Ins, outs, too many lows, not enough highs... your verdict on a disastrous campaign for Cardiff City.
The side under-achieved terribly, fans voted with their feet by not going to games and 20 per cent of those taking part in our survey reckon the final whistle being blown was the biggest highlight!
But there was one stand-out which brought the smiles back to the faces... Vincent Tan's decision to revert the team back to blue.
The day it happened, the home match versus Fulham saw Cardiff City Stadium rocking again. And the Bluebirds won. No wonder it was dubbed your overwhelming highlight of 2014-15. THE RESULT: Solskjaer's exit: 4% Ole's high-profile pre-season captures: 4.5% The return to blue: 68% Slade's early winning run: 3.5% The final whistle: 20% AND THE LOW POINT? Where to start with this one? Mats Daehli, one of the most gifted Bluebirds players of recent times, being permitted to leave, the top scorer going to Bournemouth on loan, other costcutting mid season.
But your vote for the lowest point of a campaign of lows was the abject failure to push for promotion (39%) followed by the under-whelming appointment of Russell Slade as manager (34%). THE RESULT: Failure to push for promotion: 39% The sale of Mats Daehli: 13% Slade's appointment: 34% Mid-season cost-cutting: 9% Ben Turner's injury 2% Kenwyne Jones going to Bournemouth: 3% WHO WAS THE BETTER MANAGER? Many fans will reckon we should have put a third category in here saying 'None of them'.
But it was an interesting exercise anyway and one which showed Slade poll almost double the vote of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer when it came to a head to head between those two. THE RESULT: Solskjaer: 29% Slade: 58% Young/Gabbidon: 13% WAS TAN RIGHT TO PART WITH SOLSKJAER? Some Cardiff fans reckon Solskjaer left too early, the Norwegian departing just seven matches into the season after a 1-0 home loss to Middlesbrough. At the time, Cardiff were level on points with Bournemouth, who went on to win the League.
Would Solskjaer, given time, have turned around the Bluebirds' fortunes? We'll never know, but the overwhelming response in our poll was that Vincent Tan was right to dispense with Solskjaer's services.
THE RESULT: Yes: 83% No: 17% WHAT WAS THE BEST PERFORMANCE? There weren't many standout matches during a season when the football didn't thrill. The two that you enjoyed more than most were predictably wins... a 2-1 triumph away to play-off contenders Brentford just shading a 2-1 home win over Nottingham Forest as the best.
THE RESULT: Cardiff 1 Wigan 0: 3% Cardiff 3 Huddersfield 1: 18% Watford 0 Cardiff 1: 17% Cardiff 2 Nottm For 1: 26% Cardiff 1 Blackburn 1: 6% Brentford 1 Cardiff 2: 30% AND THE WORST? Sadly, during the campaign just gone it was almost easier to remember that losses or the 0-0 score bores.
Almost half of you voted the 3-0 home defeat to Neil Lennon's Bolton as the worst Bluebirds performance, an Easter Monday afternoon when thousands began streaming away from Cardiff City Stadium by the 73rd minute as the Trotters soared into their unassailable lead.
THE RESULT: Cardiff 0 Middlesborough 1: 2% Blackpool 1 Cardiff 0: 21% Cardiff 0 Rotherham 0: 7% Cardiff 2 Watford 4: 12% Cardiff 2 Brentford 3: 3% Cardiff 0 Brighton 0: 6% Cardiff 0 Bolton 3: 49% WHERE DID YOU EXPECT CITY TO FINISH? If anything underlines the sense of under-achievement most, then this is it.
The season kicked off with high hopes among the fans last August, with 74% expecting the Bluebirds to finish in the top six and challenge properly for the Premier League.
A further 15% reckoned top 10... so finishing 11th was not what the doctor ordered.
THE RESULT: Top two: 17% Play-offs: 57% Top 10: 15% Bottom half: 8% Relegated: 3% WHO WAS PLAYER OF THE SEASON? One of the most overwhelming categories, with defensive colossus Bruno Manga netting fourth-fifths of the vote as the stand-out player of the campaign.
Without his towering defending, perhaps Cardiff's already poor season would have been even worse.
