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Author Topic: Taken seriously  (Read 1021 times)

Online dave.woodhall

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Taken seriously
« on: October 28, 2020, 02:06:34 AM »






What if ten months ago you had been asked whether you would rather be in the stadium watching Villa struggle or sitting at home watching them win?

Don’t you just miss Saturday afternoon at the game? Perhaps the only thing to beat it is turning up for a night match. Scoring seven against the League and world champions while sitting on a settee at someone else’s house drinking his beer is not too bad, either.

On the other hand, watching us lose is no fun anywhere. The only good thing after the Leeds game was that I could go straight to bed and take a tablet rather than having to put up with two hours of night driving on top of yet another almighty sense of disappointment. And since you ask, yes, there are still traffic jams on the M6 at 11.00 at night.

I fear we may not even get round to balloted, photo-ID attendance this season but for now I get a far better deal than a mate who inexplicably bought a season ticket for Huddersfield Town. He complains, firstly, because they appear to be playing crap football and, secondly, because he has paid not to be able to watch them being crap. I think there is a logic in there somewhere.

Sadly, the TV experience carries the downside of having to suffer the pundits while the ’distance experience’ in general puts you at the mercy of press opinion. On balance the printed word has been a bit more favourable to us than the spoken one, probably because, unlike TV pundits, not all press reporters once played for Liverpool. I like the general acceptance that our transfer window this time was well executed, hopefully putting to bed the ‘panic waste’ tagline that followed us around like a bad smell last season. I am a bit less enthused by the ‘Back to the 80’s’ headline which described us and Everton being at the top; it was not meant to be entirely complimentary.

What comes out strongly on TV (yet again) is the extent to which many of the sport’s so-called experts are bemused by our cheek at having made a good start, while several self-evidently just do not like us. Losing 7-2 is doubtless more evidence to Lauro that a visit to Villa Park involves a return to the dark ages. Well, more of that, please.

Listening to the former LFC coterie that fill our screens, and reading the red diehards on the internet, a neutral could be convinced that our decent start to the season is all to do with players missing from other teams, long grass, VAR favouritism (there’s a first) and deflections. Whereas we obviously scored three lucky goals against them and the four legitimate ones didn’t count because they had players out injured I expect Liverpool’s well-worked wonder goal against Ajax could be summed up in the style of Jim Royle - deflection my arse. We were all over them’.

That 7-2 result also produced a welcome bit of brief press love for Jack but by the time he picked up Man of the Matchagainst Wales the hacks realised that things were getting out of hand and did what they always do.  By Sunday the big story was that he was "not the new Gascoigne". Thank The Lord for that, I say. The stage was then set for London media favourite Mason Mount to take his rightful place in the pantheon of greatness. With a deflected goal.

Although he is now officially not as daft as a brush, whether Jack will force his way into regular national reckoning remains to be seen and I must admit I am withdrawing from my previous opinion that Sir Gareth is an objective selector. A popular internet opinion appears to be that Jack will join the Le Tissier club of gifted players never to be picked regularly in an international team. You may remember a bloke named Brian Little being a member. Translated, this means a player wilfully overlooked because his natural ability is more entertaining and effective than his manager’s playing system. Funnily enough, Argentina never appeared to have held that against Messi.

If it is any consolation to our hero my milkman, a Villa fan, has just got himself a dog which he has named Jack. Not good for business, methinks, in our local community of lifelong Liverpool fans. It used to be a community of lifelong Manchester United fans, but you know how these things work.

Many of us thought the Leicester performance was, in its way, as good a marker as the Liverpool match. If lack of entertainment is the price you pay for a one goal away win against a long-term bogey team with pretensions of greatness, I will take it any week of the season. Anyway, when was the last time in the Premier League that a so-called top team, playing at home against a mob that nearly went down, set themselves up in a 7-1-1 to counter the threat presented by the away attackers? Happy Days.

