Cardiff City's Best & Worst Of 2010
Cardiff City have enjoyed a tumultuous year, fraught with money issues, boardroom changes, a trip to Wembley and a host of exciting new players arriving at CCS. We have an almighty crack at promotion last season, despite all our difficulties and this year look even more credible candidate to make the Premiership dream a reality.
With the calender year now almost at an end, these are Vital Cardiff City`s best and worst moments of 2010:
3 - The 1-0 defeat to Swansea City
In the real context, this match is barely worthy of mention - but it did highlight to the Bluebirds fans that there is so much left to do, and that we have failed, yet again, to address the real problems that have underpinned the squad since Dave Jones took over. Specifically here, we were without Jay Bothroyd and history tells us that we will lose. We have needed cover for Jay for an eternity, but have failed to address that. A defeat, albeit to your rivals, is not the end of the world. However, it was the manner of the defeat and the inevitability that really hurt. City were abject, gutless and shockingly bad. For Dave Jones to blame one mistake was ridiculous. Yes, we did have a couple of chances, but this was a desperately poor day for Cardiff City as a whole.
2 - Ridsdale`s £3m Scam
Although the promise was made in 2009, it wasn`t until this year that the sordid details and reality were revealed. Peter Ridsdale had gone public to encourage fans to take up a generous new offer from CCFC. Fans should stump us money in advance for season tickets to allow Dave Jones a £3m 'war chest` to strengthen the squad and push for promotion. Thousands signed up over December/January (already an expensive time of year) - only for the dawning realisation that the money had been swallowed up and there was none left for Jones to spend. What`s worse, we still owed huge sums to HMRC and were summoned to court over winding-up orders. An underwhelming apology was offered - but Ridsdale`s integrity was damaged beyond repair and his time was up. (We should have listened - sorry Leeds Utd fans! Thankfully, you didn`t gloat and we join you in solidarity as another great club guided to the brink of ruin by Peter Ridsdale.)
1 - Bothroyd`s Wembley Withdrawal
The worst moment of 2010. I suppose really I`m talking about the defeat as a whole, but the very moment that Bothroyd limped off to be replaced by the ineffective Kelvin Etuhu - we were doomed. The players knew it, the fans felt it and with Blackpool riding on a wave of passion, guts and fantasy - they were worthy winners. We were favourites, had it in our grasp - but that utter inability to replace our big striker haunted us to the extreme. The 35000 fans were subjected to another un-successful Wembley visit, but unlike the FA Cup defeat to Portsmouth, the atmosphere was far more devastating on the trip home. There were no positives to take - a whole season of optimism, success and dreams had been shattered over 90 minutes, it was bleak ever since the 15th minute with the score at 1-1. I maintain, at that moment I would rather have been 2-0 down with Bothroyd playing.
3 - Happy Bellamy Day!
The 17th August 2010. There had been rumours for ages, even strong rumours but the majority of fans (rightly) scoffed at our prospects of signing Bellamy. Even if, as reported, he was out of favour at Manchester City and wanted to take us to the Premiership - how could we ever afford his £90k per week wage?!? The morning of this happy day saw whispers escalate, Bellamy was spotted at the Vale and a press conference called. It simply couldn`t be. It was, and Bellamy signed on a year long loan deal with Manchester City offered huge praise and thanks by Dave Jones and Craig - they are stumping up a staggering £65k per week for him to play for us. One of the fastest and deadliest attackers in the Premiership last year, he would surely be a revelation in the Championship….He has made a huge impression in the dressing room, adding a passion and determination sometimes lacking while his on-field contribution has been solid if not spectacular and his inclusion has allowed extra space for others to exploit - Jay Bothroyd in particular has flourished. There`s more to come, but either way - the media and public interest has been superb for the club and Bellamy is already a hometown hero.
2 -Kermorgant - What Have You Done?!?
The semi-final second leg promised to be a nervy affair despite carrying a 1-0 advantage to the CCS. Things improved when Chopra doubled the lead only for our two nemeses in Steve Howard and Andy King to ruin the night. Just as it seemed we would capitulate - Peter Whittingham netted a penalty to take the game to extra time. Penalties is a cruel way to decide a game, but it does give the huge sense of excitement, nerves, relief and various other emotions that reduce grown men to nervous wrecks. All was going to plan for both sides, despite the nerves, until Frenchman Yann Kermorgant inexplicably misread the situation and decided a cheeky chip was in order. David Marshall dived the wrong way, but had enough time to sit back up and save the shot. That it was not the winning save didn`t matter - the added pressure was too much for whoever came next (No idea who, but I`ll remember the name Kermogant for some time….What a numpty.).
1 - Changing of the Guard
Again, this is not a 'moment` as such, more a culmination of events as Peter Ridsdale`s reviled tenure ended and heralded a takeover by TG and his Far Eastern backer Vincent Tan. It`s a mockery to label this a moment as the 'due diligence` and drip-investment has rumbled on for almost a year but it soon became clear that TG and Co. were doing their homework, and doing it properly. Steve Borley was instrumental in keeping these people on board and who could have blamed them for walking away after being routinely mis-fed information and seeing the dire financial worries we faced. There`s no doubt we are on a more stable financial footing than any time in the past few years, and there is significantly more confidence in the way things are run. However, worries remain over our lack of player assets (for all our squad quality, 5 are loan players with Bothroyd and Burke out of contract in the summer). The vast majority of fans have been mightily impressed with the impact of the Malaysian businessmen since becoming involved with the club, what with those positives, the end of HMRC court dates and the demise/departure of Peter Ridsdale - this even eclipses any on-field happenings because if TG and co. had opted out - there`s a strong likelihood there would not even be a Cardiff City Football Club left to support.