- Name: Cardiff City Football Club
- Nickname: The Bluebirds
- Founded: 1899
- Ground: Cardiff City Stadium
- Ground capacity: 33,280
Cardiff City Stadium
Tennants: Cardiff City (2009 to present)
Capacity: 33,280 - Opened: 22nd July 2009
In June 2009, the club completed construction of a state-of-the-art 26,828 seater stadium on the site of the now-demolished old Cardiff Athletics Stadium at a cost of £48 million. 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.
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, a move which caused controversy among the rugby club's fans.
The ground was eventually named the "Cardiff City Stadium" and three of the four stands would keep the names used at Ninian Park, the Grange End, the Canton Stand and the Grandstand and the fourth stand would be called the Ninian Stand. The naming rights of the ground were expected to be sold, with the club hoping to generate up to £9 million of income with the rights, however they remain unsold.
Although a pre-season friendly against Chasetown was played at the ground with limited capacity to test safety features, the stadium was officially opened with a friendly against Scottish side Celtic on 22 July 2009. The first competitive match to be played at the ground saw Cardiff record a 4–0 victory over Scunthorpe United on 8 August 2009, the opening day of the 2009–10 season.
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.
Tennants: Cardiff City
Capacity: 21,508 - Opened: 1910 - 2009
Cardiff's first ground was at Sophia Gardens recreational park where they played from their founding in 1899 until 1910 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 ground hosted its first match on 1 September 1910 with a friendly against Aston Villa with the kick-off being performed by Lord Crichton-Stuart.
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. It hosted its first international match in March 1911 with a Welsh match against Scotland. Towards the end of its lifespan, the ground eventually was replaced by Cardiff Arms Park as increasing doubts mounted over the safety of the aging ground. The club record attendance in the ground is 57,893 which was achieved during a league match against Arsenal on 22 April 1953.
The record stands to this day, and is unlikely to be beaten due to the scaling down of grounds throughout the 1970s and 1980s due to safety fears, which saw the ground capacity fall to 22,000. In its final years of its use, the club was forced to seek special dispensation from authorities in order to keep the remaining standing areas of the ground open as clubs at Championship level or above were given three years to redevelop their grounds to remove standing areas.
Cardiff City Football Club is a professional association football club based in the city of Cardiff, Wales, that competes in the Premier League, the top tier of the English football league system.
Founded in 1899 as Riverside A.F.C., the club changed its name to Cardiff City in 1908 and joined the English football league system in 1910, competing in the Southern Football League before joining the Football League in 1920. They are the only club from outside England to have won the FA Cup, doing so in 1927.
They have also reached three other cup finals in English competitions, the 1925 FA Cup Final against Sheffield United, the 2008 FA Cup Final against Portsmouth and the 2012 Football League Cup Final against Liverpool, suffering defeat on each occasion, and have won the Welsh Cup on 22 occasions, making them the second most successful team in the competition's history behind Wrexham.
The team's longest period in the top-tier of English football came between 1921 and 1929 and they have spent seven seasons in the top-flight since this period, the most recent being in 2013–14, being relegated after a single season. Upon clinching 2nd place in the Championship table in 2017–18, the club confirmed promotion back to the Premier League for the 2018–19 season.
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. They reverted to their traditional blue in January 2015.
Cardiff play their home games at the Cardiff City Stadium, after moving from Ninian Park in 2009, and have long-standing rivalries with nearby clubs Swansea City, known as the South Wales derby, and Bristol City, known as the Severnside derby.
For further information check out their Official website
Robert Earnshaw 1998-04 & 2011-13
Kevin Ratcliffe - 1992 to 1993
Fred Keenor - 1912 to 1931
Cardiff City was formed in 1899 by Bristol born Bartley Wilson as a way of keeping players from the Riverside Cricket Club together and in shape during the winter months. The colours worn by the club were chocolate and amber quarters, quite unusual for the time. 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 1902, Riverside A.F.C. merged with Riverside Albion, but it took another three years till they won their first trophy, the Bevan Shield. 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. Cardiff City needed race funds for a new stadium and facilities, so they arranged friendlies with big name clubs such as Crystal Palace, Bristol City and Middlesbrough, some of the games were played at Cardiff Arms Park whilst the Middlesbrough game was played at Harlequins Ground.
