Farewell goal machine. Gary Madine is gone and the less said about him the better, but his release got me thinking because it all felt rather familiar. Too familiar in fact.
Cardiff have been in the Premier League twice and were relegated both times after a solitary season. First time round, they had Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in charge and backed him to get Cardiff straight back up. After a month, they recognised their mistake and sacked him, after just five wins in 25 games and a few weeks after giving him a small fortune to spend.
This time round, Cardiff stuck by Neil Warnock, and why wouldn’t you? He’s a promotion monster and had plenty of goodwill saved up. He lasted only a couple of months longer than Solskjaer before departing. In both instances, the club opted for what was perceived, rightly or wrongly, as a budget replacement, in Russell Slade and Neil Harris, in spite of the public mood and the clamour for a bigger name.
Both transfer windows played out in much the same manner too. Back in 2014, Cardiff recouped an impressive reported £28.5m and reinvested a hefty £17m of that. This year, they managed to claw back around £20m, if you include Bobby Reid, and spent about £15m.
The sense of déjà vu kicked in with Madine’s release because it took me back to the bad old days, when Cardiff operated a revolving door transfer policy. Players would join, player a few minutes and be thrown away. So Madine was paid up in more or less the same week as Jo Inge Berget five years earlier.
Juan Cala and Magnus Wolff Eikrem were both asked to leave in the December, while Kim Bo-Kyung and Guido Burgstaller both departed as the window drew to a close. Ironically, the total cost of those five added up to roughly one Madine.
The fear is that by letting Madine go, and Omar Bogle, who has six months left on his deal, who will almost definitely follow him, that Cardiff are leaving themselves short up top. It wouldn’t be the first time for that either. Fast forward 18 months to the 2017 January transfer window and Slade’s best intentions were undermined by the club seeing fit to sell Joe Mason, loan out Kenwyne Jones and decide against extending Tony Watt’s loan spell.
Fortunately, Kenneth Zohore, Lex Immers and Tom Lawrence were drafted in on loan to compensate. The first two did so well that they were signed permanently the following summer, although Immers was another to be released a few months later.
The more things change, the more they same. You would like to think that Cardiff would learn from their mistakes, but here we go again. It remains to be seen if Cardiff copy the 2014-15 campaign in one more key area though; they ended a disruptive season of their own making in 11th place.