Following a turbulent year in the Premier League, it has been confirmed that Cardiff City have been relegated back to the Championship after 37 games.
The Bluebirds first season in the top flight since the 1961-62 season saw an encouraging start. Their first home game was against Manchester City, a team that had trebled Cardiff’s summer spending. It was an encounter that the City faithful were relishing, and the team did not disappoint, winning 3-2 in a sensational day for the everyone involved with the club.
However, this was just one highlight in a season with few. Among the City fans, the most talked about topic this year has probably been Vincent Tan’s involvement in Club affairs, especially the sacking of Malky Mackay in December.
The appointment of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was seen by many as a worthy replacement for the popular Mackay. However, with Cardiff currently propping up the table, there are questions being asked about the wisdom of appointing a relatively inexperienced manager to a club in a relegation fight.
There are other considerations regarding this key moment in the season. Under Mackay, City were achieving 0.94 points per game. This slipped to a mere 0.8 under Solskjaer. This was represented in the league positions too, as Solskjaer has allowed Cardiff to drop from 16th to the foot of the table.
There were reasons for the sacking. Reports suggested that Tan had taken the action over poor use of transfer funds, making an example of record signing Andreas Cornelius, who struggled for regular first-team appearances. Solskjaer’s job was simple then, maintaining the course the team was on, survive relegation and spend well in the markets.
For the latter of these, Solskjaer made little improvement in January. Bringing in Kenwyne Jones and Mats Daehli as the attacking options to save the season, whilst shoring up the defence with the loan deal if Fábio Da Silva seen by many as a waste of time, especially considering also newly promoted Hull were ensuring their survival by purchasing Nikica Jelavic from and Shane Long. The second half of the season saw Cardiff slip further and further down the table and into the relegation places.
With four games to go it looked possible City might pull of a great escape at the very end. However, largely owing to Sunderland’s “miracle” run of results, Cardiff’s fate was eventually sealed.
For the fans, it is time to wave goodbye to away days at Anfield, as they now have trips to the Valley for Charlton Athletic to look forward to. For the board, it is time to regroup and reassess if Cardiff are going to have any chance of an immediate return back to the top flight. For the manager, however, only time will tell.
In the past week it has emerged that departed Sport editor Ross Martinovic has been heavily linked with replacing Solskjaer.
Martinovic, 45, however, remains coy over the position, stating that: “After graduation, who knows what could happen.
“If given such a prestigious opportunity, I truly believe that I can be the right man for the job.
“I know Cardiff very well and I have extensive knowledge of the European leagues after interailing last summer.
“Ultimately, we will have to wait and see.”