The Insult Final

4 05 2009
Bangor City 2 Aberystwyth Town 0
Welsh Cup Final

The early start and mammoth train journey was eased slightly by the passing company. The uniting power of football was very much in evidence today. First up, two Tranmere fans going to the Women’s FA Cup final. From this conversation I learnt that Tranmere’s kitman is the brother in law of Nigel Blackwell, the singer in Half Man Half Biscuit. They also told me about one occassion when the mere presence of Nigel distracted some Leeds fans intent on ‘avin it large at some services.

Just after Hereford I met another bloke, it turned he was the owner of the “Dial M for Merthyr” flag seen at various Welsh games, another life-affirming chat.

These two very pleasant encounters threw a warm glow over my solitary passage south (I’d missed my intended train due to a lack of planning and late taxis). I was alone, as a Bangor fan, until Cardiff. Then Alwyn, Meilr and  several other faces joined me, an hour later we were ready for Llanelli.

Just afte we’d  crossed the road in front of Llanelli station a welcoming figure beckoned us in to a pub. This turned out to be inspired; the prices were still in the 20th century. Due to my role as  hawker par excellance of merchandise I had to leave the pub’s warm embrace and head off to the pub where majority of the Blue Army were, the Halfway House, wherever that was.

I enquired as to its location in the turf accountants next door. The people behind the counter didn’t know but someone else did, in the middle of explaining he said, “Wait a minute, I’ll give you a lift!!” This was the piece-de-resistance so far – Offering a lift to a total stranger with a big bag and some chequered flags. Day after day of people pushing on to public transport and general rudeness has jaded me but this kind offer blunted my cynicism, people can be human after all!! He was a Swansea fan too!!

After an hour of singing, drinking and selling (3 flags, 8 wigs and 3 scarves) I left with the blue hordes for the ground. The day was almost magical so far!! Then we came across the bane of modern society; the rules.

The Steward took one look at my chequered flags and that was that; “Have you got permission to sell those?” Not “Hello”, not “Welcome!!” not even “Can you open you bag sir?” Before I could reply with “Well I won’t sell any more so I’m not going to try anyway” he was on his walkie talkie to his immediate Gauleiter. I couldn’t come in with the flags, sir.

I came upon the idea of handing them out to people and then collecting after we’d gone through the gate. The watertight security cottoned on to this but my double bluff had worked, I was nearly past. He casually remarked “If I see you selling them I’ll confiscate them” That was me told.

As soon as I was through the turnstile I was besieged by a customer, I sold a scarf, naughty old me. I flagrantly disobeyed my command until the stock was gone, well who am I to deprive eager young fans of cheap merchandise, I’m just a pipeline?

My flags were attached to railings and I was finally ready for the final. “THE GIANT IN BLUE IS AFTER YOU…” As the teams and crowd sang the anthem, I made my flag based protest against the FAW’S foresight in holding the final at such a friendly hour.

The match was alright. “SHOES OFF IF YOU LOVE BANGOR!!” We looked dangerous going forward and fairly solid at the back. Having said that Aber hit the post. “SIT DOWN IF YOU LOVE BANGOR!! Just before half time “The Giant in Blue, Les Davies” scored with a header. “STAND UP IF YOU LOVE BANGOR” During the half I began to regret my sales, two young Bangor fans decided to blow their horns roughly 3 inches from either of my ears. Charming, no respect nowadays.

Just after the start of the second leg Chris Seargent scored our second. “… WALKING DOWN THE FARRAR ROAD TO SEE THE BANGOR ACES!!” The rest of the half dragged as we waited for the final whistle. Aber had a few chances and so did we. Bari Morgan is still a little twat. After 3 minutes of injury time the Cup was ours again. “WELSH CUP’S COMING HOME!!” I’m not saying we weren’t welcome but the stadium staff didn’t seem to want us dirty Soccer fans to be there any longer than normal. Firstly the attitude at the gate, then not ten minutes after the final whistle one goal lay dismembered. Jesus, the sweat hadn’t even dried yet. The impatient barman was telling us to drink up, he had to get home.

15 minutes after the end of the match the euphoria had subsided a bit and I was faced with a rather practical problem; the return trip to the station. Work was on the horizon. Due to environmental concerns I opted to walk. My internal compass told me the direction, some bloke told me the direction, another bloke told me the direction, I flagged a car down and the driver told me the direction, then the driver said “I’ll take you!!” Blessed relief. Bloody hell everyone in South Wales is nice.

Thankfully I had the thought of another European trip to warm me on the way home otherwise I may have tired of its never-ending quality.

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