Should Welsh clubs be in the English League? Does it happen anywhere else? Berwick are in the Scottish league, and yet half the town is in England. Are there Belgian clubs in the Dutch league or Austrian clubs in the German Bundesliga?
The obvious reason used to justify Cardiff, Swansea and Newport County into the English pyramid is that it’s “always been like that”.
I’m not anti-Welsh, in fact I love visiting North Wales for short holidays, and I was absolutely delighted when Cardiff City were promoted to the Premier League, simply because the Cardiff City stadium will be a new ground for me. I love visiting new grounds. I’m a member of the “92 club” and constantly battle against the tide of new stadiums and promotions to keep topped up.
Even after my visit to Cardiff, I’ll still have to visit Brighton, Rotherham and Newport to get back to the full quota, even though I’ve seen Brighton on two different grounds and visited the previous stadiums of Rotherham and Newport.
As well as clocking off the ground, City’s game at Cardiff could be our first view of Stevan Jovetic in a blue shirt, and I can’t wait to see him play.
I can’t deny that I’m worried about the absence of Vincent Kompany, who was fantastic against Newcastle. Will it be two left footed central defenders in South Wales, Nastasic and Lescott?
If two right footers are partnered (just think Doyle and Watson, one of my favourite pairings) no-one raises an eye brow, but somehow two left footers “seem” unbalanced. I reckon we only think that way because most of us watching are right handed (footed).
Could Garcia or Boyata be involved, or what about Yaya in central defence?
Off the field the contrast between Cardiff’s owners and City’s couldn’t be bigger, in my eyes.
The Bluebirds will wear Red, while I assume our Blues will wear……Blue.
I love tradition, and wonder what the reaction of City fans would have been if the Sheik had ordered City to wear red, even though he’s changed so much at the club for the better.
I know I wouldn’t ever buy a red City shirt, but I wonder if the riches we’ve all benefitted from would turn the heads of some. Over the weekend it was reported that Leeds fans may no longer have access to alcohol at Elland Road, due to the religious views of the Dubai owners.
Thankfully Sheik Mansour and Khaldoon Al Mubarak appear to be men of tradition and seem determined to tap into the traditions and culture of Mancunians. Long may that continue.
So, “iechyd da” to Cardiff, welcome to the English Premier League, but unlike my painful memory of my last visit with the Blues to Ninian Park in 1994, when Nathan Blake knocked the Blues out of the FACup, this time I expect a comfortable City win.
I’ll be providing full match commentary, the buildup and post match phone in with Fred Eyre on BBC Radio Manchester from 3pm, and I can’t wait!