

Massive week ahead now, time for the boys to show they want it really badly. Too often second best today against an average side. The fact we're in the play-off with 28 points off 18 games (normally only good enough to be in the Top 10) tells you much about the dearth of quality even if it is exciting.

Plymouth Argyle 2 Cardiff City 1 - how the press saw it



Friday, November 21, 2008

There's Fireworks and There's FIREWORKS

Check this $20M display opening a new Dubai hotel last night (not quite as good as the £70 our family spent on a show the other week but a noble attempt to match it!!)

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/7740887.stm

Thursday, November 20, 2008

ROUTLEDGE TO THE RESCUE

Routledge tries the flimsiest of attempts at porn

Although yet to be officially confirmed, CARDIFF CITY have shown real ambition for the second time in a week to grab Premeiership men to cover for injured players.

After last week's audacious coup to secure Michael Chopra on loan, The Bluebirds have struck again and believed to have obtained flying winger Wayne Routledge on an initial 2 month loan deal from Aston Villa to offset the current loss to injury of Joe Ledley and Peter Whittingham.

Routledge was a teenage prodigy and I recall how he ripped City apart for Crystal Palace at Ninian Park a couple of seasons ago as they rampaged their way to the Premiership after being in relegation trouble at Christmas. It was that form (83 starts, 27 sub outings and 11 goals) that saw Spurs take the diminuitive but oh so tricky wide man to White Hart Lane in 2005 but he only had 5 appearances although racked up another 39 outings in loan spells at Portsmouth and Fulham.

Last January, January, the 5'7" man was taken to Villa Park by Martin O'Neill for £1.25M but has had only 2 European starts and a handful of substitute appearences to date although general opinion amongst Villa fans is that he has performed very well in reserve games and still looks a talent but not quite managed a breakthrough so a loan spell with Cardiff looks mutually beneficial to City and the player.

Routledge will almost certainly start in Saturday lunchtime's live Sky game at Plymouth Argyle, a fixture where over 1,000 City fans already have tickets.

Blimey, since when did we become a club who were pro-active and showed ambition when injuries and player shortages struck??

Excellent work City.

.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Brief media view of Wales' friendly win in Denmark

Wales beats Denmark 1-0 in friendlyInternational Herald Tribune

R.I.P. MAC

My father-in-law passed away today and it's a strange feeling. Mac (as he's known) had a good life and good innings and survived terminal cancer for almost 2 years, far longer than anyone expected. However the end came quickly and without great notice so proved a shock.

An irony is that my wife's large family are quite fractured but it takes something like this to get everyone pulling together and it's great to see. I'm not even sure if they know why they don't talk, I don know it's for nothing major or important. Families eh? Whether this will last is dubious I'd say but you do wonder why some people go out of their way to avoid others and then talk and greet each other like best friends ever when the chips are down. I'm sure Mac will like what he sees at present though. RIP Mac.

Friendly: DENMARK 0 WALES 1



If there were World Cups for friendlies, Wales would qualify for the finals everytime and probably go a long way too. In the latest tonight, The Red Dragon Kids produced an excellent and deserved 1-0 vistory over Denmark in Brondby featuring a side of 8 Under 21 players and Aaaron Ramsey showing all his class on his full debut at this level.

The first half was goalless but I'm not sure anyone can work out how. Wales missed four golden chances, skipper Craig Bellamy failing to convert 2 one on one sitters while the Danes saw Myhill produce a superb stop and miss one glorious opening of their own. The half belonged to Wales however and they really should have been winning in an open and entertaining battle.

All the flowing promising football in that first half evaporated midst a flurry of substitutions and tactical changes after the interval but just when you thought it would be goalless, up popped BELLAMY to beat Stoke City's Sorenson with a scuffed edge of box shot that found the corner of goal. Wales had few problems holding on as the Danes, in a spare crowd including 150 Welshies, were roundly booed by their support.

Well done Tosh and the Boys - now please start getting these results ion the games that really matter.

