Writer: J P Fear
Date:Sunday February 3 2008
Well as I prepare to head off down to Craven Cottage, I decided to take five, kick back (with a little prompting from Body Butter and co), and just reflect on the past seven days here at Brummagem B6. And what a seven days its been, with the main talking points definitely being more about what didn't take place, as opposed to what actually did, and I think its safe to say that we wont be saying that all too often between now, through until seasons end.
We all awoke last Sunday morning slightly subdued following our on-field efforts of the previous day. Most of us had expected us to complete the double over Blackburn Rovers at Villa Park, after all, after rolling them over so convincingly(?) at Ewood Park, what could stop Gareth Barry leading the lads into fourth spot in the premiership table with a comfortable return victory against Mark Hughes and his Rovers. Well, as we all now well know, the crazy unpredictability that is football reared its ugly head, and we had to be satisfied, if not particularly happy, with a share of the spoils.
Still despite the disappointment of the previous day, as we tucked into our Sunday breakfast, all that was on our minds was the influx of new faces that would appear over the upcoming five days, as MON did what he had more or less told us he was determined to do, namely bring in the two, three, maybe even four new faces needed to add the quality and depth to our squad, that would ensure that the final fourteen games of the season wouldn't see us end up once again as mere also rans.
I browsed the Sunday newspapers expectantly, but nothing much sprung out to say that we were after this guy, that guy, or even a hint that MON was chasing some guy who the frustrated reporters hadn't got the first inkling about.
Sunday lunchtime in the local somewhat prepared me for life on Vital Villa over the next few days, with the four of us discussing/debating the merits of virtually every player capable of kicking a football, each sharing our views as to what we needed, who we needed, and how many of these individuals we actually needed, while one of us (not yours truly) was brave enough to suggest that we could comfortably go with what we've got, even running against the serious threat of injuries, suspensions, and loss of form. We all returned home good friends, despite the debate often getting heated, but at least our little get-together got me up to speed as to what to expect over the upcoming days here on the forum. Despite sometimes heated debate on here, the sharing of many varying and contrasting views, one or two little upsets and tiffs, I think its safe to say that Friday morning arrived with us all still 'friends of sort'. All in fine fettle, and ready to get back to the serious and important topic of how we will now face up to, and progress through, the final fourteen games of what to date, has been a very successful campaign (Cup competitions apart).
My own take on the lack of action in the transfer window during the month was upon reflection one of surprise, disappointment, frustration, and even anger, anger at the annoying thought that our failure to increase the squad could so easily cost us dear come May. I welcomed the arrival of Wayne Routledge, and believe that once up to speed he could well prove to be a very useful acquisition. I certainly wish him well during his time here, as I know you all do.
I balanced all of these emotions though with the reminder that we haven't done too badly so far with the current squad at our disposal, and if, and admittedly it’s a big if, we enjoy the same sort of luck through the final three months plus of the season, form, injury wise, then there's nothing to say we cant finish in a top six placing, a final finish none of us expected or even dared dream about back in August '07, before a ball had been kicked in anger. I hold my hands up though and say that unlike some, I still pretty much take most of what MON says at face value, so when he tells me that players who he felt could improve the quality and prospects of the squad simply weren't available to him, then yes, I believe him. I still have questions, concerns, lingering doubts, worries, but yes, I believe him. I certainly don’t dispute that funds are available, I believe they are, and the virtual non-events of January hasn't as yet shaken my belief in the Randy/Martin regime.
No, of course I don’t agree at all times with signings, tactics, selections, substitutions, etc, but that’s all part and parcel of being a football supporter, but the positives that have taken place since Randy and Martin marched into town are surely obvious to all Our climb into the top six of the premiership, the biggest crowds seen at Villa Park in fifty years, the entertaining football we're seeing both at B6 and on the road, the optimism and atmosphere now permeating inside and around the grand old stadium, tells me that things are progressing and developing nicely, and because of that, the status quo should be allowed to continue. Certainly if not unchallenged, then with the acceptance and respect that comes with appreciating we haven't had it so good in a long, long while. We really haven't got that much to complain about, have we?
I enjoyed the F.A. Youth Cup tie at Villa Park. An entertaining way to spend a winters evening, amongst what was a healthy attendance. Good to see the lads progress, and sweet revenge for the defeat we suffered at Portman Road in the same competition a season or so back. The lads did the club proud, and while they all know only too well that there's a long hard road ahead of all of them, and many if not most will drop by the way-side, at least for now all in their footballing lives is bright and hunky-dory, as they attempt to emulate the success of other Villa youth teams of recent seasons. Good Luck to them all.
Right, time to start preparing for the trip down to Fulham, for a game that worries me. Right now I'd happily settle for a point, but something tells me that today isn't going to be our day. Hope I'm so very wrong.
In closing, I have to mention that in the 'You Couldn't Make It Up' category, the clear and out-right winner this week simply has to be that very nice Mexican, Señor Villa, who happened to be in the right place at the right time (89th minute, no less) to send 24,000 Small Heath followers back to their homes, even more miserable than they normally are. You couldn't have dreamt it up.
Have a good day fellow Vital Villans, and a great week
Date:Sunday February 3 2008
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