TG On The Pitch, Bluebirds On The Up
Cardiff City face Reading tonight and will be hoping to draw on the experiences of last season, when we faced Leicester City for the chance to appear in the Championship play-off final. That two legged affair saw us bring a 1-0 lead back to CCS courtesy of a Peter Whittingham free-kick. A fraught night of tension followed when Matty Fryatt cancelled out a Michael Chopra opener only for an unfortunate Hudson own goal and Andy King header to put the Foxes in front.
Peter Whittingham again proved key as he blasted a penalty home but more tension was to follow in the form of the penalty shoot-out. It was a nightmare of a game to watch, too unpredictable and frenetic. However, it was a superb way to sign off at home, and the euphoria led to very special memories of that night and the impending trip to Wembley.
The play-offs are both generous and cruel to fans in equal measures. It can be a fantastic occasion, and the delight at winning these crunch games is matched only by the despair in defeat, a feeling we know only too well after Blackpool overpowered us last year. Last season we were even more the underdogs after Peter Ridsdale`s golden ticket fiasco and numerous court dates saw our very existence threatened.
A takeover led by Malaysian`s Dato Chan Tien Ghee (TG) and Tan Sri Vincent Tan followed and has brought stability to CCFC. They are relative newcomers to Bruitish football, but have travelled back and forth to Cardiff over the season, bringing various delegates and distinguished visitors to CCS to share in both our triumphs and dismal defeats (Middlesbrough!). Last season`s hard fought victory over Leicester City turned out to be the highlight of our season, and (FA Cup semi and final aside) the highlight of almost a decade, beaten only by the play-off win over QPR in importance(2003), and the 2002 win over Leeds (in enjoyment) over the past decade.
The win on penalties was greeted by wild celebrations by fans, players and owners alike. Hopefully those memories can be re-created tonight with TG and co. on the pitch, 25000 singing Bluebirds and another trip to Wembley beckoning. Hopefully.