A flight of fancy that could turn into a glorious reality for Cardiff City fans
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s actually Gareth Bale – the closest thing Wales has to Superman.
When video and pics of our Man of Steel disembarking from a private jet at Cardiff Wales Airport emerged last night, it was enough to send Bluebirds supporters into meltdown.
That fans were tracking a private jet from Madrid to Cardiff like football obsessive air traffic controllers frothing at the mouth was a sure sign that Bale mania had well and truly broken out.
When one fan stopped off at the airport’s perimeter fence to film footage of what appeared to be the player transferring from jet to car, it set the Cardiff City supporter base into raptures and sent social media into meltdown.
100% bale is in grey between the range and the silver people carrier sorry for the shite quality pic.twitter.com/F8E3qxLX9T
— Shaun (@ShaunYaY1) June 21, 2022
At the distance the pictures were taken, yes, it could well have been Welsh football’s greatest player. It could also just as conceivably been a pic of notoriously camera shy Bigfoot taking a luxury sojourn in Wales.
Still, as the memes started flying around, the naysayers pointing out that it was nothing more than just Bale visiting family in his home city and those anticipating his unveiling in a Cardiff City shirt, the drama was palpable, the suspense unbearable and some of the reactions – hilarious.
We had been here before, remember. Weeks previously a car was pictured parked outside Cardiff City Stadium with the registration plate GB 11 GAR, prompting a mass holding of breath among the supporter base, until it was revealed to be owned by a bloke with the initials GB.
‘Don’t be afraid to have dreams’, Chris Coleman once famously said. Many Cardiff City fans, myself included had dreamt of a moment when Gareth Bale would end up wearing a City shirt. Admittedly this was usually after having had too much cheese before bed, but you take my point.
When the next morning WalesOnline’s Cardiff City correspondent Glen Williams, broke the story that Bale had met with Bluebirds’ boss Steve Morrison, and the club were in talks with his representatives, it felt for the very first time – despite weeks and weeks of endless rumourmongering – that the Cardiff-born talisman could be set to be unveiled as the biggest signing in the history of the football club.
So far somewhere around 11,500 season tickets have been sold. That figure could feasibly double if Bale were to put pen to paper. The outbreak of Balemania would also have the reciprocal effect of a boom in shirt sales and merchandising.
Although you do wonder if it would trigger an urgent shortage in the letters B, A, L, and E at the wholesalers.
Of course, this is not about money for Bale, (luckily for Cardiff City) who no doubt has as much cash as Cardiff owner Vincent Tan shovelled away in a hollowed out volcano somewhere not to have to worry about the cost of living crisis – nor how much City are prepared to pay him.
It’s all predicated on preparation for the World Cup – and where better to retain his fitness and prepare for football’s biggest prize than in his hometown.
For all of the talk of the MLS and Premier League clubs, the Bluebirds would not only offer him proximity to the FAW set up at the Vale, which they share with CCFC, but no doubt flexibility to pick and choose when he plays.
Also a fan base who worship him, who would be quite happy to give him the latitude to do as he pleases and a Welsh media standing squarely behind him ahead of the Qatar World Cup.
And what a refreshing change that would be after nine years under the microscope at Real Madrid, playing in front of ‘supporters’ that redefined the word ‘fickle’ and a Spanish press that acted like pantomime villains.
Speaking while on international duty with Wales last week, Bale said: “I don’t really know if the standard makes too much of a difference. A football game is a football game.
“I feel like I’ll never really lose my quality on the ball. I guess it’s a conversation to be had.
“I need time to think what’s the best move for me, my family, my kids, and hopefully we’ll sort that over the summer. I have options.”
At the age of 32 he’s earned the right to do exactly as he pleases.
Let’s just hope that all those dreams come true – and what he pleases involves wearing a Cardiff City shirt.
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