With Apologies to Chuck Palahniuk: The Worst decision Nottingham Forest ever made

“Shite Club”

“This is it – League One. Would you like to say a few words to mark the occasion?”
“…i… ann… iinn… ff… nnyin…”

With your head in your hands, you speak only in vowels.

And suddenly I realise that all of this: the playoff heartbreakers, the Platt era, the relegations…has got something to do with a striker named Kevin Campbell.

Summer 1998, the Reds have swept back into the Premiership at the first time of asking, amassing 94 points on the way to being crowned champions. Spearheaded by a formidable front-line of Pierre van Hooijdonk and Kevin Campbell, the squad looked as if it might have the strength to hold it’s own in the top flight, especially considering that the gap between the two divisions wasn’t quite the yawning chasm it seems to have become in recent years.

Van Hooijdonk was the undoubted star, for a large part of the season he’d looked like he might break Wally Ardron’s record of 36 goals in a single season in the Garibaldi, while Campbell’s bustling pace and selfless workrate provided both the perfect foil for the languid Dutchman and 23 goals at a highly respectable rate of one game every two games.

Then, in the space of a few balmy July days, Forest’s season fell apart before it had even begun.

On a long enough timeline, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero.

First came Campbell’s shock move to Turkish side Trabzonspor, followed by van Hooijdonk’s astonishing decision to refuse to play for the club, citing a lack of ambition of Trentside. The third blow came a few weeks before the beginning of the season when club captain Colin Cooper was sold to Middlesbrough, with Dave Bassett citing a “gentleman’s agreement” with Cooper that he would allow him to move back to his native north-east if an acceptable offer were to come Forest’s way.

Now some context is important here. When Carlos Tevez’s elected to down tools while at Manchester City, the Blues were able to dip into their vast resources and buy Sergio Aguero, without ever having to sell Tevez. Then when the want-away striker decided to call off his self-imposed exile, they had two world-class players at their disposal. The best Forest could hope for was a quick sale, but when one wasn’t forthcoming, Bassett managed to scrape together £1.5 million to sign Neil Shipperley from Crystal Palace. Shipps was as honest as the day is long, but he was no Sergio Aguero. Hell, he wasn’t even Sergio Tacchini.

You lose at White Hart Lane, Filbert Street, Stamford Bridge. This is your season and it’s ending. One game at a time.

A win over Southampton in late August briefly put the Reds second, but the early season optimism was soon to fade thanks to a run of just two points in six matches. Jon Olav Hjelde, the man tasked with replacing Colin Cooper at the heart of the defence issued the first rallying cry of the season, promising to keep Michael Owen under lock and key at Anfield in late October. Forest were thrashed 5-1, Owen was the tormentor in chief, scoring four.

Van Hooijdonk had returned, four months after his one-man protest had failed to earn him the move he craved. His goal against Derby went some way to restoring his former standing in the eyes of the fans, but a needless red card against Leicester spoke volumes for his state of mind. Twice the Reds squandered two goal leads at home, while their away form continued to be wretched, taking just one point from eight games on the road after that win at The Dell. Clean sheets were a big problem, just two in 18 games when the midway point of the season rolled around. Scoring goals was proving tricky too, as the Reds bore all the hallmarks of a side on their way out of the top flight.

Deja vu – all over again.

Defeat at home to Portsmouth sealed Dave Bassett’s fate. Just shy of seven months to the day when he had basked in the promotion glow at the Hawthorns, he was sacked. Micky Adams spell as caretaker last one dreadful afternoon at Highfield Road, ripped to shreds by a Darren Huckerby inspired Coventry City.

We have just lost cabin pressure.

Enter Big Ron.

He stepped into the wrong dugout ahead of his first game against Arsenal, but did finally manage to steer the Tricky Trees to a victory, a 1-0 false dawn at Goodison Park in late January. It was the first win in 20 (twenty) league games. It was immediately followed up by a spectacular home thrashing by Manchester United, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer netting four times in a crazy twenty-minute spell that would’ve embarrassed a side playing Sunday League football on Forest Fields, let alone Forest themselves.

