Network Aston Villa and a real moment of clarity on progress and how we can finish fifth

Before I get to my moment of clarity, I have to tell you about Network Villa. The club are offering a 'more than 90 minutes' networking evening at Villa Park on April 29th and for the £15 entry fee, if you are a Villa fan and based locally and interested in business networking, it will probably be a very good way of spending £15.

More information on the event here, at the bottom of the page, but to summarise; you'll have the opportunity to speed network, go on a stadium tour and attend an open forum where Head of Hospitality and Events Alison Plant and Chief Operating Officer Paul Faulkner will reflect on the 2009-10 season both on and off the pitch.


You also get a goodie bag - but that shouldn't be the only reason you go. Now, for my moment of clarity.

Lucid thoughts

I was reading about the Manchester United result at the weekend and some comments made by Sir Alex after the event and it got me thinking about Aston Villa. It got me thinking about Aston Villa, because despite Manchester Untied dropping points at the weekend, they are most definitely not out of the title race.

Had they beaten Blackburn, they would have only had a point advantage on Chelsea but Chelsea would have still had the game in hand. They still need Chelsea to lose - a draw would see them go ahead of United on goal difference - so all that has really changed is that they now need Chelsea to draw as well as lose one.

Manchester United are still very much in the race for the title and I still fancy they will do it. We on the other hand are not really in the race for fourth any more. Mathematically, yes, but it would take something pretty amazing to happen and well, if that happens, it would be pretty amazing.

But, we can still finish fifth and fifth would be progress. In fact, I'm starting to think that maybe, just maybe fifth is what we are going to get this season. Don't ask me why I think this, I'm not sure exactly why, although I think it stems from a telephone call I had with a buddy the other night that went on longer than it should.

That call focused on something that is numbers based and I like my numbers. Basically, the chances of us catching up on Spurs are quite good - if we have the type of run we can have and if Spurs have the type of run they can have.

I'm not factoring in Liverpool and this could cost me by the end of the season but for arguments sake, if we win our two games in hand over Liverpool, we would be four points ahead of them - I just think we will and I just think we can pip them because I think it is over for them this season now and I think most of their players actually accept that.

I'm also secretly hoping also that Everton finish higher than Liverpool this season, but that is just a secret hope and more for the banter I can have some friends. But, I'm spoiling my optimism and my clarity with other thoughts.

The business end of the season

This is where it gets interesting for us and Spurs. We both have three matches away and three matches at home. Spurs have to go to Old Trafford, City of Manchester Stadium and Turf Moor - not easy places and for a team with an away record that reads won six, drawn five and lost five - possibly quite daunting.

Our away record on the other hand, is just a little better. We have won seven, drawn five and lost four. I think we will get more out of our away games against Pompey, Hull and Manchester City than Spurs will out of their three and I think you will probably agree.

Home comforts

Our three home games are against Everton, The Clowns and Blackburn and had we played these three games in November, I would have said nine points but the fact is we are tired at the moment and that is going to play a part.

Towards the end of all long races, sportsmen and women often refer to a wall that they have to break through and our players are going to hit that wall soon. Yes, it is psychological, but it exists and this is where the twelfth man of Villa Park has a role to perform.

You will think I am mad, but I'm convinced the last time we beat The Clowns at Villa Park was as much to do with the twelfth man as the football and while you can easily disagree with me, you will not be able to change my opinion on it. I am remembering that night now and my heart is pounding. Honestly, thinking about it now is getting me pumped up.

What I'm trying to say is, if we replicate that tomorrow night and for the match against Blackburn, these three matches will produce nine points for us and with our magnificent away support doing what they have done better than any away support this season, I think we can take fifth, not steal it, but take it as ours.

It really does however, come down to the twelfth man at Villa Park for the next three home games. I promise you, if the twelfth man really does come alive and not just for ten minutes here and there, but for 90 minutes in all three matches, it is nine points for us and it is our job done, but it must start tomorrow.

There are no second chances with this, it has to start tomorrow. We have a responsibility and it is our time to take it. If we don't take it tomorrow, if we don't wake the lion and we don't make those Everton players nervous every time they get the ball, it won't just be our fault, be we will have to shoulder some of the responsibility.

Tomorrow night is our night and as supporters of Aston Villa, we have to make it happen.

Thanks Emma for what you said the other day and thanks DJ for the call - it's all falling into place again.