The end of the season can’t come quick enough, but it seems to be dragging on even more as we lifelessly limp towards the finishing line in last place. The second of back-to-back home games was indeed a potential relegation christening tie against Bournemouth, where a loss and any positive Norwich result would see us finally drop like a rotting piece of fruit.
In light of the Grand National, if Villa were a horse this season we’d have been in the white tent by the end of January
The usual protests and the final stages of Villa fan depression were expected to be present around Villa Park once more as we celebrated a generation of Villa fan’s first ever ‘relegation party’. However, some future hopes and spectator enjoyment could be found if Eric Black decided to throw in some youngsters, an opportunity both the fans and young lads are crying out for.
Prematch Fan Thoughts
There was a bit more sadness in the air as the curtains were likely to be drawn on such a terrible campaign. In light of the Grand National on the same day, if Villa were a horse this season we’d have been in the white tent by the end of January. For almost every Villa fan now, I’m sure they’d find more enjoyment in taking the matter into their own hands and putting that bone idol, lazy horse out of its misery instead of the confirmation of relegation lingering in the air like a bad smell.
It’s pretty hard to pick out positives and not be negative, but one of those rare plus points is the impressive talents within the club’s fairly successful academy system. “Fingers crossed they start” I said naively, as I was about to glance over the starting eleven. Again Eric Black persisted and somehow Kieran Richardson managed to make his way into the team. Black constantly refers to the importance of winning the fans back, but with the likes of him, Leandro Bacuna and Joleon Lescott in the side, that’s not going to happen.
The beginning of the match was fairly bright in terms of football for Villa with a few shots which allowed the North Stand to recite its new favourite song “How S**t must you be, we’ve just had a shot.” The only thing that keeps a smile on my face at games anymore is chants like that one. Being the laughing stock of the league and sitting next to the away following could be hard for some football fans, especially if you take yourself too seriously, but not at Villa Park. Constant sarcasm and wit counters the mocking away supporters and sometimes even befriends them, such as the Everton fans who respected our ability to be comedic in a situation like ours.
Anyway, the football continued and even with Jordan Ayew pulling a goal back the fans could sense another inevitable defeat. Bournemouth didn’t exactly play the best football in the world to get those three points either, but as predicted if a team turns up and runs more than us they’ll win. On top of that, running is something Bournemouth have led the league in this season with their players giving everything for their aim to stay up. Eddie Howe certainly deserves the plaudits for what they’ve achieved this season.
Safety is also something we gained, for an extra few days anyway, as Norwich failed to keep out Palace and lost 1-0. Manchester United will surely send us down this Saturday.
The atmosphere was certainly not the cheeriest and there was that stabbing hint of poison that’s been present throughout. Again, banners were held up proudly and the particularly noticeable “no fight, no pride, no effort, no hope” bed sheet was aimed towards the lacklustre performances of our so called ‘senior players’.
The banner trend seems to be catching on at Villa Park lately and myself and some friends held up “Villa Fans say Twenty’s Plenty” banner on the 74th minute for MOMS in an effort to send a message to the Villa board about ticket prices next year. Something we certainly need to tackle and make sure it doesn’t cost fans more to watch Villa live in a lower division next season. The club need to do everything to help rally the troops.
We had the #twentysplenty banner out on the 74th minute against the 🍒 to remind #avfc they need to do something positive on ticket prices next season in the Championship, as it could work out more expensive to follow Villa than if they had stayed up. Thanks to @chadwrenn and the boys for sorting it. #northstand #villapark
However, the atmosphere was given a massive boost as the Holte End led the loud chanting that again bellowed out of Villa Park. Despite the absolute atrocities we’ve gone through this year as fans, we rejoiced once more on what many thought to be the day relegation was served up cold. Even with the limited numbers at Villa Park, the fans managed to make their feelings heard as “Villa Till I Die” was sung along with a few more of the classics.
Post-Match Fan Thoughts
After losing all hope in the Villa senior team pretty quickly I’ve decided to start backing the U21’s spurred on by the ‘Support the U21s’ campaign. On Monday night the young lions were at Villa Park for a crunch promotion play-off sealing tie that they managed to win 3-2.
Firstly, they played some exciting football and one of the goals they scored was a particularly well worked piece of play. Secondly, they showed something the first team seriously lacks; heart, pride, passion and fight. Kevin Toner put in some great challenges all night, but tensions boiled over and even though a red card was flashed in front of the youngster it was great to see some proper passion.
They’ll be playing in their promotion play-off pretty soon and it’d be nice to show the future of our football club some proper support. It’ll cost you next to nothing and you’ll enjoy it, definitely something to do in order to fill that gap that the senior pros have left in your soul all season.
Away Fans Score – 8/10
The Bournemouth fans were well humoured and also respected the Villa Park faithful’s pride and passion. They themselves were in good voice and filled both tiers.
I’m glad they’ve stayed up as they play some good football and have a certain warm family feel about the club, that is pulling in the same direction. It was nice to have the cherries at Villa Park and I also respected Eddie Howe’s kind words for the Villa fans.
Follow Chad on Twitter – @ChadBillyWrenn
Follow MOMS on Twitter – @oldmansaid