Meet the opposition | Cardiff City

15th September 2023
First team
Cardiff City

As Swansea City prepare to make the short trip down the M4 to take on Cardiff City in the south Wales derby, we take a look at the Bluebirds.

What's their story?

Initially founded as Riverside AFC in 1899, they changed their name to Cardiff City nine years later. In 1920 they joined the Football League.

Across their 123-year history they have spent 17 years in the top tier, mostly during the 1920s and 1950s, and their highest position came in the 1923-24 season when they finished as runners-up.

They have spent two seasons in the Premier League but on both occasions suffered an immediate return to the Championship – the most recent of these coming at the end of the 2018-19 season.

They have reached the FA Cup final three times in their history winning the trophy once in 1927; they are the only non-English team to have lifted the trophy.

Cardiff most recently made an appearance in the 2008 final but were beaten by Portsmouth. Four years later, they reached the final of the Football League Cup, but were defeated by Liverpool.

How’s their form?

Rubin Colwill

The Bluebirds have taken four points from their first five Championship fixtures, beating Sheffield Wednesday at home and drawing at Leeds United on the opening weekend.

They have suffered defeats against Queens Park Rangers, Leicester City and Ipswich Town.

Cardiff have advanced to the third round of the League Cup following wins over Colchester United and Birmingham City.

Who's the gaffer?

Erol Bulut

Erol Bulut. The German-born Turk is in his first season in charge at the Cardiff City Stadium, having succeeded Sabri Lamouchi as Cardiff boss.

A left-sided defender in his playing days, Bulut won league titles in his homeland and in Greece during a 20-year career.

Starting his career with Eintrach Frankfurt, he also featured for Fenerbahce, Trabzonspor, Adanaspor, Panionios, Bursaspor, 1860 Munich, Olympiacos, Metalurh Donetsk, Olympiacos Volos, OFI Crete and Veria.

The former Turkey Under-21 cap, moved into coaching as assistant coach at Kartalspor, Yeni Malatyaspor and Istanbul Basaksehir.

He became head coach Yeni Malatyaspor in 2017, and has since had spells in charge of Alanyaspor, Fenerbahce and Gaziantep.

Who's the captain?

Joe Ralls

Joe Ralls is the club captain. After an ACL injury ruled then captain Sean Morrison out for the remainder of the 2021-22 season, Ralls was handed the armband and he has remained as club captain since.

The academy graduate had a breakthrough season in 2011-12, scoring a 30-yard half volley after coming off the bench for his league debut against Hull City.

After time on loan to develop, the midfielder returned to become a key figure within the Cardiff side.

He has made more than 300 appearances for them over the past decade and is an industrious, bustling presence in midfield, while possessing quality in the final third and at set-pieces.

Who are the key men?

Aaron Ramsey

Aaron Ramsey's return to his boyhood club represented Cardiff City's highest-profile summer recruit, and the Wales captain already has two goals to his name this season, including a fine strike from distance against Leiecester.

Ramsey came through the academy system at Cardiff as a teenager, helping the club reach the 2008 FA Cup final, before enjoying an 11-year spell with Arsenal that yielded three FA Cup triumphs.

Ramsey won a Serie A title during a three-year stint with Italian giants Juventus, while he was a Scottish Cup winner with Rangers before spending a season with Ligue 1 club Nice.

At international level, the midfielder has 83 Wales caps to his name, and has featured at three major tournaments for his country, including the memorable march to the semi-finals of Euro 2016.

Striker Ike Ugbo was another summer arrival at Cardiff, having netted three goals and registered an assist in seven appearances so far.

The Lewisham-born Canada international came through the ranks at Chelsea, having loan spells with Barnsley, MK Dons, Scunthorpe United, Roda JC and Cercle Brugge, before a full-time move to Genk.

He was on the books of Troyes last season before making the move to Cardiff.

Another player to start the season brightly has been Rubin Colwill. The midfielder has two goals and an assist to his name.

The 21-year-old academy graduate has 71 appearances and eight goals to his name, as well as eight senior Wales caps.