|I think it would do no harm
for the football fans of Wales to take a trip to the same
stadium for a Welsh Rugby match.
Where crowds mingle, alcohol
is freely served in the ground and the atmosphere spills in
from the surrounding streets into the arena and is not broken
down into a few people cheering here a few singing there, it
is all around you.
I've also had enough of
people saying Mark Hughes got it so wrong. And this mentality
is drummed into these people because they generally watch
Premier League football week in week out.
Wales have done remarkably
well in this campaign. Mark Hughes has done more for the
reputation of Welsh football than any single other person in
the past 20 years.
When a player, he wore his
heart on his sleeve and was feared worldwide, as a manager he
is trying to instill that into his current crop of players.
Remember half the team last
night are not even premier league, this really was a cup tie.
Every bit as nail biting and fantasy inspiring as the big FA
cup ties where the minnows push the Premier league clubs to
It is so easy to say Sparky
should of played two up front, I am sure it was done as a
damage limitation exercise, try to keep them out and sneak one
We all wake up today after
that long trek home from the ground thinking we failed again.
In fact I think to an extent his tactics worked had they not
got that goal we had as good as chances as we could of dreamt
off, but I am not one to stand around with a list of
"what ifs?" in my head.
The truth is we are not quite
at that level yet, the Russians , lets admit it, were so much
better off the ball than us, always making a man available.
Their one touch football at times was stunning but when they
had to dig in and hook a ball away at last gasp they also
It was just such a shame to
see their pathetic antics ruin what otherwise we as fans would
of been applauding. If Uefa can throw bans willy nilly at
Giggs then they should throw just as much weight around at the
acting and charades played by the Russians.
I have not yet had a chance
to watch a tape of the game but will be keen to see what a cpl
of the referees decisions stemmed from, and indeed have to
admit I thought we gave away a penalty at one stage but then
cried out for two of our own in the space of 20 seconds at the
But these highs and lows are
what keep us enthralled, UEFA and FIFA in my opinion have done
so much to kill the game in the last cpl of years, to the
point where it is almost completely a non-contact sport now,
that players like John Hartson and Robbie Savage are not
allowed to play. Defenders fear leaning in, midfielders
running 30 yards and sliding in to clatter the ball (and often
player) are no longer seen and any kind of a challenge in the
vicinity of the keeper is punished without explanation.
So I'll finish with this.
Lets not bite when the Russians
and English post messages on the site, in fact ignore them and
they'll stop posting.
Lets concentrate on our achievements and
group together behind "Our Mark", he has done
nothing but give to Welsh Football and the fact he has said
he'd like to stay already has my heart and hopes raised ten
fold in comparison with last night.
There's a little competition
coming up by the name of the world cup and we can take stock
now and look forward with confidence to that. Another cpl of
years working this team together and maybe they will be ready.
Nathan Fuller 20 Nov 2003