Cardiff City F.C.

Not to be confused with Cardiff City Ladies F.C..
Full name Cardiff City Football Club
Nickname(s) The Bluebirds
Short name CAR, CCFC, City
Founded 1899 (1899) (as Riverside A.F.C.)
Ground Cardiff City Stadium
Ground Capacity 33,280
Owner Vincent Tan
Chairman Mehmet Dalman
Manager Neil Warnock
League Championship
2015–16 Championship, 8th
Website Club home page

Cardiff City Football Club (Welsh: Clwb Pêl-droed Dinas Caerdydd) is a professional association football club based in the city of Cardiff, Wales. The team compete in the Championship, the second tier of the English football league system. They play their home games at the Cardiff City Stadium, after moving from Ninian Park in 2009.

The club was founded as Riverside A.F.C. in 1899 and is the only club from outside England to have won the FA Cup, doing so in 1927. The club won the Football League Championship title in the 2012–13 season and were promoted to the top flight for the first time in 51 years. This followed two lost national cup finals, the 2008 FA Cup Final against Portsmouth 0–1 and the 2012 Football League Cup Final against Liverpool, the latter being settled by a penalty shootout after a 2–2 draw in extra time.

Since 1908, the club's home colours have been blue and white, leading to a nickname of The Bluebirds, with the exception of a period between 2012 and 2015 when the club's owner, Vincent Tan, rebranded the club and changed the home colours to red. The club reverted to their traditional blue in January 2015.[1]


Early years

Riverside A.F.C. was formed in 1899 as a way of keeping players from the Riverside Cricket Club together and in shape during the winter months. Their first season saw them playing friendlies against local sides at their Sophia Gardens ground, but in 1900 they joined the Cardiff & District League for their first competitive season. In 1905 Cardiff was granted city status by King Edward VII, and as a result the club put in a request to change their name to Cardiff City, but the request was turned down as they were deemed to be not playing at a high enough level. To combat this they arranged to join the South Wales Amateur League in 1907 and the following year they were granted permission to change the name of the club to Cardiff City.

Interest in the club began to rise during this time, but they were forced to turn down the opportunity to join the newly formed Southern League Second Division due to the lack of facilities at their Sophia Gardens ground. Over the next two years Cardiff welcomed many of Britain's top sides to Cardiff, including Middlesbrough, Bristol City and Crystal Palace, with the matches being played at various grounds in Cardiff and nearby towns. The club would eventually move into their new ground, Ninian Park, in 1910. The club made its first signing the following year with the acquisition of Jack Evans from fellow Welsh club Cwmparc FC.

With the new ground in place, Cardiff joined the Southern League Second Division, and Bartley Wilson was quick to hire the club's first manager in Davy McDougall, who became player-manager. Their first match was a 2–1 defeat to Aston Villa, in which new signing Evans scored the only Cardiff goal. They went on to finish in fourth place in their first year in the league. They stayed in the division for the next decade, apart from when the league was suspended due to the outbreak of World War I.[2]

1920s "glories"

The club's most successful period so far was the 1920s in which they finished runners-up to Huddersfield Town in 1924 in the old Football League First Division on Goal Average,[3] followed by two FA Cup Finals in 1925 against Sheffield United[3] and in 1927 against Arsenal.[3] The Final against Arsenal saw Cardiff become the only team to have taken the FA Cup out of England with a 1–0 victory.[3] The final was also notable as it was the first to be broadcast to the nation by BBC Radio. Cardiff City and Swansea City are the only Welsh football clubs to have played at the highest level of English football.

Cardiff ended the 1914–15 season third in the Southern League table, before league football was suspended during the First World War. On the cessation of hostilities, Cardiff spent one final season in the Southern League, finishing fourth, before being invited to join the Football League Second Division as the strongest team in Wales, with the remaining Southern League clubs forming the new Football League Third Division.

Yearly table position since Cardiff City joined the Football League

On 30 August 1920, Cardiff City played their first Football League match at Ninian Park, when 25,000 supporters attended a scoreless draw with Clapton Orient. Cardiff City's first ever Football League victory at Ninian Park occurred only five days later, when Stockport County were beaten 3–0.

This early Cardiff City team showed more than enough class to match others in the League, and they were promoted to the top flight of English Football at the first attempt. In fact, the champions, Birmingham City, only pipped Cardiff City to the title on goal differential. The average gate for this season was 29,000. They also had a great run in the FA Cup reaching the semi-final stage, where they went out to Wolverhampton Wanderers after a replay.

Cardiff City now found themselves in the top tier of the Football League. On 21 January 1922, Len Davies scored the club's first ever top-flight hat-trick in a 6–3 win over Bradford City. Even though their first taste of top-flight football got off to a miserable start – they only recorded three points from their first seven matches – City's form improved and they eventually finished in fourth position.

1923–24 has proved to be the best ever in the league for Cardiff City. After a dramatic season in which they and Huddersfield Town competed for the Championship title, Cardiff went into the last game of the year, one point ahead of second-placed Huddersfield.

