Date:Thursday March 26 2009
Cardiff City midfielder Stephen McPhail has long been a source of contention amongst Cardiff City fans but of late, even his biggest supporters have agreed his form has been poor. Once such an integral cog in our midfield machinery, the Irishman has lost the flair, creativity and drive that made him a popular and important player. Whilst he used to create numerous goals for the Bluebirds, he now appears a luxury and even manager Dave Jones, for so long a fervent supporter of McPhail has axed him from the side.
We`ve played against our fiercest rivals twice this season, and McPhail was dismissed in both encounters. Whilst the first was slightly unlucky, the second was petulant and saw him dropped for a long time following the ban. Once he returned, McPhail remained a controversial figure and has contributed little - a disasterous back-header granted a point to Birmingham City deep into injury time during one brief substitute appearance.
However, whilst most fans are happy to see Ledley and Rae continue in midfield - opinions are split on the reception McPhail; receives if called upon. Whilst not a popular decision, the boos were clearly audible when Chris Burke made may for McPhail during the 3-0 defeat against Sheffield United. However, a number of supporters were equally upset with the poor reception afforded to one of our own, long-serving players.
A recent poll on this Cardiff City website invited readers opinions on McPhail and the booing:
In agreement. I boo. (16%)
Understanding, he's poor. (28%)
Indifferent. Don't care. (3%)
What booing ?!? (7%)
Whilst most were against this treatment, a decent number did boo him while plenty more were in support of that and understood the reasoning.
It`s pretty poor form to boo one of our own, I`d like to think it was the decision that upset the crowd but simply remembering the likes of Rhys Weston, Richard Langley or Alan Lee makes you think some fans just love an excuse to moan and can`t wait to get on the back of their own side. Personally, there will be no boos from me, and if McPhail starts or comes on - I`ll be hoping he produces a superb ball through the defence for McCormack or Chopra to finish. Every time he appears in a Bluebirds shirt, he`ll have my backing - of course if he continues his poor form, negative passing or inability to tackle - we have our right to voice our concerns and displeasure.
A McPhail on top form is a real asset in the Championship. Current form is nowhere near that level, but whilst McPhail`s weaknesses can be all too obvious at times - we are in a fantastic position, with a real shot at promotion and every single one of those players deserves and should get our full and 100% support - which on Sunday was fantastic and surely helped the 9 players to show the desire, commitment and determination they did.
Date:Thursday March 26 2009
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Cardiff City Player-By-Player Review: M Oakes (Thursday July 10 2008)
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