Monday, May 30, 2011

So where next for Cardiff City?

Inevitably the rumours have started flying on who will be the next Cardiff City manager. Consensus amongst the fans seems to be the need to move quickly in order to build over the summer, but will the Directors be in a rush to fill such a critical post.

The message boards are awash with possible contenders, and not being in the mood to disappoint, here's my thoughts on those names being bandied around.

Craig Bellamy
I just can't see it. He has no managerial experience, though undoubted passion for the club. Passion doesn't win titles, and I'd rather he was playing for us, though frankly I see even that as a major doubt.

Chris Hughton
This is the man I want. Performed heroically under extremely trying times at Newcastle. A real "football" man (whatever that is), and clearly has the ability to manage at the highest level - just look what he did with Newcastle - if you think expectations are big here at Cardiff, they are nothing compared to the Toon!

Alan Curbishley
I've always thought Curbishley a good manager. He did wonders for Charlton, but he's been out a while, and not sure the fans would take to him.

Roy Keane
He'd undoubtedly get the "up and at 'em" brigade on side. I'm not convinced he's achieved enough to make me think he's be able to do a job here.

Roberto Di Matteo
A marvellous player, but I'm sorry, I just don't rate him as a manger.

Iain Dowie
Seems to be one of those "go to" people, but never done much as a manager. I don't think he's the sort of person City are looking for.

Ian Holloway
Been there, done, it, got the T-Shirt. Clearly bonkers, and likely to have a favourable amount of support. I think he's be OK, but he's said (I think) that he's staying at Blackpool.

Peter Reid
Who? Oh him. How long has he been out of management? No thanks.

Gary Megson
Oh no, please.

Gareth Southgate
I'd rather Megson than Southgate

Martin O'Neill
Are we likely to be able to attract someone of the calibre of O'Neill to Cardiff? Possibly. Could he do a job here? Possibly.

Malky Mackay
Another of those managers hewn from a long line of decent Scotsmen who turn out to be half decent managers. Wouldn't be the worst appointment.

Gus Poyet
Has done an outstanding job at Brighton. Would he want to swap the Withdean for the CCS? No brainer if he's asked.

Billy Davies
Scottish - see Malky Mackay above. However, another manager that has so nearly made it and failed on a couple of attempts. Wouldn't this be a case of frying pan and fire?

Sam Allardyce
Thought the pressure got to him at Newcastle. If things didn't start well, he'd be on his way soon.

Ryan Giggs
Please....It's not going to happen.

Swansea City in the Promised Land

Though it galls me to say it, congratulations to Swansea City, who this afternoon grabbed the final Premiership place up for grabs in the 2011/12 season when they beat Reading 4-2 at Wembley, and in so doing achieved what Cardiff City so disappointingly failed to do last year against Blackpool, and this year in the regular season.

As a Bluebirds fan, it's a fact of life that I want Cardiff to be better than Swansea. But this season, in footballing terms we weren't. Whichever way some narrow minded Bluebirds fans want to carve it up, the fact is Swansea finished higher than us in the league, and with a side with less "stars" in it than ours, and have managed to achieve the holy grail of Premiership football and will be playing next season at Old Trafford, Stamford Bridge, Anfield, whilst next year we'll be plying our trade at London Rd (Peterborough), the Withdean Stadium (Brighton) and St Mary's (Southampton) which were all hosting League One football this season.

To be fair, Swansea have played good football under first Roberto Martinez, then Paulo Sousa and currently Brendan Rodgers. They play to their strengths, and play attractive football - in comparison, the Bluebirds who on their day can be sublime were too often inconsistent, lacking a cutting edge, and awful defensively. We looked like a team full of individual players rather than the team that Swansea seem to be.

Maybe next season things will change. The Bluebirds will be the underdogs in South Wales next season, and maybe , just maybe that, and a new manager will mean the pressure is off a little bit, and we can concentrate on rebuilding - as we'll surely have to, and fighting another season in the Championship.

