While enjoying sunnier, more relaxing climes over the past three and a half weeks, this individual got to thinking.
You know, I don`t know how we do it. Be a Villa fan (for fan read fanatic) that is, although I guess in truth the question could be asked of supporters of any other football club out there, but as my loyalty and interest rests solely at Birmingham B6, I'll direct this observation, my fellow Vital Villans, solely in your esteemed direction.
I suppose in our many varied and quirky ways, we're all Villa fanatics together on this excellent fan-site, from the season upon season never misses a game fanatic, to the season ticket holder fanatic, to the exiled Villa fanatic, who for obvious reasons finds it impossible to get to Villa Park as often as he would like, but still remains a fanatic. To the for whatever reason can only get to ten games per season fanatic, through to the once in a season fanatic, and we'll even include the stay at home fanatic, who prefers to support his claret and blue heroes, from the comfort of his living room couch, via his tried and trusted lap-top, or his fifty-two inch wide screen television set.
Yes, to all intents and purposes, we're all Villa fanatics, and justifiably proud of it. That we're struggling at the wrong end of the table, out of the League Cup by the time the autumn leaves start falling, out of the F.A. Cup before the first January snow has begun to thaw, with no chance of experiencing Europe in the immediate future, unless of course we book a summer jaunt to the Hotel Pedro on the Costa del Sunshine, all that bothers us not one jot. Nor of course should it. We're fanatics. Another season of mid-table mediocrity? Who cares? We're fanatics. We'll be there come wind, rain, sleet or snow. Fanatics aren't to be denied by inclement weather.
We don`t like the owner, cant stand the chairman, don`t trust the board, have no faith in the manager, don`t believe we have a solitary decent footballer on the books, but none of that stops us. We were born Villa fanatics, we'll remain Villa fanatics, until the day we depart this weird and wacky world, and even then we'll depart wearing our claret and blue baseball caps, our Villa replica kits, maybe even the little claret and blue bib and booties that Aunt Edna presented us with, a mere week after we were born.
Being a fan is a very strange 'contract', when you take the time to stop and evaluate it. It's a contract that demands devotion and love on one side, while rewarding money, money, and then even more money, to the other side.
Your team and its players demand of you, your love and your money (not necessarily I hasten to add, in that order), your time, and your complete and utter understanding of all things AVFC, whether you agree/approve of them or not, as dictated by the club, its hierarchy, and its players.
In return, we the fanatic, receives absolutely sweet nothing, except of course the opportunity to follow and support the team through thick and thin, the chance to offer up more love, more devotion, and more cash, while also offering up more of that precious commodity, namely time, to the claret and blue cause.
Would we have it any other way though? I somehow doubt it. After all, aren't we all fanatics?
You have to suspend and disregard all imaginable logic, and shreds of common sense, to be a football club fanatic in this day and age. You have to believe that the players care about you, as much as you care about them. You have to fully accept and believe that they love your club as much as you do, that they love the city that is home to your club, just as much as you do. Above all, you have to firmly believe that the players want to win as much as you want them to win, that they'll celebrate each and every individual success as much as you do. You have to believe that they'll be treading the depths of despair, just as you do, when your local rivals turn you over on your own patch.
Clubs ask their fans (fanatics) to make an emotional commitment, and we do. Unreservedly we do. Players though base their career decisions on everything and anything but emotion.
Players care about a clubs fans, of course they do, but only to the extent that without your everyday fanatics, there would be no players. Simple as. They don`t give it a second though that in moving on from Club A to Club B, they'll anger and alienate the fanatics of the club that they are leaving. Why should they? After all, just down the road, there will be another set of fanatics only too ready and willing to welcome them to Club B, and that love-fest will continue until they decide to up and off to Club C. But that though, the fact that without the everyday fanatics there would quite simply be no players, is such an unlikely scenario, that it doesn't direct players behaviour or decisions nowadays, if indeed it ever did, since a ball was first kicked in anger back in eighteen-eighty whatever.
We'll always be there. We're the fan (read fanatic). Sadly though, for the players, its all about number one. Number one, first, last, and always.
So, with a new season fast approaching, take a bow fellow Villa fanatics. We deserve it. We're that vital ingredient that our lord and master, the beautiful game, decided to forget, to overlook, to disregard.
Our opinions and views are no longer heard (were they ever?), as money continues to rule the day, with the rich getting richer, to the detriment of all others.
We're The Fanatics, and We Shall Not Be Moved.
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