Further to my post below wondering about the linesman in the stand at Reyjkavic, this picture has come to light.
I robbed it without permission from Adam Jones' Facebook page.
These people are senior business professionals . They are 40 years old. At least one of them is a politician.
They went to Iceland v Wales dressed as match officials. Quality.
Friday, May 30, 2008
Further to my post below wondering about the linesman in the stand at Reyjkavic, this picture has come to light.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
What a goal! Something special to put on my website, www.chedevans.co.uk.
I was quite excited by last night's performance. Not because Iceland were any great shakes, but because at last, there is some hope for us. It's going to be a long road, and people like Ched Evans have fallen by the wayside before now. But let's hope he can keep going, and more importantly, that he can find a settled place at a club with a manager that is more interested in developing players than bagging himself 50k for buying players from Africa.
The first point of interest was Hennessey's save. That was simply astonishing. I don't remember seeing a better one recently, and in many ways it was a better piece of skill that Ched's goal.
Great to see Jack Collison on the pitch, apparently making it 30 new caps that Toshack has dished out. The estimable Nic Parry claimed that Bobby Gould only gave out one first cap - to Craig Bellamy. But didn't he cap a 16 year old Ryan Green, and also to Vinnie Jones?
At last we can see the end of the "Fletcher-Robinson" tunnel. With those two out of the side, we may even become attractive to watch. And at least with Evans and Vokes we have an option if the passing game becomes snuffed out. We haven't had that since John Hartson retired.
It's great to get a win, because it puts pressure on the "personal reasons" withdrawals. Now I have no idea what those personal reasons are (that's a lie actually), but you know what boys? There were lots of people watching in the stands who also have personal problems. I dare say there were people going through divorce, had buried their dog, or had lost their wallet, but they still made it. Your choice to not travel with your National football side sticks in the throat of the supporters.
Remember this was still a side without some of our Premiership players. Still no place for Danny Collins or John Oster. Tosh is creating his own little team in his image, I know, but that defence could surely do with Danny Collins' relative experience.
I was disappointed not to see Aaron Ramsey get a game. Could Tosh be protecting him due to his imminent transfer?
And finally, a word about the lady who sang the anthem. Well done to you. An Icelandic girl singing it word-perfect in Welsh. She put Tom Jones to shame and anyone else who can't be arsed to pick it up. The Welsh National Football Team included.
I noticed them when they arrived, 5 minutes late. You see I know that flag. Inter Ifor was a Sunday League team I used to play for in Cardiff, made up from regulars at Clwb Ifor Bach.
At first there was some silly little flag waving. But as this photo shows, Griggy appears to be getting a right old ticking off from a linesman. (As usual, he has no interest in the game). And the linesman is actually in the crowd. You can just see his flag in his left hand.
Look closer and they all appear to be linesmen. Now either this was a National Association of Referee Assistants end of season jolly, or somebody was taking the piss. And knowing the characters involved, my money's on the latter.
Friday, May 23, 2008
While we are all still swanning round in our post-Wembley euphoria, and basking in the adulation gushed upon us by members of the National press, the pre-season tournament in the Algarve seems a natural step for a club on the up. It's certainly a long way from our historic pre-season warm ups against Hednesford and Forest Green Rovers.
But it's a big test for this new Cardiff City. Not on the pitch, where we will be watching the sporting equivalent of Ray Winstone in "Sexy Beast", but off it.
Prompted by Harry Redknapps pre-match call for the fans to stay behind at Wembley and applaud the winners, we have been beatified for our sporting good play. Whisper it, but we only stayed to give our own team a send off. And we've also been lauded for our good support and general enthusiasm. Well compared to the soporofic theatre attenders that normally view these events when they're contested by Manchester United or Chelsea, I suppose it was pretty raucous.
But hidden in this impressionistic view of our rattle clacking fans are countless stories of yobbery, ignorance and fuck-you attitudes. Once again, families were mixed in with the lads, and were forced to deal with loutish behaviour. The lads in turn were irritated by the "plastic fans" and their perceived lack of passion.
There's a culture shift at Ninian Park, and the two forces clashed at Wembley. Only verbally of course, but it left a nasty taste in the mouths of some parents who are usually cocooned in the relative calm of the Spar Family Stand.
