Guns & Hammers

[A number of pictures have been retrieved from google images, and I offer my thanks to all the cool cats who have created and shared them]

After the recent visit of the Black Cats I am once again left conflicted with this football tribal allegiance thing… the arrival of West Ham United tugs on my coat. It’s a reminiscence thing taking me back to the kitten years, as I emerged this wonderful in the less than salubrious Republic of Newham in East London. My more recent elevation to Cardiff via a brief sojourn in Blackheath even began in a cat sanctuary down the road from West Ham’s Old Boleyn ground. I must admit I fell off my throne laughing when I heard that they are about to move into the Olympic Stadium… that’s a triumph of ambition over ability if I have ever heard of one.

Should I be supporting the ‘Hammers‘ on their brief trip into foreign territory? The question soon fades into obscurity when my ‘in-house sports correspondent‘ tells me the home team really did dispense with the Malky god-like character, but have replaced him with a Norwegian Gunnar.

Compatriots of my superior species are quick to remind me of the power of the gun over the hammer:

What’s more these hammers seem to be arriving in wilting rubber mallet mode, having lost 5-0 & 6-0 in the last week:

Sam Allardyce  My resident ‘wishful thinker‘ tells me that things come in 3’s. Yes, I say, you have had one very good manager sacked, only two to go! As long as Looney Tunes remains the dominant soundtrack at the Cardiff City Stadium it will be difficult for the home fans to build confidence through a triumph of hope over nut-job-ery.

It is 3.00p.m. on a sunny January Saturday afternoon, and the Ole’s armoury are setting their sights on any old East London iron (the hammers are also known as the ‘ironsiders). However, it seems that 11 home team players haven’t read the script, as they set about a recently familiar trait of not bothering to turn up for the first 45 minutes… a peculiarly Welsh trait shared with the national rugby team, only their illustrious rugby counterparts have a track record of barnstorming second half success not yet learned by these naive Purple Dragonbirds. After a long delay through serious injury to one of the bubble-blowers (West Ham fans never tire of singing I’m forever blowing bubbles’… though I am not aware of bubbles’s thoughts on the matter!), their average but dominating team score. The home team play a familiar laid-back game with slow passing and often beating an ignominious retreat when they should be pressing forward in attack.

Half-time arrives 10 minutes later than planned to resounding boos from home fans. Cardiff City 0 – 1 West Ham United. Surely the second half must see something of a response for the long-suffering home fans.

City v West Ham

True enough, the home side come out fighting, pushing for an equalising goal, and with 30 minutes still left to go they gain a dubious reward of seeing their opponents reduced to 10 men as their captain is sent off for a second yellow card (not a dubious decision, more a dubious idea of it being a reward). Over 30 minutes are played out with Cardiff almost entirely in the West Ham half and do at last get some shots on target, but nothing to trouble an average goal-keeper. Some urgency is injected by their oldest player on the pitch, but others still seem plagued by a need to play slow methodical passes around the pitch with little end product.

Those of you who know something about these types of matches will not be surprised to hear that West Ham had a solitary second half attempt on the Cardiff goal in time added on… and score! Cue a mass exodus by the home fans, with various comments along the line of ‘the ref is *&$%er’, ‘we was robbed’, and ‘it’s a mess’. In the words of the Coen Brothers (from No Country for Old Men) ‘if it isn’t a mess, it will do until the mess turns up‘.

For the record the final score is:

       0 – 2          

So, it transpires that the guns were largely silent, and the ‘iron‘ did enough to secure all the points without threatening to appear solid or imposing. As for my ‘heap of domestic despondency‘ there seems to be a triumph of reality over hope, as the local team have now managed to draw and then lose to a couple of the very few teams that were below them in the table. I dare to mention the ‘R’ word (relegation), but heads are bowed in dark contemplation.


Until we speak again I am probably going to be ‘suicide watch’ Juno, and all belts and laces have been removed!.

Twelve days of christmas

You humans do seem to like your lists at this time of year, and even try to put them to song occasionally. Take a tip from me… don’t do it! The following is not a list, it is my topical manifesto adding to the seasonal football overload; particularly as the locals here have been going through a megalomaniac-inspired, finance-confused, football-knowledge-free, pantomime of farcical proportions. After all of last week’s threats that the Cardiff City FC Manager was minutes away from the sack, the announcement this week that he remains in post ‘for the foreseeable future or until things change‘ sheds much light on the stability of a managers position… he is clearly now promoted to the security of being hours from potentially being sacked instead of minutes.

