Writer: J P Fear
Date:Friday December 14 2007
It was even raining in my heart!
By the time Gardner's oh-gee had dug Villa into a hole and Laursen had missed two unopposed headers at the other end, it became clear that it wasn't going to be the home team's day. And, by the time two Portsmouth wonder-strikes had hit the back of the Villa net, the frigid rain had begun to seep into this Villa fan's heart. Cold miserable reality dawned. So it was, that Villa's impressive run came to an end and dreams of haughty supremacy amongst the coveted top-six, were put on hold, for now. It was a cheerless day to be having to deal with such disappointment, beneath a glowering zinc-grey sky, and the pit of misery beckoned welcomingly, as Villa's spirited efforts, to get at least something from the game, were thwarted by the seemingly impervious presence of David James. It finally became clear, on this day at least, Villa neither had the power or would get the glory.
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But it seems, if the Villa fans weren't happy, then Harry Redknapp wasn't either - there's gratitude for you. Serenaded as he was by a proximate and tuneful Villa choir, singing a few excerpts from a work loosely based on Jerry Springer - The Opera, but which seemed to feature Harry himself, as the victim of some opportunistic man-love, known as Her Majesty's Pleasure, he found it all too shocking, especially when sung in high soprano by Villa's cherubic hand-reared choirboys. Harry thought that the Little Britain choral society had come to town and he didn't much like it.
Of course, if Harry had taken the trouble to consult the Villa programme he would have realised that the whole thing was a misunderstanding and that the songs, which he mistakenly assumed were aimed at himself, were in fact, all part of Villa's community initiative scheme, which combines all the fun of a glee club with educating the local youth on the perils of going to prison. Catchy ditties like, 'From Sixpence To Half a Dollar', and 'Only a Dope Drops The Soap', serve the same purpose, as did showing a lad the inside of a prison cell, for previous generations. Someone should take the trouble to send him a copy of their charity CD, 'Ballads To A Tossed Salad' and bring the ignorant schmuck up to speed.
But misunderstanding, or no misunderstanding; its a good thing old 'arry looks unlikely to get the England job - such sensitivity, such a thin skin, such an ugly bastard.
Latest rumours suggest the FA are going to go Italian for the England job. And, as the world knows, the English love their Italians, and whether it is Antonio Carluccio, Gianfranco Zola, Frankie Dettori, or the BBC's latest Sports Personality of The Year, Joe Calzaghe, there is something about the Italians, which appeals to the yearnings of the English soul. The trouble is, when the English and Italian cultures collide, you never know if you are going to end up with a Morris Ital, or the Rolls-Royce Camargue. We've had the dull but reliable Volvo 200 (in an Italian suit naturally) and we've had the Austin Allegro McClaren special (in thinning rusty red), and now we might get the Alfa 156. In fact, looking at the present England team, putting an Italian in charge might be like giving Giovanni Battista Farina, a job in a Soviet tractor factory but it will be interesting
I personally like the idea of an Italian coach, not because I think it's within anyone's powers, to actually overcome the irredeemable systemic incompetence of the FA, its just that it will be refreshing to have a new role-model for my age-group. In short, the Italians do 'old bloke' a lot more stylishly than the English. All Englishmen of a certain age, always look like they have just emerged from their garden sheds - the present Prime Minister, particularly so. It is a tribute to the power of English womanhood, that all men of a certain age look as though they have been neutered, or have returned to some unthreatening sexless puerile state. While the Italians have Giorgio Armani as a role-model, the English have Jeremy Clarkson.
For this reason I would probably prefer Marcello Lippi, who gets extra points for his stylish use of a cigar (I think he is a George Burns fan) and he is known to play a slightly more attacking style than his compatriot Fabio Capello, who loves his catenaccio (don't we all). I don't even think that a failure to speak English is much of a problem, as I seem to remember that Paolo Di Canio, could convey more meaning with a single gesture, than most native speakers say in two hours of football-speak. But if that is seen as an issue, I am sure David Platt would make himself available, as he knows the language and quite a few of the gestures. Just think of how much better McClaren's famous flounce would have been, if he'd accompanied it with a few strong Italian gestures, straight out of Goodfellas.
Now that would have put the arseholes of the press in their place.
But the English need not be afraid if it turns out to be Fabio Capello, as, if you simply remove the glasses, slick back the hair and put a pipe in his mouth, you end up with Fred Trueman, and you can't get a better Englishman than that. Will it be 'avversione', or 'amore'? Its impossible to say but there's no better qualified man available and that includes our very own Martello O'Neillioni.
Ciao Baby, Ciao!
Date:Friday December 14 2007
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