After years of coming within touching distance of the promised land that is the Premier League, Cardiff City have finally achieved promotion from the Championship as a result of their 0-0 draw at home to Charlton Athletic yesterday evening. As the final whistle went at Cardiff City Stadium last night the sizeable pain of a playoff final defeat to Blackpool three years ago was all but forgotten with Cardiff officially becoming the second Welsh club in the Premier League.
Following a summer of upheaval at the club with new Malaysian owner Vincent Tan after clearing the club’s debts completely restructuring the face of what everybody knew as Cardiff City. The club no longer was to play in their famed blue strip, red was now to be their main colour with in Asian culture the colour red symbolising good fortune and prosperity and prosperity is exactly what this club has seen in the past ten months. Manager Malky Mackay was brought in to replace the long serving Dave Jones with it being muted at the start of the season that The Bluebirds would struggle to even reach the playoff positions following a couple of years of close flirting with promotion without it ever being reached.
With the Championship being an incredibly tight run league this season there have been numerous changes at the summit of the table with Dougie Freedman’s Crystal Palace setting the early pace leading the table with sizeable thanks to the form of Wilfried Zaha, Yannick Bolasie and the goal scoring exploits of Glenn Murray. Following Freedman’s move to Bolton Wanderers, Ian Holloway took charge of Palace and they were usurped at the top by Gianfranco Zola’s Watford side heavily made up of foreign loan signings in particular leading goal scorer Matej Vydra who is on loan from Italian club Udinese. As Watford started to slip, Cardiff City moved into the ascendency at the top of the table and have since not let their grip loose in the slightest.
It is this excellent form that has seen Cardiff create a seven point barrier between themselves and second placed Hull City with only three league games remaining, the performances of Peter Whittingham in midfield have earned rave reviews and have contributed largely to the highflying season The Bluebirds have experienced. Craig Bellamy after his second spell at Liverpool returned to Cardiff this season on a permanent contract with his hometown club.
Bellamy has utilised all the wisdom gained from his experiences in the top flight as well as his strikingly obvious natural ability to help galvanise the Cardiff midfield and forward line with the former Manchester City forward having the ability and nous to play in both areas. Last night following the final whistle amid the scenes of delirium at Cardiff’s relatively new home following their move from Ninian Park in 2009, Craig Bellamy found himself to be tearful on the pitch whilst reflecting on the season as a whole, “You probably won’t be able to re-create this or get better than this, so I wanted to soak it up and enjoy every second of it.” Bellamy at thirty three years of age probably doesn’t have that many more seasons left in his career however it is expected he will continue to represent Cardiff in their push for Premier League survival next season.
With Cardiff now officially into the Premier League for the 2013-2014 season there are several teams that could join them, Hull City are currently the favourites to re-enter the top flight automatically with Steve Bruce’s charges sitting in second position ahead of Watford by six points with only nine left on offer. A win for Hull in their next match at home to bottom club Bristol City would essentially see Hull join Cardiff in the Premier League leaving Watford, Brighton, Crystal Palace and Leicester to fight it out in the play offs.