With angry responses to the minority of Villa fans who booed one of our own players and with the Gabby Agbonlahor debate showing no sign of ending, it seems that some fans will never be happy.
As fans, we have endured five years of struggle, frustration and despair – and that was just off the pitch. Performances on the pitch were wretched, confidence was at an all-time low and losses became the norm.
Yet, even during this torrid time, the average attendance was 34,567, which is only a drop of 12% from the Martin O’Neill days, when finished sith for three consecutive seasons. The average attendance this season to date is 31,886, which is still a healthy crowd considering that we have dropped down a division.
There are a considerable number of Villa fans who will come to watch the team week in, week out, rain or shine, win or lose. Whether they come to watch the team out of love for the club, support of the team or a chance to watch high level football locally, they turn up in their droves.
I think it is important not to forget where we’ve come from in the past few seasons. We need to realise that the road to recovery is a long one and that the process will take time. There will be setbacks and we can’t expect to win every game just because we are Aston Villa fans. Under Steve Bruce, the team has gone five games unbeaten. We’ve managed our first away win in over a year and results are turning around.
The performances may have been far from convincing and we are still to blow a team off the park for a full ninety minutes, resulting in a convincing victory that a team of our quality should be capable of, but we are still a work in progress and Bruce is not a miracle worker. The players at his disposal are not his players yet he is still achieving and building something positive.
When I see a Villa player actively not trying, giving his all or being disinterested that I think it is right to voice your frustration. We are paying fans, after all. If we ordered a sub-standard meal in a restaurant we would complain and if we get a sub-standard performance on the pitch then we have a right to be disgruntled.
However, booing a player during a game is never going to lead to a beneficial performance. We may not rate players. There will be those we think should not be in the team. Nevertheless, Bruce is the one managing the players, seeing them every day in training, and he is therefore in a better position to put together a team that has the best chance of winning any given match. I don’t begrudge fans the right to boo, so long as it is after the final whistle and is warranted.
I’m backing the lads for the duration of the season. We’re moving in the right direction. The players need us, the manager needs us and the club needs us. Let’s get behind the boys and keep the mood in the stands positive.