I WON A NATIONAL NEWSPAPER COMPETITION


At my door today arrived a brand new release boxset of illusionist/mindwarper Derren Brown from the Daily Star.
OK nothing to brag about but it only cost me 1x1 minute e-mail I'd forgotten all about. I honestly didn't think anyone won these things but I now have. Joy o Joy! Wonder how much I can get for it on EBay?? :>)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

WHITTS IS LATEST ADDITION TO CITY'S EMERGENCY WARD


QUESTION OF THE DAY:
Which has more occupants - Cardiff City's Dressing Room or Treatment Room?


A typical November scene with Cardiff City's personnel




Just when you thought things couldn't get any worse on the injury front at Ninian Park, they have ... and City have a crisis on their hands.

After losing strikers Ross McCormack and Jay Bothroyd to hamstrings a fortnight ago against Wolves, it was announced yesterday that last weekend's victory over Crystal Palace came at the expense of Joe Ledley being out for upto 1 month due to a hand operation but, today, it was additionally confirmed that Peter Whittingham will be absent for upto 3 months with torn ankle ligaments from the same game.

City's only just saw Mark Kennedy returned from injury but other long-term absentees in Riccy Scimeca and Tony Capaldi.

I make that 6 current casualties - a nightmare when Cardiff are operating with an effective squad of just 20 players plus kids.

Ross McCormack may return by the weekend. If so, he may operate in wide midfield with Parry on the opposite side for a makeshift solution or Darcy Blake could be added. However with Cardiff facing 3 big games over the next 11 days in Plymouth away, Reading home and Swansea away - the temptation must be there again for Dave Jones to hit the loan market.

Good Luck to all the walking wounded ... for theirs and City's sake, let's hope for the speediest of recoveries.

Mac out for Scotland, Blake in for Wales

Cardiff City's mercurial leading scorer Ross McCormack has been forced to withdraw from Scotland's squad for tomorrow night's keynote home friendly against Diego Maradona's Argentina due to his hamstring problems.

McCormack hoped to return for Cardiff City at home to Crystal Palace last weekend after a hamstring pull in the Wolves defeat just over a fortnight ago but suffered a small setback in training last Thursday. Although not believed to be serious, McCormack will not be ready for midweek and will now concentrate on being fit to be in City's squad for the visit to Plymouth in a live Sky game this coming Saturday.

McCormack is a latest in a lengthening line of Cardiff City players who have had to withdraw from international games as it's happened a couple of times to Kevin McNaughton and even Gavin Rae for Scotland while Joe Ledley is now absent for Wales. However his absence has opened a door for Darcy Blake who is in Denmark and hoping to be involved in tomorrow's friendly, a game which will see the talented ex-City star Aaron Ramsey make his full debut.

Monday, November 17, 2008




TONIGHT's Special Guest on the Cardiff City Phone-In was left back Mark Kennedy who also looks back to last weekend's 2-1 victory over Crystal Palace.

Listen or download via link below:


http://www.mediafire.com/?mmydnq5twmz



.

JOE LEDLEY's STIFF LITTLE FINGERS


The official Cardiff City website has revealed that what were believed top be dislocated fingers were a more serious onjury and that Joe enters hospital tomorrow for surgery that could see him absent for up to 1 month. He has, of course, also been pulled form the Wales squad to play in Denmark this Wednesday.


Let's hope recovery can be quicker. Good Luck Joe.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Champinship Game 17 - CARDIFF CITY 1 CRYSTAL PALACE 0 match report

Cardiff City got back to winning ways with a 2-1 Ninian Park victory over Crystal Palace but remained in 6th spot. It was a deserved victory and three points although tinged in some controversy as Michael Chopra, on his homecoming, scored the opener with a penalty that, perhaps, never was. A comedy of errors saw Palace equalise but Joe Ledley, proved the ultimate hero scoring a sweet left volley, literally seconds after returning to the action from two broken fingers.

Ross McCormack was unable to return to the fray with a new tweak on his hamstring so the only alteration from the side defeated, in more controversial style, at QPR was fir again Mark Kennedy returning to face his previous club, timely as Miguel Comminges served a 1 match ban.

