A Letter In Praise Of McLeish
Dear Mr Lerner,
I am writing to you to congratulate you on the appointment of Alex McLeish as I felt I needed to balance out the negativity and criticism that McLeish and yourself have received since he became manager of the club.
The appointment has shown that since you bought the club somewhat five years ago, you have really grasped the culture of Aston Villa. You see, I often thought that supporting Aston Villa was exactly what supporting an English football team was about. You would have a few seasons of hope and enjoyment thinking that this time something was just around the corner. And then it`d all go wrong and we`d start from scratch again. As you have grasped, this would leave us supporters disappointed, frustrated and pretty much fed up of the whole experience. Yet come next week, we`d be back at the stadium.
Now there is no more disappointment. The lack of hope which has now been thoroughly placed throughout the team, stadium and supporters means that we can no longer be disappointed about only managing one home win in six months, or losing points weekly because it feels like key issues such as defending at set pieces are not being addressed. Simply put, we now go to games knowing that the club won`t win and that we`ll most likely concede from a set piece at some point in the game.
How on earth can we Villa fans be disappointed anymore when we know exactly what will happen, week in, week out?
The complete trashing of any hope by Alex McLeish has really helped lower expectations of a fan base who`d expect more than one home game win in six months. Was it not Alex himself who told all Aston Villa supporters that "Arsenal are an elite club, and we can`t expect to beat them". It really put things in perspective - and makes this season`s achievement of beating Chelsea, last season`s victories against Arsenal and Liverpool (not to mention the majestic draws which McLeish himself would have loved against Chelsea and Manchester United) show themselves to be the flukes that were. They have better players than ours, so quite rightly we should not even entertain the idea of trying to win the game and in fact make it as easy as possible to beat us. A bit like when you are lapped in Formula One you have to let the faster car go by you without putting up a battle.
In doing so, this has made it much easier to get tickets for games. Admittedly, this was never too hard, but with so many people not bothering for the recent mouth-watering tie against Stoke City it meant that I could drive away home at full time with no traffic jams whatsoever. Marvellous stuff.
Those moaners who whinge about going to games and not seeing the team win week in, week out. They have no right to complain about that or the apparent 'negative` football on display. As previously mentioned - they know exactly what to expect - that`s what they are paying their good money for.
The complaints about negative, boring football has been a common theme from these moaners. Well let me tell you - having recently been fortunate to witness the feast of football that was on display at Aston Villa vs Stoke - I have never been so excited at a football match.
Football these days is the side show - people don`t go to the match just for the game - those moaners just need to grow a sense of imagination. At our recent trip to Villa Park we played 'How many trains will pull into Witton Station?`,`How many airplanes will we see today` and of course saw the main spectacle of the event - a very exciting zorbing competition in which one young lad very nearly broke the record. Boring? I don`t think so!
However, perhaps to appease these moaning minnies, to pretend that you are listening to these morons who think the football is the most important thing, perhaps I can make a suggestion? Why not include a cut out paper aeroplane in the programme each week? Back in the final days of David O`Leary a fun game to make a tedious 90 minutes go by was to create paper aeroplanes and see if we could make them land on the pitch. One time it landed in the penalty box and the Holte roared. It was something very special.
The transition in turning Aston Villa to a Championship level football side is a magnificent one. Not only have you made it much easier to buy tickets, but next season we might be on the BBC as they show some live Championship games - meaning that fans who can`t afford the football coverage that SKY provides can now watch some games live on television for free.
The club`s intention to appoint a manager who was in tune with the fans and a best fit with the club really has worked a treat, and I thank you for not only making the appointment, but sticking with him. In fact, if I dare make a second suggestion - perhaps it may be worth trying to convince Mr McLeish to sign a new, longer contract to keep other clubs from sniffing around him.
Mr C. Cream