There’s a common question put to us football watchers. How do we fill the time when nothing much is on?
For me, this week, it was picking up the dictionary when it fell off the shelf. It was a deeply disturbing experience.
This was because I noted, in passing, that it had fallen open at the “a’s” on the page that was headed “assumption”.
At first, I saw no immediate reason for a longer look as I was currently assuming a number of assumptions that are starting to make the BPL incredibly boring to watch.
Like….Chelsea’s going to win it… Leicester’s going to be bottom …. Louis Van Gaal’s going to keep pronouncing pronouncements …and Brendan Rodgers is going to assure the local Liverpool Supporters Club that they’re bound to win everything on the planet in a couple more seasons.
I was about to slip it back where it came from in the “Big-Fat-Boring-Books” section but my eye was caught by a word that was listed as “archaic”.
“That’s me,” I immediately recognised.
There are, of course, many other words that can describe me accurately as a dedicated football watcher…
“Knowledgeable”; “gifted,” “experienced.” “accurate” etc. are among the many I quite like hearing.
But, most of all, I love to be called “archaic”.
It means that I can inform all my mates about just how ridiculously ignorant of proper football history they basically are.
I can remind them that it all started well before José Mourinho’s great-great-great grandfather spotted the twinkle in his great-great-great grandmother’s Portuguese eye.
So, on I read, extremely archaically.
The word was three up from the bottom. Right in the relegation zone.
“What in the name of the six-yard box is that?” I puzzled.
“Dazed… bewildered…. filled with consternation or dismay… briefly deprived of the power to act,” the dictionary informed me.
Then a revelation revelated itself.
It was all about this week’s BPL fixtures, the biggest day of the year so far for five of the relegationists.
Four are playing each other. Hull are at home to QPR and West Brom visit Sunderland. Failure to win today will be a big step down towards the Championship next season.
But, for us venerable, knowledgeable and truly archaic watchers who really care for English football, that lot aren’t really bothering us.
It’s the fifth that really concerns us.
They’re 18th in the league. Their manager’s just been sacked. They’ve a long, long struggle ahead till May.
And how must they be feeling? Dazed? Bewildered? Filled with consternation or dismay? Briefly deprived of the power to act?
They’re absolutely astonied!
Come on football watchers!
Forget your biased, one-eyed, idiotic, brainless, ignorant local fanaticism about Mans U & C and Arsenal. Have some feeling and respect for one of England’s noblest all-time football icons.
The Villa’s one of football’s legends
Started in 1874, they joined the League in 1888 and rapidly became the greatest team in football’s history, or at least in the previous twenty years.
They won the First Division in 1894, 1896, 1897, 1899, 1900 and 1910. They also won the Cup in 1887, 1895, 1897, 1905, 1913 and 1920 and the Cup and League double in 1897.
In the first thirty years of modern football, they were greatest team of them all. The following forty years may have seen them yo-yoing up and down the divisions but they still won the FA Cup in 1957 and the first League Cup in 1961.
Then came another great era, with two League Cups in 1975 and 1977, the First Division title in 1981, the European Cup (Champions League) in 1982 and the World Club Championship in 1983.
They were runners-up in the first season of the Premier League and won the League Cup again in 1994 and 1996,
As William McGregor, co-founder of the Football League once stated, “if there is a club in country which deserves to be dubbed the greatest, few will deny the right of Aston Villa to share the highest niche of fame.”
They were founded one hundred and forty one years ago in Birmingham at a cricket meeting underneath a gaslit street lamp. They played their first game in an amusement park with trick cyclists, lacrosse players and cricketers. It was against a rugby team, using an oval ball in the first half and a round one in the second!
And now, since the start of 2015, they’ve again been playing like trick cyclists, using an oblong ball in candlelight.
So, most of us archaic watchers will be hoping they change a bit today when they take Stoke City on at home.
It hurts to watch them Aston-ied.
We’d rather see Aston-ishing Villa!