There was a poor following from Sarf London in the 17,478 crowd which didn't include myself for only the 2nd time this Millennium (family wedding - bah!) and they saw City dominate the first half in fairly dour style not really creating a great deal. Once again, Rae and McPhail didn't fire, once again too many long or high balls and, once again, decent passing and build up play but a struggle to create in the final third.

The breakthrough came just before the half-hour as Chopra accelerated into the area, beat a defender, had the slightest of touches but lost momentum and fell. Penalty was the award - we would have been furious to have conceded it but there doesn't seem to be a City match at the mo that a ref doesn't influence. CHOPRA kept cool, sent Flahavan the wrong way and 1-0 it was.

It should have been comfortable but a City set piece saw Flahavan take and boot downfield for a two on tow. Even then, City were in control but Heaton and McNaughton got in a tangle, the ball ran loose and SCANNEL said thanks very much as he had the simplest of tasks placing the ball in an empty goal.

Cardiff started the 2nd period brightly and the big breakthrough came on 52. Joe Ledley fell awkwardly and what were feared to be 2 broken fingers were dislocations and he returned after treatment with them banded together. As he did, the fast emerging Eddie Johnson flicked on and LEDLEY reacted superbly yo get there first and stab a superb half volley wide of Flahavan.

City never convinced to the end but were the only side that looked like scoring all afternoon until Scannel hit at Heaton 2 minutes into added time. However, from that, City got downfield, Johnson was tagged and Palace conceded another penalty which also saw last defender Lawrence get an instant red card.

Many wanted Johnson to take it but it was Chops again but this time, he hit poorly for Flahavan to stop with his boot with final whistle moments later.

Next week is Plymouth away, live on Sky but City need to stop conceding silly goals and find some more midfield creativity although, increasingly, it looks like new personnel will be needed for that although, hallejuah, at least Dave Jones finally gave Darcy Blake 10 minutes ... and not before time too.

Cardiff City vs Crystal Palace preview

There has been a gap in the blog this week as it was a slow news week without anything much to report.

It changes today however as City are home to Crystal Place but, unfortunately, I won't be there due to a family wedding. I've missed less than 20 home games of all types (friendly, testimonial, league, cup, Europe) in over 40 years since first going as 6 year old. The last game I missed, 3 years ago, was also due to a family occasion (a Golden Wedding anniversary that time).

Why do people get married on Saturday afternoons during the football season? They clearly have their priorities wrong.

Back to the game and it's billed as Michael Chopra's homecoming. There is a real buzz about it but, sadly, it appears that he won't be partnering up with Ross McCormack. The dynamic Scotsman was pulled from training on Thursday with a small pull on his hamstring and looks set to miss this encounter plus Scotland's prestige friendly with Argentina next week. So it appears the only change from QPR will be the return of Mark Kennedy post-injury which is timely with Miguel Comminges serving a 1 match ban following his red card.

There may be a big story though as skipper Darren Purse won his red appeal, earned ion the same QPR game, so can play but boss Dave Jones is considering Gabor Gypes who has impressed in a couple of recent sub outings and who, to many City fans, on the limited evidence so far looks at least as good as Purse without Purse's lack of pace and reckless lunges.

Regardless of personnel, it's a must win after 2 defeats and City hanging onto 6th spot with their recent gap over the chasing pack now closed.

A quick word on Neil Warnock's Crystal Palace who visit NP Towers in a disappointing 16th place, 5 points behind City. They have some good players but have, so far, been frustratingly inconsistent as shown by the last 3 result - home defeat to bottom of the table Nottingham Forest, home draw with Sheffield Wednesday but good 2-0 win at Coventry last weekend.

*Due to the wedding, I won't be updating this blog until Sunday night/Monday morning but I hope to be reporting a good City win. Here's hoping!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Tonight's Cardiff City Phone-In

Tonight's show previews romorrow's clash with Crystal Palace and includes an interview with Welsh former City keeper Martyn Thomas who is now Enlgand Under 21 goalkeeping coach where he mentors, amongst others, City's shot stopper Tom Heaton.

