Cardiff City back in the big time after 51 years in the wilderness
Watford’s loss sees rebranded Dragons in top flight
Cardiff City’s Leon Barnett is carried by fans after last night’s draw with Charlton Athletic was enough to see them promoted.
It was a day that Cardiff City supporters had been waiting to celebrate for more than half a century. After a 51-year absence, the Welsh club have secured their return to English football’s top flight and all the riches that come with a place in next season’s Premier League.
Those Cardiff fans hoping for a straightforward evening were left biting their fingernails as Malky Mackay’s side, needing a point to be certain of promotion, desperately searched for the goal that would have eased the tension.
Instead it was news from elsewhere that started the celebrations, when it emerged that Millwall had taken the lead against Watford, who needed to win to have any chance of catching Cardiff. Having watched Swansea blaze a trail in the Premier League over the last two years, Cardiff will hope to step out of their rival’s shadow next term. If the kit change from blue to red last summer was hugely controversial, it felt a million miles from Cardiff minds amid raucous scenes at the final whistle.
Mackay’s name reverberated around the stadium. The Cardiff manager, who took over two years ago and inherited only 10 first-team players, has etched his name into history in the Welsh capital. Premier League scarves – “Up where we belong” – were on sale outside the stadium while there was a buzz inside, where Cardiff fans chanted about competing with Swansea next season, albeit it not quite in those words.
CARDIFF: Marshall, McNaughton,Turner,Barnett,Taylor, Noone (Smith 71), Kim, Gunnarsson, Mutch, Bellamy, Gestede. Subs Not Used: Lewis,Whittingham, Cowie, Conway, Mason, Nugent.
CHARLTON: Hamer, Solly, Morrison, Dervite, Wiggins, Harriott, Hughes (Gower 81), Jackson, Pritchard (Green 88), Kermorgant, Fuller (Obika 81). Subs Not Used: Button, Taylor, Kerkar, Wilson. Booked: Fuller.
Referee: Scott Mathieson (Cheshire).