Date:Tuesday February 24 2009
Vital QPR takes a look at Cardiff City as Rangers face the Bluebirds in the rearranged fixture this week.
FACTS AND FIGURES
Founded: 1899 (As Riverside A.F.C)
Nickname: The Bluebirds
Ground: Ninian Park - 22,008
Manager: Dave Jones
FA Cup Winners - 1927
FA Cup Runners Up - 1925, 2008
Second Division (Old) Runners Up - 1921, 1952, 1960.
Third Division South Champions - 1947
Third Division Champions - 1993
Third Division (Old) Runners Up - 1976, 1983
Second Division Playoff Winners - 2003.
Record Attendance: 57,893 v Arsenal (1953)
Record victory: 16-0 v Knighton Town (Welsh Cup 5th Round, 1961)
Record defeat 2-11 v Sheffield United (1926)
Record Buy: Peter Thorne - £1,750,000 from Stoke City
Record Sale: Michael Chopra - £5,000,000 to Sunderland
Record Appearances: Phil Dwyer - 536
Record Goals: Len Davies - 148
Cardiff City made it a pleasant new Millennium after Bobby Gould came in to steer the Bluebirds to promotion at the first attempt. The former Wimbledon man came to the helm after the brief tenure of Billy Ayre and saw the Welsh outfit into second place - ten points behind eventual winners Brighton & Hove Albion.
Goals from all areas of the pitch contributed to their success with a young Robert Earnshaw bagging 19 goals, alongside the experienced Leo Fortune-West who netted 12 times. More goals for Paul Brayson (15) and Jason Bowen (12) were a significant factor in the Bluebirds new found Division Two status.
Cardiff and ambitious owner Sam Hammam were in no mood to hang around and their urgency to get promoted was underlined not only by their retention of Earnshaw but by breaking the club transfer record to find him a suitable partner. Peter Thorne subsequently arrived from Stoke City for £1.75m as Ninian Park expected big things from their side.
Under the guidance of Alan Cork and then Lennie Lawrence the Bluebirds achieved a playoff place at the first attempt. They were however knocked out at the semi-final stage by eventual winners Stoke City despite taking a goal advantage into the second leg.
Chris Barker and Gareth Ainsworth bolstered Lennie Lawrence`s squad coming in from Barnsley and Wimbledon respectively as the Bluebirds set about gaining promotion from the Second Division. They did it in dramatic fashion over Queens Park Rangers at the Millennium Stadium.
After stuttering to the end of the campaign, Cardiff achieved sixth place and they dispatched of Bristol City at the semi-final stage. The stage was set for the Bluebirds as they travelled down the road to the Millennium Stadium to face QPR. In front of over 66,000 supporters in the Welsh capital Andy Campbell hit the winner with five minutes of extra time remaining to the elation of the half the ground - leaving the supporters from West London shell-shocked and devastated.
Cardiff had achieved the dream promotion and took QPR`s Richard Langley in the process as well as investing in Rotherham`s Alan Lee for just short of £1m. However the shrewdest purchase went unnoticed as Lenny Lawrence brought in the recently released Cameron Jerome from Middlesbrough.
The Bluebirds started life admirably in Division One, finishing mid-table. The 4-1 and 5-0 thumpings of Derby County and Gillingham would have been a particular highlight for the Ninian Park followers.
Ian Holloway`s QPR joined Cardiff in the newly created Championship after their promotion at Hillsborough and ended up finishing about the Welsh outfit who dramatically underperformed. Cardiff finished three places and 11 points worse off than the previous season. This was in part due to the sale of Robert Earnshaw to West Bromwich Albion for £3m.
As a result of his side`s poor performance in their second year, Lennie Lawrence bit the bullet and was replaced by former Southampton and Wolves boss Dave Jones. Jones was quick to bolster his defence with Jermaine Darlington, Darren Purse and Neil Cox coming into the back four. Cardiff rounded off the season in 11th place - their highest yet since coming back to the second tier.
After being unable to secure the new stadium - as Cardiff Council had doubts over financial security Sam Hammam sold up for £27m to a consortium headed by Leeds` nemesis Peter Ridsdale in December 2006.
The club sold Cameron Jerome at the end of the campaign to Birmingham City for £3m - his replacement was Michael Chopra on a free transfer from Newcastle United. Chopra`s 22 goals weren`t enough to take Cardiff near the playoffs as he was the only player who made double figures.
In the summer Cardiff cashed in on their goalscoring hero for a club record £5m- and brought in a number of veteran talents to replace him. Trevor Sinclair, Robbie Fowler and Jimmy-Floyd Hasselbaink made the Bluebirds look like Dad`s Army - their class was without doubt, but could they stand the pace of a Championship dogfight?
Cardiff finished off the season in 12th place as despite an excellent start they seemed eternally glued to their mid-table standing. There was however joy unbridled for Jones who led his side out at Wembley for the FA Cup final.
They dispatched of giant-killing Barnsley in the semi-final at Wembley and now they faced Premier League Portsmouth, who also must have been pinching themselves for getting so far. Pompey took the cup courtesy of former Arsenal forward Kanu.
They released the veteran trio as Dave Jones opted for a slightly younger approach. Jay Bothroyd was brought in from Wolves for £300,000 and Ross McCormack joining from Motherwell on a free.
So far this season it has been excellent as Jones appears to be putting together a side finally capable of overcoming that final hurdle into the Premier League. The Bluebirds currently sit in 5th place having played significantly less games owing to adverse weather conditions around the country.
McCormack has been in stunning form already this campaign, scoring 14 goals in 20 starts for the Bluebirds - with many Cardiff fans asking, could this be their year?
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Date:Tuesday February 24 2009
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