Friday, January 16, 2015

On the diet trail

I've been meaning to lose weight for a while. By a while, I mean maybe several years. But there's always a reason why it's never been easy, and it's not that I'm really overweight (cough).

Anyway, the time has come. I decided before Christmas that this time it was for real. And then to top it off I decided to do "Dryanuary" - not alcohol during January. Well actually from 4th January on as we had friends over for a meal on 3rd, and it would have been rude not to assist in the indulgence.

So, it's been almost 2 weeks grog free. Whilst it would be incorrect to say I haven't missed alcohol (it was tricky on an overnight trip to London this week with colleagues in a pub downing Doombar and me on the diet coke), it hasn't been too hard. I'm not a heavy drinker. One bottle a night maybe two at weekends is my norm, or sometimes a glass or two of wine instead. Even when I have a night out I rarely get past 4 pints.

And as for the food. Well I like my food. I like any food, but I do have a penchant for the stuff that isn't good for you. Bread, chips, chocolate. I'm not averse to healthy food, and we absolutely don't eat unhealthily - lots of veg and fruit, but I'm a sucker for seconds, or sometimes even thirds.

So it was decided I'd try the 5:2 diet. East what you like (within reason) 5 days a week, and limit to 600 calories on the other two "fasting" days.

I'm a week in to this, and I have to say it's been ok. And between the diet and lack of alcohol I believe I have lost a bit already. Stupidly, I didn't weight myself at the start, and our old tatty scales were almost unreadable on it's analogue scale. On Thursday I bought a set of cheap(ish) but recommended digital scales so my benchmark is from here rather than the start of it all.

I'm pretty proud that I've resisted all forms of chocolate and bread  even on my non fasting days this week. I drink black coffee normally, so I haven't missed milk in coffee or tea, and otherwise it's been water or occasionally diet coke.

I'll let you know how I get on.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

At last

Looks good doesn't it? It certainly felt good.

The Bluebirds back in blue. Lots of references to the "Bluebirds", including the electronic scoreboard showing "Bluebirds" rather than "Cardiff". Hardly a red shirt or scarf to be seen anywhere. Mascots in blue. Oh, and we won! Three points in the bag, thank you very much a great day all round.

It's perhaps a bit naughty to post anything negative, given the events of the last two days but well, the football was still dire. No creativity from either side. Shots on target? Hardly any. Great saves? I can't remember any. Rigid formation. Yes. No plan B. Nope. The atmosphere wasn't as great as I'd hoped for our first match back in blue either. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't great. And the crowd - just over 22k, which means that there were still lots and lots of empty seats. Maybe it'll come. On the plus side the new signing at the back Malone looked pretty solid and level headed and impressed me.

As an aside, I'm constantly astonished by how little attention some people pay to the game. There's a bunch of fans who are next to us. They nearly always turn up late - sometimes 10 minutes after the match has started, and nearly always leave early before half time and then early at the end. They also spend large portions of the match talking to each other with hardly an eye on the football.

Today they turned up as the teams came out. Literally 29 minutes into the game (I checked the clock) they were disappearing for a pint and didn't come back until the 2nd half was underway - then left early before the match was finished (again). I know the football wasn't great but.....

Friday, January 09, 2015

Back to Blue - Get your free blue CCFC scarf here!

Courtesy of Wales Online
Well, well, well.

It's been a momentous week, especially the last 24 hours  for us Bluebirds fans. Following Vincent Tans assertion in the "Christmas Day" message that we'd stay red, and the dismal, dismal on field showings in the last few weeks, the club announced out of the blue (pun intended) this week that it wanted to have a meeting with supporters, at the request of VT.

And it did. Quickly and apparently efficiently, with key supporter groups, MP's, local businessmen and other interested parties. Hell, it even invited all City fans to email them with their thoughts (and I did).

The meeting took place last night with Chairman Mehmet Dalman, CEO Ken Choo, Manager Russell Slade and others. Very quickly news was circulating on social media that the meeting was positive, friendly, and that the outcome was very likely a return to blue that so many had been calling on. Ever a cynic, I remained to be convinced, but by late evening people who know far better than me and whose opinion I would trust were calling it a done deal. Even so, given the history of our current owners approach to running the club, I took the view that I wouldn't believe it until I heard it myself. And I also suspected it would come with a huge catch.

So at 2pm today at a news conference, it was announced that Cardiff City are indeed going back to blue with immediate effect - so immediate in fact we'll play in blue at tomorrows match v Fulham. And apparently it was all down to VT's mum, who told him to get a grip, or words to that effect.

In an instant, the club has rectified what was a short sighted, unfathomable and lets face it, ridiculous decision that has divided the club, the fans and football generally. The craic is back, and by the looks of it, it's going to be a pretty good day at CCS tomorrow whatever happens on the field (and lets face it, that's still a bit of an issue).

I'm not going to go as far as many in thanking VT profusely and pandering to his ego. I'll give him fair praise for having the balls to admit he needed to accept the reversal of his rebrand and move to red, but frankly, if he'd done the right thing and consulted with everybody two and half years ago, none of this would have happened - and who knows where we'd be now? Certainly most people associated with the Bluebirds from staff to players to fans would have been a lot happier over the last two and a half years.

So, is there a catch? Well yes and no. We'll play away games in a red strip. That's not a big deal, we've played in red away before, and we have to play in some colour. And clearly white didn't go down too well. The horrendous 'beer mat' badge will be redesigned to make the bluebird far more prominent, but also an interestingly incorporate elements "representative" of VT's culture and beliefs. Hmm, forgive me if I hang fire on that one just for the moment.

And finally there's to be a levelling off of the differential in season ticket prices between those like me that were on a 5 year price freeze  (didn't mine go up this year?) and those that weren't. Probably fair and certainly not a 'catch'.

And what of the benefits of this about face, which is being flatly denied as a U turn?

Well for one, a lot of people are going to start buying merchandise if it's blue and has a better badge. I don't know how much City make from merchandise, but it's pretty evident that they've not been selling anywhere near as much in the last two years. I haven't bought anything red in that time and would have continued to give the red stuff the cold shoulder. Give me a blue shirt with a better badge/crest though, and you may well see me in the shop.

The crowds will also pick up. The happiness factor about going back to blue will bring people back who said they'd never return whilst we were in red, as well as help the general demeanour and atmosphere at games, where the crowd can direct support at the team rather than venting frustration and anger at the directors box. Just the feel good factor should help crowd numbers.

We might even see a return of my favourite podcast from the boys at 'View From The Ninian'.

And let's not forget, that thanks to the efforts of all those who fought, in their many and varied different ways for the history and tradition of Cardiff City, that although there's probably still a way to go, we're on the road to having our club back.

Finally of course VT will be ensuring that there's a free blue scarf giveaway at the next midweek match.....maybe I made that last bit up.