Meanwhile Kevin Campbell was back. After being subjected to appalling abuse from the chairman of Trabzonspor, he joined Everton on loan. He would’ve made a difference for Forest. He did for Everton. Nine goals in the last six games of the season steered the Toffees to safety.

It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we are free to do anything

The inevitable was finally confirmed at Villa Park in late April. Freed from the spectre of the drop hanging over them, Big Ron’s bunch of ragtag signings, loanees, forgotten men and free transfers saw off Sheffield Wednesday, dragged Blackburn into the mire and beat Leicester. Big Ron departed, David Platt came in to fire Forest back to the big time. That’s one for another day.

If only we hadn’t sold Kevin Campbell.

Be sure to follow @nowthenyoungman


The clown Jewell: the worst decision Derby County ever made

When you are facing a crisis in football, you need a steady hand to guide you through the choppy waters. When Derby sacked Billy Davies they adopted a different approach as debut blogger Matt Tweddle discusses.
I’m sure you’ll agree that this is a brilliant first blog and I hope it’s the first of many more to come.

Once my interest was aroused by the chance to express my views surrounding ‘the worst decision my club has ever made’, many instances of past buffoonery circulated the murky waters of my cynical head. Let’s be painfully honest, as a lifelong Derby County fan there’s plenty of these moments of ‘enlightenment’ to choose from.

Now, most fans who know their football history and any Derby County fan worth their salt will pinpoint the answer to this question to that fateful day on 15th October 1973. The day Sam Longson accepted the late great Brian Clough and Peter Taylor’s (if somewhat bluffed) resignations. Without question THE biggest mistake Derby County Football Club have ever made and will remain so until the end of time. We all know the heroics Clough went on to perform at our dear and beloved neighbours Nottingham Forest down the now aptly named Brian Clough Way (*shakes fist).

I wasn’t born until 1980 so unlike my father, never felt the real ramifications and downright devastation that this brought upon our working-class, provincial footballing town, although I am reminded on a regular basis by fans of ‘them down the road’ and their two ‘poxy’ European Cups. Oh how they love to cling on to former glories, anyway, I’m digressing.

I will therefore base my decision on more recent calamities. After a very successful if somewhat surprisingly dull season resulted in (let’s be honest) a lucky play-off final victory against West Bromich Albion eventually catapulting The Rams into ‘the promised land’ (god I hate that metaphor), a spectacularly disastrous foray into Premier League life unfolded under Billy Davies. Millions upon millions of pounds were wasted to fund transfer fees and wages on terribly average players clearly not up to the job of turning Derby into anything barely resembling a half decent football team; Claude Davis, Robert Earnshaw and Kenny Miller painfully spring to mind at a mind blowing outlay of nearly £9 million. Yes, no need to rub your eyes, I said NINE MILLION POUNDS. Billy Davies was inevitably sacked after falling out with practically every breathing entity in Derby and so the job of turning the club around was to be bestowed to another.

So, the burning question on everyone’s lips was which inspirational tactician would be tasked with bringing in the much needed quality we so desperately needed without wasting further millions? Who was to be the laudable phoenix to bring the club from the flames of relegation? Our Saviour? Our Messiah? Enter Paul Jewell… Worst. Decision. Ever.

Jewell managed to instill a lack of confidence, belief and team spirit that will, in my opinion, never be surpassed. The damage he did to our club both on and off the pitch can never be underestimated and is only now beginning to be scooped off the pavement and deposited in the dog waste bin by Clough Jnr some five years later.

