Two short years ago, the Championship was a ruddy tough league. So what does that make it now? A voracious beast fuelled by a gruesome stew of broiled fifty pence pieces and minced five pound notes? Each of its seven mutant legs commits a foul simultaneously, and a bleary-eyed, damp-groined referee daren’t penalise a single one of them.
Only a man the size of seven Ellingtons and three Robertses trained by four Jewells and six Robertos may hope to slay such a creature. A man so tough he wears only the thinnest of shorts in the deepest of snow and wettest of monsoons. Some claim  he even wears those parachute-sized shorts to bed.
Or so the legend foretells. But I wouldn’t pay much heed, because it was originally written on a cheese-stained napkin at a dank, dingy vegetarian restaurant. And scribbled alongside were misheard lyrics from ‘Jean Genie’ (Roy Keaney loves DDOS hacks/Roy Keaney steals from Radio Shack).
But what does that have to do with Aston Villa?
Well, you must encourage this claret and sky blue monster to empty its entire energy reserve on the 20 Tog duvet wrapped around your stomach. Once he is exhausted, you ‘go Dutch’ on his worryingly exposed fizzog, taking ‘panicked wild shots’ at his oversized conk. Or at least, that’s what it says on Wazza Joyce’s pie gravy stained serviette.
“Just *try* to defeat this toilet roll armour, vile beast!”
And in simplified tabloid terms, that’s roughly: let ‘em attack you like mad, then nick a goal on t’break. Because that’s what you must do when you are embedded deep in the Championship’s rubber soul, the relega- well, I don’t want to utter that word before supper time, but you know what I’m talking about.
This is precisely how the first half played out… minus the Latics goal, of course.
Following Villa’s wild domination of the opening 25 minutes, the visitors climbed out of their own half with cakes of crusty rheum lining their wide eyes. Previously centre backs, each and every one of them was now a ‘surprise’ attacker joining their makeshift striker, the slightly maligned Yanic Wildschut.
But as all bad businessman will claim, it can be inadvisable to skip an extra hour of sleep for another 60 minutes of work time. Was it too early in the morning for a Latics ‘onslaught’? Was it wise to deviate from the ‘pinch a goal in the last minute’ strategy?
Calm down a second – this ‘barrage’ only served to wrest back some control. Which, admittedly, brought the visitors gradually closer to that much-valued Championship point.
Ha! Your arcane free kick rulings do not affect us here in Aston… er… Villa.
Wigan’s first real moment of panic arrived on the 45 minute mark, when Jack Grealish was denied by the five-man unidefender’s backside. But Villa’s attempts to build on this were thwarted by the smell of half time dumplings and a toot of ref Jimmy Linington’s tin whistle. I must say I prefer ‘Tubular Bells’.
He’s creepy and he’s kooky
The second half was greeted with two things: falling saltwater and a Jordi Gomez sneak attack. Few noticed the 2013 FA Cup finalist had slipped into Reece Burke’s place, substituted into battle as play resumed. Using this element of surprise to his advantage, he slid towards Perluigi Gollini’s goal for a quick shot. Which edged wide of the target, but greater achievements surely beckoned.
I bet you didn’t know ‘Gordon’ Gomez held a HGV license, eh? On this afternoon, he was single handedly reversing the DW Sports lorry, packed with ten fellow spring-loaded Latics, over the grimy toes of those cartoonish Villans.
This made them very mad indeed. And you should never anger a monster.
“Wait, Warren… you’re saying I need a HGV license for this thing?”
In retaliation, Ross McCormack bashed a promising free kick at someone’s — anyone’s — exposed gonads. Because robbing a gentleman of his potential to reproduce has far greater repercussions than a mere Championship goal.
Similarly, a goalside Johnny Kodjia chose to destroy a digital advertising hoarding with the ball instead of aiming for Jussi J’s stout fingers. I can’t say André Ayew, who delivered the ‘killer’ pass, shared his intentions, however.
The final five minutes arrived without further alarm at either end of the field. But there was one more haymaker for Latics to parry… and unfortunately they couldn’t help but take it square in the soft dangly bits.
Inviting shots from way outside the area is ordinarily a semi-safe strategy in this otherwise ‘monster’ division. But in this instance, Grealish was able to slip the ball between Jussi’s greasy fingers and the post for a painful points-pincher. Ouchie doesn’t quite cover it (you’d need a cricket box for that).
On the bright side, at least this offered substitute Dan Burn a rare opportunity to play as a genuine centre forward for the remaining 270 seconds. Could he be the goalscoring superstar Latics crave? Well, certainly not today… but maybe tomorrow.
Actually, screw that. Is the transfer window open yet? Joycey’s Man United youth strikers can’t arrive quickly enough.