David Marshall and the strangely under-used Fabio, who started in style and finished well, also netted votes.
THE RESULT: Bruno Manga: 79% David Marshall: 8% Fabio: 7% Sean Morrison: 3% Peter Whittingham: 3% WHO WAS SOLSKJAER'S BEST SIGNING? Anthony Pilkington arrived with high hopes as a PS1m capture from Norwich during August. And although his season was ruined by injury, he still showed enough at the start and towards the end to win this category, with centre-back capture Sean Morrison the next best.
Pilkington showed an appetite for hard work which, accompanied by his undoubted technical ability, offers hope for the Bluebirds moving into next season.
Morrison will have to battle it out with Bruno Manga and a fit again Ben Turner for the two centre-back berths, with Matt Connolly also coming into the equation.
THE RESULT: Federico Macheda: 5% Adam Le Fondre: 7% Guido Burgstaller: 1% Anthony Pilkington: 44% Kagisho Dikgacoi: 1% Sean Morrison: 28% Tom Adeyemi: 6% Ravel Morrison: 5% Javi Guerra: 3% AND WHO WAS SLADE'S BEST? Slade reckons Cardiff weren't shopping at Harrods any more when he took over the transfer purse strings and was true to his word as he moved for players from Rotherham, Millwall and Huddersfield.
But it was his capture of young Matt Kennedy from Everton which you applauded most, more than half of you dubbing the tricky winger who joined for an undisclosed fee in February as Slade's top capture.
Kennedy wowed the fans with the directness and flair he brought to a mis-firing Cardiff team. Eoin Doyle, who joined from Chesterfield, also netted a substantial proportion of the vote. THE RESULT: Alex Revell: 2.5% Scott Malone: 2% Lee Peltier: 12% Stuart O'Keefe: 2% Matt Kennedy: 51% Eoin Doyle: 30.5% WHO DISAPPOINTED THE MOST? Take your pick. Some many new Bluebirds joined the club, under Solskjaer and Slade, yet failed to set the world on fire.
Remember Ravel Morrison anyone, the flier who came here from the Premier League, looked brilliant in patches, but then disappeared off the radar? Federico Macheda came here with a Manchester United background, there were high hopes of South African star Kagisho Dikgacoi who was just never fit. But the biggest disappointment of the lot, you reckon, was Adam Le Fondre. Stuck out on the wing to begin with by Solskjaer, Le Fondre then enthused about the little and large partnership Slade was letting him form with Kenwyne Jones.
But despite being one of Slade's first picks, Le Fondre just did not score goals and was loaned out to Bolton... where he promptly started scoring!
THE RESULT: Federico Macheda: 19% Adam Le Fondre: 39% Guido Burgstaller: 4% Kagisho Dikgacoi: 10% Sean Morrison: 2% Tom Adeyemi: 2% Ravel Morrison: 7% Javi Guerrra: 6% Alex Revell: 4% Scott Malone: 3% Stuart O'Keefe: 2% Others: 2% WHICH PLAYER WOULD YOU LEAST LIKE TO SEE SOLD? Given he was your choice as player of the year, perhaps it's predictable you don't want to see Bruno Manga sold. Almost half of you voted for Manga as the player you want to see leave the least, followed by skipper David Marshall (25%).
Manga will attract summer interest, so will the Bluebirds choose to cash in? THE RESULT: Bruno Manga: 48% David Marshall: 25% Peter Whittingham: 10% Kenwyne Jones: 5% Craig Noone: 5% Fabio: 7% OF THE LOANEES, WHO WOULD YOU LIKE BACK THE MOST? Fascinating answer to this one, because the first instinct would be to go for the goals of either Kenwyne Jones or Adam Le Fondre? But it's actually Matt Connolly who won this part of the poll, followed by forgotten man and fellow defender Declan John.
Connolly went on loan to Watford where he proved, yet again, to be a lucky promotion charm in helping the team into the Premier League. Cardiff fans reckon Connolly rarely played poorly, when given his opportunities. John was with Barnsley after his struggles at Premier League level, but like Connolly he is scheduled to should play for the Bluebirds again next season when he will hope the manager gives youth a chance.