Huddersfield eventually beat their opponents on the day, Nottingham Forest by a scoreline of 3–0, meaning that for Cardiff City to lift their first ever league title they would have to overcome Birmingham City. With the scoreline deadlocked at 0–0, Cardiff City were awarded a penalty. Top scorer Len Davies took the spot kick, however he missed from 12 yards and Birmingham held out for a draw, meaning Cardiff would have to settle for 2nd spot on goal average. Although having scored one more goal than Huddersfield during the season, Cardiff also conceded one more meaning they had a worse scoring-to-conceding ratio of 1.794 compared with Huddersfield's 1.818, which meant Huddersfield won the First Division championship in the 1923–24 season. If goal difference had been used, Cardiff would have been champions.

The following season was the first time Cardiff City appeared at Wembley Stadium. In the first round of the FA Cup (then known as the English Cup), Cardiff City beat Darlington; this was followed by a 1–0 home win against Fulham in round two. The Bluebirds then travelled to Meadow Lane in Round 3 where they defeated Notts County 2–0 before an epic fourth round tie between Leicester City almost dashed Cardiff hearts. With the scores locked at 1–1, Welsh international Willie Davies scored directly from a corner with the last kick of the game to send Cardiff through to the Semi-Finals against Blackburn Rovers. Cardiff City tore the Rovers defence apart and raced away with a 3–1 victory to set up a final against Sheffield United. After a dour final played out in front of 91,763 fans, the game was decided by England international Fred Tunstall who scored the only goal in a 1–0 victory for Sheffield United.

The 1926–27 season was Cardiff's worst performance in the top tier of English Football since they had entered via promotion six seasons prior, and they finished in 14th position. However the 1926–27 season did not go down in the history books as another year in which Cardiff City ended it without a major trophy to show for their efforts. Cardiff entered the FA Cup competition in the 3rd round, where they met and defeated Aston Villa 2–1 at Ninian Park. Trips to Darlington and subsequently to Bolton Wanderers in the 4th and 5th rounds respectively, both finished with the same scorelines; 2–0 wins for Cardiff City.

In the quarter-finals, Cardiff met a youthful and promising side, in another away fixture, this time against Chelsea. A goalless draw was played at Stamford Bridge in front of a crowd of 70,184. The replay at Ninian Park was watched by 47,854. Having led 2–0 thanks to goals by Sam Irving and Len Davies, Cardiff City allowed Chelsea to get back into the fixture, and soon after half-time the scores were once again level at 2–2. As the tie began to look destined for another draw, Hughie Ferguson netted the winning goal from the penalty spot. At the Semi-Final stage, Cardiff City met Reading at Molineux and Cardiff ended up as comfortable 3–0 victors.

1927 FA Cup Final

On St George's Day, 23 April 1927, at Wembley Stadium in London, the FA Cup was taken out of England for the first time when Cardiff City beat Arsenal 1–0 in the Final, cult hero Hughie Ferguson scoring the only goal of the game.

In the 74th minute, collecting a throw from the right by George MacLachlan, Ferguson hurried a tame shot toward the Arsenal goal. Dan Lewis, the Arsenal goalkeeper, appeared to collect the ball but, under pressure from the advancing Len Davies, clumsily allowed the ball to roll through his grasp. In a desperate attempt to retrieve the ball Lewis only succeeded in knocking the ball with his elbow into his own net.[4] Ernie Curtis, the 19-year-old centre-wing said of the goal:

"I was in line with the edge of the penalty area on the right when Hughie Ferguson hit the shot which Arsenal's goalie had crouched down for a little early. The ball spun as it travelled towards him, having taken a slight deflection so he was now slightly out of line with it. Len Davies was following the shot in and I think Dan must have had one eye on him. The result was that he didn't take it cleanly and it squirmed under him and over the line. Len jumped over him and into the net, but never actually touched it."

It is believed that this cup final attracted one of the largest audiences ever, as it was the first to be broadcast by BBC Radio. Captain Fred Keenor received the FA Cup trophy from King George V only seven years after Cardiff City had entered the Football League and six seasons since they had been promoted to the top division.

The commentators did not know how to tell people where the ball was being played, so a day before the game they brought out a notice with a picture of a pitch on it and squares with numbers on it, to tell people where the ball was on the pitch. Arsenal was always passing back to the keeper, which was in square one, and the commentators said and the ball is back to square one and that is where the saying came from.

Ferguson still appears on the record books for Cardiff City, having scored five goals in the First Division fixture with Burnley on 1 September 1928. In fact, Ferguson's 32 goals in all competitions in 1926–27 stood until Robert Earnshaw overtook it in March 2003. He scored the first in the 2–1 victory over the Corinthians in the 1927–28 Charity Shield and his two goals won the Welsh Cup later that same season for Cardiff against Bangor; but despite a healthy return of 77 goals during his four seasons there his days at Ninian Park were numbered.

Further 1920s success

That FA Cup Final win was not the end of their cup exploits that season; they also won the Welsh Cup defeating Rhyl by a scoreline of 2–0 — making Cardiff the only team to win the national cup of two different countries in the same season — and would go on to win the FA Charity Shield after beating the Corinthians 2–1 at Stamford Bridge.

The following season, 1927–28, once again resulted in a top flight, top-six finish for Cardiff City. Having led the Championship for a brief spell during mid-season, their performances began to tail off, and they had to settle for sixth place.


In the 1928–29 season, Cardiff City were relegated from the First Division of the Football League, despite conceding the fewest goals of all teams in the division that year. However, this was only a sign of things to come for the Bluebirds, and after two seasons in the Second Division, they were once again relegated in 1931 into Division 3 South having played 42 league matches, and only managing to win eight. During this time in the lowest division of recognised league football; Cardiff City were once again able to show some promise, and in fact recorded their biggest ever win in the Football League, when they beat Thames by a scoreline of 9–2. Results however continued to be below what was expected by the City faithful, and therefore in May 1933, Fred Stewart resigned after 22 years in charge of the club.

