The close season is officially over. The next football campaign finally has its first flicker of life again, and suddenly the first pre-season training session seems just around the corner.
Yes, it’s the Capital One Cup draw again.
For once, we didn’t get *them*. Or Millwall. Instead, we get Cardiff City – yep, the Bluebirds themselves at their place.
Initial thoughts were that it wasn’t fucking Franchise. You just knew they were going to get drawn at KM with the circus that would have entailed, so at least the frozen balls in the draw didn’t work this time.
Then, you thought “shit, it’s away”. Although it is straight up the M4, you do have to risk life and limb reaching a hostile environment full of locals wanting to murder you just for speaking a recognisable form of English.
Fortunately, once you past Bristol, it’s not quite so bad.
The last (and only) time I went there was in the same competition when WFC played at Ninian Park. Where John Hartson couldn’t resist acting like the Swansea fan he is after he got subbed whilst winning.
This time round, it’s the new stadium which I think isn’t too far away from the old one. It did sound impressive during Wales v Belgium last week, though when we visit it’s bound to be 75% empty.
So, can we win it? Yes. Will we win it? Probably not. Though to be honest, you never know with these first round ties – last year, it sounded like we pretty much let ourselves down at the Frenzydome, and we’re still owed a win in this tournament.
And I mean in both the AFCW and WFC eras, where your editor still has nightmares about losing to Cambridge at PL.
It all depends on how well we a) sign some sodding players, and b) hit the proverbial ground running. This said, if NA doesn’t have a spring in his step this morning, he’s even more of a miserable bastard than first thought.
We all know about his work at Cardiff’s academy, but I’d forgotten that he played for them as well. Here’s a picture in case you’ve forgotten.
I can’t be sure, but I don’t think he and Malky Mackay were particularly on the same page (so to speak) when he was there – at least, that was the rumour at the time.
But it’s interesting that Cardiff themselves are happily mentioning NA’s return to south Wales, so he’ll possibly get a good reception from them.
As for us? I hope we take a decent number down there, although it won’t be nearly as many as it would have been if it was Franchise again. And yes, that is a very telling stat.
Mind you, it’s a new ground, it’s not a bad tie and it’s not completely horrible to get to. Plus it’s August, and those not on holiday might be quite tempted.
So, it’s not a home draw, nor is it QPR or Fulham away, but at least it’s interesting (in a good way). And would set us up for the campaign if we did finally get a victory in this tournament.
Oh, and we haven’t even mentioned Vincent Tan yet. Or the infamous red shirts. Or, dare I remind you, Hammam still having something to do with Cardiff…
Anyway, the new season suddenly appears on the horizon again (new signings reminder *cough cough*). That will be further compounded tomorrow when the proper fixtures appear.
We all like to do guesses at who we’ll get, especially as everyone who does it gets nowhere near. Here’s your editor’s predictions :
- First game: Mansfield (h)
- Last game: Exeter (a)
- Boxing Day: Crawley (a)
- NYD game (or closest): Pompey (h)
- Easter (both): Daggers (a), Crawley (h)
- Leyton Orient (a) : February 21st.
- Pompey (a) : 12th December
- Game nearest your editor’s birthday (25/10) : Hartlepool (a)
- Date we finally beat Oxford : N/A
Check back this time tomorrow to see how wrong I got it.
One final thing – is it too much for the OS to put the pre-season fixtures up? It’s bad enough as it is, let alone checking dates and still having Margate last year come up.
Anyone would think they don’t want anyone to turn up…