Saturday night and the lights are low

As we wait anxiously for the visit of Manchester United.

Here we go again. Hot on the heels of a trip to Trafford and its inevitable injustices we get the dubious benefits of entertaining them at Villa Park for what is always the most eagerly-awaited fixture of the season, or so we’re told.

We’ll get the usual circus arriving in town; daytrippers, gloryhunters and lads trying ever so hard to prove that they’re neither. It’s a 5.30 kick-off so camera crews will be on the lookout for anyone who wants to shout at their cameras and too many grinning idiots will oblige. Sadly, some of them will be ours.

Just for once we’ll be playing that lot and the story before the match will be about us, our manager and our new players. After the match it will be about them, their downfall and their shortly to be ex-manager. Too many times we’ve played this one and it’s been lost before the match started, or else we’ve been about to win and the occasion’s got to us. There will never be a better time to put that right. After all, we’ve got a player who’s cost more than any of theirs, and when was the last time we could say that?

If there’s any justice in the world we’ll grind this particular set of opposition into the dirt, although that’s been said before, many times. It’s got to happen one day; generations have grown up desperately hoping that THIS is the day. They’ve always been wrong. Until now.