Bartley Wilson was chosen to replace Fred Stewart; however the results continued to be extremely disappointing, and in March 1934, Ben Watts-Jones, was given the opportunity to manage the club he had supported as a youngster. However, he was unable to turn the clubs' fortunes around by the end of the season, meaning Cardiff City were forced to apply for re-election after finishing bottom of the division. Watts-Jones remained in charge for another three years until he was replaced by Bill Jennings, a former Welsh international who had originally been brought to the club as trainer four years earlier.

To add to the club's woes, in January 1937 the centre stand at Ninian Park was destroyed by fire. However, this caused the fans and club members to pull together in order to save the club. The teams' results began to improve over the next two seasons, and in turn this meant that more fans were coming to Ninian Park to see their team's revival. The 1938–39 season saw the debut of a resourceful winger who would be a prominent member of future City sides, Billy Baker; however, a final league position of 13th in the division was not thought to be good enough by new chairman Herbert Merrett, and he appointed Cyril Spiers as secretary-manager to replace Jennings for the 1939–40 season. That season; Spiers set about changing the personnel, bringing in a number of new faces including Forward Trevor Morris from Ipswich and also young centre forward Wilf Wooller, a Welsh Rugby union International who was also to captain Glamorgan at Cricket. World War II led to the suspension of the Football League in September 1939; and this suspension continued until the 1947 Season.

Post war

Cardiff City were crowned as champions of Division 3 South and returned to Second Division in 1946–47 season. They finished as runners-up and returned to top level after 23 years in 1951–52 season.

Following the return of the Football League, Cardiff chairman Sir Herbert Merrett established close links with Torquay United, after being a regular visitor to a hotel owned by the Torquay chairman. The arrangement saw any players Cardiff thought not good enough being offered to Torquay and Cardiff would get first refusal on any players who were thought good enough to make it in higher leagues. A number of players joined Cardiff from Torquay, the most successful being goalkeeper Phil Joslin, winger Mike Tiddy and forward Tommy Northcott. However the relationship soured after Cardiff allowed Harry Parfitt to join the Devon based side in the understanding they could have him back when required. In 1954 Cardiff offered £2500 to bring him back but Torquay demanded £5000. Despite the Torquay chairman being willing to let him return to Cardiff for £2500, several members of the club's board decided to block the move until a higher price was agreed. Cardiff eventually paid the £5000 asking price but subsequently broke off ties with Torquay.[5]

During the 1960s Cardiff began qualifying for European competition for the first time through the Welsh Cup. Their first ever match in European competition was in the European Cup Winners Cup during the 1964–65 season against Danish side Esbjerg fB, winning 1–0 on aggregate over two legs, the only goal being scored by Peter King. They went on to reach the quarter-finals before being knocked out by Real Zaragoza. Despite their exploits in Europe, the club were still struggling in league competition under the stewardship of Jimmy Scoular, finishing in 20th position in Division Two. One high point at this time was the emergence of a 16-year-old striker named John Toshack who would go on to become an important part of the team for several years, along with his strike partner Brian Clark, before a high-profile switch to Liverpool.

Two years later the club would go on to reach the semi-final of the Cup Winners Cup, the furthest any non-top division club has ever gone in European competition (the record was eventually equalled by Atalanta in 1988).[6][7][8] Wins over Shamrock Rovers, NAC Breda, and Torpedo Moscow set up a tie with German side Hamburg, whose squad contained a number of German internationals, Uwe Seeler being perhaps the most prominent example. After a 1–1 draw in the first leg, just over 43,000 fans turned out at Ninian Park to watch Hamburg win 3–2. Despite their defeat, the cup provided inspiration for the side and they managed to finish in a more stable 13th position, with their strike partnership of Clark and Toshack finishing the season with 39 goals between them. Defeats against FC Porto and Göztepe saw them knocked out in the opening rounds of the tournament during the next two seasons.

At the start of the 1970–71 season, the club paid £35,000 for midfielder Ian Gibson from Coventry City to provide support for Clark and Toshack up front, but the strikeforce was broken up three months later when Toshack was sold to Liverpool for £110,000. The club paid £40,000 to bring Alan Warboys in from Sheffield Wednesday as a replacement but missed out on promotion by finishing third. Although the sale of Toshack did hamper the team's progress, they did manage to reach the quarter-finals of the Cup Winners Cup where they faced Spanish giants Real Madrid. The first leg of the tie was held at Ninian Park where 47,000 fans watched one of the most famous victories in the club's history when Brian Clark headed in to give Cardiff a 1–0 win. Despite going out after losing the second leg 2–0 the result would still go down in the club's history.[9] The club remained old Second Division except seasons of 1975–76 and 1982–83.

Between 1985 and 1993, Cardiff were continuously in the lower two divisions of the league after being relegated to the Third Division. They were relegated to the Fourth Division once in 1985–86 season and were promoted back up in 1987–88 as runners-up. Two years later they dropped back down. Cardiff won the new Division Three championship in 1993 but were relegated two years later, and in 1996 finished in their lowest-ever league position – 22nd of 24 in Division Three, with only Scarborough and Torquay United below them. They did better the following season, finishing seventh (although they lost in the playoff semi-final), but suffered a setback and slipped into the bottom half of the table in 1998. They finished third in Division Three in 1999 and won automatic promotion to Division Two.

