Saturday, 22 May 2010

Where do the Bluebirds head now?

As a Swansea fan I found the Play-off final an odd occasion. Cardiff, Swansea's nearest and fiercest rivals against Blackpool, the team that pipped Swansea to the final play-off place, including an embarrassing 5-1 victory over the Swans.

But as the game progressed, I found myself hoping that Cardiff would win.

That may seem like blasphemy to many Swansea fans, but for a number of reasons I am actually quite found of Cardiff (the city and the football club). For one thing, I live in England and know of no Cardiff fans nearby, so some of the rivalry is lost, I have few people to gloat to when Swansea win and get only a small ridiculing from friends when they lose. Secondly, I like to see Cardiff do well, as it shows Welsh football is healthy, hopefully adding to the young potential that the current Wales squad has

But the main reasoning behind my support was that Cardiff's future is so uncertain having lost. There financial troubles are well documented, and with their strong squad, it is inevitable that some of their most talented players will leave the Bluebirds nest this summer. 

Whilst some Swansea fans may revel in the unrest at Cardiff, I hope that the club can become stable and remain a key club in the Championship. Though obviously they do need to pay off their debts and if they can't will have to be punished.

I would rather see Cardiff in the Championship and continue to see Welsh derbies; which in the last two season, after over twenty years without one, have been great games and a great advert for Welsh football, than see Cardiff in the lower leagues.

Full credit must go to Blackpool, as they outplayed favourites Cardiff for long periods of the game and have played attacking football throughout the season. It is great to see teams take risks committing players forward and it paying off. Football at its most basic is a form of entertainment, and I'm not sure if there was a more entertaining team in the Championship this season than Blackpool.

I feel pain for the Cardiff players and fans as as early as the first ten minutes their game plan had to change with an injury to skill full target man Bothroyd. With other injuries in the game to McPhail and McNaughton during the game the original plans were obviously shaken up.

Cardiff must remain positive, as although in the last few seasons they have failed to reach their potential, famously missing out on last seasons play-offs by one goal, and the season before that leading the pack until Christmas then falling away at the end of the season, they can still put up a challenge next season. I would hope that Dave Jones keeps his job and can build on what he has already created. The infrastructure is there, and once the financial issues are sorted and behind them, they can focus all their energy on the Championship.