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'If It's Football, It's Vital'

AVFC Claret & Blues vs. Liverpool Paupers

Villa Park

31st August 2008

1600BST

On Sky

Kop That Rafa!

It was the game that supposedly was set to be Gareth Barry's less-than-triumphant return to Villa Park following his 10million+ transfer to the perennial 4th place finishers.

Rafa, take a good look on Sunday son, at the colour of shirt that Mr Barry will be wearing. Like it or lump it, (both Benitez and Barry) Gareth will be starting the match a Villan and will continue to be a Villan, at least until January.

It turns out that the one remaining promise of the Hicks/Gillet partnership, the glorious new Anfield with its brand new Kop, futuristic features and mind-blowing architecture, is a fraud. In a move somewhat akin to any suggestion that this countries Government should splash the cash, the gruesome Yankee twosome have managed to blame 'the credit crunch` and the price of steel for an indefinite delay to Liverpool`s new home.

Could it happen to a nicer bunch of players, management staff, owners and last but most certainly least, supporters?

No I didn`t think so!

Previews, back, Villa = Money, Liverpool = Poor, lets go.

Vital Quotes:

We start with Gareth Barry, who's agent Alex Black announced that Gareth had informed the Villa management of his decision to stay two weeks ago, has naturally been quizzed on the fact that the Liverpool Vs Aston Villa game finds him starting the match in a claret and blue shirt. Here's how he responded:

'Will Sunday be strange? I am 100% for Villa. That won't be strange.

'I've spoken to the manager and I've no problem giving 100% for Aston Villa - and that will be starting against Liverpool on Sunday.

'Will the fans all be behind me? All I can do is give 100% for the club. That is all the fans will want to see.'


Meanwhile, Villa new-boy Jimmy Milner, the man who said if 'I can't become a better player with Aston Villa, I'm not going to develop anywhere,' has expressed his delight that former captain fantastic has decided he may well extend his stay at Villa Park a wee while longer:

Speaking to avfc.co.uk the former Newcastle winger said:

'It's a massive thing to keep Gareth. The fact that a club like Liverpool wanted him shows what a quality player he is. You don't want to be losing players of that quality.'

Turning our beer-distracted attention towards manager Martin O'Neill has admitted he's looking forward to tomorrows game, as it gives himself and his team a chance to benchmark their improvement against last years performances against RedScouse Untied.

He told avfc.co.uk:

I'm really looking forward to tomorrow. It's a massive game for us.

'Our last performance at Villa Park in the Premier League was outstanding and if we could get back to that type of form, we're capable of winning the game.

'This is a good benchmark for Aston Villa football club. We have been striving in the last two seasons to try and get up there. It might take a little bit longer but these teams are the yardstick for us.'


Yardsticks, benchmarks, all he needed to say was at the end of the day, he was sick as a parrot!

*****

Oh dear dear dear, lets talk Liverpool.

'Like many other major development projects in the UK and overseas we are affected by global market conditions.'

Yes gents, the 500million+ Olympic Stadium for example has struggled to be constructed. Go on Hicks & Gillet, name your delayed projects elsewhere!

Meanwhile Rafa Benitez has been talking tiredness, frost and wine when it comes to Stevie 'tapper' Gerrard and Rafa's relationship with Martin O'Neill.

On the occasion of meeting O'Neill, with whom he has locked horns all summer regarding Gareth Barry, the 'rotund waiter' has said:

'I don't think we have a good relationship.'

'If I have to say hello, I will say hello and I don't have a problem. You ask me will we have a glass of wine together, but I don't drink wine.'


I'm sure Martin won't mind if you want a beer Rafa. As for 'if' you have to say hello, you've forgotten the FA's new (pointless) initiative that as Ali G once said, is to increase R E S T E C P in the game.

Also, Rafa, continuing his journey into the realm of insanity, thinks that after just 3 weeks of the Premier League season, Steven Gerrard is tired!

Following the dismal England performance the Liverpool boss said:

'Steven Gerrard is a little bit tired.

'He did not train the day after the England game but he was back in training on Friday.'


Bless him!

AVFC Claret & Blues Team News:

Expect James Milner to be thrust straight into the starting line-up against Liverpool. King Kev (king? ha!) admitted that the transfer was rushed through to ensure he was available for Sunday's match.

