Thursday, April 18, 2013

Cardiff City earns promotion into English Premier League

After a 51-year absence, Cardiff City will be making a return to the top tier of English soccer. The Welsh
club earned automatic promotion to the English Premier League on April 16 after a 0-0 tie at home against Charlton Athletic. The single point guaranteed the club would finish in either first or second place in the Championship League. The top two teams are automatically promoted into the Premier League.

Cardiff came close to promotion for the last three seasons, but was beaten out in the playoffs each year. The last time they played in England’s top division was back in 1962 in the old First Division, three decades before the Premier League was launched. When the final whistle blew in the match against Charlton, fans and players celebrated on the stadium’s pitch. Team manager Malky Mackay said he’s happy for the fans and the players since they’ve come so close in the last few years, but could never get over the hump.

There will now be two clubs from Wales in the Premier League next season as Swansea also play in the league. Swansea also won the League Cup this season. Cardiff had 84 points from 43 games when they clinched promotion and were sitting in first place in the Championship League. They had a seven-point cushion over Hull City and are likely to be crowned as champions of the division since there are just three games remaining in the current season. The club has been sitting at the top of their league table ever since November.

Hull was beaten 1-0 by Wolverhampton Wanderers and third-place team Watford are six points behind Hull. It looks like Hull will finish in second place and also earn promotion to the Premier League unless they collapse with just a few games to go. The other promotion spot will be decided by a playoff series between the third to sixth-place teams. These are currently Watford, Brighton, Crystal Palace, and Leicester. At the bottom end of the Championship League, Bristol City has already been relegated into League One for next season. There will be two more teams relegated with Barnsley and Huddersfield Town presently in the relegation zone.

Cardiff can definitely use the money that playing in the Premier League will bring since the franchise has been financially unstable for the last few seasons. The promotion will see them earn millions of dollars in television broadcasting money starting next season. The club came close to bankruptcy in 2010 and owed the taxman close to $3million at that time. However, billionaire Vincent Tan of Malaysia bought the club and eased the financial burden.

The team’s fans didn’t take too kindly to Tan at first though since he changed the uniform colors from blue to red. Cardiff’s nickname is the Bluebirds and the team has worn blue uniforms for over a century. But with the team now entering the Premier League it’s fans don’t care what color the uniforms are.

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