Something For The Weekend (159)
When it comes to indulging my Villa misery, I tend to save it up for Sunday mornings. Which, with some sterling help from the papers and the highlights, I can usually bring to a tragic piquancy. That's probably what Sundays are for: getting over last week's misery and preparing yourself for the week's to come.
That mixture of anger and self-pity which usually accompanies a bad result forms a perfectly nauseous cocktail in those first moments of waking on a dyspeptic Sabbath morn, and getting it over with, is probably why I prefer games to be played on Saturdays - fresh Villa misery on Mondays, after a Sunday game, is just too close to cruel and unusual punishment, to be sanctioned.
For creationists, misery has to be accepted, as God just deciding that He'll make them miserable, but from an evolutionary point of view, misery is obviously adaptive and must serve some purpose, so therefore may be seen, as not entirely bad and perhaps even a good thing.
But you can get too much of a good thing and even though, apart from losing to you-know-blue, the misery of losing to Man United surpasses most things, last Sunday was different.
Amazingly, as I awoke last Sunday morning, I felt nothing - just completely numb. I remembered the details well enough - that glorious early hope, when Villa opened the scoring, and then the despair of the collapse - but then nothing. There was just too much going on for it to register, for while I was trying to distil the Villa facts into tangible misery, I was also, simultaneously, doing the same with England's defeat in Russia and England's defeat in the final of the rugby World Cup. And, my system just couldn't cope.
By the time Lewis Hamilton had lost the motor-racing World Championship by a single point - I couldn't have given a monkey's about anything either way.
Then, just as I thought my feelings might begin to make themselves known, Panorama exposed the venal sins of FIFA, on Monday night, and I'd just about had enough.
The man in black captured it perfectly:
At FIFA it seems that, if you are unlucky enough to be found out, to have taken a bribe, you are simply required to pay it back and Blatter and his henchmen, will do their best to cover it up for you. Read about Austin 'Jack' Warner at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Austin_%22Jack%22_Warner . Its all a bit naughty and it is quite a surprise to find our very own Lord Coe is now chairman of FIFA's ethics committee.
He's a clever chap, is our Seb, and I've seen him run rings round many a field athlete, in his time. But what he's doing hanging out with such questionable characters, the Baron himself can only know, as apart from his dubious association with the Tory party, with their ambition to reintroduce child chimney-sweeps and all that, his moral credentials are impeccable.
My only thought is that he is such a patriot that he is willing to risk everything to deliver the World Cup to these shores but it is all a bit depressing when the venal political realities of the game are revealed. Ladies and gentlemen, it is rotten to the core. See Andrew Jennings' web-site at http://www.transparencyinsport.org/
But before we get too fed-up, here's some girls playing football in their underwear:
By Tuesday I was feeling a bit better. I'd let everyone else do my moaning for me and had prospered greatly from that act of delegation. I even found myself blessing the digital television age, as I made the happy discovery that I didn't need to put my telly in the shed to avoid the temptation of watching Man United (what cruel irony that would have been) but could watch the quality of the Arse, on another channel instead.
Arsenal are my least disliked club in the Premiership (well, this week anyway), what with them having connections with my long-term sponsors (Venus Leisure Services), the chairman of which, had the
honour of being clipped round the earhole by none other than Ted Drake himself. I've always felt privileged to have seen that earhole. Add this to my unstinting admiration for the Arsenal manager - the
Sage of Strasbourg - and I find watching them quite enjoyable, in a tea and biscuits, sort of way.
Naturally, I don't greet a Gunners' goal with the paroxysms of joy the scruffiest of Villa tap-ins tends to induce, nor, do I greet refereeing anomalies with the apoplexy, a wrongly awarded throw-in might produce, in a Villa match but watching them is not unpleasant.
A rampant Arsenal putting seven past a team from Prague, was the sort of performance to blow away my weekend's disappointments (FIFA notwithstanding) as it showed what is possible, given the right philosophy and resources, even for England (well, maybe not) - it truly was a demonstration of why we call it the beautiful game.
The superlatives quickly ran out as Wenger's dynamic, one and two-touch, passing game, swept the Czechs aside in a hale of superb team goals. I could only hope, as I switched off to avoid seeing United's goals in Kiev, that the last page of Lerner's five-year plan, makes some reference to Arsenal's savoir-faire, as an example of Villa's ultimate aspirations.
But my own numbness aside, the most pleasing aspect of Villa's excruciating hammering by United, was that the fans, mostly, remained undaunted. The most oft repeated thing I've heard, throughout the week, was Villa fans talking about Ashley Young's cheeky nutmeg on Rooney, near the end of the game. This seemed to prove that even when the faeces hit the fan, big time, the Villa spirit remains undaunted. While the fans' and the teams' spirits are such, that they can take such set-backs in their stride, the future fulfilment of the grand plan, looks on course.
Keep the faith and stay on the bus!
Here follows a short message from Ashley Young's Totally F***ing Cool department: