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Five Reasons to be Cheerful as a Villa Fan After Double Dose of Home Doom

Like thousands of other Aston Villa fans who normally would have made the trip the other week against Chelsea, I decided to give Villa Park a wide-berth. Instead, I sought alternative entertainment in Birmingham, with a late-night theatre presentation of Trainspotting, based on Irvin Welsh’s best-selling book and the Danny Boyle film that followed.

It was an ‘immersive production’ meaning the actors were acting around the audience and you could become part of the performance at any given moment.

During the show, fake human feces was thrown at the audience, crotches were grinded on by a female character wearing suspenders and members of the crowd were verbally abused as part of the show. Sitting on the front row, I happened to be wearing glasses on the night, and the lead character Mark Renton shouted at me, calling me “a f**king four-eyed freak!”

The onlooking Trainspotting actors may have thought to themselves during the face-to-face confrontation, ‘this guy doesn’t seem to be embarrassed and he didn’t even flinch’. Well, when you’re a Villa supporter and you’ve been insulted and ridiculed weekly for the past five years, have some jock ranting in your face isn’t going to bother you much. As Villa fans, we’ve built up our immunity to pretty much any kind of abuse.

A week later, I did pop down to Villa Park for the latest ritual claret and blue humiliation, this time against Bournemouth. The Cherries never needed to break into second gear, although saying that, this game would have been a routine win for any decent Villa team.

Only two more games of doom left at the Factory of Sadness to go, but in the meantime, here’s five reasons to be cheerful as Aston Villa supporters…

(Multiple reward draws for MOMS patrons this week, so make sure you join up here to be a patron too)

1 Protest Organisation

While the ‘Seats On 7’ protest made little impact due to the amount of empty seats around the ground, it was a good effort by the Aston Villa Protest Group to supply supporters with fliers to alert them to the protest. Protests that call for supporters to abstain from their seats though are tricky ones for fans to do on their own volition.

In January of last season, MOMS joined two other Villa blogs in suggesting in an open letter that supporters did the same thing for eight minutes, when it was obvious the club was in in trouble. The letter received substantial press coverage hitting the back pages of the nationals throughout the week leading up to the game and making Sky Sports and Football Focus.

While attention to our plight was successfully raised, the reality is for these types of protests to fully work you need supporters united and manning the entrances on the concourses to make sure there’s solidarity and that no one goes in. I’ve witnessed it personally in the San Siro, during an Inter vs Parma game a few years ago, when the Inter ultras didn’t take their seats for the first 10 minutes to protest against ID cards.

The week before, the ‘Banners Out on 74’ protest at the Chelsea game was far more successful, and a fitting spectacular to match the effort and cost the organisers had undertaken in providing the ‘Proud History, What Future?’ A3 banners.

 

The week before, the ‘Banners Out on 74’ protest at the Chelsea game was far more successful, and a fitting spectacular to match the effort and cost the organisers had undertaken in providing the ‘Proud History, What Future?’ A3 banners.

2 Media Fan Respect

Going back to last week’s game against Chelsea, it was refreshing to see BT Sport’s coverage put across the Villa supporter’s views, both in a prematch interview piece (that contained ourselves, Gary Shaw and the OTDO74 group) and also in really focusing on the various Villa supporter banners on the 74th minute.

There was little censorship and the full discontent of fans was put across to the live TV audience.

 

Normally television is a little shy in showing true supporter concerns and angst, normally images of passionate fans are used to simply help sell the game or supporters are shown in a bad light, for example, the BBC portraying Villa supporters celebrating the FA Cup quarter-final as hooligans and calling it a return to the ‘dark ages’.

The tone was just right and the producers also used the fan interviews film as a segue way into an interview with Villa director David Bernstein, so he would be addressing supporter concerns rather than putting across his own agenda.

 

3 Fresh Blood

Lets be honest, as Villa supporters most of us can’t wait to see the back of most of Villa’s first team players. In terms of watching the first team, it’s just refreshing recently to get a few glimpses of the returning Adama Traore and Jack Grealish to at least give us at least a flash of excitement from the doom.

 

Both Adama and Grealish started for the Villa U-21’s this week in their crucial 3-2 win against West Ham that propelled them in the Under-21’s Division Two promotion play-offs. With a likely home tie in the semi-final, Villa’s young lions could perhaps provide Villans with some joy this season, getting promoted as the seniors drop. The game on Monday night was certainly a feisty affair and showed the kind of fight long missing from Villa Park.

 

4 A Bloody Goal

Jordan Ayew’s goal was the first Aston Villa goal for seven hours and 36 minutes since Rudy Gestede’s consolation in the 3-1 defeat by Everton at Villa Park. Yes, crumbs of comfort for Villa fans are that small and sad.

Ayew still stands out as one of the only Villan’s putting any effort in. Having to play without other players on your wavelength must be frustrating. I wouldn’t bet on him sticking around Villa Park for next season though.

 

 

When it comes to Gestede, the good news is he’s a proven striker at Championship level, having bagged 20 league goals in the Championship last season. He might have been more effective with better service in the Premier League, but with Villa’s lack of real width his isolation has been compounded.

Any future Villa manager will certainly have to work out how best to utilise him, as there’s definitely a role in the squad for him next season and the need for another 20-goal season from him.

5 Out of Our Misery

Well, the weekend just gone should have put Villa supporters out of their misery, but now it looks like it will be at Old Trafford where the final nail is smashed into the relegation coffin.

 

The extra week’s wait though has been put into good use with pressure being put on the club to be aggressive with their ticket prices next season, with an emphasis on filling the stadium rather than shutting tiers of the ground.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. Loved it last Saturday – there was a real bond between us all in the Holte End and we made a better noise than we have in ages. Somebody needs to explain to Eric Black what the story is – we don’t care whether we win anymore, we just want to see players that care more than Bacuna, Lescott, Richards et al.
    One thing though … please don’t try to stop me taking my seat before kick-off and staying until after final whistle goes. That’s non-negotiable.

  2. Am I the only one who agrees with the decisions to keep the kids mostly out of this mess. Wait until after saturday, unless we beat Man U for the first time in a decade hahaha.. Might be worth a fiver. Seeing Lyden hauled off at half time isn’t great nor as a sub 10 minutes from the end in a 4-0, rather see them win in the U21’s. Winning is habit forming like losing. Easy to keep them happy by telling them straight, as soon as its done they play in the 1st team, 3 weeks max like.

    Did enjoy the noise from such an empty stadium, well done, Though “minders” to stop fans coming in if they want seems provocative, especially with the tension the stewards are under.

    5 new board members + 0 new players – 100 workers = Failure.

  3. Must admit I have given up on Villa Park since Christmas, all seemed a huge waste of money and massive frustration. Wasn`t to keen on the manhandling of the fans by the stewards either.
    For me to return I need to have some positive vibes from B6 and although I see the changes at board level as long overdue I really think we need to appoint the new manager now giving the supporters an opportunity to at least visualize what happens next season.

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