The hateful eight

2

Last night brought more misery to Villa Park. Never mind a seventy-fourth minute walkout, a fifth minute walkabout led to Funes Mori being left unmarked, which enabled him to put the visitors ahead. At that moment, I knew that the game was over: this Aston Villa side has not come from behind to win a game all season.Everyone knew the second goal was going to come. It did. The third one was, unsurprisingly, down to diabolical defending.

We will never forget this season, for all the wrong reasons. There are a large number of personnel to blame for ruining this campaign for the club’s loyal fans. I’ve tried to encapsulate the “hateful eight” who have ruined this season for me personally.

Randy Lerner

Our “custodian” is an owner who used to be the envy of the Premier League. We believed Lerner was someone who understood our heritage, whilst also providing the manager with the tools to put together an exciting football team that challenged in the upper echelons of the top flight. Those days are long gone.

Randy Lerner has run this club into the ground and he is lucky that relegation has not happened sooner. He wants out. The fans want him out. It appears he cannot sell the club so I wish him good luck in getting £150 million for Aston Villa Football Club in the summer.

We once sang his name in admiration. Now we sing his name with complete disdain. We have become a laughing stock. I don’t care about not having the worst points tally in Premer League history; we are the worst side I’ve ever seen – and it’s because of Lerner.

Tom Fox

Although I think he has the best intentions and was correct in opting for rebuilding behind the scenes, it simply has not worked. Fox has to take responsibility. He has made a lot of calls that simply have not worked. I thought Faulkner was rubbish, but the Villans did not go down while he was the CEO.

I don’t dispute that Mr Fox has achieved some success with different revenue streams, but he is the CEO. His high-level decisions have been found wanting. Along with Riley’s and Almstad’s, I expect his job to be under serious threat in the summer.

It’s a shame: I’ve met the man and I liked him. However, he has to take some serious responsibility for this season. Before Hollis arrived, Fox had a lot of say around B6 and under his watch we have gone from bad to worse.

Joleon Lescott

A Villa fan with Premier League experience joined from our local rivals after getting their player of the season award. What could go wrong? Everything.

Lescott has been a disaster off the pitch and not much better on it. Frighteningly, despite his frailties, he comes across as thinking he’s done okay. For me, it’s the players with experience of the Premier League who have been found wanting. These are supposed to be men the youngsters and foreigners can lean on and look upto. They are not.

The whole Twitter debacle summed up our whole sorry season. Nobody wants to take responsibility for his actions and there seems to be a distinct lack of respect between most players and fans. Lescott has not conducted himself like the Villa fan he claims to be.

Marc Albrighton

“Super Marc” has shone this season. If ever there was a player who showed what not being at Villa can do for an academy graduate Marc Albrighton would be that man. We have spent all season rooted to the bottom while Albrighton has spent most of it at the top.

I like Albrighton and seeing him play well has really hurt me this season. With hindsight, it’s fine to claim that we should have kept him. In truth, I think it was best for him and the club to go when he did. However, as I watch us struggle during games, with no width at all, I wonder what might have been for Villa and Albrighton.

I hope Leicester City win the League for him, although the rise of Albrighton has stuck yet another dagger into my claret and blue heart. Why are we so bad that youngsters, Villa’s own kids, cannot do it at Villa Park? I fear that Jack Grealish will, sooner or later, follow in Albrighton’s footsteps.

Tim Sherwood

Sherwood had many thoughts on our summer recruitment drive, I would imagine. I also imagine that he had the final say on all these signings so he agreed to work with the likes of Gana and Veretout but could not create an environment that allowed them to bed in.

When you have signed a number of players, especially from abroad, the last thing they need when trying to adapt is a lack of tactical consistency and constant chopping and changing of the team. This is the platform that was provided by Sherwood and his coaching team. It also seems that pre-season training was not ideal and set us up on the wrong foot.

I’ll open myself to ridicule by admitting I liked Tim Sherwood, although I accept that he was blameworthy from the time of the Southampton thumping at the end of last season. I also believe the signings he chose himself were Lescott, Richards and Gestede. They have simply not worked out at all.

Brendan Rodgers

I hate him for taking Christian Benteke away from me! I hate that most Villa fans knew that the Belgian beast was making a massive mistake in going to Liverpool. I hate that Rodgers was so poor that he got the sack and I hate that he was replaced by a manager who simply does not want Benteke.

Rodgers luring Benteke away became the difference between certain relegation and having a shot at staying up. Even in this abhorrent side Benteke would have scored goals. He almost single-handedly kept us up three years running so he would have given us a chance. Instead, he spends League Cup finals on the bench and will not be starting in the European Championships for his country as it stands.

Alan Hutton

I know he gives his best, which is more than most do. I know he seems to care. Nevertheless, it is my belief that he is simply not up to the demands of Premier League football. Furthermore, it worries me that we seem so heavily reliant on him going forward. We use him like he is Kyle Walker or Hector Bellerin when Alan Hutton is not either of those players.

His rashness alarms me: his performance in a winnable home game against Watford, when we actually played well, cost us the game. I still cannot forgive him for that, which is harsh but true.

Unfortunately, I believe he is one I will be watching struggle for us in the Championship; he may even end up as club captain if others leave. Stop the world and let me off!

Myself

Yes, the club I love has made me hate myself this season. I hate that I subject myself to this torture every week. I hate myself because I pay for the privilege of watching my club die a slow death.

If anything else in my life made me so unhappy I would rid myself of it. However, when you love a football club unconditionally, you don’t cut it out. If anything, the shocking state the club is in makes me more determined to go to games, to show my loyalty and show that I care. The players could learn a thing or two from the fans about pride.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Come on guys, don’t be negative! I firmly believe we’ll pull off the great escape. 7 wins and a draw out of the last 10 games is doable.

    It’ll start tonight when Newcastle lose at Stoke and Swansea lose at Arsenal.
    We really, really don’t want to go down this year, not when the biggest jackpot of all time is coming into the English game!

    Come on me babies, we still believe. Give Garde the freedom of the city when we stay up. I love the guy, he’s a tactical genius and such a great motivator.

  2. For me Benteke was/is an enigma as on one hand he is not good enough , and on the other we have Villa fans complaining because he was sold and claiming that he is a symbol of what is wrong with Villa’s management as they claim he was our best player
    Now that’s not me saying everything at Villa is hunky dori coz it aint by a long mile . But I don’t think were as the mistakes and fans too eager to find excuses for blame make out . And even those match commentators who don’t have an inbred hatred for Villa are starting to say that it’s more down to a lot of very bad luck than a poor team
    But what of Benteke ? A lot of scoucers commented to me about how they had bought well in buying him from us & at the time I laughed and said wait and see. And it was too far into the season before those same scoucers were complaining that we’d robbed them & they should be given their money back .
    My view is that we lost the cup last season as he & snake were already half out the door & Zog was already in party mode . Maybe I’m wrong and we just were not good enough , but winning the Cup might have gone a long way to setting us up for a better start this season

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