For reasons unknown to anyone but possibly Andy Townsend, there exists a video of the 1995-96 Aston Villa squad discussing their favourite drinks, from bitter to pineapple juice. You may not believe it, but it’s perhaps the finest film you’re ever likely to see.
It begins with various shots of pints being pulled, lager being poured and Coca Cola being sipped in a sinister, blue-tinged bar. So what if the production quality is woeful and the music sounds like the beginning of a 90s sex education video?
This is the beginning of something significant, something timeless. ‘You know,’ says Townsend, as the second Villa player on screen, ready to reveal his deepest secrets to the watching world. ‘I like lager really is what I will drink.’ Then, out of nowhere, he throws a curveball at the audience. ‘If I’m in Ireland, I’ll drink a pint or two of Guinness.’
And Townsend isn’t the last to give us a glimpse insider the mind of an Aston Villa footballer in the mid 90s.
The greatest video you’ll ever see:
‘I like blackcurrant and lemonade, or lime and lemonade,’ Dwight Yorke says, apparently in his kitchen, sporting a Mizuno sweatshirt. ‘Those are good drinks that I enjoy.’ Then Mark Bosnich and Ian Taylor confess their undying love of Ribena, any self-respecting child of the 90s’ preferred blackcurrant squash. But there’s trouble ahead. Nigel Spink not only doesn’t like Ribena, he can’t stand the shite.
‘I hate Ribena,’ roars Spink, belligerently, before turning his attentions to the harder stuff. ‘No, I’m partial to a nice pint of bitter. Errr then a bit later on a Bacardi and Coke.’ And, years before David Brent would appear on our screens, he adds, ‘usually a double’. And this is how it goes on – with Riccardo Scimeca admitting he likes ‘lemonade, Coke, things like that’ as if an unseen producer is holding a gun held to his head; or Ugo Ehiogu professing his fleeting love for ‘bottled lager’ – until Gareth Southgate, a rabbit in the headlights of a subject so important Aston Villa football club have decided to make a video based on their players’ opinions on it, appears on screen.
‘In the week I drink mostly water and stuff like that,’ Southgate says, from the sanctuary of a dimly orange living room. ‘But I enjoy a few beers at the weekend to unwind.’ Essential viewing.