It’s tough being an Aston Villa fan at the moment.
Robert Di Matteo has been sacked after a disastrous start to the season and – with £50 million already spent on transfers – will new owner Dr Tony Xia be willing to fork out even more cash for a new manager to potentially blow on underperforming players?
Villa fans will probably find more comfort in the warm arms of nostalgia – like the 1995/96 season in which they won the League Cup and finished an impressive fourth in the Premier League.
A celebratory VHS called The Squaddies was released 20 years ago to mark the success, diving behind the scenes of Villa’s decent-if-not-quite-glittering season.
One absolute gem on the tape shows various members of the squad going through their favourite drinks. Think David Brent’s “me, lager. Finchy, lager. Gareth, lager sometimes cider, so different drinks for different… needs” explanation and you’re pretty much there.
“I’m partial to a nice pint of bitter, and a bit later a nice Baccardi and coke. Usually a double.”
Andy ‘in and around’ Townsend puts in a vote for lager, with the proviso that he’ll neck Guinness if in Ireland. Fellow Republic of Ireland international Paul McGrath? Also Guinness.
Dwight Yorke said blackcurrant lemonade or lime and lemonade were his tipples of choice, while left-back Alan Wright noted that “I can’t really say I like alcohol because, to be honest, it makes me sick”.
By far the most contentious drink to be mentioned is Ribena, something Ian Taylor and Mark Bosnich both love, but back-up keeper Nigel Spink does not. In fact, he seems to have an intense hatred for the purple stuff.
“I’m partial to a nice pint of bitter, and a bit later a nice Baccardi and Coke. Usually a double,” Spink said.
Even England’s new manager Gareth Southgate, at the time a lynchpin of the Villa defence, had something to say on the matter.