Summer time. Same old story. Welcome to Britain. A couple of months of patchy sunshine, ice creams and a new found appreciation of cider. It won’t last. The shite weather will soon return, the ice creams will disappear and people will realise that pear Kopparberg is actually pretty rank.
Summer brings the same old routine. World Cup years are generally my favourite. I was lucky enough to pootle round South Africa this June watching some jumpers for goalpost action. It really is the hope that kills us. Always will be. Could this year be our turn? Could it? Maybe? Surely? It’s got to be?!
Not so much. Truth is, 31 teams go home as losers from a World Cup. And yet there seems to be a state of national mourning when the inevitable happens. Wake up. Get used to it. Unless something radical changes, as England fans, we’re staring at another 50 years of hurt.
Ah inevitability. It’s fair to say there’s inevitability about the way Martin O’Neill deals in the summer transfer market. It’s pretty much August. Which means it’s pretty much the start of the Premiership. This of course means we still haven’t bought anyone.
At least we know not to panic this time round. We’ve been here before. We bought most of our defence at lastminute.com last season. Dunne’s transfer was so late that it wasn’t secure until September. I personally find it very irritating that we tend to deal so late. But at least we know the crack now right?
So late transfers. Tick. What’s next? Oh yeah. ‘A bigger club’ (i.e. a club with more money) targeting one of our players. Barry in 2008. Milner in 2010. Barry stayed a year extra. And in fairness got his head down and played well. Don’t be shocked if the same happens again. You can level a few criticisms at James Milner, but you can’t question his work ethic.
It’s not ideal. And maybe it would be nice to be in Man City’s shoes and be the biggest bully in the playground for once. But we’re not. And actually, I for one am happy we’re not.
And I’ll tell you something else too. Because I’m on my soapbox now and might as well push on before I get told to shut up. The Barry transfer saga was a first in my lifetime. It was the first time Villa really said no. No, we don’t want to sell. We have a valuation of the player. Either match it or piss off.
Which is exactly what’s happening with Milner right now. You want James Milner? Sure you can have him. £30m please. Or at least £20m and that nice bald Irish fella.
Previously our best gems got pilfered with minimum resistance. Still saddens me the way we lost Yorkie. We got bullied. Plain and simple. But there’s been a shift. We don’t get pushed around the playground so much any more. We fight back a bit. And the reason we can fight back is because we have a wealthy American chappie, who seems to want to do right by the club. And a stubborn Ulsterman, who really hates being told what to do. By anyone. Ever.
Now I can’t speak for anyone else, but I rather like to think that us refusing to sell Barry screwed Rafa and Liverpool over somewhat. And if I remember correctly we finished above them last season. And wouldn’t say no to more of the same please.
The aforementioned American and Ulsterman have guided us to three consecutive 6th placed finishes - none too shabby. We were treated to two days out at Wembley last season – thanks very much. We finally won at Old Trafford for crying out loud!
The New Season
We have just over two weeks off until it all starts again. Sure, I’ve enjoyed the summer break. But all things considered. I cannot wait to be sitting down in the Holte, the dulcet tones of several thousand Brummies ringing in my ears, and watching us pick up 3 points against West Ham.
Much like the World Cup. There is limited silverware on offer at the start of each season. The reality is that most teams go home unhappy. But I’m at least going to enjoy the ride. Oh go on then, you twisted my arm. Fuck it. Who knows? Maybe it is our turn to win something? And if not? I know I’ll at least enjoy watching it all unfold.
Oh and you can keep your ice cream. Mine’s a chips and curry sauce thank you very much.