Whereas last summer saw very precarious times for Cardiff City, when threats of bankruptcy and even administration eventually subsided and a glut of loan-signings arrived; this summer has been different, though just as hectic.
New manager Malky Mackay has had to re-build virtually the entire team. 12 players left : Bothroyd and Burke out of contract, Chopra sold to Ipswich and numerous loanees, including the dire Bywater and Samuel, inconsistent Olofinjana and brilliant Bellamy.
I believe Mackay will be a successful manager given time, but there's no way a plethora of new players are going to instantly gel into a team. He will instill team spirit and discipline, both seriously lacking under Jones.
As well as that, I expect a very different approach, with the team not reliant on playing long balls to Bothroyd when in doubt. With the real possibility of Kenny Miller and Robert Earnshaw up front, there's no chance of these tactics anyway!
Last year Mackay's Watford were prone to defensive lapses (see our 4-2 victory at home), but could be a devastating attacking force deploying pass-and-move football ( see our 4-1 defeat at Vicarage Road).
Moreover, there are also opportunities for Plan B's and even Plan C's, unlike under Jones when we were lost without Jay Tweet ( the play-off Final v. Blackpool exemplifying this). Miller can operate as a lone striker and we have many promising midfielders like Gunnarsson, Cowie and Kiss who could make up a 5-man midfield. Joe Mason could step in and if we sign French striker Gestede then the days of SuperTub Parkin are numbered.
Gestede could partner either Miller or Earnshaw as part of the classic Big Man-Little Man combo so beloved of Jones in his adherence to 4-4-2 whatever the circumstances.
Fans frustrated or annoyed at pre-season results must remember we've had a lot of injuries and most players totally unfamiliar with each other. If I had to make a prediction, I'd say we will struggle to make an impact for the first two months as they adjust and familiarize.
After that, I believe Miller will be one of the best signings ever for CCFC and Earnie will thrive. In the long term, youngsters Kiss and Mason will be revelations.
Of course, there are still nagging doubts about both our keepers : fine shot-stoppers but suspect in the air and at left-back, because new signing Andrew Taylor is preferred as a winger and Naylor has been destroyed far too often in the past.
At least MM is building a team for the future, with a combination of youth and experience and a new methodology which will require our defenders to change their games radically. He actually seems to have followed overseas players and Slovakian Under-21 captain Filip Kiss is one he has been observing for a year.
I hope fans show patience. Ideally,we need an extra two weeks pre-season just for players to learn each others' names! If Bellamy can somehow thrash out a deal to leave Man. City and return where he wants to be, then our attack will be frightening.
Imagine Bellers alongside Kenny and Earnie! Mind, we said that last season about Chops and Jay!
My brother is a 'twitcher' who goes on holidays all over the world to spot birds and note rare species. For me , there are really only one set of birds worth seeing.........
Every day I study the table :
we do not move up or down,
we have never been this consistent;
it's like being a 'twitcher'
but watching cartoons of Adar Gleision.
0 points from 0 games played
and we are seventh, in alphabetical order.
My pinpoint binocular eye-balls
are focused on texts, websites
and messageboards for rumours.
It's as if I'm waiting for the birds
to return after a summer's migration
and it's an almost new flock this time ;
I'll have to learn their names.
White away plumage dangerously like the swan's.
In my head I learn the calls,
think up chants to fit them;
a homing pigeon called 'Earnie',
rare Slovakian breed named 'Kiss',
all part of the Bluebi