THE RESULT: Adam Le Fondre: 16% Matt Connolly: 33% Kenwyne Jones: 17% Kevin McNaughton: 11% Declan John: 23% SLADE SAYS THE FOOTBALL IS NOT BORING. IS HE RIGHT? The most overwhelming vote of the lot. Cardiff's manager stated before the final match that he didn't agree with the claims the football being adopted under him was boring.
The fans clearly disagree, with well over 90% stating it IS boring.
Six per cent agree with Slade, though, reckoning the football has been entertaining.
THE RESULT: No, it's boring: 94% Yes, it's entertaining: 6% WHAT MARK DOES SLADE DESERVE (out of 10) Another question the manager himself addressed ahead of the Nottingham Forest clash on the last day. The former schoolteacher reckoned he was a five out of 10, with the prospect of a six if his side beat Forest. Which they did.
Most respondents reckon he was a three to four. In fact, 67% put Slade between one to four, with 32% agreeing with his assertion of a five or six.
THE RESULT: One to two: 22% Three to four: 43% Five to six: 32% Seven to eight: 2% Nine to 10: 1% SHOULD TAN STICK WITH SLADE FOR NEXT SEASON? The big question... and no is the result of this vote.
Slade is aware many fans are against him, they've chanted 'Slade Out' and 'You don't know what you're doing' at games. As for this poll, 67% of participants reckon VINCENT Tan should act and make a managerial change. Those supportive of Slade will point to the cost-cutting he has had to undertake and argue he deserves the chance to at least start in charge next season... although the manager himself will know he would have to hit the ground running with positive results.
THE RESULT: Yes: 33% No: 67% WHO WOULD BE THE BEST ALTERNATIVE? The other question those more supportive of Slade ask is'Would you trust Vincent Tan to replace him with the right man anyway?' Given Slade was Tan's appointment, the cynicism is out there.
However, there are candidates and your first pick appears to be Mark Warburton, the man who has guided Brentford into the play-offs but who will be leaving his job soon.
Warburton has proven adept at achieving success on a shoestring. Second in the vote was Bluebirds fan's idol Craig Bellamy, who is keen to move into management, with Nigel Adkins and Neil Warnock also netting votes. As do three other former Bluebirds, Jimmy Floyd-Hassellbaink, Brian McDermott and Graham Kavanagh.
THE RESULT: Craig Bellamy: 16% Jimmy Floyd-Hasselbaink: 9% Mark Warburton: 37% Neil Warnock: 11% Nigel Adkins: 12% Brian McDermott: 5% Gus Poyet: 7% Graham Kavanagh: 3% WHO DO YOU BLAME MOST FOR SEASON OF UNDER-ACHIEVEMENT? A split vote this one, with interestingly Slade emerging as the best. Vincent Tan takes most of the blame, you reckon, with the players also not escaping scot-free.
THE RESULT: Russell Slade: 17% Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: 23% Vincent Tan: 32.5% The players: 27.5% WHERE WILL CITY FINISH NEXT SEASON? So what happens next? Worryingly, only two per cent of you reckon Cardiff will be promoted back to the Premier League during 2015-16, with a greater number reckoning they'll be falling further into League One.
The majority reckon a top half finish in on the cards.
THE RESULT: Top two: 2% Play-offs: 27% Top half: 42% Bottom half: 23% Relegated: 6% WHAT WILL THE AVERAGE HOME ATTENDANCE BE? Another interesting question, given how poorly sales of season tickets are reported to have gone.
The result speaks for itself: THE RESULT: Under 10,000: 16% 10,000 to 15,000: 58% 15,000 to 20,000: 23% 20,000-plus: 3% WILL VINCENT TAN STILL BE THERE NEXT MAY? Come what may, you reckon Cardiff's owner will still be at the helm this time next year.
Will it be in charge of a Skybet Championship club, or will the purse strings have been released and Tan is preparing the club for another crack at the Premier League? THE RESULT: Yes: 85% No: 15%
| The return to traditional blue colours was |one of the few high points for Cardiff City fans in an otherwise depressing season
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|Publication:||South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)|
|Date:||May 13, 2015|
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