I think it’s impossible to describe in exact detail how a certain type of Cardiff City supporter feels at the moment. I am talking about those of us who have been supporting the club for, say, thirty plus years but not for long enough to have seen us play in the old First Division and subscribe to the notion that if something can be cocked up, Cardiff City will find the way to do it. Supporters who started watching us before 1962 at least have a memory of seeing us playing in the top flight (albeit, it was a completely different league in so many ways to today’s Premiership) and there will, of course, be the long term supporters who are natural optimists who believe we are as good as in the Premiership already. However, those of us into our (late!) middle age who have been denied that chance and who have been worn down by the decades of struggle at the end of the last century are wondering exactly how fate will decide to fart in our face this time.
Perhaps that is why I am still relatively calm about tomorrow’s game – I have convinced myself that Cardiff City don’t win the really big second tier games that we play, so what’s the point of allowing your thoughts to turn to visits from Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and the rest next season because it’s just not going to happen. Look, Blackpool are the form team, they were absolutely tremendous at the City Ground in the Second Leg of their Play Off Semi Final and there is less pressure on them than there is on us, what’s the point in kidding yourself that we can do it, and yet……………..
Blackpool may have played very well against Forest, but they were helped along the way by opponents who, for me at least, showed very little composure or guile – I thought Forest were a shadow of the side who had looked so good here last autumn and who were, arguably, the best side in the division from November to February. Blackpool also play with very little width in midfield relying instead on their full backs (in particular the impressive Seamus Coleman on the right) to get forward and provide the service for their front three – which is more like a genuine three up front than most other teams who claim to play 4-3-3 but actually use 4-5-1. There will be gaps to exploit down the flanks on Wembley’s big pitch and Chopra and Bothroyd will hopefully be able to drag Blackpool’s centrebacks into wide areas which could create chances for midfield players willing to make runs beyond them.
We’ll have to play far better defensively than we did nine days ago and we need to be a lot more clinical in front of goal than we were against Leicester when the tie should really have been all over midway through the first half at the Cardiff City Stadium, but, our woeful finish to the 2008/09 campaign apart, the teams of the past two and a half years have begun to show that they are not phased by the big occasion (indeed, as I mentioned on here before, I got the impression against Leicester that some of them were actually enjoying playing on such a stage). I am very much of the impression that we have more matchwinners than Blackpool, and that, if both teams played to their very best, we would win – blimey, I’ve got to stop now because I am beginning to think that we might have a chance after all!