You’ve probably spent your Sunday mornings with some undesirable people in your life. People of all shapes and sizes, of all backgrounds and beliefs – and different odours.
Not all of those experiences will have been pleasurable, I grant you. But on this Sunday morning, things are going to be different. Because you get to wake up in your groggy state and stare at Neil Warnock for 90 minutes.
Warnock might not be so bad, but you also have to watch his football team try to bomb it into the box at midday, and well – you might opt to actually just spend some time with Neil instead. But behind all the gags and the clichés, there are a very strong narrative crossroads right now fans of both clubs.
For Cardiff, at this point in the season, a result like this will just mean one, none or three points. But in the wider context, this feels like a moment where the season either goes north or south. Forget the fact they’re currently 15th in the league – it matters not. Results largely control your tolerance levels.
And while shambolic ownership and the odd flirt with the top tier has kept Cardiff City fans in a stranglehold where they really can’t complain a whole lot, it feels like we’re nearing tipping point.
There’s only so long you can expect people to pay for tickets to sit through Warnockball every Saturday and Sunday.
At some point, you’re going to need to feel like you’re making progress as an organisation.
Allowing this kind of product to sell simply because it might get you back into the top tier doesn’t help ease fan fears, it just suggests to them that profits are all anyone is concerned about. Perhaps if they were to be like their opponents, things would be different.
For Bristol City, it’s about accepting that good infrastructure, a progressive manager and doing thing the right way are exactly what make you deserve a spot in the Premier League. For far too long, television highlights packages, a length history of success and massive derbies have been the definition of what makes a big club.
In an era where money is completely ruining the sport, Bristol City manage to modernise while retaining almost all of their tight-knit community feel. Perhaps they’ll never attract the investment of the big sides, but what they’re on now is a crest of a wave, where any sort of achievement will be treated as a novelty – perhaps as it should be.
Today feels like the vindication both need – as Bristol City (13/5), despite being underdogs in the betting, will waltz their way around Cardiff and leave with the three points.
Ironically, Josh Murphy would have fancied a career similar to that of Jesse Lingard’s, as they’re similar players, but he fell to the wrong club at the wrong time. Josh Brownhill, meanwhile is central to a lot of what Bristol City do. He ensures the ball moves quickly at all times. He’s going to get a lot of space in midfield and may strike from distance. He’s 6/1 to find the net at any time.
I suspect that all of this will be compounded by Bristol City winning to nil, which you can also back at 6/1.