Saturday, November 05, 2011

King Whitts: City 2-0 Crystal Palace

This was a tough match for City (are there any easy matches in this division?), but on the back of a 3-0 away win at Derby in the week, even a Palace side that hadn't conceded in their last six matches shouldn't have put any fear into the Bluebirds.

Malky Mackay is moulding this squad into a genuinely tough to beat side, with a team ethic that has been starkly lacking in Dave Jones' sides of the past few seasons.

As was fitting for Bonfire Night, this started off as a slow burner, but burst into life and left City's faithful dazzled by the sparklers provided by a fantastic 2-0 win.

In truth, the first period was a fairly turgid affair for City bar one Miller glanced header and a thunderous shot from Whittingham that cannoned off the bar. Heaton, in for the ill Marshall, was the busier of the two keepers, as City struggled to win second ball, hold onto possession or pass with any accuracy.

However, in the second period City started to pick up the pace, and with great effect. Miller was put through one on one with Speroni, who had been inspired against us at CCS last year, and it looked like he was in the same form as he denied Miller's effort. That though was the spark that lit the blue touchpaper, and thereafter, City were virtually unstoppable.

On 69 minutes Taylor put the ball to the ever industrious McNaughton who layed the ball off to Miller who finished clinically with a shot across Speroni, the first goal Palace had conceded in over 550 minutes of play. But just 11 minutes later they'd conceded again. Nauts was up-ended outside the box to the right, and in prime Whittingham territory, City's King-Pin hit a beautiful shot right into the top corner with Speroni flailing and failing to get to the ball.

Despite a too late rally by Palace, City kept a second consecutive clean sheet. It looks like the back four are finally beginning to gel - some mistakes still, but with the assured Heaton marshalling the defence, there were few worries in the second period.

All the players were great today, but Whittingham was magnificent, pulling the strings and creating the guile City needed to break down a good defence.

Make no mistake. City are far from the finished article, but this tops off a very decent return of results as we go into an international break. City will be full of confidence, Mackay will be very pleased with his charges, and dare we say it - has City's November hoodoo finally been put to rest?

City lie a comfortable 4th, although Birmingham way down in 12th, but only six points behind have an incredible four games in hand. At this stage of the season would I have taken that? I'd have bitten your hand off.

Up the City!

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Great win: Derby 0-3 City

Usually I'd be all over this - a three nil win for City away. And fantastic though it was, I just haven't got the enthusiasm to write about this see post below for the reason why).

So read about it here.

Ups and downs

It's been a funny old few weeks. Well not so funny really, not funny at all.

Work has been rough. Very, very busy, things going wrong that shouldn't have and just generally draining. Beginning to look like things are turning a corner though.

Me & Mrs H both bought new cars in the last months as well (well new second user cars - who the hell can afford a new, new car these days?). Then, two weeks after she picked hers up, a lovely black Fiesta Titanium, some woman side swiped her pulling out into her as she was driving along the main road. Fortunately no-one injured (both my wife & daughter were in the car). The car was repairable, and she picked it up from the accident repair centre last Friday.

Then today, just three weeks after picking my new (one year old) Mondeo up, driving to work along the M4, I could see traffic ahead slowing but then the car in front of me just stopped, because the car in front of them just stopped, and though we weren't going fast, and I thought there was plenty of gap between me and the car in front, there wasn't. Smack. Three airbags deployed, front of my car a mess (their car hardly a scratch by the look of it). Again, and the main thing, no-one injured, though I was pretty shaken (have you ever been in a car with three airbags going off? They make a hell of a bang). No idea yet if the car is repairable.

So I'm pretty hacked off at the moment. We must have offended the God's somewhere along the way these last few weeks.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Sublime (and a bit awful): City 5-3 Barnsley

After Tuesday's disappointing loss at London Rd, having been ahead with 3 minutes to play, City were looking to bounce back against Barnsley at the CCS today.

With Miller back from injury, Malky chose to play the diminutive striker at the head of a 4-5-1 formation with the returning McPhail in the centre. Still at central defence were Hudson & Turner, needing to build on a fledgling partnership that had conceded six goals in the previous two games. Despite the somewhat conservative formation for a home match, City looked bright early doors, and took only 10 minutes to go ahead after Miller calmly slotted past Steele after a superb pass from Don Cowie. Soon after Miller had a glancing header superbly saved by Steele, and from the resulting corner with City looking in control, Miller was forced off after a clash with team mate Turner in the box. Much to the surprise of many, it was Mason not Earnshaw that replaced him. He immediately had an impact when running at the Barnsley defence he was hacked down just outside the area. Whittingham lined up the kick, and his powerful shot was parried only for Mason to react quickest. 2-0 City.

Almost immediately however the Tykes equalised, when former City loanee Dany Drinkwater's free kick was wickedly deflected past the helpless Marshall. But the Tykes jubilation lasted only a couple of minutes as City pressed again, with Mason influential, and the ball came to Gunnarsson who teed up a volley and rifled it past Steele who had no chance. 3-1 City at half time.

Barnsley made three subs at the start of the second half, but it made little difference, as City were in complete control, playing some sublime football.On the hour Mason played the pass of the game to put Cowie through, and after he rounded Steele and poked home it was 4-1. Gunnarsson then made it 5-1 on 71 minutes flicking home Taylor's cross. Barnsley looked long dead and buried, and had nothing to offer, and City fans were expecting every run forward to result in a goal. But a needless corner given away by Taylor's flicked header on 82minutes was nodded home almost in slow motion with City's defence static, and four minutes later, City were again all at sea as they failed to clear and Vaz Te fired home. So 5-3 from 5-1 up, and City were suddenly on the back foot and looked a bit rocky. But they held out, and the game finished with that scoreline.

For 90% of the game City were outstanding. The 4-5-1 formation worked superbly (until McPhail went off when it started to go a bit pear shaped), and although it could be argued that Barnsley were poor, it was because City controlled the game. Mason particularly was outstanding, and there were terrific performances from Cowie, Whittingham, McPhail and Gunnarsson.

It's probably not fair to pick holes when we've won, especially when we won so convincingly, but there are negatives, and Malky will surely want to sort these out. McNaughton is a fantastic defender - possibly one of the best right backs in the division, but his distribution is pants. In the first 30 minutes, every time he got the ball his final pass gave possession away. And at the back, although it could be argued that Hudosn & Turner are building a working relationship, they've presided over 9 goals being conceded in the last three matches, and that is just not good enough.

Still, three points and +2 goal difference from the match IS positive. Cut out the crap goals being given away, and City are a force to be reckoned with.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

An old boy and a Jack: City 2-2 Ipswich

After waiting a couple of weeks for City to play because of the international break, I was denied watching this match because a stupid woman drove into my wife's car an hour before k.o. and I had to assist with sorting the resulting problems. Thankfully, and the main thing, both my wife and daughter who were just driving along the main road at the time were both ok. The car, which my wife has only had two weeks, a shiny black Fiesta Titanium is now a less shiny black and bent Titanium.

As for the match, I was kept up to date by radio and my son who managed to get to the stadium whilst I made my way back to the scene of the accident.

With Miller still sidelined Gestede and Earnshaw started up front, and it was the tall Frenchman who headed City aheadon 19 mins. But Ipswich were always threatening with former City legend Chopra, and ex-Jack Jason Scotland up front, and it was little surprise when the latter shot low to level on 30 minutes. It seems City were relieved to get in at half time without conceding. But, almost inevitably, on 51 minutes City old boy Michael Chopra nodded home to put the Tractor boys ahead. It seemed City were struggling, but fortune shone on them when referee Whitestone (who according to most people I've heard, including the commentators had a shocker) pointed tot he spot on 72 minutes for a handball offence. Peter Whittingham calmly slotted to make it 2-2. Shortly after Kevin McNaughton was brought down in the box, but the ref it appeared had given his quota of pens for the day.

