Date: 26th February 2010 at 11:20am
Written by:

Good Weekend, Bad Weekend

We’re nearly there. Just two more sleeps to go and it’s an early rise from bed on a Sunday morning. That’s something that isn’t usually looked upon with any kind of excitement within the Custard Cream household – but this time it’s different as we’re off for our first trip to Wembley for ten years.

That cup final – the last at the ‘old’ Wembley – has mainly been forgotten. Later put forward as the most boring cup final of all time, Villa ground out their way to a loss without even threatening Ed de Goey’s goal (though Wikipedia mentions Gareth Southgate heading wide at some point). The journey back on the bus that day was horrible – silence apart from the occasional “beep” from the phone belonging to the annoying bloke in front of us playing ‘Snake’ on his phone.

It wasn’t the very fact that we’d lost which was the problem – well, certainly not for me. Whilst obviously disappointed I don’t think anyone can put their hand on their heart and be genuinely angry at a team for losing against opponents who are better than themselves – it was more the performance. The lack of any attacking intent shown that day was the beginning of the end for John Gregory.

I think (and hope) Sunday’s game will be slightly different. Sure, I don’t think we’ll be gun-ho from the first minute, putting Manchester United’s goal under siege. But we never do that in any game. But what you can always guarantee under Martin O’Neill is that even if we are camped in our half of the field you still fancy us to maybe steal a goal from somewhere – from a quick break, corner or free kick.

In the previous two games against Manchester United this season we’ve played a game of being prepared to do some pretty serious defending and then attach on the break. To be fair to Martin O’Neill, it’s worked pretty well.

So of course I’m going to the game on Sunday with the expectation that Manchester United are the better team. And whilst the opportunity to win this trophy isn’t perhaps the most important game they’ll play this year, they’ll still want to win it. I’ll have a Polyphonic Spree CD ready in the car for the journey back so not only do I avoid having to relive it listening to the news I can have some ‘happy clappy’ stuff to convince me into a better mood, and my phone ready to send a text message to Mr Fear of this Parish as tends to happen when things are looking tough on the field.

But there is hope. We can actually do this. Our players are more than capable. So on the other side, I’ll have the bottle of ‘Kalms’ ready and SKY+ set up on my phone ready to record(to record Match of the Day beforehand would jinx us, obviously).

Manchester United are used to winning things. Their fans don’t even seem that bothered about this trophy. And to be fair, when you are within a chance of winning the Champions League you can almost understand that attitude. We’ve been fourteen years without a trophy.

Please, Villa. Just win the bloody thing.

And if that plea isn’t good enough, then I’ll throw in an additional one. It’s my birthday next week. I am rapidly approaching being ‘old’ now. A win on Sunday would make up for that.


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