Saturday, April 12, 2008

Semi Disaster for Holyhead Man

This is a man called Karl Chambers.

Karl lives in Holyhead, on the North Western tip of Anglesey, 10 miles from Dublin, 200 miles and five hours away from Ninian Park. Yet despite this obstacle, he has been one of Cardiff City's most committed fans since his first game, away at Wigan in 1982.

In the past 25 years his face has become familiar all over the country as he follows the Bluebirds. In the mid 1990's Chambers didn't miss a single game for 5 years. He watched every City game home and away, friendly and Cup for over 300 consecutive games.

He has seen lots of FA Cup matches, including defeats at Hayes and Enfield, and a 3-3 draw with Gloucester City. He was with me at Shrewsbury in 1990 when we only took 41 fans for Nathan Blake's debut match in the snow. He was one of just 18 fans at Blackppol when snowy weather stopped most people from travelling.

You will gather that Chambers is pretty fanatical. When the final whistle blew at Middlesbrough he was there of course. Like the rest of us, he couldn't believe his team would be playing at Wembley.

He admitted to me that he has given up this season. In his case this means that he has only seen 20 games, with a combined mileage of about 7,000 miles. I think thats still probably more than anyone who lives in Cardiff.

Chambers could hardly concentrate the day before we went to Wembley. There were over 50 fans travelling down from Holyhead and he was booked on a minibus leaving at 6am for the 5 hour drive to London. The Holyhead crew spent the Saturday in high spirits around the town, enjoying themselves and singing Cardiff songs through the night.

Chambers got home at about midnight and set his alarm on his phone. But he forgot to switch it on. He missed the bus.

When he woke up, the bus had gone, his mates had tried to wake him but failed. It's the first time he has ever overslept despite dozens of early morning starts to away games across England.

Poor old Karl was inconsolable. He didn't leave his house all day, and he couldn't bring himself to watch the game. He spent most of the day in tears he told me.

At least he has a second chance. But as he lives so far away, he doesn't hold a season ticket. He probably won't qualify for a Cup Final ticket. He's determined to get there, and we should all hope that it works out OK for him.


Gareth said...

Was that picture taken in Llangefni last night, or am I seeing things?

Gareth said...

Was that taken at Llangefni last night, or am I seeing things?

Eric The Red said...

Yes that was Llangefni.

jinxy said...

Thats tough luck. Fatal to go out for a skinfull when an early rise was required. Hope he gets a ticket for the final

Gary said...

10 miles???

Eric The Red said...

erm no idea really Gary. I've never driven it. How far is it then?