Tales from Wales – Part 14: Your Love Alone Is Not Enough | @Matt_C_Wills

Happy Monday. No, not Bez, but instead Matt and more Welsh singer-songwriters. Can Cardiff keep themselves afloat?

Xmas has faded, Tiers have been wiped away, we’re back in lockdown, but our hearts are forever joyful in CM97/98 land.

I write this down on apiece of paper and give it to Shakey – ‘New song lyrics for you mate’.

He takes one glance and says ‘Maybe you should concentrate on football management boyo.’

To be fair, Shakey is right. Last time out we were perched just about the Premier League trap door with not much to sing about

Our resumption of action takes us to the north east and theirs nothing to cheer up Peter Reid here (we’ll leave that to KOTR). Goals 2 and 3 certainly settled the nerves before the long coach trip home.

Wales have already booked their World Cup play off spot, so a home tie against Bielorussia turns out to be nothing more than a moist lobster, or is a damp squid? I can never remember.

More importantly, we learn our play off foes fate.

Is Paul Bodin still playing?

A week later (oh the joy of not having to play on international weekend!) see’s the lads rescue a point against high flying Wimbledon. Deniol Graham has been knocking them in all through the divisions now.

A week later, and on a Sunday for some reason, Romania visit for the first leg and it’s nothing short of disasterous

Its a solemn dressing room afterwards but I remind the boys that we still have 90 minutes and away advantage to come. I don’t think it helped.

We were in control away to Sheffield United, but lapses of concentration mean Alan parry has to mop up for a point

Have I uncovered a new Carl Dale?

Knott’s injury keeps him out of the return leg with Romania and we have it all to do after the first leg.

It was all square by half time and then Daniel Prodan’s red card early in the second gave us a fighting chance but just when I thought it might be one of those nights, Carl Griffiths sent the travelling faithful into raptures and Wales to the World Cup!

The FA like it

Then we learn our fate in the groups

Could have been worse. Batistuta vs Robert Page will be interesting….

Severe, and I mean severe, hang overs when premier action resumes. The double edged sword of an all Welsh team I guess…

Not at the races is a phrase I heard a lot. I don’t think we even knew the races was on…

Things are a little better at Maine Road and Neville Southall’s regen is being blooded nicely. A point a piece on boxing day.

A test of how far you’ve come is how you fare against Man Utd. We held them to a draw in the first game of the season, but here we’re definitely second best.

Can’t really imagine Lee Bowyer in a United shirt…..

I decide we need some steel in our midfield if we’re going to survive the season and plump for this young chap

I wouldn’t say its all the right stats in all the right places, but our choices are limited really…

The new year kicks off with FA Cup action and while it’s 19 years too early for us to worry about Covid, 70’s disco bands do their best to knock us out. Back to Stamford bridge it’ll be.

The Tosh gets his Cards!

Serves him right for nicking all the best Welsh talent…

Another bites the Rush….

Obviously Tosh couldn’t face playing us. Nor could David Parry and Mark Cross it seems. The revenge would have been sweeter if Tosh had been managing, but then, I’ll not savour the 3 points.

Barry Fry goes full circle

While we go into the 4th round, what an epic cup tie!

Tired legs 3 days later isn’t a surprise really

The 4th round action comes around quickly and whilst not of the caliber of the Chelsea tie, we ease ourselves into the 5th.

Well, of course….

The next draw sees us learn our Qualifying fate for Euro 2004. Some shorter trips this time out.

When Wigg scored, we were 3-1 up and I was ecstatic, but that quickly fell apart in the next 4 minutes.

We got better value from their London rivals, all it needed was a penalty…

The fans are getting excited about our cup exploits and we take a decent following to Old Trafford, but again, it’s a mountain too high for these brave dragons

To cheer ourselves up we have a double date with Merseyside clubs and while we don’t get stuck with the Toffees

We’re no contest for Liverpool

That win actually made them leap frog us in the table, but we’re in the top half at 11, so I’m generally happy really.

That said, we’re only 6 points from the trap door, so no room for complacency yet.

Its a joy to be in the Prem. The wins are so much sweeter when you think some of these guys started in Division 3 with me. Every Deniol Graham goal warms my heart.

We’ll be back next week to find out whether we have enough for survival and what will the World Cup make of Wales, see you then!

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