Saturday 28th February 2015
Cardiff City 0-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Cardiff City Stadium, Cardiff.
[ENGLISH PYRAMID WARNING: The match report and blog entry below is based on a football match that occurred in the English Pyramid, in Wales]
Manic Street Preachers are my favourite band and have been for about 21 years. I love every iteration of the band. From the boa pastiche metal of ‘Generation Terrorists’, to the lyrical masterpiece and shockingly haunting ‘The Holy Bible’, to the understated ‘This Is My Truth, Tell Me Yours’, right up to last year’s ‘Futurology’. I’ve seen them everywhere from the Millennium Stadium to last year’s London Roundhouse ‘The Holy Bible 20’ gigs. So imagine how chuffed I was to find out that ‘A Design for Live’, a relatively new Manics tribute band were playing under the Canton Stand this afternoon? I was delighted and given the current form of the Bluebirds, I must admit I was far more excited about watching ‘A Design for Live’ rather than enduring 90 minutes of turgid midfield action.
15 years ago the Manic Street Preachers headlined the recently opened Millennium Stadium in front of 60,000 or so fans. This afternoon they played a low key set on the Foster’s Stage at the Cardiff City Stadium in front of a few hundred Cardiff City fans.
It’s a welcome relief, as this stage is usually home to all manner of shocking terrible bands. It’s actually quite unbelievable that I’ve managed to watch a band on that stage that don’t murder ‘Dakota’ by Stereophonics.
‘A Design for Live’ are a fantastic imitation of the real thing and the effort they put in is superb. Their James Dean Bradfield looks like the James Dean Bradfield from around the ‘La Tristesse Durera’ video-era, albeit with a golden Les Paul (but then true Manics fans will tell you James did use a golden Les Paul for a lot of the ‘Gold Against The Soul’ period, so in a way, it’s more authentic..), their Nicky Wire looks the part, even wearing a purple-ish coloured wig to make the look more realistic, he spoils it a little as he is probably a better bass player than the real Nicky Wire. Their Sean Moore looks like Sean Moore. More admirably than any of all of this is the fact their Wayne Murray actually looks like Wayne Murray and stands further back on the stage than the other two frontmen to fully replicate the real live Manics experience.
The band stick to the safe hits, it’s a football crowd. The real Manics have a fair few fans under the Canton this afternoon, but it’s probably fair to say that a quick airing of ‘Patrick Bateman’ or ‘Sculpture of Man’ would go down like a turd in a swimming pool. Having said, I found myself thinking what I would do if I was in a Manics tribute act. I decided my setlist would be:
YOU LOVE US
JACKIE COLLINS EXISTENTIAL QUESTION TIME
EUROPA GEHT DURCH MICH
SCULPTURE OF MAN
OF WALKING ABORTION
FOUND THAT SOUL
SHE BATHED HERSELF IN A BATH OF BLEACH
I’M NOT WORKING
THE LOVE OF RICHARD NIXON
EVERYTHING MUST GO
THIS IS YESTERDAY
A DESIGN FOR LIFE
Having said this, if you asked me to make a setlist tomorrow – it would be different again.
An hour earlier than this, my wife and I grabbed a bit of food and a Diet Coke in a retro style bottle from Time, a cafe in Canton. Time is a nice little cafe/restaurant with a bit of a cool vibe to it. The menu is wide and interesting and most importantly for us, has a wide range of vegetarian options.
I find myself gutted that we came here so late, walking into Time at about 1.20pm, needing to get over to the stadium in time for ‘A Design for Live’ who start at 2pm sharp. We have just enough time to wolf down a Mozzarella, Tomato and Pesto panini and our Cokes before hot footing it over to Leckwith for the Manics tributes.
I’m genuinely gutted to leave Time so quickly, but needs must. I make a promise to myself to come back for the next City match a little earlier and try the Veggie Breakfast.
After enjoying my meal and the Manics tribute, my low point of the day arrives and we make our way up to the Canton Stand to take in today’s match against Wolverhampton Wanderers.
The Cardiff City Stadium has become a bit of a dismal place recently. Cardiff City’s form and recent performances have been dire and toothless, lots of regular season ticket holders that normally stand around us and lighten up even the most boring of games have stopped going so much, so we find ourselves with little to do before kick off but dodge wayward balls being kicked into the stands again and again by Kenwyne Jones carrying out shooting practice in the warm up.
Today’s pre-match is lightened by the fairly humorous sight of Vincent Tan, Mehmet Dalman and Ken Choo flanking the crowd as he makes his way around the ground to soak up the applause following his recent re-brand U turn. To be fair to Vincent Tan, for all of the mistakes he has made at this club, to turn around something he was so dead set for in recent years is a very admirable move, and coming out to make such close contact with the fans following recent months and years was a brave move. One which has probably paid off quite well, as the fans take his presence very well.
Cardiff City Stadium is a quiet place to be when City are playing poorly and in the first ten minutes or so, only the Wolves fans are making any noise. My workmate Daz, who is originally from Swansea, has some family connections to Wolverhampton and has been a lifelong fan of theirs. He is also at today’s match, but his home today is in the away end. I find myself wondering whether he sings along with the ‘Sheep Shaggers’ chants and the numerous airings of ‘God Save the Queen’ and ‘Swing Low, Sweet Chariot’. I make a mental note to give him verbal abuse on my return to work.
Wolves go a goal to the good midway through the first half as Cardiff fail to clear their decks and Bakary Sako hit the target from about 12 yards out. David Marshall, in the Cardiff goal was unable to do anything to stop his shot from fizzing into the net.
The first half snores itself to sleep with little else besides the opening goal happening. At half time, we find that one of the more memorable stewards is monitoring our section this week.
There’s this one steward at the Cardiff City Stadium who sticks out every single week, due mainly to the fact that most of our stewards are 40-50 year old balding men, each weighing the best part of eighteen stone. So it will always look a little strange when there’s one steward, a female steward who is one of the smallest people I have ever seen in my life. I dread to think what would happen to her if the crowd ever tried to surge on to the pitch, I’m guessing she must be a black belt at Karate or something similar. The little ones quite often, are the most violent.
In more boring moments of the match, I sometimes find myself wondering what this girl thinks of us lot, paying hundreds of pounds a year to watch this absolute shower of shit, while she gets paid to watch over the best part of 20,000 people and make sure we don’t storm the pitch.
The second half is a little better and Cardiff City finally wake up and realise they are losing the match. Which is a shame, as in the last half hour they are by far the better side, coming exceedingly close to leveling the score, no more so than when a Wolves defensive mistake leads to the ball coming perilously close to crossing the line. The referee doesn’t give the goal and the linesman, to be fair to him, has his view blocked by a wall of both City and Wolves players.
The only action of any note comes a few minutes after this when the already booked Peter Whittingham goes in a little tough on Matt Doherty. Doherty does make the best of the challenge, gymnastically diving six foot in the air, but Whittingham does deserve the booking. As he makes his way down the tunnel, Cardiff City’s hopes of taking anything from this game go with him.
City push forward and they do come close on a few occasions, but at the end of the day they just weren’t good enough to take anything from a game deservedly won by Wolves.
Wolves, surely now must be promotion contenders and must seriously fancy their chances as late automatic promotion contenders.
My Men of the Match: Despite not playing football today, A Design for Live were in the end, quite worthy winners of this dubious accolade.