Something For The Weekend (401)
There was the strong stench of schadenfreude in the air this week, as the reek of Democratic triumphalism crossed the Atlantic, after they put their guy in the Whitehouse for a second term. This probably doesn't matter much to us Brits, except that we know who we are supposed to be sucking up to for the next four years, and it is generally understood, that when you are required to suck up, it is essential to get the name right.
What has this to do with football, you might ask.
Well, what with seeing those sick-looking Republicans all over Fox News, after they got their butts kicked big time, I was left wondering how they are going to cope with their disappointment and more importantly, how I was going to cope with my own, as Villa prepare to welcome Man United this weekend and face what has come to be a traditional and ritualistic evisceration of Villa's dreams and delusions grandeur, which was only joyfully but temporarily discontinued, during that brief period when Villa's owner knew the meaning of ambition.
These days a victory over United looks more unlikely for Villa than at any time, and what with United tending to field a strikeforce of Rooney, Hernández and RVP, Villa's defence look set for an evening of torment, to say the least.
So it looks like it will be just a matter of keeping the score down, and it seems that Villans will be left to seek comfort come Saturday night, to soothe their souls. Taking my lead from America, which, if the size of the portions of comfort-food they serve up is anything to go by, must be a place where disappointments are huge, I shall be stocking up on gourmet burgers, Häagen-Dazs Belgian Chocolate and an appropriate amount of pain-killing booze.
Only overweight Villa fans in Boston, can tell us whether these burgers are capable of comforting a disappointed Villan, or not.
Of course, miracles do happen, as we witnessed this week, as Celtic joined that elite coterie of special clubs, which can claim to have beaten Barcelona in serious and meaningful competition. A club, as the young folk will need reminding, which Villa are proud members.
So for the wrinklies who, sort of take Villa's former greatness for granted, they couldn't help but feel a little surprised at Celtic's lachrymose reaction to their victory, but it certainly offered insights into the Celtic fans' view of themselves, which perhaps mere Sassenach's can't possibly understand. Of course, there were plenty of Faces fans who would have seen Rod Stewart in tears and been reminded of their own when they first heard Da Ya Think I'm Sexy?
Such occasions do tend to remind people of how great they once were and how humble they have become, and maybe Villa fans will enjoy such a moment when, like back in 1971, Villa tears at Wembley marked the turning of both ambitions and in fortunes.
There were certainly lessons to be learned and consolations to be had for Villa in Celtic's fine performance, in that the stand-out performance of Victor Wanyama, who Celtic picked up f£900k, indicated that there are still bargains to be had, in a bonkers transfer market. Everyone, north and south, is talking the lad up these days and even if his link with Man United is a creative fiction, he looks like he's made of the right stuff. So for those of us who despair at Villa's obsession with dealing with the lower end of the market, players like Victor Wanyama offer Paul Lambert some vindication and the fans a little hope.
We can only hope that Siralex, underestimates Villa this week and we can enjoy our own Barcelona moment, come Saturday teatime. Very often Ferguson sends out a team based upon his assessment of the opposition, which he's done several times against Villa, and sadly he rarely gets it wrong. If he has a particularly low opinion of a team, he will usually rest his big-guns on the bench and bring them on late to reverse any advantage the opposition has managed to carve out, as he did, when he famously brought on Ruud Van Nistelrooy, when Villa looked likely to knock United out of the Cup many years ago.
So if Ferguson follows this tradition and decides to rest his strikers after their trip to Portugal this week, Villa might find themselves in the position where they only have to resist the full force of United for the last twenty minutes, which offers the hope that they can hold out for a draw or keep the score at least respectable. Obviously, Ghastly Young will be throwing himself all over Villa's penalty area to get a penalty, which the Man United factor will ensure is given, but if they start the game with their heads right, I don't think it is beyond Villa to get a point.
But By Jove, they will all have to work hard and so it will definitely be a case of run boy run:
Keep the faith!