Date:Thursday March 23 2006
Vital QPR speak to four Cardiff City fans ahead of this Saturday's clash at Ninian Park.
Ben Roche, Andrew Davies, Essex Bluebird and Ayahtolla Edros all took time out to answer the Q & A.
1) Cardiff's fortunes have been turned around from last season despite losing key personnel, how has the club undergone such a great turnaround?
BR: 'I put it all on Dave Jones. I think Lennie Lawrence would've seen us relegated, but when DJ came in he took a club with no resources and sold 'the dream' to a group of good players. He's not afraid to grind out a result at the expense of attractive football, which doesn't half help the points total come this point of the season.'
AD: 'Definatlley has something to do with the change in management, Dave Jones has been a lengend since coming here. Also Peter Risdale coming in seems to have helpped Sam Hammam tighten the purse strings without too much affect on the field.'
EB: 'Although the players we released due to financial restraints were very good players, the fact remained that in the course of the season they did not deliver and did not consistenly gel as a team. This season, the players have played as a team.'
AE:'Purely and simply 1 reason, Dave Jones and his fantastic man management.'
2) Dave Jones must be responsible for a lot of the work, what has he changed, added or thrown away from the team?
BR: 'As above. I rate him as one of if not the best manager outside of the top flight.'
AD: 'Well its no secret that he has brought in a practically new squad with around 11 or 12 new signings. He's also got rid of alot of the dead wood left at the club by Lennie Lawrence i.e. Andy Campbell. Tactics wise we now have better attacking options from midfield with Koumas & Ledley having wonder seasons but we are also more solid in the centre of the park with Jeff Whitley and our back four (With the exception of right back) have been like rocks this season with 3 centre backs (Purse, Cox & Loovens) all pushing eachother for 2 places which is always good.'
EB: "I think he has added confidence to the team, it has taken a little bit of jugglimg but overall, I think the balance of the team is better.'
AE: 'I think he along with his coaching staff have instilled a better training and fitness regime.'
3) Cardiff's financial problems have been well documented over the years but you still seem to attract high earners such as Jason Koumas, how can you continue to do this?
BR: 'There are a number of reasons. To be honest I'm tired of having to explain the facts. The short story is that the club owes alot of money, the long story is that the club owes it over a sustained period of time and has a project (the stadium) which will eradicate all of the debt.'
AD: 'With Koumas I think he really wanted to come and play for Cardiff, he wasnt having the best time at WBA and when Cardiff gave him the option there was never anywhere wlse he was going to go. As I said before threre has been some cuts and tightening of the purse strings behind the scenes that has helpped Dave Jones massivly, his influence in the game and close ties with people like Alex Ferguson has helpped us pick up some bargins too.'
EB: 'It must be the job of the owner and manager to sell the club, in particular, I think Dave Jones has played a big part in this.'
4)Has Sam Hamman delivered since he joined?
BR: 'Well, we were a team who spent years bouncing between the third and second divisions and we really starting to see hard times when Sam saw the potential in the club. Now we're dreaming of making up two points and playing against Man Utd, Chelsea and Arsenal next year. I think he's done a remarkable job and takes alot of stick which he shouldn't.'
AD: 'Yes, I think so. If you look at where we were when he came in and compare it to where we are now then I dont think any City fan could say they really expected us to be within touching distance of the Play Offs to the Premiership and this time. Sam promised alot of things when he took over, some maybe a bit too unrealistic. But, we now have the right manager for the job who is bringing in the right players for the job. Next target is to get the stadium started which finally seems to be getting closer all the time.'
EB: 'Not entirely but ask me this question at the end of the year when hopefully work on the new stadium has started!'
5) There has been a lot of talk about a new stadium, how far down the line are you to actually getting the ground you want?
BR: 'Well the last we heard was we've been given a month extra to submit a viable business plan and show that the project is finacially possible for us. We've sold some of the retail space to ASDA, I can't remember if that took us over the edge and gave us the full financial backing that we need, I think it did, but can't be certain.'