The club also endured a high turnover of managers during this era, with two successful managers being Eddie May, manager of their promotion winning team in 1993, and Frank Burrows, manager of the promotion winning side in 1999.

Cardiff struggled in Division Two throughout the 1999–2000 season and were relegated in 21st place. They finished as Division Three runners-up the following season and Lebanese businessman Sam Hammam joined the club.

2000–: Recent history

Having sold his interests in Wimbledon, Hammam purchased control of Cardiff City in August 2000. Shortly after taking over at Cardiff, Hammam controversially pledged to get the entire Welsh nation to support Cardiff by renaming the club "The Cardiff Celts" and changing the club colours to green, red and white. However, after lengthy talks with senior players and fans, he decided that the best policy was not to change the name of the club; however the club crest was redesigned. This new design incorporated the Cardiff City bluebird in front of the Flag of Saint David; and featured the Club's nickname superimposed at the top of the crest.

Lennie Lawrence guided Cardiff to promotion via a Division Two playoff triumph in 2003 against Queens Park Rangers, substitute Andy Campbell came off the bench to score the only goal in extra time and ensure Cardiff returned to Division One after an 18-year absence.

The Bluebirds established themselves in Division One. After failing to get the new stadium plans agreed by Cardiff Council, due to concerns over financial security in 2006, Hammam agreed to a takeover by a consortium led by new chairman Peter Ridsdale and including the lead developer of the new stadium, Paul Guy. However, the takeover was in doubt until 22 December 2006 with the club in threat of administration until the consortium agreed to pay Hammam's company Rudgwick an extra £500,000 and £90,000 to Hammam's brother. Ex-Wales rugby captain Mike Hall said after the deal was completed: "That was money which would have been spent on players. But instead it's gone into Sam's pocket. It was the only way the deal was going to be done. I know people say he's a complex character, but at the end it was total greed and self-interest. It was amazing, but football is a murky world."[10]

Cardiff City playing against Nottingham Forest during the 2008–09 season

The club added several big-name signings for the 2007–08 season, with Robbie Fowler, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Trevor Sinclair all joining the club. Cardiff reached the semi-final of the FA Cup for the first time in 81 years after beating Middlesbrough 2–0 on 9 March. After coming through their semi-final against Barnsley with a 1–0 win at Wembley Stadium on 6 April with a goal from Joe Ledley,[11] they eventually lost 1–0 to Portsmouth in the final.

Throughout that season the club were involved in a court case with financial backers Langston over the repayment of a £31m loan taken out by former chairman Sam Hammam in 2004.[12] The Langston Corporation claimed that the club had broken its agreement with the company and began legal proceedings in order to force Cardiff to repay the loan back immediately. In March the two parties attended a meeting at the High Court as Langston sought a summary judgement meaning that the club would be forced to pay back the loan without a full trial, but the claim was rejected by the High Court judge. During the procedures the club told the High Court it believed that former chairman Hammam was behind the company.[13] Chairman Peter Ridsdale has called for talks with Langston in an attempt to prevent the case going to a full trial in the future.[14]

After the FA Cup final, Cardiff built on their success, almost qualifying for the 2008–09 Premier League playoffs, finishing in seventh position in the Championship. During the January transfer window they kept hold of star players, such as £2 million-rated Joe Ledley and added Quincy Owusu-Abeyie, Chris Burke and Michael Chopra to the side. The £4 million fee for Chopra[15] dwarfed the previous record transfer fee paid by the club for a player which stood at £1.75 million for Peter Thorne from Stoke City in 2001.[16]

Cardiff City playing against Sheffield United during the 2009–10 season

Before the 2009–10 season, Ridsdale travelled to the Far East to try to get a business deal which he promised would see Cardiff's debt problem resolved, as well as the creation of an academy in the Far East. No investment was forthcoming, but Malaysian businessman Dato' Chan Tien Ghee was an addition to the club's board. Having staved off a winding-up order from HMRC under a payment agreement, in November 2009, Ridsdale offered a "Golden Ticket" scheme to fans, such that, if they bought their 2010–11 season ticket before 6 January 2010, then they would not see a rise on prices for five years, and all monies raised would be spent on players in the January 2010 transfer window.[17] However, on 27 January 2010, Ridsdale admitted that in addition to the "Golden Ticket" money not being spent on players, club assets would be sold to fulfil a £2.7 million tax bill and avert another winding-up order.[18] Cardiff finished the league as 4th and qualified to 2009–10 Premier League playoffs. They eliminated Leicester City in the semi-finals but lost the final 3–2 to Blackpool.

Datuk Chan Tien Ghee (TG) took over as chairman on 27 May 2010 after a meeting on the same day, with Vincent Tan also investing and joining the board. TG confirmed that Dave Jones would continue as the Cardiff City manager.[19] On 17 August Cardiff signed Wales captain Craig Bellamy on a season-long loan from Manchester City, with the financial side being backed by the new owners. Despite the influx of Bellamy and several other loan players, Cardiff were unable to achieve promotion, falling out of the top two and losing to Reading in the play-off semi-final. At the end of 2010–11 season, Dave Jones was sacked,[20] and four days later former Wales rugby player, Mike Hall rejoined the board as part of a deal with PMG.[21] On 17 June 2011, Watford boss Malky Mackay was appointed as manager of Cardiff.[22] During his first season, Mackay had to rebuild the squad, as loan players from the previous season returned to parent clubs and several contracts expired. Despite this he took Cardiff to the League Cup final for the first time in the club's history. Cardiff also played in their third consecutive play-off campaign, only to lose in the semi-finals against West Ham United.

