By Reece Chambers
When any side gets promoted to the Premier League, the excitement soon wares off when they get hit by the brutal reality of one of the toughest leagues in professional football.
Cardiff City’s promotion to the promised land back in May might well have been met with surprise amongst football fans and so-called experts, but there is no surprise to the way the Bluebirds have started this season.
As of 5th October, two days before a trip to Wembley to face Spurs, Neil Warnock’s side sit on two points from their first seven matches – scoring just four goals and conceding 16 which gives Cardiff the second worst goal difference in the league with only bottom-placed Huddersfield Town worse off.
It would be easy to use this column to harp on about the rut that Cardiff City currently find themselves in but that would not only be counterproductive but also a complete waste of time for everyone involved.
Instead, I want to examine whether actually reaching the Premier League – just to struggle and most likely go straight back down – is something for teams like Cardiff to strive for.
The first thing people point to – whether they are season ticket holders at the Cardiff City Stadium or stay up to watch the Bluebirds last on Match of the Day – is their evident lack of spending in the summer transfer window.
Both on paper and on the pitch, Cardiff look seriously short of quality in the attacking third. Rarely this season have they looked like seriously threatening teams in front of goal.
Instead, their only real attacking plan against Burnley was to launch the ball into the area from what seemed like thousands of Sean Morrison throw-ins.
As a result, it’s clear to see that Cardiff do not have the financial firepower to recruit the players needed to develop into a fully-fledged Premier League side.
Warnock clearly did not have the financial backing in the summer to get players of either Premier League quality or top-flight experience. The closest they came to recruiting Premier League experience was the loan signing of Harry Arter from Bournemouth. Now the fact that their most notable signing of the summer was a loan sums up the transfer window quite well for the Bluebirds.
Unsurprisingly, they are now paying the price for what was an underwhelming summer of recruitment. True, money doesn’t buy you success but it certainly equips you with the tools to challenge against teams in the league.
As performances against Burnley and Manchester City demonstrated, there is only so far that organisation and team spirit can take you until a lack of attacking quality becomes a serious flaw.
In sum, Cardiff’s season so far is one that demonstrates that coming to the Premier League with little money to spend will most likely leave you with an impossible task against most sides in the league.
However, as Neil Warnock has said on several occasions this season already, he’d much rather be watching his team against the likes of Arsenal and Chelsea than against Championship sides like Birmingham City.
For the fans, reaching the Premier League might just be a one season experience like in 13/14. Nevertheless, it must be appreciated that this is an experience to cherish even if it is going to be a short one.