The weekly Villa news brought us something positive for once as the club’s rebuilding process has already begun with the appointments of Brian Little as an advisor and David Bernstein to the board, actions that certainly adhere to our famous ‘Prepared’ motto. Something the previous pre-season failed to deliver.
The previous fixture to this one brought even more despair and added further to the desensitization of fans when it comes to seeing the ball hit the back of the net. How many times did we concede? I wasn’t counting to be honest and nor were the Man City players I bet. Spurs were up next, fighting for the title and a part of me really wanted to throw a spanner in the works and actually have a say in the league for once this season. Unfortunately I didn’t see any pigs flying on the train to Aston…
Prematch Fan Thoughts
It’s come to a part of a Villa fans life where most have conformed to betting against us, something to cheer up their weekend I suppose. A wise decision perhaps as Mauricio Pochettino declared in the build-up to this one that his weakened team selection for their Europa League game against Dortmund was based on “respect for Aston Villa”. They lost that midweek game 3-0 and it’s clear to see that their full focus is on the league, something that Martin O’Neill used to do when Villa were ‘flying high’ in a European Competition. Striking partnerships of Nathan Delfouneso and Emile Heskey were selected, whilst Moustapha Salifou was expected to boss the midfield much to the disarray of fans. Even if his famous song was brilliant. Like Tottenham’s Europe experience, ours was also shattered by the likes of Rapid Vienna, Hamburg and CSKA Moscow.
The team news arrived and the most notable alterations that Remi Garde had made was the change from a back five to just the four and as most fans have given up already, it was nice to see that Andre Green could provide an insight into next season if he were to be given a chance off the bench.
For a title contending side Spurs looked quite leggy and nowhere near as sharp as some of the other top teams that come to mind. It was as if they were expecting a win, which could be a dangerous mentality if you were competing against a team like Bournemouth. A team whose midfielder’s cover every blade of grass and defence organise themselves well, something Spurs weren’t too worried about when facing us incidentally.
However, the main highlights for us on the pitch were the two absolute sitters missed by both Rudy Gestede and Joleon Lescott. If either had gone in, it would have resulted in a nervy second half for the visitors. They say luck doesn’t go your way when you’re marooned at the foot of the table and both of those opportunities proved that.
It’s difficult to take anything out of Villa’s matches these days as we look forward to life in the Championship, but one thing that was certainly worth the train ride to Aston was the insight that Andre Green provided.
Many fans have been screaming out for Remi Garde to blood the kids on the big stage and give them some much needed experience. Experience that will prove vital if we decide that they deserve an inclusion in next season’s plans. Something I truly believe the likes of Green and Jerell Sellars definitely do deserve and it’d be nice to see more of Green’s corners actually beating the first man. One thing we’ve lacked desperately is the ability to cross the ball well, especially with Jordan Amavi side-lined and Green showed me that he had a good cross in him so I’d watch his development closely.
The attendance looked scarce again as gaps appeared all around the stadium, something that will certainly be prominent at Villa Park unless the board do the right thing. The right thing being lower ticket prices in order to pack out the stadium and help a big promotion push. The inconsistency from ‘outthedooron74’ didn’t stop a few groups of fans still protesting by leaving at that point, but it failed to have anywhere near the impact that the protest in the match against Everton did. However, there were still all kinds of protests from T-Shirts to banners and chants. Something that we shouldn’t steer away from just because Brian Little has been given an short-term advisory role.
There is still a lot wrong with our club and the stewards that grappled a big bed sheet with ‘Lerner Out’ on it proved that to us. The complete lack of sense from the stewards lately has led to more incidents, specifically in the Lower North Stand and to see them acting like this is astonishing. Is it against stadium policy to protest and voice our opinion? Most pay £300+ for a season ticket and I think that should enable them to voice their disapproval when they choose to. Credit to the Tottenham fans for joining in with the chants of ‘Lerner Out’ and their more inventive protests songs, but we’ll get to that.
Post-Match Fan Thoughts
It’s inevitable we’ll be relegated now and it has been for a long time, so let’s focus on what the future could hold and more off the pitch work that could prove vital in the long run. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of squad we’ll have next season as it’s completely unpredictable. The board could take any of the multiple routes in terms of squad strategy for the Championship. The current crop of players are not the correct group to get us back up and out of this mess, so don’t kid yourself with that philosophy.
The board have made good progress so far and Steve Hollis hasn’t really put a foot wrong yet in terms of his contributions. The three men that were appointed at the start of this season all have a major part to play in the failure of this team and it’s positive to see that we’re already identifying the main culprits and getting them out of our club so early. Better to sack them now and have the summer to move forward rather than mess about. With Hendrik Almstadt gone, I can personally see Paddy Riley following him and Tom Fox may not have much time left either. If all three are gone under Hollis, I’ll start to feel a little bit more optimistic.
Away Fans Score – 9/10
The Spurs fans were another good away group as they filled both tiers and certainly showed their class when they joined in with our protests. When the away teams do this it just goes to show how highly we’re valued as a club and even if no one admits it, they’ll miss us when we’re gone. Spurs took a more inventive approach with the ‘Lerner Out’ songs, creating their own ‘Lerner for Arsenal’ chant which brought applause from the left blocks of the Lower North. They were a good set of fans, with some funny moments and even a flair. So thanks to them.
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