Even once every quarter of a century is a bit much …

Back in 1977-78, Aston Villa lost twice in the same season to local rivals Birmingham City. Had Villa won these two games instead of losing them, the team would have beaten Liverpool to the league title that season.


It still pains me to think about it, but the discomfort is not nearly as great as that experienced around 7.45am EST this morning when Birmingham repeated their feat of 25 years ago. Villa’s 2-0 home defeat was made all the worse by the fact they had two players sent off. As a political refugee from Thatcherite Britain, it’s a long time since I actually attended a derby game (1983, I think) but the passion and intensity of the occasion has not diminished one iota, albeit from the vantage point of my living room via Foxtel. It’s my cultural heritage, I suppose, and I don’t think it in the least bit strange that my two soccer-mad daughters feel just as crap as I do today despite the fact they have never been to see a Villa game in their lives. Going the Villa Park is the only thing I miss about living in Brisbane, but being 12,000 miles away does have its advantages on days like today. My heart goes out to all those Birmingham-based Villa fans who will have to endure the taunts of the blue side of town this week and for several months to come.