You can listen or download via link below.
.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Tonight's Cardiff City Phone-in

With no midweek game, tonight's Cardiff City phone-in on GTFM with Keith Cooper and Gaffa reviewed the season to date along with several callers including myself in the second half of the show.

Some good opinions and it's worth a listen.




You can listen or download via this link.
http://www.mediafire.com/?njtz1j7dyny
.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

DATAROCK COVER DEVO's MONGOLID

Norway's Datarock called into a radio station (US based called JJJ??) this week and talked up DEVO before performing an unplugged version of Mongoloid. Good version, pity it is cut short but enjoy.

DARREN PURSE QPR RED CARD RESCINDED

Having submitted a written appeal this morning, after giving advance notice, it appears that the FAW Disciplinary Committee were instantly convened and decided that Darren Purse's instant red card received at QPR last Saturday was as unjust and harsh and Cardiff and QPR management plus City fans always believed it was. Whether the referee report helped or the FAW decided it was simply wrong remains to be seen.

Strangely, it is the second time ref Les Probert has harshly sent off Purse but his previous appeal failed for an incident in 2005 although this is now this 2nd tim
e this year that a Darren Purse red card has been rescinded when he was somewhat fortunate to get a reprieve following a sending off at Burnley late last season.

Purse will now be able to resume duties against Crystal Palace at Ninian Park this coming weekend but this may not be the end of all matters as Probert has reported comments made to him by City boss Dave Jones which may well lead to a further hearing.

Meantime, one Cardiff City fan has today written a formal complaint to the English F.A. regarding 'off the record' comments alleged to have been made to him on two separate occasions by Probert about Cardiff City and Darren Purse. The CardiffCity.com messageboard user, Barclay, a regular contributor to that forum has posted his claimed letter to the F.A. in that forum which makes for an interesting read. Hoax or not? You can check it here.
http://www.ccmb.co.uk/fudforum/index.php?t=tree&goto=902879&rid=10&S=a84dd35874f9c13ed80443c36027fa9a#page_top




International Delight for McCormack and Rambo




Ross McCormack will be delighted to hear that he has been called into the full Scotland squad for next week's prestigious international against Argentina.


McCormack has vastly enhanced his name and reputation at Cardiff City this season immediately becoming a fans' favourite and leading the club's and Championship's goalscoring charts with his 12 strikes already. Scottish boss George Burley recently visited Ninian Park and saw McCormack score a magnificent free-kick to clinch victory over Blackpool.


However, there was no place for City's other Scottish contingent on the form of Gavin Rae and Kevin McNaughton.





Closer to home, ex-City hero (and now Arsenal prospect) Aaron Ramsey has finally been called into the senir squad for Wales' freidnly date in Denmark next week.




CITY TO APPEAL PURSE RED CARD

BIFF, BAM, KAPOW !!!

It has been confirmed that Cardiff City will launch a written appeal against Darren Purse's harsh red card at QPR last weekend.

It is likely to be heard at FAW Headquarters later this week so that Purse can play, if successful, in this weekend's home clash against Crystal Palace. If it fails, Purse will miss 3 games and may find his return to the team difficult as the Hungarian Gabor Gypes will stand in and has shown promise as a player and in his partnership with Roger Johnson on his limited outings to date but this would allow him the platform to impress and stake his claim.

Purse has been harshly red carded by the same referee (Lee Probert) before during a home game with Plymouth on Boxing Day 2005. City appealed that as well but were denied by the FAW on that occasion although their appeal against Purse's more just red card at Burnley last season was successful enabling him to be involved in the F.A. Cup Final squad so who knows how this one will go.

One more definite outcome is that Miguel Comminges will be suspended this weekend after his red card resulting from two yellows but he has deputised for Mark Kennedy who is set to return anyway.


JONES IN TROUBLE with F.A.

DAVE JONES is in trouble after being reported to the FA following the weekend QPR defeat by referee Lee Probert.