So who will win? I think that depends on the footballing success achieved by the club. If they do well again this season, more new fans will be attracted who don't see posturing and abuse as a pre-requisite for passion. The old Stone Islanders will feel more and more disenfranchised.
And the pre season tournament in the Algarve will be an early test of the new era. Can we go there peacefully for games against Celtic and Vitoria Guimaraes, with Middlesbrough also mooching around? This will certainly be an attractive option for a family holiday, but everyone knows it might well kick off.
Can our lads cope with the sun and the lager? Can they party happily for a week with our friends from Glasgow and the North East? Or will the plastic chairs be flying when the sun comes down? I think our behaviour in the Algarve will pretty much be a mark of our progress away from the nasty unloved club of the 1980s and 1990s. And I'm afraid I'm not that confident.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Friday, May 16, 2008
"Your shirt will be embellished with full details of the fixture, making it a perfect keepsake for years to come. Pre-order shirt will be delivered to your chose address no later than Tuesday 13th May."
Well it arrived this morning, the day before I travel to Wembley, and I don't see any embroidery, do you? I really really hope this is a nostalgic nod towars the incompetence of the past, and not somebody trying to fob me off with old stock because they ran out of FA Cup Specials. Sadly I suspect it was a case of "chuck that in and hope he doesn't say anything". Why do I get so pissed off about things like this?
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
With the build up to the FA Cup Final, the media has gone into overdrive and as the local Welsh-speaking Cardiff City rentagob, I've been doing a few interviews, mainly for Welsh Language media. I did my cabbage-patch kid impression on Sgorio last night, and it got me thinking.
There is so much good Welsh language sport coverage that 75% of Wales misses out on. The language problem doesn't make so much difference for live action where the picture is all, but journalistic sports coverage suffers badly from the cultural divide in Wales.
There was an excellent dramatised documentary on S4C this week called Cwpan Caerdydd which used an actor as Bartley Wilson re-enacting events around the 1927 Cup Final. It was the best researched and most interesting programme on the event that I've ever seen. But 90% of Cardiff fans will never see it.
Regular football shows such as Sgorio, and Ar y Marc, on the radio offer general Welsh football discussion of a type that just isn't available on English language stations. Sport Wales is a very welcome and overdue addition to BBC Wales output, but it's format is more presenter-feature. There is no round-the-table discussion common on British National TV, like Jimmy Hill's Morning Supplement or You're on Sky Sports. Radio Wales at least has a post-match phone-in, but it is nothing like Ar y Marc on Radio Cymru which is a magazine programme aimed at hardcore football fans in Wales.
Non-Welsh speaking readers won't appreciate the difference in content offered by Welsh language football coverage, but there is a subtle, but important angle taken by S4C programmes.
Programmes like Sgorio and Ar y Marc take the approach that a language is just that. It's a means of communication. It doesn't try to make political statements, or concentrate purely on Welsh issues. The producers are fully aware that a huge percentage of Welsh speaking viewers and listeners follow the English Premiership. Rather than aim to convert these people, the programme has features and discussions about Liverpool, Man United, the Champions League, La Liga. They don't have a narrow brief like Sport Wales. Nobody pretends that pubs in Caernarfon are full of lads discussing the merits of Leighton Maxwell instead of Steven Gerrard.
What Welsh produced, English-language programme offers its viewers any coverage outside of Wales? The assumption is that we can get our football discussion from Jimmy Hill. But that's not a valid argument. There needs to be some coverage of Global football from a Welsh perspective.
This is not to say that S4C neglects the Welsh domestic game. Far from it. Clwb Peldroed offers a weekly round up of Welsh Premier matches on a Saturday evening. Why is there no English language coverage? It's bizarre?
Welsh Premier football is being ghetto-ised by the media as a Welsh language vehicle. The reality is that the Welsh Premier is just like the rest of Wales - starkly divided on the language issue. More people who watch Welsh Premier football each week speak English than Welsh, yet they are given no coverage by BBC Television, none by BBC Radio, and next to nothing in the National Press. The Daily Post despite its depressing obsession with Liverpool and Everton at least covers the Welsh game. The Western Mail is simply astonishing in its thick-skinned promotion of rugby at the expense of Welsh Football.
