Season Preview 2012/13: Cardiff City
On the face of it, a heart-breaking League Cup Final defeat to Liverpool and a Play-Off Semi Final defeat was an excellent first season with the Bluebirds - or is that Red Dragons nows?
Of course, the big bone of contention at the Cardiff City Stadium has been the re-branding of the club, and for those who are somehow unaware, Cardiff will wear red this season, sport a dragon on their badge and see the seats in their stadium ripped out and replaced with red ones. The reason? An improved warchest for Mackay to work with, believed to be somewhere around the £25m mark.
Strengths: Obvious really - money! And lots of it.
Jordon Mutch cost £2.5m whilst two other summer acquisitions have cost seven-figures. Whether or not there will be more additions this summer remains to be seen, but January could see more spending if the first half of the season doesn't go to plan.
Weakness': Fan disillusionment? By gauging the Twittersphere, it's clear a lot of City supporters are unhappy at the club's wholesale re-branding. How much of an impact that will have on Mackay and his players remains to be seen, but it can't be a good thing.
Best business so far: The £2.5m capture of Mutch is a great addition. Mackay worked with Mutch at the Vic' of course, impressing hugely as a string-pulling central midfielder from August 2010 to January 2011. Such was the former Birmingham City and Derby County midfielder's impact, the Hornet's collapsed badly in the second-half of the season.
Star man: Midfield string-puller, Peter Whittingham. The former Aston Villa trainee has really kicked on in recent years from 'also ran' to 'key man'. The 27 year-old former England youth cap is now in the peak of his career in theory and if Cardiff can keep hold of their midfield lynchpin, he could soon be back in the top-flight.
In: Joe Lewis (Peterborough) free transfer, Filip Kiss (Slovan Bratislava) £500k, Jordon Mutch (Birmingham City) £2.5m, Etien Velikonj (Maribor) £1.5m, Kim Bo-Kyung (Cerezo Osaka) £2m & Heidar Helguson (QPR) undisc.
Out: Alex Evans, Lee Naylor, Paul Quinn, Jordan Santiago (all released), Aaron Wildig (Shrewsbury Town) free transfer, Tom Heaton (Bristol City) free transfer, Jon Parkin (Fleetwood Town) free transfer & Kenny Miller (Vancouver Whitecaps) £563k.
wfc123: They HAVE to be knocking on the door for automatic promotion, if not, it will surely be curtains for Mackay. An inability to turn draws into wins last season cost the Bluebirds; the new forwards will have to hit the ground running.
chrisgwfc: Expect them to challenge automatically and at least finish in the top 6. The pressure will be on having had the large investment over the summer but with signings like Mutch from a fellow Championship rival they will not go far wrong. This doesn`t mean I wouldn't like to see them fail miserably I would add!