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Cardiff & Swansea - taking Wales into the Premier League?

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Paul Fletcher | 18:57 UK time, Sunday, 7 November 2010

At the Cardiff City Stadium.

The Wales national football team might be as far away as always from qualifying for a major tournament but, in other respects, Welsh football is in rude health.

Gareth Bale is rapidly establishing a reputation as one of the world's most talented players, while both Cardiff and Swansea look equipped to end Wales's long wait for a club to reach the Premier League.

The two rivals met at the Cardiff City Stadium on Sunday for what many had described as one of the most anticipated south Wales derbies in recent history.

Swans boss Brendan Rodgers said that the build-up during the preceding week had brought to mind a Champions League final, while Cardiff skipper Craig Bellamy claimed that with both teams in top form everyone should look forward a "treat".

The hype was easy to understand as the Bluebirds led the Championship table going into the weekend, and the Swans were none too shabby themselves, two places below their rivals.

Cardiff had triumphed in their previous five fixtures, scoring 14 goals in the process, while Swansea had won four and drawn two of their previous six league matches. Perhaps more impressively, the Swans had not conceded a league goal since their 3-2 win at Watford on 28 September - a total of 455 minutes.

Cardiff's Craig Bellamy tries to get the referee's attention

Craig Bellmany (right) is desperate for Cardiff to play in the Premier League [Getty Images]

It all hinted at an exciting and atmospheric encounter, but ultimately it was an afternoon that belonged to Swansea, who went in as underdogs but won 1-0 to firmly underline their promotion credentials.

Speaking to the press afterwards, Cardiff boss Dave Jones maintained that it had been a tight encounter, with very little to separate the two teams. Several times he came back to the individual error made by defender Gabor Gyepes, who had allowed Marvin Emnes to turn on the edge of the box before striking home from 20 yards for the only goal of the game.

Rodgers felt that his team thoroughly deserved their victory - and I find it difficult to disagree with the Ulsterman's analysis.

"Our idea is always to control and dominate the game and the courage the players showed to do that at Cardiff was incredible," said the 37-year-old Rodgers, whose own playing career was ended by injury at the age of 20.

"Going forward our invention and use of space was fantastic. It gives us confidence. I said to the players after the match that if they did not believe before that they can compete with anyone, then they surely must now."

There is a feeling on the Gower Peninsula that the Swans are not given the recognition they deserve for the attractive and intelligent brand of passing football they play.

Rodgers has apparently joked with his players that everyone coming to Wales stops in Cardiff but does not bother to travel any further. He expressed the hope that with Sunday's match broadcast live on BBC Two, Swansea's stylish game will have deservedly exposed to a wider audience.

Swansea normally line up in a 4-3-3 formation and look to dominate possession, as they did at Cardiff. Jones had a gentle dig at them when he suggested that Swansea's central defenders spend more time on the ball than any of their other players, but I thought Cardiff were outplayed.

Last season, with Paulo Sousa in charge, the Swans' play-off push ran out of steam, with the club finishing seventh and finding the net just 40 times in their 46 league games. But they look al ot more potent this campaign and created several good openings on Sunday.

They are content to knock the ball around in their own half until an opening appears but then they attack with pace and skill. The two wide attacking players of summer recruit Scott Sinclair and Nathan Dyer were extremely effective, while midfielder Andrea Orlandi impressed with his precise distribution. He played one particularly incisive pass midway through the first half that sent Dyer through on goal.

Mark Gower, a winger turned deep-sitting midfielder, was effective in his holding role, while 20-year-old Joe Allen showed that his side will not be bullied by squaring up to Michael Chopra in the final minutes.

I watched League One leaders Brighton on Tuesday and I thought Swansea were similar not only in their style of play but also the excellent understanding that the players have of the system they play and their roles within it.

Swansea's start to the season must be hugely satisfying for Rodgers, who was by no means the first choice to succeed Sousa after he left for Leicester.

Rodgers had been sacked from his previous role as Reading boss last December after just 21 games in charge. He had perhaps tried to change the style of play too quickly after succeeding Steve Coppell and the team were in the Championship relegation zone when he left.

But Rodgers, who counts Jose Mourinho as a close friend and is very highly rated as a coach, seems to be an excellent fit at Swansea, who have played a 4-3-3 system for several years.

"As a group we are very humble," added Rodgers. "You will not find us shouting about promotion. We have had a terrific start and I am delighted we won in front of the cameras but there are 31 games left and it is very important to be consistent in this league."

Bluebirds midfielder Peter Whittingham admitted recently that everyone in the squad thinks it is their year to finally win promotion.

