Cardiff City’s season is not exactly at the crossroads some would suggest. Just yet!
A playoff position is still well within their grasp but the Bluebirds form of late has been patchy to say the least. So what’s gone wrong? There has been a seemingly never ending hangover after suffering that cruelest of defeats at the hands of Liverpool in the Carling Cup final, which even the hardest hearted neutral called a classic, all it came down to after 130 minutes of superb football is that Liverpool simply had one better penalty taker, Dreams were shattered when the hapless Anthony Gerrard a lifelong Liverpool supporter and cousin of Stephen had his saved, but to lay the blame at his feet as some so called Cardiff City fans did in the following weeks was shameful, unfair and unjust, others had missed too including strikers Ruby Gestede and Kenny Miller who had also missed what looked to be a sitter in normal time that would have sealed the victory for the Bluebirds.
Miller has become something of an enigma, the lone striker who has not scored for fifteen matches!! Whose constant inclusion in the side at the expensive of the returning local legend that is Robert Earnshaw, who has spent much of the season warming the coach seats as caused confusion and indignation amongst many supporters.
Another major problem for a team struggling to score, is the deep, deep position a man who is capable of scoring twenty-five plus goals in a season from midfield is being asked to play in, step forward Peter Whittingham or rather step back and stay back, so far back that at times in the pass month he has been playing behind goalkeeper David Marshall, trice clearing the ball off the goal line after all in front of him had flapped and failed..The games in the latter part of this season in which Whittingham has played in his favoured position have seen Cardiff City at their best most notably the afore mentioned Carling Cup Final
Whittingham and Cardiff have also sorely missed the influence, pin point passing and holding play of former club captain Stephen McPhail having done battle with Lymphoma cancer he is now suffering from the same rare Sjogren’s syndrome that afflicts tennis star Venus Williams, whom personally contacted the Irishman with an offer of help, fearing his career was at an end due to the condition which affects the immune system causing weakness and exhaustion, he gratefully accepted her advice and flew to Los Angeles for care under the guidance of specialist Dr Daniel Wallace, since then with new medication and monitoring McPhail has managed two fifty minute appearances greatly boosting the morale of teammates, supporters and fellow suffers alike also allowing Whittingham to get forward and cause all sort of problems for the opposition.
But in reality the real crux of the dip in form post Cup final lies in the lack of new players brought in the transfer window and loan periods, to bolster a greatly depleted squad, Mackay took up the management post with twelve senior players having left the club during the summer following David Jones’ departure perhaps tellingly neither striker Michael Chopra nor winger Chris Burke have been replaced during Mackay’s tentureship, with the club strapped for cash it was the loan window that many hoped would be the saviour in allowing Mackay to strengthen his small squad, however following the Channel 4 documentary Dispatches which featured the alleged underhand dealings some clubs had undertaken in the loan market and beyond..Players offered on loan to Cardiff City have been sparse on the ground and a couple that have been, were hastily recalled when they showed good form. The Dispatches programme heavily featured Cardiff City’s name primarily on the ground that last season the Bluebirds acquired Craig Bellamy on loan from Manchester City many Championship clubs at the time cried foul and complained bitterly about Bellamy, Aaron Ramsey and the eight further loanees City fielded regularly last season, however the truth of the matter where Bellamy is concerned is; unwanted by the Manchester City management team, bored, frustrated and depressed he wanted nothing more than to escape and come home to the South Wales Valleys, while on one such trip home he jumped at the chance to play for the team he has passionately supported since a child when approached by then Cardiff City manager Dave Jones, in fact so keen was Bellamy to play he took a sizable pay cut.
No Cardiff City supporter that was there on the day he scored the winner against bitter derby rivals Swansea City will forget the look of exuberation and utter delight on his face the moment the ball crossed the line. It was one that was echoed across the faces of Cardiff City supporters everywhere for several days, It is the lost of Bellamy first back the Manchester city then to Liverpool that tells the real tale behind the ailing form of The Bluebirds, they are a good solid team that work well together, however Cardiff City save for Peter Whittingham are sorely lacking in superstar quality, at this time of the season with a small squad of understandably, deflated, tired, jaded players some of whom are carrying niggles what the team needs is a spark someone to conjure up a flash of magic to lift spirits turn things around…to make everyone believe again….
Personally I think Cardiff have that player that someone will step up and halt the slide that as seen City win just two of their last twelve games.
I believe The Bluebirds will make the playoffs and I’ll keep hold of that belief until the fat lady sings and it’s a statistical impossibility
Keep calm and don’t panic… yet