Villa had some renewed hope as they beat Norwich 2-0 in the last game, stoking up the fire in every fans hearts that we’d some how be able to pull off a brilliant survival mission. However, with Liverpool at home in line as the next fixture, another three points looked unlikely. Even so, whatever the opposition, if you’re fighting for your lives down at the foot of the table you have to get points. Sunderland’s 2-1 weekend win over Manchester United is a great example of that.
This game also marked the return of Christian Benteke to the ground that used to be his Premier League home, a brilliant player who’s been having a tough time at his new club.
Prematch Fan Thoughts
Cutting down the gap to survival to just five points was surely the best motivation that the Villa players have had all season and I was fully expecting them to give it a right good go against a tough Liverpool outfit who had Daniel Sturridge back in contention to play.
A Valentine’s Day fixture which saw many brave lads bringing their other half to the game, balancing romance with both of the things they love dearly. A tricky task for the faint hearted and grabbing the three points against Liverpool was going to be even trickier.
The team news came out and Remi Garde named a completely unchanged side, this side managed to beat Norwich fairly comfortably and even though most fans were definitely nervous about the outcome of this game, almost preparing themselves for defeat, there was still a new found ounce of hope that we could re-light our odds of survival.
The sun was shining and it was a day where the tradition to show your loved ones how much you care with presents and flowers is the norm. Could Villa gift the fans a nice bouquet of points to cherish?
WARNING! Despair, devastation and woeful defending will follow this announcement. If you can’t handle disturbing images then look away now as a small recap on this performance will make you heave.
It was fairly sunny and I had to slightly cover my eyes to block out the ray of light, it’s a shame I didn’t cover up my whole vision as Micah Richards and Leandro Bacuna both failed to close down the two Liverpool players on the left-wing and Daniel Sturridge met a cross completely unmarked. The Birmingham-born striker came back to haunt us once again and it was 1-0 inside the first 16 minutes. From that point onwards I was completely desensitised by the last five seasons that every goal that went in was met with only a prolonged blink, the pure lack of effort shown by every Villa player on that pitch was there to see.
The annihilation of a historic Football Club was complete and the puppet master Randy Lerner was nowhere to be seen. There have been low points in this horrid season, lows which I have never suffered as a football fan before. I definitely thought it couldn’t get worse, but this tops everything I’ve ever experience before as a Villa fan. Standing there, like I have in every type of weather conditions thinkable, I finally gave up. After everything, most fans like myself would have held the smallest flicker of imagination and hope that we could survive, that the players were finally starting to click and were battling in every game. Not anymore.
The only thing that gave me any sort of pleasure out of the game was the last ten minutes. Every Villa fan remaining in the Holte End starting bouncing up and down with their scarves whirling around in hand. Chanting in harmony and stamping on the concrete floor, creating a soundwave of noise in some sort of scene you’d see at a German ground on a Bundesliga match day. That was the only thing that made me smile all game, the passion and support shown even in the darkest of times.
The club is on its last legs. So much so that if it were a horse it would have been put down by now. The only thing that’s keeping that horse alive is the fans. As the Liverpool supporters kindly stated with their banner, ‘Football without fans is nothing’.
In truth the atmosphere never got going and how could it with Liverpool making their mark in the game so early. I can’t recall a single song that was bellowed out at Villa Park from all stands because of the anger and depression that the fans were struck with six times. Groups of fans tried to get something going but failed and the only atmosphere that was created was one of frustration. Fans couldn’t even express their frustrations as three people were escorted out by stewards in the North Stand who deemed their aggression too severe. It’s a shame the stewards couldn’t escort the eleven players on the pitch out instead, as they would have had a more valid reason to do so.
36,000 turned up and the attendance was most certainly boosted by the fact it was half term and Valentine’s Day, with a few supporters turning up for a nice holiday treat. They probably expected a good game, with a good atmosphere and if they were even luckier; a good result. They got none of the above and it’s no wonder that the attendances are hitting low points with fans being traumatised by the horror show put on display.
Post-Match Fan Thoughts
The time for a protest is now as we must show our absolute disgust at the way our Football Club is being run. We should take inspiration from the Liverpool fans that walked out on the 77th minute of their previous game in order to make a stand against ticket prices. It is difficult to organise such an event and if one comes around you must show it some support as we won’t be able to have any impact if it can’t gather a large backing.
In terms of the future for the Villa team in the next 12 games, the players must show more fight and spirit in order to restore some pride back to the Villa fans. Remi Garde said he’d find 11 players who were willing to give their all and to find that he’ll probably have to look at the youth squads as the players who fall into the Premier League ‘experienced’ bracket are letting us down.
Another horrific stat which almost explains why the team are in such a dire position is the amount of distance covered in kilometres. 2750.8. The lowest amount of ground covered by any other team in the Premier League.
Away Fans Score – 8.5/10
The Liverpool fans are usually a good set of away supporters who will travel everywhere and anywhere to see their team play. They filled both tiers, managed to get their banners in (the kill-joys at the club normally ban away banners) and made a fair bit of noise. They were even respectful to the Villa fans as they realised what their fellow football supporters were experiencing. They let us have our little moment of rejoice at the end and didn’t rub the result in our faces too much, so thanks to them.
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