Vital Football

Latest Aston Villa News

Something For The Weekend (227)

Something For The Weekend (227)

Its been the sort of fortnight which might even have left Captain Haddock mute with grief and bemusement and so I excuse myself for being rendered speechless by the dimming of Villa's erstwhile brilliant illumined season; the flame of which seemed to have gone out entirely, judging by the evidence of their dreary performance at the City of Manchester Stadium, on Wednesday night.

Happily, my only consolation and my route back to any appearance of sanity, owes more to the overreaction of others, rather than to my own ability to mint consolation out of outraged disappointment. So I thank everyone and all, who indulged us with their various imitations of Lear raging upon the Villa heath, and confronted with such obvious nuttiness and girly hysteria, I ceased my own wailing and retreated to the hovel of Villa realism and felt much better for it.

So thanks for that.

I really did want to throw the toys out of the pram myself but I was grateful, as things transpired, that it was others who were caught launching their Villa SuperTed into oblivion and I was left in comfortable
denial, that I was ever on the verge of kicking the stuffing out of my own little claret and blue critter.

But the worst thing, is the realisation, that when I am sticking my bottom lip out and whining 'Its not fair', as I contemplate what might have been, had Villa put seven points between themselves and Arsenal, I feel like such a big fecking Jessie.

Does it mean that when Villa become a really good team, I am going to be worse than this? Do Manchester United fans, spend their weeks crying over throw-ins they never got? Is the reward for success, the certainty of turning into a whining spoilt brat? It certainly looks that way. Are we all destined to turn into that Princess and the pea?

It looks odds-on, if I am anything to go by.

Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them.

Unfortunately, it looks like neither the fans or players are quite ready for greatness just yet and it does seem a little bit much to ask the players to hold their nerve when the fans are obviously getting an attack of the collywobbles, now that the pressure is beginning to tell. Its getting to others too, as Liverpool lost and shock horror, Man United actually conceded a goal.

Arsenal won 3-1 at the Baggies and panic spread through the Villa ranks like whispers through a classroom full of schoolgirls.

Okay, so Arsenal are getting their best players back but there is something more deeply wrong with Arse than a few injuries. No one is predicting that they are about to turn into the invincibles of yore, any time soon. If Villa return to their top form, they can match Arsenal and even out-do them, so its entirely in Villa's own hands. But someone needs to keep their nerve and I think that someone is me.

Villa's problems seem to arise from their doubts about making the transition from good to great, and every time they have found themselves on the cusp of greatness, when questions were being asked about whether they have the credentials to warrant a place amongst the hallowed mega-clubs, their form has fallen back. Certainly, against Stoke, they looked like a team who thought being great meant playing differently from a team which is merely good, after they went two-nil up. True greatness is achieved by just persisting in being good, long enough for greatness to be thrust upon you. I am sure for those who find themselves wearing the crown of laurel leaves, greatness doesn't feel any different at all, just business as usual.

Even so, greatness comes with its burdens and responsibilities. Expectations are increased and contributions are taken for granted. Being great means you never get a holiday - they only ever whip the willing horse. People don't like you. Others get the forgiveness and are offered the excuses and the understanding. Greatness can be a bit scary and even though it may be beyond most of us, most of us draw back from fulfilling our true potential for reasons only we know ourselves. Its the sensible choice and the truly great always seem a little touched. And most of all, being great often means not being nice. Sir Alex Ferguson seems demonic at times and although he's undoubtedly great, no one can accuse him of being nice.

Greatness can be a lonely place.

But players need not worry too much because they only have to watch Match of The Day, and see how greats like Hansen, Lawrensen and Shearer, still manage to look ordinary and still have to wear clothes bought for them by their mother-in-laws. Players nervous of the burdens of greatness, should be reassured that a return to ordinariness is still possible, even if you might have to dye your hair and wear clothes out of a catalogue.

Greatness has its rewards though and I am sure Martin O'Neill's choice of Dubai as a suitable place for a morale-boosting break might have something to do with reminding the likes of Gabby, what players of Michael Owen and David Beckham's greatness, consider to be modest holiday accommodation. Gabby's been excellent for Villa and his contribution has increased massively but his goal-scoring seems to have taken a dip and many fans are left wondering whether his frustrating outing for England, against Spain, knocked his confidence slightly.

After a disappointing week, Villa find themselves looking like underdogs once again; a position they much prefer. The pundits now expect Arsenal to reassert themselves and for Villa to prove that they never did quite have the resources to complete the job. Its now up to Villa to prove the doubters wrong and to displace questions about their ability to qualify for the Champions League, with questions about whether they are good enough to survive the early stages.

