Kenny Miller

Looking Back | City's memorable opening days

The opening weekend of the 2023/24 EFL Championship will see Cardiff City travel to Elland Road on Sunday, August 6th, 2.30pm kick-off.

As the Bluebirds prepare for the first league game of the campaign, we take a look back at some memorable opening days of the past.

Kenneth Zohore nets dramatic late winner

The 2017/18 campaign saw the Bluebirds make the trip to Burton Albion’s Pirelli Stadium on the opening day.

In a competitive contest, striker Zohore made the difference for City, putting in a fine individual performance.

The Dane thought he had put the Bluebirds in front in the first half, only for a smart finish to be ruled out for offside.

Zohore went close once more in the second period, as a long-throw from Icelandic midfielder Aron Gunnarsson found its way to the striker, whose header was tipped over by Brewers goalkeeper and ex-Bluebird, Stephen Bywater.

However, with 87 minutes on the clock, City’s no.10 wasn’t to be denied, picking up the ball on the edge of the area, cutting inside onto his left foot and firing brilliantly into the bottom corner to reward the vocal Bluebirds fans behind the goal.

It went on to be a remarkable campaign for City, who, under the management of Neil Warnock, achieved a second-placed finish to gain automatic promotion to the Premier League.

Kenny Miller
Kenny Miller makes dream start as a Bluebird

A stern test awaited the Bluebirds in the first match of the 2011/12 season, with a difficult trip to face West Ham United.

City had lost their last four trips to the Irons without scoring, and targeted a first win at Upton Park since April 1950.

Against a strong side who had recently been relegated from the Premier League, the Bluebirds achieved a fantastic 1-0 victory courtesy of a Scottish debutant.

Kenny Miller, who had joined City from Turkish side Bursaspor, was found inside the box in the 91st minute, after some brilliant work from fellow new recruit Rudy Gestede.

The Scotsman struck a fine effort on-the-turn past Rob Green to seal a winning start to the campaign for City, who would go on to reach the Carling Cup Final and the Play-Off Semi-Finals.

Cardiff City vs. Scunthorpe Utd
First league win at Cardiff City Stadium

The start of the 2009/10 season marked the Bluebirds’ debut at Cardiff City Stadium, having made the move from Ninian Park.

City started life at CCS in some style, as striker Michael Chopra spearheaded a convincing 4-0 victory over Scunthorpe United.

Chopra netted the first and third goals, while strike partner Jay Bothroyd also got on the scoresheet, turning home a goal-bound shot from Welsh midfielder Joe Ledley.

Late in the contest, winger Chris Burke showed his quality by earning City a penalty, which Peter Whittingham characteristically slotted home.

Remarkably, the Bluebirds were one of only three teams to win on the opening weekend, sitting at the top of the table after the first round of fixtures.

Joe Ledley
Joe Ledley on target in opening day win

City went into the 2006/07 campaign on the back of a positive transfer window, which included the signings of Chopra from Newcastle United and Roger Johnson from Wycombe Wanderers.

The Bluebirds also made the shrewd acquisition of right-back Kevin McNaughton on a free transfer from Aberdeen, who went on to represent City in over 250 league matches.

The opening weekend saw the Bluebirds take on Barnsley away at Oakwell, in which City made a bright start to the campaign.

Dave Jones’ side made a blistering opening through Ledley, who found the net after 19 minutes for his seventh league goal in a City shirt.

Just three minutes later, the Bluebirds doubled the advantage, with Scottish striker Steven Thompson putting City two ahead.

Barnsley pulled a goal back with 31 minutes on the clock through midfielder Brian Howard, but the Bluebirds’ backline stood strong for the remainder of the match to make a winning start.

Robert Earnshaw celebrates...
Robert Earnshaw starts path to scoring record

The 2002/03 season was a memorable one for the Bluebirds, earning promotion to Division One in a Play-Off Final victory over Queens Park Rangers.

City’s success that campaign had a large contribution from striker Robert Earnshaw, whose goal record was quite remarkable.

On the opening day of the season, City had an away fixture against Oldham Athletic, with the Bluebirds recording all three points.

After Andy Campbell had opened the scoring in the first-half, the win was sealed by Earnshaw, who took 84 minutes to net his first of the campaign.

The Welsh attacker went on to finish the season on a fantastic tally of 35 goals in all competitions, which saw him break the 56-year record of 30 league goals held by Stan Richards and the record of Hughie Ferguson of 32 goals in all competitions.