Super Furry Animals bassist Guto Pryce has teamed up with Lindsey Leven to form the marvellous new project Gulp, so we caught up with him for a bit of a natter about his beloved Cardiff City, about whom it would be a gross understatement to say they are going through ‘interesting times’. First, though, check out Gulp’s debut single, the titularly-applicable-to-football “Game Love”…
Another playoffs defeat, having lost a final you led twice a few years ago, and of course there was that recent season when you missed out on the playoffs on goal difference after losing 6-0 to Preston – sometimes does it feel as if Cardiff are cursed?
You could think that but the truth is that the last few seasons have seen City play at the highest level they’ve been in my lifetime. We have been unlucky but we’ve also not dominated the Championship. We certainly have no divine right to be in the Premiership. The club has slowly progressed from going up and down between the bottom two leagues and if we keep on chipping away we may get there.
Could you ever come to terms with the red kit and new emblem if it somehow became conducive to establishing Cardiff as a Premier League team?
The whole thing’s crazy. Cardiff will get promoted when they bang in more goals than anyone else, not because of the colour of the shirt. We’ve had a succession of mad ownerships that has slowly made me cynical and realize that at the end of the day fans are being treated more like consumers rather than customers. The new badge looks like it was designed by a three-year-old. It’s embarrassing. Why on earth would someone do this? I honestly believe we’ll be back in blue soon. This is just a fad, like Coventry City’s brown away kit.
Do you think the fans should have been consulted more?
Yes but the owners just don’t seem to give a shit.
Malky Mackay has spoken out in support of Tan Sri. Does this leave a sour taste? Are you convinced that he’s the right manager to take the club forwards?
I can understand why he said that. Tan’s the boss. Malky’s done alright and totally deserves a decent crack at it.
Which areas of the squad would you like to see strengthened this summer?
Another attacker and a twinkle-toed winger or two. We were far too predictable last season and didn’t have players on the bench who could do something different.
Conversely, which existing players excite you most for next season?
Young Joe Mason has been a revelation and looks an exciting prospect, and Peter Wittingham can always suprise with a moment of class.
Did you manage to get to the League Cup final? You must still be having nightmares about Kenny Miller’s last minute miss.
I wasn’t there. Yes… if only…
Cardiff CEO Alan Whiteley recently told the South Wales Echo: “If we do a deal (with Langston), we have always said Sam Hammam would be welcome back at Cardiff City. We would have no difficulty in making him a Life President and would welcome him to come and watch matches. We have no issue with that.” How would you feel about Sam Hammam being named as “Life President” of the club?
Sam Hammam was/is an entertaining character. I met him once, he said, “You are sheep shagger, yes?” Mad as a brush. He wanted to put an olive branch on the club badge to signify his Lebanese heritage. Maybe if him and Tan get together we can have a badge with a dragon eating an olive on it crapping on a bluebird.
How did it feel watching Swansea do so well in the Premier League last season? Did you feel envy, admiration or a mixture of both? Do you know many Swansea supporters, and if so have they been unbearable over the last year or so?
It’s a nightmare and I don’t want to talk about it.
I know that you and Bunf are Cardiff fans, and Cian’s a City fan – am I right in thinking that Gruff’s a Cardiff fan and Daf’s a Liverpool fan? How keen on their football are they?
Yes, Gruff’s a Barca fan as well. Football has always been on in the background whether we’d be touring or recording. It’s a good escape.
Do you guys still have a copy of the Actua Soccer that Super Furry Animals featured on? If so, do you ever play it? Do you play any other football computer games amongst yourselves, and if so who’s the best?
I have a copy but the technology to play it is probably obsolete by now. We used to play a lot of Fifa, not so much now. It seemed to get more and more complicated and I got left behind. I got into Championship Manager for a while but it just took over my life and I’m scared to get into it again. As for being the champ it’s a tough call between Cian and Bunf.
Do you manage to make it to the game often? What was the first game you ever went to? The best? And the worst?
I have a season ticket so go whenever I’m home. I couldn’t tell you which was my first game, but it would have been a Boxing Day. My big brother would take me down once a year before I started going with my own gang of mates. The day we beat Leeds Utd in the FA Cup in 2002 was incredible. They were top of the premiership and the old Ninian Park was rocking. I don’t know if I’ll ever experience an atmosphere like it. They had a team of stars and went one nil up to a nice Viduka strike only to completely fall apart. Cardiff’s winner was bundled in by Scott Young who became an instant legend. I imagine he’ll never have to buy a pint again. There’s been far too many worst games to dwell on.
Are you following the Euros closely? Is there a team you’d like to win it, or are you not fussed?
Yes indeed. I especially like the Euros as there’s not many crap sides and the games are on at good times of day. Europe’s shared histories can be a recipe for some passionate matches like the Dutch v the Germans or Russia v Poland. I’m not bothered who wins as long as it’s not England. I’m really sorry if that bothers England fans but the thought of Alan Shearer reminding me every time he’s on telly is frightening. My money’s on the German machine winning it.
Do you follow the Welsh national side closely? What are your memories of playing at the Gary Speed memorial?
Yes. I’ve travelled away to watch Wales quite a bit and it’s a lot of fun, especially if there’s not many travelling. Times have changed but it wasn’t unusual to see the team out having a beer in nightclubs and they’d be friendly with the fans. I met Gary Speed in Azerbaijan and he was a gentleman as well as a fantastic football player. His memorial match was just so sad. It was an honour to take part in, very emotional and a terrible game of football because of that.
Finally, if you had to preside over a five-a-side match between Cardiff City and Wales, with both sides comprised only of players you’ve seen in your time as a supporter, who would you pick on each side?
Cardiff City: Craig Bellamy, Aaron Ramsey, Jason Koumas, Danny Gabbidon, Leo Fortune-West
Wales: Mark Hughes, Ian Rush, Ryan Giggs, Gareth Bale, Kevin Ratcliffe
Guto Pryce, thank you.