Can Cardiff Match Rivals Swansea?

 

Supporters of Cardiff City will remember the date of Tuesday 16th April 2013 for the rest of their lives. Why? It is the date they eventually brushed aside their 'nearly' tag, or chokers tag if you like, and finally reached the promised land of The Barclays Premiership. I guess it was written in the stars they'd finally win promotion this year because it is the fourth decade in a row when the year has ended in a three that they have been promoted! Check it out if you don't believe me it's true. But the question is can they stay there, or are they destined to drop straight back into Championship and remain in the shadow of neighbours and arch rivals Swansea City for the foreseeable future?

It was in 1962 that Cardiff City were last in top flight of English football and in the 51 years that have followed there has not been a great deal to shout about. Yes there were a few forays into Europe and the old Cup winners Cup, via The Welsh Cup of course, where the likes of Real Madrid were beaten 1-0 at Ninian Park in 1971, and German side Hamburg were nearly beaten in the semi-finals of the same competition in 1968. Wins in the FA Cup against Premier League side Manchester City in 1994, when Cardiff were in the basement division, and a win against the then leaders of the Premier League, Leeds United, in 2002 are days that live long in the memory of 'Bluebirds' everywhere. In recent times they have reached the finals of both domestic cup competitions in England too, but on both occasions they were beaten and left as the perennial runners-up once again.

As for their league exploits their supporters have had the odd promotion to celebrate, but that was soon followed by relegation, and in 1996 they suffered their worst ever season in The Football League eventually finishing 22nd  in Division Three as it was called then. In 2001 they got promotion and two years later they got promoted again and have remained in The Championship, until now. Cardiff have now finally fulfilled their dreams of reaching the best league in the world, but can they stay there?

They are already reportedly £80million in debt. Not a good start to life in the top division is it? But owner; Malaysian businessman Vincent Tan has promised there will be money for manager Malky Mackay to spend in the summer. I guess it depends on how much money there is to spend, and how good the scouting network is at Cardiff, because as we all know the transfer fees of any players they are now interested in will be significantly increased thanks to their promotion. I wonder if they could find another Michu!

If they get off to a poor start will the clubs owners stick with the manager or will they follow the lead of QPR, Southampton and Reading and sack their manager? I have never understood why managers who are good enough one season get the push a few months later. Neil Warnock was doing an OK job at QPR when he got sacked last season and look at them now! Nigel Adkins at Southampton, well don't even go there because his sacking was just shocking, despite Mauricio Pochettino having virtually secured The Saints their position in the top flight. As for Brian McDermott at Reading that is another poor decision in my opinion, but what do I know.

What will be a good season for Cardiff next year? The double over Swansea and a final league placing of 17th would be considered a great success would it not and one that Bluebirds everywhere would take right now, or are they looking for more? Arch rivals Swansea have surpassed all expectations, finishing 11th last season and they are on course to better that finish this season as they are currently 9th. On top of that they have also won The Capital One Cup and with that entry into the Europa League, who knows there could be more success to follow just down the M4.

Only time will tell what lies ahead for Cardiff City, but one thing is guaranteed next season their supporters will be 'Doing The Ayatollah' at some of the finest stadiums in Europe, including The Liberty Stadium in Swansea, as well as welcoming some of the finest teams in Europe to theirs. The club as a whole will be enjoying the moment of being in The Premier League for one season at least, but for what it’s worth I hope they do stay in the top flight at least beyond next season because after the last few seasons and their near misses their supporters most certainly deserve it. The planning has already started; their supporters will be hoping that planning is for a long term stay and not just for next season.          

 

Image Credits: BBC Sport

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