The Robbie Savage saga eptiomised the mind-blowing unprofessionalism and ‘boom or bust’ nature of his (mis)management. Savage, already a figure of extreme hate with Derby County fans after an outrageous last minute dive to win a penalty and three points for Leicester during a previous meeting at Pride Park was brought in for £1.5 million and immediately installed as captain, a bit of a slap in the face to the players already at the club. At 33 he was no spring chicken, more headless chicken and given a handsome 2 year contract to boot. The events that followed and indeed his shocking treatment by Paul Jewell led to Savage admitting in his autobiography that he considered self-harming; “I was planning to take the car out and smash it into a tree. Or go out and bang my head into a wall again and again. Just ending all the pain.” After losing patience with Savage’s below par performances on the pitch, Jewell’s method of motivating and refocusing an already fragile Savage was to freeze him out of the club completely. Initially making him train with the kids then banning him from the stadium altogether. This was all happening after relegation from the Premier League of course with a record low total of 11 points, whilst Savage was still earning an incredible £23,000 a week. After unsuccessfully attempting to ship him out on loan Savage was even asked to contact Ant and Dec (whom he was friends with) to enquire if he could secure a place on the popular reality TV show I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! Robbie Savage was costing the club a fortune, a situation all of Jewell’s own doing.

All in all, appalling man management and a complete failure to take responsibility of his own failings.
Jewell amassed an incredible total of 24 signings during his spell of just over a year at Derby. A quick look back at the quality of players that he brought into the club for the Premier League relegation fight is alarming to say the least. Laurent Robert, clearly past his peak at the age of 32 was brought in and failed spectacularly, not exactly the type of guy to get you out of a relegation scrap. Similarly, Hossam Ghaly was also brought to the club shortly after showing his manager and fans terrible disrespect by throwing his Spurs shirt to the ground after being substituted during a Tottenham game, another Paul Jewell masterstroke. Other world beaters arrived in the form of striker Emanuel Villa (who?) costing £2 million with a return of 3 goals in 17 games, Gary Teale, Roy Carroll, and two completely unknown Australians Mile Sterjovski and Rueben Zadkovic also came through the revolving door. It’s no wonder we were record breakingly bad.

After embarrassing relegation from the Premier League made us a laughing stock, life in the second tier of English football was just as bad. More incredibly bad signings on silly wages followed after many of Jewell’s others were shipped out, the likes of Paul Connelly (handed the captains armband after Savage’s banishment), Jordan Stewart (later traded for the even more dire Lee Hendrie), Andres Pereplotkins and Przemysław Kaźmierczak were truly, truly awful, I say this from first-hand experience. More money was wasted on the likes of Liam Dickinson (who already had a reputation as bad apple) at £750,000 who unsurprisingly had such an attitude problem he didn’t make a single appearance for the club. A further £1 million was spent on injury-plagued Luke Varney and a literally unbelievable seven figure loan sum for Nathan Ellington who recorded a quite shocking return of 3 goals in 27 games. Truly mind-blowingly levels of utter shitness. It’s no surprise that it took Paul Jewell TEN MONTHS to secure his first league win for The Rams.
So bad was the situation at Derby under Jewell it proved all too much for right back Tyrone Mears. So desperate to leave the club he proceeded to climb through a window and crawl past Paul Jewell’s office in an attempt to avoid detection and collect his boots before jumping on a plane to join Marseille. Needless to say he never played for the club again. You just couldn’t make it up. To be honest I can’t say I blame him. Sacre Bleu.

Not content with destroying the club’s reputation on the pitch, Jewell went one step further. News broke in the tabloid press of a sex tape filming pervy Paul in an hour long ‘bondage romp’ with a young blonde. Now, this I might expect from a young, naive player finding his way in the world, but from a married 41 year old father of 2 that looks like a sack of spanners it is quite frankly disgusting, Paul Jewell is bad enough to look at with his clothes on so why anyone thought it fit to record this monstrosity on film is beyond me. I imagine the blonde in question, like all Rams fans, felt disappointed, let down and ultimately unfulfilled by Jewell’s performance. Again, you just couldn’t make it up.

Most involved in football would describe Paul Jewell as your typical modern day ‘merry-go-round’ manager but to me his managerial exploits represent an altogether different fairground experience more akin to that of the old waltzer; a dodgy, run down, expensive, nausea inducing ride that makes you vomit at the very thought of his disgraceful, bumbling tenure not just at Derby County but other clubs that had the misfortune to be exposed to his ‘if the going gets tough, sign more players’ attitude. Scream if you want to go (down) faster…

Appointing Paul Jewell and his pay now worry later attitude is without doubt the worst decision my club has ever made (during my lifetime). Stumbling from one catastrophe to another is his forte. Thankfully we’ve had the direct riposte in Nigel Clough to clear up the mess. Derby County will probably never shake off the tag of ‘worst club in history’. I like to think that Paul Jewell will never ever shake off the tag of ‘turnip-headed, money wasting sex pest’. Thanks for the memories Paul.

