While Aston Villa supporters pondered who was going to take over from the departed Rémi Garde as Villa manager there was the small matter of a Villa Park visit by Chelsea to deal with. There was another mass protest lined up, plus the prospect of both Adama Traore and Jack Grealish returning, to provide fans with at least some reason to try and enjoy their day out on a Saturday lunch time.
Prematch Fan Thoughts
The inconvenience of a 12.45pm Kick off is usually the bane of any football fan’s life on a Saturday afternoon and that feeling of inconvenience was mixed with misery to make a nasty cocktail many Villa fans are pretty much used to drinking in this tragic season.
The cocktail spirit was certainly rife as the sun provided some weather fit for some Pina colada drinking. Not quite the temperature of Dubai where Gabby Agbonlahor and Micah Richards had been enjoying similiar drinks during the International break. While Gabby had been suspended, Richards made a surprise start at centre-back.
The team news came in and suddenly one of my reasons for actually daring to suffer the game was eradicated as Adama and Andre Green weren’t even named in the squad of 18.
The apparent lack of effort was present again from many players with only Grealish, Jordan Lyden, Jordan Ayew and perhaps Idrissa Gana, running more than I had to, to get to the ground on time after setting off late.
I understand the potential bad idea of throwing a plethora of young talent into such a toxic, depressing and frankly difficult situation. However, if you want to restore some pride and passion back into the fan’s hearts then I don’t think we can rely on players such as Leandro Bacuna to do so.
Apart from joining in with humorous chanting towards Bacuna, my personal highlight for the game was probably admiring such a bright potential in Ruben Loftus-Cheek. What was even more pleasurable was knowing that he’s English, a definite midfielder to watch in the future.
It was business as usual as Pedro wrapped up the scoring with a goal to complete his brace and it could have been more. The only notable positive Villa features in the game were the contribution of both Jordan Lyden and Jack Grealish; the latter created a few openings towards the end of the match. If he only had a more cultured left-back to work with on the flank. Much like the Everton game though, the talking points lay in the atmosphere set by the second mass protest – ‘Bannersouton74’.
In R2 in the Lower North there were two flags held up boldly, contributing further to the overall protesting mood of the fans. One was a typical bedsheet and the other a better designed and colourful strip stating “Lerner out”. The protests then turned towards the majority of players who have failed to perform this season and the chant “you’re not fit to wear the shirt” was a popular one in the 90 minutes.
The 74th minute came and hundreds of A3 banners were lifted to make for an impressive view of the Holte end, whilst the fans joined together in giving Randy Lerner a bold message. That message being ‘Proud History, What Future?’. An interpretation of the motto Lerner installed himself and it certainly got the point across with BT Sport and many others televising it so it was apparent throughout the media.
Many fans also made paper aeroplanes out of the banners and attempted to guide them onto the pitch, making for some better entertainment than what the players were providing.
The only other hot point in the game came when Leandro Bacuna took the field as a sub to a chorus of boos. Bacuna was mocked and goaded for his revelations in a paper last week were he spoke about his Champions League desires for next season. All four stands in the stadium helped to sing “Champions League, you’re having a laugh” and it boosted the noise levels inside the stadium whilst the mass protests took place.
Post-Match Fan Thoughts
Blood some kids. We’ve been down and out for so long and I’d rather us take a gamble with the introduction of three or four academy youngsters. It’d make the game a lot more interesting and attending Villa Park wouldn’t be as much as a chore as it is now. Especially when the players who have already set fire to the ship all season, are now clinging on to the ropes as it slowly descends under water.
If we lose next week against Bournemouth and Norwich draw; we’re relegated. For me it’s the sooner the better, I want to move on to next season now and hopefully start a fresh.
The newly established board look to be a positive step towards that fresh start and the next managerial appointment is a crucial one. We need a man who will have all the qualities and experience to rebuild our squad and get us straight back into the Premier League, where we belong.
Moyes or Pearson would both be good choices and I’m sure the football experience that we’ve now gathered onto the board will help make the right decision. However, with Villa it’s best to the expect the unexpected as we all wait with bated breath to see who will take the helm next.
Away Fans Score – 7/10
It was nice to see the way the Chelsea fans reacted to Alexander Pato’s appearance and goal but apart from that, they weren’t as loud as I’d expect and didn’t really respect our current situation. It’s funny to see that the so called ‘bigger teams’ like Chelsea and Arsenal usually haven’t had the best away following that have come to Villa Park this season. They filled both tiers but that’s expected of most teams now that it’s a guaranteed three points on their away day travels.
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