Cardiff City went into their away clash with Sheffield Wednesday needing a win to help to ease their promotion jitters of the recent games which had seen the Bluebirds’ lead at the top of the championship cut from eleven, to just four points before kick-off and in danger of becoming completely overshadowed by the rugby match being played back home in Cardiff.
In the end its was to be a double celebration in Cardiff, with City winning 0-2 and Wales trouncing England 30-3 to lift the Rugby Six Nations trophy, it all made for a very messy night down ‘Chippy Street’ on Saturday night.
Those Cardiff jitters which had been magnified once again by events off the pitch, misunderstandings and an ill-advised television interview by the major investor in the club – Vincent Tan – to BBC Wales – In which he said he had given thought to, but had no definite plan as of yet to rename Cardiff City FC the Cardiff Dragons. A statement that was to be renounced before the programme even aired via a statement by Vincent Tan on the official club website:
“I can assure all supporters that we will not be changing our name from Cardiff City Football Club, a club I am very proud to be a part of.
“Our name is our identity and remains at our core. I would not want any of our supporters to be concerned that this change would be made, hoping that this personal commitment from myself removes any fears. I believe the colour change is positive and will bring good tidings to Cardiff City Football Club.
“At this point of time, no decision has been made to change the club crest for the next season.
“For the present day, all I would ask is that we all join together, continuing your excellent support at what is a critical juncture in our season. Our collective aim is to back Malky Mackay and his team as they work hard to bring us all success. Working together we can achieve great things in the name of Cardiff City Football Club.”
However it did little to placate many of the Bluebirds supporters – Mr Tan having gone back on his word less than a year ago about the rebrand.
Worse was to come! In the interview, he also said he didn’t care about the unrest and division caused by the rebrand, that he was happy as a business man with 25% of his customers being unhappy he can happily work with a quarter of his customers not liking his plans.
Other comments then laid the foundations for a further misunderstanding about the club crest which arose from leisure wear spotted being worn by Cardiff City staff at CCS in a bid to counteract the nippy weather, the said leisure wear sported the clubs crest all in red, meaning the iconic Bluebird – Which is the one thing that unites the city fans – a good three-quarters of supporters, say they would be unwilling to lose it from the Cardiff city ‘brand’ was seemingly now gone, in the eyes of many, it had become the Red Robin of derby rivals Bristol City, tempers flared and passions were ignited, although a look online at the clubs shop showed other items had all white and even all pink club’s crests.
So it was with this backdrop that The Owls managed by ex-Cardiff boss Dave Jones, got off to a storming start Jeremy Helan testing David Marshall in the second minute. The Owls’ continued to boss the first half, which was a poor and lacklustre, one in which the Bluebirds failed to spark at all, until in the dying seconds. When Cardiff went ahead just before the break very much against the run of play when Craig Bellamy’s corner caused confusion in the home side’s defence. Chris Kirkland flapped at the ball and failed to get any distance with his punch clear. It fell to Don Cowie on the edge of the box and he smashed his shot home low and hard through a crowd of players into the back of the net.
Scottish midfielder Cowie, had been the surprise inclusion in The Bluebirds starting eleven, recalled by City’s boss Malky Mackay in a much needed tactical shake-up. It is a testament to the strength and depth of the Bluebird’s squad this season that Cowie, 30, who had been ever present last season despite a dip in form – much to the amusement of Bluebirds supporters who joked he must be related to MacKay, was making just his second start in 15 league matches
The second half Cardiff played a little better, but Wednesday still had more of the ball and many chances Marshall and new boy Leon Barnett kept the Bluebird’s nose in the lead with a series of great saves and clean strong tackles and in the end it was Wednesday’s rear guard which fell apart in woeful fashion again, when Whittingham’s curving free-kick from Cardiff’s right seemed to mesmerise them, with the whole team ball-watching, Connolly ran through unmarked to head in from close range.
Cardiff took the three points gratefully, but in reality it was a tale of two chances – two goals – it certainly wasn’t pretty and the Owls had effectively set their stalls out to make things difficult for Cardiff. However, Cowie added an energy to the middle of the park, Whittingham had relished his freer forward role and Craig Bellamy was just Craig Bellamy always dangerous and fired up giving his all, and loanee from Norwich, Leon Barnett coped admirably in the heart of defence filling in for the huge boots of Mark Hudson after just one training session with his new team mates.
Yet again it was not a pretty match or an impressive performance, but it was three points professionally earned away from home. Two set-pieces created a goal in each half for Don Cowie and Matthew Connolly and stretched Cardiff’s lead back to seven points as Hull lost to Nottingham Forest.
While former manager David Jones (Who was sacked by Vincent Tan along with most of his team after failing in their attempt at promotion two seasons ago) said “Will Cardiff go up? It looks like they will limp over the line. They have spent an awful lot of money so they have to do it. When chairmen and owners put money in, they expect a return.”