Don't worry De la Cruz is safe and well and so are the Villa
Posted on the 21st September 2012 in the category sport


I’ve fallen in love with football again, and by extension Aston Villa Football Club.
Sick to death of moaning fans, the uncompetitive Premier League and the unspeakable truth that my club will never win the league again unless a man with questionable morals buys the club I headed down the Amazon to get away from it all.
But on a boat on South America’s River Napo I remembered why football is the best game on the planet.
Despite the punishing schedule the captain and crew of our ship The Manatee decided to park up next to the jungle to pick up a satellite signal so they could watch the crunch South American World Cup match between Ecuador and Bolivia.
The battle of the high altitude nations proved a barnstormer of the match and though I can’t understand Spanish the commentary made it even more exciting as did the screaming and shouting around me.
After 70 minutes of dominating the game Ecuador won a questionable penalty and my new Ecuadorean friends went bananas, when it was converted the boat rocked more than when a job lot of honeymooners booked out the cabins.
Being a Villa fan it took me less than a minute to tell these hardy sailors that Ulises De La Cruz was still remembered fondly in Birmingham. He was my kind of player, tried his hardest, made mistakes but was also capable of  flashes of brilliance.
One minute he’d look as if he had superglue on his feet as he dribbled past three dazzled players and then the next it was if his boots were made of teak as the ball bounced off his feet into the Witton Lane Stand.
Well Villa fans will be pleased to know he is still playing and is Quito’s Playa de Liga’s midfield general in a side that is pushing the top of the league, what a championship that must be for him to be running the show in the centre of the park.
After watching a scratchy stream of the Swansea game at 7,000 feet up in the Andes I realised the Villa have got another player in the mould of De La Cruz, Daley, Atkinson, Chico Hamilton et al.
Our new striker Benteke will be a joy to watch, he is going to mix the sublime and the ridiculous within minutes and I’m sure some Villa moaners will grumble he is not a gilded genius but I already like the fella. He seemed to miss an open goal one minute and then scored the next. After all who wants a player who has it all and will get nicked by Man Utd or Man City in January to warm their bench.
Nope this Benteke is a great fit. He’s going to be worth the admission fee alone. 
And after getting back into Brum I find all my fellow Villa fans filled with confidence at last. We are two games unbeaten after all. Ronny Concrete Vlaar has been made captain by canny Lambert which is fantastic for the club because he has cult hero written over him as well.
He reminds me of Andrew Fortescue Mullen Gray, he will put his head where angels fear to tread, we’ve been waiting for a club talisman for a while and I think we’ve finally found one.
Then of course there is the news today that Disaster Zone Warnock has been sent to partner Zat Knight in what will have to be one of the worst defences ever in football. 
We travel to Southampton tomorrow, and despite them having the world’s nicest manager, I’d buy double glazing off the fella if he knocked on my door, I hope we go through them like a dose of salts so we can march up the league and prove the relegation worriers wrong.
I’m going for a Lambert Lime Green Lions win, and if we don’t manage it then not to worry, we’ve plenty more games to win.
Up the Villa!   


Spain are great but leave Greatest of all All Time title to Brazil 1970 please.
Posted on the 1st September 2012 in the category sport

So this all-conquering Spanish team are the greatest of all time, Alan Shearer said they are so it must be true.

But really? The greatest of all time, that means they would be better than the Brazil team that won the World Cup in 1970.

A Brazilian team that is still the by-word for pure footballing joy 40 years after they played with such style and beauty.

For many watching on TV that Brazil was football in colour for the first time but even seeing them now you can see their talent shining through.

Which team would you pay to watch? This Spanish team or those Brazilians?

Obviously not right now because half of them are probably dead but you get my drift.

So many analysts say the Spanish would play that Brazilian team off the park because of fitness, technical ability and modern tactics.

I'm not one to play around with the space time continuum hence comparing the past with the present is often futile but are humans are really born with more skill in one generation than another?

If that Brazilian team had been around today they obviously would have benefited from all the new health regimes and Lucozade products on offer now.

However, whatever time frame the two teams would play in Pele and Jairzinho would still be the best players on the pitch by a country mile.

Of course football is about winning, but it is also about entertainment and that hope of seeing something jaw-droppingly brilliant.

That Brazilian team were not afraid to try the outrageous, two of Pele's finest moments in that World Cup were misses.

He tried the punt from the halfway line against the Czechs and then his unbelievable dummy of the Uruguay goal keeper, he didn't score with either but it didn't seem to matter.

Could you imagine one of Spanish players doing either of those audacious moves, even in the group stages or a friendly, nope they would play a ten yard diagonal pass, again.

It's like comparing a brand new BMW to a vintage Ferrari. Of course the new BMW has traction control, air conditioner and an Ipod fondler unlike the older car, but some things just have a bit of magic about them despite being technically inferior.

On Sunday night the hyperbole went out of control, Alan Hansen started it of with "you just run out of superlatives about this team."

Well when you've only got "brilliant" and "unbelievable" in your vocabulary that's going to happen Alan.

The Spanish are a great team but not the best ever, yet these days the pundits cannot bare for anything to be just "good" it has to be mindblowing.

They try and make us feel lucky to be alive to have been able to watch what just happened on the football pitch.

Compare Spain's World Cup victory to Brazil's and there is no contest

But in reality, the Euro final was not a great final, it was a no contest because the Italians were knackered and then went down to ten men just as they were trying to get back into the game.

