Dipping in and out of Sky Sports News on Monday, you would have been forgiven for thinking that the Villans are doing okay at the moment, when the truth is we aren’t. While the media focus on Arsenal, Liverpool and Spurs being in ‘crisis’, we don’t even get a mention. I certainly wish we had the aforementioned clubs’ problems.
The text below, which appeared on Football 365.com, did little to appease my Villa-related Monday blues:
“Aston Villa got a much-needed point at West Ham on Saturday, but no surprises that it was achieved through a 0-0 draw. It’s now five goals in 11 league matches this season. The goals in their last seven matches read 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 0. I think that’s a binary translation of ‘TEDIUM’.
You have to feel sorry for Villa’s travelling support. They’ve seen their side score five goals in their last 14 away matches in all competitions. January 18 was the last time they scored more than once on the road.
Because we’re all about helping others at F365, a little tip for Villa fans to beat the traffic: Leave the match after 50 minutes. Villa haven’t scored in the last 40 minutes of any away game in 2014.”
In normal circumstances that battling 0-0 draw at West Ham would be a good result, as the Hammers are riding the crest of a wave at the moment. We were expected to lose – but we are still drowning. We were fortunate: some decisions, the Hammers’ missed chances and Guzan enjoying one of his brilliant days between the sticks worked in our favour. I do sometimes feel that fortune avoids us so a bit of luck makes a welcome change. The boys may have earned a good point in the midst of a very bad run; to many Villa fans, it was just another goalless game.
It now seems increasingly likely that Fabian Delph and Ron Vlaar will go on to earn their fortunes elsewhere. In some ways, I can’t blame them. In other ways, I would be seething if they do leave Aston Villa Football Club. I could almost accept Vlaar’s departure but losing Delph would be up there with the loss of Barry for me. What annoys me most is that I doubt they would be replaced with players of sufficient quality, if at all. Why on earth did the club’s officials allow two of our best players to get into this situation? Should these contracts not have not been sorted in the summer of 2013? Why do we have to wait until players have a year to run on their contracts before we start negotiating? We are lucky that Jack Grealish loves the club.
At the heart of any negotiations would be our new CEO, Tom Fox. Since hearing from him when we were in the upper echelons of the League and on a good run, it’s all gone quiet. I would hope that he is concerned by our recent record, having come in from the outside, because what is going on at Villa Park has become standard practice for the insiders.
In previous seasons, I have always thought we had enough to stay up. However, this woeful run has opened my eyes and I am very worried now. I don’t mind losing but the way we approach games and the lack of any goal-scoring threat is completely unacceptable.
I have been more than patient with Paul Lambert and still really want him to succeed. With each passing week, that is looking more and more unlikely. Some of his tactics baffle me: bringing Clark on and going to five at the back at the weekend nearly cost us a point.
Friends who support other teams always say that “Villa will be alright”. I used to say that about Wigan, a club that seemed to get out of trouble every season, until, eventually, the Latics dropped. We are not Wigan. We are Aston Villa. It really should not be like this.
For all the “problems” Arsenal, Liverpool and Spurs face, it’s the Villans who have the real ones. Unfortunately, I’m not sure that we have anyone to solve them – but I’d love to be wrong about that.