But not quite. The Leeds match was a wake-up call made more difficult a) because I had to fork out to BT and b) because Robbie Savage was the co-commentator. Despite all that I am magnanimous in defeat. Leeds were well worth the points being easily the most complete and competitive team we have played this season and fair play to Macelo Bielsa who had us worked out (from video evidence only, of course). It is not the end of our world and it was not a humiliation, but it is an early test of the team’s character and perhaps, with appropriate reflection by all involved, we will be the better for it.

Anyway, watch this space because at time of writing our next opponents are the lot who have just ended Everton’s happy little trot.
Considering that two years ago this month we were fearful of a Championship relegation scrap the present league table is a joy to behold. Perhaps Sky’s scramble to get us signed up for as many ‘lives’ as possible is a sign that someone has woken up to us, or at least to our potential viewing figures. The bookies have also eased Deano out of their favourites for the sack race, so let us enjoy the moment.

Of course, Bielsa and Carlo Ancelloti are the official managerial star turns. I grudgingly accept that Everton’s latest Messiah has, for the moment, appeared to turn the proverbial pig’s arse into a silk purse but I was disturbed by his Wengeresque claim not to have seen’the Pickford horror tackle. What other part of the ground would he have been watching? With that in mind I hope Bielsa had his eyes on the action and has at least fined Patrick Bamford for his little tumble. After all, to the bemusement of the Leeds faithful, he famously pleaded "We stand for fairness above all else" when we had that little misunderstanding two seasons ago.

So, four unbeaten for starters was our best since 1930? Just for the record I had a look at who we beat. Firstly, some team from Salford 4-3 (a), then Sheffield Wednesday 2-0 (h), West Ham 6-1 (h) and, improbably, Grimsby Town 2-1 (a) for a total of eight points in those days. By that time Pongo had already bagged ten [yes, ten] of his 49 for the season, or 50 if you include one in the cup. This included grabbing four goals each vs Manure and West Ham. We did not lose until match eight by which time we had 13 points, or 22 in modern money. For the record Tom Waring also got another four later in the season, against Sunderland.

As you will all know (or should) in 1930-31 we finished second to Arsenal, seven points adrift with 59 (calculated to 84 at three for a win). The real headline was our record 128 goals dwarfing Arsenal’s 127. We won nothing that year but to my old man’s generation it remained the greatest season they ever saw. And no wonder as we won nine matches at five goals or more, put a total of eleven past Manure and beat Liverpool 4-2 at home, but I expect they were all deflections.

The 1930-31 season really establishes itself as a classic when you realise that the two relegated clubs were Leeds and Manchesterure, the latter scraping 22 points and ending with a goal difference of minus 62. Those were the days my friends.

Colin Brown

Offline JD

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Re: Taken seriously
« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2020, 06:52:40 AM »
Great read Colin. Enjoyed the bit about the 1930-31 season.

Offline TelfordVilla

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Re: Taken seriously
« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2020, 09:00:46 AM »
thumb up emoji. I like this

Offline Dr Butler

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Re: Taken seriously
« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2020, 10:14:10 AM »
great read that Colin...

UTV
The Doc

Online Lastfootstamper

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Re: Taken seriously
« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2020, 10:25:36 AM »
I enjoyed that. Thanks, Colin.

Offline ChicagoLion

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Re: Taken seriously
« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2020, 01:14:42 PM »
Cheers Colin.
Enjoyed that.

Offline RamboandBruno

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Re: Taken seriously
« Reply #6 on: October 28, 2020, 01:34:03 PM »
Really good read. Read a bit about Pongo Waring over the years, but of a colourful life

Offline Luffbralion

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Re: Taken seriously
« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2020, 02:57:39 PM »
I loved the tone you adopted there, Colin. A great read. Thank you.

Offline nordenvillain

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Re: Taken seriously
« Reply #8 on: October 30, 2020, 06:34:21 PM »
Great read Colin. I concur about the M6 on a weekday night - the 3 of us saw each midweek game and there was only once when some part of the M6 was not shut on our way back to Manchester and Rochdale and don't talk to me about the M60 ! I thought the atmosphere at the Everton game early season was the best I had experienced for many a long year - I think that just might have been eclipsed if we had been able to witness first hand the Liverpool game this season !

 


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