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It’s Never Dull Being a Cardiff Fan

I went to my first City game at Ninian Park back when I was six years old and ever since I’ve been hooked. I have seen the club gain one promotion and reach three Wembley finals, but we’ve fallen short every time we come close to reaching the big time.

By this I mean reaching the Premier League or winning either the FA or Carling Cup, and all three of these we’ve come so close to doing in the last four years. We lost the FA Cup final to Premiership Portsmouth by a single goal. Again against Blackpool in the playoff final we lost by one goal and in this year’s Carling Cup final the mighty (or at least once mighty) Liverpool could only just beat us on penalties.

My Cardiff tickets in the shape of the Bluebirds badge sent by my creative mum which looks great to be fair. I would have at least another hundred if it wasn't for those new cards

For a Championship club to reach these finals is itself amazing but when will we actually stop knocking on the door and step over that elusive line. This season we look set to finish in the playoff places for a third consecutive year but for the first time I honestly cannot see us winning the playoffs. I don’t think we’re playing well enough and the other three teams will be favourites ahead of us.

Will we be playing at Wembley for the second time this season come the playoff final?

But will this help us? For some reason Cardiff always seem to raise their game against the ‘bigger’ clubs and the underdog status may benefit us. I hope this is the case anyway as I would love to see us losing 4-0 to Manchester City next year, and that is no word of a lie. First of all we have to not lose our last game of the season against Palace on Saturday to guarantee ourselves a place in the top six. Hopefully we can at least do that.

Here’s a link showing ticket prices for the game at Palace on Saturday, I’ll be there to support the boys.

http://www.cardiffcityfc.co.uk/page/AwayTickets/0,,10335~2721883,00.html

All pictures are my own
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My Favourite Cardiff City Goal

Mark Hudson’s screamer on Tuesday is right up there in regards to my favourite Cardiff City goal. However my number one has to be Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s strike against Wolves in the FA Cup at Ninian Park.

Jimmy’s dummy and shot was along the way to us reaching the Wembley final in 2008. He started the move with a diagonal ball that Ben Turner would have been proud of before emphatically firing into the net. I was in the Bob bank that day and as soon as the ball left his foot I knew it was going in. Here’s a video of my favourite City goal.

Not only is the finish world class but the whole build up play for the goal is quality. Definitely my favourite Bluebirds goal. Chwarae teg Jimmy.

Media from YouTube user: bazgotbanned

That Hudson Goal!

I’ve mentioned Mark Hudson’s 68-yard goal in my Derby match report but it’s such an amazing goal that I felt it was worth its own post. Cardiff’s captain fantastic, I take my hat off to you.

The commentator says it’s reminiscent of Beckham’s famous goal but Hudson’s is much better, and he’s a centre half!

It’s also brilliant hearing BBC Radio Wales’ Rob Phillips’ commentary on the goal. I think to say he enjoyed it too is an understatement…

Click here to listen to Rob Phillips’ commentary

Media from YouTube user xXSneakySn4keXx

My Favourite Ever Cardiff City Match

My favourite ever Cardiff City game has to be the 2-1 win against Leeds in the FA Cup at Ninian Park in 2002.

Leeds at the time were the kings of British football. Top of the Premiership and playing in Europe, while we were two leagues lower in the old Division Two (now League One). The atmosphere at a rammed Ninian Park was insane in what was a giant killing at the time.

Below is a video of highlights of the game.

Leeds took the lead in the first half through Mark Viduka before my favourite ever Bluebirds player, Graham Kavanagh, equalised. The skipper scored a curling 25-yard free-kick to draw us level and send me and everyone else in the stadium wild.

The Premier League leaders then had Alan Smith sent off for a foul on Andy Legg before things got even more crazy when Scott Young scored the winner three minutes from time, invoking a pitch invasion from the Cardiff fans at full-time.

Media from YouTube user: Bongo1987

Tribute to Eddie May

RIP Eddie May, the former Cardiff City manager who died in his sleep on Saturday, aged 68.

