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.