It's taken a trip to the River Napo, an erratic Belgian striker and a beastly new centre-back to do it, but this fan has finally re-discovered his love for Aston Villa.
I’ve fallen in love with football again, and by extension Aston Villa Football Club.
Sick to death of moaning fans, the uncompetitive Premier League and the unspeakable truth that my club will never win the league again unless a man with questionable morals buys the club I headed down the Amazon to get away from it all.
But on a boat on South America’s River Napo I remembered why football is the best game on the planet.
Despite the punishing schedule the captain and crew of our ship The Manatee decided to park up next to the jungle to pick up a satellite signal so they could watch the crunch South American World Cup qualifier match between Ecuador and Bolivia.
Being a Villa fan it took me less than a minute to tell these hardy sailors that Ulyses De La Cruz was still remembered fondly in Birmingham.
The battle of the high altitude nations proved a barnstormer of a match and though I can’t understand Spanish the commentary made it even more exciting as did the screaming and shouting around me. No matter the language barrier, man can connect with his fellow man whilst watching football. The rum helped but I had an unforgettable night of South American football, no other game is so universally loved.
After 70 minutes of dominating the game Ecuador won a questionable penalty and my new Ecuadorean friends went bananas, when it was converted the boat rocked more than when a job lot of honeymooners booked out the cabins.
Being a Villa fan it took me less than a minute to tell these hardy sailors that Ulises De La Cruz was still remembered fondly in Birmingham. He was my kind of player, tried his hardest, made mistakes but was also capable of flashes of brilliance.
One minute he’d look as if he had superglue on his feet as he dribbled past three dazzled players and then the next it was if his boots were made of teak as the ball bounced off his feet into the Witton Lane Stand.
This Benteke is a great fit. He’s going to be worth the admission fee alone.
Well Villa fans will be pleased to know he is still playing and is Quito’s Playa de Liga’s midfield general in a side that is pushing the top of the league, what a championship that must be for him to be running the show in the centre of the park.
After watching a scratchy stream of the Swansea game at 7,000 feet up in the Andes I realised the Villa have got another player in the mould of De La Cruz, Daley, Atkinson, Chico Hamilton et al.
Our new striker Benteke will be a joy to watch, he is going to mix the sublime and the ridiculous within minutes and I’m sure some Villa moaners will grumble he is not a gilden genuis but I already like the fella. He seemed to miss an open goal one minute and then scored the next. After all who wants a player who has it all and will get nicked by Man Utd or Man City in January to warm their bench.
Nope this Benteke is a great fit. He’s going to be worth the admission fee alone.
And after getting back into Brum I find all my fellow Villa fans filled with confidence at last. We are two games unbeaten after all. Ronny Concrete Vlaar has been made captain by canny Lambert which is fantastic for the club because he has cult hero written over him as well.
We’ve been waiting for a club talisman for a while and I think we’ve finally found one
He reminds me of Andrew Fortescue Mullen Gray, he will put his head where angels fear to tread, we’ve been waiting for a club talisman for a while and I think we’ve finally found one.
Then of course there is the news today that Disaster Zone Warnock has been sent to partner Zat Knight in what will have to be one of the worst defences ever in football.
We travel to Southampton tomorrow, and despite them having the world’s nicest manager, I’d buy double glazing off the fella if he knocked on my door, I hope we go through them like a dose of salts so we can march up the league and prove the relegation worriers wrong.
I’m going for a Lambert Lime Green Lions win, and if we don’t manage it then not to worry, we’ve plenty more games to win in the future.
Up the Villa!
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