Since Russell Slade took over at the Cardiff City Stadium in mid-October, the Bluebirds won their first four home games out of four. Rotherham may well of halted them in their tracks last Saturday, but the disappointing 0-0 draw shouldn’t take anything away from the good job Slade has done there so far.
The Bluebirds looked like a sinking ship under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. The former Manchester United legend was brought into do one job – keep Cardiff in the Premier League, but he failed miserably. A shocking three wins from 18 league games saw Solskjaer’s side finish rock bottom of the Premier League table with just 30 points.
This season didn’t start too well either. Despite two wins in the opening three Championship matches, Cardiff suffered two home defeats in a week, which was enough for the owner Vincent Tan to pull the plug on the ex-United player’s time in South Wales. It had become apparent to Tan, and indeed the Bluebirds fans, that their team were only going to go backwards whilst the Norwegian was in charge.
Ex-Cardiff players Scott Young and Danny Gabbidon took charge of first team matters for four league games, before Tan finally announced that it would be Leyton Orient’s Russell Slade taking over the mantle. The decision no doubt split opinion among the City fans. Some of them looked upon the appointment as a step back – Slade had never managed at this level – but most were happy just to see a proper football man in charge; somebody who could steady the ship and get back to basics.
Slade has certainly done that so far. Despite looking a different team away from home, the Bluebirds’ home form since his arrival has been exceptional. Prior to Saturday’s poor result against Rotherham, Slade has won four out of four at the Cardiff City Stadium, including wins against Nottingham Forest, Ipswich Town, Leeds United and Reading respectively.
There’s no doubt that the Welsh side are still massively under-performing this season. They were down as the early season title favourites. but after such a slow and disappointing start, Cardiff currently occupy ninth place in the Championship table. However, the ex-Orient boss has certainly got his new side playing better and they recently won their first away game of the season at Watford.
The club are far from out of turmoil though. They are still owned by Vincent Tan, who is capable of anything. The ‘Bluebirds’ still wear red as their home kit colour, and they are still playing nowhere near what they’re capable of. But love Tan or hate him, the Malaysian tycoon has vowed to continue to pump in the money to get Cardiff back into the promised land as soon as possible.
Slade seems to have the majority of the fans on his side – even if his team were jeered off the pitch by some on Saturday. If Cardiff can keep up their impressive home form and pick up the odd points away, then there is no reason why they won’t be in the promotion mix come the end of the season.