Be sure to follow Matt on twitter @tweddytwedds

The brothers grim: the worst decision ever made by Birmingham City

As football fans we tend to focus on the present day. This leads to an ignorance of mistakes of the past & a failure to appreciate that things have almost certainly been worse. So despite Carson Yeung’s current tenure being endured by long suffering Birmingham fans, Brad Smith argues that’s it’s been worse.

After two relegations in four years, Birmingham City were a club on their knees. They had spent 12 of the previous 14 years in the top flight, and now found themselves languishing in the Third Division, and were recording their worst league finishes in their 110 year history.
Ask any Birmingham City fan the same question, and you will no doubt get the same response. When attendances were down to around 6,000, and Ken Wheldon sold the club to the Kumar brothers, the second-city team embarked on the worst four years in their proud history.
When you mention the Kumars to most people, you’ll no doubt get a chuckle as they remember the seven series comedy shown on the BBC. Not Birmingham City fans though.
Rival fans got to watch their own comedy 10 years previous to that, as promises failed, the new owners went bust, and the club was on the brink of bankruptcy.
The footballing world knew Birmingham as a top-division club, and after a 7th placed finish in Division 3, they were touted to go up the following year. However, the season was one that at a stage was a fight to stay in the Division, and lack of investment from the new owners led to protests from what was left of the St.Andrews crowd, and eventually the resignation of manager Dave Mackey.
Lou Macari took the reins, and steered the Midlands side to a Leyland DAF final victory over Tranmere, which was little consolation to the fans, who still couldn’t understand how they were in this division. Following this win, Macari upped sticks and went to Stoke City, and Terry Cooper was left with the task of promotion, with little to no funds from the board.
The problems were now filtering down to the players, several refused to renew contracts, and few could see what would come of the next few seasons. The ground was falling apart, and after a boy was killed during the 85/86 season, nothing had been done by the current owners, leaving the ground to spiral into the worst conditions it had ever been.
Luckily, that 91/92 season ended with promotion, but with no thanks to the board, who were increasingly running out of money. Signings were made via money raised from supporters, and Cooper was now at loggerheads with the board, demanding funds to keep the club together, and to make urgent signings to keep the club in the division.
November 1992 will forever be a month etched in the minds of City fans, as the Kumars businesses were put into receivership, and after months of fans wanting them to sell, their majority stake in the club was put up for sale.
With the team dropping fast, administration continued for four months, before the saviours of the Gold brothers and David Sullivan took over, steering the club to safety that season by just two points, and although relegation came the year after, the clubs finances had steadied, while the next 10 years saw them turn the ground into a Premier League stadium, and into a top division club again.
Many fans are unhappy at the current regime at the helm of Birmingham City, but a look back 20 years quickly reminds us, that we were potentially months away from not having a club at all.

Make sure you follow Brad on twitter @BrummieBrad

The worst decision Olympique de Marseille ever made: or from heroes of all France, to villains of Europe, for nothing

Although we’re only in the early stages of this ‘worst decisions’ series every post has taught me a story about football that I didn’t already know.
This excellent post from Marco Jackson is the worst decision Marseille ever made. It’s the story of how the team who won the first Champions League had Tony Cascarino playing for them only 2 years later. I urge you to read this.

In May 1993, Olympique de Marseille won the European Cup. OM became
the first and remain the only French team to lift the trophy.

In May 1995, Olympique de Marseille won Ligue 2, but were denied
promotion back to the top flight of French football. The team have won
only one French League title since.

It would be wrong to say something between the two events had gone
wrong, because it turned out that Marseille made their biggest mistake
a matter of days before that European Cup Final.