So 2-2. I'd probably have taken that before a ball was kicked.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

It's Miller time!: City 2-1 Southampton

A third match in a week, a squad laid bare by injuries and the top of the table side visiting. Hardly a recipe for optimism. Indeed, my son predicted a drubbing, whilst I was for once strangely buoyed with optimism. A 2-1 win I told him before the match, and when we bumped into a Twitter chum (@bennifactor) who was also thinking we'd be lucky to get away with even a draw, he asked me why I was so optimistic.

Well, for one, Southampton have to lose sometime I said. Secondly, though fielding a weakened side, the work ethic Malky has instilled means this bunch of City players never say die. Thirdly, I was clutching at straws.

And so it seemed as for the first 5 minutes of the match as the Saints players passed the ball with ease as City players ran around like headless chickens trying, In the main unsuccessfully to get a touch.

But City settled, and Southampton, despite creating chances, were profligate. In truth there wasn't much to the first half, which seemed much like the Leicester match a few days earlier. Peter Whittingham also had three chances from free kicks around the box, but frankly never got close.

I was impressed by the Gunnarsson/Kiss midfield, the defence was solid (for the most part), but Mason wasn't getting much joy, and Miller looked like he's done most of the season. Hard working, but with an awful first touch and no killer instinct (apart from that goal against West Ham on the first day).

But n 56 minutes the game changed. Marshall collected a ball and immediately punted long for Miller to chase. For once his kick was accurate, and Miller running down the full back just beat the advancing Kelvin Davis to nod the ball past him and into the empty net. 1-0 City.

That was surely the prompt for the visitors to up their game. They had been guilty of spectacular time-wasting to that point, especially Davis in the Southampton goal. Quite how referee Gibbs hadn't booked him for this as early as the first half I'll never know - you could have made a cup of tea as he prepared to make his goal kicks - but I guess the reason was the same one I moan about every week. The ref and his assistants were agin poor in my opinion, and weak.

Still Southampton didn't get chance to press, and 7 minutes later a beautiful Gunnarsson pass set Miller free to slide the ball in for number 2, and City were in heaven.

Going 2 down did spark the visitors into life, and with Chaplow coming on, they suddenly looked more creative. Southampton suddenly had all the possession, and wave after wave of attacks on the City goal looked threatening. Chaplow shaved the post with a shot, Lambert missed a couple of headers, and Marshall kept Lallana out with a cracking save with his legs.

When the 4th official indicated 5 minutes injury time, things looked relatively sen up, but suddenly De Ridder was put through, and controlling the ball wonderfully with his hands, unseen by Mr Gibbs and Co, slotted past Marshall, leaving a couple of nervy minutes for City to see out. They did though, and make no bones about this, this was a wonderful win for City. The only downsides were both McNaughton, who battled hard all night (and was battered all night) and Kiss both limping off.

A brilliant performance by City, and the fans and Malky should rightly be proud of this performance.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Is anyone fit?: City 0-0 Leicester

After the excitement of the Carling Cup match between these two sides in midweek, or rather the penalty shoot-out which City won 7-6, the match being a pretty dull affair for the most part, two very different looking sides took to the pitch this afternoon.

Malky started with the same 4-5-1 formation that did so well against Blackpool last week, whilst Sven kept only Matt Mills from the Foxes starting XI in midweek.

The first 20 minutes was a pretty turgid affair, our midfield nullifying theirs, and I can't remember us actually getting into their box in that time. But then Conway took a tumble and looked like he'd done his ankle, and limped off to be replaced by Earnie. Straight away we looked more potent, but our change in formation with Miller pushed wide right also opened it up for Leicester. There weres some efforts from both sides before Earnie cleared one of the line (so that's why he stays back at corners), but on 41 minutes, the sub was subbed as Earnie got injured. On came fans favourite Rudy Gestede. Though raw, he works hard and looks to have bags of potential. 0-0 at half time.

When the teams came out for the second period, City had made another enforced change with Darcy Blake coming on for skipper Hudson. I admit I was worrying now. Three players injured, and no subs left by the start of the second half.

City though looked the better side in the second period, and challenged for long periods without ever really forcing Schmiechel into a save. Kevin McNaughton looks more attacking this season, and though his final ball is often poor, he is clearly creating, and on one occasion squared a ball that Gestede really should have put away. Whitts had a couple of free kicks but didn't force a save. With Leicester finishing the stronger in the last 10 minutes, only some last ditch tackling kept a clean sheet, but which time Gestede was hobbling on one leg, and at the final whistle McNaughton was off the field with blood pouring from his face.

So a hard earned point, with not a lot of quality about the game. Malky's immediate concern will be finding 11 fit players for Wednesday's showdown with League leaders Southampton. In the last week we've lost Taylor, and McPhail and now there must be doubts about Conway, Earnshaw, Hudson and Gestede. With Parkin at loan at Doncaster, the cupboard is beginning to look pretty bare for the City manager especially with Miller continuing to look out of touch.

Up the City.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

A winning draw? Blackpool 1-1 City

I'm afraid I struggled to keep up with events at Bloomfield Road yesterday, even via Twitter as I and Mrs H were in the company of friends at a brilliant wedding

Nevertheless, grabbed snatches of news via Twitter, texts and the Sky Sports footie app, told me we'd gone ahead via a Don Cowie header, only to be pegged back to 1-1 via a Kevin Phillips "stunner" that he later admitted had been an intended cross. The BBC report is here.

Bloomfield Road is always a tough place to go - we didn't win there for something like 30 years until very recently, and before the match I'd have probably taken a point. But the news feeding back from both players and fans alike is that we truly deserved to win, so it's a shame that we didn't come away with all three points.

Malky seems to be shaping the side nicely, and showed some variation as he played 5 across midfield with Gunnarsson replacing Earnshaw.

Couple of tough games coming up now - both against Leicester, as we take them on in the beer cup on Wednesday, followed by the League match on Saturday.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Scrappy - but a win: City 2-0 Doncaster

It seems an age since City last played, and on the pitch it looked like they hadn't played for a while too.

Before we get to the match though, a couple of other matters.

Firstly, and tragically, the death of Cardiff City fan Mikey Dye at Wembley has shadowed a lot of people's thoughts. Around the pubs, and stadium collections were being taken for his family, and outside the "Ninian" Gate, fans and the club had laid scarves, flags, wreaths and other assorted City memorabilia in his honour. A minutes applause was held before the game started and was very well observed. Whatever the circumstances surrounding his death, and these have yet to be established, this is a shocking event.
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Also, last night the father of Swansea City's manager Brendan Rogers' passed away, and when this was announced there was also generous acknowledgement. Something that perhaps we might not have seen a few years ago, and possibly something that says although rivalry on the pitch is fine, off it, respect is beginning to show through.

Elsewhere, fans of the View From The Ninian podcast (what do you mean you've never heard of it! Get it here) who are also "Twitterers" met up at the Ninian Pub for the first "@ViewFromTheNin" tweetup.

As well as myself and @ministats, there was @rhodrielisjones, @bennifactor, a couple who's

name I didn't get and the VFTN lads themselves, Adam & Ben. It was great to put some faces to names and meet the legends who are View From The Ninian. The photo shows @ministats with Adam (left) & Ben. Thanks lads!

So, on to the game. I fancied City to win this comfortable, and when Earnie hit the post inside the first minute (he should have scored) and then within seconds a last ditch leg out from a Donny defender slid the ball agonisingly wide of what would have been a terrific own goal, things were looking rosy. But, it has to be said, that was about as exciting as it got in the rest of the first half. City starting with the same XI that started at Pompey looked nervous, static and when the did get the ball, largely bereft of ideas. Only Whittinhgam looked like he'd woken up this morning knowing he had a match to play. Miller & Earnie just aren't working as a front pair, and surely it's not long before Malky starts with Gestede instead of one of the diminutive pair. At the back there were a few hairy moments, as Gerrard in particualr looked slow and with the ball at his feet, well......let's just say the View From the Nin lads perspective that he likes headers is because he can't kick a ball to save his life at the moment.

So 0-0 at half time, and frankly Donny looking brighter and having forced Marshall into the save of the half.

