|fixtures - features - fun stuff - links - bluebird jones - home|
98-99 season reports
Promotion! Huzzah! Relive the excitement of Cardiff's triumph with these reports!
Cardiff 0 Scunthorpe 1.5.99 - Promotion!
Cardiff secured promotion today after drawing 0-0 at home to Scunthorpe. Read the full report here - along with a couple of pretty pictures!
Cardiff 0 Swansea 0 18.4.99 - Hate and War
Can there be a more sulphurous or poisonous atmosphere at a derby match anywhere in the UK than at today's nauseating hate-fest? I don't think so.
The football itself was a dull disappointment, another two points dropped from a match we needed to win to keep the automatic promotion train rolling. Cardiff totally dominated the first half, enjoying masses of possession but being too witless to do anything damaging with it. Swansea had clearly come to frustrate, grab a quick point and then shoot off back down the motorway.
Roger Freestone gathered everything that was thrown into the penalty area with a routine nonchalance which frustrated every attack. After sweeping the ball about confidently in the first half hour, City resorted to lumping long balls onto the head of Kevin Nugent in the vain hope that something might happen. It didn't, and it never looked like it would.
© Paul Davies 1999
Brighton 0 Cardiff 2
Well, this could only be an alcoholic mission - I mean, why else would any sane person travel out to Gillingham on a cold March evening if not to quaff copiously and cheer on the City. We arrived early and met up with a small hardcore of Cardiff fans drinking in The Britannia (big yo! to Gareth and Adrian). Several strong lagers later we headed off to Gillingham's diminutive 'stadium' to watch a strong first half performance from City who throughly dominated the game and left the field a worthy 2-0 up. Any hopes of a second-half goal blitzkreig were dashed by a frenetic Albion revival, although for all their efforts they rarely looked like scoring. As the game went on, Cardiff took control again, and deservedly took all three points from the match. We adjourned to the pub...
Reasons to be fearful...
(1.03.98, words by Paul Davies)
Part 1: Rochdale 1 Cardiff 1
From a quiver to a wibble to wobble. Frankie Burrows' triumphant Trans-Nationwide Express is in danger of losing one of its wheels at precisely the wrong moment as the season revs up to its eagerly anticipated climax. From Splottlands to Spotland, it was the same old story at Rochdale this weekend - important points dropped on the road to nowhere as the Bluebirds' class was eclipsed by a gang of mediocre scuffling muddy time-servers, played out on a pitch from Hell which is used four times a week in a desperate bid to keep Rochdale financially solvent.
After leading the pack so heroically for most of this action-packed season Frankie's boys seem to have developed altitude sickness as they feel the hot breath of Cambridge United on the back of their necks. Fortuitously, many of the other promotion contenders are experiencing their own brand of choking stage fright, blowing up spectacularly against the lowliest of contenders. This is, of course, particularly gratifying in the case of Brentford, whose bigmouth owner/manager Ron Noades was notably ungracious as he dissed the Bluebirds' long-term prospects after we had wiped the floor with the puffed-up Bees last month.
Cardiff's hold at the summit is now looking a tad more tentative, and with each successive disappointing performance, the pressure intensifies. Fortress Ninian was even breached by hopeless Halifax recently, points being dropped at home in addition to the slew of negative awaydays. Nothing less than a handsome home banker against Chester on Friday will do - it's time to kick some 3rd Division butt.
Part 2: The Ides of March
The transfer deadline approaches, and in recent weeks the cluster of cherry-picking Premiership scouts has proliferated at games involving the mighty mighty Bluebirds. If the local press are to be believed Mark Delaney, Jason Fowler and Scott Young are not going to be wearing the blue and white for very much longer. What happens at the end of March will be a true test of Cardiff City's long-term ambition and commitment to success. It should be a time of consolidation and backup - any transfer action for a club at the right end of the division should be defiantly incoming. However, those of us with memories of the last couple of promotion campaigns will be less than surprised if the brightest and best of City's young stars are flogged off to keep the bank manager happy.
