It really is an easy game…
I had to make a choice tonight: Never Been Kissed on E4 at 9pm; or the second half of the Liverpool game. It was an easy decision. Drew Barrymore trying to make it as a writer whilst trying to find Mr. Right? King Kenny never stood a chance. Unfortunately, I live with a Liverpool fan – but fortunately for him, we also have E4 +1.
To be honest, I had no real interest in watching this current Liverpool bunch. They’re going through a rough patch for sure, but as a neutral, this doesn’t make any claim to make me come back and watch more of their hopeless long balls. Thankfully, however, tonight they were up against a hungry, vibrant and fearless Blackpool outfit – and after watching 45 minutes of their football, for me, the newly-promoted Seasiders should be Aston Villa’s inspiration.
I know what you’re thinking: BLACKPOOL are OUR inspiration?? But before you say it, that was 29 years ago…
We are no longer European giants, we aren’t league contenders, the cup drought continues, and even the “glorious” days of top 6 are a distant memory. Don’t get me wrong, I still hang on to some form of stubborn hope that we have a better team than Blackpool… don’t we? (Despite, 7 points – and a game in hand – difference in the two clubs at the moment) But there’s something that Holloway’s outfit has that we don’t (not the orange eye sore – their squad) – No Fear.
Blackpool’s players ooze confidence in every game. When they’re behind, they are resilient. When they’re ahead, they are positive. When they’re coming off the back of consecutive defeats, they are unshaken. Fearlessness stimulates every performance played at home or away from Bloomfield road. Honesty drives every shift the 14 used players are more than willing to put in every game. Is it always pretty? Of course not. They have come out of virtually nowehere. They joined the league as odds on favourites for the drop; patronised before they even kicked a ball; they had seemingly reached the final chapter of their great story. But Ian Holloway, and every one of his able foot-soldiers were not reading the script. And what their attacks sometimes lack in class or consistency, is more than made up for in quantity and directness. Every time an orange shirt retrieves the ball, there is a buzz in the air – he will immediately have at least 4 runners in support and he won’t be afraid to take on the man himself, even if he hasn’t the capability of doing so! If their attacks fail, if a player cocks-up – it is apparently immaterial, because another attack, another roaring crowd, another chance is just around the corner.
So WHY NOT, is my question. Why not throw caution to the wind, why not enjoy our football, why not believe? Aston Villa are blessed with exciting players capable of game changing runs and passes. Gabby, Downing, Young, Marc, Bannan are all ready to be unleashed, ready to cause havoc. Yes, we are playing some nice stuff at times – but let’s get the shackles off. The most impressive thing about Blackpool tonight was their assurance. At 1-1, they deserved a second. At 2-1, there was only going to be one winner. After 90 minutes, Liverpool couldn’t get the ball out of their half – a time when you’d expect the kitchen sink to be thrown at the Blackpool goal.
I’m sick of this feeling of apprehension going up to play the Blue-noses this season. Their defence is there for the taking – they proved that again last night against West Ham – Johnson can’t cope with Agbonlahor; Foster is shaking once again. What would Blackpool do? (This should now be our This is Anfield sign)
They would go for the jugular. They would get players like Young, Downing and Albrighton (if they had that luxury) running at the ageing Carr, the heavy Murphy, the incompetent Liam Fuckin’ Ridgewell at left and right back. They would run at Johnson and Dann and watch as they back further and further towards their 18 yard line. They would pepper Foster’s goal – shoot on sight. They would show little to no respect to the likes of Bowyer and Ferguson.
Birmingham City are there for the taking, and I dread to think of not beating them out of 3 attempts in one season. We are bigger than that, we are better than that. So why not go for it? Why not go to St. Andrew’s with no fear, why bother worrying about the mercurial Jerome? Let’s avenge their classless, shameless, violent League Cup riot. Let’s restore pride in the biggest club in the Midlands. Let’s do it The Blackpool Way!
(Oh, looks like Drew’s about to get the guy…)