In the meantime, the Jacks are in the Premiership - we're not. And we need to get over it. Yes it'll be galling watching them every Saturday on MoTD, but no more galling than it was watching Blackpool this year. And look what happened to them......

Cheers Dave, and thanks

So, the deed is done. Dave Jones has had his contract terminated - or been sacked if you like.

It's been coming, and many fans, myself included have been calling for this for a while. In my case, I've given him the benefit of the doubt (apart from a blip over last Christmas), until the end of the season when I said that not getting us promoted with the squad at his disposal should see the end of his reign.

And so it now is. Before we all say good riddance, let's just remember where he's brought the club to. Not the Premiership, granted. But it's in a much, much better place than when he arrived six years ago.

We've been to Wembley three times, including an FA Cup final. We've got a new stadium, new training facilities and he's brought players in we'd never have expected to see in a City shirt. Granted some of them didn't live up to expectations, but Hasselbaink, Fowler and Bellamy to name three.

But all things come to an end, and it's time to move on. Given it's taken a couple of weeks I don't think this is a knee jerk reaction by the Directors, and there were rumours starting to come out that Jones was staying. But he's gone. So who to replace him?

Let's wait and see, but either way, this is the start of a new era for Cardiff City.

Up the Bluebirds.

(oh, and Up Reading too - today at least)!

Deadly cucumbers claim more lives

This isn't funny in the slightest, although the headline on the BBC news link "Deadly cucumbers claim more lives" is like something from a classic "B" horror movie.

In fact, what's happened is that some cucumbers have somehow become infected with a strain of e.coli and some people have died from the resultant infection.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Keeping it all together

Regular readers will know that I've got a pretty eclectic approach to computing. I have no real affinity for any one OS, and have desktop devices running Windows 7, a Macbook Pro on Mac OSX and a netbook running Ubuntu netbook edition. Chuck in my ever to hand iPhone, and the challenge for me is keeping everything together and in sync.

In all honesty, it's made a bit simpler in that the Ubuntu netbook rarely sees the light of day. It's an old Asus Eee with virtually no memory or storage, and I put Ubuntu netbook on it more as an experiment than anything else (it works fine though).

What is happening therefore, is a slow and gradual transition to cloud computing. Applications I tend to prefer are cross platform, and with an ability to sync seamlessly with whichever device I'm using . I'm not a complicated, or power user, which makes life simpler still, and what follows is a brief description of my key picks.

If you work in different locations on different computers and haven't used or come across Dropbox yet, you're missing out. You install the Dropbox client on all the devices you use and it creates a Dropbox folder - so it's installed on all my PC's, laptop, netbook and I have the iPhone app. Whenever you are connected to the Internet, whatever you have saved to this folder is synced to Dropbox. Then, whenever you connect using one of your other devices, all the changes are automatically synced back to that device. Simple. Add in versioning, so you know which is the latest version, and the fact that it's free for up to 2GB storage, and you not only have a way of keeping everything in sync across multiple computers, but some free online storage too.

If you are going to check it out - drop me a line first. I can refer you, and that helps me boost my storage space!
Highly recommended.

One of the things that many people require from their computing devices is a good way of collating all those snippet of information, notes, screenshots etc. There are literally hundreds of thousands of solutions out there, but one of the best is Evernote.
Evernote, like Dropbox is cross platform, and you can sync to all your platforms. Like Dropbox it's also accessible online, and like Dropbox free at the basic level.It also has browser extensions so you can clip all, or bits of web pages directly to your Evernote account.
You can record text notes, voice notes, photo notes, documents - pretty much anything. It's fully searchable, you can have multiple "notebooks" within your account, and use tags on notes. A Premium version (which I use) brings added benefits, but for most people, the free version is just fine. If you need to store "stuff", then this is the way to do it.

Gmail is my preferred email route, because everything is available on any Internet connected device. It's got a a lot of functionality too - more than most people realise, you've just got to dig a bit to find some of the optionsd and settings.

