Saturday, December 20, 2014

Christmas crumble

Regular readers will have noticed that...well, there's been nothing to read. I haven't posted since March when Cardiff were beaten (trounced) by Liverpool back in the halcyon days of our Premiership season.

I keep meaning to write something but never quite find the motivation. Normally, because I've been exhausted by another inept display, either by the club as a whole, or the players on the pitch. My regular tweeting on Cardiff City and other stuff (@Statto1927) at 140 characters, is normally enough.

But I can't restrain myself any more. Today I watched my side capitulate as we went 3 down at home in 33 minutes to a side who were two divisions below us last season. They were great, we were woeful. In fact we weren't as good as woeful. The final score was 2-3, which rather hides the fact that it probably could have been about 0-7. Frankly Cardiff City on the pitch are awful at the moment (read the last two seasons), and anyone who thinks otherwise (and the club and some supporters seem deluded enough to think we should be much better) is on a different planet. At best we are ordinary. In the last week we've been beaten soundly, and deservedly by two sides who were in League 1 last year who have played neat, incisive football with a team ethic that's sadly lacking in the borough of Leckwith.

Where to lay the blame?

Well a lot of people blame the players. That's understandable. They get paid a lot of money to kick a bag of wind around a field, and whatever the manager says, or the tactics he asks them to play, it's them out there against 11 other blokes. But some of the play recently makes parks sides look good. Passes going astray when no pressure, attacking players whose shooting power wouldn't dent a paper bag, and an alarming degree of being static and not challenging for the ball when opposition players are running and challenging everything. And let's face it, we've got some donkeys in our squad.

One who isn't a donkey though, shows that players talk and play a different game. Peter Whittingham after the loss at Bournemouth said.

"We have to be better. We must start quicker".

Yes and yes. So why didn't you?

So it's the player fault.

Or the manager. Since getting rid of Malky Mackay we've never looked like a team. I'm not defending Mr Mackay - clearly something went awry there, although I don't think us ordinary folk will ever know the truth, but I don't believe it's as one sided as Vincent Tan seems to delight in telling others. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was woefully inept as his replacement, and some of his signings beggar belief in hindsight. The current incumbent, Russell Slade was dragged from Leyton Orient (and let's not forget he's Vincent Tan's man this time), on the back of being a good man-manager, but with no experience at this level. A brief honeymoon period when a few results went our way, even though we weren't playing very well, and some nice media interviews, doesn't disguise the fact that he may be out of his depth too.  He blames a big squad, but hey, you've got them all to pick from. Surely there must be 11 who can play as a team in there somewhere?

Managers don't help themselves though do they? Here's one of Slade's quotes after todays performance.

"There were two ways to go at half time after we were knocked down and on one knee. We needed a response, we had to get up fighting. The players did that and they are the type of people you want in your changing room, the type of people I want around me".

No, no, no Russell. I want players around me who don't play so ineptly that they end up 3 down after 33 minutes in the first place.

So it's the manager's fault.

Or the fans. Clearly the fans aren't supporting their team and that's the problem. (That's a joke by the way). Idiots like me turn up to every match paying good money, cheer on the team and get rewarded with the dross we've seen lately. Don't blame the fans. Even the ones who boo, walk out, or have even given up coming.

Or the owner. Now we may be getting to the nub of it. The rumblings against Malaysian owner Vincent Tan have been loud and long, but not universal. The change of colour from blue to red caused an outrage, seemed to die down, and is back with a vengeance. The change of badge/crest to the awful beer mat effort is just laughable. And to what end. Lucky red certainly isn't lucky. But Mr Tan is too arrogant, or more likely stubborn to see that his re-branding and handling of the club is what I think is pushing the club to crumbling point. Fans divided. Fans fighting amongst themselves, and all because of what Tan has done. An we were supposed to be debt free by now. Instead we are still in HUGE debt. And pretty much of it all owed to the owner.

Just going back to the fans for a moment, let's remember everyone is different. Those who walked away at the first sign of a rebrand were perfectly entitled to. I thought they were wrong. I thought the rebrand was wrong too and still do - vehemently. But they had a point of principle. I'm now getting as disillusioned as they are. But I don't think I'll walk away. After all, supporting a club is about supporting through thick and thin, and whilst I think the club is in a mess, it's still the club I support. It doesn't not become so because we've got an owner and a lick of red paint. If you have a different view that's fine. It's not mine. Vincent will be gone at some point, and a new owner has a gigantic gimme of a win over for the fans waiting for him (or her) on a plate. Back to blue.

It could be worse. We could be Hereford United.

If the club had half a brain, they wouldn't be in this position. You've got to wonder.

Merry Christmas people.

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