It is easy to understand their confidence as they boast some incredible attacking weapons in Bellamy, Michael Chopra, Chris Burke, Jay Bothroyd and Whittingham. In recent weeks they have blown teams away, with their 4-0 win at Leeds on 25 October a real statement of intent.

However, Bothroyd was suspended on Sunday and, although he claimed during the week that Cardiff did not need him, I thought his absence was keenly felt. He is the fulcrum of the side and, just as Cardiff did not recover after he limped out of May's play-off final defeat by Blackpool, they do not look as effective without him.

Bothroyd is not only in good goalscoring form this season, with 12 goals already, but he links up play and is an excellent foil for the pacey players that surround him. Swansea were also without the influential Darren Pratley, but they did not seem to suffer as much from the absence of one of their key players.

Sunday's match was a rich contrast of styles, with Swansea dominating possession and Cardiff relying on swift counter-attacks. The home team's best opening came direct from a long kick by goalkeeper Tom Heaton that saw Bellamy elude the otherwise impressive Angel Rangel but fail to beat goalkeeper Dorus De Vries. Perhaps not surprisingly, Cardiff have an excellent record away from home, when the onus is on opposition teams to push forward.

Boss Jones did not sound overly concerned as he discussed the impact of the result. "It is not something that will come to define our season," he said. "If you lose a derby game it is like you have shot the Pope but if we lose both derby games and yet get out of the division, I think everyone would take that."

Swansea defender Garry Monk agreed, stating: "Cardiff have class all over the pitch and this result will not effect them much, they will be strong again."

Sunday was one of those days for Cardiff when nothing quite went right. They might have salvaged a point late on, but Bellamy scuffed his far-post header. He put his head in his hands in disbelief in a gesture that accurately summed up Cardiff's afternoon.

At the end of last season there was a mood of despondency hanging over both Cardiff and Swansea after their respective seasons ended in disappointment and I'm told that the expectations of supporters in both cities were relatively modest at the start of the current campaign.

Yet disillusion has quickly given way to a burgeoning belief and in its own curious way, Sunday was a celebration of a definite change of mood in south Wales.

And it might just be that the next time the two teams meet at the Cardiff City Stadium they are contesting a Premier League fixture.

You can follow me throughout the season at twitter.com/Paul__Fletcher

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    What did you think of the two incidents with Chopra on Allen? From the replays both the high tackle and the stamp could have resulted in straight red cards. I can only assume the referee wasn't watching as he didn't even give a free kick for the first one and booked both players for a bit of pushing after the second one.

  • Comment number 2.

    An excellent analysis!

    As a game, I don't think it was a great advert for Welsh football or anything like as exciting as recent games between the two sides but that was simply down to the professional job Swansea did on their more illustrious neighbours. After four consecutive away defeats at the start of the season the Swans have realised that, as an away side, it's not their job to entertain home crowds and the results now speak for themselves!

  • Comment number 3.

    Great article, fantastic to have some recognition...

  • Comment number 4.

    Thoroughly deserved victory for the Swans here.

    Cardiff were absolutely shocking in so many areas. The biggest failing was the inability to change tactically to the loss of Bothroyd, why they kept knocking long balls up to Keogh is beyond me. They're failure to switch to two up front t at least give the defence something to think about was also baffling. Ironically with the players they had on the field I believe if they had adopted Swansea's tactics (get the ball out to the wings with pace) they would have won.

  • Comment number 5.

    And yes Chopra should have gone for that first challenge, its the second time this season he has got away with a potential legbreaker now.

  • Comment number 6.

    They play 4-5-1 not 4-3-3. And they wait for mistakes instead of trying to create anything, passing the ball around in their own half and passing back to their keeper from the half way line. Boring but effective.

  • Comment number 7.

    The FAW need to give Chopra a ban. Not mainly for the potential leg breaking challenge, but stamping on someone should just be outlawed. Glad Swansea won, I think there is a high possibility we will have 2 Welsh premier league sides next year which will be amazing. Cardiff will win the league as long as Bothroyd stays fit, and Swansea will either finish 2nd or be in the play off final if things keep going as they are.

  • Comment number 8.

    They play 4-5-1 not 4-3-3. And they wait for mistakes instead of trying to create anything, passing the ball around in their own half and passing back to their keeper from the half way line. Boring but effective.
    --------------
    You keep telling yourself that Jimmy. Last season yes but the Swans created much more than Cardiff despite being the sway side, that has been the case for us all season.

  • Comment number 9.

    4-5-1 When defending, 4-3-3 when attacking.

