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The Villa v SHA Game: A View to Lighten the Atmos


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Drew'sMilitia provides a light-hearted view of a possible pre-match pep-talk by MON to the entire squad...

Three days before the game and MON gathers the entire squad into the main conference room at Bodymoor Heath for a pep talk.

‘OK lads, settle down please, this is the big one, the second city derby, the hopes and aspirations of our Claret and Blue faithful resting upon our broad shoulders…’

Gabby interrupts MON’s soliloquy before he has a chance to really get going, ‘I thought Derby went down boss? Yow told me it was Birmingham this weekend Ash…!’

‘Someone explain it to him please - later’ says MON re-gaining the initiative with a neat interruption of the interruption.

‘Right! As far as I am concerned you are ALL in contention for the game, so I need you all on your toes and giving your very best in training’ says MON.

Eager nods and bright eyes meet MON’s steady gaze.

Big John enters the room and slides into the back row squeezing between Ash and Gabby. ‘Sorry boss. Traffic on the M6’.

‘No worries John’ says MON – ‘perhaps you could take the tie off that you’re wearing around your head? And wipe that lipstick off your cheek…?’

‘Sure - sorry boss – no problem’.

‘Anyway, like I was saying you’re all in contention for a place’ MON continues. ‘I won’t be announcing the team until early Sunday so you all need to be on your toes OK’.

More eager nods.


‘Yes boss’, drawing himself up to his full height. ‘I’d like a coffee, 2 sugars and semi skimmed milk – none of that UHT crap OK?’ says MON.

‘Yes boss’, says Moustaffa ever eager to please.


‘Yes boss’, says Ozzy, expectation coursing through his veins.

‘I want the team’s boots gleaming before Sunday – it’s all about attention to detail you know. More polish and less spit OK? And I want Gabby’s green ones gleaming like a policeman’s Hi Viz jacket OK?’

‘Right boss’ says Ozzy.

‘Yeah Oz – and don’t crease the Velcro on mine this time OK mate?’ Says Gabby.

‘Sorry Gabs. I’ll do my best’ says Ozzy.

‘I had to use the ones with them stringy things last time like’. Gabby reinforces his point.

‘That’ll be laces I take it?’ Suggests Shorey somewhat sarcastically.

‘Yeah dats right – dem laces. Dead complicated man’ explains Gabby.

‘Ermmm, Any chance of a game boss?’ Ozzy pushes his point.

‘A game?’ replies MON – ‘Ermmm - OK I’ll sub you 50p but you’d better make sure you don’t rip the cloth on the pool table again like last time. The facilities manager still hasn’t forgiven me for letting you on the table last time. Now run along and don’t forget what I said about those boots!’

Ozzy looks crestfallen, his lip quivers.

‘Carlos!’ MON moves on swiftly, a master of man management, king of this particular jungle.

‘Yes boss’, says Cuellar, quickly covering his copy of Ugly Betty with Gabby’s Match comic.

‘I want you on board as translator OK?’

‘Translator boss?’ Carlos looks genuinely confused.

‘Yes my son – I’ll have to chat with that McLeish bloke and I can only understand about one word in five so I want close man-marking OK? Otherwise I won’t have a clue what he’s wittering on about!’

An eager nod.


‘Yes Martin’.

‘How are you today? Everything OK?’

‘Fine thanks Martin’.

‘Another cushion? Something cold to drink?’

‘Nope – I’m fine thanks’.

‘Smashing, I’m delighted. Anyway, Robbo and me have been chatting and we think we have worked out a better way of using you’.

‘OK boss’.

‘We’d still like you up front as the big “Target man” but we’d like you to wear an England shirt under your Villa top. We think it’ll make all the difference.

General nods all round the room at this groundbreaking move. Only Gabby looks confused.

‘So we’re not playing Derby then?’

MON ignores the interruption.

‘Where’s Stiliyan?’ Says MON, scanning the room.