There was a great response from the public with the profit made, Wilson began talks with the Bute Estate, the owners of the majority of Cardiff. The Bute Estate offered a waste land on Sloper Road, the deal was accepted after Cardiff Corporation agreed to assist in the preparing of the ground.
Move to Ninian Park (1910–25)
The club would eventually move into their new ground, Ninian Park, in 1910 named after Lt.-Col. Lord Ninian Edward Crichton-Stuart due to financial support to the club. With the new ground in place, Cardiff joined the Southern League Second Division. A board was also elected to professionalise the club, with S H Nicholls named as the clubs first chairman and Wilson continuing as Club Secretary. The club made its first signing the following year with the acquisition of Jack Evans from fellow Welsh club Cwmparc FC.
The club needed a manager and Bartley Wilson was quick to hire the club's first manager in Davy McDougall, who became player-manager and first Captain. Their first match was a 2–1 defeat to Aston Villa, in which the newly signed Evans scored the only Cardiff goal. They finished an impressive fourth in their first season and were promoted to the Southern League First Division after winning the Second Division in the 1912-13 season. 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.
On 30 August 1920, Cardiff City played their first Football League match at Ninian Park, when 25,000 supporters showed up to watch a scoreless draw with Clapton Orient. The first ever Football League victory for Cardiff City, at Ninian Park occurred only 5 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 average. The average gate for this season was a very impressive 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 (at this time known as the Championship). On 21 January 1922, Len Davies scored the Clubs 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, recording only 3 points from the first 7 matches, Cardiff City's form improved dramatically and they eventually finished in fourth position.
1923–24 proved to be the best ever in the league for Cardiff City. After a dramatic season in which themselves and Huddersfield Town tussled for the Championship title, Cardiff went in to 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 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 missed form 12 yards and Birmingham City held out for a draw, meaning Cardiff would have to settle for 2nd spot on goal average. Although having scored 1 more goal than Huddersfield during the season, Cardiff also conceded 1 more meaning they had a worse scoring to conceding ratio of 1.794 compared with Huddersfield's 1.818 which eventually meant Huddersfield went on to be the First Division champions of the 1923–24 season.
FA Cup Finals (1925–27)
The following season was the first time Cardiff City appeared at Wembley Stadium (1925). In the first round of the FA Cup (then known as the English Cup) Cardiff City beat Darlington and this was then 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 Quarter-Final tie between Leicester City almost dashed Cardiff hearts. With the scorelines 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 an England International Fred Tunstall who scored the only goal in a 1–0 victory for Sheffield United.
The start of the 1925–26 season got off to a bad start getting their first red card in a league game, Jimmy Nelson was sent off against Manchester City at Maine Road on the opening day. During the season, Cardiff also suffered their highest defeat in history, losing 11-2 to Sheffield United at Bramall Lane. The season ended as being their worst since their promotion six years earlier, finishing 16th. However, City had a record total of 16 international players, representing Wales, Ireland and Scotland. The following season wasn't a really successful season either, finishing 14th but got into the English Cup final.
Cardiff entered the 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 massive 70,184 people. At the replay at Ninian Park another 47,854 people crammed in. 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.
On St George's Day, 23 April 1927, Wembley Stadium, London; the FA Cup was taken out of England for the first and only time when Cardiff City won the 1927 Final, defeating Arsenal, thanks to a goal by Cardiff City cult hero, Hughie Ferguson.
In the 74th minute, collecting a throw from the right, 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. 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 highest 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 7 years after Cardiff City had entered the Football League and six seasons since they had been promoted to the top division.
Ferguson still features 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.
That FA Cup Final win was not the end of their cup exploits this season; they also won the Welsh Cup defeating Rhyl FC by a scoreline of 2–0, and would go on to win the Charity Shield after beating the Corinthians 2–1 at Stamford Bridge.