Cardiff City invented the boom and bust economy, short-termism and asset-stripping have become a way of life at Ninian Park, successive administrations sabotaging any chance of sustained progress through a systematic policy of myopic team destruction. Who can forget the ludicrous knockdown sale of Nathan Blake to Sheffield United for £300,000 ( yes, the very same Nathan Blake who just moved from Bolton to Blackburn for £4 million ). And did Cardiff benefit by any sell-on clause in the contract ? Well, what do you think ? If any or all of these players on the Premiership clubs' wish-list are sold this season, then quite frankly Cardiff City do not deserve your support next season. Simple as that really.
Part 3: Once a Bluebird...
Anyone at the back remember Tony Bird ? Not so very long ago Bird was a Cardiff City player who performed admirably for the club - his staggering goal against Standard Liege at Ninian Park remains a golden European memory. He was deemed surplus to requirements and after a successful spell with Barry Town was picked up by Swansea City, where he now plys his trade as a professional footballer. Tony Bird is, of course, a local boy who never wanted to leave Cardiff, by a strange set of circumstances he just happened to end up playing for the other side. A couple of weeks ago after enjoying a quiet pint in the city with friends and family, he was set upon by three so-called Cardiff City supporters who proceeded to beat the shit out of him for having the temerity to want to earn a living from the sport he loves. If ever there was a graphic illustration of the sick, twisted and festering enmity which exists between the two clubs then this was it. Tony Bird sweated blood for his hometown club and ended up spitting blood in the gutter outside a Cardiff pub for daring to cross the sectarian divide. As long as incidents like this continue to happen and enjoy tacit approval from would-be City fans ( this was, in fact, the second time Bird had been beaten up in Cardiff ), Cardiff City will always be remembered more for the dim-witted sociopathic scumbags who still cling to their sad and pathetic hooligan exploits than for any heroic efforts the team may make on the football pitch.
© Paul Davies 1999
Cardiff 4 (Four) Brentford 1
"Just raise your hands.. "
Make no mistake, despite Brentford's piffling consolation goal, this was a massacre - as comfortable and convincing a victory as the scoreline suggests. Coming, as it did, so soon after two depressing defeats at Peterborough and Sheffield, this result was doubly impressive - the strongest evidence yet that Cardiff are going up as champions, and going up in style.
Their best performance of the season began somewhat tentatively, a strangely subdued Ninian Park watching with a little discomfort as Brentford zipped about busily, if a little purposelessly. Cardiff soon exercised their wit and muscle in midfield, wresting the initiative away from Brentford, silencing their jaunty supporters and controlling the game with energy, pace and polish.
Defensively, Cardiff's back three were almost faultless, extinguishing 90% of the Brentford attacks before they could make any significant inroads into Bluebird territory. Yet again, the midfield were outstanding - Fowler, Middleton and O'Sullivan bossing things with speed and skilful distribution, with superb backup from Carpenter and Delaney, the latter's hunting and foraging down the right flank being as impressive as ever.
Nugent and Williams ran themselves into the ground, causing the Brentford defence no end of problems throughout the game. A crowd of 11,500 roared as one when John Williams nodded simply home to kickstart the carnival atmosphere, decibel levels increasing exponentially with Eckhardt's header and Fowler's cunning drifting lob. An annoying lapse in concentration allowed Brentford a single goal and a brief slice of the spotlight, but the result of this game was rarely in any doubt. Kevin (not Ted) Nugent was duly rewarded with the fourth goal, by which time the revellers on the Bob Bank, Grange End and Grandstand were levitating collectively several feet off the ground.
As the noise echoed round the four sides of this pleasuredome ( hats off to the posse in the Grandstand for the loudest contribution), the fans even had time to sing a sentimental Happy Birthday tribute to the marvellous grizzled old bastard with the Masterplan, Frankie Burrows.
Respect, and lashings of it.
