Something For The Weekend (246)
Villa actually signed a player this week and by all reports, he had full use of both his legs. The trouble is, that Villa lost a player too, as midfield man-of-steel-and-rock, Stiliyan Petrov, became unavailable after dislocating his shoulder. So, as far as numbers are concerned, we remain where we were.
And judging by reports of the new boy's first training session, he introduced himself to the whole squad by kicking each and every one of them, in a most professional manner, and any he missed this time round, he has assured us, he will kick the next time. So it has to be assumed that there is a certain risk that other players might join Downing and Petrov on the treatment table, after they encounter Villa's feisty new boy .
I've seen the footage on YouTube, which shows the lad scoring some spectacular goals but when it comes to midfield players, my wish-list would be for a combination of the attributes of Cesc Fābregas and Patrick Vieira, while having the Villa heart of Ian Kenneth Taylor.
But the chances are that if I'd come across him in some computer football management game, I would have signed him for his name alone, anyway. F-a-b-i-a-n D-e-l-p-h, just roll it round your mouth, its a fabulous name and if you saw it on the label of anything, you would know you would be buying a top brand. So my guess, is that if he does as well as some people are suggesting, the name of Fabian Delph, is coming to a pair of designer underpants, near you, very soon.
Looking at the present Villa squad, I think you could make the case that, MON might actually share my habit of building teams from names that induce a mellifluous delight in the speaker. What with Salifou, Agbonlahor and the honeyed Delfouneso, O'Neill is well on his way to building a team of muses and Apollos.
But poetic yearnings aside, he looks like a good lad and his cool demeanour and Yorkshire accent give him, a certain amount of mature northern grit and gravitas. He said all the right things during his TV interview (BBC) and scaled the silly hurdles about Man City, with cool aplomb. He was generous to his old team-mates and looks like his main problem will be avoiding too many yellow cards, amongst the divers, feigners and acrobats of the Premiership, should he force his way into the team.
Obviously, kicking his colleagues might make his entry into the team, all the more easier.
But a big hearty welcome to Fabian and let's hope that he gets the chance to prove that Leeds United, have forgiven Villa for selling them Brendon Ormsby.
In the meantime, back on the sofa in Rancho Deluxe, I have been forced to try and save face, after my rather glib dismissal of Villa's chances of winning the Peace cup. My carping doubt was blown to smithereens, last week, when they not only reached the final, which I had pooh-poohed as highly unlikely, in a sarcastic and derisory fashion, but they actually won the damned thing and walked away with three golden balls for Ashley Young (which takes some explaining) and a cheque for E2,000,000.
The only disappointment was that I never got to use the headline, 'Albrighton the Night', because some bugger on Vital Villa got there first. Anyway, it was a tremendous shock to me and possibly to Juventus as well, as Villa's team of men and boys, not only kept Italian goal-scoring legend Del Piero at bay, they kept their bottle to win the penalty shoot-out.
All Boy's Own stuff.
Ģ1.7m pound is a tasty bit of cash, even for a club the size of Villa, but the big prize for most Villa fans was that it was the sort of performance which brought the sort of good news, they have waited a long time for. The will to win, which seemed to have gone missing in January, seems to have returned.
So as we enter the last week before the new season starts, I feel a little more optimistic but not exactly sanguine about Villa's chances of equalling last season's finish. Martin O'Neill seems very cautious but I suspect he is far more confident about his team than he is quite letting on. When he acknowledged that it is going to be difficult for Villa, I think he was hinting, that its going to be difficult for the other buggers too; which is something most of us bar-room pontificators tend to overlook.
Its probably just wishful-thinking on my part but when I looked into Martin's face, during his BBC interview, he looked like a man without a doubt in the world, that he has a very good team.
I was certainly lifted by the confidence which seemed to flicker vaguely behind his deadpan expression.
Anyway, talking about wishful-thinking, he's a reminder of the sort of wishful-thinking we used to do, back in the Seventies.
Keep the faith!