Warnock leads Cardiff's bid for return to Premier League

Warnock leads the Cardiff bet to return to the Premier League

Warnock leads the Cardiff bet to return to the Premier League

Associated Press
News May 2, 2018, 18:32 IST


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The last time Cardiff was in the Premier League, the team was playing controversially with red shirts, had one of their highest profile managers in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, and was in the middle of a wild and Splendid era of expenses.

Four years later, the Welsh club is about to return to the most lucrative league in the world and it seems that sanity and order have been restored.

When Cardiff players face Reading on Sunday and need a victory to seal the automatic promotion, they will wear the traditional blue color of the 119-year-old club. They will be praised by one of the most astute and down-to-earth managers in the British game. And a hardworking and modestly assembled squad will be in it together.

"Sunday will be a massive day for everyone involved with the club," said Cardiff manager Neil Warnock. "It's a happy club now."

The uncontainable Warnock is largely responsible for that.

He was 68 years old, at that time the oldest coach working in Britain, when he was hired in October 2016 to take over the 15th club of his 36-year management career. He did not need the job, his plan was to retire a decade earlier, but the love for the game, especially in the tricky lower leagues of English football, brought him back.

Cardiff was in a mess. Penultimate in the second level League Championship, the club was in its third manager in six months and the owner of Malaysia, Vincent Tan, was containing the precipitous expense of a few years ago, after having come down from his controversial change of brand of Cardiff. – including the change of color from blue to red that caused fury among many fans. Certainly Warnock would not have the freedom that Solskjaer had in the transfer market: in his eight months in Cardiff inside and outside the Premier League, the former Manchester United striker who won the Champions League brought in 19 players, most of them failures. 19659021] googletag.cmd.push (function () {googletag.display (& # 39; div-gpt-ad-1471939899593-0 & # 39;);});

Opinionated, cheerful and with a contagious character, Warnock proved to be a perfect fit for Cardiff. He led the team to the end of the middle of the table at the end of his first season and has been the driving force behind an unlikely promotion campaign this season despite spending a fraction of the disbursement from rival clubs such as Aston Villa, Derby and Middlesbrough. [19659020] With Wolverhampton Wanderers sailing to the second level title, the second place was reduced to a fight between Cardiff and Fulham, who were relegated from the top flight in 2014 with only two points separating them.

Cardiff, the sandy fighters playing and fighting in the image of their manager. Fulham, the easy-to-use equipment of a prosperous area of ​​West London.

With a game to play, Cardiff is in second place and one point ahead of Fulham, whose last game is in Birmingham, as Reading, a team fighting for relegation For the winner, a place in the Premier League and a guaranteed windfall of at least $ 230 million, potentially much more. For the loser, a place in the playoffs and the potential for disappointment.

For Warnock, who is now 69, would be an eighth record promotion in English football and a fourth time as manager in the Premier League, after seasons with Sheffield United, Queens Park Rangers and Crystal Palace.

I would add a dash of charisma and color to the Premier League. Passion, too. One of the most memorable places in recent weeks was Warnock repeatedly swearing against Wolves manager Nuno Espirito Santo and walking away from him with disgust after a game last month. Espirito Santo rushed to the field after Cardiff missed two late penalties and Warnock described the Portuguese coach as a "disgrace".

His conversion from Callum Paterson from the right wing to an attacking midfielder underscored Warnock's intuition. In typical Warnock fashion, he took it lightly, saying: "When I hired him, I knew he would score six or seven goals as a full defense, but what he did not know is that he can not defend himself." [19659020] Fulham has 23 games undefeated in the league, dating back to December, when he was 18 points behind Cardiff. Ninety minutes on Sunday will determine if Londoners can snatch second place.

With Warnock in the lead, Cardiff will not abandon him without a fight.


Steve Douglas is on www.twitter.com/sdouglas80

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