Cardiff City's Cup Run, A Path Fraught With Issues
It's fair to say that Cardiff City did not have the most glamorous of passages to the FA Cup semi-final. Away trips to non-league Chasetown and league 2 Hereford United were rewarded with a home tie against fellow Championship side Wolverhampton Wanderers. Whereas in previous years that would have spelt the end of the run, we won and secured an exciting trip to Middlesbrough.
A semi-final against Barnsely is not what dreams are made of but a trip to Wembley and a win to reach the final made it all worthwhile.
At this point the controversy began to arise:
1) European Qualification.
Cardiff City are a Welsh side allowed to play in the English league and Cup by permission. However, they would not be nominated for European football by the F.A. if they won the cup. Thankfully, common sense prevailed on this issue after Premiership clubs, as well as UEFA president Michel Platini supported City's cause.
2) Welsh National Anthem.
Oh dear. Having sorted one potential problem, the F.A. thought they'd try to precede another. Only this time they acted un-necessarily. Cardiff City compete by invitation and do not need 'Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau' played at Wembley. The publicity seeking minister who demaded this was not supported by Cardiff fans more than happy to go with tradition and hear 'God Save The Queen' - in fact, being the UK national anthem. Un-necessarily opening a can of worms methinks.
3) Purse's Red Card & The FAW.
From bad to worse. Something we have struggled to comprehend for years is brought to the attention of supporters up and down the country. Only this time, we don't come off worse and will be open to all sorts of accusations. Purse's straight red card (and ban) was overturned by the Welsh FA (FAW) meaning he is now available for the final. Whether an F.A. committee would have turned the ban over is irrelevant - we shouldn't be judged on by different people to other clubs in our division - that is ludicrous. Blame us all you like, but we didn't ask for special treatment and have come off far worse from it over the past few seasons.
Cardiff City have had an 'interesting' run to the final. No-one expected this, and the path has been fraught with distractions and problems. Nevertheless, I have a ticket, a coach place booked and on May 17th will proudly take up position in Wembley and watch The Bluebirds take on Pompey. Once in a lifetime? Maybe. But I'll be there, there for Cardiff City and the football - nevermind all the other crap that has (and may continue to) gone on.