Following what I can only describe an embarrassment of a performance from the Aston Villa players yesterday I am solely distraught today.
I, like many of you who will read this, am a hard working citizen who spends more money than I probably should on my football team, Aston Villa or so the wife keeps telling me anyway.
All football fans believe their football team are the best team in the world even if deep down we know they aren’t. Every season we get excited about what their team could achieve following the business the club may have done in the summer.
It doesn’t matter if you are a supporter who watches from afar or a supporter who goes week in week out regardless of the situation we all have one thing in common. We expect 100% from the players in terms of effort.
Now, this isn’t an article to stick up for our manager or an article to give you my view on what the solution could be to turn the corner for Aston Villa because quite frankly I don’t know anymore.
Yes, I am admitting that I don’t know if Steve Bruce is the right man and I don’t know if he was to go, who I would replace him with. Equally, I thought the side we picked yesterday was more than capable in this league, let alone against a very impressive Cardiff side yesterday.
There is something toxic at our football club and I believe we as fans are part of that problem. We do quickly turn on players or the team as a whole when things aren’t going our way. It never used to be like that but maybe it is because of what we have experienced over the last few years, I’m not sure.
I watched an interview with Joe Hart this morning who is now at West Ham on loan from Manchester City. Hart has been poor by his own high standards for his club(s) and country over the past 12-24 months and has received a lot of stick (rightly or wrongly) but he said something that made me really respect him as a man and player.
The goalkeeper stated that he loves to play football and is very lucky that this his job. He admitted that the money is great but he wants to settle at a club so he can settle in life and then continue doing what he loves to do – playing football.
Almost all football players would have grown up doing what most football supporters did. Playing football at every opportunity with friends and family in their back garden or down the park. Why did we do this? Because we love football.
A very small percentage of those kids who play football when they are young are lucky enough to go on and have a career in the very thing they love doing. The problem is, some of those lose perspective and forget just how lucky they are.
Football fans are labelled fickle, especially Villa fans and I can see why they are. We as football fans are watching a lucky few live the dream we would have loved to live. We don’t expect them to win every single week. We don’t expect the strikers to score every single game (although it would be great).
What we do expect is 100% commitment. I do not care if you don’t like how the team is playing and if it suits the way you would like to play. You should still give 100% because there are thousands of football supporters who pay hard earned money to watch you live your (and our) dream.
Football fans will respect players and the money that players earn will go on the backburner if the player gives their all, despite the end result of a Saturday afternoon.
Aston Villa players need to step up because there is no excuse to not go out every time you put on that famous Aston Villa jersey. We don’t have a god given right to win because we are Aston Villa Football Club. Players have to step up and give their all.
This is a plea to all the players to take a long hard look at themselves. Forget about your luxury lifestyles and remember what it was like growing up as a kid playing football down the local park with your friends. Remember scoring that goal between two jumpers for goal posts and copying your idle with a celebration as your friends laugh at you.
Remember, your career is short and it will soon be over so embrace the fact you are living the dream that as a child you probably didn’t think was possible and every time you step onto that football pitch give your all. Do not leave the football pitch with any regrets and then you will gain the respect of those who pay lots of money to watch you.
It is now time for the players to step up and be counted regardless of who the manager may or may not be. You give your all and the rewards will continue to come.