For the first time in years it feels great to be an Aston Villa fan, writes Steve Zacharanda.
Thankfully the top brass at the Villa have installed a manager before the European Championships.
We can be safe in the knowledge that we have a manager that the majority of fans wanted and who is a natural born winner.
It had to be sorted before the Euros because if it had not it would have been like going to a cracking concert but having that nagging worry that you’ve left the oven on.
These are exciting times for Villa fans, we will be getting new players to watch and a new brand of football. If everything goes to plan we will be right back in the Race for Seventh.
The Euros can be enjoyed now without the shadow of another Villa manager search debacle ruining it.
The only time I will be thinking about the Villa is if a pasty-faced Ukrainian winger scores a screamer and I might wonder: “Did Paul Lambert see that?”
International tournaments are wonderful, wall to wall terrestrial football when, unlike the rest of the season, the team with the biggest bank balance does not automatically wins.
And unlike the last Euros, which were brilliant, England are involved.
Having England at a major tournament is like going out on the session with a mate who cant handle his beer.
When he gets thrown out the club for pulling his trousers down on the dancefloor you are free to enjoy the rest of the night without the anxiety that you might get your face kicked off by a gang of
lads he would have eventually annoyed.
England's fortunes will not alter my enjoyment of the next month's football one bit, the best bit of us being involved is that I might see more of my mates and for once enjoy a match with friends
who support Blues.
I told a mrs of mine on the eve of the 2006 World Cup that this whole ‘picking you up from work and dropping you to your mums’ malarkey would end when the first game kicked off.
“But England are not playing until Tuesday,” she said.
“England?” I replied, “We’ve got Sweden v South Korea, Mexico v UAE and Spain v Nigeria first bab.”
Sensing she had me on the back foot she said: “But you don’t support any of them.”
“Well I will be supporting one of them when the games are on.”
I never seen her again.
And that is the beauty of international football tournaments, all the football is on ITV or the BBC and they are only events when you know men across borders are as excited as you are.
Who to support besides England is never that tricky, anyone will do, it of course will help if there is an Aston Villa connection.
If a team has a current or former Villa player in the squad then I support them and if there isn’t one then someone we nearly signed will do.
As before the Irish are taking the most Villa players, let’s hope Dunne and Given play with the spirit of Paul McGrath.
So I will be supporting the Irish too, then of course the Euros will be one of the last chances to see ex-Villa legend Olaf Mellberg in action. He of the free Villa tops for away fans. One of the
good guys of the footballing world so I will be shouting for Sweden too.
The joker in the pack is ex-Villain Wilfed ‘chubby porn star’ Bouma who was tragically allowed to leave Villa Park after recovering from a near career ending injury.
Here’s hoping the first choice Dutch defence get injured in a clog and space cake related incident and we can see Bouma play in that beautiful orange kit.
Then my friends we can support a team which might actually win the thing.