Jones was likely to face trouble anyway for comments made to the media but he has been reported for a post-match remark made directly to Probert. It's not the first time Jones has landed himself in hot water for remarks made about, or to, match officials. He had a two match touchline ban last season for remarks made about a referee after a game at Barnsley when he was sent to the stands and there's a likelihood he will face a further ban and keep his arms folded in the Director's Box instead.

Jones' post-match frustrations were understandable as Probert's ultra-harsh red card shown to Darren Purse (for a 2nd time - he also did it to him 3 years ago in a Cardiff City vs Plymouth fixture) was a decisive factor in City's loss but I'm not sure all his remarks can be defended.

Apart from whatever he said to the referee directly, Jones was wrong to defend Miguel Comminges red card. The player gesturing and making remarks to a linesman moments after a yellow card was silliness while tv evidence showed that Jones' complaint about City being refused a clear cut penalty for a foul on Chopra was wrong too, the contact was clearly outside the area.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

QPR 1 CARDIFF CITY 0 - how the media saw it


Today is the final day of The Corkscrew at Alton Towers, the UK and Europe's first flip over rollercoaster.

Was surprised to learn it is 28 years old but I went there this summer and realised how bland it is with the new generation of coasters and thrill rides around today.

My best memory though is the very first time I went to Alton Towers specifically to ride on The Corkscrew. I set off with my brother in my mini long before SatNav, internet and Alton Towers was a well known venue. We stopped at Severn Bridge services at silly o'clock in the morning, looked at an atlas and found Alton on a map.

Got there for breakfast time but there was no sign of a theme park or any signs directing us to the place so we called in the village petrol station for help and discovered we were in Alton near Basingstoke in Hampshire when Alton Towers is near Stoke!

Doh! We made it later that day, they let us in cheap as the park closed an hour later and we got on the Corkscrew. Sh*te myself then, wonder why now. Times move on eh?

JOE CALZAGHE HAMMERS ROY JONES Jr.

Joe Calzaghe comprehensively did the business and demolished Roy Jones Jr in the legendary Madison Square Gardens to take his World Champion ways into an 11th year and his record to a perfect 46 wins and 0 defeats.


Joe won massively. It was 11 rounds to 1 on the scorecards of all three judges but what a scare with that lost round as Joe was put down and in trouble in the second minute of the fight and had to use his instincts to survive that round.

From then on however, it was one way traffic as Joe unloaded and Jones was only able to respond with single shots but they were each dangerous. It did seem for a while that Joe's only problem was himself as he was complacent at times and guilty of showboating as he trapped Jones Jr. on the ropes, unloaded a small barrage but stepped back to admire his work instead of being ruthless and efficient. Dropping his hands down was worrying too but he got away with it, how embarrassing it could have been had he got tagged again.

The defining moment of the fight came in Round 7 as Joe caught Jones Jr. with a straight right giving him a severe cut for the first time in his career and the contest was never really in doubt after that as Jones struggled with his cut that just never stopped bleeding, an eye that eventually closed and tiredness as the combo of Joe's work and movement and Father Time caught up with him.

I wish Joe finished Jones off as he certainly seemed to be there for the taking. Jones cut was so severe - to the extent that 3 rounds started late while they continued to work on him - that nobody could have complained if it was stopped and, perhaps, it should have been. However Joe doesn't seem able to put opponents away anymore and for the 6th time in 7 contests, it was the judges who decided it, not that they had any decision to make.

Joe's legacy is assured but, as many suspected, after talking about this being his last fight all week, Joe announced he wanted to have a think. His performance was very impressive and I'm sure pressure will now build for him to fight again and finish at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium but, in truth, there is really nobody left for him to fight and nothing more for him to prove.

You're a true legend Joe Calzaghe.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

QPR delighted to beat City

Caretaker QPR boss and ex-City loan man Gareth Ainsworth is pleased that his side stuck at the task and grabbed a late winner to sink 9 man Cardiff City at Loftus Road today.

Listen via the link below:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/7717831.stm

DAVE JONES lambasts officials after QPR defeat




Cardiff City's late 1-0 loss with 9 men produced a frustrated but angry response from Bluebirds boss Dave Jones at the officiating which was widely agreed to have been rough on City.





