Monday, October 30, 2006

Eric the Dinosaur

It appears that this blog has finally reached the masses of Hammamistes on the Cardiff City Mad messageboard. To be fair, their criticisms of me and my blog are difficult to defend.

Firstly, the complaint that I didn't properly accredit the piece on Ridsdale's meeting. I'm not sure what more I can do. The problem is that if you post a link directly to Mike Morris's messageboard, the thread disapears after a few days and the link becomes dead. The piece was written by somebody called "The Lone Gunman", an old skool fan who I know and respect from way back . He likes Hammam, I don't. He wants to see the club playing in front of 40,000 in the Premiership. So do I.

The Lone Gunman points out the hypocrisy in my blog. I talk about dignity when I used to run around the terraces like a buffoon, making an arse of myself. He has a point. Guilty as charged.

Generally, elsewhere, the feeling is that I'm a dinosaur who likes his football "grim". That's partially true, though I might phrase it differently. I get just as much pleasure from small time football as I do from the big occasion. For me football is about companionship, laughter, competition, the shared sense of community, and the opportunity it gives the underdog to succeed. you can get that at any level. I support City because historically they have been the underdog.

The connection began in 1976. Even though we were top of the Third Division, the other clubs were bigger. Crystal Palace away was my first game, and from then on I always felt that City needed me as much as I needed them. It was a partnership more than anything. The Lone Gunman understands that well enough. I still struggle to support the favourite, even when Cardiff are involved. If that means liking your football to be grim, then mea culpa. For a football fan, the bigger the martyrdom, the higher the rewards.

But you talk to anyone who was around in the 1990s. Ask them about Halifax away when Pikey scored the winner, ask them about the Ayatollah procession after Blakey's overhead kick at Hereford. Ask them about the Ayatollah races at Peterborough. Find one of the several hundred people who witnessed our first ever penalty shootout at home to Exeter in the Leyland Daf trophy. And when you ask them to remember, they will beam. They were great times, and they suited some of us more than a sanitised £40 experience in an all seater stadium. I won't apologise for wanting something different from my football.

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