Yesterday saw an open top bus parade by the players and staff from the City centre to Cardiff Bay which was topped off by a fireworks display. I’ve seen estimates ranging from 10,000 to 100,000 as to numbers who witnessed at least some of the parade, but it seems that around 10,000 were there at the Bay to watch proceedings come to a close.
I’ve got to admit that the last twenty days have been something of a blur for this blogger who, in the nineties, had given up hope of ever seeing us play in the second tier again in his lifetime, let alone watching us perform at the top level for the first time – I’m still half expecting to wake up and have to start “looking forward to” our Play Off matches this week, but, being serious, I’d say that it will really sink in when the fixtures for the new season are announced in about six weeks time.
Anyway, although the Championship season is over for City, there is still some football to be played. The Under 21 Development side have a Play Off procedure of their own to go through yet – tomorrow evening they face Northern Section winners Leicester in a one off game at the King Power Stadium. Leicester won their league at something of a canter and have made a habit of including first team squad members like Vardy, Waghorn and Marshall in recent Development side matches, so City will travel as underdogs I reckon, but they may benefit from Leicester’s involvement in the Championship Play Off’s as Nigel Pearson could need players who would have otherwise played for the Under 21′s. It also has to be said that City’s Development side have been beating all comers in recent months and so there’s no need for them to travel with any sort of inferiority complex – if Kevin Cooper’s side can come out on top, then there will be one last match at Cardiff City Stadium for supporters to enjoy in this great season because the winners of our game will be at home to whoever comes out on top out of Charlton and Huddersfield tomorrow lunchtime in the Final.
Finally, ours will not be the only open top bus parade this week because Newport County will also be holding one after regaining their Football League status yesterday by beating Wrexham 2-0 at Wembley in the Conference Play Off Final. Although it’s great to see County back in the League after an absence of twenty five years, I must admit to feeling very sorry for Wrexham who were the better side for long periods of yesterday’s match – they do have the consolation of the FA Trophy in this great season for Welsh club football I suppose, but I doubt it if that counts for anything for them this morning, I just hope that they can join Newport in the Football League this time next year.
Congratulations to County though and I’m already looking forward to be able to see some League Two football next season at Rodney Parade – I’m sure there will be plenty of changes to their squad overt the summer months, but I get the feeling that players such as Christian Jolley, Aaron O’Connor, Andy Sandell, Lee Minshull, David Pipe and Byron Anthony will be able to cope with the step up, let’s just hope now that the people of Newport will support them in greater numbers than they used to do when they were last in the Football League.