After the break though, things warmed up a bit. City who's best player by a mile remains Peter Whittingham won a free kick wide on the right. Whitts hit a screaming cross in that was met by he who loves headers (Gerrard) and it was 1-0! Good job it didn't fall to his feet!

That relaxed City, but they still looked ill at ease, sitting deep and allowing Doncaster far too much of the ball.

The introduction of Aaron Gunnarsson for Blake in midfield settled things though, and the Icelander immediately looked at ease doing what City should have been doing all afternoon. Collecting the ball and playing an easy lay off to a free player. Indeed it may have been Gunnarsson (I can't remember specifically) who set Miller free , who again should have done better but eventually squared the ball where Whittingham found Earnshaw to slot home from 6 yards.

That goal was crucial. It killed the game, but importantly gave Earnie a goal and confidence after his howler against England at Wembley.

So three points, but it was never vintage City. I thought Whitts had a good game, but unfortunately not enough of the others were on his level. Gunnarsson looked good when he came on, as did Gestede, and as I said earlier, Malky really must start with him soon.

Miller it has to be said was awful. His first touch let him down all day - as it has all season. I know what he can do, but he hasn't shown it yet. Whether that's because he & Earnie are too similar I don't know. Gerrard needs to learn to kick a ball, or let someone else take free kicks from the half way line. His one attempt which flew right into touch just about summed up his kicking day, although I suppose we have to forgive him as he scored our opener!

However, for the moment, it's a win and 6th spot, and that's what counts.

Up the City.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Daveja Vu? City target Sky Blues Turner

This sounds a bit like a Dave Jones strategy. Identify a player who hasn't played for (insert any amount of time here, but usually a long time), and aim to get them into City.

This happened so often under Jones, who shrewd though he often was in the transfer and loan market often bought players in who had a history of injury, only for them never to see the light of day in a City shirt - at least not in any real sense.

Today news that Cardiff are targeting Ben Turner, a former Coventry academy player, was their player of the year in 2008/9, but who hasn't played since November 2010 after undergoing surgery on a knee injury.

It's obviously early days, and before we write this off it's worth remembering that:
  1. We haven't signed him yet
  2. Birmingham are apparently also in the hunt for Turner
  3. Malky Mackay isn't Dave Jones
Other rumours suggest that City's out of favour striker "Big" Jon Parkin, who hasn't had a look in under Malky apart from the Carling Cup matches might be going the other way as part of a possible deal.

With transfer deadline day approaching fast it'll be interesting to see what Malky can achieve, and me and the rest of the fans can only wait with bated breath.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Honours even: Portsmouth 1-1 City

I can't comment overly on this match as I've been so busy I didn't see or hear the match, and only have picked up what's been on the BBC website report.

Pompey is always a tough place to go, a cliche maybe but true. From what I've heard it was probably a fair result. Nice to see Andrew Taylor get off the mark - goals coming from everywhere this season which is always good to see, but I guess ultimately disappointing to lose the lead once we had it.

Still, I think it's been a pretty decent start to City's campaign all told, and I've been impressed with the manager and the players and their approach.

Up the City!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Apple: Innovative, dominant or just control freaks?

Despite their ├╝ber cool kit, and oh so easy to use OS's, Apple have a habit of rubbing it's own users up the wrong way from time to time.

One of the things that irritates a lot of people about the iPhone and iOS, is Apple's insistence on approving everything, and apparently vetoing apps that it thinks are too similar to it's own offerings. They usually cite the need for control and having a closed ecosystem does have positives, but I struggle to understand the rationale why when developers are coding better apps than Apple can provide.

Now I think it's fair to say that the general consensus, certainly amongst nearly all the iPhone users I know, personally and online, is that the iPhone's default calendar app is pretty crap.

There are all sorts of things that someone who makes a lot of use of a calendar (which is most of us I guess), that the in-built offering can't do. It's views are limited, it can't set a default alarm for new entries, and more.

So inevitably a plethora of alternative have sprung up. Some are relatively simplistic like Agenda and some like Pocket Informant try to cram loads of features in.

I like the principle of the default app but want something a bit more. Utilitap's Week Cal fits the bill perfectly and I've been using it for some months. I particularly like the the various views the app offers.

Tonight I noticed there was another update for this in the App Store , but imagine my suprise when checking the details of the update, its said, and I quote:

Apple ordered us to change the old month and change the day overview from Week Calendar. We had no choice but to comply, otherwise there would be no Week Calendar app anymore

This is astounding.

Apple must be aware that users want more from the in-built Calendar app - if they don't their head is in the sand. They are clearly aware that there are better apps than theirs out there. But to make a developer remove functionality and stubbornly fail to develop their own app to provide the functionality that users want (unless by some miracle it's coming in the iPhone 5) beggars belief and is arrogance in the extreme.

I am seeing more and more people starting to talk about the closed nature of the iOS system as a problem rather than a plus. If Apple keep doing this, developers will get fed up, and they'll go and code for Android (if they're not already).

Apple needs to take a long hard look at itself in relation to this. Idiots.

I've "downgraded" Week Cal with the latest update, but I'm never going back to the default Calendar app. It's been long consigned to an "unused apps" folder, along interestingly with the default weather app, the default stocks app.....get my drift?

A crazy night: City 5-3 Huddersfield

This was a crazy night at CCS. City, in control of the game at 2-0 after two good goals from Gyepes and Parkin, almost threw the match away on a terrible mistake from on the night captain Paul Quinn, who gifted the ball to Rhodes who shot low past Heaton to pull Huddersfield back into the match.

A second soft goal after City failed to clear made it 2-2 and with their tails up, Huddersfield went ahead through Rhodes again, with just minutes remaining (although he looked offside to everyone except the officials and Huddersfield fans and staff).

Amazingly, Cowie levelled it in the last minute of normal time to take the tie into extra time.

At the 90 minute whistle it was clear to see the devastation on the lower league side, as they thought they'd won it, and from that point there was only going to be one winner.

Conway added a second in the first period of ET, before Cowie wrapped it up towards the end. By then, Quinn was almost immobile with cramp, Gestede was running on empty, and everyone looked shattered, and understandably so, perhaps with the exception of Cowie who looks fitter than a butcher's dog.

City will be grateful to be through (unlike those Premiership teams who want to be out of the competition - yes Mr Warnock that's you). They should have breezed this, and were cruising at 2-0 before Quinn's aberration. There are still too many lapses in defence for me, but there are some real bright spots.

Young Joe Ralls looks an amazing prospect with his vision and skill. 1st XI regulars Cowie & Conway were superb, Keinan had a decent game as did Blake for the most part and Gestede looked good. Parkin was great for 30 minutes, and took his goal well, but I do fear for his long term prospects at City.

Malky replaced Parkin from Miller on 64 minutes and Ralls for Whittingham on 81 minutes and when the score was 2-2, presumably hoping to wrap up the game, but that was before Huddersfield re-wrote the script. However, it was Whitts composure and guile that eventually saw City through ably assisted by Cowie's never say die attitude.

This was ultimately impressive by City, with a determination to see the game out that sometimes was lacking under Jones and the previous squad. It's not perfect though. We need more consistency in defence, and are leaking too many easy and giveaway goals.

Still, for the moment, lets revel in a fantastic night with plenty of goals. I wonder how many of the "fans" who left when Huddersfield scored their 3rd on 88 mins missed a City win and another to goals? It's never over until the fat lady sings.....


Saturday, August 20, 2011

Dogged draw: Burnley 1-1 City

City fought out a tough draw at Turf Moor today after the home side got off to a rapid start courtesy of a free header for Austen inside 2 minutes.

That put City on the back foot, and the radio commentary talked of a sluggishness and tiredeness about City, which is a it worrying only 2 weeks into the season.

City appeared to be struggling to put any rhythm together whilst Burnley were quick on the break. Anthony Gerrard seemed to be lucky to get away with a rash challenge midway through the first half, with Radio Wales suggesting he was lucky to get away with a straight red.

You can't count City out though, and on 40 minutes Earnie popped up for a tap in to draw the sides level.

