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1960-2013: THE HISTORY BOYS

13 August 2013

How City secured promotion - in 1960 and 2013


Cardiff City Football Club prepares to embark on its maiden Barclays Premier League voyage in four days time, following a productive yet gruelling pre-season.

Preparations began back in July with a training camp in Switzerland - ironically, the same country the Cardiff City class of 1960 did following their promotion to the old Division One.

Much has been made of the fact that Cardiff City have been promoted to the top division for the first time in fifty-three years, and numerous parallels have been drawn between the current Bluebirds side and our 1960 alumni. In fact, some of that famous side were present to watch their twenty-first century counterparts lift the nPower Championship trophy following the 1-1 draw with Bolton Wanderers at CCS in April.

In some cases, the players of today might be described as an iterated version of that group, whether they have similar styles of play or have coincidentally emulated a career path of their mid-twentieth century equivalents. The following comparisions are of interest.

The Managers: Bill Jones & Malky Mackay

Both Malky Mackay and 1960 counterpart Bill Jones achieved the goal of promotion to the top division in their second year in charge of the club. Both managers had strengthened their squads in the summers preceding the promotion seasons, and though the comparative budgets and transfer climates were worlds apart, both managers secured the signings of players from home and from overseas. Malky went one better than Jones though, as City won the nPower Championship title last season – Aston Villa topped the table in 1960 and City went up as runners-up. Jones went on to guide Cardiff to fifteenth in the subsequent season, a satisfactory outcome.

The 'Keepers: Graham Vearncombe & David Marshall

David Marshall’s exclusion from last year’s nPower Championship Team of the Year baffled many in British football. Eighteen clean sheets in forty-six games meant the Scottish international goalkeeper topped the league’s clean sheets chart (admittedly, the man who was selected in goal for that team, Leicester City’s Kasper Schmeichel, did top the charts for a large proportion of the season until Marshall overtook him toward the end) and that will be motivation enough for City’s current stopper to look forward to testing himself at the highest level next term. Clean sheets were not as paramount to Cardiff’s promotion success in 1960, as City managed half that total. Seven of those nine shutouts were provided by Graham Vearncombe, the twice-capped Wales international who was part of Wales’ only ever World Cup Squad at Sweden 1958. Vearncombe would go on to make over two hundred appearances for the Bluebirds in total. The rest of the clean sheets were achieved towards the end of the season, when Ron Nicholls stood in for Vearncombe for five games.

The Skippers: Danny Malloy & Mark Hudson

Scotsman Danny Malloy captained City to promotion in 1960, while Mark Hudson is City’s iterated skipper. Both men wore the number five shirt for the Bluebirds, but while Mark is often seen heading forward and putting the ball into the back of the net from set-pieces, Danny was very much solely defensively-minded, and only scored once in his two-hundred-and-twenty-five appearances for the Ninian Park club. One of Malloy’s achievements that is particularly noteworthy is that he only missed two matches in all competitions in total over the promotion season and the subsequent first year at the top level, a statistic nobody in the Cardiff squad at that time can come close to matching. Malloy was only absent for Sixth-Round Welsh cup win over Swansea Town on February 25th 1960 and a 1-0 league win over Stoke City on April 9th of that same year. For an outfield player to replicate that kind of feat in this day and age is rare, but the incomparable Hudson will be aiming to maintain his consistently high standard of leadership in the Barclays Premier League this year regardless.

The Veterans: Colin Baker & Kevin McNaughton

Colin Baker, a seven-times capped Wales international, was a mainstay in the Cardiff City line-up for over ten years and e played for Cardiff City for his entire career. Kevin McNaughton, with the Bluebirds since 2006, has chalked up seven years in South Wales already since joining from Aberdeen. Super Kev was the longest-serving player in the club’s ranks as they went up last year, and his new contract means he will get to prolong that spell. Baker made his debut for Wales at World Cup 1958 and earned another six caps during his career. McNaughton has four caps for Scotland, of which one was gained since joining the Bluebirds, and with teammates David Marshall and Craig Conway recently being selected in Gordon Strachan’s Tartan Army squad to face England this week, along with the Premier League platform he now has from which to showcase his talents, McNaughton is in with a shout of getting some more.