With whom he doth replace is the interesting bit, I think we'd all possibly hope it was Reo-Coker, progressively looking more and more woeful out on that right wing, perhaps not his fault mind.

The rest I'd hazard a guess will remain un-changed, unless Marty rests one of the two centre-backs for the possible inclusion of Carlos Cuellar.

We may finally see Stuart Taylor replaced on the bench by Brad Guzan, but who knows!

Player to watch: John Carew

He's bigger than me, you, and most of Liverpool's defence bar perhaps the man with no vowels, Skrtl.

I think he'll punch through 20 goals this year, so expect him to crack on with it against Liverpool.

Liverpool Paupers Team News:

Few of us really care, but lets get it over and done with.

Javier Mascherano may feature despite having only recently arrived from the Olympics in Beijing. Steven Gerrard is out with a 'groin strain' read: tired.

Sammy Hypia is also a doubt.

Player to watch: Fernando Torres

How he signed for Liverpool instead of us I don't know.

Defenders will have their work cut out, perhaps a job for Cuellar?

Useless Facts:

I've been wracking my brains over a tune, and picked one that links Liverpool, with the fact I am writing this preview after waking up 14 hours ago! Enjoy!



Liverpool is the 2008 Capital of Culture...

...except it isn't really, as it shares this honour with Stavanger.

Oh, and also Sandnes.

Ignoring Liverpool (the place is over-hyped anyway,) Stavanger is the place to go if you wish to visit a Petroleum Museum.

Meanwhile, Sandes is definitely one for the summer holiday (vacation) list if you perhaps have a distinct interest in bicycles.

Gabriel Agbonlahor is top scorer this season of the entire league when counting cup goals, having notched 4 in total.

Marlon Harewood isn't set for what would be his 300th league start.

Ref Watch:

The ref for the match is Mr Martin Atkinson who hails from W.Yorkshire.

So far Mr Atkinson has managed an average of 2 yellows per game, across his 2 Premier League Fixtures!

Match Prediction:

Lawro shockingly said a Villa win. Mystic Murph says 3-1 Villa. Mystic Mug may be along later.

Next Up:

Next Villa play Spurs on the 15th September after the International break.




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The Journalist

Writer: Murph Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Saturday August 30 2008

Time: 3:55PM

Your Comments

It is nice to see Villa outspending more than 3 of the top 4 clubs. Especially because of the quality. MON has impressed so far, but the will this sort of cash be available next season. Liverpool may be laughing at us this time next year..........don't count your chickens and all that!
bellywipes
P.S i hope we stuff Liverpool. MON will be a gentlemen what ever the result........Rafa doesn't like the fact that MON stood up to him regarding Barry saga.......a lesson to all clubs me thinks!
bellywipes
I don't know what childish idiot wrote this article or why he thinks the problems with our white elephant of a stadium may be of interest to Villa fans. I don't have a problem with Villa or their fans, certainly not the problem that this clown seems to have with ours. Obviously I want us to take three points of you guys tomorrow but other then that, good luck for the rest of the season.
bring back kenny
I'm no clown.

