Neil Warnock eh? Face like a plastic carrier bag full of plastic carrier bags. Today I have to watch out what I say or this match report will just be a page full of reasons I don’t like Warnock. He’s a bitter twisted thing old Warnock is. I imagine him in his palatial house football bought him. He’s burning leaves in his garden and poking the fire with a bit of branch. The clouds are dark and foreboding. In the distance a church bell tolls. A Crow shrieks in a barren field nearby, a skeleton held together by rotting flesh hangs from a nearby Oak…
‘Ugh bastard, ugh fuckers, fucking Wolves, fuckers, bastards’ he mumbles. There’s a Hedgehog in there escaping the cold nights and now trying to escape the oncoming flames of the Warnockian bonfire. Nose twitching it smells the smoke, it waddles for safety but Warnock sees it’s predicament, quickly getting the end of the stick under the poor wrinkly nosed mammal he flicks it back into the flames…
He’s going to have a lot to say today and what he says will be negative, saddening and somewhat annoying. Even though he knows his football, I mean he’s been in the game long enough. But it has affected him in some way. For this is ‘The Warnock’ the perennial miserable old bastard squeezing the veg in Aldi and muttering under his breath at the ripeness of things, the expense. He doesn’t like expensive things and he looks at our team and his eyebrow twitches.
He brings us Cardiff today. What a strange place Cardiff is, what a strange Aldi like team too. Having spent much time in that city I can honestly say I enjoy my times there. It’s people are plain speaking and quick to make friends. You can also be sure that a punch up will happen at some point. Listen to the ripping sound as Warnock is unloaded from the Cardiff team coach in his travelling track suit. Don’t get your hands too close to him for fucks sake! and watch out in case he shits in his hand and throws it at you! I can feel his bitter power now spreading throughout the Molineux ether, poisoning the atmosphere. Walk past his cage with a cup of tea and the milk will curdle, dogs will put their tails between their legs, babies will utter a quiet cry and old people having a nap will feel a twinge in their hips and yearn for warmer better days.
On the bus again, for I feel I will have a beer today, maybe two or three. It has been a long time since I’ve been allowed in the Royal London after that Leeds thing a few years ago but all is forgiven I hope. The Royal London is also a strange place. Catering for students in the week on match days it is full of us. Holding beers, waxing about shit. The chat is all upbeat and positive as we survey the doughnuts walking around outside. Cardiff fans mill around looking like they’ve just fell out of bed. Hair uncombed, shirt tails hanging out, Lonsdale trainers, tattoos on their necks, big stumpy fingers, missing teeth, missing fingers…look here come their boyfriends too…. I guess the bar staff will put on the ‘football fan’ CD again. Oasis, Blur, Britpop bollocks with a smattering of Ska tunes and edgy alternative 90s stuff. Yawn. But a bit better than the Great Western, a pub filled with men that look like they grew there and if the Great Western was ever knocked down they would remain in place like street furniture, still holding pints of Rancid Golden Goblin 6.7% abv. But here I’ve had a smile off a beautiful woman already and things are looking very good.
So the Mexican something with ‘o’ on the end is the lager of choice and I will have a few, then it’s only a short amble to the back of the Southbank. Walking through the subway is an almost religious experience of course. Its all dark and musty, a light at the end which we aim for and then POP! We are out and everything is Golden and light and noisy, people milling around. Grabbed by the ankles and arse seriously slapped, get in the queue, get into the ground, quick piss and we’re off! I put my arm around my mate, we are excited but pull stern man faces even if we want to run down the steps and jump around like kids setting fire to things.
I don’t say much about Saiss. He’s the bloke that opens up the factory, jangling his keys. He’s the dude with the lease Audi because he’s clever enough to work out if it works for him. See if it saves him money. He knows how shit works. So he’s checking out the doors, switching the lights on as he walks through the emerald heaven of the Molineux pitch. Work will start at 3 O’Clock bang on. Bang on he does. Pressing the shit out of the Cardiffian Nexus…’They’ll be Bluebirds ooooover WHACK’ Saiss plays a tune that is full of pain and passion. French Moroccan flavours pulsating across the match, Hard bitter contact, sweet passing across the pure Honey of the whole midfield. Ok I stood there and was lost for a while. It was romantic and a little sweaty. I felt like I had fallen in love with the whole team again. I felt a little shy as Neves slid another melodious ball through to somebody, I looked away. Jota spins, Neves catches the ball under his right foot and switches it to his left then away. The whole team has me in it’s arms and for a moment I am lost, there’s a Celine Dion tune playing. But hold on, what’s going on here?
