Brexit explained

Be very wary of those welcoming messages, they might just be hiding something more sinister for unsuspecting visitors…

Welcome to Cardiff City Stadium

“It’s those immigrants, coming here and taking our overpaid prima donna roles.” [With only five Welsh players in the whole squad, three of whom you never hear about!]

“How is our local economy going to survive?” [Our home grown talent has to make do with only a few grand a week!]

“It’s those foreigners, coming here and taking all off our points!” [Cardiff City 0 Queens Park Rangers 2.]

“What is happening to our sovereign status as an independent sporting power?” [Oh yes, we are in hock to a Malaysian owner!]

Until we speak again, keep the welcome in a language designed to keep all of those interlopers baffled…

Welcome in Welsh


Another christmas ghost story

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…

City v WBA [1]


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).

Peter Wittingham scores

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.

Great Expectations

Charles Dickens once said “I’m a Bluebird until I die”. That was Charlie ‘whatshisname’ (aka who the dickens is that?) sat somewhere in the Ninian Stand rather than the bard of London, Portsmouth and Rochester. At least that is what my nominated football watcher tells me, in a continuing state of delirium since Malcky’s Army downed the Manchester City juggernaut 3-2 last week. But perhaps the real Charles Dickens has already written the story of this season in the Premier League for the locals; as that most unlikely of results has now given rise to ‘Great Expectations’… if they can beat some of the richest, most overpaid of players, then just bring on the rest!

On the way to the ground for the next instalment, I am reliably informed that a scene reminiscent of the capture of the convict, Abel Magwitch, on the marshes was taking place, as Police vans, cars, horses and constables on foot escorted a relatively small group of the visiting fans to the ground. Greatly outnumbered, they offered nothing more than passive acquiescence. Cardiff City Stadium again provided an atmosphere as cauldron-like as Joe Gargery’s forge, with the locals open to accepting every lucky horseshoe coming their way. After all, this successful Everton team are not going to resemble any fading grandeur of Miss Havisham’s life.

In the book, the lawyer Mr Jaggers is the bringer of news of wealth from an anonymous benefactor. What is it that Phil Jagielka, the Everton captain, is saying to his manager Roberto Martinez, with a couple of days of the transfer window still open? There are other players on this team who may be contemplating Pip’s journey from the Kent marshes to the city of London, by moving away from the safety of their familiar Goodison home to a place in a more glaring spotlight. As for the home team, there would be more than a few hopes that a wealthy benefactor incarcerated in New South Wales would emerge to add to the Malaysian riches already decorating this part of old South Wales.

And so to another Saturday 3.00p.m. and the match kick-off, and one fan seems too overwhelmed by the tension of watching one man kick a ball a few inches to a colleague:

CCFC v Everton [2]


3.45p.m. 0-0… 4.05p.m. and it’s time to kick-off the second of this game of two halves. For those of you cats who have no interest in the intriguing story that unfolds as a back-drop to a tense 0-0 draw, but who hold a particular interest in the more colourful elements of life, the reds and the blues in the two pictures have completely turned around (or has my trusty photographer just walked around to the other stand?).

CCFC v Everton [3]

4.53p.m. 0-0… unless you are a supporter of either team that’s the summary of all the main action. The atmosphere generated by these passionate newcomers to the big-boys league was kept to a level of tension equaling that fabled return by the convict Magwitch as he is recaptured on the Thames.

The talking point of the game, as with so many, emerges in the post-match interviews. One side saw a nailed-on penalty and enough evidence that they should have finished with deserved victory; and the other side saw a good tackle and an even game that finished with a fair result. One thing seems very certain in the partisan world of football… a true fan sees what they want to see, not necessarily what really happened!

My nominated eyes on the game may be slightly biased, but they said Cardiff are fully deserving of four points at home against two teams from the top six last season. All of these numbers are doing my under-nourished sensibilities no good. To me the most significant numbers are 0-0… Charles Dickens would have to re-write his ending between Pip and Estella (again) if he was to equal the intensity of the story that had just unfolded on the pitch, according to my personally deluded reporter. Perhaps it is a score like this that cries out to be described in the gilded oratory of Stuart Hall, only without the heinous sex offences. I have been Juno, your Dickensian reminiscence benefactor, hoping to speak with you again soon.

That nice Mr Mackay

CCFC celebrations

What do I know about football? Well, back in the 1960’s, so I am told, there was a goalkeeper called ‘The Cat’ (Peter Bonetti, for you know-it-alls). Like me, he was known for being graceful, and only exerting himself on the rare occasions when he had to. Also it is back in the early 1960’s, according to my buyer of the food, that the local bunch of so-called football players did any good. So, it seemed like I have arrived in a place of sub-standard football, which is probably why they all seem to go on a bit about that strange egg-shaped ball that they all huddle around.

Not being the cool one to take all the credit, it seems that since my arrival in this pleasant city their football team has been doing rather well. Even jumping around on open top buses without paying any fares. As winners of the Championship it seems to have driven lots of the locals to go around shouting ‘we are Premier League’ as they enter a summer long dream world before reality strikes in mid-August. I think they are playing their first game in the promised land at my old manor… West Ham in the old Borough of Newham. From what I can remember this new lot should beat that old lot, but then… I will listen out for the sounds of mayhem or despair, and hope to still see food in my bowl.

So who do I attribute this new-found air of confidence to? It can’t be the players, as they were struggling most home games since the turn of the year, so I kept hearing. Something must have been going right around the club. It could have been the rich owner guy from Malaysia wearing his shirt inside his high waist-band trousers (bit of a strange look to be inspiring people if you ask me). Then there was this man with a strange way of talking, constantly doing impersonations of people from Glasgow, and waving his arm in a strange fashion. Got many of the fans chanting ‘Doing the Malky’ for some reason or another.

Anyway, I thought he was good as the prison guard in ‘Porridge’, and he seems to know what he is doing along the road at fortress Cardiff City Stadium. All-in-all he seems to be a nice man, that Mr Mackay.