Dave Jones and his Experience Locker
Last night’s stunning Blackpool victory against Newcastle will have sent Magpies fans back across the bleak northern Pennines with doubt in their bellies, but Cardiff City’s halting of a recent mini-decline was perhaps equally as pregnant in meaning. Dave Jones’ Bluebirds may have ridden their luck in notching up a 1-0 away win, but their display, especially in the closing minutes, was a masterclass in Championship realpolitik.
Lloyd’s spoken word account of Cardiff’s recent midweek win at Home Park told of razor sharp decisions from Jones on the touchline, “accidental” collisions involving Jay Bothroyd, David Marshall writhing in agony like a humanoid pink panther, and Michael Chopra needing a time sheet for his walk to the substitutes’ bench…and so it was last night at the Mad Stad. Stephen McPhail’s sending off following a dramatic brandish of referee Taylor’s red card led to twenty minutes of what Jones himself has been honest enough to describe as “dirty” football. Reading, prompted by the mercurial talents of Marek Matějovský, looked plucky but unseasoned in comparison.
McPhail stood out in an efficient Cardiff performance, enjoying the clever knack of whipping the ball off opposing toes at the last moment. His dual left footed midfield partnership with Joe Ledley looked awkward but nonetheless effective and ex-Glasgow Ranger Chris Burke was a perpetual dervish on the right: he looks a snip and not just because he crashed in the winner. Elsewhere, man mountain Roger Johnson has been replaced expertly by Jones: Stevie G.’s cousin Anthony Gerrard hardly missed a header all night and Mark Hudson’s captaincy of relegated Charlton is now long forgotten. City perhaps lack the class of the demoted trio, but they are used to the league and are making a mockery of our pre-season predictions.