Cardiff City wore a blue home kit from 1908–2012 and again from 2015 after the kit was changed into red in between.

Cardiff changed their home colours to red and black as well as their badge from the 2012–13 season, in exchange for an investment plan from the Malaysian owners including a new training facility, stadium expansion and a transfer budget.[23] They went on to have their best start to a league campaign ever, whilst also breaking the club record of nine consecutive home wins, when they won their tenth home game against former manager Dave Jones' Sheffield Wednesday side.[24]

Cardiff topped the Championship with a 10-point cushion after 28 games of the season. On 1 March 2013, Datuk Chan Tien Ghee resigned his position as chairman to pursue other business opportunities.[25] The club won the 2012–13 Championship title and with it gained promotion to the Premier League for the first time.[26][27][28]

On 18 August 2013, Cardiff played their first ever Premier League game away to West Ham United, losing 2–0.[29] A week later, they played their first home Premier League game against Manchester City, winning 3–2 with goals from Aron Gunnarsson and two from Fraizer Campbell.[30] Cardiff only won two more games before the turn of the year, including against fierce rivals Swansea City[31] On 27 December, a day after Cardiff lost 3–0 at home to Southampton,[32] Malky Mackay was sacked by Vincent Tan following showdown talks.[33] On 2 January 2014, it was announced that former Manchester United striker Ole Gunnar Solskjær would be Cardiff's new manager on a 12-month rolling contract.[34] Cardiff were relegated back to the Championship following a 3–0 away defeat to Newcastle United.[35]

Solskjær was sacked on 18 September 2014,[36] and replaced by Leyton Orient manager Russell Slade.[37] He began with a 2–1 home victory over a then unbeaten Nottingham Forest.[38] On 2 January 2015, Cardiff beat League One strugglers Colchester United 3–1 in the FA Cup in front of the lowest ever recorded crowd of 4,194 at the Cardiff City Stadium which prompted an emergency meeting of the Cardiff Board.[39] A week later, the club announced an official statement that after deliberation with members of the board and chosen fans, the club's home colours would be changed back to blue with immediate effect.[40]


Malaysian businessman Vincent Tan is the owner of the club

The entity participating in the Premier League is "Cardiff City FC Limited", which is a member of the Football Association of Wales.[41] It is a wholly owned subsidiary of "Cardiff City Football Club (Holdings) Limited", which is the ultimate parent company of the group.[41] There is one shareholder owning 10% or more of the issued-share capital in the ultimate parent company, Vincent Tan, who holds 51%.[41]

Principal shareholder Tan from Malaysia is founder, major shareholder and, until 2013, chairman of the Berjaya group of companies.[42]

In January 2014, the club's financial records for the fiscal period up to May 2013 were revealed.[43] According to the released figures, Cardiff City have recorded a £30 million loss, taking their overall level of debt to £118 million, of which £66 million is owed to owner Vincent Tan from loans to the club, even after the Malaysian businessman converted £2.5 million into shares and wrote off £5 million in interest owed.[43]

The accounts also show "life president" Sam Hammam’s Langston company was paid £22 million to address the historic debt it was owed, including a one-off payment of £15 million along with further non-interest bearing payments totalling £7 million over a seven-year period.[43]

There was a reduction in revenue from £20 million in 2012 to just over £17 million in 2013. In terms of costs, the club’s wages and salaries rose from £18.5 million in 2012 to almost £30 million in 2013, the cost of sales increased by £13 million, and there was an £8 million increase in administration costs.[43]

On 13 February 2014, the club's Chief Executive Officer Simon Lim stated[44] that "the previous football management" acted in an "imprudent and careless" manner,[44] through having the club "commit[ing] a significant cost and liability over a five year contract for Andreas Cornelius," a player who, according to Lim, "cost the club in total just under £10 million," thus forcing Cardiff City to "realise a large loss in excess of £8.5 million."[44] Former manager Malky Mackay had defended the signing of Cornelius on the BBC Radio Wales Sport programme, on 6 February 2014:[45] "When we signed him," he'd said, "[Cornelius] was a 20-year-old huge prospect, 6ft 4in, a centre-forward who had broken into the international team,... and Danish player of the year" and added that Cardiff "outbid another European team to get him."[45] "Unfortunately for him he took a nasty ankle knock against Accrington that kept him out for the best part of three and a half months," said Mackay.[45]

Kit manufacturers and shirt sponsors

Period Kit manufacturer Shirt sponsor
1973–82 Umbro None
1983 Whitbread Wales
1984 Superted

Camilleri Roofing

1984–85 Merthyr Motor Auctions
1985–87 Admiral Airways Cymru
1987–88 Buckley's Brewery
1988–89 Scoreline
1989–90 Havelet
1990–91 None
1991–92 Influence
1992–94 Bluebirds South Wales Echo
1994–95 Strika
1995–96 Influence
1996–97 Lotto
1997–98 Errea Gilesports
1998–99 Xara Sports Cafe
1999–2000 Modplan
2000–02 Ken Thorne Group
2002–03 Puma Leekes
2003–05 Redrow Homes
2005–06 Joma
2006–08 Communications Direct
2009–11 Puma[46] SBOBET[47]
2011–14 Malaysia tourist board[48] and BBC Cymru
2014–15 Cosway Sports[49]
2015– Adidas

