When deciding who would write which piece outlining our past managers’ best signings, I thought I’d struck gold when being assigned Dave Jones.
I started going down the City with Alan Cork was manager, but Dave Jones is probably the I remember best. The football was brilliant and we had some bloody brilliant players.
It was only when looking through the list of Jones’ signings that I realised that I had drawn the short straw!
While Ben Price struggled to think of five of Russel Slade’s best signings, I struggled to whittle Dave Jones’ best signings down to five!
Whatever you think of Jones – he could be a stubborn and difficult man – you could not deny his pedigree when it came to signing players, especially when you consider the fees he paid for some excellent players.
Missing out on this list all together is Gavin Rae, Glenn Loovens, Ross McCormack, Chris Burke and a bunch of other brilliant players.
So without further ado, here are my choices for Dave Jones’ best Cardiff City signings:
5. Kevin McNaughton – Free Transfer
This was perhaps the toughest to decide. I toyed between David Marshall, Stephen McPhail, Darren Purse and Roger Johnson. Stephen McPhail was edging it for me – purely for selfish reasons, he’s one of my favourite Cardiff players of all time. But when I thought about the long-term impact each player had in South Wales, Kevin McNaughton rightfully took fifth place. The silver haired Scotsman is arguably one of City’s greatest ever right-backs and is the subjects of one of the greatest football chants. To this day, fans still love McNaughton who won promotion to the Premier League when Malky Mackay took charge of the Bluebirds. Honorary mentions to McPhail, Marshall and co.
4. Jason Koumas – Loan from West Brom
Few ex-City players get Cardiff fans as excited as Jason Koumas. The number 10 joined on loan from West From for the 2005-06 season and absolutely blew us all away.
It’s fair to say that City fans haven’t seen too many players as creative or maverick as the Welsh international. He re-joined on loan a few years later, but didn’t have the same impact. His first loan in South Wales, though, will be remember for a long, long time.
3. Jay Bothroyd – £350,000 from Wolves, 2008
Jay Bothroyd – along with Koumas – is probably one of the most gifted players I’ve seen in a City shirt. He belonged at the top level but unfortunately we didn’t get to see him there in a Cardiff shirt.
Bothroyd struggled with certain things at other clubs, but Dave Jones got the best out of him and he formed a formidable strike partnership with Michael Chopra.
Who knows what would’ve happened if Bothroyd hadn’t picked up a knock in the play-off final? We’ll never know, but there’s certainly a feeling among Cardiff fans that he could’ve won the game for us.
It was tight in deciding whether Bothroyd or Chopra would get the number 2 spot on my list, but as Jay has blocked me on Twitter and Chops hasn’t, the England international comes in at number 3.
2. Michael Chopra – £500,000 from Watford, 2006
When Michael Chopra joined on loan from Newcastle, nobody would know the impact he would have at Cardiff City.
Chopra was signed for £500,000 in 2006 and went onto score 22 goals that season. It earned a big money move to Sunderland, but after just 8 goals Chopra returned to South Wales on loan. He scored 9 goals over two loan spells before rejoining permanently in 2009.
Chopra would play two more seasons in South Wales, scoring 28 goals.
He goes down as one of City’s best ever strikers and his partnership with Jay Bothroyd will be remember along with Thorne and Earnshaw as a modern great.
1. Peter Whittingham – £350,000 from Aston Villa, 2007
Who else? Peter ‘he does what he wants’ Whittingham is arguably greatest ever player.
Signed by Jones in January 2007, Whittingham spent ten years in South Wales, joining Blackburn Rovers in 2017.
In that time, he made 413 appearances and scored 85 goals – many of which were extremely memorable.
In truth, Whitts shouldn’t have been a Cardiff for as long as he was. He was Premier League quality and deserved a move to the top flight.
Thankfully Cardiff benefitted from a certain Barry girl and Whitts goes down in Cardiff history as an all-time great.