Date:Thursday June 23 2011
Cardiff City have not had the luxury of naming a long-term captain for many years, instead that role has been passed around between various experienced members of the squad but not since Darren Purse have we had an established skipper who lasted over a season - even then, he lost his place in the side!
The likes of Riccy Scimeca, Stephen McPhail and Joe Ledley have deputised but only McPhail remains at the club. He is a quiet but intense individual who can influence proceedings enormously with his passing abilities, however, his form has been inconsistent over the past few seasons and he is far from an automatic pick in the centre of the park. He would not appear to be in the 'Malky Mackay` mould of captaincy but is a vastly experienced and popular member of the squad.
Last season saw Craig Bellamy join on loan, the most obvious leader ever signed by Dave Jones. His passion and inspiration was evident on the pitch, backed-up by a tremendous work-rate and incessant moaning at his team-mates and the referee to be better. Whilst there are ongoing issues behind the scenes regarding a move back to the club, this eventuality is far from confirmed - though if he does return, he is highly likely to be re-installed as captain.
Bellamy took the captaincy from Mark Hudson, brought in from Charlton Athletic and immediately made skipper by Dave Jones. He does have strong leadership credentials, is experienced and more in the mould of Mackay himself. However, Hudson showed markedly improved form in his second season with the Bluebirds and after losing the captaincy.
There are few alternative candidates within the current squad. Peter Whittingham is too relaxed and is rarely vocal, a trait shared by Scot Kevin McNaughton who just gets on with his job effectively. Anthony Gerrard is certainly captaincy material in the future, but his future is un-decided and while passionate and vocal - he does not have much experience, certainly at this level.
Therefore is seems entirely plausible that Mackay could bring in his own man as captain. John Eustace has fulfilled that role at previous club Wartford, and could be a potential target. However, the situation regarding Bellamy is unhelpful and no resolution appears close leaving uncertainty over Mackay`s plans. An offer of the captaincy is a powerful attractant for potential new players but Mackay cannot offer that until Bellamy`s future becomes clear. There is plenty of hard work to be done, and a strong and respected leader will be needed to help a new and hastily put together squad gel if we are to challenge. Hopefully Mackay`s hands will not be tied for much longer….
Date:Thursday June 23 2011
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