October sees United make the long trip to Wales for the first time in the Premier League and the first time as a top flight fixture since 1961. We first visited Cardiff’s then home Ninian Park back in 1922 when 25,00 people witnessed a 1-0 win for The Bluebirds against a United side containing the likes of Bill McCracken and Frank Hudspeth. The last time we went to Cardiff was in the summer of last year for the final pre-season friendly before the new season began, we went down 4-1 that day with Shola Ameobi’s penalty only a consolation by the time the men sporting their new red coloured shirts for the first time had blitzed us in the first half hour.
In terms of league games however, the game that will stick out in most fans minds, certainly in recent memory anyway would be the Championship game in 2009 on our first visit to the creatively named Cardiff City Stadium. A Fabricio Coloccini header and a resilient defensive display saw us through in a 1-0 victory even though we had to see out the last few minutes with 10 men after Alan Smith picked up a second yellow card. Indeed, the last time we’d played Cardiff before the Championship fixture also came in a promotion season, that of 83/84 when Kevin Keegan and Peter Beardsley were at the double to give us a crucial three points, two years prior to that United recorded an impressive 4-0 rout of The Bluebirds at Ninian Park with Imre Varadi grabbing the headlines scoring a hat trick that day in a season which the Welshmen were relegated.
Other than the period in the late 70s/early 80s we were also in the Second Division with The Bluebirds for a time in the early 1960s too, the most interesting of our encounters being a 4-4 draw at Ninian Park in August 1962. The two sides also met regularly in the 1950s whilst in the First Division, United often finding the long trek to Wales difficult and came back to Tyneside with back to back thrashings of 4-2 and 5-2 respectively, with the likes of Jackie Milburn, Bobby Mitchell and Vic Keeble appearing in both of those clashes.