Something For The Weekend (393)
Now they're going to believe us
Now they're going to believe us.......
Although most of us already knew it was a cover-up, it was still a very poignant moment this week, when the facts about the Hillsborough disaster were published and the sheer depth of the deception and intrigue was revealed.
This is not the place to rehash the politics of the 1980's but the whole thing seems not untypical of the political brutality of that time.
The people of Liverpool are due their congratulations for sticking with their demand for justice in the face of the usual accusations levelled at those who refuse to forget what is commercially or politically inconvenient. Its just a sad indictment of our system that those who endured sad loss and such vile poisonous lies, have had to wait 23 years for the truth to come out. It seems that enough of the guilty are either dead or in la-la land, to make it possible.
We might take satisfaction in the truth but there is no consolation for the tragedy, which we are told now could have been avoided.
Not as though Hillsborough was the story which dominated the sports pages, this week. That was Rooney's new book, which invaded every corner of the media and was considered compulsory viewing for anyone watching the BBC. Its all to make sure it appears on everyone's Christmas list, or to be more accurate, will be available in bulk at your local charity shop some time in February. Not as though the media are doing Rooney a favour because he will have had his substantial advance already, which just leaves the publishers in the desperate position of trying to flog enough copies to get their money back.
Talking of which, I think maybe those England fans who paid out their hard-earned to see Hodgson's boys play Ukraine on Tuesday, might be demanding their money back. From the bit I saw of the game - mainly over the shoulder of a fellow boozer - they looked pretty dire, and the rhythm and verve which they showed in their five-nil romp against Moldova completely evaporated once Jermain Defoe's brilliant strike had been disallowed for neck-scratching.
Once Ukraine had scored their fine goal, which was not dissimilar to the one Villa conceded against Newcastle, with identical defending, England lost belief entirely, as they were collectively possessed by what George Michael would have described as, feeling guilty, got no rhythm. And they were guilty of both, by the luck of it.
Happily, the referee took pity on them and much to Oleh Blokhin's chagrin, gave England a penalty to save the host's face and allow Frank Lampard to reacquaint himself with the what it feels like to feel gratitude from the nation, while Steven Gerrard had his feeling confirmed that he's not having the best start to the season, by getting himself sent-off.
Only Wales losing 6-1 made England's week look respectable.
For Villa fans the week was just a matter of counting down to Saturday's encounter with Swansea, and the prospect of being offered more evidence as to the present state of the club and future expectations. The fans took a lot of encouragement from the convincing performance at Newcastle, and they are now waiting to see if they can do it at home against a lesser team than the Toon.
The dread is, that they won't.
The question is whether Paul Lambert will set his team up to play Swansea at their own game - passing - or does he pack the midfield to harry and chase the Jacks out of countenance, and try and hit them on the break? Will he try to bypass the midfield by playing new 6ft 5in signing Christian Benteke and hit it long, in the hope that Darren Bent can profit from the second-ball?
Or, does he attempt to exploit Swansea's inexperience at the back by unleashing Gabby's pace?
It is very strange to have to admit that Villa look like the underdogs in this fixture, with Swansea's well-oiled machine trumping Villa's superior resources. Swansea tend to score these days but are in the habit of conceding too. So a score-draw looks the most likely and as long as the performance indicates that Lambert's boys are progressing, I don't think the Villa fans will be too unhappy with a point.
Obviously, a win would rocket Villa up the table and suddenly make Villa's world seem very rosy, but somehow it seems too early in the season to expect such unbounded joy.
Anything less than a point would be unacceptable and instantly plunge Villa back into the gloom of last season. Its not a game which should excite indifference. This is a big game for Villa.
In Lambert we may trust but get something we must.
Keep the faith!