RAVEN MACK is a mystic poet-philosopher-artist of the Greater Appalachian unorthodox tradition who publishes zines & physical books & electronic books & music & photography & digital art & just generally whatever feels necessary to survive this deluded earth thru Rojonekku Word Fighting Arts survival systems (Version 69, establish 14 Feb 1973). Comments encouraged.

Friday, June 15

25-Man Metaphysical Roster: Cardiff City F.C.


[when Vincent Tan infamously decided the "Bluebirds" team 
he bought should wear red]

[25-Man Metaphysical Roster is a football dork methodology meant to establish a listing of players who have been most active for English Premier League teams in their past 100 non-friendly matches. Essentially, it is calculated by minutes played, but weighted towards most recent games. The end result is a listing of the 25 players in a team’s recent history who have had the largest hand on their metaphysical sporting trajectory. The English Premier League was chosen because it is the highest level of football played in an English speaking country, and I speak English. Also, it is what comes on TV here in the USA, where I fucking live. And yet still I should clarify I hate English, and also America. Thus maybe I hate myself. Should I not fail in maintaining my unpaid deadline, a new 25-Man Metaphysical Roster will appear on the 1st and 15th of every month.]

The World Cup starts later today, which means nobody really cares much about this 1st and 15th Premier League metaphysics gimmick of mine, especially when its lackluster Cardiff City according to the schedule today. This is fine, because as a Swansea City supporter, Cardiff are the sworn enemies, and Swansea's relegation was made a little bit worse by Cardiff earning promotion. A few seasons back, when both were in the Premier League, we dominated them, and the derby got more ban orders than any other that year for supporters, not because Wales is hard as fuck or anything but because neither club really knows how to act like they belong at that level.
Thus it is without more than a touch of bias I tell you, dear random reader of this metaphysical exploration of a lesser Premier League club, that Cardiff City is doomed. Whereas all three promoted clubs survived last season, there is no fucking way on this Earth that Cardiff City survives a season of the Premier League. None. Thus, excepting them cycling back around again next spring towards the end of the season since I have 24 slots in a year to do this thing but only 20 teams, there's zero chance I have to do them again after that. None. Fuck Cardiff City. But these are the assholes that got them here…

#1: SEAN MORRISON – Team captain, and their player of the year this past season, which means he is likely a horrible human being. Sorry, that is how this works. He voted for Brexit, and believes Jimmy Savile is innocent.

#2: JUNIOR HOILETT – A Canadian, which is mysterious in footballing ranks overseas. Also named Junior, because he has the same name as his dad, which is common across the Earth. Somehow my family is fucked up though, because we have the same first and last names, myself and my father and his father, but different middle names. So no Junior. Which is nice because they would've called me The Third.

#3: SOL BAMBA – Sol Bamba does not sound real to me, I thought it was an old jam by Afro-Cuban musical mastermind Mongo Santamaria, but it turns out he's a real person, who came up through the youth academy at Paris Saint-Germain, thus at age 33, miring away in Cardiff City cannot be seen as a success. And yet here he is, actually having scored 6 goals over the last two seasons (4 this past one alone) as a center back, which is not normal. But being I'm also in my Action Bronson/Riff Raff/Westside Gunn phase of making rap tracks about obscure sports references, and I'm trying to be more obscure than the next man, I've already recorded a song called "Sol Bamba (Souleymane Bamba)". And without even planning it, my boy Boogie Brown sampled Mongo Santamaria, without us ever even discussing his existence together, which of course means we are living right according to the principles of Universal Magnetics.

#4: JOE BENNETT – The reason I feel Cardiff will fail as compared to last year's promoted clubs or even Wolverhampton is those other success stories have a slew of young players they came up with. Cardiff is this motley assortment of aging or aged Englishmen who either never made it to that level before, or were prestigious youth academy failures. At some point we have to assume old ass Neil Warnock squeezed more out of this club than it probably had in it, and that at the PL level, Vincent Tan is gonna get all Vincent Tanny, run Warnock out of town after a bad run, and then things will fall completely apart. I can't wait.

#5: JOE RALLS – Well, Joe Ralls is a young player actually, but also he's only ever really played at Cardiff City, so lolol whatever. Already has over 150 appearances for the Bluebirds despite only being 24.

