December 17 1976 is a date etched in the minds of all Aston Villa fans as the day they toppled the then league champions Liverpool 5-1 at Villa Park. The fact they bagged all five goals before the interval makes it an even more incredible scoreline against a team considered the best in Europe at the time.
Now they face the same opponents twice in just over a month at the same venue, but we reckon it’s unlikely that this current Villa side can emulate that of their predecessors. In fact we’re so sure there will not be a repeat of that scoreline (in either game) that we reckon these five extraordinary sporting feats are more likely to occur.
SCOTLAND QUALIFYING FOR A MAJOR TOURNAMENT
There’s a whole generation of Scottish football fans who have never seen their country perform on the biggest stage at either a World Cup or European Championships. The reason for this is that in the last two decades, the Scotland National football side has been shit.
It’s 21 years since the Tartan Army got tanked up in France at World Cup 98 and it’s highly unlikely that we’ll be seeing them again anytime soon at one of the summer showpiece events. Euro 2020 is still a possibility of course, but we all know that Steve Clarke’s men will find a way to screw up against an Eastern European non-entity (probably at Hampden) in the Nations League Play-Offs which take place next year, leaving Clarke looking for a job back in the English Championship and the SFA wondering how on earth they’re going to change this situation.
The honest truth of course, is that unless they get a chance to host a summer tournament, this new generation will be claiming their pensions before the Scots are once again able to record another forgettable World Cup ditty. Maybe Lewis Capaldi can oblige.
A BRIT TO WIN THE MEN’S SINGLES AT WIMBLEDON
Andy Murray is a half-decent tennis player for sure, but now his success has been cut short due to injury, who else will step up and become the great new hope of British tennis? The LTA have been scouring the clubs of South-West London to try to uncover a new Henman/Murray prototype, but because most of the power brokers of British tennis have never ventured north of Watford, we’ll probably never see the likes of Tim or Andy ever again.
Ah, but Murray was Scottish I hear you claim; yes, he was, but he cleared off to Spain for most of his formative years because he knew that would be best for his career. Murray has got his knighthood now and Henman has become housewives choice heading up the commentary team at SW19 – their legacy is a patch of ground where loads of Aussies go to get pissed and watch the action because they can’t get a ticket for any of the show courts.
FERRARI TO WIN THE F1 DRIVERS & CONSTRUCTORS CHAMPIONSHIP
Every season Formula One starts with boastful predictions from Ferrari about how this will be, finally, their season. Not since Kimi Raikkonen in 2007 have they won the world title and it never ceases to amaze fans of the sport just how the Italian motorsport giant manages to self-destruct every season. Of course, anyone who has driven in Italy will tell you why this occurs and why they always manage to claim defeat from the jaws of victory.
The tifosi still idolise Michael Schumacher who brought German efficiency to the team in the noughties, winning the world title five years in succession. When they tempted his fellow countryman Sebastian Vettel from Red Bull in 2013, they were looking for that same efficiency but all he has given them to date is panic every time the speedometer goes over a ton. Monaco playboy Charles Leclerc looks the real deal – but you are only as good as the car you drive and at the moment, none of the Ferraris would pass a normal MOT never mind win a constructors title.
RORY McILROY TO WIN ANOTHER MAJOR
Rory McIlroy is a great golfer. There, I’ve said it.
But the boy from Northern Ireland has now gone five years without winning a major and this must be a worry to his legion of fans around the world. These days, you’re more likely to see him at any major sporting event in which his country participates than strolling triumphantly up the 18th fairway with victory assured. The makers of the re-vamped Spitting Image are delighted to have people like Rory around as he makes good puppet material and the only time you’re likely to see his hands on a claret jug is when he’s getting a round in at his club in County Down or Palm Beach.
Known more recently for his celebrity lifestyle than his achievements on the links, expect to see him at all the upcoming big fights in Vegas and the world premiere of the next Lord of the Rings movie.
NIGEL BENN TO REGAIN HIS WORLD SUPER-MIDDLEWEIGHT CROWN
Thankfully (more for Nigel than the fans), The Dark Destroyer’s eagerly anticipated return to boxing at 55 is off because of a shoulder injury.
Benn was involved in some of the best fights in the sport’s history back in the 1990’s, but when he announced his return to the ring after 23 years earlier this year, many feared for his safety whilst at the same time, questioning his sanity. Benn stated this week that he was “heartbroken” to have to cancel his one-off fight against Sakio Bika in Birmingham on November 23.
The only winners here then seem to be the West Midlands ambulance service, who can now concentrate on clearing up the city’s streets of late night revellers rather than have to tend to a stricken fighter who obviously doesn’t know when to call it a day.