A superb night of football chat, stories and banter was delivered with great gusto and wit at this Trust-organised social event.
The format for the evening was simple – three chairs, a table, a microphone, and three sharply dressed men.
BBC Wales football commentator and voice of reason Rob Phillips was in the central midfield holding role with Jason ‘Psycho’ Perry and housewives’ favourite Andy Legg on the flanks.
The evening began with Rob discussing with the lads how they got into football, their general views of Cardiff City and Wales, and a variety of stories from down the years. That was followed by questions from the floor.
There were many interesting opinions and some hilarious tales which could have filled a book. Andy Legg dressing up as a female during a night out in Swansea was one story that caught my attention. Here are some other highlights:
- Both Leggy and Jason clearly love the game and felt very lucky to have been paid for playing it.
- Jason had trials with several bigger clubs but knew he had made the right decision joining Cardiff.
- Both felt that safe standing should be a part of football while respecting the reasons why all-seater stadia were brought in.
- Leggy told tales of how Robbie Savage would wind up opponents at every opportunity.
- Both agreed that John Toshack was probably the best option for Wales at this time, given the limitations in the number of available players.
- They both had players they feared or respected during their career
- All clubs had drinkers, and ranters and ravers in their dressing rooms, and in the old days Cardiff and Swansea were no different.
- Leggy told us he felt the crowd was a major factor in the club’s famous FA Cup victory over Leeds United. He said the Premiership stars simply froze on the day. Leggy revealed that he was told by the management to wind up Alan Smith as soon as they met in the tunnel and Gavin Gordon was under instructions to get stuck straight into Rio Ferdinand.
- Leggy was very frustrated not to be offered a fair deal to stay at Cardiff after the Play-Off win. He said Lennie Lawrence wanted him to stay, but Sam Hammam simply stepped in the way and made a deal on fair terms impossible.
- Leggy said from time to time there are players in the League of Wales he sees that could make the grade at a higher level and thinks a shake-up of that league is needed.
- Joe Ledley was very highly praised by Jason and Leggy. The latter says he has spoken to Joe many times following his injury and the Bluebirds midfielder has been determined to play as soon as possible.
- Both worked under Frank Burrows and had differing opinions of his management style. Jason said he could really put the fear into people.
- Jason told us that the dressing room dynamics were vital to success. He and Nathan Blake would often disagree but when they were on the pitch they knew they could trust each other. Leggy agreed this was very important. Blakey was said to be very different from his laid back image. He was more than capable of looking after himself on the pitch when required to do so.
- Leggy told us of the hilarious phone calls from Jason Bowen who refused to sign for Cardiff City until Leggy confirmed the stick he had been getting for being a former Swansea player had died down.
- Leggy was genuinely moved and grateful for the support Cardiff fans had given him during his illness. Leggy told us he would never forget it. He told the audience he was doing well and was in remission – news which was very warmly applauded by those in attendance.
- All three guests said the recent derby games had been superb. Rob Phillips told us of a Radio Five Live colleague who had remarked on the intensity, declaring: “This really is a proper derby, isn’t it?!” That was before the game had even started!
- The lads revealed that the great Billy Ayre had once waited outside in the car park for a player who had been bullying some of Cardiff’s youngsters on the pitch. However, the player made his escape by a different entrance as Billy was known to be a real hard nut.
The evening was a great success. Special thanks to landlord Eric Harmer, who provided hospitality to the guests, and to the guests themselves. They provided some superb entertainment.
I am sure Rob Phillips could write a book with his tales from behind the microphone and computer. Rob, in fact, got so carried away chatting to a few interested listeners at the bar at the end of the night that his steak went cold!