Friday, April 25, 2008

Football, patriotism and common sense

There's always been a bit of antagonism between the Welsh and the English. However, the apparent furore surrounding the FA's decsion to allow Cardiff to play in Europe if (and it's still a big if) either they beat Portsmouth in next month's FA Cup final, or they lose but Pompey finish fifth in the Premiership so guaranteeing then a UEFA Cup spot is amazing, but rather sadly predictable.

The BBC Sport website is reporting that the former Football Association of Wales secretary, one Mr Alun Evans says it's a "backward step" for Welsh football. He says the preferred way is for clubs like Cardiff & Swansea is to have two teams - one playing in the current English FA league structure, and one in the Welsh pyramid, so they could qualify for Europe through that route. Yeah, right.

Presumably Mr Evans would be happier if Welsh clubs left the English FA system altogether. That would help Welsh football wouldn't it? Crowds would plummet. All the best - or even all - the players would move to English clubs because with the greatest respect they wouldn't want to be playing Caersws, Airbus or Llangeffni week in week out. The money would go - no Sky matches. The fans would have no prospect - however distant of reaching the Premiership, or even playing the big sides in the FA Cup, because they'd be in the Welsh Cup, and so on.

And saddest of all, it's reinflamed the "I'm Welsh and proud of it and don't want to play in the Engish system anyway" sort of debate - check out BBC 606 website if you're in any doubt. there's Welsh people saying they want nothing to do with England, and English people saying we don't want you anyway, go back to Wales....

Come on, please. Let's be adult and be objective about this - hard I know for some.
  • I'm English and proud of it, but....
  • I'm married to a Welsh girl and proud of it
  • My kids are Welsh and I'm proud of it and them
  • I've lived in Wales longer than anywhere else and I like it
  • I've supported the Bluebirds for years and it makes me cringe when certain sections of the fans chant derogatory remarks about (all) the English teams we play - we haven't got that many Welshmen in the team after all
Cardiff have (rightly or wrongly) being playing in the English League system for tens of years, along with Swansea and at times Wrexham and even Newport County, but no-one's ever worried about it before because no one ever thought any of them would ever a) win the FA Cup (again - remember 1927 lads!) or finish in the top 5 in the Premiership.

Given that, they've won through to the final, and should they win it (please God) then they fully deserve to play in Europe next season. Blimey, after all, few Welshmen that we have in City's colours, there are more of sporting the Cross of St David than there are Englishmen in a Man U or Chelsea or Arsenal shirt.

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