Something For The Weekend (244)
Some may consider it a sign of Villa's improved status that they were invited to participate in a tournament, which includes the likes of Juventus and Real Madrid. Others might think that the Korean organisers, like Tom Hanks, might have been under the impression that Aston Villa was a team from Spain. But whatever it was that got them there, it sure beats a rainy pre-season trip to Walsall for glamour and the possibility of prize-money. Even if Villa's chances of winning the two million Euros on offer, are as likely as wondering into a bar in Tipton and finding that its Flamenco Night.
Despite their slender chances, playing in Spanish heat surely must be preferable to donning a sweat-suit and being desired to run up and down a hill, or three, of Ron Saunder's choosing. And surely, Malaga in the middle of August is likely to offer bigger temptations to the players, and therefore a better test of their professionalism, than a trip to Ragged-arse Rovers.
No doubt, Martin O'Neill will equip himself with a cattle-prod, so he can persuade his boys to walk on, whenever they are confronted with bar signs offering the delights of a full English Roast.
This may not be that easy as most of the games kick-off late at night (some at 2230), which means the players have to hang around all day, trying to deal with the heat and their hormones, as the tormenting pheromones drift sweetly along Calle Larios. Keeping them suitably occupied and chaste may take up more of MON's time than the football.
With that in mind, I might suggest he takes them along to the Picasso exhibition and get them to find the painting, which looks the most like Peter Beardsley. They actually all do.
Despite all this, the Peace Cup, offers a far better start to a season than the leg-sapping rigours of the Inter Toto tragedy.
Okay, its not exactly what you might call, entirely beyond reproach, but I can see the parallels between the Unification Church (the Peace Cup's sponsors) and modern football.
First off, both involve the induction of the desperate into a personality cult, with religious or quasi-religious accoutrements. Secondly, those invited into the cult tend to end up with less money, while those in charge of the cult, live a life of luxury and privilege and whose life-styles are frequently described as lavish.
The similarities are just too many to be ignored.
No football fan can really make the boast, with any sort of confidence, that they have not been the subject of brainwashing and indeed people like Adrian Chiles, write books to tell the world, how brainwashed they are and suppose the resulting enslavement, to be all rather charming.
Football as far as I know, has never been accused of defrauding Japanese pensioners of their savings but football does sell dreams under false pretences and many a victim has shuffled off their mortal coil, in the knowledge that they were had.
So it is not entirely inappropriate that a bunch of cults should find common ground.
For me, whenever I think of pre-season games in Spain, I always think of Gordon Cowans and his shattered leg, and so whether they bring back prize-money or not, I just hope they arrive home unscathed
in body and reputation. But thoughts of the assault on Super Sid always make me melancholic.
Sing it for me Bob:
Obviously with Villa's transfer business running a bit slow, they can't really afford to lose anyone through injury or Red-top rage and so should any of the teams have players with nicknames anything like El
carnicero de Seville, el asesino,or, Mierda que Golpea al Diablo con el Pie, Martin should almost certainly rest his best players.
Things aren't what they were and back in the Nineties Big Ron managed to sign half a team in what seemed like a fortnight. How times have changed. But some things were better back then, even the telly, and just to remind people what men did before Viagra was invented, here's what Dad watched before going to bed, presuming Villa weren't on Match of The Day. There are actually people, who owe their entire
existence to Benny Hill.
As you can see; all done in the best possible taste.
The other thing which was better back then, was that players could have a punch-up in their local hostelry and there were no cameras to catch the details and then get played ad nauseum on the news, like it was interesting or something.
Just this week we have had to sit through endless replays of Steven Gerrard punching some member of the public and then act surprised when he was found not guilty by a jury of Scousers. How boring is that? How surprising is that? It was obvious that the England and Liverpool millionaire was only defending himself. Its well known in boxing circles that the upper-cut is fundamental to defensive technique. And when he was being held back by his mates, all he wanted to do, was to go back and show the bloke a lot more of his defensive punches.
I bet Joey Barton feels rather aggrieved, as he must have offered a similar explanation for his own, defensive head-butt, his defensive kick in the gonads, and his defensive kicks in the head, when he last found
himself in court. Joey, might conclude, that when it comes to defending yourself against a charge of affray, its always best to have an expensive barrister, a hand-picked jury of Liverpool fans and an imminent World Cup. Otherwise you are just another Joey B and not an honourable O. J. Gerrard.
The judge, declared that Gerrard's reputation was intact and we can assume he meant that his credentials as a real Scouser are still what they always were. I'd say his Scouse reputation has been enhanced.
The only mystery, is whether during the punch-up, anyone told anyone else, to calm down.
Now lets look at Tyson demonstrating the defensive upper-cut.
Let there be Peace and let Villa's cup overfloweth.