In a series shamelessly stolen from Deadspin great Drew Magary, Cartilage Free Captain will preview each opponent before we face them and explain to you exactly why they're complete crap and doomed for the drop.
If you're a Cardiff City fan, that's too bad. Your team sucks and you're going to get relegated.
Your Club Sucks: Forever in Swansea's shadow. How does it feel to be the second best Welsh club when there are only two of you (that anyone cares about)?
The past five years have seen your team come agonizingly close to success--making three successive Championship playoff appearances and reaching two Cup finals--only to choke every single time. Meanwhile, your biggest rivals crawled up from the Fourth Division and snuck past you to become the first Welsh side in the Premier League, and then laughed in the face of your two Cup finals by winning a trophy last year.
How does it feel?
Your crazy new owner tried to change your club's nickname to the "Red Dragons" but your fans threw a hissy fit and fought the change. But given the history of your club's nicknames, Red Dragons would be a significant improvement.
Your club nickname used to be "The Cardiffians", which basically sounds like a shittier Welsh version of the Kardashians. Apparently realizing the uninspiring pile of suck that name was, you changed to your current nickname "The Bluebirds".
This marginal improvement was inspired by the performance of play in Cardiff called The Blue Bird by Belgian playwright Maurice Maeterlinck. I know Belgians are all the rage, but this is taking the fad to a ridiculous extreme.
Also, the theme of the play is about how you shouldn't try to hoard happiness for yourself. So at least that's accurate.
Your Owner Sucks: Billionaire Vincent Tan has been a clusterfuck of hilarity since taking over the team. The Malaysian Mike Ashley, he's shat all over your (limited) history to achieve success at a club recreated in his own image. He changed the color of your kits because he wanted you to wear was his favorite color, notwithstanding the fact that it makes no sense whatsoever to have a team called the Bluebirds draped head to toe in red.
He's also revamped the crest, once again changing the classic blue to red, and shoved the namesake bluebird into the corner to make room for a giant red dragon. Because dragons are way cool. And he added the new slogan "Fire & Passion", presumably because he saw it on a really motivational Powerpoint presentation at work one time.
Oh sure, he acts like he loves the team, sitting in the stands with the fans clad in the iconic Cardiff City red kit. But he only cares so far as the club is a reflection of him, and it's only a matter of time before he destroys everything you ever loved about the team in service of his own ego.
Is it worth it? Is selling the soul of your club for a modicum of success worth it? Will you still be cheering when Cardiff City is no longer Cardiff City, but the Fightin' Vincent Tans, striding the pitch in bright red kits emblazoned with Tan's mustachioed visage across the front?
Your Last Season Sucked: For the first time in 50+ years, you managed not to choke, and you probably think that's something to be proud of. But first place in the Championship is still only 21st place by any metric that matters. Being the best team in the Championship is like being less racist than John Terry or less adulterous than Ryan Giggs. It's a meaningless accomplishment and nobody gives a shit.
But if that's the kind of success the lowered expectations of a Cardiff City fan is used to, have no fear. You'll have another chance to repeat it next season.
Your Coach Sucks: Championship Manager of the Year Malky Mackay sucks. See above for how much being the best x y or z in the Championship matters. This award puts him in the esteemed company of managerial luminaries like Mick McCarthy, Brian McDermott, Paul Lambert, Tony Mowbray and Roy Keane. All of whom suck.
He was a Championship player who became a Championship manager and in a few months, will lead you straight back to the Championship.
Your Players Suck: You somehow won the Championship last year without a single player who reached double digit goals. Because none of your players are good.
Firey and Passionate Craig Bellamy personifies the club's new image in that he's aimless and terrible, and simultaneously runs completely counter to it, in that he's actually from Cardiff. Aron Gunarsson and Peter Whittingham are solid Championship performers who will labor to carry the rest of a woefully sub-par squad to an 18th place finish at the end of the year.
In classic Championship fashion, your captain is a 30+ gritty English center back who's never played for a good team before. Are you picking up on the theme here? You're a Championship side and you're a long way from home.
Your New Signings Suck: The great and powerful Steven Caulker and Gary "Chilean Gattuso" Medel have committed career suicide by leaving very good clubs to chase a paycheck at Cardiff. Unfortunately for Cardiff, two defensive players are not going to solve the goal drought that plagued you last season.
Currently-injured Andreas Cornelius and perpetually-injured Fraizer Campbell have come in to fill the large boots of the now-retired Heidar Helgusson, last year's top scorer. Replacing the Icelandic frontman's seven (7) goals looks to be an impossible task since the two strikers seem doubtful to complete 38 games between them.
When Peter Odemwingie showed up in Cardiff, you must have forgotten to lock your training ground, and now you appear to be stuck with him. Bad luck there.
Why you might escape the drop: Because when Vincent Tan forces the entire squad to take the pitch wearing Vincent Tan masks for every game, their opposition will be WTF'd into submission.