League history


Main article: South Wales derby
Referee Mike Dean receiving treatment after being struck by a projectile in a South Wales derby

Cardiff City's most significant rivalry over the years has been with neighbours Swansea City, though traditionally there is also ill-feeling between the club's supporters and followers of Bristol City, known as the Severnside derby, and to a lesser extent, Bristol Rovers. In April 2006, relations with Cardiff City supporters and Swansea City supporters were aggravated after Swansea won the Football League Trophy final against Carlisle United 2–1 in the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. During their celebrations, Lee Trundle and Alan Tate brandished a Welsh flag with an anti-Cardiff obscenity written on it in. As well as carrying the flag, Trundle was also seen wearing a T-shirt with an image of a Swansea City player urinating on a Cardiff City shirt.[50] The Football Association of Wales (FAW) said the images paraded at the match, which took place at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium on 2 April 2006, were "of an extremely offensive and insulting nature and such behaviour is totally unacceptable". The two players in question were arrested by the Police on suspicion of section four public order offences, fined £2,000, and handed one-match suspensions.[51]

Cardiff City was seen for many years as most likely to be promoted to the Premier League.[52] Over several previous meetings between Cardiff City and Wolverhampton Wanderers, fighting has broken out between the two sets of supporters resulting in 17 arrests during one meeting alone. This led to the game which was held on 20 January 2007 being moved forward to 1 pm with no Cardiff City fans allowed to attend the match. This decision, which was taken by Wolves' chairman Jez Moxey, was met with widespread criticism from many supporter groups throughout the UK, including the Football Supporters Federation (FSF).[53] A peaceful protest, organised by the FSF, took place in Wolverhampton on the day of the game and was attended by fans of many clubs who wished to show their opposition to such a ban. An FSF statement read: "We are appealing to all football supporters who can make it to be there to show their opposition to all away fan bans. It could be your club next. Time to reclaim the game!".

There has also been a significant amount of bad feeling between Cardiff and Leeds United, which stems from the FA Cup tie at Ninian Park on 6 January 2002, when Second Division Cardiff beat Premier League Leeds 2–1. Shortly after the late winning goal was scored, but before the full-time whistle had blown, Cardiff fans pelted the players, match officials and the away section with bottles and coins. Injuries were reported among women and young children, and Cardiff's then chairman Sam Hammam walked around the edge of the pitch, gesturing to the crowd – an act Leeds fans saw as his gloating over their defeat. After the game, Cardiff fans spilled onto the pitch to celebrate and later there was a stand-off between rival fans outside the stadium, and a number of arrests were made. Three years later on 15 January 2005, Cardiff played Leeds at Elland Road in a Championship fixture, and a hardcore hooligan element amongst the Leeds fans saw this as an opportunity for revenge; again there was rioting, leading to a high-profile court case two years later, in which several dozen Leeds fans received banning orders.

There is also a lesser rivalry with Welsh neighbours Newport County due to the proximity of the two Welsh cities. However, they have rarely played against each another since the 1980s due to Cardiff being in higher leagues. In total they have only ever played 20 football league games against eachother.


Ninian Park

Main article: Ninian Park
The front of Ninian Park

Cardiff's first ground was at Sophia Gardens recreational park where they played from their founding in 1899 until 1910[54] when, due to the lack of facilities at the ground and the increasing amount of support for the club, Bartley Wilson contacted Bute Estate, who owned large amounts of Cardiff at the time, in an attempt to find land suitable for building a stadium. They eventually agreed on an area of waste ground on Sloper Road. The land was a former rubbish tip and required extensive work to get a playable surface, but with the assistance of Cardiff Corporation and volunteers the work was completed. The ground was originally to be known as Sloper Park but was instead named after Lord Ninian Crichton-Stuart, who was a large force in helping the club get the ground built, and became Ninian Park.

The stadium was built with one stand before the opening of another in 1928 which could hold 18,000 people to replace an earth embankment. The club record attendance in the ground is 60,855 which was achieved during a league match against Swansea City on 27 August 1949. The record stands to this day, and is unlikely to be beaten due to the scaling down of the ground throughout the 1970s and 1980s due to safety fears, which saw the ground capacity fall to 22,000. In its final year in use, the ground was the only one above League One level that still contained standing areas.

Cardiff City Stadium

Main article: Cardiff City Stadium
Cardiff City Stadium Pitch

In June 2009, Cardiff City completed a state-of-the-art 26,828 seater stadium on the site of the now-demolished old Cardiff Athletics Stadium. The project required the rebuilding of the athletics stadium, to be known as Cardiff International Sports Stadium, on the opposite side of Leckwith Road in Cardiff. This ground was deliberately built to house both Cardiff City FC & Cardiff Blues RFC.

The plan required the demolition of the Cardiff Athletics Stadium, and the council initially insisted that its replacement be built before the start of construction of the Cardiff City Stadium, which would allow the city to have a major athletics facility for the 11 months between the demolition of the old stadium and the building of a new athletics facility nearby. But developers said that the main infrastructure work including highway improvements, drainage, gas supply and electricity cables could be carried out in a way that would allow Leckwith to remain open until July 2007.

