Something For The Weekend (248)
Well, actually, despite Midge Ure's plaintive reassurances, it did - matter that is. Going one-nil down in the first minute, seems to substantiate more than a few claims this week, that Villa are in deep doo-doo and that no matter how much fairy-dust the optimists sprinkle, things look rather less than great.
Wigan's two-nil win on Saturday hardly provided much evidence to the contrary. Two shots for Villa over ninety minutes, was not exactly much to write home about and even if we assume Hugo Rodallega's goal-scoring might fade with autumn sun, the Koumas killer, from Villa's ever-vulnerable right flank, hardly provided much in the way of a fig leaf for covering up Villa's exposed and withering parts.
The withered meat and two veg in question seems to consist of a doubtful defence, a less than dynamic midfield and a goal-shy set of forwards. Martin O'Neill's apparent estrangement with John Carew and blind affection for Emile Heskey, hardly seem to offer the promise of greater things to come. And, rumour has it, that Gabby me babby, opened a pie shop during the summer and has put himself in charge of quality-control.
In the meantime, the Villa fans and the squad still await the signing of the catalyst, which is going to get them uttering to themselves, 'It looks like we have something here', which will bring back the spark which went missing in January, when perhaps a certain someone confirmed he would be leaving.
No player has emerged on the park or in the dressing-room, to replace Gareth Barry, and as deep as our disappointment may be, that he chose the Manchester shekel, if we believed him to be as great as we kept saying he was, then that void will take some filling.
Someone will step up, as a new pecking-order emerges, but as yet no one has become the team's talisman of calm confident professionalism, which Barry obviously was and who other players took their cue from.
Its enough to turn a man to drink.
But as ever, as soon as you get anything like a good sulk going, some paragon of perfectitude comes along, fails, looks uncomfortably human, and ruins the perfect basis for your self-pity. Which is rather less fun than a first class pout. And, who really wants to be all gown-up, when your team has just lost - twice in a row?
So it was with mixed feelings that I watched Everton's annihilation by Arsenal, after David Moyes allowed a personal battle with Joleon Lescott, to ruin his plans for the day and put into question his reputation as the best manager in the Premiership.
By the time Manchester United had made Birmingham City look good and Liverpool had been stuffed by Spurs, things were looking less glum.
I even managed quite a broad grin, when I saw a team in claret and blue beat Man United, and with my glasses off, I could easily pretend it was Villa, when Robbie Blake smashed his volley into the roof of United's net. By the way I celebrated, you would have thought it actually was.
So it was a week of shock-results and it seemed that a theme had emerged, which only the congenitally sulky could ignore: all the teams who had been on the wrong end of the shock, had suffered, or were about to suffer, the loss of a player crucial to the way they play. United lost Ronaldo, Villa lost Barry, Liverpool lost Xabi Alonso, and Everton were facing up to the fact that they will lose Lescott. So even the so-called top teams, struggle when their best players leave. No shit Sherlock, seems to be the only worthwhile riposte.
Just the natural result of the after-shocks of the summer's big money-go-round, then?.
But sulking or smiling, I am not kidding myself. Villa seem to have more than a few troubles which might be accounted for by the departure of a single player and the injury to Davies, makes O'Neill's need for a top quality centre-back even more urgent and the Villa gaffer better get his finger out because if Moyes ends up with £22m to spend, when Lescott goes, then Villa are likely to lose any bidding war which might ensue.
Upson looks expensive at £12m but sometimes its a case of needs must.
But even so, with a week to go until the end of the transfer-window, I might have ceased my sulking but I am not exactly the cock-eyed optimist, not by a long chalk.
Of course the only thing to do in such times, is to think about the past. Look at Burnley and think of Andy Lochhead. Find those blurry pixelated films on YouTube of past goals and past glories and just hope to avoid too much talk of, 'Too good to go down'.
For all those disillusioned with the money-polluted modern game and for those who wish to dwell on the comforts of Villa's former greatness, then there is no greater source of pleasure than the brand new history of Villa which has just come out, in a very limited edition, called The Aston Villa Chronicles, written with love and undying devotion by Villa's very own official historian, John Lerwill.
From the evidence at hand it looks like we will all need something comforting to get us through those long winter nights and two volumes of cosy former glories might just do the job.
In the meantime, we can only hope that Martin O'Neill is every bit as magic as we used to think he was.
Keep the faith!
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