Despair, To Relief, To Hope For Cardiff City Fans
Cardiff City fans have enjoyed a rollercoaster of emotions over the past few years since gaining promotion to the Championship with seasons of consolidation, financial difficulties, promotion chases and FA Cup runs.
The overwhelming despair after the past season ended was all too evident but grew throughout a campaign of frustration when Dave Jones' expensively assembled squad failed to reach their potential, were inconsistent and did not show the unity and team-spirit shared by the likes of Norwich City.
The Bluebirds once again missed out on promotion, this time via a shocking home 3-0 defeat to Reading after a creditable result away (0-0). It came as little surprise though to fans, who are used to such failures and lack of fighting spirit - it was all the more disappointing given that it was the same failures on show once again. We were tactically naive, had no plan B and were too easy to nullify.
The fans weren't the only ones upset, with players like Chris Burke visibly gutted. You can't blame the likes of him and Bothroyd for wanting fresh starts elsewhere but it was the owners who also felt hard done by - culminating in the 'notice of termination' handed to long-serving manager Dave Jones.
I have to say, whilst I think Dave Jones was a good manager and served us well, the main emotion had to be relief. Jones had already spoken of 'dusting down' and 'preparing to go again' but the thought of another campaign of near misses and the same old approach was far from attractive. The majority of football fans, aside from those celebrating promotion etc, are emotionally tired at the end of a campaign, and many take somewhat of a rest from football over the summer.
This time last year, we also had little in the way of squad depth, were under a transfer embargo and financially unsure of our future. This year appears better, the usual hope and excitement that blossoms around the turn of June/July is evident with signings like Craig Conway and links with the likes of Goodwillie, Bellamy and Earnshaw.
The main reason for optimism is undoubtedly the new manager. After the dour and withdrawn character of Dave Jones, any new replacement was always likely to bring more charisma and be more obvious with their enthusiasm. However, Mackay, in his brief tenure so far, has been a breath of fresh air. Perhaps that's the blue tinted spectacles since he's barely done anything but at least we know things will be different this year!
Mackay has none of the experience of Dave Jones, and will do to match DJ on many of his managerial attributes. However, fresh ideas, motivation and a fresh crop of players look set to provide a renewed sense of optimism around the club.It's a tough ask for Malky to come in and succeed immediately, but for now the signs of a Bluebirds resurgence are positive and some fans are more confident about next season than at any point in the last campaign - and we were 2nd for most of that!
There is a positive feeling from Cardiff City Football Club and even our often moaning, petulant and miserable fans are even reasonably happy with things at the moment - hopefully that continues!