Daniel Bevan* – great Welsh name – is an aspiring sportswriter and broadcaster, the founder of the In Off The Post podcast and blog and an ardent Cardiff City supporter. He says he saw our current predicament coming to the extent that he predicted another relegation for Sunderland this season. He hasn’t changed his mind. And he thinks his Bluebirds will continue to fly high but not beyond a playoff position …
Salut! Sunderland: doing OK, third top despite the disappointing recent run. Will Cardiff make top two or have to make do with the playoffs?
Daniel Bevan : I’ve always maintained that top two was unrealistic, even when we won the opening five games in a row. We don’t have the budget to compete with the likes of Wolves, and we’d be foo lish to splash that kind of cash now. Playoffs were always our ambition and fans would have bitten your hand off if you said that we’d be where we are now at the start of the season. Once you get to the playoffs it’s pot luck but even after this run of four defeats in a row we’re still two point off second. Anything could happen but if we don’t seriously strengthen in January then the best we can hope for is the playoffs.
What has gone right for the club – is it the manager, the owner’s efforts to get along better with the supporters, luck or a combinaton of these and/or other factors?
It’s the “Warnock effect”. If Cardiff had hired him instead of Paul Trollope then Cardiff would have made the playoffs last season. He’s spent very little and managed to get the best out of players that have previously been poor or average. I don’t think Vincent Tan deserves too much credit but if he was to give Neil money to spend in the winter window then I’d take my hat off to him.
Neil Warnock isn’t every neutral’s favourite manager but seems to be fairly effective. Is he the man to take you up and then keep you up?
He’s the kind of man that if you play against his team then you hate him, but if he’s your manager you love him. I don’t buy into the idea that Cardiff are long-ball merchants that kick the opposition all over the pitch, just look at the stats – it’s just not the case. 100 per cent – he’s the man to take Cardiff up but I’m not convinced about keeping us in the Premier League. The current squad is very far off Premier League quality and I’m not certain that he’d be willing to break the bank to put together a team that can compete. Neil’s all about proving people wrong, and no one thinks that you can stay up without spending at least a bit.
When he complained about the disallowed Hoilett goal at QPR, Warnock said he was now hoping for some dodgy decisions in Cardiff‘s favour. Surely you don’t need that to feel confident about beating us?
I think those comments were said out of frustration more than anything. We’ve had some incredibly poor officiating that has cost us point this season, especially in the last month or so. I wouldn’t write off Sunderland completely, Coleman knows how to sort a defence out. Our attackers will have to be on point in order to break down that defence.
I have always liked Hoilett. But who are the men doing the business and where is strengthening needed?
Junior Hoilett has ben Cardiff‘s best and most consistent player this season – by a long margin. Sean Morrison, who was injured in the game before our poor run began, has been fantastic too, as has Joe Ralls – although he has looked tired in the last two matches. The two areas that are in dire need of reinforcements are up front and in the centre of midfield. Not because the personnel that we’ve got aren’t good enough, but because they are all injured (slight exaggeration). Long term injuries to Aaron Gunnarsson and Danny Ward, as well as knocks to Craig Byrson and Omar Bogle have left us incredibly thin I those areas, so new addition are needed urgently.
What have been your highlights as a Cardiff supporter?
There’s been a few. Four matches at Wembley in the FA cup semi-final, FA Cup final, Playoff Final and League Cup Final were all great but we lost them all. It has to be the promotion to the promotions as Champions in 2012/13.
And the lowest points?
Supporting Cardiff City is a bit of a roll-a-coaster. For every high, there’s an even lower low. Relegation from the BPL after one season was bad but when we sacked Paul Trollope – that was the worst positon had been in that I had seen. Luckily Neil Warnock was there to save us because we were on a fast-track to relegation until then.
The best players you’ve seen in your colours or wish you’d been around to see in the past?
Gary Medel was the best player that I’ve seen play for Cardiff but we arguably over paid for him. I wish I had been around to see Robin Friday. If you haven’t heard of him them Google him – there’s a reason they’re making a film about his life.
And the worst?
Guylain Ndumbu Nsungu. I’m lucky enough to be too young to remember him playing but I’m reliably informed that he was by far the worst to don the Cardiff kit.
Thoughts on Sunderland: the club, the fans, the region/city, Chris Coleman?
I don’t really have any strong opinions about the club itself, although the way the Adam Johnson case was handled by the board was disgraceful. The fans are clearly passionate about the club and deserve better than what they’ve got at the moment. As for Chris Coleman, I think he is massively overrated as a manger. Yes, what he did with Wales in 2016 was amazing but they should have walked the group they were in and he was too stubborn to make changes when they were needed.
If not dealt with above, were you surprised at our downfall or did you see it coming?
I don’t mean to brag but I did. In fact I predicted you lot to be relegated again at the start of the season. The club is in dire straits, from the outside looking in at least, and not even Chris Coleman can fix your problems.
Who, if anyone, would you take from our squad?
Lewis Grabban or Didier Ndong
Hand on heart, where will Sunderland finish (you’ll have answered for Cardiff in the first reply)?
I’m sorry to say I do think that you’ll be playing in League One next season.
The Niasse question: are retrospective punishments just what was needed or too little, too late?
They are all right for now but I’m a massive advocate for more technology in football like video referees and replays. The game is far too fast for officials now, at least then the blame will be taken off of them.
What will be the score?
I’m going to say 2-1 to Cardiff.
Daniel on himself: I’m a journalism student at the University of South Wales and an aspiring broadcaster and writer. I host the In Off The Post Podcast which you can find on YouTube and SoundCloud – it’s a fun show that I do with some friends from Uni and it’s come very far in a short amount of time. Follow me on Twitter @DanBevJourno – to keep up to date with what I’m up to (or to tell me I’m wrong).