My calendar and contacts are all handled by Apple's "MobileMe" service. You have to pay for it, but it keeps my calendar and contacts beautifully in sync on my Macbook and iPhone (I tend not to do anything that needs calendar and contact access on the PC, although I could always access Mobile Me through the browser if I wanted to.

I've tried a few times to manage contacts via Google Contacts, but I find there's always some corruption/duplication though the sync process back to the iPhone/Macbook. I know some manage this perfectly fine, but I've never managed to do so to my satisfaction.

So there you have it. Core functions of email, contacts, calendar, notes and document sync/storage handled through some first class online/cross platform applications, that are free.

It's a no brainer.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Is he, isn't he? Will he, won't he?

Hot on the heels of the news that Jay Bothroyd and Chris Burke (plus Adam Matthews and in all likelihood Gavin Rae) are set to leave Cardiff City, comes rumours that Bothroyd is still in talks with the Bluebirds over his future.

You couldn't make it up.

Personally I can't see the big striker staying. If he gets a whiff of a Premiership contract with one of the big clubs like Stoke or Wolves I suspect he'll be off at a canter, and I suppose, who can blame him. After all, real loyalty in footballers is a scarce commodity these days. It'll be a shame though - I thought at times he didn't pull his weight this season, and got too precious - especially after his one, and in all probability only England cap, but he banged in the goals and we (nearly) always looked a better team with him in than out. One thing's for sure, we're going to need a decent man up front next term, and in all honesty, I can't see it being Jon "The Beast" Parkin.

Burkey goes with best wishes from me. I don't think he ever got to the heights of last season, but he's an honest pro. I thought he looked a bit lightweight this year, though to be fair was in and out of the starting line up, and often didn't get the ball enough for me.

And finally, what of DJ? I think most Cardiff supporters would be keen to see him depart, and today' s news sees him being linked strongly to West Ham. What a bloody irony that would be if he goes to Upton Park, and takes the Hammers straight back to the Premiership.

Who to take over if he does? I've said my piece in a previous post - I fancy Chris Hughton to come and do a job here, but who knows. I just hope it's someone with a bit of nous who can start to rebuild - because that's surely what we have to do, a side to challenge for the Premiership.

Just now, with our season barely put to bed, I have absolutely no expectations for next season, other than not being relegated. If there's still money in the pot, and we can acquire a good manager and some decent signings over the summer, maybe, just maybe, those aspirations will rise to a play-off place, but my dreams of automatic promotion to the top tier were this years dreams, now dashed and broken. I can't see us being in as good a position to mount an effective challenge for a couple of seasons.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Cardiff City Player Ratings 2010/11

So, as is customary from me at the end of the season, here are my player ratings for the team. As usual, I've only rated those who I think have played enough, or whom I have a particular comment on. These are wholly and unapologetically subjective, based mostly on what 've seen from the Grange End, heard on the radio or watched on TV and I'm happy for you to argue differently.

There are no rights, no wrongs, just opinions, and these are mine.

David Marshall (Keeper) 7/10
I thought Marshall started well, but he made a few errors, Heaton (who I think a better all round keep) got in, and then when his chance should have come again he's suffered injuries. Not the No1 in my opinion, but solid - most of the time

Kevin McNaughton (Defender) 9/10
Nauts is my player of the season. He always gives 100%, will play anywhere he's put and runs forever. A couple of bloopers here and there, but a truly fantastic season. He'll be devastated.

Lee Naylor (Defender) 4/10
I think Naylor is one of the worst acquisitions City have made in recent years. He's OK going forward, but awful defensively (not good for a defender). The crowd know it, and sadly opposition managers know it too.

Gavin Rae (Midfielder) 5/10
I don't know why Jones hasn't used Rae more. City have looked lightweight in midfield on occasions. Rae won't set the world alight, but he's reliable.

Mark Hudson (Defender) 8.5/10
A contender for my player of the season. Started so slowly (literally and metaphorically) but grew into the role and was immense in 2nd half of season until injury. Why he was on bench in run in and not on field is one of life's mysteries.