The result of the media divide is that I am given the impression that the knowledge of the domestic football scene is now far greater amongst Welsh speakers. It isn't impossible to have a bar discussion about the dietary habits of John Hulse, the big gob of Wyn Thomas, or Mike Harris's latest crackpot wheeze. Players like Marc Lloyd Williams are feted in the Welsh language community as local heroes used to be. Is Jiws's standing in Llanberis and Bangor reflected anywhere else in Wales? Does 400-game Hugh Clarke get as much recognition in Newtown? Marc Lloyd Williams was a guest on Sgorio last night. When did we last see a Welsh Premier player featured on an English language show?
It shouldn't be like this. Welsh-based English language (I hate the term Anglo-Welsh) coverage should be allowed to look beyond Wales for its stories. But at the same time, it should offer monoglots the same detailed assessments of the domestic game that is offered to Welsh language viewers. They've got about 4 digital channels to fill - there must be room for a football chat show live from Llandaff? I'd watch it.
Sunday, May 11, 2008
Back in January, this is what the Reading striker Dave Kitson said about the FA Cup.
He said: "We are not going to win the FA Cup and I do not give two shits about it, to be honest. I care about staying in the Premier League, as does everybody at this club. Our Premier League status is not protected by winning the FA Cup and it is as simple as that.
Today Reading were relegated. Next Saturday Cardiff City and Portsmouth will contest the FA Cup Final. How sweet is that?
Football is up shit creek when mediocre journeymen like Kitson can treat the FA Cup with disdain. What happened to glory? Doesn't Kitson recognise names like Jeff Astle, Bob Stokoe, Roger Osborne and Hughie Ferguson? These are men whose legacy will be or already is due to their FA Cup performances. What does Kitson care about? Is football glory about avoiding relegation? Will Barry Horne be feted for saving Everton's Premiership status with his cracker against Wimbledon, or will Everton fans remember Mike Trebilcock's performance in the 1966 FA Cup Final?
I had a conversation at Middlesbrough with a Cardiff City official. He disagreed with my assessment that it was the biggest game of my lifetime. He thought the league was much more important. I don't get it. When did promotion make you feel like this? Who ever produced songs about the play offs? The FA Cup is the dog's bollocks, and we're in the Final.
Meanwhile Dave Kitson will be sulking at home, watching on television. I'll give you a wave, Dave.
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
POLICE CHASE PINK PANTHER AND GIANT RABBIT
Men dressed as superheroes, cartoon characters and cuddly toys were chased by police after reports of football-related trouble in Lincoln.
Police were called to Lincoln's High Street at about 1.15pm on Saturday, just before Lincoln City FC's final match of the season against already-relegated Wrexham at Sincil Bank.Several riot vans with sirens blaring descended on the High Street to tackle the trouble, which centred around the Anchor and Ritz pubs.
At one stage away team supporters, some of them in colourful fancy dress, attempted to run from police.Saturday afternoon shoppers looked on in bewilderment as officers chased a group of men - one dressed as a giant rabbit and another in a Pink Panther costume - through the streets.
Police said yesterday that two people had been arrested in connection with the disorder before the match, which Wrexham won 4-2.
A few weeks ago we held a Junior football tournament in Y Felinheli and our Under 9's team reached the semi-final against Menai Bridge.
The scores were level at full time and so we went to the golden goal. Two periods of 5 minutes extra time. Still 0-0.
We played another four periods and still it was scoreless.
People started to ask about penalties to decide the game, but I refused point blank. It was clear that penalties had no place in the junior game. The thinking is that the misery of one child who fails is not offset by the joy of the winning team. And quite right too. We eventually lost after 42 minutes of play.
Last weekend, I took a team to Llangefni's Junior Tounrament. Again, we reached a semi final.
Again, my boring tactics ensured a 0-0 draw, and there was no goal after extra time. "OK", said the referee."We go to penalties".
Penalties? Penalties? I couldn't believe it. My middle-class liberal soul was destitute. I couldn't be a part of this could I?
Inside I was buzzing. I chose my five penalty takers and made them stand in arms on the half-way line. They loved it.
I'm ashamed to say that when the little lad from Amlwch blasted his ball over the bar, I cheered. I should lose my coaching badge for that. It was shameful. Yet still, it was perhaps the most exciting moment of my time as a coach. And when our Dutch midfield maestro hammered home the winning kick, I skipped round Lon Talwrn like David Pleat back in the day.