Listening on the radio, it sounded a fairly open match, although most of the attacking seemed to be coming from the Burnley players. Malky made some changes with Blake for Mason and Gestede for Earnie, (no Parkin on the bench - presumably his twitter rant still rankling with Mackay).

The defence still sounds dodgy I have to say. Nauts has yet to find his usual imperious form, and it seems doubts still remain about Gerrard. Mackay has said he wants another three or so players, and it's clear amongst those is a defender, and probably a striker. The Miller/Earnshaw partnership isn't one made in heaven, and whilst Gestede has potential, Malky is yet to risk starting with him, and Parkin seems persona non grata in the League at least. Maybe a booming performance from the big man on Tuesday in the Carling Cup, assuming he starts may make the manager think differently.

In the end, Malky will probably be happy with a draw against a decent side on their turf. There's a bit of light relief next Tuesday with a home tie in the beer cup against Huddersfield, before another away trip to Portsmouth.

So a steady start to the season for Bluebirds.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Honeymoon over: City 1-3 Brighton

City were undone by a flock of seagulls tonight at CCS.

Malky Mackay's honeymoon period is over. After destroying a poor Bristol City side on Sunday (who incidentally managed to be Leicester away tonight), City were never able to reproduce the scintillating football of that match.

Brighton look a good side. They've (mostly) been together a yearor so, and won League One last term, and clearly have a manager in Gus Poyet who has transferred his playing ability into management ability.

The Seagulls looked comfortable for all but a 10 minute period in the middle of the fist half, when it looked like City, unchanged except for Mason for the injured Gunnarsson were beginning to raise the tempo, but a suicidal crossfield ball from Mr Reliable Kevin McNaughton gave Barnes a virtual one on one with Marshall and his finish was deadly accurate. By then though, Brighton had shown their intent, having had one ruled out for offside, and three more close line decisions having gone against them.

City, playing a diamond midfield were never at the races, giving Brighton the chance t utilise the space and pace of Mackail-Smith. It was he who turned Hudson inside out, and then won looked a fairly soft penalty which made it 2-0. As City chased the game, even more space opened up and Hoskins broke away to shoot past Marshall on the angle who probably should have saved it. Whittingham got a consolation goal from the spot, but 3-1 was probably a fair reflection on the game. Cynics might say Brighton made few chances. True - only four or five attempts that I can recall. The difference was they put three of those away and didn't need to create any more.

City looked out of sorts from Sunday's performance. Marshall insisted on booting the ball up the middle from goal kicks to Earnshaw & Miller, combined height 2ft 4 inches against the ginat Brighton centre backs. When we did get possession we were wasteful, and in truth at times we looked tired - but we were chasing the game from early on.

My view, for what it's worth is Miller and Earnshaw aren't working. It should be one (my preference is Earnie on the three games I've seen), plus Gestede, who did more in his 23 minutes on the park than Miller did in 90. The midfield needs to be stronger. It's nice not to see a rigid 4-4-2, but with Whittingham deep and Mason at the tip of the diamond there's a huge hole that was exploited to the full by Brighton tonight.

Still it's early days. We were never ging to win everything, and it'll test both the players and more importantly the new manager to see how we respond to this defeat.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Swans learn a tough lesson

Manchester City 4-0 Swansea

I'm not going to gloat. I'm not. Well maybe just a bit.

The Jacks learnt the hard way of the gulf in class between the Championship and the Premiership as they were soundly beaten 4-0 away at the Etihad Stadium by Manchester City.

Much though local rivalry prevents me from admitting it, I was, and remain impressed by Swansea's style of football. Get the ball down and pass it. And for 20 minutes or so this evening, they looked if not comfortable, not madly out of their depth.

But then Man City turned up through the gears, and it pretty much became a backs to the wall effort. How the richest side in the UK if not the world weren't up at half time no -one but perhaps new Jacks 'keeper Vorm knows.

After the break it was more of the same, and inevitably the floodgates burst. First Dzeko who should have scored in the first half from close range, and then the man who's going to make all the headlines. Aguero, £35m of Argentine brilliance. Talk about an instant impact. One goal, an assist for Silva for City's 3rd and then in the dying embers of the game a screamer to make it 4-0. It wasn't a hat-trick, but ref Mike Dean must have thought it good enough as he handed the ball to City's new superstar (move over Balotelli) at the final whistle.

Swansea were never in it after the first 20. The question is can they in the oft repeated words of former Cardiff manager Dave Jones, "get up, dust themselves down and move on"?

Only time will tell. I think they will have enough to beat some sides this year, but on today's performance, when they come up against the big boys, it's going to be hard....very hard.

And before any Swans fans accuse me of dissing them when Cardiff aren't even in the Premiership, I know that. I'm trying to be objective here. Honestly. Any team might have found it hard tonight. It was Swansea's tough luck it was them.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Super City: City 3-1 Bristol City

Cardiff City followed up last weeks away win at West Ham with a highly impressive 3-1 demolition of Bristol City in front of over 22,000 at CCS, Malky Mackay's competitive home debut as manager.

Fielding the same starting eleven and bench as last week, hopes were high, but after only 10 minutes Mackay's tactical nous was being tested as enforcing midfielder Gunnarsson left the pitch with a nasty looking ankle injury. I suppose I was expecting him to be replaced with Quinn, a full back, and shifting Andrew Taylor up into midfield - perhaps something that would have happened under Dave Jones, but no, Mackay instead brought on the young striker Joe Mason. Immediately he had an impact, running at the Bristol defence he was fouled first by McAllister and then Spence, both drawing yellow cards inside his first few minutes on the pitch.

This period of play galvanised City, and a few minutes later they were in front after Conway's sublime cross was nodded past former England 'keeper David James at the far post after the Robin's defence went awol.

Cardiff were rampant now, and everything just kept coming back at Bristol. Their passes went astray, City cleaned up and pressed harder. Whittingham was pulling the strings in midfield, with outlets left and right. It was no surprise that 5 minutes after the opener, Joe Mason ran at the defence, sent a ball across the face of goal 20 yards out that Conway hit beautifully into the bottom corner for 2-0.Even at this early stage, the City fans were giving it the 'ole", and giving David' James a bit of stick with repeated chants of "England's No. 1".

And more was to come, when Cowie's poweful shot was parried by James, then went loose leaving returning legend Earnshaw the simplest of tap ins for City's 3rd, followed by his trademark somersault. David James should probably have been booked for his reaction, kicking the ball right out of the stadium, but in truth, the defence in front of him was pretty dire, and his handling wasn't great, so a lot to be annoyed and frustrated about.

For City fans, after the often dogged and sometimes downright stubborness of a Dave Jones side, it was so refreshing to see City players rushing into the box when we attacked, and those same players fighting back to defend every time Bristol attacked - which in truth wasn't very often. How many times last season did we see precisely no-one in the box when we attacked? A lot.

However, warning signs are still there. A couple of times the Robins thrust forward, and in truth should have pulled one back after Marshall was forced to make a great close save, only to see the ball hooked back to Pitman, who managed to hit the bar from about 3 yards out with an open goal begging.

After the break, things were understandably more restrained. City had the job almost done, and Kieth Millen had obviously re-organised his disheveled Robins at half time. He brought on the diminutive Campbell-Rice who attacked down the right, and started to give Taylor and Cowie something to think about. Stead also came on - someone who's haunted City in the past, and to give credit to the Robins, they did start to threaten. Eventually it told when Campbell-Rice's cross was picked up by Maynard on the corner of the 6 yard box, and he neatly turned Gerrard and fired past Marshall.

But it was a consolation goal for Bristol, no more. City had the ball in the net through Mason less than a minute later, but it was ruled offside.

Last week's super-sub, Gestede came on, and though he didn't make the same impact, he gave Bristol something else to think about.

City saw the game out comfortably enough, and that win sees them top of the table after two games. Man of the match? The fans vote was Joe Mason, who has been christened by the faithful "Joe Messi". Hard to argue with that the way he impacted the game, but in truth, any one of the eleven could have got it today. They were magnificent.

