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Why I'm happy to be on a wing and a prayer with Cardiff; Fan's Eye View OF THE BLUEBIRDS.

Byline: WITH PAUL EVANS

THE online dictionary I've just looked at defines the word "mercurial" as "changeable; volatile; fickle; flighty; erratic" and if that word is made to be applied to any position on the football field it has to be to a certain type of winger.

No offence to Craig Conway, who has had a rough deal this season in my opinion, but he's too solid and conscientious to qualify as a mercurial winger. Other fine players I've seen at the club such as Barrie Jones, Ian Gibson, Dave Bennett and Chris Burke don't qualify either because they were too consistent.

No, your mercurial winger turns it on when you least expect it and exasperates you when you think he will have his fullback on toast - their level of performance varies more wildly than the other members of the team.

However, they are, almost always, very popular with supporters who will forgive them most things because they know that, if it is their day, the mercurial winger will entertain them like no other member of their team can.

I've always loved mercurial wingers and here, in chronological order, are my favourite five at Cardiff City over the past fifty years or so with a game selected which saw them at their very best.

Greg Farrell TO be honest, I'm a bit too young to really appreciate Greg "Fingers" Farrell (for younger readers, your father or grandfather might be able to explain the use of the word "Fingers"!).

I was at the match, but my memory of his performance in a relegation decider with Middlesbrough in 65/66 is pretty sketchy - there are plenty of older City fans though who maintain he turned in the best display they have ever seen from a winger that night.

Ronnie Bird RONNIE was a great bloke, but there were times when he could look like a poor parks player.

However, when his knock-it-past-the-fullback-and-beat-him-forspeed approach came off he was great entertainment.

He also had a great shot and was a superb penalty taker and he showcased all of these talents one afternoon during the 69/70 season when Aston Villa were thumped 4-0 at Ninian Park.

Tony Villars THE word enigma could have been invented for Tony Villars.

He was such a talented dribbler of the ball and I can still remember an exasperated Emlyn Hughes flattening him with what was virtually a rugby tackle during a Wales v England international in 1974.

That match was played shortly after the night Villars etched himself into Cardiff City history with an amazing goal and performance in a relegation decider with Crystal Palace - like Farrell, he turned it on in what was probably the biggest game he played for City, but he was way too inconsistent and he was out of the professional game three years later. Willie Anderson NEVER did the business consistently in the old Second Division, but was superb in the Third tier in 75/76 when he built up a telepathic understanding with John Buchanan.

The game I particularly remember from that season was a 6-2 win over Exeter in the FA Cup when Anderson destroyed the visitors first choice right back in the first hour and then ran his replacement from the bench ragged for the last third of the match. Craig Noone ACTUALLY, Nooney probably shouldn't make this list - he was your typical mercurial winger last season, but he's stepped things up this year.

He'd been surprisingly consistent since breaking into the team in early December, but on Saturday at Manchester City he took things on to a new level.

Noone was superb at the Etihad and when you consider the quality of the players he made a fool of at times, then his performance has to be the best seen by a Cardiff winger in decades.

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jan 22, 2014
Words:641
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