Tales From Wales – Part 12 – The Green, Green Grass of Home | @Matt_C_Wills

Merry Monday! For one final time this year, we’re off Wales to see if Cardiff can finally make it to the Premier League. See you in 2021 Matt!

It’s Monday, we’re mid-table, we’re in Division One – it can only mean time for the end of season run in to see if’ll be holding out for a hero or stage a convincing turnaround (bright eyes) in form to reach the promised land of the Premier League.

Maybe it’s too early on a Monday for Bonnie Tyler song lyric puns?

Why not start with some 4th round FA Cup action to distract us from our league gloom?

Well, what about that then? A convincing demolition of the baggies if ever I saw one. Drinks on Queen Street tonight boyo.

Could this be the spring-board we need?

Carl Williams might be the regen of Ian Rush but he’s playing with the spirit of Carl Dale.

I wouldn’t like to be the fella who injured Dicks

FA Cup action swings quickly around and I ask my pal Shakey to join us on the coach to Portman Road. His banter is just what the lads need to see off Ipswich and er…Hughie Bogie.

Shakey wants to join us on our next away day to Southend but I tell him I don’t want to use up all of his magic touch just yet. Our in form front two get us another 3 pts

Then they split the duties against QPR and Port Vale. These are the sort of games we were losing earlier in the season. Maybe the cup run has lifted our spirits?

Talking of said Cup run, it’s time for 6th round action at Elland Road, never an easy place to go, but we hold strong and ask them back to ours. Former Arsenal youth Owen impervious as captain at the back

It’s probably not Shakey’s dressing room banter, but more the fact I’ve gone to a 5-3-2 formation that’s done it, our defense has never been so resolute

Of course, as soon as I say that, we concede 3, but no matter when we score 6 – by half time. We obviously took our foot off the gas in the second half there.

And again, we get a bit sloppy and it almost costs us, but the evergreen Deniol Graham is on a hat trick to force the win

Time to resume international duties and Croatia travel to Wales and they’re not an easy side to break down, so in the end a draw is fair play

Work to do for our World Cup hopes

I celebrate our positive club form by splashing out £250k on Carl Robinson from Wolves, the stats, they look good

He’ll fill the gap with Cross out injured and his debut is only eventful for his yellow card and Wigg’s red.

Forest play the perfect April Fool’s joke on the 1st by beating Man Utd in the League Cup final. A clean sheet against Shearer and Ronaldo – Neil Alexander deserves his man of the match champagne

Cup action of our own 4 days later and Leeds travel to Ninian Park. Shakey gees up the crowd before hand by getting them to sing ‘This Ole House’, but its our ground that might need structural repairs when we take the roof off when when the final whistle blows – my Welsh lads are in the semi’s!

Leicester will stand between us and a trip to Wembley. I call Iain Dowie down to take a look at the stadium roof but he explains to me that ‘taking the roof off’ is a figurative term rather than literal and he asks where I got my architectural degree. ‘Here in Cardiff!’ I proudly exclaim but he just looks at me blankly and leaves.

We only have a few days to prepare for the semi-final at Anfield and we survive an early scare when Jon Macken misses a penalty. Then we hold the lead until the 77th minute when Ince equalises from a goal mouth scramble and its really a case of tired legs when we succumb to a counter attack and Macken makes no mistake.

I’m gutted – every now and then I fall apart.

Rushie wasn’t enjoying life north of the border – ‘it was like living in a foreign country’

It takes me 6 days to pick the boys up after getting knocked out of the cup, but Norwich feel the brunt of our disappointment, Hughsie Jnr taking home the match ball.

Rushie following in Barry Fry’s footsteps

A trip to the historic city of Oxford is disappointing when St Francis and an Angel finish us off

Bury knocked our form into a cocked hat earlier in the season, but we have our revenge and Carl Dale’s regen gets his first senior goal to wrap things up

A week later I take my other Welsh lads (well a lot our lads at Cardiff with me anyway) to deepest Europe and its another disappointing draw. If we want to make it to Japan, we should be picking up 3 points here lads.

The International Weekend curse is back, although a lot of my lads playing for the national team may have a bearing. Also, letting Shakey stand in as manager for the day probably didn’t help either

Shaun Ryder can’t stop us from being the Happy Wednesdays. You’re twisting my leek man!

We’re into May, so how is the table looking?

Sunderland have sealed it with 2 games to spare but look at us, we’re in with a play off chance if we can hold our nerve in the final two league games

I love these guys again, I really do!

One game to go and still only a point between hope and despair

We’re against Champions Sunderland and while they parade the Division 1 trophy at full time, we’re huddled around Shakey’s transistor radio listening out for other scores

David D’Auria seals a point at the death and we’re there! West Ham get ready for a double ding dong.

Success for Liverpool in Europe. No 5-4 drama in 2001 this time around

Play Off Semi-final Part 1 time – late drama as Seb Rozenthal looked to have secured a draw only for Davey to hurtle up the other end and restore our advantage.

Graham really wants to get to the Premier League doesn’t he?

While we’re doing that, Auxerre are doing this

Our heart destroyers then go down to Arsenal in the FA Cup Final

Dortmund regain the Champions League after a 4 year gap

Wembley time rolls around and the biggest game for these Welsh lads in our 4 seasons together against Ipswich couldn’t go any better!

All nervy until the final 20 minutes, I guess we just wanted it more.

£5 million, blimey. That’s a lot more that Alloa got for winning the Scottish Premier League!

The man has been a machine

31 and the Man Utd youngster has taken us to the top level

His best and most important season yet. I just hope he can cut it at the very top?

My promotion boys see to San Marino in the next World Cup qualifier

Before the moment I feared. Crossy has been great this season, but he still has a Big Club Release Clause

Graham will never leave me though – I hope!

We’re in with a play off chance I guess!

Damn you John Toshack!

Time for those end of season awards

Some retiree’s from the Welsh scene

And from our own squad

The board spunk 40% of our promotion winnings to get more bums on seats

New seating requires a new signing I tell myself. Hopefully there’s still time to make him world class

Rowlands heads back home to us

Piss off Toshack!

I hit the end of season update button and pray our jounery into the top flight won’t cost us all our best players!

Find out more next week!

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