Brighton will be a sterner test on Wednesday. Bristol City I think will have their work cut out this year unless Keith Millen can sort that horrible defence out.

As for City? Well, at the moment, Malky can do no wrong. Two wins from two games, goals from around the team, passion, or as we like to say here in Cardiff "passhun", a vocal, clearly passionate manager. Life is good. We're not complacent, there's an awful long way to go, but after the performance today, I'm looking forward to the journey.

Up the City!

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Miller's Hammer blow: West Ham 0-1 City

Cardiff City started their 2011/2012 Championship campaign with a 1-0 win away to title favourites West Ham courtesy of a late strike by Scottish international Kenny Miller.

City fans probably are still not sure where to pitch their hopes for the season with a new manager and almost completely new squad in place, but if today's performance is anything to go by, they should have no fears, and could well be in contention come April/May next year.

West Ham certainly had the best of the first half an hours play, but City gradually came into the game and arguably finished the first period stronger. City grew in confidence and generally passed the ball well, with Hudson and Gerrard at the back having no real scares, giving Marshall, preferred in goal to Heaton a relatively comfortable time. City pressed on a few occasions with Miller and Robert Earnshaw not really getting a major chance. It was evident that Gunnarson is no Andy Legg, as his two long trhow efforts went straight behind for a goal kick.

The BBC coverage I have to say was a bit poor. Dave Jones was one of the pundits, and though not everyone likes him, it was a bit harsh to hear Gabby Logan questioning him on how the current City team compared to his. All other commentators/pundits were generally fawning over West Ham, who undoubtedly have the quality with the likes of Nolan, Cole, Parker, Collinson etc.

In the second period the game began to open up a little, and the Hammers had the best chances. Piquionne hitting the bar, and Whittingham clearing one off the line with his knee. Marshall made several good stops, including a fizzer from Matt Taylor.

Mackay changed things around, bringing on tall Frenchman Rudy Gestede for Earnshaw, and Mason for Conway, and it was Gestede that made the impact. Hi first missed a decent headed chance. His height and strength added a new dimension and a minutes into three of stoppage time he brushed of Piquionne on the touchline, ran into the box and pulled the ball back to Miller. It looked like the ball had gone too far behind him, but he twisted and shot high into the net
through the hands of England 'keeper Robert Green to seal the points and send the travelling City support home in ecstasy.

Make no bones about this. This win a great win for City. Away from home, on national TV, against the favourites for the title in a side packed with genuine Premiership quality.

Every City player deserves credit. They looked and played like a team. They were all outstanding, but my MoM was David Marshall who made a couple of crucial stops.

I'd have settled for a draw, but realistically expected us to lose. To go home with all three points, and having looked generally assured throughout, send all sorts of really positive messages to players, fans, and the wider Championship. Yes it's early days. Yes there are still 45 matches to go, but hey. You can't get sweeter than beating the Hammers on their own patch on opening day.


Friday, August 05, 2011

Turkey - and I'm not talking Christmas!

Well we're back from our summer holidays. This year we went all inclusive to Antalya in Turkey.

All the piccies are available here.

It was a fantastic (if very hot) holiday. The hotel, the Delphin Palace, was immense - not just in size, but the food, the staff, the decor. Brilliant.

The temperatures were mad. On the hottest day the temperature guage just outside the pool hit 50C! The lowest it recorded was about 30C, even at night. Every day it was above 40C.

Sadly didn't get to see much of Turkey as only left the complex one day to go into the old town (Kalieci) which was fantastic - all the small bazaars, spice shops etc.

Would we go again? Definitely!

The season dawns. What lies ahead?

And so the season kicks off again. As I sit watching what has to be said, a fairly droll affair so far between Hull and Blackpool, City's opener is still some way off - a 1pm ko v the Hammers on Sunday.

It's the start of a new era, as the "Malkyasian" revolution begins in earnest. Who knows what ups and downs Cit fans are going to see over the next 10 months or so? Hopefully attractive football with plenty of wins.

I'm still unsure to gauge quite what a good position for us to finish in would be. Heart says the play-offs, head says top 12 in this new era under Malky Mackay with an almost totally rebuilt squad.

One thing's for sure. I'll be there!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Pre-season: City 0-1 Celtic

The Bluebirds got their home pre-season off to a start against Scottish giants Celtic at the CCS last night.

In Malky Mackay's first home match in charge a crowd of over 10,000 saw City new boys Joe Mason, Arron Gunnarsson, Don Cowie and Andre Taylor start. It was good also to see Anthony Gerrard back in blue. It was also great to see City old boys, Joe Ledlely, Glenn Loovens and Adam Matthews playing back on City turf, albeit for the opposition!

City started very brightly. Big Jon Parkin had a great opportunity but blasted wide, before Gunnarsson glanced the bar with a header and Mason's spectacular volley went just over.

Celtic though took the lead just over the half hour as City gave away possession and Stokes, who's not the tallest beat everyone to the ball to head home past Marshall.

After that it became increasingly difficult for City to fashion many clear cut chances.

After the break, both sides made a raft of changes that inevitably disrupted the flow of the game. A 1-0 defeat isn't a bad result. Mason and Gunnarsson impressed me, Whittingham looked City's classiest player by far. Cowie didn't get enough of the ball, Gerrard & Hudson looked generally solid, Naughts worked his socks off (as usual). Parkin still fails to convince as anything but a lumbering target man (and not a great one at that). The jury is still out on Naylor at left back.

Time will tell, but the players looked keen and happy. No egos out there last night. We need a few more in though, and talk is Kenny Miller is on the verge and having a medical today. Be a good signing I think.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Lion comes to Mac

The latest iteration of the Apple Mac operating system, "Lion" allegedly comes to UK users at 1am tomorrow morning according to Mactrast.

This is an exciting and major release for Mac users, with a raft of updates, enhancements and general UI developments.

I'm going to be downloading it as soon as I can (though won't be waiting up until 1am to do so), and am looking forward to using it on my Macbook Pro.

Not long now - City v Celtic

It doesn't seem like that long since that dismal evening when Reading visited the CCS, but this time next week, me and @ministats will be sat in CCS watching the Bluebirds taking on Celtic in a pre season friendly.

Our challenge for the evening will be trying to identify all the new faces that have arrived at the club, replacing Bothroyd, Burke, Chopra, Bellamy, JET, Olifanjana, Samuel etc. One face though that won't need any careful checking of the programme of course is dear old Earnie, back at the club for a second spell.

Its a new look City, with a new manager, and a new season of hope.

I can't wait!

Jay's a Ranger

As expected Jay Bothroyd has moved on and been snapped up by Neil Warnock at QPR.

Despite my occasional lambasting of JB (mostly for the amount of time he spent lying down), there's no doubt that he did a decent job at City. It's a shame (but has been inevitable for a long time) that he's gone, but I honestly wish him well.

I believe that on occasions he has the ability to wind fans up by comments (OK tweets) that aren't entirely thought through, but he's young (ish) and a footballer, so he's not alone in that by a long chalk. It's also fair to say that he's probably put up with a fair amount of unwarranted abuse (as opposed to banter), including one recently horrific racist remark in a tweet. No one needs or deserves that.

I hope he does a job at QPR. I think it's a better move for him than Everton. Neil Warnock doesn't suffer fools gladly, and I'm sure will manage him in the same way that Dave Jones did here.

Friday, July 08, 2011

STS-135: Shuttle history

I've always been a fan of space. Sci Fi as well as reality. I remember as a kid watching and following the Apollo missions, the moon landing, the lunar rover, the trials of Apollo 13 (the real life one not the film). I also recall having a magazine called "Speed" I think in which the first ever issue mentioned a re-usable space vehicle, and thinking it would never happen. Well it did, and after 30 years in service (yes, it was that long ago), the final ever shuttle mission blasted off from the Kennedy Space Centre as Atlantis set off for the International Space Station (ISS), another wonder in it's own right.

