Out in the wasteland

Get the big coat out, we’re off to Newcastle.

The good news – it’s a Saturday three o’clock. The bad news – it’s away. The worse news – at Newcastle.

For the first time in what seems like decades we’re playing here at a decent time, and for the first time in what seems almost as long it’s a match to look forward to as Aaron Danks attempts to write another job application by carrying on his record as the most statistically successful Villa manager of all time. Take your binoculars and you might be able to see him.

Apart from that minor sideshow here we’re visiting everybody’s second club, or the world’s loyalest supporters, or the latest applicants to join the Big Howevermany. Whatever the line this week, you can be sure the adoring media will be repeating it. They still haven’t won a trophy in colour.

Perhaps they might even, with luck, have given up all that nonsense about banners and laughing when they got relegated. Twice. After all, it was a long time ago. Then again, time goes slowly in Newcastle.

Their manager is someone we could have got last season and saved us a year of misery, even if he does look like the sort of bloke who says “Bantz” a lot and bemoans the glory days of Soccer AM. They’ve also got Matt Targett getting the occasional game. In days gone by they’d make him captain for the day. Now they’ll make him a sub if he’s lucky.

Then there’s the mighty, all-conquering Aston Villa, determined to throw off the shackles of the old and embrace the free-flowing optimism of the new. That, and the win bonus would come in handy. In reality a point would be useful and three a definite right result. It would also give the Geordie Nation something else to moan about for a decade or two.