Steve McClaren should thank the lord for Aston Villa Football Club for reasons other than the fact that he was due to take over the reins at Villa Park in 2011 before fan pressure saw Randy Lerner renege on offering him the job. McClaren would undoubtedly have gone on to age horrifically like Paul Lambert, leaving B6 with his managerial reputation in tatters.
Apart from my prediction of what would have occurred with McClaren in charge at Villa Park, he should be grateful that the Villans have been in the Premier League this season. If it wasn’t for our disaster of a season, pressure would have been heaped on the former England manager long ago. Now that we have been written off, the heat has turned up on Newcastle.
The Geordies are struggling. Their net spend in the summer was a lot higher than ours and they were also allowed to invest heavily in January. I fully expect McClaren will get the push that has been coming. Whether it will be a case of the dice being rolled too late, who knows? From the Geordies’ point of view at least, they still have a feasible chance of staying up. I see no way in which we can survive. Our manager looks beside himself, a lot of the players have visibly given up despite the feeble sound bites suggesting otherwise on our beleaguered club’s official website.
There are parallels between Aston Villa and Newcastle United. Both have loyal fan bases, both sets of fans don’t expect too much in truth – just teams that show some heart and players who give their all. I think both sets of fans can forgive failure if they see some tangible effort on the pitch. Neither set has seen it this season, although when Newcastle United have played the better teams their players have actually looked half decent, which is more than can be said of ours.
Both clubs have owners who have made a series of poor decisions for too long. Both clubs have suffered mis-managment of the highest order in the boardroom. Bad decisions on and off the pitch have seen both teams suffer at the bottom of the table this campaign. In truth, relegation has been coming in the Midlands and the North East for a while.
I am genuinely of the belief that a lot of what happens to Aston Villa Football Club if/when it goes down to the Championship will depend on Newcastle United. I want them down there with us, not because of some hatred of the club or because I want to see another club suffer. It’s because, quite simply, I believe they would take some of the heat off us in the Championship.
My big worry for us in the football league is that every team that visits us will treat the game like the FA Cup final. Most players in that league will not have played at a stadium like Villa Park before so beating us will be a scalp. This, added to the fact that our home record as been abhorrent in recent times, makes me very concerned.
The Magpies coming down with us would mean another club of stature for the media to focus on. I don’t want Aston Villa being the only club that the media focus on next season in the Championship. I want another fallen giant with recent Premier League ties to have to scrap with us.
It sounds bizarre wanting another team that would undoubtedly be one of the pre-season favourites to come back up to the Premier League to join us competing against us but I do. I firmly believe it would help us.
I fear both clubs will be stuck with players they don’t want who won’t move due to lucrative Premier League contracts while the players Aston Villa and Newcastle United want to keep will be picked off.
Whatever happens, the way both teams have been run this campaign has been nothing short of terrible. I feel that with a better manager Newcastle United would be higher whereas I cannot see anyone being able to get anything out of most of our players, most have just been disasterous in 2015-2016.
The final home game at Villa Park this season is against Newcastle United. I suspect we will already be down by then. I hope there will be another set of fans saying goodbye to the Premier League with us.