Dave Woodhall on weeks without football and the quality of half-time refreshments.
It’s been a quiet week at Villa Park, what with internationals and other irrelevancies (I know Villa’s history has a distinct tartan tinge, but Scotland getting knocked out again is always amusing), which was probably just as well following the explosion that accompanied last Saturday’s debacle.
In the aftermath of getting beaten by Stoke the general feeling was that Tim Sherwood shouldn’t so much be sacked as tarred, feathered and exiled to some bleak foreign outpost. A week of calm reflection has led to a softening of opinions – the tar and feathers was probably a step too far.
There’s started to be some speculation about the manager’s future. It began with a story in the Daily Mail about how he’s had to work with players who wren’t his first targets but have instead been signed by Villa’s backroom staff predominantly for their resale value. Although nothing in this article was directly attributed to anyone it had more than a hint of “sources close to” about it. Maybe Sherwood is seeing which way the wind is starting to blow and getting his retaliation in first.
Then came further claims at the weekend that Sherwood has got two games left to save his job. If it’s true, then with the first of these being away at Chelsea maybe the manager shouldn’t be spending too much time wondering about his Christmas card list.
I’m not sure that Sherwood’s time as Villa manager could end so soon – a feature of the Lerner era has been that managers have been given every opportunity to prove themselves – but the nightmare scenario of two more defeats might lead to a rethink on that score.
On a happier note, well done to Walsall for going top of League One and in particular to their manager, Villa supporter Dean Smith, living proof that nice guys can also be winners.
The international break helped provide a boost to grassroots football with the latest Non-League Day. There were some good crowds in the region; Bromsgrove Sporting had their highest-ever gate, 551 watching a 3-0 win over Pershore Town, while Stourbridge’s FA Cup third qualifying round tie saw them beat Rushall Olympic in front of 773.
Much, much lower down the scale 28 of us (I think; a couple kept moving around) were at Tudor Grange where home side AFC Solihull lost 7-1 to Redditch Borough in the Midland Football League division three (it’s step eight, eleven divisions below Villa so we’d probably beat both teams). Football at this level should be encouraged – there should always be room for clubs where the half-time refreshments include homemade cookies, something the Premier League should be thinking about.
And from there we move to Stamford Bridge, where Villa have subsidised tickets so that our supporters will only be paying a minimum of £47. A bargain, I’m sure you’ll agree.