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14-12-2009

Dave Woodhall looks back at a memorable win and forward to a time when it won’t be quite so memorable.

What happened in November 1983? I was unemployed, along with a few million others. I had a full head of hair and my own teeth.

The first cruise missiles arrived at Greenham Common. Jesse Jackson announced his intention to run for President. The Brinks Mat robbery took place. John le Mesurier died. The Zapatista Army of National Liberation was formed in Mexico.

And reigning European Super Cup holders Aston Villa won at Old Trafford. 2-1, both of our goals scored by Peter Withe.

Saturday’s 1-0 victory was, therefore, more than a little overdue. It was a notable triumph, one that could set the team up for the rest of the season and beyond.

The last time we beat Manchester United in the league at Villa Park, in August 1995, was the first game of a memorable season that saw Villa finish fourth and win the League Cup. Saturday’s performance, on top of the other results going for us, could lead to a similar conclusion, provided we have the right attitude.

For years Villa have gone to Old Trafford with the main aim of keeping the score down yet from the first kick to the last on Saturday they looked like winners. Now we have to carry that mentality forward.

Most importantly,  let’s not over-react. Yes, it was a good win. Yes, as I said, it might help us go on to better things. But some of the celebration has been a bit over the top.

It was three points against a team we play twice a season. If we’re as good as we think we are, winning a league game, no matter what the opposition, has got to be a matter of routine. Increased achievement calls for higher standards;

if you’re going to finish in the top four you have to expect to beat the teams around you.

As Martin O’Neill said, it was a well-fought win against difficult opposition. Nothing more, nothing less.

So, well done and now let’s move on. We’ve got a match on Tuesday night at Sunderland; they’re not the easiest of sides to play against the  Stadium of Light and they’ll be looking for revenge after we won up there on penalties in the League Cup. We’ve also got Stoke on Saturday and they’ll be no pushovers either.

Three points at Old Trafford was a good result but in the long run that’s all it was – three points. All that good work will count for nothing if we don’t keep getting results.

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