    Cardiff will learn that your don't get promoted in October

  • Comment number 10.

    That's half time in Swansea's season, as long as they beat Cardiff home and away that's all that matters and they don't care if they get relegated. Small town mentality, big chip on their shoulders. Watch them fade while we get promoted.

  • Comment number 11.

    Sorry Jimmy, only oe small-minded person on this blog so far and he seems to be a cardiff fan.

    3 points today was far more important because it keeps us up with the first 2 in the league than because it was cardiff.

  • Comment number 12.

    Yet again we have proved we don't have a plan b when bothroyd is injured. Dropping Burke was a big mistake as was changing the shape of the team with 2 holding midfield players. Drinkwater hasn't kicked a ball for nearly 2 months and throwing him into a south Wales derby proved too much. Jones comments again about another defensive mistake. These mistakes need to stop otherwise it's going to cost us against good sides as today has shown. Fingers crossed bothroyd doesn't injure himself this season. Still think Cardiff will go up (with the purchase of a top centre back in January). Sorry DJ u got it badly wrong today and no it's not just a normal game!

  • Comment number 13.

    Dave Jones has only won 1 out of a possible 6 South Wales derby games I believe. Is it fair to say hecan't motivate his side for the big games? Wembley final defeats another example.

  • Comment number 14.

    Hello Paul,

    Thanks for some good analysis (it was not possible to see the game from abroad), not only of the actual game but of the possible psychological effect of the result between bitter rivals.

    I fully agree with HackerJack that the result was important because it keeps Swansea in touch with the leaders and opened a gap to 4th place. Given recent seasons of playing plaudit-winning football, I can't believe that Swansea fans would be satisfied with relegation as long as they beat Cardiff.

    Prior to the game, I did think that Cardiff would miss Bothroyd more than Swansea would miss Pratley (and I hope that that doesn't become an invitation for clubs to come and buy Pratley - he really can make Swansea tick) but that it would still be a game full of chances. Interesting to read of the clash of styles, too.

    I really do feel that Swansea are in a prime position now. Not conceding a league goal for 9 hours, including against the top two, is really quite impressive. I am not completely familiar with the boardroom scene but it seems to me that Huw Jenkins is running a tight, stable ship and, with the correct people is place (full marks to Brendan Rodgers and his staff), the club looks in excellent shape to take that step up (deep breath).

    Not to belittle Cardiff's achievements. They are not near the top of the division by accident and I'm sure they will be in the frame come May.

    For now, I am happy to consider the prospect of both teams making it into the Premiership. I wonder if that would ruffle a few feathers elsewhere ... ?

  • Comment number 15.

    Burke could have started. It wouldn't have made any difference. The mighty Alan Tate handled him easily enough when he came on.

    Cardiff are nothing without Bothroyd. A typical route one side comprised of giants and speed merchants. It's effective if not particularly easy on the eye, and risky if the big lump upfront is unavailable or off his game.

    The Premiership already has a Stoke City. It'll be a pity for the league if another one gets there too.

  • Comment number 16.

    A big win for Welsh footbal yesterday as well as a win for the Swans.

    Good stuff all round.

    Jimmy, having worked and lived in both Cardiff & Swansea over the years before going back overseas, I'd have to say that the big chips sit on the shoudlers of both sets of residents, slightly bigger ones in Cardiff. Shame people have to be so negative about their fellow countrymen.

    Be great to see them both go up but I wonder if that will open the floddgates for those clubs & others who claim Cardiff owe them money? Will it trigger some legal action I wonder? It'll be an unwelcome distraction....

  • Comment number 17.

    Don't think Burke starting would have made much difference, it's the shape that was the problem. When Burke did come on DJ should have gone 4-4-2, put Bellamy and Chopra up front with Whits out on the left, at least it would have made Swansea defence think a little.

  • Comment number 18.

    Be interesting to see how the FA reacts if/when a Welsh team does reach the Premiership.
    Could bring the Swans/Cardiff membership of the FAW into question.
    Swansea need to leave that Cardiff orientated organisation anyway, and as quickly as possible, hopefully our promotion would speed up that process.

  • Comment number 19.

    BBC Wales, your team took one heck of a beating! ;)

    A decent advertisement for Welsh football. A shame about Chopra and Bellamy resorting to dirty play to try and gain an advantage but it didn't pay off this time.

    Maybe the press will finally give us the credit we deserve now. We've finished just outside the play-offs 2 seasons in a row and seem to be given mid table obscurity at best as a predicted finish. We are probably one or two players away from being a domanant force in this division. I expect (hope) Ferrie Bodde will be one of those players. I'd love to see him in action before the season ends.

