Dylan Ebenezer has had a very busy week of Welsh football
I’ve experienced everything that makes following Welsh football so exciting last week.
The rain and mud in the Welsh Premier – Swansea showing Arsenal how it’s done – the drama and disappointment of a penalty shoot out at The Racecourse – and finally – the big one … appointing a new Wales manager.
It all started in Bala – the last game before the split in the Welsh Premier as Afan Lido travelled up to the north.
It wasn’t a classic in the first half but the state of the pitch was a massive factor. The locals claimed that it had rained non-stop for 91 days – not sure if I totally trust that statement but it was seriously wet and the game had already been called off the week before.
Things improved in the second half as Bala won 3-1 and the fact that manager Colin Caton has strengthened what is already an impressive squad bodes well for the rest of the season.
The signing of Ian Sheridan from Airbus should be a big boost. If only he could sign a new pitch!
Then, on to Swansea. The first confession is that I was sat in the middle of the Arsenal fans. Well, that’s what I am and that’s what I’ll be forever – I’m way too old and ugly to change now!
The travelling Gooners were nervous – mainly because of Arsenal’s stuttering form this season – but also because they had a vague idea that The Swans were a decent side.
Emphatic confirmation of that fact had arrived by the end of the afternoon as Brendan Rogers’ side tore the visitors apart at times.
There were complaints about the penalty – moans about the standard of defending – but not many complaints about the result.
Long before the final whistle blew few around us were speculating about who would be a decent buy for Arsenal (Joe Allen!) and some even whispering that Brendan Rogers would be the perfect man to replace Arsene Wenger.
I have no doubt that Swansea will stay in The Premiership this season – you then hope that the players stay – and more importantly – the manager.
That is crucial.
We had a crazy cup night at The Racecourse on Wednesday. It was supposed to be Tuesday but the FA Cup replay against Brighton was postponed because of a frozen pitch.
Twenty four hours later and it was red hot there – nothing to do with the weather – it was all to do with the atmosphere.
Nearly 9,000 had made their way to support the team that are having such a great season under Andy Morrell.
They may have lost on penalties but it was a heroic performance – and a clear sign that The Dragons have the quality to go all the way and finally return to the Football League.
It won’t be easy – but the spirit is incredible – amongst the players and fans – and that could carry them over the finish line.
And finally … the Wales manager’s job.
Nobody wanted to be at the press conference in Cardiff Bay on Thursday afternoon – not even the new boss Chris Coleman.
He admitted that being given the chance to manage his country was the proudest moment in his career but there was no reason to celebrate because it only came about following the sudden death of his friend, Gary Speed.
Coleman was a strong character on the pitch and he showed that he has the same character off it as well carrying himself with great dignity in difficult circumstances.
It has been a horrific time but Welsh football had to move on.
Whether you agree with the appointment or not at least all the guessing and uncertainty has come to an end. It remains to be seen if the arguing has ended as well!
On this day in 1973 Trevor Hockey became the first Welsh international to be sent off.