Monday, 3 April 2017

Thank you, "Super Kevin McNaughton!"

During the few seasons that I was a season ticket holder at Ninian Park/CCS one of my favourite players during that time was full back Kevin McNaughton. "Superkev" was a tough tackling defender who played a big part in the City sides during the tenures of two different managers namely Dave Jones and Malky Mackay.  One of my abiding memories was of his determination to keep going even in games where things weren't going City's way.  One such game was a 3-0 home defeat to Sheffield United at Ninian Park when referee Paul Taylor reduced City to 9 men within the first 30 minutes by sending off both Gabor Gyepes and Ross McCormack.  Kev switched from full back to centre back that afternoon in what became a game of damage limitation thanks to the poor decision making by the referee.  For example Ross McCormack was sent off for use of the elbow, when the replay showed his arms were by his side, Gabor Gyepes won the ball but was sent off for tackling from behind.  It was one of the few times City were soundly beaten but were applauded off at the end of the game.  Superkev was given a standing ovation for his efforts that day.

Last Sunday he returned to the club for a well earned testimonial game even though he left the club in 2015.  His nine years at the club were memorable ones with FA Cup Final, Premier League promotions and other Wembley appearances. In a visible sign of how much he remains respected,  the amount of former players who turned out to play in this game shows how popular he is.  It was great to see the likes of Robert Earnshaw, Neil Alexander, Craig Bellamy, Mark Hudson and many more coming back to the City for the day.  Like with many other football clubs you never forget your favourite players, I still look back on YouTube on videos featuring my City heroes like Cohen Griffith, Phil Stant, Carl Dale, Michael Chopra and Jay Bothroyd. McNaughton's goal against Hereford in 2008 is also one I watch regularly as he wasn't the most prolific of goalscorers. Superkev's team won the testimonial game on penalties after a 5-5 draw and he scored the winning penalty.  It was a fitting end to his time with the club and he will always be welcome at the Cardiff City Stadium.

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