Something For The Weekend (207)
Many a slip between salt and chip, don't they say - but I was totally gutted, losing to QPR. Things were going so well too and three away wins in a row had convinced me, everything was coming up roses and I think I was doing a fair impression of Ethel Merman, at one point, according to my neighbour's banging on the bathroom wall.
We know these things never last long but I was totally gutted, am gutted, still gutted.
Okay, I wasn't quite optimistic enough to get my saggy arse down there but I had to stop in and wash my hair, honest - the one that's left needs very careful treatment and definitely is not allowed out on cool damp nights, when its still recovering from the rigours of the shower-head - and I'm determined to keep it, until it inevitably dies of loneliness. I pulled the rest out last year against Leicester, I think it was, and they never grew back.
Based on the assumption that there are, and always have been, around 17000 Villa fans, who would turn up to watch some Villa shirts flap on a clothes line, I estimate that there were only around 4000 fans, of normal mental capacity for weighing cost against probable disappointment, who decided that it was going to be worth the trip, and bearing in mind the Villa fans are on the sort of collective-high, not seen since Woodstock, these days; the size of the crowd should have been a reasonable predictor of the outcome.
But I still kept saying, 'You would have thought, wouldn't you?'
As it turned out, it just proved, as if we needed it confirming, that anything less than full-strength, for Villa, isn't going to cut the mustard, come up to scratch, or jump through the hoops. But, you would have thought, wouldn't you, that Villa's squillion-pound reserves would have more than enough to get past a team who have to book an appointment with their bank manager, every time they want to paint their goal-posts. But, hey, now we understand the law of diminishing returns.
I just thought they would breeze past Rangers, with the same ease they put the Baggies away - but alas, QPR, turned out to be a team of a different stripe.
Its stripes again on Saturday and lets hope Villa are back to their recent best, when Keane brings the Mackem menace to enjoy some balmy Villa Park sunshine. This didn't yield a very happy result for Villa last season and once again the faithful are likely to turn up in numbers to see whether O'Neill's 'improved' side can maintain their top-four status, or whether the law of averages is about to cruelly mock their top-four pretensions.
It looks bad, as even Lawro has backed us, but hey, things could be worse, we could be Newcastle.
I was disappointed that David O'Leary didn't get the bar-code job.
You know that a club's in big heap trouble, when Terry Venables turns down the job. It is all getting a bit daft, but everyone knows that there was only one man for the job and that was David O'Leary. He's the only guy with a big enough ego to sort that lot out and walk away unscathed. He and Zaphod Beeblebrox are the only people in the known universe, to emerge from the total perspective vortex, feeling better about themselves.
Kinnear was the biggest surprise since Dr Jo.
I actually don't hold David's ego against him because I think he is a good manager and despite the terrace re-write, he did pretty well considering the resources made available to him. Despite his
horrendous faux pas, with his 'fickle' crack, his team was not the worst I've seen cut up the sacred rug. His fortunes seemed to turn on the arrival and departure of Nobby Solano and if Nobby had resisted the domestic pressures, to move hearth and home back to Tyneside, history might have been totally different. O'Leary signed Martin Laursen, which proves he can spot a good centre-half when he sees one (he also signed Ferdinand for Leeds), even if he can't tell whether they have a dodgy knee or not.
He should have definitely got the job.
I really did hope he would get the Newcastle job because I really love that sneering, patronising, look he gives to slimy interviewers, when they think they have bowled him a googly. Just the sort of character Newcastle needed to fend off the knockers and kibitzers. And last time I noticed, he was living in Harrogate, which means he would have been able to commute and it would not have been too far to throw him when they found a permanent mug for job.
But Kinnear confirms every Geordie jibe about the Cockney mafia and suggests that Wise has more pull with the owner, than is quite decent. The Newcastle fans must be gagging for a bit of that good old Wimbledon passing-game.
Anyway, while Newcastle continue the experiments of CERN's Hadron Collider, by hitting egos against each other, in the north-east of England, the rest of the Premiership must try and continue business as usual, in the face of some quite amazing results, as Portsmouth try and recover from shipping a zillion goals and Tottenham try and drag themselves from the arse-end of the table. Even the mighty Reds (spit!) are not where you expect to find them, in a rather bizarre looking table. The seismic shift in financial clout, certainly seems to have changed things and the Spurs fans must be wondering what happened. Spurs are not a poor club and the same forces which nearly dragged Barry away from Villa, seem to have holed a few clubs below the waterline, at the start of this new season.
There for the grace of Rafa, go......
Its no coincidence that two teams who showed that they had some very good players by actually winning stuff, seem to have succumbed to the same process, which haunted every successful Villa team in recent history - instead of Berbatov, read Yorke.
But since when did London players actively seek passage north?
Its almost certain that the present disarray, will right itself sooner rather than later, and October's strugglers can often be April's European contenders, so it seems imperative that while the Villa machine is running relatively smoothly, they should be ruthless enough to put the points on the board, while the going is good.
Nothing less than a win against Sunderland, will fulfil the fans' reasonable expectations.
So come on Villa - and please, no slip-ups!
And in the meantime, I shall be getting pissed and playing this, to heal my QPR trauma. It irritates people too, which is always a bonus.