Kieffer Moore may prove to be the first striker in 10 years to match Jay Bothroyd and reach 20 goals in a season, but the striker he actually looks set to emulate is Peter Thorne. He of the magic hat.
Both joined Cardiff as 28-year-old’s and both immediately hauled the side on to their back and got down to business. Ironically, both joined for about the same amount of money too, which shows how good a deal Cardiff got for Moore, or how badly Wigan were shafted by administration and their administrators.
Thorne was a statement signing when he joined for £1.7m from Stoke in 2001. Like Moore, he was similarly well travelled, having passed through Blackburn, Wigan and Swindon, before thriving at Stoke, where he starred with Graham Kavanagh, who joined Cardiff a month earlier.
A big, strong grafter, Thorne was handsome too, although not matinee idol attractive like Moore. Thorne also doesn’t boast exotic middle names like Kieffer Roberto Francisco Moore, to further enhance his allure. Thorne was more of a buzz cut, fold your collar in, no frills northerner, and how we loved him.
The perfect foil for the emerging Robert Earnshaw, Thorne took a backseat role and enabled the Zambian prince to thrive and plunder goals in industrial quantities. Cardiff may have struggled to match Bothroyd’s output, but they have never got close to replicating the Thorne/Earnshaw partnership.
Bothroyd and Chopra were probably the closest, but they were two mavericks pooling together. With Thorne and Earnshaw, it was very much a team effort and they undoubtedly enhanced each other.
Now, Moore doesn’t need a strike partner, he’s more than happy to do it all on his own. That’s why he’s proved such a great fit at Cardiff, where you often don’t get a lot of assistance. Kenneth Zohore used to be the prototype Cardiff forward. He was quick, powerful, could work the channels and finish. When he felt like it.
The void he left was Zohore-shaped, but Moore has taken it up a notch and is like a one-man front three. Moore does not have Zohore’s turn of pace, but he’s no slouch and is perpetual motion all around the final third. He looks knackered almost immediately, but it’s a cunning ruse because he never stops grafting for the cause.
If you’re going to succeed up front at Cardiff, hard running comes with the territory. Without putting in the hard yards, you’re going to have a lonely, unproductive and brief residency. Moore fits like hand in glove and he’s dragging Cardiff up the table with sheer will. The fact that Moore is also Welsh makes him the darling of the local press an adds an extra layer to his allure, especially with the Euros on the horizon.
When you look at Robert Glatzel, its hard to establish the qualities that a scout must have identified that made him a good fit for Cardiff, but Moore was the biggest, easiest win they’ll ever find. A ready-made target man, at a knockdown price that fell into their lap.
Moore has quickly overtaken Lee Tomlin as Cardiff’s most important player and their fortunes now depend on his ongoing fitness. I’m just waiting to see the two of them paired together because it could be carnage. For now though, simply bow down to The New Peter Thorne and pay homage.