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'Twas the night before the night before Arsenal...


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Twas the night before Christmas and all across the boards,

Not a comment was stirring from the educated hordes,

League ladders were hung by the chimney with care,

In the hope that a 4th place finish was there.

The players were nestled all snug in their beds,

While visions of hat-tricks danced in their heads,

Martin in tracksuit and Randy in cap,

Had settled their brains on an Arsenal trap.

When from Villa Park there arose such a clatter.

I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.

Away to the window I flew like a flash,

Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow,

Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.

Where my wandering eyes scarce believed what they saw,

It was big John Carew, Ash and Agbonlahor.

A wise one amongst them, all passion and zeal,

I knew in a moment it must be O'Neill

More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,

And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

"Now, Sidwell! now, Barry! now, Petrov, Reo Coker!

On, Laursen and Davies and Guzan (the joker!),

To the top of the league, to the top of the table,

Dash forward my boys and show Wenger you're able."

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,

When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.

So up into third our heroes they flew,

With Limpid, the Mods, and the rest of us too.

And then in a twinkling I saw from the stands,

The players respond to St Martins demands,

As I draw up my head and was moved to my feet,

It seemed we had something that couldn't be beat.

His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!

His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!

His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,

Yes, even Sir Alex was watching us now.

Benitez was worried he gritted his teeth,

As the Villa encircled his head like a wreath.

He had a broad face and a little round belly,

That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,

And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!

He took out his wallet but found it was bare,

Leaving little or nothing for us to fear there.

Randy said nothing, but continued his task,

He'd filled all our stockings, the Villa are back!

And laying his finger aside of his nose,

And giving a nod, to the Trinity he rose!

O'Neill in the dugout, to his team gave a whistle,

And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.

But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,

"A Happy Villatalk Christmas, and to all a good-night!"

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