I can't juggle!
murph
all match reports have it down that milner will not be playing :S ,, what do you reckon ?! x
villian?umhu
But I see I was right about the childish idiot bit.
bring back kenny
Gerrard is actually recovering from an operation he had earlier in the week, he's out until redscouse play Utd at the very minimum
Bicks
So he's not just tired then?! What a joke that was.
murph
Villans shouldn't count there chickens too much over managing to keep Barry. I seriously doubt his performances between now and January will be worth anywhere near the 6-8 million his price tag will drop due to his insistence about not signing a new contract. There is no doubt that Barry, should his form remain excellant, will leave for a more successful club - in which case all MON has done is ensure you get the least amount of money for him possible.
Jermantau
Jermantau - Barry cost us about half a million quid 10 years ago under the previous regime, so whatever we get for him we end up with a healthy profit!
pongogidman
Hope milner plays, can't see why he couldn't slot straight in?
The Fear
What's this about Miner not playing??? Why have we signed him for 10-12m if we aren't going to play him? I just can't see MON no picking him.
Jinksy
What pillock wrote this article. He seems more concerned with Liverpool Football Club than he does with his own team , Although it did give a bit of a laugh reading through it. But as bring back kenny says we dont have any problems with Villa , thats because our concern is the teams above us not the ones below us. Also how did he put it "the perennial 4th place finishers" , well it beats anywhere between 6th and 16th thats for sure. One last thing i reckon the reason Torres signed for Liverpool and not Villa is because he had probably never heard of you. Nobody has since 1982 . Previews , Back, Villa = Money = perennial uefa cup hopefuls to relegation candidates and empty trophy cabinet. Liverpool = poor paupers = perennial champions league qualifiers and a nice full trophy cabinet.
KOPCHRIS
It's called humour! Something you Scouseers will need to familiarise yourselves with pretty quickly. Great article Murph, just about covered everything!
godzvilla
Bring back Kenny and KopChris it's a little bit of comedy... why bother to take the time out to message a Villa site. Villa fans as a whole didn't have a problem with LFC before this protracted barry saga, however, many are now fed up with LFC's cheap tactics that have unsettled a Villa player and interfered with our pre season. The way they conduct themselves off the field certainly isn't first rate. I think it is testament to the fact that LFC aren't a big club anymore. A certian degree of respect has been lost for Liverpool Football Club. Bring on Sunday.
JeffBeck-TheLeftSide
Murph, you forgot to mention whom Redscouse will be mourning this weekend!!
Equatorialvilla
i think villa will win 3-1 young, carew and laursen to score. liverpool will be rubbish without gerrard. but villa will have to watch out for torres and keane.
mshaw18
Great article Murph, like that Beatles song too. Hope we can win but i am thinking a 1-1 draw, just cant see us winning today, not to say i wont be partying all night if we do mind!!!
young_jonah
The Scousers were always well known for their humour, a couple of the Reds fans here seem to have bypassed their funny bones!
The Fear
it seems we might have a little paranoia setting in with the scousers
eltoro
I'm so glad i'm not a scouser:)
Villan-in-Cyprus
Note of pessimistic caution. A poor Liverpool peformance agaist Liege, lacked in invention - but they still dominated possession, and didn't give the ball away cheaply. They just lacked the flair of Mant Ud, Arsenal. In contrast a supposedly great Villa performance against Man City was characterised by City's second half dominance of the midfield apart from Gabby's 7 minute wonder show - perhaps we got lucky? I fear Villa will not take the next step up until we can keep possession bettter and until we have at least one front player who can be relied upon to hold the ball up. Carew does it 1 game in 4, but generally we have too many ball losers. Villa's flair on a good day versus a more reliable Liverpool machine. We need Barry and Petrov to be on song - and still need someone of the calibre of our defensive signings up front. Fingers crossed it is one of Villa's good days.
stennyvilla
Stenny, totally with you. Whatever personal feelings anyone may have about LFC's actions, they are a good side which cannot be underestimated. Benitez, although gaining titles such as the fat waiter, is a coach who knows what he wants and what he is doing. It was only the lack of forthcoming funds from Hicks and Gilett which prevented Barry running out a Liverpool player this afternoon.
Reddi!
Fat Spannish Waiter You're just a Fat Spannish Waiter! I think both teams were poor this afternoon I expected a lot more from both sides. Both sets of fans will be dissapointed. Got to admit that was a funny chant tho?
JeffBeck-TheLeftSide
Not sure what your problem is with Rafa. When O Neill talked about Rafa making his interest known to the press it was actually YOUR LOCAL PAPER that broke the story......He wanted Barry, so what? You want to worry when other teams dont want your players. Game was crap and result fair btw
5 times
They looked a resiliant bunch today, something Liverpool haven't always been in previous premiership campaigns. They'll be tough to break down and beat on their travels I think, and if Keane and Torres can get their act together, they'll be up there competing for a top three placing. Still dont think, that for all the money Benitez has spent over recent years, that they are where they really ought to be.
glensider
You've got a nerve coming on here and calling our murph a clown 'bring back kenny'. Surely a little piece of Beatles music there should soothe your temper? Proves we're not totally anti-scouse.
glensider
 

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