From a personal point of view, the saddest thing about the whole saga
is that it didn’t need to happen. Marseille would, most likely, have
gone to Valenciennes and won. To be found out, some months afterwards,
in that the game immediately before the biggest game in the club’s
history was fixed tarnished everything, tarnished what should have
stood alone as the greatest achievement in French club football bar

Bernard Tapie, the Marseille chairman, was a flamboyant man, and he
had a dream. He wanted Marseille to win the (first ever) Champions
League. He also wanted them to win Ligue 1, the weekend afterwards –
against the perennial enemy Paris Saint Germain. To that end, Tapie
thought, if I could persuade some of the Valenciennes players involved
in the match beforehand to ‘take their foot off the gas’ (lovely
terminology, isn’t it?), everything should fall into place.

As it was, Tapie got Jean-Jacques Eydelie to offer a bribe to Jorge
Burrachaga, Christophe Robert and Jacques Glassman – rumoured to be
around F250,000. Marseille ended up winning the game 1-0 (Alen Boksić
scored) and OM went to Munich to face Milan with Tapie’s dream intact.

Of course, they won the final. Basile Boli scored the winner, and the
squad wrote their names large in the history books. Of course, they
beat Paris Saint Germain, and clinched the Ligue 1 title (their fifth
in a row), and wrote their names large in the history books.

The story was out by the end of the next season, the fifth title was
stripped from the club, and Marseille were relegated to Ligue 2. The
Champions League title remained (the match in question was not in that
competition, went the argument) with the club, but was immeasurably
tarnished by the affair.

So, two years after the greatest night in their history, Marseille
were playing Ligue 2 football, Tony Cascarino top-scoring in a
division they won, but found themselves denied promotion to the top
flight. All for the sake of a match against Valenciennes, a team who
ended up relegated to Ligue 2 anyway.

Bernard Tapie, at some point, thought that the glory that came to the
team was worth running the risk of the shame that eventually enveloped
them. He was wrong.

He had built a glorious, glorious team (Barthez – Angloma, Di Meco,
Boli, Desailly – Sauzee, Deschamps, Eydelie – Boksić, Pele, Völler)
but they’re a team that are disgraced today.

And that’s the worst decision Marseille ever made.

One flew over the Owl’s nest: the worst decision Sheffield Wednesday ever made

After a difficult last decade it’s very easy to forget just how big Sheffield Wednesday are as a club, and at the beginning of the Premier League era it seemed as if they might be on the cusp of something huge. However, could asking an all time great to play one trial match too many be the very worst decision they ever made? Close friend, lecturer, computer genius and big Owls fan Richard Askew tells one of the biggest ‘what could have been’ stories of all time.

Being a Sheffield Wednesday fan, it is difficult to pick the “Worst decision my club has ever made” due to the sheer number of potential incidents that cajole for top billing. I could have gone with the treatment of Di Canio following his push on referee Paul Allcock, the attempted suing of fans on a forum or missing out on Darko Kovačević, Jaap Stam and all of the others. There is probably one decision that not only benefitted our rivals but instils the feeling that every football fan has over their lifetime of what could have been – asking Eric Cantona to play on grass.

Picture the scene, in 1991 Sheffield Wednesday, then of the second division, had beaten First Division giants Manchester United to win the League Cup. That very same year they had gone on to be promoted to the promised land of the First Division. In 1992 a highly respected, Frenchman with an *ahem* explosive reputation arrived at Hillsborough to begin a one week trial at Sheffield Wednesday.

Within that week Cantona played in an indoor friendly game which Wednesday won 4-3, Cantona himself scoring a hat-trick in the process. After the weeks trial was up Trevor Francis, the manager at the time, instead of giving him a deal asked him to sign for another weeks trial so he could see him play on grass. Considering the fact that Cantona wasn’t an unknown, he had played over two-hundred times in France, this does seem an odd request. Cantona turned down the offer and famously moved to Leeds shortly after.

Now I know this is the nature of football, “so you missed out on a player, no big deal, happens all the time”’ you may say, and you have the right to but with hindsight, that most wonderful of things you should consider what happened next.