Gabor Gyepes (Defender) 6/10
Had a great first season with City, but has become a shadow of that player. Too many errors and too slow.

Peter Whittingham (Midfielder) 7/10
Whitts, oh Whitts. Sometimes brilliant, sometimes absent without leave. Another decent goal return, and occasionally sublime, but should control games more. Goal of the season for me.

Michael Chopra (Striker) 7/10
I'd start Chops every time, but clearly Jones doesn't want to. Not enough goals, but not enough starts.

Jay Bothroyd (Striker) 8/10
The ultimate enigma. So much talent, but too much belief (or arrogance) that he can do it on his own, and that he's always being picked on (he will be - he's big and good). If he spent more time on his feet than his arse, he'd be brilliant. Looked as though he couldn't are less a bit too much for me at times. Cheers Jay, don't expect you to be here next term.

Stephen McPhail (Midfielder) 7/10
I was one of Macca's biggest critics a couple of seasons ago, but how we miss him when he's not there, providing control in the middle. Sometimes he even plays a forward pass these days.

Chris Burke (Midfielder) 7/10
Can be devastating when he runs at defenders with pace, but 1) doesn't get the ball often enough, 2) leave the ball behind too often, 3) can't shoot for toffee. Struggled compared to last season.

Dekel Kienan (Defender) 7/10
Came from Blackpool and immediately instilled some calm and control into central defence. Looked good, always a threat at attacking corners for us, but last few games has looked suspect. Like to see him with Hudson next year.

Paul Quinn (Defender) 7/10
Another one I dissed early in his City career, but fair play he's knuckled down, and generally performed well. Occasionally a bit too panicky for me.

Jon Parkin (Striker) 6/10
"The Beast". Entered City folklore with a stunning goal on debut, but done nothing since. Bought as an impact player, he hasn't made one.

Jason Koumas (Midfielder) 6/10
Already a City legend, so 6/10 might seem harsh. Hasn't played that much and bar those couple of goals late v Doncaster, hasn't shown anything like the form of his previous stay with us.

Seyi Olifanjana (Midfield) 7/10
The big man brought in as the midfield enforcer, has had some great games. But he's had some pretty average ones too. Like many players, too much inconsistency. Wins the ball well but then gives it away far too easily.

Tom Heaton (Keeper) 8/10
I think Heaton is my preferred keeper. Not as big as Marshall, but a better all round stopper. Glad we bought him, and hope we keep him (and keep him fit).

Darcy Blake (Defender) 7/10
Poshest name in the squad. Good utility player, and perhaps suffers as a result. May be more of a regular next term, depending on departures.

Jay Emmanuel-Thomas (Midfielder) 5/10
A real disappointment for me. On loan from Arsenal, and came with a big reputation. Showed flashes of brilliance, but looks one of lazy or unfit to me. Big name, big reputation, big disappointment.

Adam Matthews (Defender) 5/10
Must have really pissed DJ off with "that" OG against Ipswich. Cracking talent, warming the bench.

Aaron Ramsey (Midfielder) 8.5/10
Outstanding in his time back with us, showed us what a class player truly is. Ran the midfield, and we looked so much better with him there. We need a class midfielder like him next season for sure.

Craig Bellamy (Striker) 8.5/10
On a hiding to nothing. Either brings Premiership quality, or risks being dragged down to average Championship player level. Mostly brought the former, occasionally the latter. Certainly brought desire and passion. Some cracking goals. Very eloquent and honest for a footballer in his interviews He'll be absolutely gutted. Says he wants to stay. Not sure if he will now we haven't gone up. If he does great. I don't expect it.

Stephen Bywater (Keeper) 4/10
Sorry just don't rate him. Kicking dreadful, decision making awful, just poor. Priceless interviews though.

JLloyd Samuel (Defender) 6/10
Another Premiership loanee past his best. Backs off to much for me. Decent long throw, but that's not why we got him (I hope).

And finally.....

