Date:Friday November 9 2007
Following on from last weeks sheep-themed preview, we're moving onto pigs as Aston Villa take on arch-rivals Birmingham City.
The official websites have gone quote-crazy as the build up to the match has gone on all week with some mention of the 'pigs in mud' scandal.
Villa manager Martin O'Neill has certainly been in a positive mood when asked about his views on the squad as they go into the second-city derby.
Villa welcome Scott Carson into a Villa/Blues match for the first time and unlike his predecessors, O'Neill is confident that Carson can cope: 'He can cope with that. He's a young kid growing up, he's enjoying it and he's playing really well. There are parts of his game he wants to improve on all the time, but he's got the youth, determination and drive to do it.'
Captain Marvel Gareth Barry is looking to try his hardest to give Villa fans value for money on Sunday, if value for money can be taken from a whopping £48 a ticket: '£48 to see a game is a lot at any time, but with Christmas just around the corner, it takes real dedication from the fans.
'All we can do is promise the fans 100 per cent commitment and hopefully we can get a result to make the money they've spent worthwhile.'
On the flip side, Liam Ridgewell, having made what has historically been a rare cross-city move is looking forward to the game.
However with the fixture falling on Remembrance Sunday the former Villa defender is fully aware of the sacrifice made by those who lost their lives for our freedom today.
Ridgewell met up with ex-teammate Gareth Barry to highlight the work of the Royal British legion and said: 'Fans have been looking forward to the derby game for a long time and we know emotions can run high, but I'd like to encourage fans to remember it is Remembrance Sunday and give the representatives of the Royal British Legion, a warm welcome to St. Andrew's.'
Now we move on to quotes of a more pathetic kind. Birmingham City director David Gold has been stirring up the pig poo poo once more following General C.Krulak’s written apology over the now famous ‘pigs in mud’ comments.
Now we must remember that, as his own website says, Mr Gold’s story is told as: ‘From beginnings of extreme poverty, shrugging aside numerous setbacks along the way, David Gold is now one of Britain's most successful businessmen.’
Anyway, when quizzed about the apology sent from The General, Gold was less than complimentary: “To be honest, what this General wrote to me was not an apology but a load of waffle.”
“To be perfectly frank, I’m fuming even more after what Randy Lerner said. “I’m not saying I should be sent 12 red roses.
“I just think this General was totally wrong to use me in that analogy. It was nothing like an apology, more like a justification. If General Krulak had apologised to me then I’d have said ‘OK, fine, let’s move on’. But he hasn’t.”
Birmingham City team news will be here once it becomes available.
It appears that Steve Bruce and co are keeping things close to their chest. Therefore, it would be wrong of me to tell porkies.
Kapo has been a revelation for Birmingham and certainly seems to know where the goal is, which fails to explain why he chose to join the noses.
Martin Laursen, you have your target for the day.
John Carew may return to the starting lineup having returned to training this week.
It'd be nice to see Moustapha Salifou given a place on the bench folloowing yet another impressive reserve outing, however given the nature of the game this will be unlikely.
Other than a possible inclusion of Carew, expect Martin O'Neill to name an un-changed side.
In this fixture Aston Villa goalkeepers have a proud tradition, of making awful awful errors.
It will be interesting to see if Carson continues the tradition, or prefers to do things a little differently and save our bacon.
For The Fallen
With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.
Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres,
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.
They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;
They fell with their faces to the foe.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years contemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England's foam.
But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;
As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.
Laurence Binyon (1869-1943)
Steve Bennett is the referee for this fixture, who continued his red card frenzy mid-week as Bournemouth's Bradbury was dismissed. Christmas is in December Mr Bennett!
3-1 to Aston Villa, we can win this, we will win this. We MUST win this.
Following the beating of the bluenoses (on the pitch) Villa are on the road again for the long trip to Middlesbrough (24/11.)
Date:Friday November 9 2007
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