Relegation and revival (1927–64)
The following season, 1927–28, once again resulted in a top flight, top 6 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 6th place. Their hopes of retaining the FA Cup were ended at the fifth-round stage, when the Bluebirds–by now Wales' last representatives in the tournament–were beaten by Nottingham Forest.
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 8. During this time in the lowest division of recognised league football; Cardiff City were once again able to show some promise, and in fact they recorded their biggest ever win in the Football League, when they destroyed 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 been brought to the club originally as trainer four years previous.
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. Suddenly, there were signs that the worst was over both on and off the field. The teams' results began to improve over the next two seasons, and in turn; this meant that more fans were coming to Ninian Park in order to see their beloved 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 caused the suspension of the Football League in September 1939; and this suspension continued until the 1947 Season. They crowned as champions of Division 3 South and returned to Second Division in 1946–47 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 would be 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 became sour 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 willing to let him return to Cardiff for £2500 several members of the clubs 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.
In the 1956–57 season Cardiff were relegated to the Second Division. They returned to the First Division in the 1959–60 season.
European competitions (1964–1985)
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 the 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 the club has ever gone in European competition (together with Atalanta). 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 in the likes of Uwe Seeler. After a 1–1 draw in the first leg, just over 43,000 fans turned out at Ninian Park to watch Hamburg triumph with a 3–2 victory. 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 to sign 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 progress of the team, the club 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 clubs 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 clubs history. The club remained old Second Division except seasons of 1975–76 and 1982–83.
Barren era (1985–2000)
Between 1985 and 1993, Cardiff were continuously in the lower two divisions of the league after being relegated to the Third Division. They were then relegated to the Fourth Division in 1985–86 season. They were promoted back to the Third Division in 1987–88 as runners-up. Two years later they dropped back into the Fourth Division. Cardiff won the new Division Three championship in 1993 but were relegated again 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. In 1996, Cardiff were exiled from playing in the Welsh Cup, which they had previously won 22 times, they were exiled along with all other Welsh clubs playing in the English League System. However, they did better during the 1996–97 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.
Cardiff struggled in Division Two throughout the 1999–2000 season and were relegated in 21st place. They finished Division Three runners-up the following season and have made impressive progress since then, helped by the investment of Lebanese businessman Sam Hammam.
Revival and promotion (2000–2006)
Having sold his interests in Wimbledon, Sam Hammam purchased control of Cardiff City in August 2000, for a sum believed to be in the region of £11.5 million. Sam Hammam quickly picked up where he left off with the Crazy Gang. 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, Sam Hammam 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 mascot Bartley the Bluebird, in front of the Flag of Saint David; and featured the Club's nickname superimposed at the top of the crest.
During the 2001-02 season, Cardiff took on Premier League contenders Leeds United in the FA Cup at Ninian Park. Cardiff came out 2-1 winners, Leeds scored the first through Australian international Mark Viduka, captain Graham Kavanagh equalised in the 21 minute with three minutes to Scott Young hit the back of the net sending Cardiff through to the fourth round where they lost to Tranmere Rovers. They finished 4th in the league but losing to Stoke City in the play-off semi-finals.
Lennie Lawrence guided Cardiff to promotion via a Division Two playoff triumph in 2003 against Queens Park Rangers Cardiff City finished in 6th position and played Bristol City in the Division Two playoff semi-finals. On 10 May 2003; Cardiff City beat Bristol City 1–0 on aggregate, having won the match at Ninian Park 1–0, and drawing the away leg 0–0 on 13 May 2003. Queens Park Rangers drew with Oldham Athletic away from home 1–1 on 10 May 2003, before claiming the advantage at Loftus Road on 14 May 2003; going through to the playoff final with a 2–1 aggregate victory.
On 25 May, the Millennium Stadium, in Cardiff, hosted one of the most unforgettable playoff finals in history. Both Cardiff City and Queens Park Rangers had been set up with defence minded formations. The game was comparatively scrappy with only occasional glimpses of class shown by both sides. However, after a nerve-wracking final, substitute Andy Campbell came off the bench to guide Cardiff past Queens Park Rangers with a spectacular lob after 114 minutes of play.