I took an illicit pleasure out of those penalties. It was like watching cockfighting. We should never have put those kids through that, but bloody hell, we won. Somehow it didn't seem too bad after all.
Tuesday, May 06, 2008
It's difficult to get too pompous about the Bangor City fans pitch invasion when they scored their last minute equaliser in the Welsh Cup Final against Llanelli on Sunday. We've all done it. Yes we have, come on admit it.
Pitch invasions are thrilling. they allow you to be part of the action for a second. To get right up close. to lose your head and run round a pitch wild in celebration. My last pitch invasion, away to Halifax in 1991 was just that. But that was way back then when we were all more innocent, when we ran on through gates left open by dozy stewards.
The removal of fencing in the nineties relied on some shared responsibility. We'll take that ugly fence down from your section of the ground if you promise not to run on the pitch. The stakes were raised. These days a pitch invasion is much more serious, and is treated as such. Cardiff's post-match celebration against Leeds on the pitch in 2003 was seen as some sort of riot, when in fact very little happened. I was on the pitch that day, as were 4,000 other normal people.
But really, any fan understands now that the touchline is sacrosanct. All sorts of problems are caused if you get over that line. You know the score. You go on the pitch and you are basically inviting the authorities to take action against your team. And I can't think for the life with me why anyone wants to celebrate with in-your-face aggression. The Mick Channon arm-twirl is plenty good enough for me.
Bangor's pitch invasion was ugly. There's no doubt it was spontaneous. Two men who should no better sprint into the net to kick the ball and fall over each other like Laurel and Hardy. Elsewhere, unbridled joy was released like a champagne cork and out fizzed the fans, ejaculated onto the pitch by their own powerful exhultation. The patchwork appearance of Latham Park, and the disorganisation of the yellow jackets just made the whole thing look a real mess. Bangor fans who went on the pitch to help remove their mates unfortunately added to the general air of chaos.
One bloke went straight to the Llenelli keeper and squared up to him. He turned round and went to square up to Andy Legg. He is alleged to have spat at him. Spitting at a cancer survivor. Nice. He poked him in the face for good measure.
Meanwhile the youngsters have seen their chance to be involved in something a bit naughty. Off they go. they hurtle around the pitch and one of them pushes the keeper in the back. He went down like Andy D'Urso when pushed by Paulo Di Canio. He lies down for a bit and then thinks better of it.
But here's the best bit. Watch the video . There's an act of voodoo that takes place 31 seconds in. In this series of pics, you can see Duncan Roberts, the big Llanelli goalkeeper. In Pic 1, he is standing up and having a word woth a steward. In pic 2, we can see the white shirted Peter Nicholas approaching - the Llanelli. What happens next is magic. Nicholas obviously says something to the 6ft 3" keeper to make him collapse like a fallen tree. Wow! Who needs David Blaine? I wonder what he could have said?
Monday, May 05, 2008
Dave Jones has to be taking the piss when he says that Fowler might get a place in his Cup Final squad. I don't care if he can climb Snowdon in 5 minutes, he doesn't deserve a sniff of a place.
Has Jones forgotten what the football was like with Fowler in the team. Has he forgotten how badly the midfield were stifled because Fowler just couldn't make a run ?
Cardiff's resurrection this season has been down to the lucky success of Paul Parry as a striker. Our good form has coincided almost entirely with the availability of Parry to the side. Jimmy Ffloyd is basically a big fat arsed galoot with the movement of a porcupine, but at least he has some presence about him. If Fowler is selected alongside JFH, then I will bet my house on a Portsmouth victory.
I remember the League Cup game at Anfield this season. We actually dominated that game, and if we'd had Parry up front instead of Fowler I'm sure we'd have won it. Fowler's presence is actually a negative for the team. I'd rather play with ten men.
I always suspected that Dave Jones was a little star struck when he signed Fowler despite his recent abysmal record. He might be good at golf Dave, but don't you dare risk our club's history on your cosy little relationship with a has-been, and the pressure that will now be forced on you by the media as they look for this year's dream scenario.
I'm writing about the incidents at yesterday's Welsh Cup Final in my column for Golwg this week, so there won't be any discussion on that here. Well done though, to Bangor for a fantastic win.
