Do it the French way

If it’s Thursday it must be Lille.

If you’re of a certain age and wonder where you’ve heard that title before, it was a (very) minor hit for new waveish band Marseilles in 1978. Here endeth the musical history lesson.

By train, plane and road we’re off to Lille, which is where near Marseilles but definitely in France as well as in Flanders, which means there’s plenty of decent beer, as anyone who’s going over will know before long. It’s also one of the gastronomic hotspots of France as well, with as many Michelin stars as Birmingham. Here endeth the tourist guide as well.

Right, it’s the second leg of the Conference League quarter-finals. Arsenal and Manchester City have ballsed up so it looks as though it’s down to us to get enough co-efficient points to end up in the Champions League whether we finish fourth or fifth. And anyone who’d have thought we’d be talking about that twelve months ago would either have made a fortune at the bookies or been sectioned.

The ground holds fifty-odd thousand, we’ve got 2,500 officially and a load more dotted around the other three sides. There’s been a warning that you’re not allowed to be a Villa supporter in public anywhere except where we should be, but whether that means keep your gob shut and you’ll be fine or send for the British Consul we’ll have to wait and see.

One of their players was injured at the weekend so to be fair Alex Moreno’s picked up another one. They looked decent at Villa Park but that was as good as they could play and we can be much better. Our first European quarter-final for 26 years and coming up will be our first semi for 39. It’s not like us to tempt fate.

I doubt any of our supporters will be given tickets to see Lille’s rivals on Saturday. No club on earth could be that sad, could they?