Cardiff City have pulled away from the relegation battle in style this season under Steve Morison.
There were real concerns under Mick McCarthy, and Morison for a brief period, that the club could suffer relegation to League One this season.
Given the Bluebirds finished in the play-offs in 2019/20 and just outside them in 2020/21, it would have been a calamity to face the drop in their third and final year of parachute payments.
There has been a clear push to reduce spending in the transfer market and for Morison, the former U23s manager at the club, to integrate younger players into the first team which he has done very successfully on the whole.
It has been a rocky period since Cardiff’s relegation from the Premier League in 2018/19.
From Neil Warnock to Neil Harris to Mick McCarthy to Steve Morison, until now there has not really been a clear direction and therefore the Bluebirds have overall underperformed back in the Championship.
According to Football Finance Expert Kieran Maguire, the Bluebirds have the eighth most expensive squad cost in the second tier, worth £54.8 million.
The total cost of all the squads in the Championship per their most recent accounts come to £1,193 million. Over a third of the total relates to two clubs. pic.twitter.com/5wbgnveFjc
— Price Of Football (@KieranMaguire) April 20, 2022
Reinforcing the point that they significantly underperformed this season to be involved in the early relegation conversation.
Morison embodies a figure of hope for the future, and it will be interesting to monitor their summer transfer window activity in looking to address the cost of their squad.
Cardiff City quiz: Does the Cardiff City Stadium have a bigger or smaller capacity than these 20 stadiums?
Given the parachute payments the club have received over the last three years, it has been more sustainable for Cardiff to operate with a higher wage bill than clubs that have not been in the Premier League recently.
However, emerging from those payments next season, it is important that the Bluebirds run a tighter ship and grow organically a little more.
Joel Bagan, Rubin Colwill, Isaak Davies, Mark Harris and others have done themselves justice this season in presenting the next generation to the home crowd in South Wales, and they will be needed to step up further if Cardiff are to kick on and push for a top half finish under Morison next season.