I never had anything against Sunderland AFC. They are somewhat similar to us in the sense that, like Villa, they have an American benefactor as an owner who hasn’t always spent wisely. More acutely, neither have had great results entrusting men to wisely spend their money.

When Sunderland hired Martin O’Neil, I couldn’t wait to watch his inevitable failure. Aston Villa was his Pickett’s Charge. Despite being ill-conceived and haphazardly executed, like the Confederate’s charge at Gettysburg, it almost worked. The aftermath to O’Neil’s career was worse that it was for the Army of Northern Virginia. The latter hung on for longer than O’Neil lasted at Sunderland and had more successes. Both were still spent forces whose ends were in sight.

My only regret is that O’Neil wasn’t afforded the opportunity to finish the job. I wanted to see him on Sky Sports after the last game of the season squirm as he tried to explain away his team’s failure. I wanted to see the pundits try and cover his rear end after relegating his club. As it was many thought he deserved more time. Anybody who examined the situation objectively would realize the club owed him absolutely nothing. Even if he had stayed and kept Sunderland up, he would have quit on them just like he did us when ownership wouldn’t let him waste any more money.

The only way Sunderland could’ve maintained my new found contempt for their club was to replace O’Neil with a Nazi – which is more or less what they did. That’s only half true. I don’t care what a football manager or anybody else’s politics are, unless they are overtly racist or anti-western like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Politics aside, Paolo DiCanio is just an a-hole. He is in the same category as Dave Whelan, Gold/Sullivan/Brady, Robbie Savage, anybody named Redknapp, the new Rangers owners, Sepp Blatter, and Michel Plattini; that category being people in football who whenever they speak make me want to puke.

This Monday is a winnable game. Our manager struck the proper tone when he said that these are the same players who looked like they were doomed a few weeks ago. He is also correct when he says that the team is playing fairly well. Even losing 3-0 on Monday wasn’t a terrible performance, all things considered. This game is still there for the taking and I still like Villa’s chances to score more goals than the Mackems.

A few other items:

  • Just to clarify, whatever points Villa picks up or Wigan drop is subtracted from Villa’s magic number. Let’s say Villa win and Wigan lose, the magic number goes from 13 to 7. I wasn’t suggesting it was likely either club would come close to picking up maximum points the rest of the way, I was just trying to explain the methodology of coming up with the number.
  • Sorry if I haven’t been as active in the comment section of late. I started a new job a couple of months ago, which has cut into my internet time significantly. Once I get used to my new schedule and find a routine, I’ll make an effort to be on more.
  • Things are starting to get back to normal here in Boston. Over $20m has already been raised for the victims. I’ll be in town Friday night for the Red Sox game. After the game I plan to go and visit the finish line. Boylston St. is my favorite spot in the city; it’s where I went for my birthday last August. Business had to shut down for over a week, so I also want to go and support them as well. If that means enjoying a frothy adult beverage or three, then so be it.

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