I am losing count of the number of times my sleep pattern is being interrupted by some inane football comments on the TV. It is my guess that if you place all of the footballing cliches end-to-end you still would not get anywhere near the land of common sense. Commentators, pundits and general all-round-idiots, who have nothing better to do in life than talk about things they were never any good at themselves, like to identify ‘game-changers’. Such-and-such a player is a game-changer, the manager’s next substitution needs to be a game-changer, the referee’s decision was a game-changer.
As yet another weekend of wall-to-wall TV and radio football punditry and commentaries arrives I was contemplating the benefits of hibernation that so many smaller mammals seem to go in for while much of the football season is on. Then, with my usual easy-going languid effortless creative self (with the help of the Life of Pi DVD advert) I chanced upon a true game-changer… get some Tigers on the pitch! Get back to some wholesome Roman sporting spectacle to keep everyone awake.
My ‘football evangelist‘ is uncharacteristically quick to say this is exactly what is happening at the Cardiff City Stadium today. It’s the arrival of fellow promoted hopefuls, Hull City, or is that Hull Tigers? Seems to me that it is the battle of the ‘Name-Changers’… is this City v City or are we talking Dragons v Tigers? Who knows what your team is supposed to be called when the true match is the battle of the owners billions fuelling total disregard for the history or passion close to the hearts of true fans?
My ‘delusional optimist‘ has constantly gone on about how Hull are one of the teams that will finish the season below Cardiff. The only failing in their logic is the fact that Hull have been above Cardiff in every week of the season so far… but what does a superior cat like me really understand about the simplicities of the peoples’ game? From what I hear this is a battle between two teams that find it relatively difficult to score goals… which, as far as I am aware, are game-changers! The anxious local crowd are hoping the tigers roar is going to be little more than a whimper:
It’s 3.00pm on a game-changer Saturday afternoon, so let the confusion begin… guess from the picture who the Bluebirds are? Yes, the team in red. As for Tigers, when did they come in a blue variety?
The first half progresses with a series of attacks from the home team, but unfortunately ‘Puff the Magic Dragon‘ seems to have brought along his mate ‘Huff‘, and also seems to have mislaid the ‘Magic‘ bit somewhere. As for the Tigers, as cliches go they seem to be playing within themselves… sounds anatomically strange to me, but that’s what the aficionados of footballing nonsense like to say when they haven’t got anything exciting to say about a team. The real action takes place off the pitch, as both sets of rival fans form a vocal connection: “Stand up for your history” rings out as a collective middle finger to both clubs owners. It seems that very few present are interested in the concept of the ‘name-changer’!
Then suddenly along come two chances and the Tigers score two goals… cue mass depression across the majority of the ground, as most of the home fans become so disoriented they are drifting away for half-time refreshment 10 minutes before official half-time.
As the second half begins the home fans calls for desperate measures are partially answered, as one over-paid lazy git is replaced by a young upstart from the new manager’s native Norway. However, the much used cliche that football is a game of two halves takes on a strangely unexpected twist… all present have been duped into the deja vu world of watching one half, but twice! ‘Huff and Puff‘ continue their wearisome double act, while the roar of the tiger makes itself known infrequently, but ever so loudly for the comfort of the home crowd. Another two goals for the away team acts as a reminder to about 10,000 of the home fans that this was a day they promised to be home early. 20 minutes to go and the magic trick arrives… a football stadium turns instantly into a library, only slightly interrupted by joyous sounds from the relatively small numbers of travelling away fans.
My ‘in-house statistician‘ returns head bowed, mumbling something about having the higher amount of possession, corners, shots on and off target; with uncomplimentary references to ‘them’… after all, this was one of those teams that ‘delusional optimist‘ remained adamant would finish below the ‘Mighty Purple Dragonbirds‘ or whatever they are called. I guess I don’t help the depression levels with my addition to our statistical interlude… “I believe another cliche in the beautiful game is that only one statistic counts in the end”, and on this occasion it reads:
‘Whatever they are called dragons’ NIL
‘Who are they tigers’ FOUR
It looks very much to me like it is going to be check all ligature points, and hide the belts and laces week, again! Until we speak again I am Juno, advising local people to shift allegiances to the Welsh national rugby team.
[Some of the images in this post are taken from google images with thanks, as they helped to illustrate key points being made].