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Championship Game 16: QPR 1 CARDIFF CITY 0 match report


CARDIFF CITY fell to their 2nd successive defeat and their first on their Championship travels this season with a 1-0 defeat at Loftus Road to QPR but remain in 6th place ahead of Rangers on goal difference. The only goal came late from sub Gavin Mahon after City had battled almost an hour with 10 men after Darren Purse was controversially given a straight red card on 27 minutes while City's misery was compounded as Miguel Comminges was also sent off, another controversial decision, with his second yellow card in the dying minutes. Yet, in what admittedly was a poor scrappy encounter, it was City who played the better football and created more chances but luck appears to have deserted them at present.

With 5 players injured, City will be grateful that 4 men who didn't travel with the squad on Friday due to illness recovered to make it to the game on Saturday. The huge boost was the presence of Michael Chopra, back on loan, but there were surprises as Eddie Johnson started alongside him, Paul Parry was on the bench and Miguel Comminges got reinstated at left back. CARDIFF CITY: Heaton; McNaughton-Purse-Johnson, Roger-Comminges; Whittingham-Rae-McPhail-Ledley, Johnson,Eddie-Chopra. Subs were Enckleman-Blake-Brown-Gypes-Parry.

Rangers are inconsistent and not living up to their moneybags billing under the control of F1 owners and Indian steel tycoons. They recently sacked Ian Dowie and currently have ex-City man Gareth Ainsworth managing the side but remain inconsistent. QPR: Cerny; Stewart-Connolly-Hall-Ramage; Ledesma-Rowlands-Cook-Tommasi; Blackstock-Di Carmine.

City, playing in their mulberry wine coloured away kit, made a dominant start willed on by 1,400+ travelling Bluebirds in a crowd of just over 13,000, winning a corner inside the first 10 seconds and another a couple of minutes later, Roger Johnson heading the first over the bar. Eddie Johnson started well and showed signs of linking with Chopra who created City's most dangerous moment just before the quarter hour but shot just wide appealing for a corner. QPR, by contrast, created no early problems and no effort at goal until an unnecessary free-kick saw Lee Cook hit straight at Heaton.

Cardiff remained lively and almost opened their account at the quarter mark of the game with a smart move involving Rae, Comminges and Whittingham who found room for McPhail, his curling shot was touched wide by the Rangers keeper.

A relatively quiet game, with some sections of the Rangers support expressing their disapproval of their side's display, came to life in controversial style as Darren Purse and Cook went for a 50/50 ball, Purse caught his opponent with no hint of malice and no protests for Rangers fans or players but ref Les Probert amazingly brandished a straight red card. It was the ref's first red card awarded all season but seems certain to be one that Cardiff will appeal as nobody, other than the ref, appeared to believe it was deserving of that outcome. City wasted little time in bringing on centre-half Gabor Gypes but in a surprise move, Dave Jones opted to remove Joe Ledley from the game instead of one of the forwards with Eddie Johnson the favourite for most people. It was 4-4-1 but Chops was encouraged

The boldness of that decision almost paid out 5 minutes before the interval as McPhail won a loose ball, found Peter Whittingham and his powered drive narrowly clearing the bar. The rest of the half continued to see City have slightly the better of it and R's make no impression, it was not apparent that the home side had the extra man of the pitch.

City started the 2nd half as they did in the first period, playing good football and looking the more likely to score as Whittingham, Chopra and Eddie Johnson (twice) went close but Rangers, ominously but understandably, started to find a bit more space and exert pressure cajoled by Ainsworth to play more passing football but they struggled to do that but he was able to throw on 3 attacking substituions including the dangerous Buzaky and Agyemang.

On 72 minutes, those subs came closest to a breakthrough, Heaton parrying a Buzaky hit and Agyemang thankfully put wide when the chance was there on the rebound but back came City with Rae misfiring and Eddie Johnson heading over which proved to be his last action of his best City display as Paul Parry replaced him.

