When Mick McCarthy was sacked by Cardiff City on the 23rd of October, fans were not hopeful about his replacement.
Having suffered through the football under Russell Slade, Paul Trollope, Neil Warnock and Mick McCarthy, Bluebirds fans were hoping for a radical change at the club.
Fans were bored to death under Slade. Despite challenging for the play offs after joining from Leyton Orient, the Englishman’s tedious style of play was too much to bear. Fans deserted the stadium in their droves, reminding the club that they came to watch a match, not the defenders passing it between themselves.
He was replaced by the most surprising option. Former Wales coach Paul Trollope, a man with no managerial experience whatsoever, was expected to help guide Cardiff City back to the play offs and challenge for a place in the Premier league.
He lasted all of two months before he was unceremoniously fired. He was out of his depth as a manager, and he wasted a squad which had challenged for promotion the year prior. His hiring was a money-saving exercise by Vincent Tan which backfired immediately, and Cardiff City needed a rebuild of epic proportions.
Enter Neil Warnock. The journeyman manager was brought in during October that year in order to steady the ship and hopefully help Cardiff get back to winning ways.
He did that, and so, so much more. His first order of business was signing anyone with a pulse who was out of contract. It turned out to be a genius move – the likes of Sol Bamba and Junior Hoilett signed for free and within two seasons were playing in the Premier League.
Warnock led Cardiff City from the relegation zone to the Premier League in two campaigns. With his direct style of play which negated the need for a midfield entirely, he led Cardiff to a second placed finish, just behind the Portuguese colony of Wolverhampton Wanderers.
He suffered relegation in his only Premier League campaign but wasn’t sacked until results became too bad to ignore in the Championship the following season.
He was followed by former Millwall boss Neil Harris. He had all the play style of Warnock, but none of the results or warmth towards the fans. He lasted way too long before finally being binned by Vincent Tan.
Harris’ replacement was former Wolves and Ireland boss Mick McCarthy. Now at the tail end of his career, like Warnock, he was brought in to steady the ship. However, he went on a winning run which almost led Cardiff to another play off place.
This run may be the worst thing that could have happened. He was handed a permanent contract, which turned out only to run until November this year. Awful results matched only by the awful style of play (five centre backs is never the answer, Mick) made his position untenable and, to the joy of Cardiff fans, was sacked.
So, what next for the Bluebirds?
Steve Morison, former Wales striker and current Bluebirds under-23 boss, looks to be the fans’ front runner for the job. He’s worked wonders for the youth team, winning six in a row before McCarthy’s sacking and having them play a kind of football that Cardiff fans have wanted for years – kicking the ball on the ground sometimes.
He has spent three games as the caretaker manager of Cardiff, and the changes in style are immediately apparent. The Bluebirds’ play is infinitely more positive, with last season’s talismanic striker Kieffer Moore finally getting some support from young, marauding wingers.
Talents like Rubin Colwill and Isaak Davies are being given real chances in the first team, and the possibility of players progressing from the youth team to the first team seems like a real possibility. Not since the days of Aaron Ramsey and Joe Ledley have fans been so excited by the kids at Cardiff.
Morison may not be the most experienced manager. He may not be the best manager in the world. We’ll never know unless we try. But to watch him come back from 3-0 down to draw 3-3 in his first game, then do the same to win 2-1 against Huddersfield two weeks later, shows that he has the confidence to at least try and make something of this team.
Steve Morison should get the Cardiff City job because I am sick and tired of watching Sean Morrison listlessly smashing the ball forward, hoping for someone to accidentally score a goal.