#6: NEIL ETHERIDGE – English-born GK of record for Cardiff City, as well as the Philippine national team, owing to having a Filipina ma dukes, despite not really knowing the language or island itself. Kind of funny to think about a dude born in London and who has played his entire professional career in England (plus Cardiff, which is English leagues but not "English", even though they act like it there, the fuckers) flying out to play international matches across Asia for the Philippines.

#7: BRUNO ECUELE MANGA – Gabonese center back who spent most of his professional career in France, but came to Wales in the transfer season after Cardiff got relegated after that lone previous season in Premier League. I did not mention in the intro how they are owned by Vincent Tan, who even by English football club owner standards, is quite the meddling buffoon. He was instrumental in their previous relegation from Premier League, and really it kind of makes me sad that Swansea City are worse, which is a data metric point that suggest Americans are worse than Malaysians at owning football clubs.

#8: KENNETH ZOHORE – Prolifical scorer of goals, known lovingly by his teammates as The Z-Man. Has lavender essential oil infusers scattered throughout his home.

#9: NATHANIEL MENDEZ-LAING – There seem to be a lot of hyphenated surnames in English football, a lot more than you see in English football. I've always wondered about if a hyphenated surnamed man had a child with a hyphenated surname woman out of wedlock, what would they do? How hyphenated will we get? And what about the hyphenation politics at play, like which order the four names would go, or if you only chose three because one grandfather was a total piece of shit. These are the types of things I fret over late at night. I need help. Or sleep.

#10: LEE PELTIER – Liverpool and Liverpool youth academy schooled, but just not good enough to be on actual Liverpool squad, thus has bounced around English second and third tier, settling in Cardiff City the past three seasons.

#11: ARON GUNNARSSON – Look, I really want to hate all these Cardiff City scumbags, but how can I hate an Icelandic midfielder who is captain of this amazing Icelandic team going into World Cup - a team that has had an incredible couple year run with this current batch of players, including most notably Euro 2016, where they first made noise on international level with a 1-1 draw with Portugal, and pissy Ronaldo refused to trade shirts with Gunnarsson. Iceland made knockout round and upset England to get to quarterfinals, which was amazing considering they never before even qualified. This is their first World Cup as well, so enjoy the ride Mr. Gunnarsson.

#12: CALLUM PATERSON – Young former Hearts of Midlothian Scotsman who ended up transferring to Cardiff City and has played a variety of positions. Top scorer for the Bluebirds this past season, which happened partially because Warnock decided Paterson sucked at defense. Might could make a splash for himself on PL stage and lead to bigger opportunities, even if it's just being cover up front for a middle of the table PL club should Cardiff drop back down.

#13: LOIC DAMOUR – Grew up in the American midwest but after bank failures devastated the more localized economies of his youth, took to churning out stories about the American west after years of wanderlust traveling, searching for work. Eventually became one of the most published writers in American history, and somehow ended up Cardiff City thirty years after his death, playing midfield.

#14: JAZZ RICHARDS – Jazz Richards spent a number of years as well as his youth career with Swansea City, and despite laundering his treachery through a stint at Fulham, he made the switch to Cardiff City, and it is unforgivable, because you see Jazz was actually born and raised in Swansea City, although he did spend a couple of years as a youth in Cardiff's youth academy, from like age 13 to 15. But he came of age as a Swan, and turned his back on that, in the name of professionalism, which knows no loyalty. And yet he is named Jazz, so it is impossible to entirely hate him.

#15: CRAIG BRYSON – A name like a late night talk show host, Scotsman who is contractually obligated to Derby County, but kicked it in Cardiff last season. In terms of Scottish loyalties, he was a Celtic supporter as a kid, which unfortunately fucks up my desire to have a direct one-to-one Swansea City-Celtic and Cardiff City-Rangers correlation. I would really there to be some anti-English unity amongst top Celtic diaspora clubs, but I guess we don't get what we want, even in football metaphysics. The lesson is we can't control the universe, but inshallah it shall all work out if we living right.

#16: MARKO GRUJIC – Young Serbian midfielder who excelled on loan from Liverpool at Cardiff City last season, and is expected to maybe step into his star shine at this World Cup. Also apparently linked to a transfer to Lazio, which might actually happen before Serbia's first World Cup match on Sunday. There is nothing more ominous than a 6'4" Serbian going to fascist ass Lazio.

