Oh I don’t like to be…..

Blackpool’s horrible. Sorry if it sounds snobbish, but there can be no place on earth that so appeals to the lowest common denominator. Every hotel, pub and ‘restaurant’ sells itself on how fast you can get how much down your neck, each one competing to be the loudest and cheapest. Even the Good Beer Guide-recommended pubs had karaoke on. The fair opened for the season last Saturday, and to greet its arrival the sun shone all afternoon. That was just as well, because add a howling gale and Blackpool becomes even grimmer.

That brief travelogue over, now for the football.

The home side had lost their last five games and their only available goalkeeper wasn’t fully fit. We’ve started to put a decent run of results together. We also went a goal up after ten minutes. Unfortunately, Villa’s ability to throw matches away kicked in and Blackpool equalised four minutes later. We should still have wrapped the game up before half time but a succession of missed chances and a Blackpool revival in the second half meant that when Jean Makoun was sent off after 69 minutes we were struggling to save a point.

Luckily, as can often happen, the dismissal saw that frail defence knuckle down, give the ball away much less and in the last few minutes Villa should have had a penalty when Ashley Young was brought down, then the England winger could have scored with the last kick of the match. I say ‘winger’ but Gerard Houllier’s insistence on playing Young in the centre and Gabriel Agbonlahor out wide is starting to go beyond mystifying. He could also start playing Marc Albrighton and Barry Bannan again.

A point away from home is never too bad, but Villa’s ability to drop them two at a time is getting beyond a joke. We’ve lost the lead in our last two games and had we won them both we’d be eighth in the table rather than looking over our shoulders again. I’ve never known such a downright frustrating season.

Looking forward, there’s, er, nothing much to look forward to for another fortnight except hoping against hope that Notts County win at Eastlands to provide us with an easier route to the FA Cup quarter final. Thanks to the ever-increasing number of international weekends we’ve got the sixth round draw before being able to play the fifth round and you can bet that if that one does prove to be City away then for the first time since Bert Millichip got involved in such things we’ll be first out of the hat for the quarter final draw. In the words of the Wirral’s finest, them’s the vagaries.