Sweet revenge for events on and off the pitch at Griffin Park in December and a thumping re-establishment of the status quo. Put the champagne, absinthe and bottled lager on ice, it's going to be a blistering run-in til the final promotion party at Mansfield in May
(report by Paul Davies)
Yeovil 1 Cardiff 2 13.01.99
Bye bye plucky underdogs...
Ecky Thump. In the 4th round for the third time in six years - not bad for a crap Cup side who've been knocked out by chirpy collections of painters and decorators and milkmen more times than it is comfortable to remember. After the first leg at Ninian Park, the purveyors of sporting tabloid tittle tattle were gleefully honing their FA Cup clichés as they prepared to salute the West Country Kings of The Upset. That, surely, was never going to happen. This Cardiff team, constructed by other-worldly alchemical genius Frankie Burrows, is a different kind of beast altogether - tough, resilient and capable of standing toe to toe with eleven Conference wannabes fired up by cheap cider and a place in the history books. We do not do banana skins - maximum heaviosity is their watchword, as adept at grinding down the opposition and grinding out results as they occasionally are at playing the beautiful game.
Tracking this particular game for homebound South Walians became an exercise in multimedia excitement. Notwithstanding the many strands of Internet coverage, there was of course a choice of teletext, as well as four separate radio commentaries to savour. Full nationwide match coverage came from the BBC Radio5 bigwigs, including Trevor Brooking and famous sausage snaffler Ron Jones. Radio Wales' crew were also in full effect, Mark Aizelwood and John Hardy proving to be a formidable team ( former Echo scribe Rob Phillips hasn't quite got this radio thing sussed yet ). A view from the opposition was provided by a West Country duo who failed to inspire their team or the listeneres with a dull droning burr. Top prize though went to the mighty mighty Phil Suarez on Touch Radio, who did not even attempt to conceal his rampant and partisan support for the Blues as he commentated.
Despite the deprivation of visuals, listening to an important match can almost be as exhilirating and exhausting as being there, every whoop and raised syllable of a hoarse commentator translates vividly in the mind's eye into a certain victorious goal / desperate equaliser / blatant penalty. And it certainly was thrills-splashed as Cardiff dominated yet failed to kill off their opponents. Eckhardt's fumbled toepoke just before half time seemed as if it was gonna be enough, until a soft equaliser was conceded just as the celebrations were beginning. The game was of course made safe in the most bizarre fashion, when goalkeeper ( and Swanjack ) Pennock rolled the ball a few centimetres too far, Nugent dived in and bravely swept the ball into the net. All over bar the shouting and a couple of nervy moments. Onward and upward we go - favoured opposition is Notts County, who we could easily roll over, but we do still have some unfinished business ( 74 years' worth ) with Sheffield United.
PS. A note to F. Burrows, even without the benefit of visuals, it is clear that Dai Thomas is a useless lunk - if you need some added firepower towards the end of a game give the boy Earnshaw a shot, he will not let you down.
report by Paul Davies
9.1.99 Cardiff 4 Hartlepool 1
" 'Scuse me while I kiss the sky..."
It's 2.30 PM and the crowds are streaming down Sloper Road, the car park's full, the police horses are out, and who are we playing ? Hartlepool, the dreary makeweights of Northern drudgerama, propping up the basement. By the time kickoff arrives, there are nearly 8,000 of us giving it loads as the boys in blue take to the field. The buzz is palpable, the Cardiff fans are now gagging for it, success has come so swiftly this season and everybody's going to savour every sweet moment.
The first goal goes in at four minutes past three, courtesy the tireless effervescent bald bombshell Wayne O'Sullivan. Eight minutes later and Nugent fires in a second - the crowd go berserk and it starts to look as if the anticipated cricket score may now materialise. City are playing some sublime stuff, sweeping the ball about with a class and flourish a division or two above their station. And then... they went to sleep. Complacency reigned and Hartlepool actually started to get back into the game.
