Wolves V Aston Villa 14/10/2017
What the fuck is this? Why have you dragged us to these heady heights Nuno, it’s hard to breathe, it’s beautiful, it’s metaphysical, it’s not football as we know it! It’s not! What the fuck??? I was picking on a few Villa fans on the 559 to Wolvo, they had got on at the Bluebrick…”Shiiiiiiit on the Villllaaaaa” Harangue, intimidate, right in the face, how dare you come into our fucking town!!!I calmed down, it was ok, I had a feeling…I had to follow them all the way down the back of Carvers to the ground singing at them, singing at the backs of their heads, belief…Police holding me to one side, but I have belief! I want to tell them, but they would never understand. But it’s a leather clad hand around the throat from a young Copper and shoved off past the art block. Belief, that’s all.
Nunoism versus the stoic Bruce. Two men locked in a battle of the Philosophies. Nuno provokes beauty to unveil itself on the pitch, to enable his philosophy to flourish through the tools that Fosun has given him. Bruce has the stoic sense of groinball. And that groinball failed miserably. Stoicism destroyed by pure art, by philosophy, by rigorous intuition
The assembly of questions Bruce asked Nuno today were blunt and involved course questioning of fine Nunoesque points. We of course watched from the sidelines, offered support, shout and yelled over particular debates on the pitch. We sang songs about ‘shitting’ on our opponents. In fact we sang a lot about shitting on them and we did. Often, but it was a juxtaposition to the dynamics on the pitch, the control we showed, the absolute intent. The piss taking from the Southbank and the delicious football on the pitch.
Diatribes about the Villa eh? The Squeakies. It was a bloody funny day again, an aura of seeing your favourite band who play the same venue every two weeks. Villa are the support band. Steve Bruce, Manager with a head like a steamboat sailors duffle bag, like a sack of unwashed spunky socks, like a clay head made by a man with no eyes or arms, voice like he’s beating the dents out of a church bell. A face like he’s been extinguishing a wheely bin fire with it. Hair like a Dogs bed. He was going to come here wasn’t he? At the time I was kind of unmoved by the idea, I knew most Wolves fans didn’t want him but a few Gary Foreskins did I suppose. They argued amongst themselves on Social Media happy to have a subject to tear apart with unstructured vapid boring arguments. I didn’t get involved of course. It was listening to chats about fuel injectors on VW Passats. Uninspiring and a bit dull. Like the Villa team really. They have Chinese owners though, but not as dynamic as ours for sure as their owner is called ‘Tony’ and Tone never inspired anything apart from Pot Noodle fan pages on Facebook. He looks like a Korean Fart Porn Mogul too.
But it’s Derby day and I’m not making the mistake of the ‘big coat’ again, not yet. It’s the curse of living in the temperate climate we do and we love the onset of cold Autumns of our youth but alas climate change has thrown the match day jacket choice into a cauldron of chaos when it come to picking it. Jacket it is, I don’t even want to go outside to test the temps. I’m going to wing it.
Winging it is pretty much what the Villa team did today. Already they have addled that high pitched Villa whine into some sort of incoherent buzzword laden narrative like ‘we can beat them if we do this’ or ‘if we take the game to them’ and other missives and mission statements. Weird really as for years they have been full of confidence and bollocks. But today it’s all changed hasn’t it? The tumble from the lush arms of supermodel teams to the sweaty bum crack of see through Primark leggings in the Championship. It’s shit isn’t it my little Brummie friends? Especially as you have to play those Small Heath Orcs every season. Villa can’t tell the difference between piss and vinegar yet, but they will, today.
But I don’t hate Villa, I just don’t understand them. And I don’t want to either. Down the canal this week I met a fella who I’ve talked to before. Skinny little chap with some sort of kidney disease from drinking alcohol. He shouts at you when he talks and he has those eyes like poached eggs, pickled in the cheap cider in the blue bottles he dumps by the side of the cut. Strange that Shaky Jake the Heroin addict knows him but deems him far below his class to acknowledge. ‘Villa Phil’ as he is known lifted up his trouser leg to show us his ‘piss bag’ strapped to his leg. ‘We’m gonna do ya this week ar yeah, we can bost yeow up’ he shouts. He wears a big pair of Panasonic headphones and listens to some bleepy dance bollocks and bobs his head up and down a lot. He decides to follow me and the dogs on our walk. While he shouts at me I try to wangle some sort of blog narrative, some message, but I’m stuck, I’m bereft of inspiration and that my friends is the curse of the Villa.
