Saturday’s win over Norwich was the most animated that I have seen Rémi Garde since he came to the club. Usually calm and assertive, Garde jumped up from the bench and punched the air as Lescott and Agbonlahor helped us to a 2-0 victory. He knew that we needed that one.
His usually understated celebrations, however rare they are this season, aren’t something that we’re used to. From Paul Lambert’s small, gleeful hop to Tim Sherwood’s gilet throwing madness, Villa fans are used to managers wearing their heart on their sleeves on the sideline. Garde’s more measured approach to management could help us in the long run. We need to keep him, no matter how this season finishes.
Whilst many have all but given up hope, there are a lot of fans who still believe we can pull off a great escape. Last weekend’s win was crucial but, unless we follow that up with two or three more very quickly, the dream is all but over. Tomorrow’s game against Liverpool, a club that just loves playing against us at Villa Park, presents another opportunity as the Reds have been anything but convincing this campaign.
If the impossible doesn’t happen and we do fall victim to relegation, there are question marks over Garde’s future at the club. Following an extremely quiet January transfer window, he publicly expressed his frustration at no signings being made. I don’t think fans would blame him if, come the end of the season, he walks away.
There is hope, however. He recently told a French radio station that, ideally, he would stay at the club and attempt to restore Aston Villa to the Premier League. That’s not a guarantee, by any means, but suggests that he is up for the fight. I believe that if anyone can get us out of the mess that we find ourselves in – it’s Rémi Garde. Despite not winning in his first ten matches in charge, he remained calm and was honest with the fans, which is not easy.
Since Martin O’Neill’s exit, we haven’t been able to find a manager who was loved by the supporters and managed to keep his job for a significant length of time. I honestly think that, even if we don’t win another game all year, Rémi Garde should keep his job and lead this team forward. He has inherited a squad that was depleted and below par and is managing a club where the board members are close to clueless and the fans are extremely angry. He has the hardest job in the Premier League right now and has dealt with it brilliantly since arriving in November.
Let’s be honest: our anger this season is directed towards the men on the board who have put us in this position. I think the majority of the fans realise that Garde is most definitely the right man for the job. Whether we stay up or not, keeping him in charge will give us a better campaign next time around. I have no doubt about that.