1.Not really appearing on Match of the Day
Whilst being on Match of the Day really does feel like a rite of passage, it would also be fair to say that Cardiff City perhaps haven’t received the most comprehensive of coverage this season from Gary and co. Granted, this can’t be said for the rare occasions when we’ve appeared on Match of the Day 2 when coverage has been excellent.
Whilst understandable in light of such games as the draw home draw against Huddersfield (if only we’d won our matches against them), there have been multiple occasions where it’s felt like many points of discussion have been missed. The top six bias, whilst possibly a fabrication on the part of smaller clubs, certainly seems to be alive and well on MOTD.
It’s certainly preferential to watching Colin Murray mutter “the Bluebirds” on some obscure cable channel but it’s still all a bit rubbish when you’re eagerly anticipating Jermaine Jenas’ thoughts (or not) on whether it was a stonewall penalty on Morrison and it’s not even mentioned.
2. Increased press coverage
The spotlight shines bright in the Premier League and whilst the increased coverage brings greater volume, this doesn’t always equate to quality punditry (Chris Sutton I’m looking at you). All of a sudden, the press conferences are better attended and the national radio stations are full of armchair critics bemoaning the Bluebirds’ presence at the top table. Claims like; “they shouldn’t even be in our leagues” and pundits who pronounce themselves experts on all things Cardiff.
The national narrative hasn’t been too kind to Cardiff City this season and the ugly fall-out from the Emiliano Sala tragedy has only served to heighten the vitriol faced by Warnock et al in some sections of the press.
3. Top quality football week in, week out
It can be both a blessing and a curse seeing the best of the best rock up at the Cardiff City Stadium, but whilst you may start with a smile on your face, this can be quickly wiped away when your team is 3-0 down at half time.
The same applies to away trips. Points on those long journeys away have been hard to come by this season and whilst the away wins against Leicester, Southampton and Brighton were cooling balms on a painful sore, that’s all they were. Sticking plasters over a slow killer. Cardiff have generally found themselves to be underdogs in almost every game this season and whilst this may not be that unusual, it does nevertheless begin to take its toll after some thirty games have passed.
At least in the Championship, Cardiff are a decent sized fish in a competitive ecosystem. In the Premier League, we may as well have played 11 at the back and hoped for the best.
It’s wonderful seeing the best of the best but when you’re not quite there yourself, you can find yourself longing for the relative parity of the Championship.
4. Increased home attendances and enhanced atmosphere
Possibly the most first-world problem of all comes from increased home attendances. In the Championship, 4G was easy to come by, you could leave at 44 minutes and still get a pie and pint. Using the toilet also wasn’t like a particularly bloody episode of Game of Thrones (all those swords on display!). Not so in the Premier League.
The atmosphere has generally been louder and more passionate this season, but the away crowds have also been replete with multiple prawn sandwich brigades and I’ve heard more noise coming from Jenner Park, Barry.
5. Footballing and management stars at the Cardiff City Stadium
Pep Guardiola is a genius and his teams play a style of football I’ve never seen at the Cardiff City Stadium before. However, this isn’t necessarily a good thing! I’ll be honest, watching Manchester City turn our home fixture into a training session was beyond boring and Liverpool seemed to play with us before putting us to bed for being naughty and staying up past our bedtime.
Spurs and Manchester United are awash with stars, but watching them dismantle our plucky band of brothers isn’t something I’ll miss too much. The stars did indeed come out, but it’s only then that your own glaring inadequacies become apparent.
I guess when the emotions have died down, I’ll have mixed feelings about relegation, should it happen. It will of course feel good to be one of the big boys again, but somehow Luton and Millwall don’t hold the same appeal as Chelsea and Arsenal (I’m sure the feeling goes both ways).
Whatever happens, I’ll be there and I hope you are too.