Something For The Weekend (234)
Its been a wonderful week to be a Villa fan, as the accolades have been showered upon our boys and while the Premiership elite have been kicking lumps off each other in Europe (mainly Barcelona actually), there have been plenty of smiley photos of our Villa favourites receiving praise and awards in equal measure.
I got a bigger lump in my throat than Linda Lovelace.
First it was the PFA awards which featured Ashley Young standing next to Ryan Giggs and then we had the chance to pat the Villa reserves on the back for retaining (yes retaining) their league title. Kevin McDonald, whom as an honorary scouser and echt Scotsman, fulfils all the magic ingredients required by Villa precedent and tradition, for Villa greatness, and even enjoys the required Irish connection, via Stan Staunton (AKA the God squad), deserves every Villan's praise and gratitude.
Nice job - Kevo!
All the Villa lads look to have a future in the game and it is now up to them and the gods, to decide at what level. Keeping focused and nurturing their precious talent with the respect it deserves, as they negotiate the temptations and distractions of a young footballer's life, remain the perennial problem.
With young Ashley getting his award, they can see what is possible and how Villa is a good place to make it happen.
It has been a tremendous achievement by Ashley Young, as he's had to deal with a few rejections and set-backs over his short career and he's also had to live with being the second most famous old-boy at his school, as Lewis Hamilton was in the same year. Now imagine that. Every time he does anything his Mother is going to say to him, 'Why can't you be more like Lewis?'. And every time his school ask him to give a talk on speech day, he's going to be asking himself whether they asked Hamilton first. He's even got to compete to find a girlfriend who comes (sic) higher than number 22 in Maxim's Hot 100 (Nicole Scherzinger).
Its a tough life.
Here's the Undertones to remind us what its all about:
There was also much debate about how come Ryan Giggs ended up on the rostrum, after never starting a game for United. I personally would have given it to Vidic but as Ryan is possibly the least obnoxious United player and almost certainly the hairiest, its hard to begrudge him an award, even if its only Hot Wax magazine's Epilator of The Year. Rumour has it, that he's even hairier these days, than he was when he scored his legendary FA cup goal at Villa Park against Arsenal. I am told that after a game he doesn't take a shower, he gets dry-cleaned.
Martin O'Neill was in the news too, after he sued a website for impugning his reputation over the Barry Liverpool transfer saga. Quite right too. But if there was any justice, by the same logic, he should donate some of that money to those who have praised him liberally, even on those rare occasions when he's not quite deserved it. So I will be sending my begging letter as soon as I can remember to buy a stamp.
He got another mention too, which had me chuckling, because it proved once again that you can never take Martin quite literally. He was saying what a tremendous addition to the Premiership the Old Firm would be, or, so they thought and so they reported. But what he seemed to be actually saying, is that with Celtic having a ground which could easily be expanded to accommodate 80 000 fans, they, with a substantial slice of Premiership TV money, could become a giant over night and could compete with and possibly eclipse, the top 4. Would Celtic want this? Possibly. Would the television audience want it? Absolutely. Would all English Premiership clubs want it? I doubt it.
But what ever the opinions of those involved, it really looks like the meddlesome ignoramuses will not be prevented from tinkering with the Premiership, as they seem to have had the marvellous idea, that if they cut the golden goose in half, they will end up with two of them.
My real problem with the idea of a two tier Premiership is that Match Of The Day will go on for ever. It takes about an hour and a half right now and the idea of spending three hours listening to Hansen droning on, is just not appealing. Besides I am not sure old Wing Nut can sustain a smile for that long. The last hour would be dedicated to crap teams all playing out nil-nil draws.
However, although for many the Premiership is indeed a cross between a cash cow and a golden goose, it seems that some see it as a poisoned chalice. While Wolves are celebrating their championship of the Championship, won in the best possible way, it seems things are not so sweet at Birmingham City, where the want-away management seem to see promotion as more of curse than a thing to celebrate. And according to Neil Moxley (sue him not me), MD Brady is prone to make snide remarks about Alex McLeish's 32 man squad, which is not something a club needs when it is negotiating the nail-biting close of a crucial season.
So you can't help but wonder if Birmingham really want it.
Wolves have done really well and played superb quality football but they need reminding that the standards in the Premiership are substantially higher than the Championship. Certainly the Wolves fans need to raise their game and need to realise that we boo far better players in the Premiership than Andy Keogh and with no disrespect to McCarthy's big Irish striker, if they were giving away awards for the best player in the Midlands booed by his own fans, Andy would not get a look in. There is little doubt that that award would have to go to Villa's Agbonlahor, who despite being handed his first full England cap and coming second to Young in the PFA awards, he was not above been given the bird by his own fans. There's quality for you.
The standards of football, the appreciation of the game by the fans and the quality of the prawn sandwiches are all much higher in the Premiership.
Pump it up!