Getting it over with

Manchester United on Sunday. It’ll soon be over.

Do we have to? Seriously? Can’t we just pull the covers over our heads and pretend it isn’t happening?

Not that we’ve got as much to worry about on the pitch as we used to have, but the arrival of Manchester United to Villa Park is always one of the least-anticipated events of the season. The results have been bad enough, the media circus they bring with them is even worse and then there’s the daytrippers, gloryhunters and sundry tourists who should never be allowed anywhere near a football ground, even if they might not be the horriblest football supporters to come from Manchester these days. .

As usual they started off the season badly then began to pick up just in time to play us twice, although at least we’ve pre-emptied any possibility of being knocked out of the cup by them. The Glazers have managed to find someone to give them a fortune for a fraction of their debts and imminent repair bills. He’s already talking about getting taxpayers’ money to make their ground even bigger, which sounds like he’d be better off at Small Heath. For a change they’ve still got the same manager they had last season and he’s still got a coaching team that includes those vaguely-remembered names of yesteryear Steve McClaren and Benni ‘Please sign for us’ McCarthy. For an even bigger change we’ve got no more injuries than last week and we might even have a couple coming back, although if that’s not tempting fate nothing is.

Last season this match was a harbinger of things to come, when our new manager turned up and promptly ruined decades of tradition on a memorable afternoon. This season it’s probably even more important – if we aren’t going to have the rest of the country saying that we’ve been found out we’ve got to get a result. Over to you Unai.