Zombies 1 Devils 0

OMG, we finally prosper from a Gavin Maguire moment. A wheel has turned full circle and now we are getting all the breaks.

I can’t be the only one rubbing in my eyes at the sheer injustice of us being a probable Number One seed in next month’s World Cup draw. Let’s hold our horses.

How on earth did we win this?

I’m not gonna break the habit of a lifetime by going around agreeing with everyone that we were fabulous even though in some ways we were. My friend Vince said afterwards that he wasn’t quite sure who had a really good game. I sort of knew what he meant. you’d probably have to pick the back three – Williams, Chester and Gunter. And the half-man, half-Yeti Ledley.

THAT Gunter, who messageboard monkeys, with their insidious chatter, have decided should not be in the team, so that’s shut them up for a bit. Let’s give Brian Flynn a big shout here. Six years ago he was saying that he thought Gunter’s best position was centre-half.

And Chester, in his own way as revelatory and revolutionary as Bale. 

 Plonked from nowhere into the defence and, as much as Bale, a key element of our resurgence.

So it was an absolute triumph of the collective over individual moments to cherish because I only remember two shots on goal and match stats suggested we had five. It might well be that we didn’t deserve to win but, fair dos, the Belgians haven’t been bleating that I’ve heard of.

And it was not just the team either who were collectively excellent. There was us too. The 12th man.
Stoked up to the gills by the barmy Barry Horns several rows behind me in row GG of the Canton Stand, everyone sang and chanted. there were five ten-year-olds next to each other in our row – their dads nowhere to be seen – standing on their seats the entire game.

Not quite convinced they saw any of it but I bet it was the best thing they ever witnessed and they’ll remember it for ever. In 2075 those kids will still be alive and I’ll be 113 – and we will still be talking about this night, that’s for sure.

Early on, we started off with a rousing chorus of, er, “Sheepshaggers”, possibly started by the ten-year-olds. But things got classier thankfully.

Behind us: a rootin’, tootin’, hootin’, parpin’, fartin’, heartenin’, barkin’, honkin’, stonking horde of hornblowers and a drummer. They started us off on song after song that swept down the stadium like the mist on Snowdon. They were so over-excited they should have been arrested.

Well done you horny chaps, you sexy things, you were my man of the match. They feature heavily on my vid above.  

 Which brings me to

Luck

150 years of Welsh football and how much luck have we had?

I was about to say: “Not a blinkin’ sausage”‘, but then remembered that we reached the1958 World Cup via several back doors and that was way before Jack Warner was elected to FIFA. And, obviously, we would have won if John Charles had not been crocked.

So, one bit of luck then.

After seeing Croatia score against us when Lewis Price smacked a clearance into Ashley Williams’s arse in Osijek (Williams’ fault, after his terrible back pass meant that his arse was blocking the only available trajectory open to Price), I cursed the fact that we had never scored a ‘comedy’ or entirely fortuitous goal. Never, bloody, ever.

That is, we had never been gifted a stupid, stupid goal by the opposition while shipping them in their hundreds, maybe thousands, to the likes of Cyprus, Azerbaijan and Moldova. Especially Moldova.

And Gavin Maguire’s back pass which eventually became a cross for Rudi Voller to score is etched into Welsh football folklore, which is cruel, as on that night in Nuremberg most other teams would have lost 4-1 to Germany.

So Nainggollan’s header has made up for that and, given the circumstances, moaning about our misfortunes carries less weight especially as I’ve just remembered how lucky we were to win in Andorra. If that ref hadn’t ordered a free-kick to be retaken . . .?

Best win ever?

Answer: no.

For me, beating Germany in 1991 was better. We played a bit, created our own goal, taken with panache by a great striker, and faced the world champions who were had two ways of beating you – through brilliance or vile, bullying skulduggery and cynicism. That really was a miracle. We were unofficial champions of the world. Cherry on the icing provided by Terry Yorath who actually predicted we would win 1-0.

