The historymen

Dave Woodhall reports from a wet and windy Villa Park.

At 7.45 on Wednesday night I was cold, damp and ready for a thoroughly miserable night’s football. Horrible nights usually produce horrible games and news that Gabriel Agbonlahor was out confirmed that a goal-less draw seemed nailed on. Ten minutes later I felt a lot worse and half an hour after that a lot better. Half time saw a resigned “We’d have settled for that after ten minutes” feeling and full-time was a mixture of joy, relief, elation and why can’t we be like that all the time?

Or rather, why can’t we go forward like that? The less said about Villa’s defence in that first shambolic half the better, but full credit to the team for the way in which they responded to going two down. Ron Vlaar was poor in the first half and a captain in the second. Ryan Bertrand’s class stood out and Villa have got to move heaven and earth to sign him up permanently in the summer. Andreas Weimann had his best game of the season and his goal will, hopefully, inspire him in the way that Christian Benteke’s strike against Arsenal has put him back on top form.

Man of the match, though, was Fabian Delph. Barely a year ago he looked surplus even to the requirements of a team struggling to avoid relegation. Tonight he looked international class. England must be blessed with a lot more midfield talent than I gave them credit for if Delph isn’t in Roy Hodgson’s plans for Brazil. And finally, the much-maligned Grant Holt. Yet again he came on at a time when the opposition had no option but to throw everything forward and he helped see out the game.

We’ve been moaning all season about a lack of goals and excitement at Villa Park. Will that do for now?

Yes, there are still problems in the team, and better opposition could have seen an embarrassing defeat. There are two days before the transfer window ends and they should be spent on bringing in at least two new players. That’s another argument, though. Right now I just want to celebrate a victory that might not have been straightforward, which probably highlighted as many deficiencies in the team as it did strengths, but which added another thrilling chapter to the story of the oldest and most historic league derby in the world.  At a time when Manchester City can post a £51.6 million loss and shrug at the FFP rules, we should never forget what this corner of north Birmingham and its environs have contributed to the game.

7 thoughts on “The historymen

  1. I’m surprised you were cold at the game as I assumed you’d be tucked up in the warm with Mr Faulkner.
    Your assertion elsewhere that Grant Holt could play at centre back shows your complete lack of understanding about the most basic principles of football.

  2. Great Article Dave – you is really uptown toprankin. The only disappointing thing about last night’s game was not being able to get me half and half scalf and its a shame for them blokes what have to eek out a living selling that tat on street corners.

  3. As a Man City fan I don’t agree that it’s such a great article Dave. Your talk about Man City’s money is born out of pure jealousy. City went through the bad times and only had Bernard Manning as a celebrity fan and it was horrible but now it’s good to be alive. I’m not sure if you’ve been a football fan very long Dave going by what you’ve written but when you’ve been to a few more matches you’ll appreciate that it’s not just about the money.

    • You’re too modest, Pat. City also had Eddie Large, Curly off Coronation Street and Frank Sidebottom. And her with the bell. You’re right that it’s not just about the money though – what luck that all those world-class players decided they wanted to play for a middling team in Manchester. Maybe they all liked the Arndale.

  4. ‘So Centre-forwards can’t be make decent centre-halves?
    *cough* Dion Dublin.’

    You must surely know that ex-England International Dion Dublin reguarly switched to centre back all though his career. Grant Holt/John Parkin could never make the transition to centre back in a million years.

Comments are closed.