Fans Role Questioned
clbick3 asks about our behaviour as fans. Give it a fair reading, he openly admits being new to the English football culture!
After following the game the other night against Bolton, I was pretty much bummed out for the entire evening and really could only think about how angry I was at McLeish and Lerner for ruining the club that I hold so dear. Later that night I was skimming through the various blogs and sites about Villa and started reading articles about the barrage of hate towards McLeish that came from the stands after the game.
Being relatively new to the world of English football, this was something I had never seen before. There is of course booing bad results in every sport but this was very extreme. I also noticed that many of the writers on various blogs were subtly supportive of this behavior towards the manager and proceeded to desperately call for his sacking as they have done for the past 7 months to no avail.
Soon after I then started reading some pieces from Newcastle fans about how they wanted to see Villa go down as Villa had relegated Newcastle 2 years ago on the final day of the season. Many of the articles said that some Villa fans had relegation parties for Newcastle. This surprised me. Alot. Now I of course don't know if these statements hold any ground or if they do, exactly to what extent, but I will say this.
Relegation must be the most devastating thing that could ever happen to a club. Having a relegation party for another club, even a rival, just seems incredibly cruel and childish behavior. I'm not trying to make a statement about the fans and I shouldn't dwell on a topic that I probably know nothing about but it does provide a bridge into the point I'm trying to get across here.
When fans treat any member of their club this way we treated McLeish on Tuesday it not only reflects poorly on them as a fan base but at this point it does nothing but demotivate the players on the pitch and create a negative atmosphere. Do the fan's truly expect any sort of 'come-from-behind rally' from the players if they are chanting 'f**k off McLeish' as loud as they can? I'm sorry but when I read that I felt shame for our great club. There's nothing any man could do to deserve public humiliation to that extent. Whatever you think of McLeish, the man is trying to the best of his abilities. (as limited as those may be) I'm not defending McLeish as a manager, I'm simply defending him as a human being.
To conclude, I strongly believe that if the fans act anything close to how they did at Villa Park on Tuesday for the next 2 games, Villa will surely be relegated. I'll bet on that. But if the Villa Park faithful come out and sing and cheer their hearts out from stop to start and give the lads something to play for, we will be in this division come August. We can get back to 'McLeish Out' during the summer, and I'll gladly join in the protest. But right now, our players need us, the coaches need us, and more than ever, Aston Villa F.C. needs us.