    Anyway, the best team won. Let the Jacks march on!

  • Comment number 20.

    Oh, before I forget. Anyone disagree that 'Man of the Match' was Alan Tate?

  • Comment number 21.

    I can't believe how little is being said about the Chopra 'tackle'. I genuinely cannot know how the referee failed to send him off as the replays show it happens right under his nose, and it wasn't exactly blink and you'll miss it.

    Anyway, seemed a decent advert for Welsh football, still think that Cardiff will get promotion and Swansea will finish in the playoffs. Good luck to both sides.

    COYB

  • Comment number 22.

    Huw Jenkins seems to be rarely mentioned, but I've been hugely impressed at how he has managed to maintain continuity and growth at the club over the last few seasons while spending within our means.
    He is an example to other chairmen around the country that you don't have to go and spend big to be up there challenging. It just takes some discipline, talent and hard work.
    So well done Huw, your achievements haven't gone unnoticed - unlike chopra's leg breaker yesterday and the stamp later on, how on earth did he stay on the pitch?

    Well done Swans, it really looked like a sophisticated european style against 'lump it up front and hope for the best'.
    Still hope we both go up though.

  • Comment number 23.

    We have heroes everywhere in the club, from Huw through to Joey Allen.

    Epic performance from the boys yesterday, and having been there, I couldn't care less if some "football fans" think we pass it between our centre backs, because a) Manchester Utd, Arsenal, Chelsea, Inter Milan and every other quality footballing team do the same, and B) we completely outplayed an opposition of supposedly much higher calibre.

    Chopra should have been sent off, Olafinjana went down the back of peoples achilles 3 times, and that's just what I remember.

    I am more excited about the Swans than I ever have been, and seeing my "99/00 Div 3 Champions" flag every day reminds me just how far we've come in only 10 crazy, rollercoaster years.

  • Comment number 24.

    Now then,

    First up, thanks for all the comments. I get the definite impression that most of the people who have posted on this blog so far come at it from a very definite perspective.

    As much as I was impressed by Swansea, I don't think it is fair to say that Cardiff are simply a team who lump it long. Yes, they like to attack quickly but that does not mean they bang it forward in a crude manner (although that does happened every now and again, as it does in most teams).

    As for the Chopra tackle on Joe Allen. I know that a few of the Swans players were privately very angry with it - and I can fully understand why. I don't think Chopra has done himself much credit there. Losing was disappointing enough for Cardiff but they could easily have been without him for another three games.

  • Comment number 25.

    Paul, Cardiff are a typically British Up-and-under, up-and-at-em team. Swansea have a high risk, continental ball retention pass-and-move style. Those that like it 'in the mixer', lots of arm waving and snarling, are never going to be Swansea fans.
    There is a perception that the way to play Swansea is to match up across the middle, and/or intimidate. This is unlikely to work for all of 90 mins if the style is alien. Dave Jones made a mistake in not trusting his team nor the supporters at home, by compromising his own team's style, in sitting back, and only reverting to it with the 'over half the field' long balls, resulting in not getting the usual support there quick enough because they were too deep.
    There was a suggestion by representatives of BBC Cardiff that the game was 'tame'. Well I guessed the cameras were only there because they thought there'd be a bit of blood (tut tut), and it would showcase Cardiff. For me, the professionalism of the Swans by sticking to their style and playing the game not the occasion was brilliant. Cardiff on the other hand got it wrong with the set up, and of course they missed their totem/target man.
    I have to mention Chopras leg breaker 'challenge' and the later petulant stamp, both occasions deserving a red card. There should be some means of retrospectively dealing with behaviour like that if the ref doesn't have the bottle on the day.
    Cardiff are a strong side and I'm sure that reverting to their usual methods will bring them success in this league. In the meantime if I want to enjoy a game of proper football I'll be taking an interest in where Swansea play next and firing up my satnav.

  • Comment number 26.

    A good read, as always.
    I only caught the second half but the result seemed about right, I think both teams could go close this season to be fair.
    Not sure about Robbie Savage in the commentary box though... "that's the chance I said you always get in injury time, I said they wouldn't get it but there you go".
    http://scottssportsandsocial.blogspot.com/

  • Comment number 27.

    I support Reading but have a passing interest in how Rodgers is doing these days. I agree that Cardiff were outplayed yesterday - the silence of the crowd said it all really. Swansea look a decent side this year and the two fast players coming from wide are a real threat. I don't see them finishing above Cardiff this year but both will be in the top 6.

  • Comment number 28.