‘Here Boss!’

‘Ah, I see you’ve had the roots done again Stan – very nice. Summer Gold is it?’

‘Autumn Chestnut boss with a hint of September Sunray’.

‘Very nice Stiliyan’.

‘Thanks boss’.

‘You still OK to head the ball?’

‘Yes boss, the beauty therapist said I just need to leave it for 24 hours’.

‘No problem my Celtic warrior. And mind those nails OK?’

Even Stan looks slightly embarrassed.

‘OK – errrrr Mr Warlock?’

‘Warnock boss’.

‘Yes that’s right. Haven’t decided if you’re playing yet – you’re a left back so I may consider you on the right wing OK? But only up until December when I’ll switch you to the centre’.

‘OK boss’, says young Stephen looking thoroughly confused.

‘OK – Ashley and Fabian – ermmmm which ones which?’

‘I’m Ash boss’.

‘No I’m Ash’ says the other ‘twin’.

‘No I’m Spartacus!!’ roars Marlon from the front row just a little too eagerly and way too loudly!

MON looks at Marlon and shakes his head at him sadly. ‘No one likes a smart-arse Marlon’.

‘Sorry boss’ says Marlon. He looks crestfallen.

‘OK, Ash and Fabian, - incidentally Fabian, did you know there is an organisation called the Fabian Society which is a broadly left wing political think tank formed over a hundred years ago? The society is unique among think-tanks in being a democratically-constituted membership organisation. It’s affiliated to the Labour Party but is editorially and organisationally independent. Through its publications, seminars and conferences, the society provides an arena for open-minded public debate…?’

Delph looks genuinely perplexed at this MON diversion.

Ash turns to his ‘twin’. ‘Dat’s well wicked Bro innit!? You is da Think Tank boy!’

Gabby starts dribbling. Mainly down his training bib.

MON has already moved on, completely forgetting what he was going to say to the pair of them.

‘James Milner!’ says MON to the young, keen midfielder sitting upright in the front row.

James leaps to attention, ‘Sir, yes Sir!’

‘It’s OK James calm down son’.

‘Sir, yes Sir!’

‘Right I want you doing speed training in the next few days and keep practising those set pieces. Penalties too!’

‘Sir, yes Sir!’

‘Have you been talking with General Krulak again James?’ Asks MON.

‘Sir, yes Sir!’

‘OK… Moving on… swiftly’.

‘Oh yes, Ash and Fab. I want you two to run around really fast and keep changing places. It’ll confuse the hell out of the noses, cos if I still can’t tell you two apart I’m sure they won’t be able to’.

‘OK boss’ says Delph.

‘Rad-i-cal innit boss’ says Ash.

‘Is it Ashley? I hadn’t realised’ replies MON.

‘Right’, says MON drawing the session to a conclusion, ‘Are we done?’

‘No I’m here boss!!’ This from a sturdy Irishman sitting up straight in the middle of the pack’.

‘And you are…?’

‘I’m Dunne, Richard Dunne – here from Manchester City. We chatted on transfer deadline day?’

‘Ah yes – good lad. OK – I’d like you to train hard. Try not to break anyone too badly OK? But don’t hold back if you make it into the team on Sunday. Oh and try not to get sent off.’

‘Right you’ve all done very well and I’m delighted, absolutely delighted with your progress. Let’s give it everything we’ve got and let’s make it a memorable victory for the Villa OK?’

‘Now… has anyone spoken with Agent Ridgewell yet…? And where’s Gareth…?’

UTV - Ian

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Amusingly it appears that the article has subsequently been ripped-off by the noses and posted on one of their sites. It’s also appeared on HeroesandVillans as ‘coming from a Bluenose’.

Interesting to see H&V’s reaction to a piece which was meant to be satirical and certainly not disrespectful, especially when they think it has come from a nose! Satire is, I suppose, a subjective matter.

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