Yesterday’s 3-0 defeat at the hands of Newcastle relegated Cardiff City from the Premier League after just one turbulent season in the top flight. However, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has committed his future to the club and is desperate to win promotion from the Championship next season.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has to take some of the blame for their relegation. He brought in players who were either unproven or simply not good enough. The likes of Fabio, Kenwyne Jones and Wilfried Zaha didn’t make enough of an impact and the two that followed him from Molde, Daehli and Berget, have potential but were rushed into playing at the highest level.
He also inherited a decent squad, that didn’t need drastic changes. Caulker and Medel have been impressive all season and how David Marshall didn’t make it into the PFA team of the year I will never know. The likes of Campbell, Kim Bo-Kyung, Mutch and Bellamy also meant that Cardiff had the quality, but just needed to work on their solidity at the back, and their prowess up front.
Overall, Solskjaer didn’t accomplish the task he was set, but for me, that isn’t where it went wrong for Cardiff City. The moment it went wrong, is when the Malaysian businessman Vincent Tan became too involved.
First he decided to change Cardiff’s famous blue strip, to red, similar to the dragon that graces the welsh flag, and then in this season, in a year where they could have proven that they have the ability, finance and stature to mix it with the best, Vincent Tan has turned the club into a laughing stock. First came the decision to sack Iain Moody. Moody, who was the head of recruitment at the time, had a very good relationship with then manager Malky Mackay, and the pair managed to pull off a couple of coups between them over the years. Tan took a disliking to Cardiff’s £8 million flop Andreas Cornelius, and as a result decided to replace Moody with a 23 year old who was previously on work experience with the club.
This was also the beginning of the end for Malky Mackay. The Scot had done a wonderful job with Cardiff during his time in Wales, but he made the mistake of publicly asking for money to invest in the squad, and Vincent Tan decided it was time for a change, much to the fans dismay.
Although they were only just hovering above the drop zone under Mackay, they were massively over achieving. Mackay had instilled a level of belief in the team and the only times the team looked massively out of their depth, was following a week of publicity surrounding the mad man Tan. Big wins against Manchester City and Swansea gave the fans belief that survival was possible but the board effectively sealed their fate when one of the most successful managers in their history, Malky Mackay, was sacked.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was too inexperienced to take the Cardiff job in the first place and it is going to be tough for him to win promotion back to the Premier League following a year of relegation, just ask the many that have tried and failed, but if he manages to hold onto the good players, and gets the financial backing from Tan, they may be back before they know it!
To see Solskjaer’s reaction to Cardiff’s relegation follow this link