Frankie's half-time teacup throwing must have done the trick, as the second half brought more of the kind of zinging ball-playing which briefly brought the crowd to their feet in the first 15 minutes. The towering Eckhardt nods in at 67 minutes, and the victory is sealed with a neat Middleton drive. The sheepskin coats in the Grandstand are moved to chant "... it's just like watching Brazil.." and for a few moments it damned well was. More ZZZs from the City back four and another clean sheet is trashed by a half nifty Hartlepool goal. This cannot, though, tarnish a huge and comprehensive victory which, coupled with Brentford's defeat at Mansfield, strengthens the Bluebirds' position at the top of the div. Roll on Yeovil and the lip-smacking return against the Bees on Jan 30.
report by Paul Davies
Brentford 1 Cardiff 0
This game was a total farce for many of the five thousand plus City fans who descended on Griffin Park. Brentford had announced in the press that they would 'accommodate' all City fans who travelled down, even though their official away stand only holds 2,800. If they'd bothered to ask any City fans or even looked at our Shrewsbury attendance, it wouldn't have taken a genius to work out that far more were going to travel down - and where exactly would all these people be 'accommodated'?
We arrived at 2.15 to find a massive queue forming and patiently waited till 3.30 before being told that the ground was 'full up'. The police (inaccurately) told us that kick off had been delayed till 3.30 (kick off was in fact 3.15) and at no point were we told that the club would be unable to accommodate us. Naturally, there was a fierce reaction from the thousands left outside and some fans managed to rush the gates while huge police reinforcements piled into the area.
urban75 spoke to the Police Match Commander who conceded that they'd received "poor information" and that they'd "underestimated" the crowd. The 'provisions' for extra visitors that Brentford had spoked about turned out to be an extra 320 seats, making a paltry total of 3,120. This is typical of the arrogant treatment that fans receive so often - many had travelled hundreds of miles for this vital game and we are investigating the legal aspects of this - surely fans must be eligible for some kind of compensation? After all, if Brentford hadn't stated that all the City fans could be accommodated, we wouldn't have all turned up.
In the end we sulked off to a nearby pub and watched the score come up on Sky. Some Brentford fans told us afterwards that we'd played brilliantly and Brentford were lucky to win.
We would have liked to have seen that for ourselves.
City 3 Shrewsbury 0 - wet, windy and wonderful!
In appalling conditions of torrential rain and howling winds, City confidently despatched Shrewsbury with an emphatic 3-0 victory, to put themselves 7 points clear at the top of the table. A bumper Boxing Day crowd of over 12,400 braved the elements (particularly those huddled on the windswept Grange End) and watched a game which occasionally threatened to turn into farce as players slid and slipped on the water-soaked surface.
The opening goal from the hard working Williams bordered on comedy as the Shrews goalie let the ball slip from his grasp and Williams poked it in from a yard out. Second half goals from Nugent and Hill sealed Shrewsbury's fate and Cardiff can feel satisfied with another important win under their belts.
We're looking good for automatic promotion. Roll on Brentford!
Cardiff 4 Mansfield 2
Another rock solid performance from the tigerish Bluebirds against a strong, mobile and zippy Mansfield side. Not being able to secure a seat at 5 to 3 in the Bob Bank augured well for the crowd figure, which topped ambitious 8,500 predictions - more than 9,000 Bluebirds fans cramming into every available corner of Fortress Ninian whilst a couple of "Stags" roamed free across the wide open spaces of the Grange End - which will, almost certainly, have to be returned to the home fans for the Boxing Day festivities against Shrewsbury.
Early Mansfield probings threatened to deflate the Xmas party atmosphere, but the Blues gradually gained control, put their foot on the ball, so to speak, and started to spray it around and create a number of chances. Two clinical John Williams strikes ( who said we'd be flying if we had a couple of decent strikers ? ) cranked up the volume, before City fell asleep and conceded two soft goals. Familiar Ninian Park wobbles of old began to kick in, but were quickly shelved by a brace of beauties from Kevin "not Ted" Nugent.
Hats off again to Wayne O'Sullivan and Mark Delaney for a couple of titanic performances - if we can keep hold of the brilliant Delaney before the end of the season it will be a minor miracle. Brentford away is almost looking like a title decider already.
