Ebenezer Mackay approached the staff entrance to the Cardiff City Stadium and immediately reeled backwards in surprise. There on the door was the most ghostly apparition starring back at him…
A disembodied voice boomed: “Malky, before you enter this portal again you must reflect on the ghosts of Premier Past, Premier Present and Premier Future. Firstly, Premier Past… I know you spent too much of my money, and as a punishment I removed your right hand and replaced it with a chocolate teapot, but what were you thinking at Palace last week?
“If we are to stay up and you keep your job we have to be winning these games… or at least that is what people who properly understood football have suggested I say.”
Malky, accustomed as he is at the blank expression required for trying to be serious when talking to doors [see above image], offered the usual Glaswegian response to such threats… unfortunately no interpreter was available to provide a coherent translation, but a combination of ‘Jimmy’, ‘stitch’ and ‘that’ were audible to those close by.
The apparition boomed again: “If you can’t speak fluent Malaysian when addressing me, your Almighty Leader, at least get the fans off my back with a win against the Warner Brothers Association or whatever they are called. The fans have had enough of the Hollywood extravagance from recent visiting teams, they want some of the fabled gritty British stuff to be dealt out by us to the opposition.”
Malky knew on this occasion he had a prize ghost up his own sleeve, the ghost of Premier Past and Premier Present would be available for selection in his own team:
So is it to be the Peter Odemwingie show? Will he step up to the plate and put the West Brom transfer debacle behind him, and respond to the away fans taunts the way all Cardiff fans expect?
The blood-curdling voice made one final remonstration: “The ghost of Premier Future will come in the shape of Liverpool at Anfield. We can discuss your christmas present after that result.” Malky stood unrepentant, and with the defiance that comes from having all of the fans on your side he delivered his own ghostly response… “Threaten me pal and I will send a few ghosts around to your mansion for a little talk. The ghosts of Scottish football history will pay an enlightening visit.”
These guys can tell you a little bit about football, and they also know something of the Glasgow ways of doing things.
It’s 3.00p.m. on a grey Saturday afternoon, the West Bromwich Albion players look unimpressed by the Cardiff pre-match love-in, the home fans are awaiting some fireworks…
From the off the Bluebirds/Red Dragons/Purple Dragonbirds (take your pick) promise fireworks with three early chances, but as with many a fireworks display it fades after a few minutes of sparkle, bang and crash… with no goals to show for the effort. The remainder of the first half follows a pattern of Cardiff domination that the locals have become unused to seeing so far this season… but still no goals.
The second half seems to be providing much of the same, when at last in the 66th minute a cross from Craig Noone was met for a rare headed Peter Whittingham goal (a bonus for my personal representative, who also has Whittingham in a fantasy team).
Chances at both ends happen during the remainder of the match, with both teams making a bit of a meal of scoring any decisive goals. West Bromwich Albion are possibly more famous for their Balti Pies, and on this performance they are still more famous for their pies as they were definitely the undercooked product in comparison to a home team sponsored by the more appetizing Peter’s Pies:
The ghost of Premier Past failed to haunt the away fans, but Peter Odemwingie did enough to draw the applause of Premier Present in the form of the home fans. For the record the final score was PETER’S PIES 1 BALTI PIES 0. Ebenezer Mackay went away with a smile and a little less fear of any outcome from the ghost of Premier Future at Anfield next week. As for Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim, they will be enjoying a few more smiles when they look at the Premier League table after this result, but await many more guarantees before the promised riches of the league are secure for a further year.
I have been Juno, and I hope these seasonal reflections didn’t scare too many anxious Purple Dragonbirds as they seek a reassuring christmas carol from the Malaysian humbug in their financial driving seat. I look forward to further seasonal ruminations before too long.