Dave Jones (Manager) 7/10
Oh how I struggled with this score. On the plus side, we got to the playoffs (again). But, and it's a big but, we failed again. He says it's a decent return. I can't imagine when Dato Chan Ten Gee said after the final last year Arnie like, "we'll be back" that he imagined anything except a promotion to the Premiership. Jones says we've got better year on year and so we have. But QPR, have been in the Championship less time than us and gone up, and Norwich have had back to back promotions - and IF the Jacks go up, it'll be in less time than we've been in this division. There is no doubt that we had the resources to go up this year, and therefore, for me it's a fail. I couldn't score less, because 4th is after all 4th. Might have been 8/10 for 3rd, but would have been 10/10 for automatic.
It's a hard life.

Coming soon City Player ratings 2010/11 season

Cardiff City: Fade away

So, where to begin?

24 hours since we lost 0-3 to Reading in the Play-Off semi final and time to start reflecting. This is a long one, so you might want to make a cup of coffee or grab a beer before continuing.

I have to say, that in August 2010 I was, like I suspect most Bluebirds fans, full of excitement and anticipation. Not just with the lip-smacking prospect of a new season - that's always there, but with a real belief that having come so close the previous season with the squad we had, the financial troubles fading (if not yet gone), that this was to be our season. I genuinely believed that we had top two credentials, and that if we played to our potential, we'd walk the division. Oh, if only I'd known then what I know now.

It all started so well. Bothroyd scoring goals for fun, Bellamy bringing that feel good factor, the sun shone, City were right up there. The autumn came, and we started towards winter. The 4-0 drubbing of Leeds away was some of the most stunning football I've seen City play in years - ever perhaps.

And then Bothroyd picked up that yellow card against Norwich that ruled him out of the Swansea game. And we all know what happened then. I genuinely believe that was a massive turning point in our season. We lost of course against the Jacks in a lacklustre performance, and capitulated in November, much of December and over the Christmas and New Year period.

Bothroyd went from golden boots to England cap to injury and has never been the same player since. The poor run over the depths of winter saw Dave Jones head called for on many occasions (even by me at one point), although with some additional apparently astute (at the time) loan signings, things gradually started to turn round.

But we never looked like a team that was truly comfortable in it's own clothes. Too often we looked like 11 players on a pitch - all decent players on their day in their own right, but rarely as a "team" playing for each other. When I look as Swansea, Reading, Norwich, Forest and even QPR, they look to me like a cogent, cohesive unit. City didn't. That's not the luxury of hindsight, I've said that several times this season.

Anyway, DJ continued to tinker with a defence that had been ropey all season. He never settled on one unit - partly due to injury, partly (in my view) to stubbornness - his unwillingness to drop Naylor after a string of abysmal performances for example, and some for reasons we'll probably never know.

It looked like we were going to have to settle for the play-offs, then all of a sudden with a handful of games to go, it was back in our own hands.

And we know what happens when a DJ team has their destiny in their own hands. They come up short. A draw against QPR at home in other circumstances would have been a decent result, but not when we needed to win. The hopeless capitulation against Middlesborough who made us look like a third rate parks team (with apologies to third rate parks teams), and then the awful blunders which cost us so dear on Tuesday. more painful for having watched the Swans play their way into the final with such aplomb.

To be honest, I had a bad feeling about the play off game. I didn't think we'd do it.

Is there blame? To be fair to DJ, he has brought the club a long way. Short termists, and the "I want it now" crowd tend to forget that. But every time we get close to something we come up short/bottle it (delete as you see fit). Beaten hammered by Preston to miss out on the play offs on GD, betaen by an average Portsmouth side in the FA Cup final, beaten by Blackpool last year in the PO final, and now finishing 4th and then losing in the semi with a squad that should have walked to automatic promotion.

Yes he's done a lot, but he can't finish the job. Thanks Dave, it's been a blast, but it's time for a change. Will he go? Not my call, but I think he will, and I think he should.

He's got the best out of Bothroyd (well for a third of a season anyway), but I'm getting cheesed off with the number of times he's said things like "we'll dust ourselves down and go again". I'm fed up with his bitching about the fans. We pay well to watch City and we expect them to give everything. Whilst some do, some don't (or can't). Do fans create pressure? Maybe. But you're professionals DJ. Deal with it.