Whatever your views on space flight and exploration, and I'm all for it, it's amazing to see a spacecraft like this launch. One can only speculate at what it's actually like to be on board at launch time. I sneaked a view at the streamed launch on Nasa TV at work today, and my hands were sweaty and my guts tight as the launch loomed. Imagine what those sitting atop all that power were feeling!

This was history in the making. the 135th and final flight of the shuttle program. I rang the kids at home and got them to watch it on the 'net. Maybe it'll be something they remember in years to come. Maybe not. I don't think they were in quite as much awe as me.

Watch the video - it's 9 minutes but the pictures are amazing, right to the end when the main external fuel tank separates. Who'd have thought when watching jerkky B&W footage from the moon way back when, I'd be able to sit at my desk and watch a live stream of this quality..... awesome!

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Malky's squad taking shape

So, things are taking shape at CCS, as Malky Mackay adds another two names to his increasing squad, and although he hasn't gone back directly raid the Watford cupboard this time, the Hornets link remains!
Andy Taylor, as speculated has joined the Bluebirds from Middlesborough, and the link is that the left back spent some time at Vicarage Road last season on loan, playing under Mackay, so Malky will know all about him and what he's capable of. Assuming he wants to start with Taylor, that's lokking like a back four of McNaughton, Hudson, one of Gerrard or Keinan and Taylor. Not too shabby, in my opinion, although we'll hold court on Taylor until we've seen him settle in I think.

The second arrival this week sees the return of the prodigal son. Robert Earnshaw left Cardiff seven years ago (can you believe it's that long ago?) for the heady heights of the Premiership with West Brom, and subsequently Norwich, Derby and most recently Nottingham Forest. Personally, and I don't think I'm alone in this, I don't think he ever set the Premiership alight. Leaving on free from Forest though, he looks like a good capture. When I saw the Echo reporting that he was saying Malky Mackay would be good for Cardiff, it sort of suggested that he might be interested in a return, and, here he is.

I have to say at the time, I wasn't wholly convinced that Earnie back at Cardiff would be a good thing. He was so prolific in his time at Cardiff as a youngster, and now he's 30, had several injuries, and often been warming the bench for much of his time away from City, you have to wonder whether this is the right thing for him, and for the club.

But I've warmed to the idea. He is unquestionably a City legend. He clearly wants to be here, he'll pull the crowds, sell shirts, and lets face it, can still do a job (sounds a bit like Bellamy last year...). I'd back him to score as many goals as Bellamy gave us last season.

Welcome back little Earn...

Remember the chant? "Earnie's gonna get ya...."

Friday, July 01, 2011

Watford-Cardiff, Cardiff-Watford

New Bluebirds boss Malky Mackay has started the business of putting together his squad and support team for the new season, and much to his former employers chagrin, he's largely raiding the hornets nest in order to do so.

Scottish midfielder Don Cowie (pictured) becomes the fifth member of Watford's personnel to join the Bluebirds, joining backroom staff David Kerslake, Richard Collinge and Joe McBride plus the manager himself.

With wide-man Craig Conway being the first of Malky's signings last week, it appears that you either have to be Scottish, or in the Watford set up, or preferably both, if you have aspirations of playing for Cardiff City.

Seriously though, as fellow Twitterer and blogger @Wingnut1927 puts it "I'm liking the fact we are signing 'no names' at Cardiff. Maybe we will get players playing for the badge rather than their next bonus pay." I think he makes a very decent point here.

The other interesting point made by Graham Taylor in his understandably disgruntled moan about the exodus from Watford, is that Mackay clearly knows every detail of player contracts, and therefore what is likely to tempt those he wants away from Vicarage Road. I'd never really given much thought about why so many players leave clubs following their manager before, other than through some perhaps misguided loyalty to the man, but it's pretty obvious with these comments in mind it's in a large part due to the knowledge of contracts - you've still got to convince the player to come , and he's still got to want to come, but as they say, the devil is in the detail.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Jay Bothroyd

So, Jay Bothroyd has been very cagey about his future over the last month or so, although as he's now effectively a free agent everyone has been expecting him to leave Cardiff City.

His tweets have generally been implying, "chill, I'm cool, nothing decided, just enjoying a rest, not thinking about my future right now..." Yeah, right.

Today, he's tweeted in response to the news that three of Cardiff City's backroom staff have been put on "gardening leave" until the end of their contracts. Specifically, his tweets today were:

"Can't believe ccfc has put Terry burton on gardening leave he is one of the best coaches in the league if not the best. !!!"

"Are people stupid how can the assistant manager be blamed for not getting promotion ?"

"Haha Cardiff fans have short memory ... Our team wasn't good enough as a whole thats honest and that's why we didn't gain promotion "

The second of those particularly doesn't look like the sort of response that suggests his immediate future lays at the Cardiff City Stadium, but then that's hardly surprising I'd say.

On the specifics of his tweet, I have a couple of observations.

Firstly, I see no factual evidence that Terry Burton is being blamed for the Bluebirds not getting promotion. I'd lay the blame, if blame is even the right word, at the door of Dave Jones and the players, although clearly as a key part of the coaching team TB has some accountability for the performances and results. At least in mitigation, Jay's second tweet acknowledges that the team as a whole wasn't good enough to gain promotion, although with hindsight, and an almost certainty that he won't be around to put that right next term that's an easy thing for him to say.

Secondly, if anyone has a short memory, it's not Cardiff City fans. We have long and painful memories of many disappointments over the years, long before JB turned up, fell over a lot and then disappeared into the sunset.

Don't get me wrong. I think Jay performed (at times) excellently, and the side generally looked a lot better for him being in it than when he was absent. But for me, his last season was in three part. Before the England cap when he was excellent, between the cap and the last three or four games of the season when he looked like he couldn't be arsed, and the last few games when he looked like he was trying but the rest of the team (by and large, with a few exceptions) just weren't up to the task.

I'd keep Jay at City if we could, but it's not going to happen. I don't think he wants to stay - I don't think he ever did after he got his one (and probably only) England cap.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Hurrah for the weekend.

Lawks, how I love weekends!

Who invented them? The bloke (for it surely was a bloke) should be given a medal. However, why he had to stop at two days is a mystery. Three would have been nice. Four greedy, but hey why not? Whatever, they're great, and there should be more of them.

Just started off with a Chinese takeaway. Should be off the the Glamorgan/Hampshire Twenty20 now with @ministats, but the weather is horrible, and I don't fancy sitting in the rain for a few hours with the hope of a 10/10 or worse 5/5 bash. Sooner watch it on the telly in Welsh (S4C) with a beer in the dry and warm of my own home.

Tomorrow a few chores (the one downside of any weekend), and because the forecast is so atrocious, unlikely that I'll get out into my garden which is one of the way I like to chill a bit. Still, tomorrow evening we're over to see some good friends for tea, and no doubt make final arrangements for a holiday we're going on together to Turkey in the not too distant future.

Then on Sunday it's Father's Day. We've got my Dad and my Out-Laws over for Sunday dinner, so that'll be nice. A lazy afternoon, and then before you can blink that'll be it. Weekend over and back to the grindstone.

But it's only early Friday yet!!.......

Malky it is! Up the City

So, after a long, drawn out process that included final delays to a 3pm press conference that eventually took place at about 4.40pm, Malky Mackay has been installed as Cardiff City's new manager.

Apparently he's on a three year contract, and both he and Chief Exec Gethin Jenkins stated that the objective was to be competing at the top of the Championship, and Jenkins confirmed that there was money to spend, although stopped short - with a smile - of stating exactly how big the pot was.

At last, Cardiff City can move forward, and given the view that competing at the top = pushing for promotion, not doing a "season of rebuilding" (although obviously some element of rebuilding is imperative) and accepting mid-table mediocrity, expectations will no doubt start to build.

I'm pleased. As I've stated on several occasions, Mackay wouldn't have been my first choice, but perhaps I didn't know enough about him. I've warmed to the prospect over the last few days, and genuinely wish him all the best in his challenges - of which there are bound to be a few.