AD: 'Very close, this has been the biggest albatros around Sams neck for the last few years now and at times a few of the fans would liked to have got their hands round Sams neck too!! But I think we are now in the final stages of getting it passed by the council and building, fingers crossed will start at the end of the summer.'
EB: 'A business plan has been submitted to the council and at the moment there appears to be some fine tuning shall we say to the plan.'
6) Who has been your best players this season and who should Rangers watch out for this season?
BR: 'Obviously Jason Koumas has been first class and Cameron Jerome knows which way the goal is (most of the time), but I think that the people who say we are a one (or two or any other formation of the saying) man team doesn't have a clue what they're talking about. Our first eleven is of a very high standard and belongs where it is and then we have 5 or so players outside of that who are very good and then a whole batch of talented youngsters.'
AD: 'Koumas, Jerome, Purse & Alexander. Take your pic, Koumas has been insperational from midfileld scoring goals from close range to 25 yard screamers to top corner freekicks. Jerome has been banging them in all season and is 2nd top scorer in the league. Purse has been as solid as anyone in this league in defence and in Neil Alexander I believe we have one of the best keepers outside of the premiership who has also won his place back in the Scotland squad this season.'
EB: 'It must be Jerome and Koumas, in particular Koumas, if you allow him to play he will rip you apart.'
7) What style of football do Cardiff play and how will they turn out at Ninian Park?
BR: 'We have a decent blend of football to be fair. We know how to get tough and grind out a result, but at the same time we have Jason Koumas as possibly the best creative outlet in the league and then Steve Thompson gives us the option of the long ball game.'
AD: 'Well if koumas is on song then look out, he'll be everywhere and give your defence a nightmare. I think we will go out and attack from the start. What worries me is that if we go a goal up that we sit back on it, Cardiff haven't got the best record of sitting on 1-0 leads.'
EB: 'At home, we normally play with Thompson and Jerome up front and three in the middle but Mr Jones is just the guy to surprise you, watch this space!'
8) Who do you feel will be the key players to watch out for from Rangers?
AD: 'Well we all know Gaz 'Rock N Roll' Ainsworth very well at NP and know his direct attacking style can be very damgerous. Furlong & Gallen have alot of experience at this level and can be ones to watch if they are given time with the ball in front of goal.'
9) Richard Langley may return to Ninian Park, some of your supporters gave him some grief when you were at Loftus Road, was he really that bad?
BR: 'Cardiff City fans can be a fickle bunch. I think the truth is that we expected a lot more than we got from him. The only thing that wound me up personally was that he never seemed to want to play. Even Pele would've been ordinary if he didn't put his heart into it and Richard Langley is no Pele.'
AD: 'Oh Yes. But, to be fair Lennie Lawrence didnt seem to like playing players in their natural positions so Langers offten found himself not playing in his favoured position and when that happens some people can loose some confidence and then it shows on the pitch.'
EB: 'Being diplomatic he had good and bad days.'
AE: 'In my honest opinion, YES, though dont believe he should have got the stick he did.'
10) Can you and will you reach the playoffs?
BR: 'Can we? Yes. Will we? Who knows. I think that we've gotta win the majority of our games in the run in and on the way we'll have to put together a winning streak, which is something we've not been capable of so far this season, but who knows. It would be nice to have the opportunity to get to the Premier League in the Millenium Stadium.'
AD: 'Of course. Preston have a game in hand but have some big games coming up as do Wolves and Palace. West Ham sc**pped it on the last day of the season last season and went up so why cant Cardiff??'
EB: 'We can reach the play offs but being honest, I think we will just miss out.'
11) A prediction?
BR: 'I think we're due to give somebody a good beating and so think a 4 - 1 Cardiff win is on the cards. Jerome to get two, Thompson and Loovens to get the others and Ainsworth to grab yours. Sorry.'
AD: 'I think city will be too strong for Rangers at NP and we'll run out 3-1 winners. Jerome, Ledley & Thompson getting our goals.'
EB: '3-1 to City.'
AE: 'This stage of the season we will take any sort of a win, but a
comfortable 2-0 i think.'
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