Cardiff City in crisis – what happens next as fans openly turn on Mick…
“Mick McCarthy, it’s happening again.”
As they watched their side take his woeful Bluebirds apart with upsetting ease, jJubilant West Brom fans were quick to remind Cardiff City’s boss about the last time they crossed paths all the way back in February 2012.
On that day nine years ago, the Baggies put McCarthy out of a job, smashing his Wolves team and arch-rivals 5-1 at Molineux.
They could have expected a similar outcome after the most comfortable of comfortable wins in south Wales.
“Sacked in the morning” was another taunt from the away end on what was the most desperate night however of the McCarthy reign.
More worryingly for McCarthy, the sight and sound of Cardiff fans joining in will have hit home the reality of what looks an horribly dangerous situation.
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Cardiff fans have turned openly on managers with such ferocity before.
Russell Slade got the treatment, some of his predecessors also had it back in the day. Neil Harris was probably only rescued by the fact there were no fans inside the ground, although Bluebirds supporters certainly made their views known about him via other avenues.
The current unrest, with its spoken out show of disapproval, perhaps has been coming for a little while now over disquiet with the Bluebirds’ style of play.
McCarthy himself admits he has no complaints at the criticisms launched at his team, although given results and the abject character of performances it would probably look a little silly if he did.
That said, there is evidence to suggest the discontent goes beyond insignificant results.
After being treated to a manager who made such a point of unifying the players with the fan base in Neil Warnock, Bluebirds fans appear to view McCarthy as a slightly more distant figure.
He doesn’t charm the media in the manner Warnock did to get his points across to the supporter base. Warnock would have the fans hanging off every information at times.
For many, McCarthy adopts a more gruff approach.
It is suggested that small things, such as going right over to the away end after games to salute the travelling fans, are viewed as something major by those who pay hard earned cash to go and follow their beloved team.
There isn’t a bond, a connection.
Throw in boring football, coupled with terrible results, and it leads to exactly the kind of anger, and indeed sarcasm at times at some of the route one rubbish on characterize, that we are starting to observe.
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McCarthy should ignore these concerns, indeed warnings, from the fans at his peril.
If he has any doubts over the ever-thinning ice he finds himself on, he need only look at the fate his predecessor.
Harris escaped the wrath of fans towards the end of his reign due to games being behind closed doors, but a run of six straight defeats was enough for the Cardiff board to pull the cause.
It’s not however clear what the board make of this latest slump, but some will surprise if we’re approaching similar territory here?
The decision to play five centre-backs against the Baggies proved particularly irksome for many City fans, and understandably so, particularly after conceding four goals.
instead of ripping up the playbook from Saturday’s 5-1 defeat to Blackburn, picking more creative players and being adventurous, this felt like McCarthy trebling down.
It was a decision that failed miserably.
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McCarthy admits teams have perhaps worked out how to cope with Cardiff’s brand of direct football, however where is evidence of a Plan B to counter that?
The supporters certainly don’t feel they are seeing it.
McCarthy needs to change tack, and fast.
If things go badly wrong again against Reading on Saturday, the hostility from the fans will surely get worse.
With the international break coming up, some would consider the time mature for a possible change if needed.
That’s before you get on to the small matter of the South Wales derby that’s just around the corner.
In reality, despite the hoo-hah, McCarthy will be in the dugout for Saturday’s clash with the Royals.
A win may well prove enough to buy him some time, but for some fans the problems that have bubbled to the surface in recent weeks go beyond the manager.
already if board were to decide upon a change, the question that closest springs to mind is who could come in who would be better equipped at dealing with this squad of players?
There’s clearly very little money to use, an unbalanced squad that’s desperately lacking in creative thoroughness, and some fans are questioning the identity or philosophy for the future from the powers-that-be.
Some have suggested under-23s boss Steve Morison as an different. He has got Cardiff’s youngsters playing a brand of attractive, free-flowing football that’s arguably the gazillion miles away from what’s being served up in the senior set-up right now.
But doing it at under-23 level, and in the hurly-burly of the Championship, are galaxies apart. In any case, one has to surprise if this current squad is capable of accommodating what would be a u-turn in terms of style.
Ryan Giles is more or less the only creative outlet in this Cardiff side the moment, and it shows.
Would Morison, or any manager of a similar ilk, have the players needed to play a different way?
Some fans feel these Cardiff players are more than capable of adapting; others, doubtless anaesthetised by route one, beg to differ.
This squad has been assembled to play a certain way, and turning that round will probably take time, effort, and patience – all three of which are in short supply at the moment.
already so, it’s clear for all to see that something drastic needs to change if City are to get their season back on track.
Cardiff clearly gambled on an admittedly talented bunch of youngsters being good enough to step up, with McCarthy stating on more than one event that he was happy with his squad options.
It’s simply not working. The summer move window wasn’t the finest in Cardiff’s history, it’s fair to say.
Addressing the without of spark, and issues in the midfield, simply has to be the number one priority in January.
Whether McCarthy will be there to supervise that or not..
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