Ben Turner has lifted the lid on his time at Cardiff City and the difficulties former boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer faced.
Central defender Turner, who made more than 100 appearances for the Bluebirds between 2011 and 2016, spoke on the ‘Undr The Cosh’ podcast about Solskjær’s reign after the Manchester United legend took over in early 2014 during Cardiff’s first Premier League season, which ultimately ended in relegation.
“I just think that at that time, the people behind the scenes got too involved. After their relationship broke down with Malky [Mackay] then it seemed they were going to take more control with whoever came in next,” said Turner.
“It got ridiculous, they were picking certain players to play and Ole had no choice. Sometimes we’d get called in and Ole would say ‘they want this player to play so one of you two can’t play. Last time this happened you didn’t play so this time you won’t play’ (to the other player)’.
“We played Villa on a Tuesday night in the league, at home and drew 0-0. I still think it’s the best I have ever played. We had Hull at home on the Saturday in a must-win game, if not must-win then must not lose if we wanted to stay in the relegation dogfight.
“We were called in and three of the back four had been changed, including myself, the only one who stayed was Steven Caulker. You’re annoyed because you think we played well as individuals and as a team, got a clean sheet and he’s changed it.
“He put Juan Cala in with Caulker at centre-half. Those two just didn’t get on together and we got beaten four something at home to Hull who were also in the relegation dogfight.
“Even in that situation when you were being told you’re not playing, you’re annoyed personally but there’s an element of you that just thinks ‘f*****g hell, can’t they just leave you alone to manage the team?’”
Turner spoke about some of his former team-mates, including Andreas Cornelius.
Cornelius’ time in the capital was unsuccessful and he returned home to his native Denmark after failing to score a goal in what turned out to be an £8m transfer disaster.
“I don’t know if it was just cultural or not but it was just bizarre,” Turner said.
“He’d sit in the canteen at lunchtime with a parka coat on zipped right up to his chin eating his dinner.
“We were playing Arsenal away in the league, he gets on the bus from the hotel, he’s got bed hair, he hasn’t been in the shower. He sits down, he’s got the parka on over his tracksuit, as he sits down his trousers go up and he’s got odd socks on.
“We were just about to play Arsenal away in the Premier League, he’s got odd socks on, he hasn’t had a shower and he’s got his parka on!”
Finally, Turner spoke about his relationship with Brazilian full-back Fábio, who joined from Manchester United in January 2014.
Turner said: “Brilliant, brilliant guy. All you ask of someone who has worked hard to get into a higher league is for them to buy into everything and he was one of them who just bought in.
“He was great, he followed me in with a bet at Cheltenham one year. We went to Cheltenham and Betway had a stupid offer, deposit up to £15k and we’ll match it so you have £30k.
“I know my horse racing, it’s my favourite sport to be honest. I remember saying look this is what I am going to do because a few of the lads knew I cared about racing. I said obviously we can still lose, it’s horse racing but if we split the 30 grand on the Mullins four that were all approximately even money, if only one wins you’ve effectively got over seven grand on it which will give you your £15k back.
“Anyway, three out of the four won and only Fábio followed me with the bet. Fábio is only there for a good time. Anyway, the third one comes in and we’re guaranteed to be £20k up each.
“He’s absolutely bouncing, p****d off his head. He’s passing his phone around letting the staff take bets on his phone. When we’re walking out of the course he was saying to me, ‘I love you Ben, I f*****g love you Ben’.”
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