Since the arrival of Steve Bruce a new solidity to Villa’s play has systematically been introduced making the team hard to beat, which finally is providing Villa supporters with more confidence going into games.
The new Villa boss remains unbeaten with three wins and three draws in his first six games. The trip to the south coast provided Bruce with his toughest test yet and while they were perhaps unlucky not to get all three points, a draw isn’t the worst result in the world after a sturdy performance full of intent.
Here’s five reasons to be cheerful as Aston Villa supporters as we go into the final few weeks of 2016.
Brighton had previously beaten Championship promotion hopefuls Norwich 5-0 at the Amex and their home form was amongst the best in the Championship with an impressive amount of clean sheets.
Villa looked good and on for a potential win after Nathan baker’s first goal for the club gave them the lead and if they were a bit more clinical could have been two goals to the good, before Brighton’s well-taken equaliser.
Still, while Brighton may have had the momentum for the second half, after they scored right before the half-time break, Villa asserted themselves well and were always in with a chance of snatching the winner. You certainly got a feeling that these were two teams that will be up there in the final analysis come the end of the season.
Villa Fans Entertain
There was a lot of praise from the Brighton fans for their travelling counterparts, for being vocal during the game, but also for being good natured and entertaining with their songs and good humour during train delays that followed the game leaving some fans waiting a good hour before they could get a train out of Falmer station.
The continued meltdown of Southern Rail saw them cancel a bunch of trains (with some pretty lame excuses) that no doubt messed up both Brighton and Villa fans plans for their return trips home from the Amex.
Still, there was fun to be had.
On my train a 16-year-old local had been out with his girlfriend and had one drink too many. His girlfriend alerted fellow passages her boyfriend was about to chuck. The bad news, the carriage’s toilet was occupied.
‘Olly, Olly, Olly, puke, puke, puke’ and other chants did the rounds.
With her boyfriend clearly struggling, she asked if fans could be quiet and because she had asked nicely and was appreciating the good natured humour, Villa supporters kindly obliged her. One even took his cans of beers out of a bag to offer it to her as a sickbag for her boyfriend. After the deed was done, the Villan then even offered the kid some chewing gum to freshen his breathe post-vom.
The highlight of the singing on the carriage was the Villa faithful going through a Villa striker medley of songs featuring Christian Benteke, John Carew, Juan Pablo Angel and Dion Dublin.
Villa Birthday Hope
It was the 142th birthday of Aston Villa FC this Monday and as I stated on MOMS Facebook page I braved the rain & floods to fittingly spend the evening at Villa Park for the birthday to go to a Fan Consultation meeting with Technical Director Steve Round and then watch the Villa U-23’s.
They’ll be more to come about Round on MOMS, but lets say I was impressed by him from the meeting. You get the impression he’s not messing around and is stand-up guy with purpose. Considered and good humoured in his answers, he very much had the same opinion as most of us in terms of what went on before at Villa in recent years.
There’s a long-way to go and we’re all no fools, but Round and Bruce are characters that are well suited to take care of the immediate business of turning this club around. Now, I couldn’t say that about RDM, Garde, Sherwood, Lambert, McLeish, Fox or Lerner.
This maybe the first time since MOMS came to be, that there is light at the end of the tunnel. That there are people in place for us all to potentially champion and that are up for the fight to get the club back where it should be.
Such hope is perhaps the best present the club could have had on its 142th birthday.
Better Than Mannequins
Brighton fans also voiced their praise of the Villa team. Declaring them the best team to visit the Amex so far in the season.
Certainly the team is playing better than their recent attempt at the mannequin challenge, which saw a few players unavailable to stay fully still in pulling off the stunt.
Safe Standing Firmly on the Agenda
In a week that the Premier League clubs FINALLY decided that they wanted further investigation into the possibilities of Safe Standing, support for it by fans was again pushed in Brighton around the game between Brighton and Villa.
MOMS had been in talks leading up to the match with Brighton group NSKBHA and Manchester City’s 1894 Group, who have been lending their ‘Legalise Safestanding’ banner to fans of different clubs around England.
There was talk at one stage of displaying it in the Villa away end, probably a good idea not to in the end since half the away crowd weren’t really in place before the kick-off due to the incompetence of Southern Rail cancelling trains before the game.
It’s important as supporters that we keep pushing the message, as the quicker there is the choice of safe standing, the better. Something must be done about the growing sanitisation of home atmospheres and this is perhaps the best foot forward to tackle that.