Leeds went on to win the league and Charity Shield with Eric Cantona-less (pretty sure that’s a word) Sheffield Wednesday not too far off the pace in 3rd place. Fast forward another year to 1993 and Sheffield Wednesday famously got to two cup finals and lost them both. This for many fans is when the rot started to set in, many believe that with a strike force of Hirst and Cantona those cups would have been won and we could be where Manchester United are now. Following the cup finals we chased the dream trying to rediscover those heights but never made it. Overspending in the process and having the albatross of of debt around our necks (Yeah, any poetry fans in the house) for more than a decade.

At some point in all of this (it was 1992 but I’m jumping around years more than Doctor Who) Sheffield Wednesday turned down an offer from Manchester United for David Hirst and went for Cantona instead. The rest, as they say, is history.

Be sure you follow Richard on twitter @richaskew

Shocking Stimson the worst decision ever made at the home of the shouting men: The Worst decision Gillingham ever made

Sometimes a failure to act can cost football clubs hugely. This was the case with Gillingham as Oliver Monk from the great @thesportfiles attests in this post on the worst decision Gillingham ever made.

Battles against relegation are never won or lost in February, but back in 2010 the final nails in the Gillingham coffin where slowly being hammered in during a bitterly cold night at Priestfield stadium. My worst decision is not one that you’ll have to look in the history books to read about. Being of the younger generation my time supporting Gillingham began in the late nineties, so I will not be taking you back to the time where games were played in black and white. As a lower league club there of course have been many decisions throughout the years that have made fans around the ground think what is ‘going on here’, but for me the one that I have decided on really is the worst ever.

Thinking back through the years the first decision that sprang to mind was the replacement of the old town end terrace. This was a place where I have many memories, including some great games in the FA cup, replaced with our new “temporary” but very permanent structure: the Brian Moore Stand. At the time the change had to be made as the club where flying high in the championship so terracing was no longer allowed. Since then of course the clubs league position has plummeted, meaning the terrace would be fine in our current position in League Two.

Another awful decision happened in the summer of 2005 with the appointment of Neal Cooper as our manager. At the time it seemed like a great appointment, as the man brought a wealth of experience from his time at Hartlepool. Cooper left the club in November 2005 leaving behind the players he had signed; including his drinking buddies that he had brought in. Fans later found out that Mr Cooper liked a drink. 31st July 2007 brought a typical shocking decision as the club decided to sign ex West Ham and Northern Ireland midfielder Steve Lomas. It was obvious to fans from the first day that Mr Lomas had joined the club to collect his wage cheque each week and didn’t really care about his performances or the team. The Lomas experiment didn’t last long as he was released from this contract on 31st January 2008.

All these decisions for me do stand out in my mind but they are not the worst decision ever made during my time supporting the club. For that we have to go back to a cold depressing night at Priestfield 9th February 2010 to be precise. At this time I was completing my degree in Coventry and had travelled down for the two games occurring after an atrocious performance on the Saturday a 4-0 away drubbing at the hands of Brentford. I travelled to Priestfield for what was going to be one of the most important fixtures of the season. This was a proper relegation six pointer as Gills faced off against Tranmere Rovers. The first half past without incident, and as the weather got colder I was happy to escape back to the boardroom to warm up at half time as apart from a half chance for Luke Rooney and a great save from the Tranmere keeper from a Simeon Jackson effort there was little on the pitch to warm the crowd up.

Returning for the second half things went from bad to worse in the 68th minute of the game. Rovers took the lead with Ian Thomas-Moore scoring the goal at the Rainham end sending the stadium into silence. Searching for a response the fans looked towards the dugout to see something from Gills boss Mark Stimson, but nothing happened as the Gills searched fruitlessly for a goal. When the final whistle blew a chorus of boos engulfed the ground. The Gills had now gone eight matches without a win, a run that come the end of the season lead to the relegation of the team.

