MOMS’ Saturday at Villa Park started a little earlier than normal with a 45 minute interview with former Villa boss Ron Atkinson (out on the podcast on Monday). It proved to be the most entertaining 45 minute spell on a rainy day in B6.
Bar a wonder strike from Jack Grealish, the other two periods of 45 minutes were amongst the dullest I’ve witnessed at Villa Park.
Frustration rang out from the Holte during much of the game against Wigan. Yes, the visitors came with a stifling game plan that had seen them five games unbeaten on their travels, but Villa lacked any ideas.
Wigan won’t be the last team to come to Villa Park and park the bus, so they better get their act together quickly, if they want to be at least play-off bound.
In the meantime, here’s five reasons to be cheerful as Villans…
After watching as poor a 88 minutes as you’ll see at Villa Park, on a par with anything last season, Jack Grealish provided a moment of positive inspiration with a top-hand corner belter to serve up the three points.
— My Old Man Said (@oldmansaid) December 10, 2016
With one stroke of his right-foot, Grealish changed the whole complexion of the weekend for fans and also marked the first time he had scored a match-winning goal for the club.
2. Fantastic Four
Yes, the performance was woeful, but that’s four home wins on the trot. Now, i can’t even remember when that last happened. Was it under John Gregory? Sorry, I’m being lazy, but if you know, comment below!
After last season, four home wins on the trot is the stuff of dreams. Yes, this is the Championship and wins should be expected, but after the dross we’ve witnessed at Villa Park in recent seasons, it’s very welcome indeed.
I’m still very much hoping to go the whole season unbeaten at Villa Park, which will go along way to laying fresh foundations to a new fortress at Villa Park.
3. New Keeper Incoming
It’s no secret MOMS has thought it was folly starting such an important season (‘promotion or bust’) with Pierluigi Gollini as the outright number one Villa keeper. With no legit competition in the form of journeyman backup Mark Bunn, Gollini both didn’t have anyone to learn off or to push him.
Interestingly, Bruce doesn’t seem to be looking to experience to give Gollini a challenge with it being reported by the Daily Telegraph that 23-year-old Manchester United keeper Sam Johnstone is on his way to Villa Park on loan.
Johnstone is yet to make his debut in a United shirt, but has had several loan periods with lower league clubs, including playing for Preston North End in the League One play-off final win over Swindon in May 2015.
4. Upper Tier
Villa announced during the Wigan game the the top tier in the Trinity Road stand would be opening on Boxing Day for the Burton game. It would seem that the club are expecting an attendance in the mid-30,000’s.
It was expected that the only other fixture that might see its opening was the Blues derby.
Hopefully, those attending on Boxing Day will see a much improved performance from the team than in recent games, as that is ultimately what will keep fans coming back.
5. Big Fat Ron’s Claret and Blue Army
Certainly two of my favourite seasons of following Aston Villa were the 1992/93 season, when Villa battled it out for the first Premier League title with Manchester United and the following season when Villa lifted the League Cup against United. Travelling home and away was a pleasure supporting a team you could really believe in and always had a chance against anyone.
As I joked to Ron in introducing him at the beginning of our prematch interview for the aforementioned MOMS Podcast, he’s the only person I’ve sang the name of for 45 minutes non-stop in Grimsby. The sparkling football that Atkinson’s team served up led a supporter to do things like that.
Big Ron is currently promoting his new biography Ron Atkinson: The Manager and we had a good chat for around 40 minutes on the current Villa team, the recent Lerner demise, his managerial career, the Villa title chase in the 1992/93 season, the League Cup win in 1994, Brian Clough’s antics, changes in football and much more.
The show should be out later today (Monday).
I have a signed copy of Ron Atkinson: The Manager to give away to a MOMS Patron, as a thanks for supporting the website and podcast. The draw will be made later in the week, so if you want to become a MOMS Patron member and be included in the draw, sign-up here – http://bit.ly/MOMSpatrons.
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If you’re interested in buying ‘The Manager’ (it is Christmas after all), click on the book cover image below for full details and the best price about.