Brad pits his wits against.....Brad

By Mat Kendrick on Jul 12, 08 10:01 PM

RANDY Lerner has resisted the urge to replace steak and kidney pies and pints with nachos and root beer in the Holte End food kiosks.

The chairman/owner has ignored the impulse to abandon the search for a right-back and sign a quarter-back instead.

And the billionaire has avoided making his staff say 'Have a nice day' instead of the more traditional Brummie greeting of 'am yow all roight?'

But if proof were needed of the Americanisation of Aston Villa it came with today's news that Martin O'Neill is close to signing a player called Brad.

If rumours are to be believed young goalkeeper Guzan could even be joined by another Brad, his more experienced compratriot Brad Friedel.

In fact there are so many Brads associated with Villa at the moment that one football agent I spoke to today accidentally assured me that they were signing Brad Gilbert, honestly - until I reminded him he was Andy Murray's former tennis coach!

Whatever next? Villa Park packed to the rafters with Chucks or Hanks - celebrity Villan Tom Hanks doesn't count by the way!.

At least Lerner cannot be accused of a cynical ploy to boost Villa's popularity across the pond. If it was a publicity stunt Villa would have signed any old Yank, not a player rated among the best of a growing band of USA stoppers in the Premier League.

Meanwhile, our man in Zurich informs us that Villa's mini tour of Switzerland might have ended in a more positive result than a 2-1 defeat had the female referee been a little bit kinder.

With little at stake and a lot more tact, O'Neill was never going to launch a Mike Newell-style rant about lady refs being better off in the kitchen.

But the two penalties she awarded against the claret and blue tourists were contentious to say the least.

Mind you, she did allow a goal from Agbonlahor - she must have thought Gabby was a girl's name and decided sisters should stick together!

Sorry ladies, at least we've included a piccy of Brad Pitt with this blog, what more do you want?!

Other than going close with a bullet header, Steve Sidwell made a solid but unspectacular debut with a 45-minute run out in the first-half, not long after linking up with his team-mates for the first time at the tour hotel.

It seems to represent a shrewd bit of business by O'Neill and if the former Reading and Chelsea man is half as effective as the last Villa midfielder nicknamed Sid then the £5million fee will seem like a bargain.

Speaking of Reds (or gingers), Arsenal have apparently joined Liverpool in the battle to sign Gareth Barry.

Whether Villa's own sulking Macaulay Culkin (well, he is Home Alone) will become a Gunner is doubtful, but the inside information is that he's almost certain to be a goner within the next fortnight.


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