You may or may not know that Avillafan.com is part of the One Football network and one of the things we have been asked to do is a review of 2016. You can imagine my reaction when I was asked to review Aston Villa Football Club’s year. It should be interesting, to say the least. Well, here goes…
This is one of the sections that stood out to me when I was asked to do this review. How can I possibly choose a five-a-side team let alone a best XI? Ha! With it being Christmas, maybe I should go with the ‘1 Paul McGrath, 2 Paul McGraths, 3 Paul McGraths…’ You know the rest.
The XI I have chosen is mainly the best of a bad bunch, if I am being honest. You will also notice that the majority of the team is from this season, with only Idrissa Gueye from last season making the team.
A special mention has to go to Nathan Baker. Although I am a great believer that the Championship is well suited to his style, he has really stepped up and become one of the first names on the team sheet.
I am going to give this to a player who has been here a few months – Jonathan Kodija. I know he frustrates a lot of people (myself included) as he is a tad greedy at times but, ultimately, he scores the goals that puts smiles on our faces.
When we sold Christian Benteke it felt like a part of the club had been demolished as we lost somebody who lifted the fans. In Kodija, I believe we have someone who can do that again. Long may it continue!
Where do I begin here? We have had more managers this year than most clubs have had in five years. I will talk about the current one, Steve Bruce.
Like Jonathan Kodjia, Bruce has instilled confidence in both the players and the fans. Once again, we believe that we can achieve something in the future.
The takeover was the pivotal moment of 2016. It was clear for all to see that the club was in desperate need of a takeover. The old owner, Randy Lerner, had lost interest and the club was dying. Despite fan protests, nothing seemed to make any difference.
Dr Tony Xia bought the club and has lofty ambitions. Who cares if he never reaches the heights of winning the Champions League within the next five to ten years? I would love to see that happen but, for now, it is nice just having a chairman who appears to care about the supporters and the club. His ambition is just an added bonus.
Reading 1 – 2 Aston Villa
Our first away win in league football since the opening day win against AFC Bournemouth in the 2015-16 Premiership season was a moment to savour.
For more than twelve months, we had travelled the length of the country in numbers and failed to see a single win until a last minute penalty from Jordan Ayew gave the travelling Villa fans a reason to smile once again.
The lack of fight when we were faced with the very real prospect of being relegated was the biggest disappointment of 2016. Most fans were resigned to relegation by Christmas and began to enjoy what they could of the remaining Premier League games. Players were getting into trouble off the field and embarrassing themselves – and us – on the field.
The supporters are this year’s real heroes. The fans have continued to back the team despite the struggles we have had. Those who go home and away are starting to reap the rewards and we are set to a sell out at home for the first time in a long time on Boxing Day, when we take on Burton Albion. I just hope the players give the fans some festive cheer.
I can only pick one so let’s give it to Joleon Lescott. A man who claims to support Aston Villa had the privilege of donning the famous claret and blue jersey. He got to live the dream! We all remember the very public Twitter incident – and his excuses just made things ten times worse.
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