Thursday, April 03, 2008

Cardiff City v West Brom 01/04/08

I arranged a meeting in Cardiff so that i could get to the game against West Brom on Tuesday. And I was glad I did. It was a fantastic game, with high skill levels and a superb atmosphere generated by a crowd looking forward to Wembley. But 13,000? Don't insult me. I've been going to Ninian for 30 years now, and there were 16,000 in that ground.

Things have changed in cardiff. Before the game I was astounded to see a car full of shirt-wearing West Brom fans exit their car on Broad Street, a few hundred yards away from the Stadium. In case you don't know, this is not normal. A few years ago, these people would never have got to the ground unscathed. There is real hope that a cultural change is on its way at Cardiff.

Some people were laughably trying to claim this as the biggest game of the season. I spoke to club officials up at Middlesbrough who told me that the league was more important. Now I can see how that might be the case when you're relying on the league for your day to day income, but as a fan? Come off it. The Wembley trip is the biggest game of our lifetime, never mind this season. You can stick the league up your arse. I would swap relegation for a semi final appearance, and maybe extinction for a Cup win. If we win the Cup I am retiring. That's all I've ever wanted from my football. An FA Cup win is bigger than a League title for me.

The following day , I strolled down Queen Street and was astonished by the number of City shirts and leisure clothing on display. Firstly, up until Mark took over the club shop in the late nineties, you just couldn't buy any leisure wear apart from a CCFC On Tour Tee Shirt. But even then, people didn't really boast about following Cardiff any more than they would wear a tee shirt saying "I like digging my garden". I was intrigued though. The people I saw in Queen Street were about my age, and from 1990-1995 I think I knew the face of every City fan around. Where have these new fans come from?

Well I'm not going to go into a rant about glory hunters, because I don't think that way. I know a lot of lads my age who played football rather than watched it. But now they have kids and take them down the City. What should we do? Ban them from going because they weren't at Halifax in 1991?

If Cardiff have any hope of becoming a big club, rather than the mediocre Coventry-sized outfit that currently draws 12,000, then we all have to welcome the new fan. Don't chastise the 20,000 fans who will be at Wembley but weren't at Ninian on Tuesday. Some people don't see football as a priority, but they like to go to big events. That doesn't make them serial killers. It makes them normal and balanced people. Just because they don't martyr themselves to the Bluebird cause, it doesn't mean they can't go to Wembley. Twice.

On the other hand, if they have previously owned a Premiership shirt, or see Cardiff as their second club, then they deserve nothing but scorn. Shabby, soul-less, bandwagon-jumping bastards.

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jinxy said...
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