    Both teams shouldnt even be in the English Leagues. They should be in the league of Wales where they belong. They could be playing Champions League if they did.

  • Comment number 29.

    Agree mostly with what's been said so far, I thought yesterday was a victory for finesse over thuggery and as such was a great result for the game in general.

    What disappoints me about Cardiff is that they are more than capable of winning games through their evident skill and technique, yet every time I've seen them play they've resorted to dirty tactics instead. Chopra in particular has been the worst culprit for this on several occasions, and it's shocking that he's still getting away with it even now.

    I'm made up for Swansea though and really hope they can sustain their momentum and do well this season (with the exception of their upcoming game against Donny, that is...) - they're a great side to watch with an excellent bunch of fans and have always played in the right spirit.

    I suspect Cardiff will still get promotion this season regardless of the score yesterday, but I remain unconvinced of their ability to challenge at Premier League level just yet.

  • Comment number 30.

    Must admit that the Swans seemed to want to win the game where Cardiff were lacking in drive, flair and invention. Dave Jones is a cracking manager and he cannot be seen to say that his side were awful - they were. He must reflect today. I think I must have seen a different game to the one he saw! Long way to go but you cannot afford to throw away home games against anyone in this division and Cardiff still need someone to dominate across the back. Drinkwater isn't the quality that I was expecting and Keogh was totally ineffective.

  • Comment number 31.

    28. At 12:51pm on 08 Nov 2010, drdavrob1 wrote:

    "Both teams shouldnt even be in the English Leagues. They should be in the league of Wales where they belong. They could be playing Champions League if they did."

    Maybe the English FA shouldn't have invited us all those years ago. I don't hear similar calls for Monaco to do the same in the French league. If you're looking for a precedent for allowing Swansea and Cardiff to represent the Premier league in Europe at a future date, just look in the French league.

  • Comment number 32.

    "As for the Chopra tackle on Joe Allen. I know that a few of the Swans players were privately very angry with it - and I can fully understand why. I don't think Chopra has done himself much credit there. Losing was disappointing enough for Cardiff but they could easily have been without him for another three games."

    In case the FAW are reading this, you can see the incident again on iPlayer (1:38 into the programme, 70 mins into the match). I'm never sure about the rules on which incidents can be reviewed later, but I don't think the referee saw the incident (didn't give a free kick or speak to Chopra), so this could be one for retrospective action.

  • Comment number 33.

    6. At 10:46pm on 07 Nov 2010, Jimmy_Gilligan wrote:
    They play 4-5-1 not 4-3-3. And they wait for mistakes instead of trying to create anything, passing the ball around in their own half and passing back to their keeper from the half way line. Boring but effective.

    ===============================================================
    Ignorance is bliss.

    I support neither team and just happened to have the tv on at 1pm yesterday. Started watching the match and I could not believe the style with which Swansea play! Fantastic football, players who want to keep hold of the football.

    Jack Wilshere is earning rave reviews as a young British (would normally say English!) midfield player who is comfortable in possesion. I think it's probably easier to be like that if you play in the Arsenal team, but this whole Swansea team play with that style. Very impressive, especially in a derby match.

    Would look forward to welcoming the Swans into the Premiership.

    p.s. what happened to Craig Bellamy? Last year he was Man City's best player! From what I saw yesterday, he looked distinctly average. Perhaps he's not quite as good as he thinks he is...

  • Comment number 34.

    Didn't someone say Craig Bellamy was a Champions League quality player? On yesterday's showing, he looked more like a Unibond League quality player.

  • Comment number 35.

    Yep, he defo seemed like a big time Charlie out there yesterday. Once it was clear he was having no impact on the game in a constructive sense, he started kicking people then trying to give it the big "I am". I hate players like that; you're only as good as your last game!

    Anyway back to the topic in hand; I think it would be good if both Cardiff and Swansea went up. Premiership would be all the better for it.

    And specifically to Swansea, teams like West Brom, Blackpool and Wigan show it's possible to compete in that league whilst still playing football. Hope they stick to their guns...

  • Comment number 36.

    Pains me to say but Swansea outplayed Cardiff and deserved the win.

    Cardiff were definitely lacking something and need to have a plan B (as well as a plan C & D!)

    I am hopeful that Cardiff will make it this year but I've been a Bluebirds fan for far too long to start shouting about being in the premier league until it's written in stone. Last two years were only the most recent "nearly but not quite" moments in my years of supporting Cardiff.

  • Comment number 37.

    "Both teams shouldnt even be in the English Leagues. They should be in the league of Wales where they belong. They could be playing Champions League if they did."

