It might not have been clinched in ultimate style, but nobody cared one bit. Cardiff City’s 0-0 draw with Charlton Athletic last night means that the Bluebirds join fellow Welsh club Swansea City in the Premier League next season as clashes with Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool await.
Cardiff have been the Championship’s outstanding team all year, and a return to the top flight for the first time since 1962 is a fully deserved reward for Malky Mackay and his players, who have bossed the division after going top on 24th November.
Hometown hero Craig Bellamy, who is in his second stint at the club, led the emotional celebrations at the Cardiff City Stadium last night as he paid tribute to the fans and players.
“It’s just been a tough season, this Championship’s just so tough,” he said. “To be on top, to be one of the two teams promoted [automatically], it’s just such an achievement for us.
“To spend it with the people and to see them here today and to see my dad and my son, these are one-offs. You probably won’t be able to re-create this or get better than this, so I wanted to soak it up and enjoy every second of it.
“We’re going to be in the Premier League. What this is going to do next year to the club, to the city, it’s just going to be phenomenal. It’s just immense.”
And even though the Championship title still needs to be secured – and we hope you were on our pre-season tip about Cardiff to win it at 11/1 – all eyes are on the Premier League and bwin have put up odds about the Bluebirds’ prospects.
Cardiff are priced up at 3/4 to make an immediate return to the Championship, but with controversial Malaysian owner Vincent Tan pledging to spend £25 million in the summer transfer window, there could be a few takers for the 11/10 that Mackay’s side follow the example of Swansea and survive in their first season back in the big time.
And speaking of the Swans, Cardiff will be desperate to get one over their fierce rivals next season, and bwin are betting on who finishes higher in the table. The Capital One Cup holders are 11/20 to win the Welsh bragging rights, while the Bluebirds are 29/20 to have a dream campaign and be able to look down on Michael Laudrup’s men come May 2014.