Looking back at my time supporting the ‘City there’s been moments of sheer ecstasy, misery and just plain frustration. So, what better moment in our last ten years to discuss than a game that was infused with all three?
Following Whittingham’s wonder strike at Leicester’s Stadia De Walkers Crips, Cardiff fans couldn’t help but feel we had the upper hand going into the second leg at home. This naive perception of confidence was swiftly quashed after forty- nine minutes passed, and we found ourselves 3-1 down (3-2 on aggregate) with our tails between our legs, yearning for the curtain call so we could go home and lay in bed depressed.
“Typical City!” I recall hearing from an elderly gentleman to my right. “We always fuck it up in the end.” This was, of course, the season after we failed to qualify for the play-offs through goal difference thanks to a six-nil drubbing at Deepdale. I could see the years of hurt in this man’s wrinkles.
All those years in the lower- leagues and finally we get ourselves to the second division play-offs and we look completely out of our depth on our own turf. I know most in that stadium night aged quite a bit. That was until Howard Webb signalled for a Cardiff penalty twenty minutes from time which Whittingham inevitably slotted home comfortably. Bosh – back in it.
Just when you thought the stress couldn’t get any more harrowing, we found ourselves about to endure a Cardiff City penalty shoot-out. I couldn’t bare to watch, and neither could anyone else. People were stood on the steps, some sitting down clutching their scarves, others turned the other way. The tension was palpable, you could pre-emptively feel the tears of disappointment.
Except, we didn’t lose. After Yann Kermorgant’s ludicrous attempt to chip David Marshall handed the initiative to us, Scotland’s number one made a historical save against Martyn Waghorn and the result was settled: Cardiff City were going to Wembley.
“Wembley, Wembley, we’re the famous Cardiff City and we’re going to Wembley!” rang out throughout the stadium with unmitigated glee, a distant emotion from the terror felt only moments before. The pitch flooded with the now adrenaline-ridden Cardiff faithful, Darcy Blake embraced every ‘City fan in sight losing his top somewhere along the way. I stroked Jay Bothroyd’s head and told him that I loved him with genuine sincerity.
As a football fan you live for these moments where you can escape anything outside of the stadium and just indulge in the sheer pandemonium of experiencing like-minded brothers embracing the joys of a history Cardiff City win.
When the dust settled, me and everyone else returned to the stand ready to applaud our heroes. I looked to my right where I saw the elderly gentleman from before once again except this time, he was sobbing into his Riverside FC scarf. Finally, for now, Cardiff City didn’t fuck it up.