Junior Hoilett WILL be playing for the Bluebirds in Premier League 2018-19.
Manager Neil Warnock mischievously told fans who packed the that Canadian international Hoilett had not yet signed his contract and the chant immediately went up: “We want you to stay, we want you to stay. Junior Hoilett, we want you to stay.”
Hoilett’s reaction to Warnock’s words was a beaming smile and he said: “It’s one hell of a year, we worked hard and it paid off.
— Tom Brown (@tombrownsport) May 13, 2018
“We’ll enjoy the moment. Next season is going to be hard, but we all believe we are going to be okay.”
Bluebirds boss Warnock set the record straight later, saying: “Of course Junior is staying. Who else would have him.
“He wouldn’t go anywhere else without me.”
Thousands and thousands of supporters were around the streets when City’s open top bus tour left the club’s stadium and travelled to Cardiff Castle where Warnock and his players addressed the crowds from a stage set up in front of the main entrance.
He made it clear that five or six players are needed to strengthen their squad in the top flight – and said he has already held one-to-one meetings with everybody in the first team squad.
That was last Tuesday, while Warnock spent three hours in talks with club chairman Mehmet Dalman and chief executive Ken Choo on Sunday morning.
They sat down at 10am and completed their chat at 1pm before heading off to join the open top bus parade.
The three men talked through all aspects of budgets, wages, signing, new contracts and more. They were also liaising with owner Vincent Tan.
“We are on our way and making progress,” said Warnock, who paid tribute to the Cardiff Blues rugby union team and Cardiff Devils.
The Blues and Bluebirds both train at the Vale of Glamorgan Resort and Warnock said: “Coach Danny Wilson and his boys did a tremendous job to win the European Challenge Cup.
“What a weekend for the Blues. Cardiff Devils, too, did exceptionally well to win the Elite League title and play-offs championship.”
When Cardiff players walked onto the stage to massive cheers, singing and chants Warnock was last up and, after handing the Championship runners-up trophy to Sol Bamba with the words ‘Hold on to that, son’, addressed the adoring fans. “Vincent Tan has never enjoyed himself so much in his life,” said Warnock.
“He is back on board and everything is blue. He is enjoying himself and enjoying everything that is happening.”
The manager revealed that Liverpool loanee Marco Grujic flew in from Serbia on Sunday to join the celebrations, while he returns home tomorrow.
“That says everything about our team spirit,” said Warnock. “It’s now we can realise what a big club we are – particularly in Wales.”
That sparked chants of ‘Only one team in Wales’, while Warnock quickly changed the subject and said: “We’ll have a good summer, work hard to bring other lads into the club.
“All our families are with us. Without our families we could not have done this. My personal thanks to my wife, Sharon, Amy, William and James.”
Supporters started new chants, singing: “One Sharon Warnock, only one Sharon Warnock.”
The manager revealed that Cardiff are set to make offers for players, saying: “We’ll make offers, they may not be accepted. We’ll see.
“I know what money is available. I told Mehmet and Ken what I need including wages. I don’t ask for what we can’t afford and the key factor is that the four of us work together – owner, chairman, chief executive and manager.
“Goals are the hardest things in Premier League football, but having said that a lot of teams would swap our defence having seen some of the mistakes shown on Match of the Day.
“Our lads will look forward to it. Bamba, Morrison, Manga, Bennett, Peltier and more will love it. There are people here who never thought they would play Premier League football.”
Warnock turned to the fans, enjoying a deliriously remarkable atmosphere on a sunny afternoon and said: “Not one of you lot thought we’d be promoted at start of season. Don’t lie!
— Dr Rhys Jones (@DrJonesWales) May 13, 2018
“There won’t be many who thinks we’ll survive next season. Keep it to yourselves.”
Warnock signed off with his trademark Air Punch – winding up to get the crowd even more worked up and delivering twice. A fitting way to end a fabulous afternoon of delight and joy for Cardiff City.