I had a kicking once off about five skinny Villa fans with that grey chip shop pallor on a train, I was holding a plastic cup of hot tea and none of it spilled. One of them went to hit me and smashed his knuckles into a steel handrail and screamed, another went to boot me and fell over, one did connect right on my jaw, another on my ear. I went to sip my tea but it was too hot, so I waited. No way was I wasting a cup of tea, I waited for my mates to harry them away, blowing on the beige plastic cup. Beige, there’s a thing, the Villa strip should be beige, or Magnolia. The Villa team are as poetic as a pubs Artexed ceiling, have as much excitement of a day out in Walsall…Villa are in fact a massive Walsall maybe. I never spilled a drop of tea during the ‘fracas’.
Coady was back, I’m happy. I love Conor Coady, I love his progression. Today he was mighty and agile, strong, a presence again. Fair play he pulled that shed thief Clarkey down at Sheffield, but hey-ho. We all have our moments don’t we? That few seconds when we lose control. You see a player at this level is running a tightrope of instructions tempered with facilitating his ability and drive with clear concise instruction. It’s a toughie being a player for Wolves, especially stuck down there while the Portuguese Porno-balls are being whanged around up top. Cav/Jota/Neves get the groove going early especially looking at Villas defence who were pedestrian. with all the buzz of an Invalid Scooter on charge. Why aren’t we 7-0 up?
But what of the game? It certainly wasn’t one of those Derby games, it was different, we made the canvas ours, the stroke of a brush here and there, a pattern emerges, Villa are actually shit or should I say they are ‘there’ but we made them look shit.. I suspect the Villa had some of that old Championship rub-a-dub-dub going on. Listless at times, other moments like a one legged man on an arcade Dance Mat machine. The response to our flowing beautiful rhythms a dogged resignation or an arm waving choked sympathy for their team mates. The action on Jota was worrying at times. He is a hard knock that lad. You pigeonhole and sort players into sections and I must admit I put him in the pretty as a picture section. I thought he’d be killed this season. Not so. See Jota slide and slip. See Jota manipulate the ball, sidle his way through. Action and reaction, problem and solution. Every time (or nearly) getting the ball into dynamic areas where more often than not there is a friendly foot or a flash of Gold to receive. He scores. I get another elbow in the head. That’s cool. Southbank is strong and the players know it. There are voices from other stands. Jota goes down under a challenge by some Villa bloke. Voices are raised again. Filthy words and venomous but true and rightly said. I notice I’ve ripped my bus ticket up in my pocket and now it’s full of confetti.
Cavaleiro shrugging, but not in resignation, he’s shrugging off a dude I don’t know, their full back, he shrugs off another Villa bloke as well. He has a low centre does Cav. That gives him room to twist and turn without that top heavy body shifting his weight, over balancing, instead he revolves around some imaginary cosmic point confusing a Villa defender who slaps his own leg in disgrace and maybe disgust. Villa are pedestrian here at the back. Sweet Magnolia defending. What are the Villa missing? Bruce teams play with belief and not a lot of nous. Square pegs smashed into round holes with the bellow of a command from the Bruce, it’s not a philosophy it’s a belief and ‘believing’ things often end in tears when the crushing reality of this Wolves team rumbles home. Coady within a trinity of sorts that back line of ours, still at odds sometimes. It’s a totally new squeeze for them still, legs in the way, arms tangled, unsure sometimes too but still slaving away over the Book Of Nuno, still memorising the tenets and the scripture. Nuno himself arms folded surveys the scenes and Neves goes over for a word. Nuno shakes his head and waves him away.
I’ve watched Duckens all week. I think of him as the point of an attack using this current team. My puny brain cannot contemplate that, it is too grand an idea for me, I try to visualise it and everything erupts into a great golden joy of fragments of goal celebrations, joy, positivity, bus top parades, madness. But Bonatini, his presence is sublime and understated but he is a vibrant theme in the whole team, Duckens is fading away into the back of my mind again for another day.