The former Middlesbrough striker, who had replaced Robert Earnshaw in the second half, shrugged off Danny Shittu and then calmly lobbed Chris Day, the Queens Park Rangers Goalkeeper to ensure Cardiff returned to Division One after an 18-year absence. Chances had been few and far between in normal time, but as both sets of players tired, the game opened up in those nail-biting final 30 minutes. No more so than when Day made a superb one-handed save from a Spencer Prior header after Graham Kavanagh's in-swinging free-kick.
The Bluebirds established themselves in Division One during 2003–04 season as they finished it off in an impressive 13th position. In the summer of 2004 they had to sell Robert Earnshaw for a fee of £3m to Norwich City, due to the finical difficulties, Earnshaw was the clubs second highest goalscorer with a total of 105 goals in 205 games. The follow season, they struggled to a 16th position finish, at the end of the 2004-05 campaign, Lawrence was relieved of his duties to make way for David Jones at the end of the campaign.
Jones improved the side by signing Darren Purse for £1m from West Bromwich Albion and naming him Captain and bringing Welsh international Jason Koumas and Glenn Loovens on loan but due to the then continuing financial problems, they had to sell some big names such as Danny Gabbidon and James Collins to West Ham United for a combined fee of £3.5m and former captain, Graham Kavanagh to Wigan Athletic. But they still pulled off a successful season in the 2005-06 campaign finishing eleventh.
Ridsdale era (2006–2009)
After failing to get the new stadium plans agreed by Cardiff Council due to concerns over financial security in 2006, Hammam agreed to a £27 million takeover by a consortium led by new chairman Peter Ridsdale and including the lead developer of the new stadia 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."
Cardiff finished the 2006-07 in 13th place, with not even a chance of promotion. During the summer of 2007 Cardiff signed some big names including Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Robbie Fowler on free transfers whilst selling 2006-07 top goalscorer, Michael Chopra for £5m, this was their record transfer fee received. Hasselbaink and Fowler didn't prove that successful only scoring 15 goals between them and finished the league in 12th with 64 points. During the season Cardiff and Ridsdale were in constant battle with Langston over a £24m loan payment out of £31m, former owner, Sam Hammam was believed to be involved with Langston. However, Cardiff did reach the 2008 FA Cup Final, being beat by Premier League side Portsmouth.
Just before the Final, it had been rumoured that Cardiff could have a chance to qualify for the Europa League should they win the final. The FA stated that they would not nominate Cardiff a place in Europe should they earn one on the grounds that they wouldn't have an option. UEFA president, Michel Platini later pledged his support to the club if the FA denies them entry into the competition, saying "If England don't do anything, we will." Following Platini's statement the FA announced that they would be reviewing their stance on the situation. UEFA also commented on the possibility of the club being given a wild card entry into Europe, but the FA eventually backed down from their previous statement and confirmed that it would allow the club to play in Europe should they win the FA Cup final. However, Cardiff lost the FA Cup final 1–0 against Portsmouth, who hadn't already won a qualification place.
In the following 2008–09 season Cardiff made a serious attempt at getting promotion, finishing 7th losing out on a play-off spot through goals conceded. During the January transfer window they kept hold of star players, such as £2M rated Joe Ledley and added Quincy Owusu-Abeyie, Chris Burke and Michael Chopra to the side. However, £120,000 summer signing Ross McCormack proved that Cardiff had established a healthy tradition of discovering cut-price hidden goal-scoring gems, after selling Cameron Jerome to Birmingham City for £3m in 2006 and Michael Chopra sold to Sunderland for £5m in 2007. McCormack finished with 23 goals in 44 games. However this would be their last season at Ninian Park before they move to the Cardiff City Stadium, the last game at Ninian Park was a 3-0 loss to Ipswich Town.
Cardiff City had many fine players at their disposal at the start of the 21st century, including Robert Earnshaw, Jason Koumas, John Robinson, Graham Kavanagh, Danny Gabbidon, Michael Chopra and youth academy products Chris Gunter and Aaron Ramsey.