But I'm writing this as more of an appeal. Can anyone find a match report, or even any mention of the game on the BBC website? It's bizarre. It's like the biggest story in Welsh football this weekend never happened.
Friday, May 02, 2008
Time for a review of the offerings served up by various parties as the Cardiff City FA Cup Final song.
1. James Fox - Bluebirds Flying HIgh
You know it's strange. I couldn't wait to mock this effort and when I heard the liune about Peter Ridsdale, I knew I could be safely cynical and rip the piss mercilessly. BUt I watched it again yesterday, and I welled up. Bloody Hell. Once you get past that Ridsdale line, it's OK actually. It's the sort of thing you want the club to release. It's catchy, cheesy, but there is a grain of authenticity lent to it by Fox, who is a proper City fan by all accounts. And one line is a pearler; "From the Canton to the Grange End let it roar". And yes, it is the Canton, and not the Spar bloody Family Stand. I think what got me all emotional was the whole thing of Cardiff City making an FA Cup Final song for God's sake. The video of the team in the studio is bizarre. What the hell is dangermouse doing there? And why are they eating? There is a clip of Paul Parry mumbling the words and Peter Ridsdale doing his best like a school teacher in Assembly. But apart from that, there's nothing to show that the team actually sings on the record. But who cares? It's our FA Cup Final song.
2.Leighton James Don't Like Us
This one came totally out of the blue. When I heard there was a Soul Crew song I feared the worst. It couldn't be any good, and I prejudged it with my customary aloofness. But bloody hell, it's cracking.
I don't think I know the lad singing it, but he's hit just the right note. I love the video and I think this is the best of the lot. Youtube pulled it down for some reason. Probably the mild references to hooliganism, though with the dozens of violent hoolie clips out there, I can't see why. Maybe Leighton James complained? More likely the BBC, who are known to employ youtube spotters. It's a pity that it references Swansea so much. I mean, we're in an FA Cup Final...why are you even thinking of Swansea? but nonetheless, it's a great production and the video is superb.
It isn't anything to do with the Soul Crew really of course. They don't actually exist as an organisation. But it's funny how City fans have taken that group of Pringle-wearing Docks lads from 1982, and turned them into some sort of cuddly rascals that we can laugh about. Oh what fun we had when Swansea ran away on new Years Day.
3.Rob Woodward : Do the Ayatollah!
Karl Woodward is a well respected and well-loved journalist who has written on Cardiff City for many years for the Western Mail. Rob Woodward is his son, and he is a "comedian".
Rob Woodward is also undeniably naff. He's a safe pair of hands on stage and is without doubt the Welsh Michael Barrymore.
The first version I heard of this song had him singing in an Indian accent. I think the poor reaction to that effort made him re-record and here he has this exagerrated Cardiff accent which sounds pitiful, especially in those spoken bits where he says funny stuff. The video is excrutiating. He wears a yellow polo shirt under his City top, and his jeans ...well, I don't want to be cruel. I'm glad the song was made because it probably appeals to a certain denomination of fans - those who also watch the Cardifff Devils perhaps. But for a snob like me it's mortifying.
4.Helen Love: Cardiff City Superstars Wembley Mix
Let me declare an interest here. I made this video. It's not one of my better efforts but it was done at short notice and I had technical problems and the dog ate my homework. Yes, I am in it, but then Hitchcock and Tarrantino appeared in their own films too.
I was told that the Super Furries were making a song for the final, so I was a little disappinted that it turned out to be a re-hash of this 1990s track from Helen Love. I'm not sure which of the Furries was involved but I think it might just have been Cian Ciaran.
This is the top choice for us white middle class, studenty fanzine type who cut their teeth in the post-Hillsborough football love-in. It was one of the first post-modern ironic football songs from that era, and I've got the original single on 7". The lyrics are sublime, with name checks for Scoular and Harry Parsons making this the most authentic nostalgia fest. It places the Cup Final in the Grand scheme of things, and gives the event a sense of perspective in our miserable little history.
5. Ian Hunter: Bluebird
I'm not sure this should be included. It's just a collage of clips over an old track by someone called Ian Hunter. I'll admit that I have no idea who Ian Hunter is, but it sounds like someone who was once a member of a famous group, maybe Free or Van der Graaf Generator. That said, the tune is cool, and the video is lovely.