As we waited for the free-kick to be taken late on against West Brom on Tuesday evening, my thoughts immediately turned to Peter Whittingham. “I wish we had Whitts in this situation” I thought.
Lee Tomlin and Will Vaulks were stood over the ball. Indeed it was Tomlin who took charge and we all know the outcome. Who needs Whitts, eh?
It got me thinking. Cardiff City seemed to have been blessed with a number of free-kick masters in my 20-plus years of watching them.
So who are some of our favourite free-kick mavericks?
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Where else to start? Lee Tomlin is a blue and he loves scoring free-kicks. Starting on the bench against West Brom, Tomlin came on and got Cardiff the winner and a vital three points. It always feels like Tomlin has a point to prove when he comes on off the bench. He did just that on Tuesday.
It’s not the first time Tomlin has struck a sweet free-kick this season. He rescued a draw in the 87th minute against Sheffield Wednesday with a lovely free-kick.
Tomlin’s technique isn’t too dissimilar to Peter Whittingham (more on him soon). Whilst some stick plenty of pace on their free-kicks, Tomlin and Whitts both seem to stroke it home. Lovely stuff.
Who else? A list of City free-kick mavericks would simply be incomplete without the main man, Peter Whittingham. It would be easy write an essay on Whittingham free-kicks, but equally it’s possible to say very little as we all know just how good he was.
As I mentioned, Whittingham and Tomlin weren’t too dissimilar in their technique. Whitts was laid back in every aspect of his game and his free-kicks were no different. He was a maverick by trade and had the ability to place a free kick with an air of nonchalance.
The stand out free-kick? There’s so many to choose from but it’s hard to look past the winner against Leicester in the play-offs.
While the Cardiff-born star didn’t perhaps score as many free-kicks as others in the list, he’s one of the first you think of when you think of City’s best free-kicks.
The star had joined his hometown club after an epic season with Manchester City and capped a perfect debut with an unbelievable free-kick against Doncaster in a 4-0 win. It stands out as an iconic City moment, with Bellamy hitting the free kick with unbelievable pace and accuracy.
— Kevin Pritchard CCFC (@webbo76) January 8, 2017
The grey haired skipper is perhaps one of my favourite Cardiff City players. He’s everything you want your central midfielder to be. He was composed and cultured on the ball, whilst also possessing the drive and strength to win the ball back. He could take a mean free-kick, too.
Few Cardiff City departures have hurt City fans like Kav’s – he spoke to us about how much it hurt him too – but we’ll forever the memory of Kav’s free-kick against Leeds United in the FA Cup.
One that perhaps flies under the radar when thinking about Cardiff’s free-kick mavericks is Ross McCormack. The Scottish international joined from Motherwell in 2010 and proved an instant hit with the Bluebirds. He possessed plenty of quality and guile, but also a bite and tenacity that endeared him to the South Wales crowd.
It’s easy to forget just how good McCormack was in the Championship. His reputation has been tarnished somewhat in recent years, but his quality was unbelievable. He’s the second top goalscorer in the Championship last decade, which says something.
McCormack’s standout free-kick came against Blackpool in 2008. It was a vicious free-kick that nestled in the top corner to give City all three points.
Who else could round off our list? Koumas was the definition of a maverick and isn’t too dissimilar to Lee Tomlin. Cardiff fans fell in love with him in 2005, when he scored 12 goals on loan from West Brom.
It feels like every Koumas goal was a stunner. One such was a free-kick in 2005 to give City a win against Leeds United. Koumas drove towards the Leeds penalty area and won a free-kick after being brought down by Sean Gregan. The midfielder’s resulting free-kick curled around the wall and inside a post from around 22 yards to give City the win.
Who was your favourite City free-kick taker? Any we’ve missed off? Let us know by tweeting us @VFTNinian.