Today is a day of celebration for Cardiff City, as they play their first home match in the Premier League. And while it would be wrong to say the result doesn’t matter, it is fair to say the importance of the occasion outweighs the points they may or may not have come the final whistle.
While many are tipping Manchester City to win emphatically this afternoon, it is foolish to write-off the Bluebirds merely because they are new arrivals. The Premier League has thrown up enough shocks in the past to ensure today’s game is as much a potential surprise as any other.
And while most of the spotlights in the build-up to this match are on City’s players– both their new faces and their reinvigorated old guard – Cardiff have men of their own who deserve to be more than a footnote in another player’s story.
It may be the obvious choice to pick Craig Bellamy as he prepares to face his old side. After all, come the end of the season he could have faced five of his previous clubs, such is his history in the game.
But the Welshman deserves the spotlight as his hometown club finally welcome Premier League football to Cardiff.
At 34, Bellamy is no longer the player he once was – the dynamic attacker who tore through defences and warranted multi-million-pound transfer fees.
Now in the twilight of his career, the forward is just happy to still be playing, and making history with the Bluebirds.
Speaking of which, a goal this afternoon would give Bellamy a place in history that he is unlikely to ever have to share with anyone.
A single strike – either today or in the remainder of the season – will make the Welshman the first player to score for seven different Premier League clubs.
What better time to do it than today, against one of his many previous clubs, with the home crowd roaring their approval.
Such is the way it would be written. But football doesn’t always bow down to the fantastical.
And yet the simple fact that Cardiff are hosting Manuel Pellegrini’s side this afternoon is in itself a dream come true.
And whether he scores or not, Bellamy will surely enjoy every moment of it.
What kind of impact can Bellamy have this season? And could he inspire victory this afternoon?
image: © joncandy