Warnock you little toad. You Hedgehog murderer. Prancing up and down the touchline moaning. I’m surprised he hasn’t put a road cone in his technical area.
‘It’s mine this is! You can’t step in here no, because it’s mine, that’s my cone. there’s a law ya know, stick to your own area! Go on! Fuck off up yer own end’ and for a moment I’m just watching him and I hear the soundtrack to ‘Omen’ Carl Orff. My knee starts to hurt and my scars start to ache and I feel old and tired and ugly and nobody loves me. Warnock is sucking the life out of me, his team is suddenly ascendant and I wonder for a second, was this all a dream? The tango with Neves? The recipes from Saiss? But what’s this? Coady? Again? The bloke from Beatles Land, operating the shit out of defence. Control and utter fucking control. The bloke who used to run like Ghosts were chasing him, he was concentrating like he was playing ‘Kerplunk’. He’s quiet, not saying much, i bite my bottom lip, the madness of it. I’m beside myself and I feel the blood returning to my heart and through the mists in my eyes I see sunlight again and through the rays of the sun a Black Samurai. My Black Samurai.
Bright Enkobahare rushes up to battle and reaches down to re energise me, me heart is beating and there he is slashing and cutting through the enemy, here now there, the Cardiffians confused and unsure, all they see are shadows that mock them. Ninja skills, shuriken balls. ThaDonk! Boosh! Killer martial arts moves. Hold on he’s fallen over again and he’s Jackie Chan BUT wait! Bruce Lee moves and he jinks past a Cardiffian who just sees what he thinks is an Eagles shadow in his vision and Bright is past. But alas…we have one of ‘those’ Referees. A little bald one. He looks like a towel boy at a Wife Swapping Orgy running around trying not to look what’s going on as Neves is getting constantly buttfucked by Cardiffians who look like they drive Vauxhalls. Bright stares at the grass as his feet are swept away. The Referee waves play on. South Wales are revitalised, they know the towel boy is a good towel boy. Our heads drop a little, we try not to look at the red rimmed eyes of Warnock. His hate has power.
Come on. We knew it was going to be a sanding the artex off the ceiling match. As the Colin Wanker virus grew into the Cardiff team, they were infected. They ran around the pitch in a frenzy not with any plan but to annihilate the beautiful play we had instigated in matches previously. Poor Neves was Brad Pitt in World War Z….darting into alleys and stairwells, at every turn the gurning twisted face of a Cardiff player, teeth dripping with black saliva, grunting and snarling. Bright Enkobahare tumbled under the relentless press of rotted flesh, stud and elbow. Saiss taken out by the assault of a well directed elbow to the throat. Doherty and Douglas twisted here and there by the abstract and surreal tactics instigated by the sticky tendrils of the Warnock way. Goals, well they scored more which was why they won. But who was the winner today? The faux injured, the timewasting, the Jackson Pollock like spray of bootball? Warnock of course is the winner. Is it not the way of the world we live in that the deranged and the twisted football of the cursed enjoy victory over the beautiful and the divine? At least in this episode yes. As in all good dramas a defeat early on will in the end define the victory of the good and the beautiful football we play. No matter how many times you step over the security barrier and take a sharp knife to the Mona Lisa there will always be people who will repair and tend that beauty.
The defeat didn’t depress me at all. I half expected it. We are in a state of flux, a state of change. The development of a Nuno-esque Butterfly from the Caterpillar of the Clown Lamberto but now at the critical stage when our football is at a chrysalis stage we are most vulnerable. Soon we will erupt from the shell of our present and into the bright future, spread our beautiful footballing wings into the sun and take flight. We will of course look below as we pass the dark valleys of Cardiff and Warnock on his throne of skulls will shake his fist at us and berate his players to more aggressions, more anti-football.
The Balled of Colin Wanker will be, in the end a dirge. A lonely song of one violin and a moaning lyric. Let us wave farewell for now to Colin Wanker and his cohesive but mentally fractured troops as they drive up the Stafford Road to the Motorway. It is a two fingered wave and the assurance that yes, we will meet again and we will have your tears Colin Wanker, yes, we will have them.