An unlikely tale

Villa v Spurs on a Saturday afternoon. A nation holds its breath.

Many many years ago, When Saturday Comes ran a cover headline “Meaningless matches – what do they really mean?” Nobody knew what the headline meant either, but you could perhaps find an answer on Saturday, when one of the more meaningless matches of the season has been chosen for display to the television-watching masses. Villa, eleventh and with not much chance of finishing much higher, are playing Spurs, who for some reason beyond the wit of man are currently fourth.

It grieves me to say it but Spurs are probably the best example of how much we’ve fallen behind in recent years. For a couple of decades we were usually better than them and usually beat them. We were in Europe, they were in mid-table. They they took off, we went backwards and we’ve not been able to catch them up since. There was a time twelve months ago when it looked possible but the usual Villa ability to splutter instead of take off came into play again. So we’re looking to finish in the top half and they’re looking to the Champions League. ‘Spurs’ in the same sentence as ‘Champions’. No matter how many times you say it, it still doesn’t sound right. Their chairman is Daniel Levy, a man whose financial acumen is legendary for much the same reasons as Spurs are a Big Club. They’ve also got Italian international goalkeeper Pierluigi Gollini on their books. And yes, that sentence looks a bit odd as well.

Spurs are also another in a long recent list of laughable pretentious supporters we’ve played lately. The last time they properly challenged for the title Harold Macmillan was Prime Minister and they’ve won one trophy this century yet once again they’re Galacticos-in-waiting. On the other hand, we’ve got what looks like it might be a full-strength squad to chose from, whic is the most unlikely story of the lot.

Just win Villa. Please.