Aston Villa Football Club is undoubtedly a big draw in the Championship. This means the Villans are a regular choice for Sky Sports coverage and, despite our league position, that does not seem to be showing any signs of stopping.
The reason for the number of games picked for live coverage is probably twofold: the bigger the club, the bigger the audience, meaning more revenue, and secondly, as a relegated team from the Premier League with the money that has been invested in the playing squad, we are perhaps there to be shot at and some would like to tune in to see the big boys beaten.
Ahead of the game against Queens Park Rangers today, we have now appeared on television ten times this season. That’s two more times than the popular BBC drama ‘The Missing’ was on in the series just completed. Unfortunately, wins from Villa have been missing on each of those ten occasions.
In fact, you have to go back more than two years for our last televised league victory – a 2-1 victory over Leicester City. This season, television audiences have seen us dumped out of the League Cup by Luton Town as well as league defeats against Sheffield Wednesday, Leeds United and, most recently, Tuesday night’s abysmal showing at Norwich City. Frankly, this is nothing short of embarrassing.
The winless run on the box is of course an unwanted statistic which will need to change soon if we are to have any genuine chance of making the top six this season. We are already booked in again for another televised match this month against Leeds United, with two more league matches in January, as well as our FA Cup tie with Tottenham Hotspur, scheduled.
Of course, the lack of wins on television has mainly coincided with our poor away form, which certainly needs to be improved too. On the whole, apart from a couple of occasions, we have battled well and been in most of the games and in one or two of those we have probably deserved the three points. Given the international experience in our squad, I don’t see this as a case of stage fright – they just need to learn their lines in order to win games.
Ironically, Queens Park Rangers manager Ian Holloway swapped the pundit’s seat in the Sky Sports studio for the dugout at Loftus Road following the departure of Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink last month. It is unlikely that our owner, Dr. Xia, will be swapping Christmas cards with him following his less than flattering comments about the club’s promotion chances. The Villa owner, like the fans, would no doubt love to take the early Christmas present of three points away from London and put a stop to our miserable run in front of the cameras.