The 2002 win over Italy was impressive because we outplayed them and scored two great goals, though the opponents weren’t as strong as the ’91 Germs or last Friday’s Rote Duivels (Red Devils).

So that’s my perspective. 

 Colemanballs

There’s been a fair bit of humble pie being scoffed as people are puking up their own words and confessing as though they’re at a Stalin show trial that they were wrong all along about our Great Leader, and have made grave errors of judgement. Not that Coleman is Stalin of course, no offence intended there, O Great Leader.

All this reeks of bullshit frankly. It’s not exactly admitted with the same passion and conviction and moronic intensity with which these people argued the case for throwing Coleman into Swansea Bay, preferably from a helicopter.

For me, if you slagged Coleman to the point where you were almost foaming at the mouth – this also happened in what I like to think of as the Toshack glory days – you should be banned from the next two home games for your own good. Or maybe ban yourself. A sort of penance for brainlessly siding with your mate who has an anti-Swansea agenda.

Show you really mean it by giving your tickets for Israel to charity, eh?

Admission of your own idiocy has been sheepish at best, and with ‘yeah-but-no-but-yeah’ half-hearted justifications of the Great leader’s minor errors. Coleman has overseen two of the worst performances I’ve ever seen – Andorra and Serbia – so some criticism has been fair, but most of it has been personal, and some of it should be directed at the players.

People forget that Coleman has never just been manager of Wales. That was the title but that wasn’t the job. He started off in crisis management and then grew into being national boss.

This Cookie ain’t for crumbling. He’s brought us a long way and continued good things done by Gary Speed and John Toshack.

baleLet’s face it, he must be a bit bemused by what I would call a classic Welsh two-faced turn-around – demeaned like a convict until he does something popular or good and then there’s the sniffing of the wind to see which way it’s blowing, a swift, sneaky change of heart and the sheep-like move to a complete reverse-ferret and now we hear: “He’s brilliant, isn’t he? Deep down, I really knew he would come good.”

So you, former Coleman-basher, the person who put the ‘jerk’ into ‘knee-jerk’, at the very least, you should write a letter – A LETTER! – with joined-up writing and punctuation, put some effort into it rather than a mumbled 133-character ‘I wuz wrong bout you butty’.

And then – check it for spelling first, or ask someone you know with good spelling skills  to do it – tweet a picture of it or put it on Facebook so we can save it to use against you once you start talking bollocks again. 

 This latest classic outbreak of national hypocrisy has been one of the more enjoyable aspects of the last few months. There’s been a debate lately about what the national sport of Wales is. Football or rugby? after many years of considered thought and introspective reflection I’ve realised the real national sport is neither: it’s slagging off other Welsh people.

Shame there isn’t a World Cup for it.

Coleman, if we do actually qualify – and if anyone can muck it up, it’s us  – will have mythical status up there with, say, John Charles, Gareth Edwards, Nye Bevan and of course the Whitchurch whippet.

If you ponder, as I’m sure he has, the knives out for him after his first two competitive games in 2012 and then at the end of the last campaign – my guess is that the win over Macedonia and the 1-1 in Belgium may have kept him in the post – then the current admiration for him is quite bizarre.

Not very long ago he was national twerp of the year for mislaying his passport.

Are you a Bale-iever?

Too many years of watching Welsh fiascos across the world has convinced me of one thing – apart from the obvious utter futility of it – and now it appears it may not be have been so utterly futile after all. Why pursue obvious futility if it actually has a point? I thought I was wasting my time but I wasn’t. What a waste of my time!

Anyway that thing I learnt: after being robbed by police (2003), being chased off a terrace by police (1993), running for my life from someone with an  iron bar (2003), having a mate arrested for being a suspected Russian spy (2001) etc etc., watching Wales play football is about the most gloriously surreal entertainment in life and the best way to waste time. What would I have done without it?

Qualification for a tournament? Not sure I’m prepared for the shock – that could be the most surreal event of them all. 

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