After a bumpy start to life in our first two competitive games, the pressure was heaped on the players, manager and new owner alike to find a positive result against Rotherham in our first competitive home game of the season. With improvements to the squad coming through the use of transfers, everyone was hoping that this match would be the one to kick-start our season.
Prematch Fan Thoughts
Everyone’s expectations beforehand were sky high, expecting an easy win with a fair few goals. I myself predicted a 3-1 win, which shows how even after such a terrible showing against Luton, fans were still confident and upbeat about the new season. However, most fans in the division would probably expect the same if they were coming up against Rotherham, so a win was a must in anyone’s mind.
The team news brought more joy to the supporter’s moods as all of the five new signings were starting. One thing the horrific Luton game did highlight was how significant the player’s mentality is in effecting their performances. Any player that experienced last season is still clearly scarred and so the introduction of fresh faces can only improve that. Especially if those new faces appear in the defence.
There was certainly more of a buzz around Villa Park walking into the ground, but the players still had to deliver to ease everyone’s qualms about our situation.
Just before kick-off Tony Xia decided to parade himself around on the pitch for the fans to see what they were getting in a new owner. He was having all sorts of fun, geeing up the Holte End and excitedly punching the air. I feel like we’ve lucked out to have such a fresh and vibrant new owner in charge of our great club.
Already he looks taken into the culture of Villa and he’s certainly a character that’s for sure, one with good humour who knows the importance of reconnecting with the fans, hence his Twitter adventures, which only holds good intentions.
We looked so much better than our performance on Wednesday night and with more transfers, especially the addition of an older head within the midfield we’ll start to look more like promotion contenders. Despite only being against Rotherham, a win like that must have done a lot of good for the players’ confidence which is another positive we can take out of the result.
There has to be mentions for Grealish, Gestede, Tshibola, Cissokho and Chester, on his debut, who all were excellent. It’s been a hell of a long time since we won a game. Never mind winning one 3-0. I think everyone enjoyed it, including the players.
My final note on the game has to be another special mention to Tommy Elphick who has put so much passion and pride back on the pitch again that he’ll become a lot of people’s favourite player.
Our new owner helped the atmosphere crank up on more than one occasion, when in the second half he appeared on the big screen hanging over the ledge of his Trinity Road spot. Again, he was waving his arms around in the air which fired up the Holte End to roar back at him. Today really was all summed up by one word – reconnection.
Every fan walking out of the ground at full-time felt reconnected with their club once more after Xia and many of the players on the pitch, such as Grealish, helped mend that bond again.
33,000 were at Villa Park and for a Championship game, that’s not too shabby, considering that it beats a lot of club’s attendance for the first game in the Premier League. By Villa’s standards it’s not amazing, but I’m sure with more wins and action from Dr.Tony, it’ll definitely fill up. The overall atmosphere from the fans was brilliant at times, it did quiet down towards the middle of the game, but lifted as it ended and all four stands were in good voice a few times.
The peak moment for the volume levels within the North, was probably when a rich claret flare went off after the first goal which probably shocked a fair few Rotherham fans!
Post-Match Fan Thoughts
We cannot afford to get too carried away with the result even if it has put a big smile on everybody’s faces for a few days. We’ve got another job to do on Tuesday and that alongside a tough away fixture at Derby County will help us see where we are in terms of progress.
If we can walk away with four points from those two ties, I’d be more than happy as our team is still only in its early days, when it comes to transfers and gelling together.
Away Fans Score – 4/10
They brought a fair few fans but didn’t sell out their allocation for the match and their support was disappointing overall, as the majority of them remained sat down. Yes, you did read that right, they were sat down, on an away day. Even still, they managed to make a bit of noise but were poor overall. No competition for the Villa fans in any way and it was a forgettable offering. Uninspiring.
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