    Probably a bit late for that! Swansea (and possibly Cardiff) have only ever played in the English Leagues for the 100 or so years they have been in existence.

    I remember when Swansea were in the old First Division in the early 80s they were in the top few places all season and in with a good chance of finishing in the UEFA Cup qualifying places. If I remember correctly, they were told that they would not be allowed to play in the UEFA Cup as they would not be allowed to represent England in a European competition. I seem to remember the end of the season being a bit of a disappointment with nothing to play for, just giving the reserves a run out for the last few games.

    The added complication at that time was that, although they didn't play in the Welsh League, the Welsh teams in the Football League (Swansea, Cardiff, Wrexham and Newport) all played in the Welsh FA Cup (as well as the English FA Cup) and could qualify for the old European Cup Winners' Cup through this route. I think this all stopped at least 10 years ago, so clubs would either play all their competition in England or Wales, not a a mix of the two. You would think that, once the FA have decided on the criteria for putting clubs into Europe based on their performance in FA sanctioned competitions, then all clubs invited to play in those competitions would be treated equally.

  • Comment number 38.

    @31 - Except Monaco don't have a national league or national football team which is a member of Fifa/Uefa. Wales on the other hand does. Unfortunately your precedent is worthless. AS Monaco don't have any domestic league to play in, so play in the French league system. In addition, there is no Monegasque national team, so the concept of them being in the French league structure does not compromise any status they have within UEFA - as the Monegasque FA is not a member.

    By all means, Cardiff and Swansea are welcome into the English Premier League but under no circumstances should be allowed into any European competition. Unless of course they are willing to drop into the Welsh league system.

  • Comment number 39.

    Aarfy_Aardark - You're right about Monaco but there are other precedents. A team from Liechtenstein plays in the Swiss league, Wellington of NZ play in Australia's League, Canada are soon going to have 3 clubs in the MLS, a Northern Irish team plays in the Republic of Ireland's league, even an English side, Berwick Rangers, plays in Scotland! There are lots of examples. If Cardiff or Swansea are at some stage one of the best placed teams in the Premier League then they've earned a place in European Competition. Incidentally, it is not called the "English" Premier League, nor has the Football League got "English" anywhere in the title.

    Anyway, as for the derby, as a Cardiff fan I was thoroughly disappointed with the performance more than the result, it really was a shocker and it was alarming how we played as if Bothroyd was there up front. I also agree that Chopra should have been sent off, the whole thing was depressing.
    We are of course capable of playing exciting passing football, we score plenty of goals but nothing went right yesterday. Swansea were much the better team and I hope they finish a close 2nd to us this season!

  • Comment number 40.

    When the Football League was formed in the 1880s the word 'English' was deliberately left out of the name as it was hoped that in future seasons clubs from England, Scotland and Wales would join. The Scottish clubs didn't join and formed their own league but the Welsh clubs did.

    There is also a team that plays its games in England but plays in the Welsh league pyramid and is allowed to represent Wales in European competitions.

    TNS play at Park Hall, Oswestry, Shropshire, ENGLAND.

    And stretching it a bit, the English team from Chester, not sure what they are called these days, play their home matches in Wales. I believe their stadium is right on the border. The pitch is in Wales but the clubhouse is in England, or something like that.

  • Comment number 41.

    Plenty of decent opinions flying around on this page, shame that it couldn't have lasted.

    There is always ONE xenophobe that has to ruin it.

    Why the worry about our inclusion into the pyramid system?

    It has never been a problem...UNTIL it looked as though one of our two teams may actually achieve something and get a chance to play in, arguably, the best league in the world. Get over it and embrace the fact that there might be a team from a different country in the Prem next year.

  • Comment number 42.

    With regard to

    "Both teams shouldnt even be in the English Leagues. They should be in the league of Wales where they belong. They could be playing Champions League if they did."

    and

    "Maybe the English FA shouldn't have invited us all those years ago. I don't hear similar calls for Monaco to do the same in the French league. If you're looking for a precedent for allowing Swansea and Cardiff to represent the Premier league in Europe at a future date, just look in the French league."

    it's unfair to compare with Monaco. The key thing here is that unlike the principality of Monaco, there is a Welsh FA and a Welsh League. Whenever there is talk of Celtic/Rangers joining the English Premier League, FIFA's response is that it would not be allowed because Scotland has its own FA and league.

    The Welsh clubs are only in the English leagues because they joined ages ago. It wouldn't be allowed today.

    The really amusing thing is that the supporters of these clubs seem proud at the prospect of Welsh representation in the English Premier League, yet in most other walks of life cannot distance themselves far enough from all that is English. Money really does talk...

