The Weekend Ends Here (Slight Return)

I have to say that I have always held a sneaking regard for both Aston Villa and Martin O’Neill. I regard Villa, with their rich history and occasional bouts of being reasonably successful, as a “proper” English football club (though they lost about a million brownie points when they demolished the marvellous Trinity Road stand a couple of years ago). I first saw a team managed by Martin O’Neill in 1987, when he took Wycombe Wanderers to Clarence Park to play St Albans City in the Isthmian League Premier Division – they won 4-1 on their way to a comfortable title win, and O’Neill was already demonstrating the motivational qualities that would, within two decades, see him being linked with the England manager’s job. Every club that he has had a spell in charge of has ended up in a significantly better state than it was in when he first arrived there, and that is, I guess, about as much as you can ask of a manager. I suspect that these feeling might be more widespread than one might expect, because there was a considerable amount of delight at Villa’s win against Chelsea yesterday – possibly a disproportionate amount. It wasn’t merely the victory itself, but the manner of it too. Villa matched Chelsea every inch of the way, and even managed a “Roy Of The Rovers” story in...

Read More