Debut-Season Winners: Alan Durban & Jordon Mutch

Young midfield pair Alan Durban and Jordon Mutch each tasted promotion in their first season with the club. While Durban’s contribution was primarily during the early stages of 1959, Mutch came into his own towards the end of the 12/13 campaign as he started each of City’s final eight fixtures. Malky Mackay signed Mutch from Birmingham City, having previously managed him during a loan spell with Watford in 2010-11, last summer. Bridgend-born Durban was to go on to have a fine twenty-seven-cap Wales career as well as a coaching spell spanning twenty-four years, including two years in charge of Cardiff City between 1984 and 1986.

The Fledgling Talents:Barrie Hole & Joe Ralls

Barrie Hole was promoted in his debut season as a teenage midfielder, and his versatility saw him play as an emergency striker on occasion. He went on to become a fixture in the Bluebirds side. Joe Ralls, himself a teenager, has the credentials to emulate Hole as a Cardiff City mainstay, and played at left-back in City’s 1-1 draw at Derby County this past season. Hole played every single game of the 1964-65 season, and that is an achievement that Ralls can aspire to as he gains more experience with each passing year.

The Magicians: Johnny Watkins & Craig Noone

Wide-man Johnny Watkins had been around a promotion-winning team before coming to Cardiff City in 1959 as Bristol City won the Third Division South in 1954-55. Unfortunately for him, though, he never made the Robins’ first team that season. After making his debut for the Reds and managing another ninety-four appearances, he was sold to Cardiff City for £2,500 in June 1959. He was the only ever-present in City’s ranks in 59/60, which is some achievement for an outfield player. Like Watkins, Craig Noone arrived in the Welsh Capital having previously experienced promotion; Noone was an integral part of Brighton and Hove Albion’s League One Triumph in 2010-11. Both of these men arrived at Cardiff and were promoted to the top division in their very first year with the club.

Foreign Flair: Steve Mokone & Kim Bo-Kyung

Current Bluebirds favourite and South Korean international Kim Bo-Kyung was snapped up from Cerezo Osaka of the J-League and has been of huge importance to the squad, especially with his increased time on the pitch during the tail-end of the season. The summer of 1959 saw the arrival of another international signing in South African Steve Mokone, signed by Bill Jones from Dutch side Heracles Almelo. Mokone’s time at City was brief though, as he was lured away by Helenio Herrera’s Barcelona having played just three games for the club. A globetrotting career followed for the Bafana Bafana player, taking in spells in Spain, France, Italy and even Australia, before retiring to the United States. Mokone’s life was made into a novel and then a movie was released in 2000.

The History Boys: Graham Moore & Craig Conway

Graham Moore, then just eighteen years old, scored the goal that sent Cardiff into the big time, as he netted in a 1-0 against eventual league champions Aston Villa in front of a phenomenal crowd of 52,364 at Ninian Park on April 16, 1960. There wasn’t a single goal as such that secured City their promotion this time around, as of course that was secured via that unforgettable 0-0 draw against Chris Powell’s Charlton Athletic at Cardiff City Stadium in April. However, there was a goal that secured the league title, and it came in the following game, at Turf Moor against Burnley. It was Craig Conway who made history, his fantastic effort from range beating Lee Grant in the Clarets’ goal. Former Swansea loanee David Edgar got an equaliser to have the game finish a 1-1 draw, but the lasting memory of that day was seeing Malky Mackay hoisted up into the air by his players, as City had done everything they had set out to achieve at the start of the season.

The Goal-Machines: Derek Tapscott & Fraizer Campbell

Welshman Derek Tapscott top-scored for Cardiff with twenty league goals during their 59/60 promotion season. Fraizer Campbell, signed from Sunderland in January, managed a tremendous seven goals in twelve appearances, including all of the club’s goals in February, for which he was named the Championship’s Player of the Month. One of two players now in the Cardiff ranks to have represented England at full international level (the other, Steven Caulker), if Campbell were to match Tapscott’s 1960/61 output of another twenty goals in the top division this year, it will have been a very pleasing campaign for the former Manchester United man - especially with a FIFA World Cup not too far away.


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