By Liam Scahill
The Here and Now
In a society where instant gratification is a life necessity and an expected everyday normality, Steve Bruce’s footballing ideologies and ethos have come under increasing levels of scrutiny from Villa fans in recent times.
Football as a whole, on a global scale is viewed very much in the here and now, by not just its audiences but by players alike. The deeds, achievements and displays of loyalty of yesterday count for little. The footballing stratosphere recently has witnessed a widespread complex wind system of condemnation, with regard the now infamous decision, by current Premier League champions Leicester City to sack their title-winning manager Claudio Ranieri and besmirch his name on a global scale, mere weeks after the man was awarded and recognised by FIFA as being the best manager in the world.
The debate & deliberation in the aftermath, has almost tantalisingly teased opened Pandora`s box, which is housing a wider argument that in time to come must ensue if the game of football is to retain any of its remaining wholesomeness. That white elephant-taboo-unmentionable-out of bounds-anathema-prohibited debate, lurking in Pandora`s box is a polemical trenchant conversation surrounding the lack of ethical thinking and/or responsive empathetic understanding in the game.
Back down in Villa’s troposphere, Steve Bruce’s reign has heralded and orchestrated some truly woeful lack lustre footballing displays, which inevitably has led to him & his team receive a plethora of criticism and ridicule. The directness and often one dimensional football hors d’oeuvres being conjured on the pitch and severed at the Villa football buffet, has not salivated every Villa fan`s palate.
Essentially, a cocktail of poor results followed by the harsh reality that the promotion dream is over for this season, has prompted fans and pundits alike to analyse Bruce’s failings with merciless scrutiny. The patience threshold amongst the claret and blue hordes of faithful followers has justifiably been eroded away by the Lerner years.
In essence, would it be fair to assume in a footballing sense, collectively as Villans we are all emotionally damaged from the recent past underperformances of the club? Can the bleak possession and pass completion statistics of some of the football on offer that Bruce has presided over thus far in his short reign, empower us with sufficient adequate portions of ethical moral standing that we call for him to be sent to the redundancy gallows?
Results at the end of day is all that matters to us fans, and subsequently it determines the longevity of any manager’s reign, is this fact just and reasonable? From most fans perspective’s one would imagine it is, however there is more than the perspective of fandom in the footballing world that counts for something. If the players who don our famous history embroiled jerseys underperform and manage to consistently misplace passes, does this failure rest solely at the door of Bruce?
For supporters, we are brimming with copious amounts of Villa pride; we are emotionally charged and invested in the club. Analytical reason is nigh on impossible for us when we evaluate our club’s performance on the pitch, perhaps just perhaps for the time being at least, we need to cease the practice of eyeballing overachieving clubs in our midst such as Huddersfield Town with envious eyes for example.
Huddersfield under the stewardship of one David Wagner seem to be making virtuoso like strides on the pitch, with a footballing approach that is not just stylish but effective in the Championship. Wagner and his origins scream exoticism, when correlated to our own Stevey Bruce, maybe Big Sam Allardyce had a point when he joked that he will never manage a top four side because his surname is not “Allardici”. Our current Villa world is not the utopia we desire it to be but nor is the footballing atmosphere that we inhabit.
The Long Game
Maybe just maybe the ambition and the determination that Keith Wyness, Dr Tony Xia and Steve Bruce display at times will orchestrate a sumptuous metamorphosis of the club. Instead of limiting our horizons which are weighed down by years of witnessing the Villa underperform, we should expand our horizons and give the club’s hierarchy opportunity and crucially time to prove many of us unbelievers and doubters wrong.
The alternative is, we follow the grain, and surrender to the tide of short-term thinking and seek instant gratification, ethically is that the Villa way? That is the question each and everyone one of us must answer in our own mind’s eye. Recent positive results can be perceived as green shoots of progress or a mask that hides away mediocre negative football, but in conclusion there is the distinct possibility our glass is half full, not half empty and the death knell of our historic club is not upon us!
Let our future and/or present opinions of the club, not be too tainted by the past, let us positively dare to dream once again, this notion could be wishful thinking and not misogynistic in nature or it could turn out to be another weapon in our armoury that will aid the club in traversing the long path ahead where we may hopefully dine once again at the top table of English football.
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