Back in the day, when City mixed it with the elite, The Metro (now the largest circulation weekday newspaper in the UK in case you didn’t know – ahead of The S*n 🙂 ) employed 20 ‘Herberts’ to blog about their respective clubs. I was one, Ben James was another… for Cardiff City.
Being the good lad that he is, Ben agreed to chat ahead of tomorrow’s clash with Warnock’s warriors…
How’s life been treating you since those heady days of Club Metro? There we were thinking that day of us being wined and dined in Knightsbridge was the start of things to come, and one change of content editor later and we’re all toast! Still, we did all get a nice footie shirt out of it. Still go out wearing yours at weekends?
Ben: Doesn’t the Club Metro stuff feel like years ago? It was so odd how they lavished us with money, attention, an amazing shirt (bit tight but I do wear it to the clubs here and then) and then the ar$e fell out of it so quickly.
I know. Am sure it was nothing to do with the fact we were all a bit $hit.
So… Neil Warnock eh! Thoughts? Be honest, where did he rate in your estimations prior to him being seduced by Vincent Tan?
You know, I always knew what would happen. I didn’t like Warnock. He’s one of football’s great contrarians, a polemicist wrapped up in a kindly exterior. We’d had run-ins with him. One that stands out is when, as Palace manager, he defended Claud Davis fracturing our defender Roger Johnson’s larynx with a vicious elbow by saying ‘he’s just run into his arm’. I vowed then I would never like him.
And here I am, nine years down the line, praising him to the hilt! You can’t help but warm to him when he’s your manager. He creates that siege mentality, and after a few years of wet blankets at the helm, it has helped to bring some fire back to the club and he’s breathing new life into things.
There’s no arguing about that. He’s definitely one to love if he’s in your corner and one to hate if he’s not.
I mentioned briefly the lovely Mr Tan. How’s his relationship with the fans right now as you close in on (possibly) a Premier League spot? Please tell me you all love him now and are all sporting Vincent-taches in honour of the great man? (I notice there is still a tier full of red seats – are they staying?)
Funnily, I have grown a tache in recent years, but I would be lying if I said it was in honour of Vince. He’s never going to be the man we all love. The red kit debacle has absolutely had an impact and those red seats (I don’t think they will be going blue anytime soon) are a reminder of that. But he’s done what he should have done all along; he’s taken a back seat.
He’s letting Warnock, Dalman, and Choo do the day-to-day with minimal interference and he’s doing and saying the right things on the financial side. I think things are as good as they can be in the circumstances – if we do go up, that’ll go a long way to improve things further.
Just a reminder I guess that everything – literally everything – in football boils down to results. Even seemingly dodgy owners can seem less dodgy when results on the green stuff are going well.
Fair to say that Warnock has made a silk purse out of a sow’s ear? No big names in your team but a lot of Warnock-type warriors. Has that been the key to this great season?
I think so. The players that stand out are Sol Bamba, Junior Hoilett, Joe Ralls. Bamba is a cut above at this level and is the heartbeat of the team. I’ve rarely seen him miss a tackle, a header, and he scores some worldies too.
Hoilett is our attacking threat. He’s got more goals and assists than a certain Portugese wonder at Wolves, but he flies under the radar somewhat. And Joe Ralls is the central midfielder we all love. He runs and runs and runs but has an edge of class to him. He’s been missing for a few games and we do miss his engine.
I notice that Ralls has a chance of being fit tomorrow – typical!
There have obviously been loads of good performances over the season, but who in particular has excelled? In other words, who’s going to really pi$$ us off tomorrow afternoon?
In our team currently, there are a couple players to highlight. The obvious one is Hoilett, for reasons outlined previously. And depending on which one turns up, Zohore can really cause problems. He’s a powerful runner, deceptively quick, and very strong. He can finish from anywhere around the box and is due a goal.
And Calum Paterson. Signed as a right back, playing as a de facto midfielder, he’s become our top scorer and can score with any part of his body – a slide tackle earlier this season ended up going in!
“Powerful” … “quick” … “strong” … who knew Colin liked those types 😉
Were you there last Friday when your boys conspired to miss two injury-time penalties and send Neil’s rage-ometer off the dial? Am not expecting Nuno Espirito Santo to be going to the Warnock’s for Sunday lunch anytime soon.
A wedding in the country put paid to my attendance but I watched it on Sky. It was the most ridiculous last five minutes I have ever seen. I can understand why Gary Madine stepped up for a pen (he hasn’t scored since signing for us in January and needs the confidence boost) but it was telling that Warnock said he was ‘disappointed one or two others didn’t step up’. What could have been?
And Warnock is Warnock. I don’t necessarily thing Nuno did anything wrong and I think Warnock knew what he was doing. It deflected from the result and I personally loved it. Good old-fashioned anger.
Think you’re right… he knew *exactly* what he was doing, Ben.
With Kevin Blackwell constantly chirping into Warnock’s ear it’s hardly surprising that fourth officials in the Championship are dropping like flies. Name me one more hostile/intimidating technical area than yours in world football…… can’t can you!
It’s really hard to pick one! We’ve got a formidable backroom staff with Ronnie Jepson in there too.
If league places were determined by technical area fist fights you’d be 20 points clear.
I suspect I know the answer but summarise in a single paragraph the playing style of Warnock’s Class of 2018.
I find it quite ridiculous we are second because as much as we work hard, we have not played great football this year. That said, Warnock’s style is all grit and determination and that is what has gotten us over the line on several occasions this year. He’s one of the best at getting you out of this division and I hope we find another layer of character to see us over the line.
Talking of character, how’s old Anthony Pilkington getting on? Classy and useful when he’s fit but injured most of the time perchance?
Pilks. At the start of this year, he basically had his bags packed. But, all credit to him, he’s kept his head down and has been a key figure off the bench since January. Scored a very good goal in the 94th minute up at Sheffield to steal a point recently and should have started a few more games really.
Good player but he simply didn’t want to be here by the end and no matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t disguise it.
And finally …. standard … score prediction?
We are due a win so I’ll say a 1-1 draw.
And finally, finally… are you going up?
I have to be optimistic here and say yes. It’s still in our hands (somehow) and we have five cup finals ahead of us. And Fulham have to lose at some point, right?
Thanks to Ben. I don’t think we need Nostradamus to tell us this one’s got potential to be a bit lively.