On 20 September 2007 it was announced that the Cardiff Blues rugby union club would leave their Cardiff Arms Park home to become tenants of Cardiff City at the new Leckwith stadium.[55]

Construction began on the new Cardiff International Sports Stadium in January 2007, and that venue was opened in January 2009. The new football ground, officially named Cardiff City Stadium, opened in July 2009.[56] On 8 May 2012, Cardiff Blues confirmed they would leave the Stadium to return to Cardiff Arms Park for the 2012–13 season and onwards.[57]

In August 2014, expansion plans were completed, increasing the stadium capacity to 33,316. However, in March 2015, it was announced that the Ninian Stand extension was to be shut for the 2015–16 season due to poor ticket sales, dropping the capacity to 27,978.[58]

Colours and crest

When Riverside A.F.C. was formed in 1899, the club used a chocolate-brown and gold checkered shirt. Since the club became known as Cardiff City F.C. in 1908, their home colours have consisted of a blue shirt and white or blue shorts and socks. However, for the first nine years black socks were used. In 1919 Cardiff reverted to blue socks with a white hoop. From 1926 Cardiff used a turquoise blue with a white collar, until 1930 when the darker blue was re-introduced. In 1936 the club adopted white sleeves. For the next 20 years the club rarely changed their kit, just swapping between white and blue sleeves.

In 1959, Cardiff used white socks for the first time. In the 1965–66 season they used an all-blue strip for the first time, the following season they swapped back to white shorts and socks but keeping the same shade of blue. From 1975 they played in an all-blue strip with yellow and white vertical stripes. In 1983 Cardiff turned back to a blue shirt, white shorts and blue socks using this until 1992 before going all-blue again up until 1996.

In 2012, Cardiff changed their home kit colours from the traditional blue, white and yellow to red and black.[59] The crest was also changed to one in which the Welsh dragon was more prominent than the traditional bluebird. The crest was changed to "appeal in 'international markets'"[60] The change angered fans, who expressed their opposition in news and social media as well as directly to management. Cardiff rugby player Jamie Roberts criticised the change.[61] However, on 9 January 2015, it was announced that Cardiff City were changing their home kit back to blue with a red away kit, effective immediately.[62] On 15 June 2015, Cardiff confirmed they had entered a long term agreement with manufacturer Adidas to provide the official kit and equipment.[63]

Orange and "Chocolate" quarter shirt, "Chocolate Short and sock
Original strip used as Riverside A.F.C. before 1908
Blue jersey, White Shorts, Black socks
Cardiff's original colours from 1908
Light Blue jersey, White Shorts, Blue socks
Cardiff's lighter blue strip used between 1926–1930.
Blue jersey with white sleeves, White Shorts, Black socks
1936–37 shirt became popular and was re-used
Blue jersey, Blue Shorts, Blue socks
All blue kits were used in 1992–1996 and 2000–2007
Blue jersey, White Shorts, White socks
The 2009–10 strip with yellow being re-added
Red jersey, Black Shorts, Red socks
Cardiff's primary colours were changed from blue to red between 2012 and 2015.
Cardiff reverted to their traditional blue halfway through the 2014–15 season.

Crest history

From 1908 Cardiff played in unadorned shirts. This changed in 1959, when they played in shirts with a simple crest featuring an image of a bluebird. The following season their shirts were featureless, and remained so until 1965, when they played in shirts with the word "Bluebirds" embroidered. A new crest, similar to the one previously used and again featuring a bluebird, was introduced in 1969. Variations on this crest remained until the 1980s, when extra features including words and additional motifs were added. A major change was made in 2012, when owner Vincent Tan attempted to rebrand the club in order to expand the club's appeal outside Wales.[64] This change gave large prominence to the Welsh Dragon, reducing the bluebird to a minor feature. In March 2015, Cardiff announced a new crest which would predominantly feature the Bluebird once again with an oriental dragon replacing the standard Welsh dragon.[65]

  1. ^ a b c Moor, Dave. "Cardiff City". Retrieved 2 December 2011. 


First-team squad

As of 13 October 2016[66]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
2 England DF Lee Peltier
3 England DF Joe Bennett
4 England DF Sean Morrison (Club Captain)
5 Gabon DF Bruno Ecuele Manga
6 Wales DF Jazz Richards
7 England MF Peter Whittingham
8 England MF Joe Ralls
9 Benin FW Frédéric Gounongbe
10 Netherlands MF Lex Immers
11 England MF Craig Noone
12 Wales DF Declan John
13 Republic of Ireland MF Anthony Pilkington
14 Ivory Coast DF Sol Bamba
15 England MF Kieran Richardson
No. Position Player
16 England DF Matthew Connolly
17 Iceland MF Aron Gunnarsson
19 England FW Rickie Lambert
21 England GK Ben Amos (on loan from Bolton Wanderers)
22 England MF Stuart O'Keefe
23 Scotland MF Matty Kennedy
24 England MF Kadeem Harris
25 Wales MF Emyr Huws
26 Denmark FW Kenneth Zohore
27 Morocco FW Marouane Chamakh
28 Republic of Ireland GK Brian Murphy
29 Nigeria DF Semi Ajayi
30 England GK Ben Wilson
33 Canada MF Junior Hoilett