Eight games without a win, a team struggling to stay up and this is when the ‘Worst’ decision in my clubs history occurred. At this point the chairman had the chance to remove the manager from his position. Would this have meant that we would have avoided relegation? I guess we will never know, but a new manager normally brings a reaction from the players and would have given the crowd a much needed lift. At the end of the season, after another disgraceful performance at Wycombe the Gills were relegated back into League 2 a league that we still find ourselves in today. Stimson left the club that evening and the chairman later admitted that it was a mistake not to remove him after the Tranmere game. Scally told BBC Radio Kent: “I considered making a change after the home game against Tranmere.”I decided to stick with him, so I take full responsibility. I failed and he failed. Now we must look forward, rebuild and prepare for League Two.”

So for me the worst decision ever made by the powers that be at Gillingham Football Club occurred in 2010 when the chairman failed to remove Mark Stimson from his position as club manager.


Changing Colours: the worst decision Cardiff City ever made

Why do you support your football team? Why do you let them dictate your emotions week in week out? For me I started supporting Cardiff City as they were my local team. They weren’t a good team, they didn’t play in a state of the art stadium but they were my local team, MY team. As soon as I set foot inside Ninian Park I was hooked, the smells, the atmosphere, the mates, the feeling of belonging to something special. Win, lose or draw I would support the team on the pitch til the final whistle and clap every single player off the pitch at the end. The Bluebird became MY Bluebird, the colour blue became MY colour and Cardiff City’s colour, the badge became a permanent tattoo on my arm.

Since leaving Ninian Park I have struggled adapting to the new stadium, it’s a soulless bowl and change a few colours and it could be mistaken for a few stadiums in the league at the moment, Coventry and dare I say it our most hated South Wales rivals Liberty Stadium. I was just about coming to terms with this move forward (in footballing and financial terms) and then Vincent Tan came along and ruined everything.

The last time I have felt any sort of emotional attachment to Cardiff City was on an away trip to West Ham in the playoffs, we had lost the first leg 2-0 at home and no one held any hope for us in the second leg; this cynicism was well founded as we got spanked. Another loss in the playoffs, I should be upset, I should be angry but the overwhelming feeling that day was of pride. Every player gave 100%, the fans sang til the last, we were outclassed on the pitch but it didn’t matter. The last chant I can remember from that day will always stay with me, “It’s Barnsley away, it’s Barnsley away, **** Man Utd it’s Barnsley away”! We’d lost out in the playoffs for the 98th time in a row (it seemed at the time) but we were still Cardiff City and I had a tear in my eye that day. This defeat followed another at the hands of Liverpool a few months earlier, lost in the Carling Cup final on penalties, tears were shed that day but once again tears of pride that my club was once again in Wembley and taking a Premiership team all the way. I have not celebrated a goal like I celebrated Ben Turners extra time equaliser for years. What a proud moment to be a Cardiff City fan.

If only I had known what was coming whilst singing my heart out in Upton Park, I would have been in floods of tears not just pride but also despair as on the way home on the coach the “rebrand” news broke and that trip was to be my last watching Cardiff City FC.

The next day the new red shirt and shocking beer mat badge were revealed, I was in shock, surely Cardiff City fans wouldn’t allow this, surely the most vociferous and proud fans in the league wouldn’t allow a foreigner with no footballing knowledge whatsoever to ravage their club. Sadly, it happened with little or no resistance, a Keep Cardiff Blue group was started only to be met by threats and bullying from certain “well known” fans. Since these initial changes rumours of name changes and further re branding have surfaced with our owner coming out with the classic line that he was willing to lose 25% of “customers” and that others would buy into the new brand as the old Bluebird brand had failed in the past.

Modern football is what it is, money rules the roost but I never ever thought that it would swallow and kill my club as it has, Cardiff City is dead to me, it’s unrecognisable as the club that I fell in love with, we have sold our souls for success. Being a Cardiff fan used to fill me with pride, all my mates supported Man Utd, Liverpool etc but I was different, I stood out, I supported my local club come hell and high water, success or no success.

After this rebrand we may as well all support the team with the most money, if success is the be all and end all of football then I am sorry, I am out.

Cardiff City was a massive part of my life, in fact it was my life, for 20 years but last year it died, RIP Cardiff City FC.

Make sure you follow Simon on twitter @UnderhillSimon