On another note, City's new season kit was unveiled today, and what do you know? We're not being sponsored by a company. We're being sponsored by a whole country! How amazing is that?

Blimey. All of a sudden, things are looking up.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Now it's Malky...probably

After the shenanigans around Alan Shearer the other night...will he, won't he, he's definitely coming, no he's now looks like it's odds on that the man in pole position before Shearer came out of left field, Malky Mackay, the current incumbent at Watford is the man most likely.

He certainly wasn't my preferred choice. That was Chris Hughton. But, he's not a bad go to option. He seems to have done a fair job at Watford with not too much in the way of resources, and is reckoned in game to be someone with a bit of managerial promise. Certainly, he got one over Dave Jones when the Hornets thumped us at Vicarage Road at Christmas, and they were one of the few teams to get the better of QPR last season, in a match where they performed brilliantly.

So he has got something. Rumour has it that he's keen on the City job, but it's just a rumour - no way I'd know of course. And after Shearer was almost shoe-horned in (by the frenzied media if no-one else), how does he feel about not being first choice?

We'll see of course, it could be all off tomorrow and we'll be back to square one - again. I don't think so though. I think this is it.

If he does come, he's going to have his work cut out. The clock is ticking, and the cupboard is bare. How much money he (or anyone else) is going to have to spend is anyone's guess. Not millions I'd wager, especially as it's likely we'll have to pay at least some compensation to Watford if Mackay does come.

Whoever it is, and I'm warning to the idea of Malky, I wish him all the best.

In other news, tonight's Echo speculates on potential incoming players. Old City favourites Gabbidon and Earnshaw are mentioned. They'd surely be a crowd pleaser, though personally I think their best years are way behind them - even at the Championship level, although as many have pointed out, Earnie coming off the bench would be a decent shout.

Either way, the 11 that take the field in August aren't going to look anything like the 11 that finished the season just gone.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Shearley not?

Well talk and rumours are now rife that Shearer is in line for the City job.

I'm still not convinced - let's wait until a decision is made, but the media is now near certain old Al is going to be the new City manager.

I can't think what the logic is here. Sure, he's a legend, a known face, but his managerial experience is very limited, almost non-existent in fact apart for a short spell at Newcastle, when, certain he could save them from the drop, they were relegated.

Especially if he's going to have to rebuild a near derelict squad from scratch. I don't know, I just don't know.

Stop dithering

Cardiff City have yet to make an announcement on their new manager.
Rumours are rife, and this morning various comments had Alan Shearer installed as hot favourite ahead of Malky Mackay who has been the bookies favourite for the last week or so.

I can't see it being Shearer personally, and I'm pretty sure i wouldn't want him over Mackay or Hughton - he just hasn't got the managerial experience.

We'll see in due course obviously, but the time this is taking is now becoming unsettling.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, June 10, 2011

The cupboard was bare....

Whoever the next Cardiff City manager is, and according to the latest rumours we should know this weekend, he's going to feel a bit like Old Mother Hubbard when he looks in the playing cupboard, because it's pretty bare.

Tonight's Echo showed the Bluebirds current squad as its stands for next season, and certainly isn't going to put fear into any of the other teams in the Championship. It reads like this:

Tom Heaton
David Marshall
Jordan Santiago

Darcy Blake
Anthony Gerrard
Gabor Gyepess
Mark Hudson
Dekel Kienan
Lee Naylor
Kevin McNaughton
Paul Quinn
Alex Evans

Stephen McPhail
Peter Whittingham
Aaron Wildig
Solomon Taiwo
Jon Meades
Ibrahim Farah

Nat Jarvis
Jon Parkin

That's 20 players. Three are first year pros. Three were out on loan last year. Of the strikers, one's a first year pro and the other only came in at Christmas and barely got a look in (and whilst a fan favourite hardly strikes fear into the opposition (apart from their snack bar).

We've got 9 defenders, but our defending was pretty ordinary last season (I'm trying to be generous, OK!).

Only about half of the players played anything like regularly for City last term.

OK, so it's only June. We haven't got a manger, so it's unlikely anything will happen until we do, but looking at that lot, he's going to have his work cut out and he's certainly going to have to earn his corn to make City competitive next season.

Oh, and Chopra has gone......

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Chop chop

So Burke's gone, and now it looks quite possible that Chops may be on his way too. At this rate, I'm not sure we'll be able to field 11 players come August.

Seriously, it would be sad to see Chops go. I don't think he had the best of times last season. A combination of injury and Dave Jones intransigence in picking him at times meant he didn't get on the field as much as he, or indeed the fans wanted.

I always thought he brought something to the team. Even if he wasn't scoring, his runs and general awareness made us a better side when he was in it in my opinion.

However, there's no doubting that there were some off field shenanigans that Jones had to deal with too, but that aside, I believe he's been an asset to the club in his spells with us.

Is a move to the Tractor Boys a positive move for him? I suppose he'll get more games than he did last year, but with a new manager (as yet unknown), might he be better off just hanging on a bit? Incidentally I saw a tweet tonight that Alan Shearer was being quoted at 4-1 for the manager's job. Sounds a bit ludicrous to me, but a fellow Geordie were it to happen.

We'll see, but I suspect we may have seen the last of Chops, and for me, that would be a bigger loss than Bothroyd.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Apple goodness....Lion, iOS5 and iCloud

For users of Apple products (and that's me with an iPhone 4 and a Macbook Pro), the keynote delivered by Steve Jobs and his crew at this week's WWDC has shown us some wondrous goodies that we can expect over the next few months.

I'm no techie, so I'm not going into any massive detail here, but essentially there are three strands to what's coming.

  1. Lion - the new incarnation of Mac OSX - the core Mac operating system. Already a super slick user interface, Lion brings a whole host of UI enhancements, better and clevere multi-touch gestures, improved apps and a whole lot more. And all for $29.99 (though here in the UK that'll probably translate to a more expensive £29.99. And that's for a 5 license OS - yes, you can install it legally on 5 Macs!
  2. iOS5 - the latest operating system version for iOS devices - the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. Again a whole ream of developments and enhancements - too many to go into here, but some notable ones include improved notifications, better handling of previously purchased apps, improved mail app, and great use of the lock screen. It's coming in the Autumn.
  3. iCloud. The new way to sync your data across all Apple devices. At the moment I use MobileMe (and pay for the privilege). That's now effectively dead in the water. When iCloud arrives it basically means if you change data on one device (my iPhone for example), that data is automatically updated on my Macbook Pro. In the words of Steve Jobs...."It just works" No set up, no fiddling, it just works.'s FREE! Awesome.
If you want more detail about all this lovely Apple goodness, then trot across to any of the tech blogs/sites which are awash with the detail of these three core elements. Me, I just can't wait to get hold of them.

Au Revoir Burkey

So Chris Burke has gone to Birmingham, where most of our good players go. Well Roger Johnson anyway. Was never convinced by Jerome myself.

Anyway, Burkey goes with my blessings. He did a good job for us for a couple years, though I felt he was a bit undercooked this last season. I'm sure the Blues fans will welcome him. Just hope he has an of game when we play then next year!

In other City news, there's still no sign of a manager, although rumour has it that Chris Hughton is in pole position. He's my preferred choice as I've said a few times, but as is the way with these things we'll have to wait and see. Hopefully not too long....

New Cardiff City Blog

There's a new Cardiff City blog around town, and it's called "You are my Cardiff". The author is City fan and twitterer @wingnut1927. (What is it with this 1927 lark????)

I'm sure this will be a fascinating read, so whether you follow another dedicated Bluebird on twitter, or via his blog, make sure you drop in regularly!

Monday, May 30, 2011

So where next for Cardiff City?

Inevitably the rumours have started flying on who will be the next Cardiff City manager. Consensus amongst the fans seems to be the need to move quickly in order to build over the summer, but will the Directors be in a rush to fill such a critical post.

The message boards are awash with possible contenders, and not being in the mood to disappoint, here's my thoughts on those names being bandied around.

