Too many did not return….
Or, as Larry David might say – pretty, pretty, good!
I am not sure which I celebrated the most – the five goals or the prospect of two weeks of silence from the Villa moaners. Who am I kidding – the latter by a million miles. The five goals I put down to Bolton having an off-day and Villa getting the rub of the green, after two weeks of less than favourable luck. Villa were always the better side and moved the ball around with a slickness, not seen from a Villa team for a long time and for many, that was worth celebrating as much as the five goals.
Anything less than a two-goal margin would have set the moaners off, like Mr Snoketoomuch in the famous Python Travel Agent sketch.
So it was quite an escape.
I can just imagine what the consequences would have been had Knight and Cahill both had brilliant games. The absolute certainty of being told at every opportunity that O’Neill should not have sold either of them and how he’s past it and has never bought a decent player in his life. You know the sort of stuff. And how they always really wanted some manager who had fantastic success at Real Madrid, Milan and Juventus.
No shit – Sherlock!
So I said a prayer for Gary Cahill, thanked my lucky stars and was both happy and grateful, that despite a less than brilliant performance against Villa, the Villa legend still got his call-up to the full England squad.
Good luck son, all Villa fans will be cheering for you.
Younger Villa fans might not have been quite so grateful, as sure as eggs is eggs, any score of 5-1 is guaranteed to set the old-timers off and they will be expected to sit through another retelling of the tale of Villa beating Liverpool 5-1 back in 1977. This is always a challenge to youngsters because they are expected to believe that some balding old Scots bloke on Sky, actually played football. As if? So I sympathise with them, totally.
In my day, when I was sat on the paternal knee, it was always someone called Gerry Hitchens, who I had to hear about. It was all a bit embarrassing, as I was twenty-eight at the time.
They also find it hard to believe that back in those days the fans had to stand in the rain to watch Villa, protected by little more than a cheap raincoat from Foster Brothers, and there was only Bovril to drink, which did nothing for you except burn your tongue. They can’t be expected to believe all that stuff, just as they can’t be expected to believe that in those days, even poor people could afford a ticket.
Just telling them it was ‘sick’ back then, is all that’s really needed for them to get the message.
The other thing about back then, is that if you mentioned Qatar in the same sentence as football, everyone thought you meant the green stuff you blew into your handkerchief, the morning after a smoggy night game. These days its where the old boys at the FA throw their pre-Christmas party and put it on expenses.
But even if it is an entirely useless exercise, its nice to know that, even though MP’s might have to give up their expenses, the bludgers and freeloaders of the FA can still keep a straight face, when they say that its all about football.
Nice work if you can get it.
Hopefully, with the usual suspects all phoning in sick, as they rest their bones for something more meaningful, some of the fringe players might get the chance to stake their claim for future England call-ups by putting in a decent performance. No doubt the Brazilians will be under-strength too but having experienced a full Brazilian and finding it not much fun, its probably a good thing.
It was no real surprise that Ashley Young and James Milner got the call but it was brilliant to hear Stephen Warnock will be in the squad. What better endorsement for a player’s club form, than to get the call from Capello. As is well known, Stephen has the dubious honour of sharing the shortest England career on record, after he was given a miserly eight minutes against Trinidad and Tobago, which represents the whole of his single senior cap.
Let’s hope he gets the chance to add to that against the Brazilians.
Lest we forget!
It was a very poignant week, as the solemn proceedings of Remembrance Day reminded us of the horrors and sacrifices of war – sometimes enforced and at other times volunteered – exacted from men and boys, across the generations.
Providing the pathos in contrast with the awe and the grief, was this little poem, which popped up in a history programme, on Wednesday, from a paper published in the World War One trenches:
Three Tommies sat in the trench one day,
Discussing the war in the normal way,
They talked of the mud and they talked of the Hun,
Of what was to do and what has been done.
They talked about rum, but the point which they argued,
From post back to pillar,
Was whether Notts County could beat Aston Villa.
For the curious, the answer was, ‘No!’.
Villa beat Notts County 2-1 at home and drew 1-1 at Nottingham, in the season 1914-15. The League was suspended until 1919-1920, when Villa won the cup and a team called West Bromwich Albion won the First Division.
Too many did not return.
Keep the faith!