Eddie May

Eddie became a Bluebirds legend during a four-year stint as manager of the club between 1991 and 1995. During his time at Ninian Park he led the club to the Division Three title and Welsh Cup double in 1993.

The most famous win under May’s reign was the 1-0 FA Cup victory against Manchester City. Nathan Blake scored the winner that day and the former City striker has said that May was the best manager he ever played for and that the club should name a stand in his name.

“Eddie was a great manager, the best I ever played for,” said Blake. “I do hope the club do something to honour him and I believe naming a stand after him would be the perfect way to do that.

“Eddie was so popular among Cardiff supporters and everyone who worked with him at the club that it would be very fitting. Eddie was a diamond in my opinion and everyone has been left saddened by the news of his death.”

RIP Eddie May (1943-2012)

Media from Walesonline

Pre Barnsley Press Conference

I went to another Cardiff press conference at the Vale this morning ahead of the trip to Barnsley tomorrow. David Marshall was the player we had this week and Malky Mackay made us wait as he usually does, over an hour in fact.

I think three points are a must tomorrow and looking at recent form I think we’ll get them. Here are the voice notes from the press conference if anyone wants to hear what the keeper and manager had to say.

Cardiff goalkeeper David Marshall:

Cardiff manager Malky Mackay:

Malky Mackay says playoffs are now in Cardiff's own hands

Permission for pictures given by Jon Candy.

My Best Cardiff City XI in Recent Years

As I’m only 20 years old I can’t say I’ve had the honour of seeing legendary City players such as Phil Dwyer, John Toshack and Fred Keenor play as they were well before my time. So I’ve decided to do my ‘modern’ greatest Cardiff 11, from when I went to my first game at Ninian Park, aged six.

Goalkeeper – Neil Alexander 

Appearances: 234

Goals: 0

Period at club: 28/05/2001 – 16/07/2007

We signed the original “Scotland’s number one” for £200,000 in 2001 and he spent six years at the club. He was a brilliant shot-stopper and I was always a big fan. Alexander was our keeper when we won the Division Two playoff final against QPR in 2003. Credit to both of our current goalies in Marshall and Heaton who I feel are two of the best we’ve had.

Left Back – Andy Legg 

Appearances: 209

Goals: 12

Period at club: 16/12/1998 – 21/07/2003

Leggy initially got stick from City fans when he joined us in 1998 as he previously played for Swansea. However, many solid and consistent performances (and an unbelievably long throw!) soon won over the Cardiff faithful as he became a fans favourite. Since his time at City, Legg has been diagnosed with cancer and has battled through it tremendously. I went to his testimonial match in 2006 which was a real treat as players from all generations were present.

Centre Back – Roger Johnson 

Appearances: 136

Goals: 14

Period at club: 04/07/2006 – 01/07/2009

Johnson was my favourite player during his time at the club, partly because I used to play in the centre of defence, and also because he was just awesome. Not only a rock at the back but he also contributed with a lot of goals going forward. Another shrewd Dave Jones signing as we got him for £275,000 and sold him for £5,000,000 three years later. For a Championship defender to be sold for that much just shows how good he really was. Ever present in our FA Cup Final campaign and scored a memorable diving header against then Premier League Middlesbrough.

Centre Back – Danny Gabbidon 

Appearances: 219

Goals: 10

Period at club: 10/08/2000 – 05/07/2005

Gabbidon’s excellent performances in a Cardiff shirt mean he has to be on my list. Another prominent member of the 2003 playoff winning side and I was gutted to see him leave alongside James Collins when the club was strapped for cash.

Right Back – Kevin McNaughton 

Appearances: 248 (At time of writing)

Goals: 2

Period at club: 26/05/2006 – Present

Super Kev is easily the best right back we’ve had in the last 15 years and has been a superb servant to Cardiff City. He covers so much ground in a game, up and down that right wing nonstop and was last season’s player of the year. He also has the best chant I think we’ve ever had for a player!