Some of the loan players look uncommitted (more about that in my player ratings in another post to come).

I think it's time for a clear out. I think Jones will go. I think Bothroyd will walk away. Bellamy says he wants to stay. Does he? Really? With the prospect of another year at Championship level? We'll see.

Who would come in? Speculation at best. Who do I want? Chris Hughton is a manager I respect who worked well under immense pressure and speculation at Newcastle, doing a fantastic job.

Whatever comes, I will be there (with my little pick and shovel) next season. Come August I'll be full of new anticipation. I just hope we've got a manager and a squad who can turn that anticipation into a realisation. Meanwhile there will be one eye on the Jacks or Reading who will be playing Man U & Chelsea whilst we're facing the likes of Huddersfield or Bournemouth, or Peterborough or MK Dons.

In my heart and in my head, I think our immediate chance has gone. I said at the start of the season to anyone who'd listen, if we don't do it this year, we never will. I hope with all my heart that turns out to be untrue.

Friday, May 13, 2011

In the balance: Reading 0-0 City

Bloody hell I've been so nervous all week, and it was a nervy 90 minutes watching City play the first leg of this Championship play off semi-final away at Reading. I was so nervous I had to hide behind two bottles of SA Gold.

It was a real hustle and bustle encounter, feisty at times in the first half and when Bellamy went off after 16 minutes I admit I feared the worst.

I though we were poor in that first period, giving possession away too easily in the middle of the park, unable to string two passes together. In truth though Reading pressed the last 20 of the opening half, neither side had a real clear chance.

In the second half City played better, but again the defences cancelled each other out. Neither keeper was troubled, and although Reading came close at the end, a draw was probably a fair result. I thought my MoM was Nauts (again) who was magnificent. I thought JET and Oli were poor. Oli wins the ball OK, but his control and passing so often let him down. The others worked hard, but no-one really stood out for me. Burke didn't get the ball often enough for my liking, and too many long high balls again to Bothroyd & Chops. We play so well when we play fast and on the ground. Why do we insist on booting it long?

So back to CCS on Tuesday and do it all over again. You'd like to think City have the advantage, at home in the second leg, but Bellamy's a doubt, Quinn limped off...but remember we beat Leicester last year, albeit on pens. I don't want to do that again though....Let's be positive. You'd take a 0-0 away from home any time in a two legged tie. Let's do 'em at home!

So no doubt the bookies will be odds on a South Wales final. There's water to pass under the bridge before that though.

Come on more push.


Saturday, May 07, 2011

Play-offs (again): Burnley 1-1 City

Well it's a bloody good job we didn't have to win at Turfmoor on this, the last day of the regular season to gain automatic promotion, because we didn't.

Where to start?

Well, I guess it all started to go wrong when we had 4 to play and everything was in our own hands.

Then we drew with QPR and it was out of our hands.

Then we needed Ipswich to do us a favour against Norwich and they got stuffed by the Canaries.

Then we needed Norwich to slip up against Leeds and they didn't.

Then we needed to beat Middlesborough and we put in arguably our worst performance of the season and got stuffed.

Then we needed Norwich to slip up at Pompey and they didn't and secured that precious 2nd automatic promotion spot..

Then we needed QPR to be docked points for the naughtiness over the Alejandro Faurlin affair and the FA dilly dallied and then got cold feet and smacked a fine on them which their owners can pay out of the petty cash tin.

Not that it wouldn't have made any difference though. After the debacle against 'Boro, with the side needing to re-assert their play-off credentials and at least give the fans something to shout and cheer,we were behind in the 13th minute and in what was a pretty tame performance by all accounts stayed that way until Bellamy equalised in the 90th minute. And that poor draw means the Jacks who once again showed that they play decent football in a squad with no delusions of grandeur, stuffed an already relegated Sheffield Utd 4-0, and in doing so finished the regular season above us in 3rd place on goal difference, shunting us to 4th.

