My previous boss in London had a Catholic friend who was a dedicated Crystal Palace fan. He used to take his kids along to every match. During a particularly bad patch in their modest history he used to joke that when he was getting one of his sons ready for the game one Saturday the boy asked if he could go to church instead. Aston Villa, by contrast, used to be a great football club. I once got off a plane in Frankfurt, got into a car to Heidelberg and had a conversation on the way about Villa’s midfield with the German taxi driver. He supported them as his English side. Bottom-of-the-table Palace beat Villa today. If there are any lively Sunday league footballers reading this in the Birmingham area who are interested in trying out for an ever-so-slightly more serious outfit they should call David on 0121 327 2299.