Craig Bellamy
I just can't see it. He has no managerial experience, though undoubted passion for the club. Passion doesn't win titles, and I'd rather he was playing for us, though frankly I see even that as a major doubt.

Chris Hughton
This is the man I want. Performed heroically under extremely trying times at Newcastle. A real "football" man (whatever that is), and clearly has the ability to manage at the highest level - just look what he did with Newcastle - if you think expectations are big here at Cardiff, they are nothing compared to the Toon!

Alan Curbishley
I've always thought Curbishley a good manager. He did wonders for Charlton, but he's been out a while, and not sure the fans would take to him.

Roy Keane
He'd undoubtedly get the "up and at 'em" brigade on side. I'm not convinced he's achieved enough to make me think he's be able to do a job here.

Roberto Di Matteo
A marvellous player, but I'm sorry, I just don't rate him as a manger.

Iain Dowie
Seems to be one of those "go to" people, but never done much as a manager. I don't think he's the sort of person City are looking for.

Ian Holloway
Been there, done, it, got the T-Shirt. Clearly bonkers, and likely to have a favourable amount of support. I think he's be OK, but he's said (I think) that he's staying at Blackpool.

Peter Reid
Who? Oh him. How long has he been out of management? No thanks.

Gary Megson
Oh no, please.

Gareth Southgate
I'd rather Megson than Southgate

Martin O'Neill
Are we likely to be able to attract someone of the calibre of O'Neill to Cardiff? Possibly. Could he do a job here? Possibly.

Malky Mackay
Another of those managers hewn from a long line of decent Scotsmen who turn out to be half decent managers. Wouldn't be the worst appointment.

Gus Poyet
Has done an outstanding job at Brighton. Would he want to swap the Withdean for the CCS? No brainer if he's asked.

Billy Davies
Scottish - see Malky Mackay above. However, another manager that has so nearly made it and failed on a couple of attempts. Wouldn't this be a case of frying pan and fire?

Sam Allardyce
Thought the pressure got to him at Newcastle. If things didn't start well, he'd be on his way soon.

Ryan Giggs
Please....It's not going to happen.

Swansea City in the Promised Land

Though it galls me to say it, congratulations to Swansea City, who this afternoon grabbed the final Premiership place up for grabs in the 2011/12 season when they beat Reading 4-2 at Wembley, and in so doing achieved what Cardiff City so disappointingly failed to do last year against Blackpool, and this year in the regular season.

As a Bluebirds fan, it's a fact of life that I want Cardiff to be better than Swansea. But this season, in footballing terms we weren't. Whichever way some narrow minded Bluebirds fans want to carve it up, the fact is Swansea finished higher than us in the league, and with a side with less "stars" in it than ours, and have managed to achieve the holy grail of Premiership football and will be playing next season at Old Trafford, Stamford Bridge, Anfield, whilst next year we'll be plying our trade at London Rd (Peterborough), the Withdean Stadium (Brighton) and St Mary's (Southampton) which were all hosting League One football this season.

To be fair, Swansea have played good football under first Roberto Martinez, then Paulo Sousa and currently Brendan Rodgers. They play to their strengths, and play attractive football - in comparison, the Bluebirds who on their day can be sublime were too often inconsistent, lacking a cutting edge, and awful defensively. We looked like a team full of individual players rather than the team that Swansea seem to be.

Maybe next season things will change. The Bluebirds will be the underdogs in South Wales next season, and maybe , just maybe that, and a new manager will mean the pressure is off a little bit, and we can concentrate on rebuilding - as we'll surely have to, and fighting another season in the Championship.

In the meantime, the Jacks are in the Premiership - we're not. And we need to get over it. Yes it'll be galling watching them every Saturday on MoTD, but no more galling than it was watching Blackpool this year. And look what happened to them......

Cheers Dave, and thanks

So, the deed is done. Dave Jones has had his contract terminated - or been sacked if you like.

It's been coming, and many fans, myself included have been calling for this for a while. In my case, I've given him the benefit of the doubt (apart from a blip over last Christmas), until the end of the season when I said that not getting us promoted with the squad at his disposal should see the end of his reign.

And so it now is. Before we all say good riddance, let's just remember where he's brought the club to. Not the Premiership, granted. But it's in a much, much better place than when he arrived six years ago.

We've been to Wembley three times, including an FA Cup final. We've got a new stadium, new training facilities and he's brought players in we'd never have expected to see in a City shirt. Granted some of them didn't live up to expectations, but Hasselbaink, Fowler and Bellamy to name three.

But all things come to an end, and it's time to move on. Given it's taken a couple of weeks I don't think this is a knee jerk reaction by the Directors, and there were rumours starting to come out that Jones was staying. But he's gone. So who to replace him?

Let's wait and see, but either way, this is the start of a new era for Cardiff City.

Up the Bluebirds.

(oh, and Up Reading too - today at least)!

Deadly cucumbers claim more lives

This isn't funny in the slightest, although the headline on the BBC news link "Deadly cucumbers claim more lives" is like something from a classic "B" horror movie.

In fact, what's happened is that some cucumbers have somehow become infected with a strain of e.coli and some people have died from the resultant infection.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Keeping it all together

Regular readers will know that I've got a pretty eclectic approach to computing. I have no real affinity for any one OS, and have desktop devices running Windows 7, a Macbook Pro on Mac OSX and a netbook running Ubuntu netbook edition. Chuck in my ever to hand iPhone, and the challenge for me is keeping everything together and in sync.

In all honesty, it's made a bit simpler in that the Ubuntu netbook rarely sees the light of day. It's an old Asus Eee with virtually no memory or storage, and I put Ubuntu netbook on it more as an experiment than anything else (it works fine though).

What is happening therefore, is a slow and gradual transition to cloud computing. Applications I tend to prefer are cross platform, and with an ability to sync seamlessly with whichever device I'm using . I'm not a complicated, or power user, which makes life simpler still, and what follows is a brief description of my key picks.

If you work in different locations on different computers and haven't used or come across Dropbox yet, you're missing out. You install the Dropbox client on all the devices you use and it creates a Dropbox folder - so it's installed on all my PC's, laptop, netbook and I have the iPhone app. Whenever you are connected to the Internet, whatever you have saved to this folder is synced to Dropbox. Then, whenever you connect using one of your other devices, all the changes are automatically synced back to that device. Simple. Add in versioning, so you know which is the latest version, and the fact that it's free for up to 2GB storage, and you not only have a way of keeping everything in sync across multiple computers, but some free online storage too.

If you are going to check it out - drop me a line first. I can refer you, and that helps me boost my storage space!
Highly recommended.

One of the things that many people require from their computing devices is a good way of collating all those snippet of information, notes, screenshots etc. There are literally hundreds of thousands of solutions out there, but one of the best is Evernote.
Evernote, like Dropbox is cross platform, and you can sync to all your platforms. Like Dropbox it's also accessible online, and like Dropbox free at the basic level.It also has browser extensions so you can clip all, or bits of web pages directly to your Evernote account.
You can record text notes, voice notes, photo notes, documents - pretty much anything. It's fully searchable, you can have multiple "notebooks" within your account, and use tags on notes. A Premium version (which I use) brings added benefits, but for most people, the free version is just fine. If you need to store "stuff", then this is the way to do it.

Gmail is my preferred email route, because everything is available on any Internet connected device. It's got a a lot of functionality too - more than most people realise, you've just got to dig a bit to find some of the optionsd and settings.

My calendar and contacts are all handled by Apple's "MobileMe" service. You have to pay for it, but it keeps my calendar and contacts beautifully in sync on my Macbook and iPhone (I tend not to do anything that needs calendar and contact access on the PC, although I could always access Mobile Me through the browser if I wanted to.

I've tried a few times to manage contacts via Google Contacts, but I find there's always some corruption/duplication though the sync process back to the iPhone/Macbook. I know some manage this perfectly fine, but I've never managed to do so to my satisfaction.

So there you have it. Core functions of email, contacts, calendar, notes and document sync/storage handled through some first class online/cross platform applications, that are free.

It's a no brainer.