Cardiff City + A Big Greek Keeper = ?
Dimitrios Konstantopoulos arrived at Cardiff City as a big Greek with a big reputation to boot. On loan from Coventry City, he was brought in to cover injuries to Enckelman and Heaton and even spoke about a prospective permanent deal on his arrival.
Dimi had been on loan with our friends from the West Swansea City this season. A number of good performances, including a sensational display against Portsmouth in the FA Cup saw him win many admirers in South (West) Wales and Swans fans were disappointing to miss out on his signature during a snow hit January transfer window.
As such, Dimi seemed a suitable acquisition when we needed a goalkeeper fast and fans were pleased to see him join and solve our keeper crisis. However, on debut against Wolves - Dimi dropped a clanger. A high hopeful ball was played in from the Cardiff right and all seemed to be under control until the Greek goalkeeper inexplicably dropped the ball, under no pressure - back over the Bluebirds line! That allowed Wolves a point in a game we should have won and did little to endear Cardiff City fans to their new signing.
Our next 2 games saw QPR shut-out and Southampton score through a penalty - not much more the goalkeeper could do but the kicking of Konstantopoulos remained a cause for serious concern. Even simple back-passes were skewed away for throw-ins or towards opposition players - several went skimming low and failed to pass halfway.
Home games against Barnsley and Doncaster saw the odd decent save by Dimi, but again frailties were on show and he appeared indecisive behind the back-four and again displayed ineffective kicking. Roger Johnson in particular seemed under-enamoured with his keeper and challenged him mid-pitch following Whittingham`s 90th minute goal against Barnsley. The two argued while the rest of the players were celebrating.
Still, how much criticism can you levy at a goalkeeper who has conceded just one penalty and an unstoppable Jon Macken strike in four games? Especially with injuries to McNaughton and Kennedy within those games. Well, it was a midweek trip to Norwich City whilst underlined the doubts on his ability. A hopeful ball from Wes Hoolahan looked to have wasted possession but did fly over Capaldi`s head. As the ball bounced slowly towards Dimi, he hesitated on the edge of his area - he was waiting to collect by hand, but as on-loan Reading man David Mooney closed in (in hope rather than expectation), Dimi changed his mind and opted to kick - he missed his kick allowing Mooney to steal in and finish from the penalty spot. A horrific error once again, Dimi stayed down for minutes but it was his pride that was hurt and there was certainly no foul on him - just a really poor misjudgement.
That appears to be the final nail in Dimi`s coffin as Dave Jones has acted swiftly to bring in former Arsenal keeper Stuart Taylor in on loan. He started well against Bristol City on Sunday and you doubt whether Konstantopoulos will ever appear in a Bluebirds shirt again - making him once of our worst signings ever!
A Vital Cardiff poll is now open on the right hand side of your screen asking for fans` opinions on 'Dimi the drop`, Konstantdropalots, 'Agent Dimi` or whatever moniker you may know him by. Personally I think it`s a confidence thing, he started badly and never recovered - the fact that he`s Coventry`s third choice suggests his quality is not all that great but I wish him all the best and hope Stuart Taylor turns out to be an astute capture and can contribute towards our promotion push.