Compare Spain's World Cup victory to Brazil's and there is no contest, Pele's men won every game of that World Cup and scored 19 goals in the process, a feat never repeated.

And don't forget that Brazil team scored one of the greatest goals ever scored when they beat one of the finest Italian sides ever (all 11 of them) in the final.

Eight of their players touched the ball in a move which started by their own box.

When Clodoaldo picked it up he dazzled four Italians, then passed to Rivelino who passed it down the wing to Jairzinho who zipped inside and gave the ball to Pele.

Then as Cantona said Pele produced the most beautiful lay off in the history of the game to a freight train coming out of camera shot who drives it into the corner of the net.

How many school children and grown men have tried to emulate Carlos Alberto's diagonal master blaster?

Leave all this greatest of all time lark alone please

There are still windows, gates and fences being broken across the world due to footballers trying to nail that technique.

I'm not knocking the Spanish, of course they are the best team in the world now but leave all this greatest of all time lark alone please.

I bet they are even embarrassed by it.

When were they last involved in a truly great game?

They are the kings of the clean sheet and one nil win, an unstoppable footballing machine.

This Spanish team is like a beautiful woman who is crap in bed, after spending two hours in their company you come away feeling disappointed because you know it could have been better.

And of course, you also know she has an even better sister in Barcelona.

Where as just a quickie on YouTube watching the 1970 Brazilian team is life-affirming, joyous and gives you a glimpse of everything that football could and should be.

Go on just try it and you'll see what I mean, you'll get a warm glow.


The Truth about Premier League PR Twaddle.
Posted on the 31st August 2012 in the category sport

Aston Villa Football Club released a statement on behalf of American owner Randy Lerner and Paul Faulkner after tens of thousands of Brummies screamed for a change of manager.

They didn't write it themselves obviously, someone from the public relations or marketing department would have stuck it under their nose as they discussed stocks and shares.

But they would have probably approved it.

Obviously it is written in a language that no-one speaks or talks, especially no-one in Birmingham, it is PR-speak and I am going to try and help you understand what the words in the statement really mean.

"Right now everyone connected with Villa is hurting badly."

Ok, we heard your foulmouth chants last night loud and clear, however, at least you came what is really hurting our wallet is the ten thousand fans that could not even be bothered to pay to watch the game.

"A win was in sight last night against Bolton after a strong start and the tenacity the team displayed, although ultimately we weren't able to hold on for the points."

This sentence has been written for the benefit of fans who are so stupid they need to be told in flowery language what happens when the team goes one up and then subsequently loses 2-1.

"We very openly acknowledge the frustrations of Villa fans and share in them completely."

We know that Alex McLeish is rubbish. We understand why you think he is rubbish, we've just looked at the EPL table and it appears we are in deep trouble. We feel your pain, we have said that and we know your pain is the manager so he will be sacked when the season ends.

"What matters to us and the Board at this moment is how we, as a Club, handle adversity and the pressure it brings."

What matters to us is our balance sheet and going down to the Championship will mean all the hours Paul Faulkner spent compiling spreadsheets will have been wasted. Also notice our use of renegade capital letters, we are down with the kids man. Also in the first draft the word 'pressure' was actually 'panic' but we did not want to acknowledge that this is what everyone connected with Aston Villa is doing right now.

"Our horizon is the next three games and we continue to be in control of our own destiny."

Change the word 'games' to 'days' and you will notice this entire sentence has been lifted from the lyrics of Bon Jovi's 1986 smash hit Livin on a Prayer.

"Young players side-by-side with more senior players are fighting hard for the Club."

Obviously that is the senior players not crocked, on loan or sold. Our academy has saved us again, these homegrown players are fantastically cheap to pay, and by the way Barry Bannan and Carlos Cueller don't half look strange together side by side.

"They are now preparing for West Brom followed by Spurs and Norwich."

This sentence is for those fans who are so stupid they don't know what teams the most important three games this decade are against. It is also designed to soothe any worries that our players are too busy getting people pregnant, eating Nandos, having tattoos and playing on the PS3 to care about winning a football match.

"We will continue to support and rely on our manager and the squad and therefore give them our full support."

Have you noticed how long we have gone without mentioning the manager, and as a tactile nod to how annoyed with him we can not even bring ourselves to mention him by name. And notice the word 'rely' and not 'fully back' or have 'confidence', nope just rely. We are sure a lot of you people rely on the bus to get to work and nobody wants to get the bus to work, you want a car.

"We are totally conscious, as is everyone at the Club, that this is a very trying time for those who love Aston Villa."

This sentence is exactly the same as the first paragraph but written with different words.

"We know that the team will continue to fight through every minute of the remaining games and we hope Villa fans will continue to show their great support."

This is going to be fight. And not a case of winning the next game and being safe because this group of players is sinking faster than the Costa Concordia (see how modern we are not mentioning the Titanic).

This is not going to be easy. And rest assured the players have been reminded that a game lasts 90 minutes something that seems to have escaped them for the last nine months.

Obviously when we use the word 'great' we mean awful because last night our scared to death young team needed support in the most important 15 minutes of the seson and all fans did was question what Alex does when his wife is on holiday. Can not you be just a little bit grateful of all the money Randolph has put in this club, the Holte pub is even open once in a blue moon because of him.

Why can't you be like Newcastle fans who blindly love their club even when it rips them off left, right and centre.




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