Move to Cardiff City Stadium (2009–10)
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 dealt with, and 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. Cardiff then broke their current record transfer fee, signing Michael Chopra from Sunderland for £3m. The transfer fee dwarfed their previous record of £1.75m for Peter Thorne from Stoke City in 2001. Cardiff moved across the road to their new £50m stadium, Cardiff City Stadium for the 2009-10 season. The first game was played on 10 July 2010 against Chasetown but it was officially opened on 22 July, Cardiff played Scottish giants Celtic. 15,000 spectators watched the goalless draw.
Having staved off a winding up order from HMRC under a payment agreement, in November 2009. Ridsdale offered a "Golden Ticket" scheme to fans, in that if they bought their 2010/11 season ticket before January 6, 2010, then they would not see a rise on prices for two years, and all monies raised would be spent on players in the January 2010 transfer window. However, on 27 January 2010, Ridsdale admitted he was eating humble pie, and that in addition to the "Golden Ticket" money not being spent on players, club assets would be sold to fulfil a £2.7M tax bill, and avert another winding up order.
Cardiff City drew the most successful graphic at Championship in 2009-10 season and qualified for the Play-Offs after beating Queens Park Rangers 1-0. In the play-off semi-final, they met Leicester City. Cardiff advanced to the play-off final after winning 4-3 on penalties following a 3-3 aggregate score over two legs. However, in the play-off final against Blackpool, they lost 3-2 after leading twice in the game.
Malaysian era and Premiership Football (2010–)
Malaysian business men Datuk Chan Tien Ghee and Tan Sri Vincent Tan Chee Yioun took over the club on 27 May 2010. Chan confirmed that Dave Jones will continue as the Cardiff City manager on 25 May. A transfer embargo was imposed due to tax problems worth £1.3m and not submitting their year-end accounts for May 2009, which was paid off on 8 July. However the embargo wasn't lifted till 8 August due to the year-end accounts still not being submitted. 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.
However, the club faced another potential winding-up order after it was revealed that around £175,000 was still owed to Motherwell relating to the transfer of Paul Quinn. However, since Motherwell revealed the outstanding payment, Cardiff paid off half the amount owed and paid off the rest immediately. On 14 November 2010, Jay Bothroyd was called up for England to play France at Wembley Stadium on 17 November. Bothroyd came on in 74th minute to become Cardiff's first player to play for England in their 111-year history. Cardiff were within reach of an automatic place throughout the season, but failed to do so and ended in the play-offs for a second season. Cardiff then lost to Reading in the semi-finals, meaning a second failed play-off campaign, this result lead to Dave Jones being sacked on 30 May 2011.
On 3 June 2011, Cardiff City had reached an agreement with long term debtors, PMG, as part of the agreement some of the debt would be turned into shares and Mike Hall would rejoin the board. On 17 June, former Watford manager, Malky Mackay joined on a three-year deal, Watford were paid an undisclosed fee for his services. In his first season, Mackay lead the team to a successful League Cup run in which the club reached its first ever final in the competition, where they lost to Liverpool on penalties. Cardiff ended their season in the play-off positions, for the third season running, however they failed for the third time losing to West Ham United in the semi-finals.
Following the play-off defeat, the Malaysian owners were planning to change the colours and badge of the club but these plans were soon ended because of a bad reaction from the fans as a result, the investment plan was to be rethought. After a business meeting on 5 June, Cardiff announced the following day, that they would be playing in red at home and blue away, and have a new club crest with a dragon replacing the prominent Bluebird, which became smaller in size. As a result of this investment was to placed by the Malaysian and the long historical debt of Langston was to be paid off, along with a new training facility and stadium expansion to go with it.
Cardiff offered former chairman Sam Hammam three offers which would all add up to a total of £13m plus a life presidency role at the club, which would help towards paying off the Langston debt, however Hammam decided to reject all three offers on 29 June. Cardiff had their best ever start to a league campaign in history during the 2012-13 season, Malky Mackay's men also set a new club record by winning their 10th consecutive home match against former manager, Dave Jones', Sheffield Wednesday side. However, Cardiff couldn't manage to extend this record following a 2-1 loss to Peterborough United, where they also broke the record attendance at Cardiff City Stadium, now set at 26,073. Cardiff gained promotion to the Premier League on 16 April 2013, following a goalless draw against Charlton Athletic, ending a 51-year absence from the top division and followed this by winning the title 5 days later after drawing with Burnley.
