Hey Big Spenders
It would be easy to write something praising Cardiff's impressive win against Wolves, there was much to admire in the way they overwhelmed a side that were plying their trade in the Premier League a few months ago. Instead, I would rather address the spending that enabled this performance and attempt to contextualise it in some way.
Cardiff have spent £9.65m on 10 players this summer, a figure that exceeds £10m if you factor in Filip Kiss, who has seen his loan spell made permanent. This is more than such European luminaries as Ajax, Newcastle United, PSV Eindhoven and Europa League holders Atletico Madrid.
When you consider that Cardiff were losing around £1m a month last season, Craig Bellamy's wages alone should double that figure, without factoring in other high earners such as Nicky Maynard and Kim Bo-Kyung. The recent spending is eye-watering and scares the life out of me.
It has become abundantly clear in recent months that a large number of fans do not seem particularly bothered with what goes on behind the scenes, just as long as the team is in good shape, so the masses will be delighted. But the current expenditure simply cannot be sustained, if they do not get promoted this year, things may get very ugly, very quickly.
With the Langstone debt yet to be settled and the small matter of the divisive rebranding in the background, it's just as well that the team are performing because the pressure will be huge if form dips. Fortunately, Malky has brought in some seasoned campaigners to shoulder the burden of expectation.
Heidar Helguson, Nicky Maynard, Matthew Connolly and Tommy Smith have all featured in promotion campaigns, Kim Bo-Kyung and Craig Bellamy are experienced internationals, while Jordan Mutch, Craig Noone, Kiss and Etien Velikonja are rich in potential. Joe Lewis will also provide stern competition for David Marshall, but the defence would appear to have been neglected amongst this unprecedented spending.
Lee Naylor, Paul Quinn, Darcy Blake and Anthony Gerrard have all departed with only Connolly recruited. Last season's greatest strength has now become the side's clear weakness. The back four is strong and established, with Connolly able to fill in across the defence, but Ben Turner's foot injury resulted in the promotion of youngster Ben Nugent to the bench on Sunday. It is clear that further absences will seriously compromise the team's aspirations and the loan market will have to be navigated in the near future, at further expense.
Cardiff's investors, watching a live feed beamed to Malaysia for the first time, will have been delighted at both the performance and the number of red shirts scattered throughout the stands. They may feel that their substantial expenditure and rebranding has been vindicated. Cardiff may exhibit a calm exterior, but make no mistake, they are paddling like crazy under the surface.
The rewards of success may be considerable, but the cost of failure would be grave.