Monty Python and the Holy Bale – Macedonia 2 Wales 1

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Time was, when the surreal stuff, the weird and wonderfully wacky ways of Welsh fans were the defining characteristic of a trip and indeed, the sole reason for going. Away games were the closest we might get to a journey to Mars or being in a rock band.

I can remember the concierge of Baku’s Hotel Grot, as it should have been called, asking me: “Why your friends throw TV from 16th floor window?” He wouldn’t have understood the answer: “Because they’re from Bala.”

Now the team or the FAW – someone other than us anyway – want some of the action, to sup from the Pythonesque well of craziness. Terry Gilliam’s been discovered.

Let’s keep the most expensive footballer in the history of the game on the bench! Let’s keep him there when we start losing. Save him for Tuesday’s match.

That IS surreal. That IS weird. But hey. leave the strange stuff to us fans.

We’ve had a lot of practice. We’re good at it.

Ministry of Silly Thoughts

It was as if running a national football side is so humdrum it needs complicating to keep the interest going. After all, we’ve been going 125+ years now. Same old, same old, every game. Pick team, see how many pull out. Field team, lose. Shrug loss off uncomplainingly. Listen to Robbie Savage’s take on telly, sighing with exasperation. Get slightly hoity-toity when confronted with baffling decisions about substitutions.

Less weirdness off the pitch. More on the pitch (or on the side of it if you’re Gareth Bale).

Just what is going on?

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The Norwegian Blues

Sick as parrots and pining for the fjords of Milford Haven, as we often are after the game, this parrot couldn’t help squawking: “We’d have won this if Bale had played ten minutes.”

Maybe even ten seconds (OK, maybe 20).

Maybe even with his bollocks in a clamp, though obviously, that would be a bit extreme.

Tis but a scratch

Is Bale’s injury a scratch? A very big scratch? Could have played on like the armless Camelot knight? Till his legs fell off?

When he gallops up the pitch he looks like a gorilla with great touch on the rampage. No quibbles here about Real paying so much for him – it’s an incredible sight.

It’s a wonder he doesn’t plough a furrow as he sprints. Even half the gorilla would have been a handful and saved embarrassment.

Macedonia played ugly and doctored the pitch, as is their right, to make dribbling tough. They feared us so much they turned their national arena into the closest thing they have to a swamp.

Bale-fear was written all over this game

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I like and respect Coleman for coming into a tough job in awful circumstances and hate all the hoopla about getting rid of him. But even his mum would admit he’s had a bad week that deserves his pocket money docking.

As a pal says, he’s an international football manager, he should have his passport in tip-top order. Please, no more Flying Circus.

Be open with us as to why the world’s biggest football story – yes it was bigger than Cookie absent-mindedly feeding his passport to the dog/budgie – didn’t play.

Surely Bale was too precious to play? We’ve been fed bullshit – all explanations so far reek of Bale-shit.

Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition

But a Taffy Torquemada wouldn’t go amiss. A pal was insistent the Welsh FA picked the team – our chief exec was named as selector.

Did Bale felt the ground was too soft and didn’t want to play?

What was the point of bringing Bale out, saying you were expecting him to feature and not playing him?

Skopje is full of statues – all new. Some gleam almost as much as the sun. They seem to outnumber the locals as the city fills its streets with something visitors can marvel at. Sculptors must have so much work here lately they are dinars-in.

Why did we bring our own statue over with us?

The FAW should be open about what has happened.

The suggestion seems to be that Bale was not fielded with one eye on his future participation. This game was written off in the belief that the future rewards would be greater.

Your mother was a hamster, your father smelt of elderberries

For whatever reason, fans who made the trip have been short-changed, though £6 for a ticket was a pleasant surprise.

I’m not particularly upset and have only come across one fan who was.

But It’s still hard not to feel as though someone has farted in our general direction.

Wales fans' lost 6-1 to Macedonia vets the day before the game. Our hosts featured a former Maceodonia skipper Artim Sakiri (yellow, left, next to linesman)
Wales fans’ lost 6-1 to Macedonia vets the day before the game. Our hosts featured a former Macedonia skipper Artim Sikiri (yellow, left, next to linesman)

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