One very depressing postscript - a couple of very dodgy decisions by the Asian-looking referee elicited a disgraceful round of racist chanting from a small corner of the Canton Stand - the first organised racial abuse I have heard at Ninian Park for a very long time. Needless to say, the racist scum were neither arrested nor ejected from the ground.
report by Paul Davies
9.12.98 Millwall away
Any worries that I might have had about travelling to Millwall with their fearsome reputation were quickly dispersed by the sight of several hundred mad-for-it City fans who completely out-sang, out-taunted and out-teased the rather paltry turnout of home fans for the entire game. Their excellent stadium may well have been virtually empty, but the Cardiff fans filled it with a wall of noise. Great stuff, lads. On the pitch, Cardiff started very brightly indeed, showing real control and aggression, but after conceding a 26th minute goal seemed to lose focus and let in another a few moments later. After that it became the usual scramble, and although City showed some deft skill at times, we were never going to pull a result out of this match. After the match, inappropriate hordes of riot police made sure that we all missed our last pint.
FA Cup draw
"great news on the FA Cup draw... a truly nail-biting wait for the CCFC ball to pop out of the onion bag, but a top result at the end of it. Another home tie and another opportunity to crush the non-League minnows beneath the feet of the mighty Bluebirds. And if Frank needs any motivational ploys to gee up the lads he need only replay the tape of the Yeovil captain's reaction to the draw. "...a disappointing draw... but at least it gives us a chance to progress..." Prepare to eat leaden death, o presumptious Worzel journeyman. The die has been cast, nothing less than a net-busting merciless massacre is now required to silence the West Country interlopers. Bring it on..."
5.12.98 FA Cup victory
from our urban75 correspondent in the field....
"the weather was reassuringly bone-chillingly cold for an FA Cup encounter, and the Blues engineered a smooth passage into the 3rd Round, consolidating a rocking good season so far. The away team wore yellow, the ball was yellow, but there were no banana skins on the Ninian Park pitch today (ouch!). A decent striker to add to an industrious and creative midfield and we would walk this division bigtime. as it is we can quaff a few and await the 3rd Round draw with a quiet glow...."
(Roll on Yeovil - Ed)
2.12.98 Top of the league!
It feels great doesn't it? An away win at Carlisle and that place at the top of the table is ours. In fact, I can't be arsed to write any more about it - I'm off down the pub!
31.10.98 Wet and happy
City put in a superb performance against a strong and structured Exeter to put themselves joint top of the table. A crowd of 5,500 saw an entertaining game with open play and imaginative attacking from an in-form City. Things are looking good for the rest of the season.
The urban75 team were invited up to the Executive Bar and Box at Ninian, but were promptly escorted out to the lowly Player's Bar - because we weren't wearing the regulation suit. The fact that we were there to offer free internet consultancy to help the club out on their current lamentable web offering was clearly deemed less important than the wearing of a tie...to a football match! (it should be noted that the 'executive box' consists of nothing more than a few rows of standard wooden seating. Hardly 'executive' and I'd be buggered if I'd wear decent clothes to sit there.)
This is exactly the kind of mentality that will stop Cardiff being seen as a modern progressive football club. As succesful web designers, we've authored web sites for international corporate clients who haven't given a shit about our appearance, yet when we offer CCFC our expertise free of charge, they're more interested in a piece of cloth around our necks!
Still, we are considering sponsoring a game and getting our chums to come along dressed up as '70's Men' - all kipper ties and polyester suits. Anyone interested in coming?!
9th Oct 1998:Top of the league!
OK. I'm completely pissed. But City...top of the league! Fucking fantastic!
19th Sept 1998: Four wins in a row! Huzzah!
NOTE: Yeah, I know. It's well out of date, but we're too busy working on other shit at the moment. We'll keep the results table updated and relaunch the Cardiff section soonish - probably with some more mad nonsense. Honest. Really...