Friday 31 May 2013
After an arduous Championship campaign three clubs earned the right to play in the Barclays Premier League in season 2013/14.
While champions Cardiff City, runners-up Hull City and play-off winners Crystal Palace make their preparations for a season in the English top flight, premierleague.com takes a look at the three newly promoted clubs, beginning with the winners from Wales, Cardiff.
Cardiff have never played in the Barclays Premier League and it is a measure of how far they have come in recent years that only 12 years ago they were toiling in the fourth tier of English football. The last time they were a top-flight club was in the 1961/62 season.
Cardiff City Stadium
Cardiff made a dream start to the 2012/13 campaign, flying out of the blocks with a club-record breaking opening sequence of 10 successive home victories, after which they never looked back. Although they lost at home to Peterborough United, the Bluebirds responded with four straight wins. Thereafter a steady run of consistent form ensured Malky Mackay’s charges had enough leeway to finish their campaign with four draws, securing their first return to the English top flight in 51 years with a match to spare and ending three successive years of agonising play-off defeats.
The former Celtic, Norwich City and West Ham United defender got his first taste of Barclays Premier League action as a Watford player in the 2006/07 season before becoming caretaker manager in 2008. After replacing Brendan Rodgers to spend two seasons in charge of the Hornets, Mackay joined Cardiff, leading them in his first season to the 2012 League Cup final and the play-off semi-finals, which was lost to West Ham. A solid, consistent side secured their first return to the English top flight in 51 years by winning the Championship by an eight-point margin and Mackay was voted the League Managers’ Association Championship Manager of the Year.
Cardiff native Bellamy finally got to play for the club he supported as a boy after making a name for himself as a fleet-footed forward for seven different Premier League clubs, including Newcastle United, Liverpool and Manchester City. The Wales international first joined Cardiff on a season-long loan and proved an inspirational captain for the Bluebirds, who lost out to Reading in the play-off semi-finals after Bellamy suffered injury in the first leg. Bellamy then re-joined Liverpool but after a season at Anfield returned to help his hometown club realise their dream of reaching the top flight with a series of infectiously energetic performances on the left wing. The 33-year-old has made 272 top-flight appearances and scored 78 Barclays Premier League goals.
Kim Bo-Kyung first made a splash on British shores when he scored an outstanding goal against Switzerland in the 2012 Summer Olympics. After winning a bronze medal with South Korea and being included in the Team of the Tournament he reputedly turned down interest from Celtic and Borussia Dortmund to sign for Cardiff. The 23-year-old had to bide his time before getting his first start, but a string of excellent displays, notably in the 3-0 win over Blackburn Rovers in April, suggest there is plenty more to come from this skilful attacking midfielder. Kim’s movement, awareness, technical proficency and passing accuracy should serve him well in the Barclays Premier League.
An ever-present for Cardiff last season Marshall established himself as one of the best goalkeepers in the division. Signed on a free transfer from Norwich City in July 2009 the Glaswegian produced a series of outstanding displays, with a division-best 18 clean sheets and a growing reputation for superb shot-stopping. With Marshall, 28, between the posts the Bluebirds boasted the second-best defensive record in the Championship, in part due to the obduracy of captain and centre-back Mark Hudson, who was voted Player of the Year, but also due to the excellence of Cardiff’s last line of defence.