Jota gets a meaty challenge. Maybe Villa are infected a little, a drowning man will often try to drown his rescuer too. Arms and drama, a few little verses from the Bruce songbook which is discordant and blaring. Bruce is funny. But I’m laughing to myself a little as Villa press, get some fuel from somewhere even as you can hear their defense creak like a tree in a Hurricane. Creaky leaky bastards they are. Big on statement but we lack the evidence lads. You can learn by reading the whiteboard and being shouted at but you only truly understand with love. Does the philosophy of Groinball flourish here, on this beautiful pitch? Here at Molineux? Of course, if the Philosophy is loud and discordant then at times yes. The ideology of the fundamentalism of English football is represented well by Mr Bruce and Aston Villa. It’s not letting the debate flourish with the wide arcs of passing that Wolves displayed today. Broad ranging play, individual acts of brilliance (and of foolishness) tempered by that Stoic football by numbers played by Villa. John Terry is not an antidote to the Portuguese melodies. These melodies entwine and caress his zone leaving him confused and lacking the correct rhythms to counteract the delicious football. Terrys songbook involves fart jokes and bawdy songs, things that are more at home in a league far below this one.
Not Warnockian dystopic football this, no, it’s pretending to play football where Warnock never even tried to pretend. Going through the motions. Dancing slow, but you really don’t know how, don’t know how to bump and grind those hips. Terry moves one foot over to the next and back again. Jaeger bomb beats, 3am dances with elephants, a Villa defender falls to the floor twisted up like a bad pill got him. He punches the grass as he gets up. John Terry looks towards Bruce, but Bruce is looking at the floor, arms folded, imprisoned by his technical area which closes around him as the match continues, getting tighter. Bruce is thinking about Mini Pork Pies in the fridge at home where he will sit in the glow from his big expensive fridge from the USA like a pork pie Buddha, weeping probably as the pie crumbs fall to his lap. Ignoring the buzzing of his phone as his clubs owner ‘Tony’ send him another WhatsApp video of farting Korean girls.
And it’s starting to resemble a juggernaut this team. It’s starting to get momentum going like a tiny spicy hot snowball at the beginning of the season it’s now a few yards down the slippery slope of fixtures that needle and nibble away at the mass of a team as it gathers points. It’s starting to gain traction and weight. With this extra weight it’s going to be unstoppable and the beast that lies deep underneath the Molineux is indeed starting to open an eye and stretch out it’s limbs in readiness for something. Here on the Southbank of course a swell of emotion and relief. How many Villa fans do you work with? You know, the weird fellas who buy ‘Mens Health’ they have ‘gaming nights’ on the Xbox with their dumb as dull friends from work, wear funny tshirts from Primark….
Fucking hell. This isn’t a match report, it isn’t even about my day, it’s about our day and our stories. It isn’t about who passed to who either. It’s about me and Johnny Cund talking about the ways into the Molineux without paying in the 70’s, it’s about madness and passion, it’s about singing in the subway after a game, it’s about laughter and joy, it’s about shitting on the Brummies. Who is this Nuno geezer? Is it him or these Portugeezers? These sexy players who knock the ball around like an STD in a knocking shop. Who is Steve Bruce? Who are Aston Villa? these pedestrian ‘won a few on the trot’ dickheads from Birmingham….I’m standing on the Southbank and I don’t want to go home, I want to grab Bonatini and tell him how much I love him, I grab somebody else instead, I watch the Villa faithful stream out of the Steve Bull lower, sad dejected little faces all screwed up, all miserable.
I can’t tell you what’s going on, I can’t explain it. I’ve talked with the greatest minds in the world but I can’t fathom this, this beauty, this game where we stamp authority. Doherty jinks past a player and slices a forensic pass to Neves. Coady under pressure drops a shoulder, impresses himself on that back line, Batth clinical….Nunoism. A philosophy and pure intent. Make our ideas stronger than theirs. We did his today, everybody singing the same songs. Victory and the banishment of Brummighams. Jesus Christ.