Spin the wheel

Despite my vehement remonstrations my human ‘emotional roller-coaster‘ insists in hanging on to the hopey-changey thing. Just because their team managed to fluke a win away to Southampton last week doesn’t bear any relation to a swallows and summer vibe… I quietly suggest. As a less cool cat than me once said: “It’s the hope that will kill you… in the end.” So it’s the ‘turn’ of The Potters from Stoke City FC to roll into town to torment the local faithfuls at the Cardiff City Stadium. ‘Turn’… potters… get it!? I guess I just can’t suppress that cool creative streak on these auspicious occasions.

I am guessing that the visiting artisans will be arriving with kilns all fired up, ready to apply the heat to any unsuspecting Purple Dragonbirds. And with recent appallingly bad home form, and a season drawing rapidly to a close, it is time the locals took some advice from George Michael… get spinning the wheel. This is shaping up to be a bull in a china shop affair, with plenty of crockery throwing between less than friendly rivals. Stoke City bring a quick return to the Cardiff City Stadium for Peter Odemwingie, who managed a less than auspicious few months in a Cardiff shirt, but seems to be a reborn goalscorer and provider since arriving in the potteries. We also have yet another Welshman managing a Premier League team with aspirations to put a further wobble in the Cardiff City FC pot spinning abilities… but what better incentive for the local deluded dreamers than a good motto:

It is 3.00pm on a Saturday afternoon, and the teams line up…

City v Stoke [1]

… but the question in the minds of all cultured fans is whether they will be witnessing an array of Wedgwoods and Royal Doultons, with a holding midfield of Burgess & Leigh and William Brownfield, Spode & Copeland out wide, with a front three of Toft, Minton and Moorcraft [they all happen to be makers of pottery by the way… nothing gets past this cat]. Alternatively, are the home team still staring down the pan of an Armitage Shanks or Twyfords? There will be no time for a return of the Porcelain Ponies that pitched up against the Palace on the last home outing… note: the word ‘played’ does not apply to that previous performance!

The home crowd need not worry, as the 5 changes to the last team witnessed in this hothouse don’t seem to possess the same feet of clay that their demoted team-mates offered. But for all the careful kneading of their trade they seem to be offering the same final product… a lack of stoneware in the form of goals. Then wouldn’t you know it; not a penalty seen in these parts all season, but suddenly deep into added on time at the end of the first half the referee (aka everyone’s favourite guy… not!) sees things that nobody else seems to see. One converted penalty later and half-time arrives: Cardiff City 0 Stoke City 1, and suddenly the home fans are desperately searching for the inspiration to fix their shattered pot.

   As the second half begins the sunshine of 3.00pm has dissipated as the home team face the need to fire up their season or find they get rapidly fired out of the league.

City v Stoke [2]

Within minutes of the restart an unexpected truth emerges as the ceramic arts serve up a new twist in a season that sends most heads spinning. You don’t see a Ming vase for ages and suddenly two arrive within minutes of each other…

    a Stoke penalty on 46 minutes, then…

… a Cardiff penalty on 49 minutes      and Peter Whittingham doesn’t give up rare chances like these:

City v Stoke [3]

Suddenly the home team are all fired up, and even manage to score a disallowed goal shortly after. But as both teams labour away at their craft the minutes ebb away towards the draw that does little to disturb Stoke City’s middle table safe season, but does very little for the home fans still languishing in the basement showroom. Passionate Bluebirds are left broken and dispirited by a score that reads:

   1 – 1   

As the season draws towards its inevitable close the spinning of each wheel becomes more anxiously watched… it is a time of the year when art slides away as mathematics takes over. Three points from safety with three more games left to play, and the only remaining home game is against one of the contenders for the title. So until we speak again I am a Juno talking in foreign tongues at home not to let the hyper-one get the drift of my prophecies… as they say in France: je ne pas une pot chambre pissoire… or words to that effect! Sting puts it succinctly on his The Last Ship album: “When he’d hardly got two halfpennies left, or a broken pot to piss in?”

[This post includes a few Google images to illustrate points made, used with thanks to the original providers]

Why aye, monsieur

The land of song welcomes the city of great rock music for 90 minutes brimful of inane shouting and chanting dressed up as collective banter. Yes its time for the weekly ‘who are ya’s‘ and ‘your support is f*@king s%!t‘ to be eloquently presented by the neanderthal minority from one end of the stadium to the other. The Men of Harlech meet the Geordie Hordes as the passionate masses proclaim their city’s rites to Premier League glory. A musical son of Newcastle (born in Glasgow) recently provided us with a dialectical treat in the form of Why Aye Man, including the lyric There’s English, Irish, Scots, the lot. The following line talks about United Nations’ what we’ve got, which has been taken to a new level as Newcastle United can claim French, French, French and Argentinian is what we’ve got.

           

If you’re looking for the English then strangely it is the Welsh team line-up that will be of more interest to you! It’s 3.01p.m., and the home crowd are wondering…

City v Newcastle [1]

… which Newcastle team will they be up against: a cordon bleu menu served up with Chateauneuf du pape, or cheap plonk with a load of old pap? The away fans recall their old favourites, Lindisfarne, and the lyric Hey mr dreamseller, where have you been, tell me have you dreams i can see? For the first 45 minutes their dreams are answered as their team dominate pretty much everything of note that happens. With a half-time scoreline of 0-2 The Fog on the Tyne has done nothing to dim the view of the Newcastle players and fans, whereas the home fans are left wondering if the ‘Fog on the Taff’ has descended over their team, and fear a lyric of another Lindisfarne favourite: Had my share of nightmares didn’t think there could be much more.

Football has its moments, times when the bizarre passes off for normality, and this match duly obliged during the half-time interval… the away fans are treated to a personal performance of their icon tune, Blaydon Races, by the local and world famous Treorchy Male Voice Choir assembled on the pitch directly before them. Those of the Toon Army who hadn’t disappeared below ground to partake of the pie-eating challenge were duly appreciative of the gesture. The home fans played their part, with a backing vocal of a chorus of boos and obscenities; not a version that will be released for sale anytime soon! The second half couldn’t come soon enough…

City v Newcastle [2]

… and in a blaze of sunshine the cliche took on its usual embodiment; for the uninitiated football is often known as a game of two halves (yes, a first half and a second half… occasionally with four unequal halves if extra-time type competitions are being played… don’t ask, it’s probably just a need to out do cricket in the ‘need for explanation’ stakes).

Anyway, back to the real action… Cardiff City totally dominate the second half, scoring an early goal, and the away fans are now haunted by the Sting lyric: On and on the rain will fall… like tears from a star… how fragile we are. The casual flakiness of fans when their team suddenly change from being world-beaters to dead-beats usually causes something akin to introspection through the fearful chords of If I ever lose my faith in you (though ‘introspection’ and a shaven-headed neanderthal aren’t a regular mix to be found anywhere!). The home team keep knocking on the door (another one of those strange descriptions of footballing action), but to no avail. As the final whistle approaches the away fans are left to reflect on a brand new Sting song, as they take a battering And Yet I’m back, as they go away with the three points for a win. For the record the score is:

Bluebirds    1                                                 Magpies       2

          

Many thanks to the music legends of the north-east for providing the backing track to this post. I’ve been Juno, apparently listening to a report of yet another competition where different birds are represented, though my preference would be for a mix of both teams in a Blue-Pie stew. See you again soon.