Sunday, October 22, 2006

Good Riddance Sam Hammam

When I heard the news that Sam Hamam was leaving Cardiff City, I bought a round of drinks to celebrate. However, more informed research, from more reliable sources than "Bubs" the Spurs fan has made me more cautious about the finality of Sam's supposed departure.

I should state a personal involvement here. I was working at Cardiff City when Sam Hammam took over the club. After a couple of months, it was obvious that our personalities "clashed", then we had a stand up row before one game and I walked out the following morning.

In one swipe, my twenty five year relationship with the club was hanging by a thread. It seemed that every moment of satisfaction from an increasingly successful Cardiff side was to be framed by the image of my nemesis striding around Ninian Park, waving a Welsh flag and generally "rubbing it in". It was like watching someone shag my girlfriend - in my own bed.

Recently, however, Sam has been keeping a low profile, and it is much easier to support Cardiff City when he is out of the picture.

This is not the place where I tell you about Sam Hammam. You have all heard stories about his behaviour. Let me just tell you that if you ever hear a story about Sam that sounds just too extreme in its cruelty, arrogance, narcissism, crassness and crudity, then it is probably true.

What really hurts me is that people that I have always respected, good genuine Cardiff City fans, have been flattered by the attention that he dishes out, and have been blinded by the success of the team. Most have seen the error of their ways after time, but even now most have blinkered themselves to the back stage workings of this currently successful run of theatre. They wouldn't care if Pol Pot scored the goal, as long as we won the Cup.

Suspiciously, the announcement comes just as Week in Week out is due to broadcast an apparently controversial documentary on the progress of the new stadium. And Sam's footsoldiers have been active recently, encouraging action against the BBC for publishing negative content about the club at the time of its most successful period for 35 years.

What interests me in this "resignation" statement is that Sam denied that he was ever Chairman of the club. He was always adamant about this. He used to mumble some platitudes about being the "Head of the Family", but I'm not sure that he was ever officially Chairman. How then can he resign?

Semantics apart, I am not convinced that he is about to disappear. He is still President. That's not an abdication in my book, that's just a cabinet reshuffle. But with family in America, maybe he'll go.

Last night, I walked around feeling like I did on the day that the Tories were voted out of Goverment in 1997. But this afternoon, after a day when more information has become available, I feel like I did when I discovered that Labour were no better.

I'll be at Ninian Park on Saturday, and I'm sure that it will be an emotionally charged experience. "We want Sam Hammam walking round the pitch" and all that. He will be there, waving his flags, and Ali will play "Thanks for the Memories." There won't be a dry eye in the house. Personally, I am delighted that I can once again support Cardiff City without the smallprint disclaimer.

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