Date: 3rd August 2018 at 9:00am
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After a long and dare I say it – hot and troublesome summer – Aston Villa have now completed their pre-season schedule and we head into Monday evening’s Championship 2018/19 opener with Hull City.

Long-suffering travelling fans head to the KCOM Stadium on Monday, August 6, and with new owners in tow and an incredible amount of kudos reinvigorating the fan base owing to their background, let alone wealth, optimism for the season ahead has begun returning for many.

Given promotion will be an aim, let’s just not make it the aim publicly this time and pull the rug out from under ourselves, getting off to a flying start will certainly lift everyone of a Villa persuasion further as we approach the coming years – we all know we still have issues to work through but some early wins should help soothe us all.

The game kicks off at 7.45pm and here are the people we can blame if it all goes wrong.

Referee: Andrew Madley
Assistant Referees: Robert Merchant and Steven Meredith
Fourth Official: Jeremy Simpson

We now turn to Vital Villa’s resident refereeing expert sirdennis for his unique insight into the appointed Official.

Well after a topsy-turvy summer for Villa fans where at one point we didn’t know whether we could afford to pay Doris the tea lady or more importantly keep her stocks of Hob Nobs up to the required level, we suddenly find ourselves in the strange position of being richer than Croesus but still unable to spend much money.

However, one thing will not and will never change. That is the competence of the referees, who I wager now will be worse this season than last and if the buffoonery of the bloke who reffed the friendly against Dresden on Saturday is anything to go by then the stress levels this season are going to go through the roof.

Anyway, all this leads to the news that our ref for the Hull game is a certain Andrew Madley, and if we are looking for a decent ref to start with then I am afraid they haven’t looked very hard.

Apart from being bald, this bloke – who is supposed to be a Premier League ref – is completely useless and will give the worst refereeing performance we will have seen this season and the startling thing I notice from the list of officials is that our “friend” Jeremy Simpson is the fourth official.

What could possibly go wrong?


There is a sense of Deja Vu here, Madley was in charge for the 2017/18 opener against Hull City at Villa Park and he showed two yellow cards that day – both to us – as we took a point from the encounter. We next saw him in the away trip in October to Birmingham City and with the points again shared, we picked up another two of the five cards shown that day.

Our first win of the campaign under his charge came in the trip to Middlesbrough and the Riverside Stadium where Robert Snodgrass secured our 1-0 nil. We received four of the seven yellows shown.

His last game in charge was the 3-0 victory over Sunderland at the Stadium of Light and James Chester went into his book but Sunderland were shown two, which made a nice change.

I’m not sure what can go wrong as sirdennis eludes to, but I think it’s safe to say he’ll be taking some names given his penchant for a booking.

In 2017/18 as a campaign, he reffed 42 matches, with two reds and 137 yellows shown.