Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Déjà vu

I've kind of had a feeling, a premonition if you like, that I would end up going to Cardiff City. Don't ask me why, but the thought has been ricocheting around my vacuous skull ever since I started this journey back in August.

This may well be a trick of the imagination, a slight of the mind. A bit like déjà vu, when you get that unerring sense that you have done this before, or have had that exact same conversation before. That strong sensation of familiarity. The brain is a complex thing. Of course I may well have thought about the prospect of visiting every single league club at some point in the last six months. Maybe I would be writing this this no matter which team had come out of the plastic bowl on Monday. But for some reason, I get that feeling now that Cardiff City was bound to happen. It's all a bit spooky really.

So I wasn't at all surprised with the draw, you could say I expected it. It is a good one for me because I have never been to a game at Ninian Park, home of the Bluebirds. Another ground to tick off the (imaginary) list that I have hidden in some dark recess of that same vacuous skull.

After the initial adrenalin rush that normally follows a draw for the next round, when the "things I now need to do" part of my brain goes into meltdown, the fog is now beginning to clear.

The journey should be easy enough; only a couple of hours off down the M4. Finding the ground should not pose any problems either as directions appear straight forward.

As for the getting my hands on tickets, I'm in a positive frame of mind thanks to valuable advice already proffered by some very helpful Cardiff fans. First indications are that this game may not be a sell out. Once again, the game will be effectively "all-ticket" for the away fans. Wolves operate a loyalty points scheme so making that particular route to a ticket a non-starter for me. It is unlikely to be all-ticket for home fans. Even if it was, I should be able to buy tickets through the Cardiff City ticket office as the likelihood of a mass stampede to the ticket office window is slim. A couple of Cardiff supporters have stepped up to the plate to offer their help with tickets should my own efforts go pear shaped; more selfless generosity from people I don't know, only a matter of days after the draw.

The televised games were announced today and, shock of all shocks, three of the four ties selected for television involve a Premiership team. No surprise that the BBC plumped for the big one involving Manchester United and Arsenal. Cardiff City and Wolves have been politely ignored, like a bad smell in a lift.

Talking of TV coverage, I noticed this statement from the BBC website that made me smile. This wording appeared at the top of the page listing the eight Fifth Round games, before any of the television coverage had been decided:

"Please note: Fixtures are subject to change. The BBC is not responsible for any changes that may be made."

Er, sorry? Are not the BBC, once they have pointed their collective broadcasting finger at an FA Cup fixture, responsible for that fixture consequently changing? I wonder if the BBC are oblivious to the irony in that statement? Probably.

Back to our game, Cardiff City v Wolverhampton Wanderers, to be played on Saturday 16th February. It will be game number thirteen for me. It has not been chosen to be beamed into millions of homes around the world. Another all-Championship cup tie that will be spared the limelight that the cameras bring but instead will be served up in the flesh only to a select few thousand who choose to push turnstile.

I've a strange feeling that has happened before on this FA Cup run. A case of déjà vu?

No comments: