Aston Villa ‘Who are You?’: Bruce, Grabban, Birmingham rivalry and SAFC’s ‘necessary’ relegation

Tom: ‘Like Villa, I’m under Chinese ownership’;

Tom Jolliffe* cannot see beyond an away win at the Stadium of Light tomorrow. At least he applies a neat sense of humour, and traces of sympathy, to his asnwers about our plight and his club Aston Villa’s buoyant current state and longer-term prospects (which should not, in his view, include much room for Lewis Grabban beyond the Championship). And however controversial this will be, Monsieur Salut thinks he’s closer to being right than wrong in his assessment of Steve Bruce …

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The John Terry case: good day for Chelsea, bad one for football

Pete looks on in disbelief at Wolves

At another place, Monsieur Salut wrote yesterday that he disliked John Terry, detested racism, loathed yob culture wherever it manifested itself (including Loftus Road) … but thought the case as brought against Terry was idiotic and should have been dealt with by the FA, which might have been less ready to give benefit of the doubt. Pete Sixsmith takes the argument further, with subtle differences …

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John Terry, Anton Ferdinand and those sensitive souls in the press box

Each morning, or more accurately as many mornings as I can bear, I walk down the hill to buy my copy of Var-Matin and, when not observing my Max Hastings diet (as I understand it, no bread, potatoes, chocolate or beer but as much wine as you want), some tasty French goodies. Nothing wrong with the walk down; the 130 steps and great looping bends make it a tougher walk back.

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The Robson Report: let Doncaster’s Billy Sharp personify football’s soul

Jeremy Robson

Did John Terry mouth a racist insult in “conversation” with Anton Ferdinand, or was he merely enquiring as to whether Anton erroneously thought he had done so? A number of players insist that Terry is not a racist; the facts have yet to be determined. Billy Sharp’s gesture, however, needed no interpretation. Jeremy Robson applauds Sharp, the bereaved father who scored a “goal from heaven”* (see clip below); you judge whether he is unduly harsh on JT …

Bill Shankly’s oft cited quotation about football being more important than life and death was mentioned again as recently as last week on Salut! Sunderland, in the title of the Rev Leo Osborn’s “Who are you?” article prior to the SAFC v Aston Villa game.

Leo, a staunch Villa fan but also a prominent churchman, said Shankly was wrong. I for one would not disagree. How can any sport, or game be considered more important than life itself?

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Soapbox on captains courageous: so who leads England out against Wales?

The question is posed by Pete Sixsmith. who detects a subtle difference between your John Terrys and your Kevin Balls …

The big talking point on Sport on 5 last night was the England captaincy.

Mark Pougatch, David Pleat and Mike Ingham had a sustained and intense discussion about who should wear the captains armband against Wales and Ghana next week, what with Rio being injured, Stevie G being out and would JT get it back. Interesting? Not really

One startling revelation that came out was that Terry was “upset” when the armband was passed around during the multi-substitutions against Denmark and it never reached him, poor diddums.

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