Something For The Weekend (107)
By Steve Wade
Having set myself up for a career in pessimism, with some spirited help from my parents, I am finding it hard, dear reader (if he's not on holiday), to make the transition into the optimism department. Having majored in disappointment, as they say across the pond, or having been sent up and then down, as they say over here, from the university of strife, I can't really be expected to hit the ground running (another Americanism, damn it), when it comes to carrying the baton for happiness and fulfilment.
I just know it is going to be hard.
Yes, from the great margarine apartheid of the early Sixties, to the notorious bouncing bicycle incident, I have spent a lifetime honing my capacities for coming second or a bit/lot lower and have spent many long hours perfecting a personal philosophy, to deal with it. Knowing what's good for me, I have always left success, fulfilment, satisfaction and most importantly, the winner's place on the rostrum of life, to the fools (the bastards) who see it as their natural right to such things - just count me out buster (they have so far). So please forgive me for feeling a touch out of sorts these days. I'm just not ready for it and if it wasn't for being broke, ugly and old, I might even feel a bit desperate.
These past few weeks have been just awful for me and I suspect quite a few other Villa fans, as the club I have loved for most of my life, has robbed me of one of the most reliable sources of negativity and pessimism, I had at my disposal. When everything else was going great, from work, finance, to the number of living relatives, I could always depend on Villa bringing me down - they used be so dependable. I can't help feeling betrayed.
Every single day lately, with hardly an exception, there is a depressing story in the papers about signing players and even reports of actual ambition within the club and its getting past a joke. In the good old days, you would pick up the Sun in the morning, take an admiring look at the tits & ass (oh no, American again) on page three, then turn to the back page to see who Villa were going to sign and then spend the whole morning laughing your socks off, at its total unlikelihood. I think the Benni McCarthy joke ran longer than the Mousetrap but it was such a cracker, no one wanted to let it go. We laughed at the Collymore joke but they went and signed him - and then it stopped being funny. The Ginola joke was just the Collymore joke with a wig and an 'Allo 'Allo accent. There have been so many over the years - I might have lost count but I never stopped laughing.
This week has been particularly unfunny and after stories of this merry Yank, about to negotiate a sponsorship deal worth in the region of £100m and
then serious talk about signing Saviola (imagine, no one laughed either), and several other big names - JUST FOR STARTERS - I was sulking on the other side of my face. I ask you, where can an old cynic go - even Tony Butler has
lost his act. On ya' bike indeed - back on the courtesy bus more like.
I wonder if the Villa bus got through its MOT okay - I was a bit concerned?
You can't even take the piss out of the manager with any conviction. The educated opinion has it that he was brilliant at Wycombe; transformed Leicester and won a cup; then to crown it all, he resuscitated a sickly Celtic and took everything domestic that was there to be won. Not only that, he was considered by everyone who knew anything, to be the best candidate for the England job. Sorry, its just not material I can work with.
So, what sort of club are they turning into? They have an owner with a few bob and a willingness to spend it and a manager who looks unlikely to waste it. I have honestly looked and there is just not a decent joke in there and as for sarcasm and irony, there is a tragic lack of scope. I mean, in the good old days, if you could think of absolutely nothing else to say, you could always have a pop at Doug Ellis but now even that is impossible. Its just no fun any more.
Its kind of tragic, to see a couple of Villa fans meet up these days - all they do is laugh and joke, its totally sickening. And as for banter with the blue-noses, its just impossible; all jokes just sound like you are mocking the afflicted, its hopeless. Overnight, it just seems like any attempt to compare the two clubs, has suddenly become farcical, its like talking to a Walsall fan. It really is no fun - no fun at all.
I really miss the no-hopers' camaraderie, we've shared in recent years.
Those who know me, I am sure, will have absolute confidence that given sufficient time for adjustment, I will adapt quite readily to the new set-up down Villa Park. I have a pretty unblemished record when it comes to pessimism and negativity and given even luck, I am sure I can come through this unscathed. Possibly, I might sell my Premium Bond, and so avoid any unexpected reasons for joy; and I might have to stop in a bit more to avoid the possibility of unexpected kindnesses from strangers, which can have a dire affect on a pessimist. Yes, I can get through this, and I am absolutely determined to do so.
Alas, I am not so confident about my fellow Villans though and I am beginning to see signs that possibly they could become as obnoxiously cheerful as the fans of clubs I have grown to hate. There really is an imminent and present danger that the fans could start getting a bit arrogant and patronising as they forget, all those miserable barren years that served them so well. I just hope that when they are celebrating being the Champions
of Europe once again, some time in the future, they remember how good it used to be.
I guess, I am just missing Doug already.