#17: MATTHEW CONNOLLY – I will use my lack of desire to talk about Connolly to mention the Cardiff City hooligan supporters crew is called Soul Crew, which is laughable. This nickname got started by a dude named Nicky Parsons, who apparently was a noted racialist, which supports my made-up theories about Cardiff City, except also the Soul Crew exiled Parsons from the firm for being a racialist, which goes against my made-up theories. It is important to cherry-pick the appropriate detailed factoids in the digital information age.

#18: KADEEM HARRIS – Never really saw him much after A Different World went off the air, and never did understand how that show would continue without Lisa Bonet. If Lisa Bonet left me, I'd never be able to continue. But uhh, if you want an example of how racist America is, here is the listing of all the film characters listed on Kadeem Harris (lol Hardison) wikipedia page from the beginning of his acting career: Royal, Moon, A-Train, Edge, Willie, 'K', Junior, Izzy, Pvt. Jamaal Montgomery, and then it gets better I guess but he also plays Ice Pop in 2006. This also is going to be how I refer to myself for the next few weeks in third person, as Ice Pop.

#19: GREG HALFORD – Aging defender who has already been released by the club so will not be making the trip to the Premier League. Officially under contract for another two weeks, until July 1. Can also fill in at multiple midfield positions and even striker so likely will remain plugging along another few seasons in Championship or League One.

#20: ANTHONY PILKINGTON – Love that "Po Folks" song he did with Nappy Roots, still bump that shit all the time. ALL MY LIFE BEEN PO'… BUT IT REALLY DON'T MATTER NO MO'… AND THEY WONDER WHY WE ACT THIS WAY… NAPPY BOYS GON' BE OKAY… That's my shit.

#21: ALLAN MCGREGOR (previously #15 for Hull City on 1-Mar-2017) – See? McGregor went straight from Cardiff to Rangers. That proves everything. I know that maybe you'd suggest to me I'm too far away to realize that Wales is not that different, and that Swansea City and surrounding rural counties are not anarchist socialist bastions of Red Flags flying everywhere, or red pitchforks on green fields, which color scheme matches perfectly with the Welsh Dragon, and that Cardiff is really not all that different from Swansea, but look, reality is subjective, and I am going to build the reality I want to. Plus, when I write shit, it tends to come true. Like yesterday I sent an email to my boss saying I couldn't come in because of family issues back home. Then today my sister who I haven't talked to in six months emailed me saying she really needed to talk to me, she was in a dark desperate place. I write the future all the time. Not sure why I don't write more self lottery fiction though.

#22: PETER WHITTINGHAM – Whittingham had the honor of not staying with Cardiff City last season, and transferring one level further down to Blackburn Rovers. "Peter Whittingham of Blackburn Rovers" is some purely English sounding shit, so I am thankful. Most all my knowledge of British life that is not negative is from English football wikipedia pages and the British Baking Show which I think there is called The Great British Bake-Off or some shit. I have cable and netflix now that I don't live in the fucking rural abyss, so sometimes I watch British Baking Show with my children, and inevitably we are like "we should bake something" but lolol I've lived in this apartment for like a month and still ain't bought flour. I'M A SINGLE DAD, WHAT THE FUCK I NEED FLOUR FOR?

#23: LEE TOMLIN – Pretty low on this list, having only appeared in 16 matches for Cardiff City last season before taking a loan spell the second half of the season at Nottingham Forest.

#24: CRAIG NOONE – Noone left before last season to play for Bolton Wanderers, which is one of my favorite club names because my friend in high school, Chuck, who I used to get mad high with daily, would always say "let's bolt" when it was time to go somewhere with gusto, and a lot of times we didn't really have anywhere specific to go, just needed to get from where we were, because stagnancy is boring, so Bolton Wanderers is lexicon in my brain for being in high school in rural southside Virginia getting fucked up with nowhere specific to go but needing to get going anyways. This memory makes me wish I was catfishing on acid, to be honest, with a heat thunderstorm in the distance lighting up dark bubble clouds.

#25: DANNY WARD (previously #8 for Huddersfield Town on 15-Dec-2017) – The last man on this list.

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