Oil city confidential

Up to Manchester City for a Wednesday night date with destiny.

The other week I was having one of those deep, philosophical conversations about life, its meaning and how it relates to football and said I wasn’t sure if I’d enjoy the Villa being like Manchester City. “True,” came the reply. “But it would be nice to find out.”

And thereby lies the dilemma of Wednesday night’s opponents. They’re cheats; whether or not they eventually have to face those 115 charges everyone, themselves included, known they’re bang to rights. And even if they hadn’t been pulled up, they equally know that they haven’t won one of these trophies by anything like ability – their success is solely down to being the richest club in the world. At the time they were moving towards where they are now they were so phenomenally richer than every other club that they could afford to sometimes appoint the wrong manager, sign the wrong players, because when any of them didn’t work out they could be replaced by someone even more expensive.

There’s no skill in this approach; it’s like Championship Manager years ago, when you’d save before every match so if you lose you could play it again. I don’t know how much enjoyment their supporters get out of this. I do know that they’ve turned into an even more obnoxious version of the bad winners they used to moan about when it was their neighbours doing the winning. I don’t suppose I’d turn down the opportunity if it came to us but I do think the novelty would have worn off by now, and I hope we’d have been a bit more gracious.

All of which leads us to Wednesday night’s visit to the Oildome. Everyone on earth know all about them, their manager, owners, players and that one who got a right telling off at the end of their last match. We’ve got a squad who are down to the bare bones but are still giving everything in every match. Logic and experience dictates that there should only be one winner but if that doesn’t happen it will mean more to us than any number of trophies they might end up with this season.