Date: 6th April 2007 at 6:28pm
Written by:

Sometimes its hard to be a Villan…
Giving all your love to just one team…

Sometimes its hard to be a Villan
Giving all your love to just one team
We’ll have good times
And we’ll have great times
Doing things the Blues can only dream

It is getting close to those ‘stand by your man’ times again at Villa, after they scraped a very desperately-needed point on Monday. Should they have lost, the knockers would have been forming a queue. And, you know what, I would have been at the front. Okay, so, I beg your pardon, no one promised me a rose garden but I did hope for more. If anyone asks who it was who said Martin O’Neill was going to be the saviour – tell them it was me. Guilty as charged – stupid, naive and worst of all, a Pollyanna of the first water. I really f**king believed.

But if you love him you’ll forgive him
Even though he’s hard to understand

It was with sweet relief that Gabby’s smartly taken equalizer hit the back of the net and where my knees had begun to knock, my throat then began to wobble, as we seemed to draw back from the edge of the precipice. But armed with the notion that, if we don’t lose we don’t go down, I found myself feeling a bit better, as the week went on.

And if you love him
Oh be proud of him
‘Cause after all he’s just a man

But Villa bad or rather indifferent, it has been a brilliant week, as the weather suddenly improved and even Castle Vale was beginning to look rather splendid in the sunshine, with Park Central looking so pristine, modern and civilized, I almost thought I was in a foreign country. It was worrying though, because when Castle Vale starts looking good, substances have traditionally been taken, or someone is worryingly close to a bi-polar extreme and the men in white coats are almost certainly imminent. Kids in the park – jumpers for goal-posts – marvellous.

Perhaps another Erdingtonite faced the week with a happy glow, too? In fact it must have a been, not just a good week but a fantastic week for Villa’s Agbonlahor, what with him scoring that crucial goal on Monday and then signing a contract a few days later. These things routinely fill the back pages and tend to be breezed over, or spoken of in football terms but putting pen to paper on a Premiership contract must be a life-changing and even monumental occasion for those trying not to smudge the ink by getting sweat on the vellum. Ten grand a week? Fifteen? More, even. The lad will be in turmoil, what with his Nigerian half wanting to spend it and his Scottish half, wanting to save it. In fact I wouldn’t be surprised if he went out and bought a new set of alloys and a body-kit for his Corsa, and perhaps some of those blue lights for cruising with his Erdington mates. But I tell you what, its a lot of dough for a young lad to handle, and it was probably with this in mind, that prompted Mr O’Neill to say the usual stuff about him having loads to learn and all that. How come he is always talking Young up (should play for England) and always talking Gabby down (still learning)? But I am sure that if the Easter programme doesn’t go too well, there will be tougher questions than that, for Martin O’Neill to find answers for.

Stand by your man
Give him three points to cling to
And something warm to come to
When nights are cold and lonely…….

Surprisingly, my week was not improved by seeing Man United and Spurs fans getting their heads broken. I just wondered what the Italian was for reasonable force and how drunk do you have to be, to do your best to persuade a man with a big stick to hit you with it? As any foreigner will tell you, all Englishmen look the same and so it is not surprising that a few innocents must have been included in this lesson on being hit on the head. Of course the two different incidents will be lumped (no pun intended) together and the guilty will almost certainly queer the ground for the innocent, as always happens. The very act of going to a football match robs you of your rights as an individual.

The irony is, that these football fans, who almost certainly provoked the incident by some sort of wilful dropping of litter, got treated a lot worse than the sailors who enjoyed a free holiday at the expense of the Iranian people and were finally returned to their media-harassed kith and kin with smiles and a set of matching luggage. As ever, there was a parade of sweaty men in string vests, telling us all that the SAS should be sent in on a rescue mission, because these combatants were required to eat a lamb curry on camera and take a bit of dictation. While some guy who happens to exchange a few unpleasant words with an Italian policeman, can have his brains stoved in, with not a single word from the UN, Blair or Jeremy Paxman.

The tragedy is that the coppers of all nations enjoy these little one-sided set-to’s actually more than the fans getting their brains battered in (surprisingly) and you can bet that every police force across Europe, is gearing up for the next set of English fans to arrive; knowing full well that an English fan who has taken drink, is rather easier to provoke than Wayne Rooney in an England shirt. Something tells me that England’s fading chances of playing in the European Championships, might have something to do with it. But, I tell you what, if Rodney King was an English football fan, he’d still be driving a taxi.

Sometimes, it seems rather a good thing that your team is not in Europe.

Stand by your man And tell the world you love him Keep giving all the love you can Stand by your man

And it certainly doesn’t look imminent.

Stand by your man
And show the world you love him
Keep giving all the love you can
Stand by your man

By Steve Wade


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