Out on loan

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
18 England MF Tom Adeyemi (on loan at Rotherham United until end of 2016–17 season)
20 England FW Adam Le Fondre (on loan at Wigan Athletic until end of 2016–17 season)
36 England DF Adedeji Oshilaja (on loan at Gillingham until end of 2016–17 season)
No. Position Player
37 England FW Rhys Healey (on loan to Newport County until 3 January 2017)
39 France FW Idriss Saadi (on loan at Kortrijk until end of 2016–17 season)

Development squad

As of 22 August 2016

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
38 Wales MF Tommy O'Sullivan
40 Wales MF Theo Wharton
43 Wales DF Thomas James
44 Democratic Republic of the Congo DF David Tutonda
England GK Luke O'Reilly
England GK Scott Coughlan
Wales DF Ashley Baker
Wales DF Dylan Rees
France DF Jordan Blaise
No. Position Player
Wales DF Rhys Abbruzzese
Wales MF Lloyd Humphries
Wales MF Tom Burridge
Belgium MF Marco Weymans
Wales MF Jamie Veale
Wales MF Macauley Southam
Wales MF Robbie Patten
Wales FW Eli Phipps
Wales FW Jamie Bird


For more details on this topic and current academy squads, see Cardiff City F.C. Academy.

Cardiff currently runs a highly successful youth academy, with a number of youth groups from ages seven to eighteen years. Recent players to come through the youth system include Wales internationals Joe Ledley, Chris Gunter, Aaron Ramsey, Adam Matthews, Darcy Blake and Declan John and, prior to the youth system being granted academy status, Robert Earnshaw and James Collins.

Notable former players

Backroom staff

Position Name
Manager Neil Warnock
Assistant Manager Kevin Blackwell
First Team Coach Ronnie Jepson
Coach James Rowberry
Goalkeeper Coach Martyn Margetson
Head of Fitness & Conditioning Lee Southernwood
Head of Medical Hywel Griffiths MCSP HCPC
First Team Physiotherapist Edward Richmond
Senior Strength & Conditioning Mike Beere
Sports Scientist Ben Parry
Club Doctor Dr. Len Nokes
Performance & Recruitment Analyst Graham Younger
Academy Manager James McCarthy
U21 Manager Kevin Nicholson

Manager history

Name Nat From To
Davy McDougall Scotland 1910 1911
Fred Stewart England 1911 1933
Bartley Wilson England 1933 1934
Ben Watts-Jones Wales 1934 1937
Bill Jennings Wales 1937 1939
Cyril Spiers England 1939 1946
Billy McCandless Northern Ireland 1946 1948
Cyril Spiers England 1948 1954
Trevor Morris Wales 1954 1958
Bill Jones Wales 1958 1962
George Swindin England 1962 1964
Jimmy Scoular Scotland 1964 1973
Lew Clayton (caretaker) England 1973 1973
Frank O'Farrell Republic of Ireland 1973 1974
Jimmy Andrews Scotland 1974 1978
Richie Morgan Wales 1978 1981
Graham Williams Wales 1981 1982
Len Ashurst England 1982 1984
Jimmy Goodfellow & Jimmy Mullen (caretakers) England England 1984 1984
Jimmy Goodfellow England 1984 1984
Alan Durban Wales 1984 1986
Jimmy Mullen (caretaker) England 1986 1986
Frank Burrows Scotland 1986 1989
Len Ashurst England 1989 1991
Eddie May England 1991 1994
Terry Yorath Wales 1994 1995
Eddie May England 1995 1995
Kenny Hibbitt England 1995 1996
Phil Neal England 1996 1996
Kenny Hibbitt (caretaker) England 1996 1996
Russell Osman England 1996 1996
Kenny Hibbitt England 1996 1998
Frank Burrows Scotland 1998 2000
Billy Ayre England 2000 2000
Bobby Gould England 2000 2000
Alan Cork England 2000 2002
Lennie Lawrence England 2002 2005
Dave Jones England 2005 2011
Malky Mackay Scotland 2011 2013
David Kerslake (caretaker) England 2013 2014
Ole Gunnar Solskjær Norway 2014 2014
Scott Young & Daniel Gabbidon (caretakers) Wales Wales 2014 2014
Russell Slade England 2014 2016
Paul Trollope Wales 2016 2016
Neil Warnock England 2016 Present

Football League 100 Legends

The Football League 100 Legends is a list of "100 legendary football players" produced by The Football League in 1998, to celebrate the 100th season of League football. Three former Cardiff City players made the list.

Welsh Sports Hall of Fame

The following have played for Cardiff City and have been inducted into the Welsh Sports Hall of Fame :

PFA Team of the Year

The following have been included in the PFA Team of the Year whilst playing for Cardiff City:


Cardiff set club records when buying Gary Medel in 2013 and selling him a year later


First Division (as first tier)

Second Division/First Division/Championship (As second tier)

Third Division (South)/Third Division/Second Division/League One (As third tier)

Fourth Division/Third Division/League Two (As fourth tier)

FA Cup

FA Charity Shield

Football League Cup

Southern Football League Second Division

Welsh Cup

FAW Premier Cup

FAW Welsh Youth Cup

FA Youth Cup

Algarve Challenge Cup

Osnabrück Tournament

Welsh Football League Cup (Cardiff City Reserves)

Welsh Football League (Cardiff City Reserves)




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