Left Midfield – Joe Ledley 

Appearances: 256

Goals: 30

Period at club: 01/09/2004 – 12/07/2010

I still have a shirt from quite a few years ago which had LEDLEY 16 on the back, and best of all I got it signed by the man himself! Chris Gunter egged him on to sign it ‘Deadly Ledley’ and to be honest I wish he had. Cardiff born and bred, Ledley scored some very important goals for the Bluebirds including the one against Barnsley to take us to the FA Cup final. Joe was also somewhat a utility player for City, playing all over midfield and also at left back. One of my favourite players and how I wish he was still on our wing!

Centre Midfield – Graham Kavanagh 

Appearances: 165

Goals: 31

Period at club: 29/06/2001 – 04/03/2005

An absolute legend as far as I’m concerned and my favourite ever Cardiff player. Kavanagh was the captain who led us to promotion in 2003 and always led by example. He set up god knows how many goals and also scored a few crackers in his time here too. Kav was City’s first £1 million man when he signed from Stoke in 2001, money that was unheard of before at Ninian Park. His most famous goal will be that free-kick when we beat the mighty Leeds in the FA Cup back in 2002. To say I was gutted when he was sold is an understatement, but I will always remember the magical moment when he scored the first ever goal at the CCS when he played in a one off ‘legends’ match.

Centre Midfield – Jason Koumas 

Appearances: 74

Goals: 15

Period at club: 27/07/2005 – 01/05/2006 and 04/08/2010 – 31/05/2011

With his first stint with us, Koumas was at the time the most skilful player I have ever seen don the blue shirt. I know he was only a loan signing but he was very influential in his time with us. He always looked dangerous on the ball and almost everything good we did that season came through him. A free-kick maestro, Koumas returned to us in 2010 but unfortunately was a shadow of his former self. However I remember the player that gave us many magic moments and that is why he’s on my list.

Right Midfield – Peter Whittingham 

Appearances: 257 (At time of writing)

Goals: 67

Period at club: 11/01/2007 – Present

Of course he’s on the list, “he does what he wants” after all! Easily our best player so far this season and always contributes with a lot of goals from midfield. Whitts always seems to have his own ‘goal of the season’ battle with himself and he truly has scored some screamers. The curling effort against Middlesbrough, the bullet free-kick versus Leicester, the keepy uppy and volley against Barnsley and the first time lob against Reading. All these are memorable goals and hopefully Whittingham will still be with us in years to come.

Striker – Robert Earnshaw 

Appearances: 220 (At time of writing)

Goals: 109

Period at club: 01/08/1997 – 30/08/2004 and 13/07/2011 – Present

Earnie is Cardiff’s second all time leading goal scorer and played a pivotal role in propelling us from Division 3 to Division 1, (now the Championship). He signed for us again this season but has barely featured so we haven’t seen that trademark summersault celebration as much as expected. Earnshaw holds the record for the most ever goals scored in a single season for us with 35 in the 2002/03 campaign. He was sold in 2004 for £3 million to West Brom and has always been a fans favourite at Cardiff.

Striker – Michael Chopra 

Appearances: 162

Goals: 65

Period at club: 16/06/2006 – 13/07/2007 and 06/11/2008 – 02/01/2009 and 02/02/2009 – 01/06/2009 and 04/07/2009 – 10/06/2011

One of the most prolific strikers in the Championship in recent years and has played for the Bluebirds on four occasions, twice on loan. We signed Chops for a mere £250,000 and he went on to be named player of the year in his first season with us. Chopra was sold for a club record £5 million to Premier League Sunderland in 2007 but we bought him back for another record fee of £4 million in 2009.

Total Caps of my Team: 2,180

Media from: http://www.cardiffcity-mad.co.uk, http://www.cardiffcityfc.co.uk, http://www.walesonline.co.uk