Sunday and the red button

It’s time for the FA Cup again. Get ready to start dreaming.

Hello, and welcome to the 66th annual triumph of hope over experience; the weekend of the FA Cup third round. Every year the new Villa manager says he knows how long it’s been and it’s time to put that right. Every year we say this is the one. It never is, until now.

The spirit of Bert Millichip was having a day off when the draw was made, so not only do we get a home tie, it’s also one we should win. Stevenage, apparently, is in something called Hertfordshire, which is near Luton. Ashley Young was born there.

They used to be called Stevenage Borough but they dropped the Borough bit when they came into the league. Their manager is Steve Evans, a particularly nasty piece of work whose litany of charges include a suspended sentence for tax evasion, three fines plus a few touchline bans for swearing at match officials and managing Leeds. You won’t have heard of any of their players. Then again, there’s likely to be some new names in our team as well. A few kids should get a run out and there might even be proof that Marvelous Nakamba and Morgan Sanson are still alive, or perhaps not.

They’ve sold three thousand tickets, and some of them will have gone to people who know where their ground is. Expect to hear the usual predictable stuff about terrible Birmingham, Premierleagueyeravinalaff will doubtless get a few airings and they’ll go “Sssshhhh” a few times. Whatever the size of the crowd, there would have been more there on Saturday but this is the Villa and we can’t play on Saturdays. The plucky little visitors will get a few quid out of it and a patronising round of applause at the end of the match. Their supporters will have a nice day out and say they made more noise than we did. That’s the magic of the cup.