Cardiff's debut season in the Premier League started with some big spending, where they broke the transfer record of £4 million when they signed Danish international Andreas Cornelius for £7.5 million. The transfer record was broke two more times over the summer, with signings of English international Steven Caulker and Chilean international Gary Medel. In July, Vincent Tan had reached an agreement with Sam Hammam over the £15 million debt owed to Langston, where Hammam would become Honorary Life President of the club, this was considered as the first step of becoming a debt-free club. Cardiff went on to win the first ever Premier League South Wales derby against Swansea City. Following a 3–0 loss to Southampton, Mackay was sacked with the club only 1 point away from the relegation places.
On 2 January 2014, former Manchester United striker Ole Gunnar Solskjær was confirmed as first team manager, becoming the first foreign manager to take charge of the team. Despite the change in management, Solskjær failed to save the club from relegation meaning an instant return to the Championship 12 months after winning promotion, following a 3-0 defeat to Newcastle. The two teams that were promoted alongside Cardiff, Hull City and Crystal Palace, who finished 2nd and 5th respectively, both managed to preserve their top flight status.
Cardiff returned to the Championship after one season of Premier League football. Despite possessing an abundance of talent and being one of the favourites for promotion back into England's top division, Cardiff's performances during the season were disappointing. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was sacked on 18 September 2014, following 8 torrid months in charge. Despite being linked with managers such as Neil Lennon and Paul Hartley, Cardiff appointed Leyton Orient manager Russell Slade on 6 October 2014.
Slade started off his managerial career well with a 2-1 home victory over a then unbeaten Nottingham Forest. Despite his early victory and decent home form, Slade's team selection's and style of football upset fans due to the high expectations of an immediate return to the Premier League. Following a pattern of the last few seasons, Cardiff's fans were troubled off the pitch as well as on it. Vincent Tan's rebrand remained the focal point on match days, with many organised protests and chants directly aimed at the owner. 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.
On 9 January 2015, 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. The following day, Cardiff welcomed Fulham to the Cardiff City Stadium which resulted in the Bluebirds winning 1-0. The change back to blue was seen as a success for fans and protesters alike, however, attendances had been dropping steadily throughout the season by an average of 7,000 per game compared to the previous season, with many fans unhappy with the day-to-day operations of the club, poor performances and future plans.
On 6 April 2015, Slade suffered his worst home defeat as Cardiff manager following a 3-0 loss against fellow Championship strugglers Bolton Wanderers, thus increasing the pressure on his position. Cardiff finished the 2014–15 season with 62 points and in 11th place, their lowest season finish since the 2007–08 season.
Cardiff missed out on a play-off place for the following season, whilst also having a transfer embargo enforced on them, for breaching Financial Fair Play Rules, Meaning that Cardiff had to loan out Kenwyne Jones for a second season and sell top goal-scorer Joe Mason to Championship rivals, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Despite the embargo, Cardiff were able to settle the long term debt with creditor Langston, and Vincent Tan had written off £10 million worth of debt and promised to turn £68 million into equity. Slade was promoted to Head of Football at the club, eventually being replaced by Paul Trollope, a member of his coaching staff. Cardiff struggled under Trollope, only managing 2 wins out of 12 games and found themselves fighting in the relegation places, the first time in 11 years.
Trollope was sacked on 4 October, and was replaced by Neil Warnock. Warnock brought Cardiff out of the relegation zone to finish in 12th. The following season, Cardiff began brightly winning their first five games of the season, for the first time in their history, before eventually being promoted in 2nd place following a 0–0 draw with Reading, where they broke their attendance at Cardiff City Stadium.
Following the promotion, Vincent Tan converted a further £66.4 million owed to him into equity.
Cardiff City were relegated from the Premier League at the end of the 2018-19 season, losing at home 2-3 to Crystal Palace on the 4th May 2019, with one game of the season remaining.