Sports

New boys Cardiff most likely to avoid fall

Cardiff City's Malaysian owner Vincent Tan (centre L) speaks during a press conference at a hotel in Kuala Lumpur on April 23, 2013. The Malaysian owner of newly promoted Cardiff City said he planned to open his wallet to acquire new forwards and defenders as the club eyes a successful English Premier League run. AFP pic, April 23, 2013.Cardiff City's Malaysian owner Vincent Tan (centre L) speaks during a press conference at a hotel in Kuala Lumpur on April 23, 2013. The Malaysian owner of newly promoted Cardiff City said he planned to open his wallet to acquire new forwards and defenders as the club eyes a successful English Premier League run. AFP pic, April 23, 2013.Conventional wisdom that teams promoted to the Premier League will battle to avoid immediate relegation has been turned on its head recently, with the likes of Swansea City, Southampton and Norwich City quickly establishing themselves among the big boys.

Of this season's new boys, big-spending Cardiff City appear to be making the right moves to ensure their debut Premier League season and first in the top flight since 1962 will be more than a one-year flirtation.

Under the ownership of billionaire Malaysian businessman Vincent Tan, who controversially changed the Bluebirds' colours from blue to red, manager Malky Mackay has spent heavily, breaking the club record transfer fee three times in luring Andreas Cornelius from Copenhagen, Steven Caulker from Tottenham Hotspur and Gary Medel from Sevilla.

While the trials of Queens Park Rangers has proved clubs cannot always spend their way to success, their outlay has been in areas that needed strengthening, and Cardiff have a solid core of old hands that should ensure they will be no pushovers.

Craig Bellamy, 34, will lead the line with guile, David Marshall and Peter Whittingham offer plenty of experience and South Korea attacking midfielder Kim Bo-kyung showed in their Championship-winning campaign that he could offer some spark.

"I look at the three teams who came up last time and two of them stayed there," Mackay said.

"Both West Ham and Southampton strengthened, as we have, and we still have business to do. If they can do it, I don't see why we can't. For this club to be still in the Premier League a year from now would be massive."

Cardiff's promotion also means that for the first time there will be two Welsh teams in the Premier League, adding an extra level of spice to the fixture list when they clash with Swansea.

New identity

Championship runners-up Hull City are another club turning their backs on history, with Egyptian-born owner Assem Allam dropping Association Football Club from the title and renaming the side Hull City Tigers in a bid to strengthen the brand overseas.

"City is a lousy identity," Allam told local media, prompting much debate among fans.

Manager Steve Bruce has looked for bargains to improve his squad.

Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Tom Huddlestone cost a reported £5.25 (RM26.7 million), Scotland goalkeeper Allan McGregor £1.5 million and Steve Harper and Maynor Figueroa were signed on free transfers.

Hull were the lowest scorers in the top half of the second tier last term but will be boosted by the return of injured strikers Sone Aluko and Matty Fryatt, as well Yannick Sagbo from Evian and on-loan Danny Graham.

Curtis Davies has been brought in from Birmingham City, but a lack of true Premier League quality may make stopping goals a challenge.

Points from early home matches against Norwich, Cardiff, West Ham and Aston Villa are crucial, with daunting trips to Chelsea and Manchester City unlikely to yield much joy.

Avoiding the bounce

Crystal Palace will be hoping their first season back in the Premier League will be more successful that their previous three in which they went straight back down.

They will have to make do without last season's 30-goal striker Glenn Murray until the new year after he suffered a serious knee injury in the playoffs, as well as England winger Wilfried Zaha who has completed a big-money move to Manchester United.

Kevin Phillips, scorer of the penalty that clinched Palace's promotion in the playoff against Watford, has joined on a permanent basis and Spain under-20 international Jose Campana has been signed from Sevilla.

Manager Ian Holloway was unable to keep Blackppol up in his one previous Premier League campaign and he admitted building a team capable of avoiding a similar fate was proving a challenge.

"Premier League football is nothing like the shiny, sanitised product that they sell in television ads," he said.

"The game has got more than its fair share of chancers, parasites and hangers-on just out to make a quick killing.

"And the higher up the food chain you go, the greedier they seem to become." - Reuters, August 15, 2013.