Farewell to the Championship
I walked out of CCS on Saturday bidding farewell to Championship football. The next time I go back for a competetive match it will be to watch Premier League football.
After a decent game against Bolton that ended 1 - 1 Cardiff were presented with the Championship Trophy, the players did a lap of honour and the fans behaved impeccably and stayed off the pitch.
The stadium on Saturday afternoon was rocking. The atmosphere was superb. The chants were louder than ever.
Chris Kamara was the Sky reporter at the game and on Sunday when he presents 'Goals On Sunday' on Sky the first thing he did was praise the atmosphere is the ground.
These are just some of my random thoughts from the day. I'm not making a point or looking for controversy, just saying how I felt and what I saw on Saturday.
I think the pyrotechnics guy charged with setting the firworks off when the trophy was presented must have been the same guy who organised the damp squib that was the Ninian Park farewell. Only after the trophy was awarded did the first confetti bomb exploded into life and the players were half way around the pitch on their lap of honour as the remaining explosions were coaxed into going off.
Just before that the first 'special guests' anouced were Vincent Tan and Steve Borley. They walked onto the pitch to a chorus of 'we'll always be blue'. The cheers were saved, and deservedly so, for Malky and the players.
Seeing all the red around the place did take some of the gloss of what has been a remarkable season but I've learned to see past that now and I take my own positives from the situation. As someone who still gets excited looking at league tables, going to games home and away and feeling just a little emotional as the trophy was lifted then I must have accepted the changes but I still reserve the right not to like them.
The Canton Stand has a live band most home games to entertain the fans before kick off. On Saturday it was a local band called 4th Street Traffic.
As the crowds left the stadium they were back on stage and belting out 'Hey Jude' to a partying group of supporters and fair play the atmosphere was excellent as the fans joined in with the la la la bit. See video below
Having a couple of pints after the game the TV's in the pub were showing Sky Sports News and there were loud cheers everything the trophy presentation was replayed.
It's funny that we have drawn the last four games and still won the league at a canter. The chasing teams have been so incosistent that they have not been able to dislodge us from top spot since we took it over on November 24th.
Despite seemingly stuttering along we have still finished with the highest points total from all three divisions. The last 12 games have seen just three victories yet we still maintained a steady gap over the chasing teams.
Our points total (86 with one game to play) stands up to the teams promoted over the last few years. The only exception being Newcastle.
2012: Reading 89pts2011: QPR 88 pts2010: Newcastle 102pts2009: Wolves 90pts2008: West Brom 81pts2007: Sunderland 88pts
As the majority of the crowds left the stadium area on Saturday the Player of the Year party started at CCS. I didn't go this year, didn't present an award either. I felt that would have been hypocritical after the group of people who the presenation represented decided not to sponsor this season as they objected to the shirt change. Instead we made a donation to charity.
Not being at the awards dinner meant I missed Vincent Tan's speech, but thanks to YouTube it's below for all to hear. Move over Eric Cantona.
I've longed for automatic promotion. To avoid the gut wrenching play offs and to be able to chill out as others are fraught.
What is nice is being able to actually enjoy all the other play offs, finals etc knowing that our success is in the bag. It's going to be a strange summer as well. More exposure, speculating over a higher class of player and of course the build up to a season that will see a South Wales derby at the highest level (unless we both get to Champions League), fixtures v Man Utd, Man City, Arsenal etc. Match of the Day, Super Sunday's and not playing in the League Cup 1st round.
There's still one piece of unfinished business. That's Hull v Cardiff this Saturday. Party time for Cardiff fans. Either jubilation or despair for Hull fans. It's live on Sky for those who are not going. I'll be there at Hull. I planned it ages ago and it'll be my last live football for a few months.
And then the build up to the new season begins. Fixtures are out mid June and the season kicks off mid August.
Source: Cardiff City Online
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