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]