So, directly after my last post, some wildly differing news items from footy this morning.
is to be applauded and encouraged. Southampton clearly think they can run a Stalinist state down at St Mary's. Well, in truth, they can, but what they can't do is control people's responses to it, or the imaginative ways they'll come up with to produce content while at the same time telling Saints to fuck off. They seem to be going out of their way to make themselves as unpopular as possible this season - part of a cunning Pardew ploy to foster a siege mentality in the dressing room, or just another depressing symptom of the direction football is going? I sincerely hope this ludicrous and self-defeating exercise in Evil Empire building is quietly dropped as soon as they're able.
On the Villa front (See? I've learned nothing...) it seems that Sven is interested, as is Southgate. Now Villa have to be extremely careful here. Sven seems an affable enough bloke but, while he is, bafflingly, a world-class seducer of women, he doesn't seem to have the same deft touch when it comes to management. Not lately, anyway. (Maybe it's men he has a problem with? He should be considered when the England Women's job next comes up - he could take us to World Cup glory... but I digress.) His appointment would, I suspect, be extremely unpopular among Villa fans and hardly suggest ambition on the part of the board, unless their ambition is to appoint a hugely overpaid boss with a wicked twinkle in his eye. Don't think that's the case, so I can't see it happening.
Southgate I've got a lot of time for. But he hardly covered himself in glory at Middlesbrough and would, under a more trigger-happy chairman than Steve Gibson, and that's basically all of them, have been sacked a long time before he actually went. It would be a sentimental rather than ambitious appointment and for that reason I don't think that will happen either. There is very, very little sentiment in football, at least where managers' jobs are concerned, anyway.
Since football never ceases to surprise, it may well of course be that one of them gets the nod. But I do hope not - Villa are a club with a rich history and tradition, one of the few with the foundations to build a club capable of challenging the very biggest of the big boys. Their next managerial appointment needs to reflect that.