Anyway, Southampton FC must be wondering whether santa has left them a delayed gift as they arrive today to play a team and club in utter turmoil! But my ‘source of in-house erudition‘ says beware of the rabid dog with one eye hanging from its socket and sharpened teeth dripping with steamy green saliva… whereas I say beware of any dog (except Molly and Jack who bought me a christmas stocking gift). So, what is likely to be taking place here in God’s Own City this Boxing Day afternoon?

12 Bluebirds chanting

11 Saints for slaying

City v Southampton [2]




10 world class saves

9 ayatollahs

8 pitbulls snarling

7 pinpoint Whittingham wonders


6 (66) versions of looney tunes

5 TENSE MONTHS (until survival in May)…

4 captain Caulkers

3 great fight-backs

2 bruised egos still fighting

And a partridge in the City Arms! How much chance do you think we have of winning today Sean (Partridge)?

Sean's world

Ouch! Come on, that’s a bit harsh.

Meanwhile on the pitch… the home team are without their pitbull, the expected wonders seem to have been left behind with the leftover turkey, and the locals are caught between chanting for the saving of their manager and the disappointment with their team’s poor performance. Sean seems to have predicted it correctly as the slaying is being done from the outset by the Saints. Clinical Southampton players out-fight, out-think and out-play their Cardiff counterparts to go 3-0 up with barely half an hour gone. Boxing Day for the home team looks like becoming an embarrassment.

Hanging on desperately until half-time the ragged band of red-coated bluebirds are about as clear in their style of play as they are in their team colours and name. Surely the second half will bring some redemption:

City v Southampton [3]For Southampton it continues in the style of a training ground practice match, encouraging their own fans to taunt the locals. Cardiff make some changes of personnel and toil desperately to make something happen. But, as the second half draws to a close it becomes clear the Malky’s Marauders have been tamely put to the sword by the Saintly Slayers of Southampton… 0-3!

Resident masochists‘ have heads in hands muttering something about despair, so I am a quietly sniggering Juno feigning sympathy until we speak again.

A christmas message for QE2

Dear smile-free zone, the President and Vice-President of my fan club were delighted with your card on the occasion of their 60th wedding anniversary, but I am reliably informed by my resident ‘Welsh Republican‘ that the photograph looks a bit formal and poker-faced. So, I thought I would cheer you up a bit on this festive occasion with a couple of pictures of my compatriots… some might tolerate this nonsense but your ‘local detractor‘ tried to get me into one of these poses and can now be contacted at the local hospital in the vicious lacerations department for their efforts.

Talking of ill-fitting circumstances, I was wondering how the Greeko-Germanic axis was functioning in your marriage these days? I get the distinct impression from various news sources that this type of relationship usually takes the form of German supremacy with a sprinkling of unorthodox Greek political incorrectness… does this sound familiar? Not difficult to see who wears the headscarf of power in central London, and who risks a beheading if he steps out of line:


Your ancestry seem to have cornered the xmas market; in fact German christmas markets are the rage everywhere, even here in Cardiff:

Xmas [3]

As for the perplexing question of what you buy the monarch who has everything for christmas, it seems that the good people of Cardiff have wrapped a castle (as if you didn’t have enough already!):

Xmas [4]

Royal arcade xmas [2]

They have a Royal Arcade in these parts and seem to have found a setting to use up a number of spare light bulbs…

But, also in honour of your historically dis-functional family there is an icy scene to greet you on the Hayes:

Hayes xmas [3]




All-in-all it seems like christmas in Cardiff this year is struggling to find any wise men (particularly at the local football club, with the exception of the local messiah Malky Mackay), but there is no shortage of stars to guide late night revellers down ‘inebriation walk’:

Xmas [5]


And in keeping with the Dr Who 50th year celebrations there even seem to be a few ethereal stars floating around the city centre in search of a TV christmas special to participate in:

XMAS [1]


I have been Juno, and before we speak again I wish you seasonal greetings; but I intend being busy at 3.00pm on christmas day away from any TV, so send your reply in the form of a New Year honour for me to graciously decline.

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.

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.