Aston Villa Preview

Everton V Aston Villa-1285281

‘Yeah, so they have offered me a new contract, which is fantastic. I’m going to go in and sign it on Monday. You’re stripes.’

‘Woah, steady on son. Are you sure?’

‘Definitely, even more money for doing the same job, why wouldn’t I?’

‘I think you are being hasty there, to be honest. Two shots.’

‘Seriously? Is it two shots carry or the old rules? Right, thought so. Anyway, it’s just more dough and the guarantee of an even bigger pay-off if it all finally goes tits up. A no-brainer, surely?’

‘Well, that’s one way of looking at it.’

‘And what’s the other?’

‘I just think you need to keep your options open. Unlucky.’

‘We’re talking about thousands of pounds a week here though, you know.’

‘I know, I know. From the D, not anywhere behind the line, we’re not savages. None of that only play down the table bollocks though. It’s just I think there will be a bigger club in for you this summer.’

‘Do you?’

‘I do, yeah. Get in!’

‘Nice, nice shot. Who do you reckon then?’

Hang on, we’ve not really set this up properly have we, it’s David Moyes and Alex Ferguson and they are playing a game of pool round at Ferguson’s house here. Sorry about that, it’s sort of ruined now, but we’re in this far so we might as well plough on with the whole conceit otherwise we’re just going to be all ‘Christian Benteke is likely to start after injury’ and you’ll be all ‘well, what about the danger posed by the pace of Gabriel Agbonlahor on the break?’ and we’ll be well, yeah, and then we’ll be sort of ‘ooh, remember that game the other year when we scored them goals and everything’ and then it will be all ‘both teams will see this as a decent test of their credentials’ and that. Maybe a prediction of the score – these are always, by law, 2-1.

So anyway, back to this game of pool. Hang on, this was a while ago as well, when Moyes was still Everton manager, but you probably got that didn’t you. Anyway, crack on, do the wobbly Scooby Do / Wayne’s World thing and return to the story. Well, we say story, it’s not really going anywhere to be honest. There’s no real narrative arc and there is certainly no climax or punchline.

We’re just warning you now.

So, like we said, this game of pool. To be honest, it didn’t have to be a game of pool, it could have been any activity really – in old stage plays set in one room they used to have people getting up and making drinks all the time, just to provide some physical action to accompany the dialogue. But for the sake of this it is a game of pool.

We could have Moyes potting most of his balls early doors and then trying endlessly to roll up behind the black instead of finishing the game off, and Ferguson storming back and winning in the end because he is naturally the more daring and aggressive man. But that would be trite and a little bit obvious. This thing’s going to rumble on and be shite in a different manner to that altogether.

So, they’re playing pool and everything. And like we said, it doesn’t have to be pool, but it is pool, so just imagine they’re playing pool. He’d have them pictures on the wall Ferguson wouldn’t he, of the dogs all hustling at pool and playing poker. And probably a photo of him and Stephen Hendry both cueing up and grinning at the camera, because he’s met every bleeder hasn’t he, especially if they’re Scottish. Anyway, him and Moyes are playing pool. In Ferguson’s house. Around about the beginning of this year. Ferguson’s just told Moyes that he thinks he shouldn’t sign a new deal with Everton. But you’ve read all that already. Anyway, here we go.

The overwhelming temptation is do one final little infuriating diversion here but the whole thing is really wearing thin, so we won’t.

Although that’s kind of the joke, it wearing thin, and then doing it anyway.

So, this game of pool.

‘Oh go on Alex, who do you reckon?’

‘I couldn’t possibly comment, but just let’s say that a little bird has told me that you stand a very good chance of getting one of the top jobs in the game. That’s all I’m saying.’

We’re going to dispense with all the pool shot comments now, so just imagine they are playing pool while they are talking from here on in.

‘Oh come on! You can’t do that, tell me I’m in line for a top job but not which one it is! I’d rather you not tell me at all than do that.’

‘I know, I know. Let’s just say it’s one that wouldn’t require you to move house and just leave it at that.’

Right, now, the temptation here is to make out that he thinks it’s City, just to hammer home the point that the idea of this conversation that the two are meant to have had according to Ferguson’s book, where he told Moyes to hang fire without explicitly offering him the United job, is slightly ludicrous. But that just feels a bit pantomime. So instead we ask you now to pretend that Ferguson has, using his ‘mind games’, brought the conversation around to a point whereby he wants to know what Moyes would do if he got one of the top jobs, like United for instance, just hypothetically speaking. Seriously, we’ve saved everyone a lot of pain by just moving it on like that.

‘Oh well, obviously I’d need the Think Tank with me.’

‘The Think Tank?’

‘Yeah, the Brains Trust. Roundy, Neville and Chris Woods. I’m nothing without those guys. What do they say, behind every great manager there’s a James Milner-looking little fella who looks like his aunty cuts his hair! But seriously, if I wanted to break that glass ceiling and push on and compete with the best in Europe I’d need the three amigos.’

‘Even Woods?’

‘Oh yes, definitely.’

‘How’s that weird inner-ear balance thing that disrupted his playing career?’

‘He’s more or less over it completely. He says the headset helps.’

Honestly, bail here if you like, no one will think any less of you.

‘Interesting. And what about players? What sort do you think that, er, I will need to strengthen my squad next season?’

‘That’s easy Alex. A top, top chester of the ball, you’re crying out for one. If you see one on the market you should break the bank, even if it means getting in a bidding war with just yourself.’

It would help if we could somehow get them discussing other managers here, but again it would be a bit laborious so we will just cut straight to the point we want to make, and that’s how hot and tired Villa boss Paul Lambert looks. He’s almost as sweaty as Roberto Martinez, his shirts are always a bit rumpled and his glasses make the bridge of his nose look dead sore and in need of a rub. It’s a look that says ‘Mersey Rail ticket inspector who, in between stops, still briefly daydreams about becoming an architect and designing award-winning suspension bridges and cathedral-like airport terminals’.

And at this point the game ends in acrimony as Moyes pots the black but fails to name his pocket.

‘My house, my rules.’

You were warned.

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