  • Comment number 43.

    As a Welshman (though chelsea fan) i was looking forward to the match on sunday as a neutral. i have to say that i expected a close match and a cardiff win, but instead was very impressed with swansea, though a bit disappointed with the match itself.

    i thought they were excellent, even without pratley, with the 2 wingers very impressive, outshining the cardiff attack. As for Bellamy, to say he's suddenly a poor player is ignorant, what robbie savage correctly said in my view was that everything bellamy did was 1 and 2 touch - he is on a different level for his teammates unfortunately.

    i was one of those who was sceptical about rodgers, but have to say that he's won me over. he seems tactically astute, and his connections have greatly aided the swans, asreflected in the signing of sinclair.

    I'm looking forward to seeing a welsh club in what will be the english/welsh premier league.

  • Comment number 44.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 45.

    Well, it's taken 44 comments, but finally weidao99 chips in and sums it up perfectly.

    As you rightly say, weidao, we do want to have some different things and I agree that Swansea mixed things up much more effectively than Cardiff. I also agree with you that Swansea brought a different surprise.

    As for exotic gifts - well Andrea Orlandi was indeed a free transfer, so you're spot on again, weidao.

    It's all about the benefits of thing, definitely.

  • Comment number 46.

    Given the shockingly unfair amount of TV time last year on the BBC, Newcastle still entertained the nation as the BBC ramped up it's football league profile.

    Now I am not one for such one sided preferential treatment to any team, however coming from someone who has great joy watching the likes of Manchester United and Arsenal... if I was pushed to choose a team that replaces Newcastle in another show of BBC biasy, then Swansea City would be that team.

    More Championship games need to be shown on the BBC, and if I had to put up with the free flowing, fluidic, clinical and accurate passing game of Swansea City every week then it would be the best of an unfortunate arrangement.

    Swansea City's style is simply beautiful to watch and I seem to remember them playing simular to this last year, but with less of an end product. So being forced to watch this type of football everyweek as opposed to Newcastle's style last year would mean a better year of quality football on show.

    Atleast if the BBC did this Swansea City would be there off of their own backs, whereas BBC played for the more glamourous aspect being being overly bias towards the Northern club at the expense of a team that is better at passing. Because if I remember rightly, despite not getting the result under Sousa's negative play... Swansea did outpass the Geordies in both games.

    I think Swansea has a wonderful future in front of them, if not short term. Perhaps that club can keep this style of play at it's heart and really why would any new incoming manager want to change that? It is very effective.

    I think people need to think deeper about this... if the coaching team is all responsible for this type of play then what about the Swansea Youth?

    I have heard rumours they have their kids learning the passing game already. Things could get very interesting at that club. Good luck Swansea, it is always nice to see a club live it's dreams through hard work and dedication over money.

    To finish, as for Chopra.... I think a ban is in order. This is not the first time this season he has gone in with a high tackle, this man needs to be disciplined.

  • Comment number 47.

    #46 - respect for the thoughtful comments on the Swans, you could throw in a chairman who seems to have an uncanny knack of spotting young managerial talent, and a 'careful' nature with the cash, and he's local - an old school chairman if you will. As for Chopra, much as i too was moved to hoy my shandy at the telly when he done it for like the 3rd time, if the Ref, who was weak I thought, doesn't pick it up, you can't ban him after I'd say

  • Comment number 48.

    Swansea & Cardiff fought hard to remain in the Football leaugue when the Welsh league was formed a few years back. went to Court I think. See FIFA was griping that Wales had a vote when they didn't have a league, (another reason why FIFA is anti UK, cos UK & Ireland get like 5 votes, and they assume collusion, Ha). Anyways they formed the league and expected Swans, Cardiff and Wrexham to join. And they were like errrrrr no way old dude, so then the officials said well then you cant play in the Welsh Cup, and the clubs were like 'bothered!'

    So does anyone know if the Welsh clubs would be allowed in the champions leaugue if they qualified? Unlikely I know but it would be good to find out. It's all FIFA's doing, that's why the celtic nations dont wanna have thier players in London 2012 olympics, cos they don't trust FIFA not to take away thier votes. Which is a shame for Mr G. Bale of Hertfordshire who could have led the GB team to glory and answered the 'what if he was English' lot.

    it doesn't seem fair to me, especially as clubs from say, Israel can play in CL no worries.

    And the Eurovision song contest

  • Comment number 49.

    I tell you what .. only english players should be able to represent english clubs in europe. Maybe the top 6 clubs can pool their english players to put out a representative side then.