It was shaping up for a late decider and there was a feeling City may pay for not making more of their bright build up play, good football and half chances and, as pressure increased but still against the run of play, City finally cracked with 10 minutes remaining. The goal a simple cross headed home well by GAVIN MAHON.

Any hopes of a comeback went as Miguel Comminges collect two yellow cards moments apart, the second also controversial for comments made to a linesman leaving City to play the final 5 minutes with 9 men yet, in the final action, Cardiff still nearly grabbed the most unlikely draw as Cerny had to save a Roger Johnson header at a set piece.

A day to forget for City, their followers, management and players. Onwards and upwards, Crystal Palace at home next Saturday and City need a win.

Joe Calzaghe v Roy Jones Jnr weigh-in, final meet and Joe's pre-fight thoughts

http://www.walesonline.co.uk/videos-and-pics/2008/10/31/calzaghe-i-m-ready-to-fight-91466-22196831/

Calzaghe ready for his date with New York destiny

In the early hours of tomorrow (4am Cardiff time to be exact), Joe Calzaghe enters the ring at Madison Square Gardens aiming to outpoint the legendary Roy Jones Jr on his home turf.

It won't be easy but I'm sure Joe can do it and further his legend.

Here's a fight preview.

http://www.walesonline.co.uk/sports/sports-news-round-up/2008/11/08/boxing-joe-calzaghe-ready-for-his-date-with-destiny-91466-22209180/

Friday, November 07, 2008

TONIGHT'S CARDIFF CITY PHONE-IN SHOW

This evening's latest Cardiff City phone-in talked about the sensational Michael Chopra deal, looked ahead to the QPR game and included guests Geraint Twose (Cardiff City Academy) + Mark Bloom (South Wales Echo)



Listen or download via this link:
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City hit by bug, kids on standby




A mystery illness has hit Cardiff City on the eve of tomorrow's West London clash with QPR as three unnamed players have been stuck by a bug and stopped from travelling with the squad to reduce the chances of others being affected too.



While it remains unclear whether the players will travel tomorrow or who they are, youngsters Darren Dennehy and Jon Brown have been added at the last minute. Dennehy is suggested to be in line for a possible debut which would suggest that Darren Purse or Roger Johnson (or both!) are on the sick list. Brown was due to fly to Turkey today with Wales Under 19's for an international but has now linked with the first team squad instead.


It is the second successive weekend that City's pre-game preparations have been hit by illness as last week's game against Wolves saw a couple of players affected by flu but they recovered sufficiently to play.

Chopra and Johnson to make striking duo at QPR?

That's what Terry Phillips is suggesting in today's Echo.

I'd be shocked if it's not Parry and Chopra personally.

Although EJ did win a couple of flick-ons last weekend, it's a world of difference having support around you playing against a Wolves side playing deep away from home defending a lead as he faced last week to facing QPR tomorrow who are likely to pressure us leaving City to make the most of counter-attacking play. Eddie hasn't shown he's savvy enough to do that, Parry has.


http://www.walesonline.co.uk/footballnation/cardiff-city-fc/2008/11/07/eddie-johnson-and-michael-chopra-set-to-start-for-cardiff-city-91466-22205249/

CHOPRA INTERVIEW with The Echo

On his first day back at Cardiff City, Michael Chopra gives his thoughts in a candid interview .... oh, and does the ayatollah of course. A good watch.


http://www.walesonline.co.uk/videos-and-pics/2008/11/06/michael-chopra-talks-to-walesonline-91466-22201590/
Wales Online

WHAT CHOPRA OFFERS THE CITY

Here's the goals for Cardiff City that nspired aRoy Keane and Sunderland to pay £5M for Michael Chopra ... and gave Dave Jones all the motivation to bring him back on loan.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

THE PERFECT GIFT

Got to have one of these for Christmas

WALES to review international football prices ... but not until 2010

THE FAW have confirmed they are to review its prices for international football at Millennium Stadium after the two World Cup home qualifiers to date have produced sparse corwds of 18,000 and under 12,000 respectively in a 78,000 capacity ground.

