For Russell Slade to step in and defend his treatment of Kenwyne Jones is his prerogative of course, but his recent comments are as ill-informed and wide of the mark as he claims those of his critics are.
Slade’s ire was roused by a piece penned by WalesOnline columnist and Bluebirds’ legend Nathan Blake over the weekend.
The former Cardiff City, Bolton, Blackburn and Wolves striker questioned the way the club had treated Jones since his arrival, arguing the 30-year-old should have been afforded the respect his status as Cardiff’s No.1 striker deserved.
Because that’s what Jones is, isn’t he? Nobody could argue with that.
Since his arrival from Stoke in January 2014, Jones has in many ways been a big fish in a small pond, especially after Fraizer Campbell left for Crystal Palace after Premier League relegation.
It is no coincidence last season that in the second-flight Jones was the Bluebirds’ top-scorer and easily their biggest threat in a largely forgettable campaign.
That is despite him being in and out of the side and then shunted off to Bournemouth for the final month on loan.
THAT is what Blake was referring to in his column, a fact that seems to have gone completely over Slade’s head.
The Bluebirds boss, who has questioned the impartiality of a Media Wales journalist previously and who, somewhat presumptuously, rounded on his doubters after the first Championship win against Wolves last weekend chose to focus on the suggestions he’d under-utilised Jones at the start of this season in the wake of the win.
Slade fumed that the Trinidad & Tobago international had rejoined the squad late this summer and was struggling with a calf strain and had been consulted about his pitch-time.
Fine, we all knew that and so did Blake. He said as much in Monday's Blakey's Bootroom show when he was asked to explain his comments.
Although, while we are at it, Slade’s insistence on starting the opening games this term with the largely ineffectual Alex Revell partnering Joe Mason up-front while on-loan Sammy Ameobi sat on the bench is arguably a strange decision anyway.
Surely Ameobi, brought in from Newcastle for the season, should have been schooled for that role in the summer? Put it this way, he played like a house on fire when he came on and against Wolves in that position when, ironically enough, Jones had limped off.
But what nobody is disagreeing with Slade about is that Jones was not ready at the beginning of this campaign to start matches. But, as we say, what Blake, and other people too by the way, find a problem with is the way Jones has been treated during his entire time at the club.
Blake merely pointed out strikers are confidence players, they often need an arm around them, need to be made to feel special, as they focus on what is basically the most important job in the team, scoring goals.
This has not happened with Jones. Indeed you only need to look at his time at Cardiff to see a history of almost enforced insecurity and alienation.
Kenwyne's time at Cardiff
Since joining Cardiff, Jones has started 33 times for the Bluebirds, but more than half that number, 18 games, he has started on the bench and come on.
Even if you take into account injury or fitness issues, that is hardly a ringing endorsement of the player, hardly making him your No.1 and giving him the respect that comes with that. A fact Blake simply and quite correctly pointed out.
Anyway Slade’s reappraisal of Jones’ charms looks even more shaky when you observe that when he took over at Cardiff last October, inheriting a squad with Jones in it, the new boss at first went with a strike-force of Federico Macheda and Adam Le Fondre, a decision, albeit with the benefit of hindsight, which looks so wide of the mark, it's almost laughable.
Jones, of course, was on the bench. He had actually started the previous game before Slade took over against Blackpool and then found himself immediately dropped by his new manager who opted for Macheda instead. Indeed, Slade did not start Jones until the end of November at Watford where the Bluebirds notched up their first away win in an age with Jones providing the assist for Le Fondre’s winner. That was Slade’s eighth game in charge at Cardiff.
OK, in the interests of accuracy it should be pointed out that during that period Jones had returned to Trinidad to deal with a family tragedy, but that does not explain away Slade’s initial reading of the strikers at his disposal and even the fact Cardiff initially got off to a good start results-wise under their new boss is not a factor here. We are talking about Slade’s treatment of Jones after all, nothing more.
And let’s not forget the loan of Jones to Bournemouth last season either. OK, it was for financial reasons we are told, ‘non-footballing’ reasons as Slade put it at the time, and it was not the manager’s decision apparently, but, again, Blake in his column did not actually criticise Slade personally for that either. Anyway, loaning out your best striker and top-scorer for the last month of a campaign is just plain weird, I don’t care what you say, and I don’t care how much money the club saved.
Jones has been linked with a move from Cardiff this summer with Sheffield Wednesday reportedly keen and, let’s be honest, you could hardly blame him for wanting away to move away somewhere where he might be more appreciated, to a club where his status is acknowledged and the side built around him to cater to his needs.
In the end Slade’s comments on the recent criticism end up being misleading and focused in totally the wrong area. He also does Blake a disservice by suggesting our columnist did not know the facts. He did, he was talking about a different aspect of the situation and Slade failed to understand that.
Look, maybe at the likes of Scarborough, Grimsby and Yeovil, a few of the clubs Slade previously cut his managerial teeth at, the local press and pundits are not given to a certain degree of criticism. The spotlight and interest in those clubs might not be as intense as it is in the Welsh capital and that would be no surprise given the size of those clubs and the expectations surrounding them.
But this is Cardiff City, this is the Championship, this is a big club and Slade would be better served learning to roll with the punches and keeping his focus on continuing his side’s promising start to the season before rising to every slight he imagines levelled at him.
Naturally, if he does want to respond then that is his right, but the Cardiff manager should at least get his facts right before he chips in.