And so it's the play-offs. After a run that saw us almost nick automatic promotion, we play Reading in the pot luck chance that is the playoffs. At least finishing 4th means the second leg is at home. All the other play-off contenders though finished with a win, whilst the best we could muster was a last gaps draw. I don't think any of them will be shaking in their boots at the prospect of playing us.

And so it's nicely set up for a South Wales derby at Wembley in the Championship final. IF we beat Reading, and IF the Jacks beat Forest. What a day that would be.

I hope to God we can do it. The torture of last years play-off final is still hard to bear. The thought (should we get there) of losing to the Jacks, well......

But there's a long way to go yet.

I am keeping the faith. It's back to nil points for everyone in the lottery of the play-offs, and literally anything can happen. We're two games from Wembley, and three from the Premiership. But so are the others.

Please.....just this once?

Monday, May 02, 2011

City blow it big time

A win for City today would have heaped pressure on Norwich, playing later at Fratton Park.

Instead, City succumbed without even a whimper, 3-0 at home to a team lying 16th. Expectations were massive ahead of this match, with most fans still believing that the Bluebirds could clinch the 2nd automatic promotion spot.

All those expectations disappeared inside 3 minutes, as a long cross saw Leroy Lita outjump McNaughton to head back across Heaton into the corner for 1-0.

Worse was to follow 10 minutes later when Robosn made it 2-0 after more poor defending, and on 21 minutes the score was 3-0 when another poor defensive error saw Smallwood nick in at the near post.

By then, City were dead and buried. Heads were down, and though I hate to say it, they deserved to be behind. They couldn't pass, they were second to everything, when they did get the ball instead of playing the football we know they can they were just hoofing long balls up the field. It was a truly, truly abject display by virtually every single City player.

The second half saw Blake on for McPhail, and eventually, Chopra for Quinn, but despite almost all the second period possession, they could hardly muster a shot on goal.

City really know how to bottle the big occasion, and boy did they bottle this one. It's the worst home performance I've seen all season, just when they needed a good one.

Here's a tweeted account by a lad I sit next to, who's quite astute, and incidentally a ref. (@pearcey147).

Thought the whole team was utterly crap today, didn't look interested at all and couldn't have scored if we had played for a month.
Back four missed Hudson badly. Keinan lost his head, Samuel was being destroyed by Lita briefly and Kev is too short to be centre-back.
Olofinjana can't control the football, McPhail was non-existent, Burke was off the pace and Whitts and Koumas kept playing long balls.
Bellamy was trying to force it too much and can't cross the ball at all, whilst Bothroyd looked totally disinterested and was shit.
The referee was crap, thought we were playing basketball, was throwing cards around and the male lino didn't know the offside rule.
Jones should've gone in December, didn't pick Hudson for some reason, changed the setup about 5 times and has no motivational skills.

I'm gutted. Really gutted. And yes, the referee was crap.Appallingly so - talk about comedy officiating. Needs to learn the rules. Handball for one. Can't be offside from a throw for another.

Norwich will go up if the beat Pompey today, and I can't see them not doing that. Jones might have done a lot for City, but he can't get the best out of them in pressure games.

So it looks like playoffs again. I said I didn't want to go through the heartache of playoff again, but I'll take it now. But if we play like this, we'll be out of them in a hurry.

Of course, if QPR get deducted points we may still go up automatically, though we still need to beat Burnley, but that's just clutching at straws, and I wouldn't want to go up that way. Probably....

Saw a tweet from someone I follow suggesting City fans hadn't helped by booing their side. Well excuse me. I pay good money to come and watch 11 highly paid men kick a bag of wind about. When they play well, I'm entitled to clap and cheer. When they play like they did today, I'm entitled to my opinions that they were crap.

If I had a cat I'd kick it. Wait I minute, I puss.........

No I wouldn't kick the cat, but if you're a football fan, and particularly one of the almost 25,000 City fans who were there today to watch that debacle, you'll know how I'm feeling tonight.