The opposition in each instance (Azerbaijan and Liechtenstein) have hardly been crowd pullers but ticket pricing has been a factor. Family prices have been reasonable but the upper tiers have been £15 to £25 with 10% booking fee on top when it used to be £5 to £10. The attraction/novelty of attending Millennium Stadium has worn away too - everyone's been there by now.

It makes sense to charge low prices and have a fuller ground but in these times of tight finances, many people are making the decision to watch internationals on tv and there neds to be more inspiration, and less complacency, to pull crowds back.

At least it's finally dawned on them and they're thinking about it.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/internationals/7711605.stm

DAVE JONES - Manager of the Month

Who you calling Cokehead?



Cardiff City's Dave Jones has been confirmed as the Championship's Coca Cola Manager of the Month for October today.

He was named on a shortlist earlier this week along with Simon Davey (Barnsley), Paul Jewell (Derby County) and Alex McLeish (Birmingham City) but his, and City's record, of 3 wins and 2 draws rising to 3rd place last month was the best of all contenders so it would have been a shock had he not triumphed.

In awarding the honour, Chris Kamara who chairs the panel paid this tribute, "Dave Jones is proving once again just what a top-class manager he is. He guided to Cardiff to the FA Cup final last season and, despite having little money to spend in the summer, has worked wonders to ensure his side have remained competitive at the top end of the Championship so far this season."
Congrats to Dave and Cardiff City.

For the record, Paul Trollope won the League 1 award and Huddersfield's Peter Jackson took the gong for League 2

CHOPRA LOAN DEAL OFFICIALLY CONFIRMED

The Cardiff City official website have this morning confirmed the news that has had City fans and South buzzing since yesterday evening ... our favourite son is coming back.

Fantastic news.

http://www.cardiffcityfc.premiumtv.co.uk/page/NewsDetail/0,,10335~1445209,00.html

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Finally, Cardiff City have shown some ambition

What's that coming back over the hill
It's Michael Chopra, it's Michael Chopra!

As sensational as Chopra's return is, I'm more amazed that Cardiff City have at last made a positive move.

Too often we've seen players sold and inadequately replaced. Cardiff failing to act positively in transfer windows has held us back and when we've hit the loan market, a regular theme is that it sees us treading water.

This time, the club have sent out a message that they mean business and are aiming to keep us at the top end of this division. I cannot imagine Chops coming here without it being a view to a permanent deal and I guess it means that has to be other business conducted in January.

For now, I am happy, thankful and so pleased to see City make a statement of intent. Let's hope it gets its rewards.

Fabulous.


SENSATION - CHOPRA RETURNS TO CARDIFF CITY!!!

November 5th 2008 will go down in history.
For most of the World, it will be Barack Obama becoming the first black President of USA, a momentous event. For Cardiff City fans, it will however be the unbelievable news that Michael Chopra is returning to the club.

The deal will initially be for a 2 month loan but there is a pervading feeling that it will be with a view to a permanent deal in January.

City have chased Chopra since the summer and as recently as 3 weeks ago. Rumours have been very strong for some time that Chops himself wanted to return as well despite recent games and goals for Sunderland in the Premiership.

His 1 season stop at Ninian Park saw him score 22 goals and become a God to the fans but it earned him a £5M deal to Sunderland at the start of last season. His time there has been troubled, often played out of position and marital/gambling troubles saw him spend some time in rehab yet he has 8 Premiership goals in 22 starts plus 16 sub outings.

The grapevine suggests City were moving for him anyway regardless of the injuries to Bothroyd and McCormack but it is likely that City accelerated their plans as a result. It is believed they can bring him back for half the sale fee. There is also a suggestion the club are still trying to get another striker as well with Newcastle United's Andy Carroll being mentioned as a short-term loan deal.

It is the most incredible news and love it!

Here are links to this evening's breaking news.

Michael Chopra rejoins Cardiff City on loan
Michael Chopra rejoins Cardiff CityWalesOnline
Bluebirds eye Chopra swoopSkySports