Post-Match: Cardiff

The snow came down heavy on Easter Monday. Heavier than the boulder that Jesus may or may not have had help with, to roll away. But it wasn’t rolling away, it was Cardiff at home.

It was also Monday. The Bible doesn’t go into too much detail about what happened on Easter Monday. Perhaps they didn’t even have a Bank Holiday in those days. Emperor Tiberius’s Jerusalem, eh? At least they didn’t go in for the redemptive consumption to be found in modernity’s (Waitrose’s) vegan Easter Egg. Thatcher’s Britain, eh?






The Gaffer



A didactic verse poem:


Cardiff, neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
    Cardiff, all men count with you, but none too much;
Cardiff, you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
    And – which hurts more – late equalisers or the cost of a vegan Easter Egg, my son?
Mr Kipling, some time ago. 


Pre-match, I stopped off at Waitrose to buy my niece an Easter Egg. A vegan Easter Egg.
After literally minutes of searching, I clocked the label. If the £7 price-tag was shocking, I don’t have words to describe the dietary Haiku printed on the front of the box (in gold leaf I hoped).
Free from Soy, Dairy,
Lactose, gluten, wheat, casein,
No GM. Vegan.
Waitrose Vegan Egg, Easter 2018
No niece was worth the checkout-embarrassment. DEM BLADES fans, who were readily buying cigarettes, craft and non-craft road-beers, looked at me like I look at the neighbour who gets an Ocado deliveryAs if I am a Father to Tarquin who simply won’t tolerate the environmental consequences of dairy, or to Nectarine who survives mostly on a raw vegetable diet.
This clouded my thoughts until the referees whistle. The game kicked-off and so did this lad two rows down from me. He’d just dropped his iPhone and the screen had cracked. He blamed his girlfriend/partner. She blamed the alcohol. I blamed the pitch for the scrappy start to proceedings.
DEM BLADES adjusted to the heavy turf and soon grew in stature and confidence. There was a neat one-two from a throw-in and Stevens crossed for Lundstram who couldn’t direct his header away from the keeper. We looked dangerous. In fact, every time we attacked we looked capable of breaking down the Cardiff defence and missing a golden opportunity.
We missed a few – until Leon Clarke came up with the goods in the 28th minute. Following some sparkling interplay on the edge of the Cardiff box, Lundstram found the effervescent Clarke with a fizzing reverse pass and the striker found the bottom corner. Cava Football, 1-0.
At half-time, Warnock replaced the batteries. Mendez-Laing (AAA) came off, replaced by Gary Madine (AA). When it comes to Madine, I think he’ll deserve it.  I believe it was our saviour, describing his own feelings about the chewable toothbrush machine, who put it best:
I am the resurrection and I am the life.
I couldn’t ever bring myself to hate you as I’d like.
Madine didn’t do much when he came on, but what he did do, he did with all the subtlety of a person, who you didn’t know was a vegan, telling you that they are. But Madine didn’t trouble DEM BLADES half as much as DEM BLADES troubled the Cardiff defence. We should’ve extended the lead.
Chances, however, were not taken. Evans took an unnecessary touch in the box when he should’ve shot first-time. Another good move on the edge of the Cardiff box resulted in Lundstram firing over the bar.  Quick thinking by Fleck from a freekick saw the ball drilled in low to Donaldson, but his effort clattered the post. Lee Evans was brought down in the box (just) but no penalty, not even a freekick.
Despite all of that, I thought that the points were in the bag like the Cod in Butter Sauce waiting for me at home. They weren’t. DEM BLADES controlled possession by keeping the ball in the corner until they didn’t. Cardiff retrieved it, launched the ball forward, won the first and second header, then Anthony Pilkington volleyed a sickening equaliser. I was frozen, like my Tea.
As Cascada put it in the happy hardcore smash-hit, What Hurts the Most:
“What hurts the most, was being so close,”


On my way home, I called it in at our Judd’s to drop off the egg for my niece. Our Judd informed me that she’s not vegan anymore. Then, despite the late hour, my niece came downstairs to inform me that she’d shaken off veganism to become a Goth. I smiled politely. She didn’t.

Do Goths have bedtimes? I’m not sure I’ll ever have the answer. But I have learned something today; the answer to the question, which hurts more – late equalisers or the cost of a vegan Easter Egg, my son?

When it comes to the environmental argument, vegans do have a point. The same goes for DEM BLADES. It’s a close run thing, but the equaliser gnaws away at me more than my consumption of animal-based products. DEM BLADES are still in the hunt for a play-off place, but they desperately need to find a killer instinct.

Man of the Match


Paul Coutts. Coutts? Paul Coutts.

Paul Coutts. Paul: Coutts. Paul Coutts. Paul.

Coutts. Coutts. Paul Couts – Paul.

Tribal Haiku

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