Another Saturday night

Manchester City come to Villa Park. How exciting.

Here we go, the first of the Get It Over With matches we’ll have to put up with this season. I could try to be optimistic, but whatever happens it’ll be an afternoon to endure rather than enjoy. At least we got the biggest part of the circus out of the way last season; this time round he’ll just be another visitor, arousing a bit of curiosity rather than a media frenzy.

Everyone knows everything about Manchester City. How they used to be a bit of a joke, with supporters who were generally respected throughout football. Then they won the lottery the equivalent of ten weeks in a row and acted like the worst kind of lottery winners, proving time and again that you can’t buy class. City spent most of their history as good losers, now they’re bad winners, as shown by the way the way they behaved when we unfortunately let them win the league last season. Incidentally, did they ever get charged for all that pitch invading, attacking our players and missile throwing?

Back then they were the best team in the country by a mile; now they’ve spent another fortune to become even better. It’s all very well and I know there’s more than a hint of jealousy, but Manchester City are the absolute opposite of what a football club should be about. Take no risks, destroy the competition. In any other business there would be laws against the way they operate. In football it’s all part of the Best League in the World.

Still, when half past five comes round it’s eleven against eleven, anything can happen and all the other cliches. We should have a couple of new signings raring to go, a squad of old signings with a point to prove, a manager showing how he can cope under pressure and nobody is unbeatable. That’s the idea, anyway.