By Cardiff fan and New Media Journalist, Steve Garland.
Our expectations were high, very high. After last seasons gut wrenching 3-2 defeat to Blackpool in the Championship Play-off final, the 2010-11 season was seen as a promotion or bust year for the Bluebirds. Question marks over the ownership of the Club lingered over the summer, and the departure of hometown lad Joe Ledley put doubts in Bluebird minds over the challenge Cardiff could mount, but the arrival of Craig Bellamy re-ignited optimism that this could just be the Bluebirds year.
And a good start to the season soon started to cast that defeat to Blackpool to the history books – but a blip over Christmas soon raised harsh doubts in the fans minds once again, as most of the Cardiff City Stadium continued to see anything less than a place in the top two as an underachievement.
Aaron Ramsey’s return to his boyhood club in January brought another rebirth of optimism and upturn in form for the Bluebirds, form that soon found its inconsistency’s once again as the now Gunner returned to the Emirates.
Season ending injuries to defender Mark Hudson and Michael Chopra also left some fans wondering if Cardiff had the squad to see them mount a final push, but a timely recent return from the shadows for Jason Koumas and a consecutive three match winning streak has put us right amongst it and has got City fans really believing once again – this could be our year.
Can Cardiff finally make that jump to the top flight? In five games we’ll find out… All of us are just hoping that there isn’t another slip up like the last two seasons around the corner – hopefully not starting against our FA Cup final opponents in 2008 on Saturday…
Craig Bellamy – The lad has still got supreme quality, there’s no doubt about that. Nine goals for the season may suggest to many that he has not quite lived up to his billing in the Championship, but Bellers has been the scorer of City’s vital goals this season against Swansea, Doncaster, Barnsley and Sheffield United – all bringing home maximum points.
Jay Bothroyd – The Bluebirds top scorer with 18 goals in all competitions and now an England international of course. Since his arrival Cardiff have not seemed to be able to ‘click’ without him – his departure through injury at Wembley in May is seen by many fans as the moment City’s Premiership dream slipped by for that year. A great target man who is now fully showing his potential – a Premiership player in the future for sure, whether it will be with Cardiff remains to be seen.
Dekel Keinan – The January signing from Blackpool now has some big boots to fill after Mark Hudson’s season ending injury. The Israeli International has settled well after a few shaky performances but has responded well in April with City’s defensive capabilities firmly on his shoulders. Cardiff’s success/ failure this season could well come down to how well the Bluebirds can hold it together at the back.
It came at just the right time for Cardiff after a winless March, but tough fixtures at home to league leaders QPR and two away trips to Burnley and Preston will be the key matches in the run in.
City have a poor record in the northwest – now is the time to change that and claim that long awaited promotion to the top flight. C’mon you Bluebirds!