As Liverpool’s sixth goal went in last weekend, I realised that we really have hit rock bottom as a football club. We have been witness to some pretty awful defending this season, but watching the ball loop in off a motionless Kolo Toure’s face was almost comical. A half empty Villa Park after an hour isn’t funny at all, however, but certainly justified. I was surprised more fans didn’t leave earlier. This season has been like paying a vet in weekly installments to slowly but surely put your dog down.
This season has been coming for a while and I think the fans have been extremely loyal to the club given the circumstances. We have gone from challenging for a Champions League spot to the laughing stock of the Premier League in a space of a few years. The last few campaigns have seen us locked in a relegation dogfight year after year, a fight which we should not be involved in, and that simply isn’t good enough. After Martin O’Neill’s departure and the subsequent sales of our best players to other clubs, being a Villa fan hasn’t been easy.
In that time, most fans have still stayed loyal to the organisation. Season tickets were still bought, no mass protests occurred and we still got behind the team. Aston Villa fans’ loyalty and patience in the last few years has really been miraculous given the performances and results that we have had to endure in that time. There has been talk of some form of protest during the Stoke game next week and the Everton one at Villa Park, whether it be arriving late or leaving early, and this really doesn’t surprise me. What amazes me is that this hasn’t been considered sooner. Even if you forget about the controversies off the pitch, with the main culprit being Joleon Lescott, a protest is more than justified. Some would argue that it is long overdue.
So, have Villa fans been too patient with the football club? Good support should be recognised and applauded but, in our current situation, a statement of our anger and frustration is more than necessary. Both can, in fact, go together. I don’t think that Tom Fox and Randy Lerner quite appreciate how much time and support they have been given by the fans. The last few years have been a shambles and they deserve to be told that our faith in them has finally run out. It will be interesting to see what, if anything, is done by the fans to communicate their extreme dissatisfaction.