I am still dreaming of the day, I can have a good sulk about Villa not scoring enough goals against Juventus, in the home leg.

From the evidence of this season, if not this last fortnight, I think that there are at least half a dozen players on the Villa books, who are capable of greatness, and I am still convinced Martin O'Neill is truly great. I was listening to a talk Martin was doing about Irishness, on YouTube (a series of three), the other day, which offers fascinating insights into his personality. There is a moment in one of the recordings, where Martin speaks to a young man in the audience and tells him he'll be good enough to achieve what ever he wishes. In that moment, Martin sounded so sincere and certain, that I just knew that if he'd said that to me, when I was a young man, I would have been inspired.

The ability to inspire ordinary men to do extraordinary things, seems like the greatest thing of all.

Just how great is Martin O'Neill?

Writer:Steve Wade
Date:Friday March 6 2009
Time: 4:39PM

Best of Vital Network


How great is MON? The question on all fans lips I'm sure. Hopefully he'll prove over the years to be VERY great... and we'll all be happy! ;o)
The Fear
06/03/2009 17:59:00
From Clough via Grantham Town, Wycombe, and Leicester. Quite a journey,
06/03/2009 20:20:00
Well put......
07/03/2009 14:39:00
Dubai must be packed Pompey are there too!
07/03/2009 21:14:00
Page 1/1
  1. 1

Login to post a comment

Recent Aston Villa Articles

Video Highlights & Post Match Coverage v PNE

Video highlights, select tweets, stats, fan reactions and so much more. Well, not that much more to be fair.

Aston Villa Player Ratings - v PNE At Villa Park

Aston Villa Player Ratings - v PNE At Villa Park

Aston Villa Fans React To 2-2 Draw v PNE

Fan reactions to throwing away a 2 goal lead v PNE

Stats: Aston Villa v Preston North End

All the stats from Aston Villa (2) vs (2) Preston North End, Villa Park, 21/1/17 Att: 32,415

Archived Vital Villa Articles

Vital Villa articles from

Site Journalists

J P Fear
Editor email
Mike Field
Editor email
Steve Wade
no email
no email
Turkish Penguin
no email
no email
Chris Heath
no email
M Calucar
no email
JuanPablo Angel
no email

Current Poll (see more polls)

Preston MotM
Suggested By:
Sub - Bacuna0%
Sub - Gardner0%
Sub - Davis0%
ScoopDragon Publishing Entire League Network of Sites

League Table

# Team P W D L Pts. GD
1 Newcastle 27 19 1 7 58 33
2 Brighton 26 17 6 3 57 24
3 Huddersfield 27 15 4 8 49 2
4 Leeds Utd 27 15 3 9 48 10
5 Reading 26 14 4 8 46 2
6 Sheff Wed 27 13 6 8 45 5
7 Derby County 27 12 7 8 43 6
8 Barnsley 27 12 5 10 41 5
9 Fulham 26 10 10 6 40 13
10 Norwich 27 12 4 11 40 5
11 Preston 27 11 7 9 40 3
12 Birmingham 27 9 10 8 37 -5
13 Aston Villa 27 8 12 7 36 1
14 Ipswich 27 9 7 11 34 -5
15 Brentford 27 9 6 12 33 -1
16 Cardiff 26 9 6 11 33 -9
17 Q.P.R. 27 9 6 12 33 -11
18 Wolves 27 8 8 11 32 -3
19 Forest 27 8 6 13 30 -7
20 Bristol City 27 8 3 16 27 -4
21 Wigan 27 6 7 14 25 -8
22 Burton 27 6 7 14 25 -11
23 Blackburn 27 6 7 14 25 -12
24 Rotherham 27 4 4 19 16 -33
Vital Football Comment
Latest F1 News
Rosberg lacked passion for F1
Latest Vital Boxing News
Hughie Fury Set to Get His Chance
Write for Vital Football

Recent Aston Villa Results (view all)

Aston Villa Fixtures (view all)

Jan 28 2017 3:00PM : Bristol City (H)
Sky Bet Championship
Jan 31 2017 7:45PM : Brentford (a)
Sky Bet Championship
Feb 4 2017 5:30PM : Nottingham Forest (a)
Sky Bet Championship
Feb 11 2017 3:00PM : Ipswich Town (H)
Sky Bet Championship
Feb 14 2017 7:45PM : Barnsley (H)
Sky Bet Championship
Feb 20 2017 8:00PM : Newcastle United (a)
Sky Bet Championship

Vital Members League Table

1.The Fear519
7.Melon Donkey170
The Vital Football Members League