  • Comment number 50.

    The English Premier League is for English teams - Cardiff and Swansea should not be even in the championship!

  • Comment number 51.

    davt99,

    There is no such thing as the ENGLISH Premier League.

    It is the Premier League.

    Welsh clubs have not been given a gimme into the top tier. IF they make it, then they have earnt the right to be there. They have not had any special treatment & have had just as much chance of making it as any of the ENGLISH teams in the pyramid.

    Get over the fact they are from Wales and try to open your mind up a little.

  • Comment number 52.

    Honestly, I'm really not sure there is any mileage left at all in the argument that Cardiff and Swansea should not play in the English leagues.

    I'm sure, however, that the argument will crop up again if either or both of them win promotion. Which I think at least one will do this season.

  • Comment number 53.

    Doesn't matter anyhow. Qpr are head and shoulders the best team in the Championship anyway.

  • Comment number 54.

    So if Cardiff or Swansea are "allowed" to play in the Premier League because they have earned that right through promotion - does that mean that either Celtic or Rangers would be "allowed" to earn that right by gaining entry into one of the lower leagues ?

  • Comment number 55.

    I think the few English people who have come here to complain should be less worried about Welsh clubs playing in their leagues and instead worry about the best English teams leaving England to play in a Euro league. If they do that they'll take that Sky money that English football so geavily relies on with them.

    The FA, FIFA and UEFA would not stop the Welsh clubs going into Europe anyway, there would be a global PR disaster for them if they ruled that way and a court case they could do without.

    And finally... the teams are not representing England. They are respresenting the league they play in. I wish some people would think about what they say before they say it because it makes them look really stupid (and racist in the instance).

    Everyone was happy before these two teams looked good for promotion into the Premiership, it is very small of those few people to suddenly develop this mentality. I personally put it down to a mixture of xenophobia and jealousy.

    I look forward to seeing either one of them get promoted because it will annoy the hell out of this horrible minority!

  • Comment number 56.

    I think that a ban on Welsh teams in European competitions is illogical.
    UEFA would want to be on the end of a massive court case and Swansea and or Cardiff suing them for millions that they would get if they were in european competitions.
    There was talk of Swansea joining the English FA anyway, due to the FAW board seeming to be blue shirted.

    There may be a massive argument about it, but there is no way Welsh clubs would be barred from Europe, TNS were in Europa League qualifying, despite being the same skill level as Swansea's reserve team.

  • Comment number 57.

    #50 davt99 - Well fine then, lets chuck Glamorgan out the County Championship as well is it?

    we'll Barricade the Severn Bridge and then see how the Midlands and Merseyside does without Welsh water

    robbie chest!

  • Comment number 58.

    More relevant is how would the Prem League feel about the fact that Swans & Cardiff players are disciplined by FAW and not the FA?

    TNS are eligible cos they do play in the Welsh league, that's the key factor

  • Comment number 59.

    And.....thats why I'm a season ticket holder based in Carlisle! What a game and honestly feel that we are in the frame this year for the playoffs ...at least!

  • Comment number 60.

    Personally I don't think you can say Swans didn't miss Pratley because they won or Cardiff needed Boothroyd because they lost

  • Comment number 61.

    Comparing with Monaco is silly. Instead you need to look at TNS, an English based club allowed to represent Wales (and have done so recently). They are however FAW members, not FA. So Cardiff/Swansea or whoever for me need to resign from the FAW and join the FA, that's the only thing stopping them qualifying and for the Swans they would be better off anyway.

  • Comment number 62.

    So if Cardiff or Swansea are "allowed" to play in the Premier League because they have earned that right through promotion - does that mean that either Celtic or Rangers would be "allowed" to earn that right by gaining entry into one of the lower leagues ?
    ---------------

    Yes, they can apply for tier 8/9 like any other team and work their way up from there.

  • Comment number 63.

    Oh dear Swansea. Looks like your obsession with beating the biggest club side in Wales has cost you against Bristol City. Yes Swansea have a good record in derby games but we all know who will finish the season higher in the table. Bluebirds.......

  • Comment number 64.

    38. At 3:07pm on 08 Nov 2010, Aarfy_Aardvark wrote:

    "By all means, Cardiff and Swansea are welcome into the English Premier League but under no circumstances should be allowed into any European competition. Unless of course they are willing to drop into the Welsh league system."

    Why not? Please give a good, solid and logical reason why not. Neither club can access European competition through any other means and haven't been able to for about 15 years. You mean to tell me that you would stop those two clubs being allowed to qualify for European games based on their nationality?

 

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