It`s been such a shit season, no-one wanted McLeish and many predicted the disaster we`re in happening, although most were willing to give it a go. The thing is, football is an incredibly emotional game and when we are emotional we don`t tend to act or think logically, we get carried away and there is a tendency to go over the top, to say the least. This was first evident with the protests at VP by fans disgruntled over the McLeish appointment. Gradually, over the season it has grown with even the most reasoned of Villa websites, such as Vital Villa, there have been many rather emotional outbursts. This has peaked after the Bolton debacle the other night.
In this article I`m going to ignore completely the detail in the debate of whether you should renew or not and instead consider the emotional fallout of a second consecutive disastrous season, which has in fact been considerably worsened by a poor managerial appointment.
The really sad outcome is the imminent disintegration of the match day Villa family. Similar to not being able to choose your family you cannot choose your extended Villa family; those you sit by at VP. Sometimes you get people coming for a season or two who you may or may not like but the regulars, those that have been going for 10, 20 or even 30 years are always there and you put up with or enjoy their company over the years. It all makes the match day experience.
After this season many, many of those regulars sitting by me are not renewing. One group of about 8 are not returning, 2 of their number having failed to renew for this season with the rest set to follow. Very sad, we`ve had a lot of fun with them over the years and I`ll probably never see them ever again. That`s the reality, it`s such a shame. I do know it has taken them a lot of consideration to leave but leave they will.
Of course, these people are not close Villa family BUT the emotional fallout from this season compounding that of last has meant that my close Villa family will not be complete next season. It nearly happened immediately after McLeish was appointed, one of us announced he wasn`t renewing but we persuaded him to change his mind.
He was not wrong in saying it was to be a bad season but now someone else is leaving my Villa family. Bryan announced he`d prefer to spend the season ticket money on a new bespoke suit, which is a rather telling assessment of McLeish`s Villa. Worse, he said he`d found himself looking at his watch and wanting to get home for X Factor rather than watch the awful football on offer. None of this is relevant to me but I get the sentiment, he`d rather be somewhere else and on occasion this season I found myself thinking along similar lines.
The two of us who first bought season tickets did so off the back of my mate wanting to continue some kind of social life after the birth of his first kid. That was 15 years ago and we have had plenty of killer times at VP, Wembley and away matches. In fact, at 45 almost my entire social life revolves around the Villa in one way or another. Villa is such a huge part of my life I simply can`t or don`t want to imagine myself without it.
Sure, there`s ups and downs but, I love it. I love the Villa family in the Holte, although not all of them. But it`s the car journeys to and from the ground, the Villa discussions in the pub concerning Villa, life and everything. Put simply, ALL THE FUN. Because we do somehow manage to have fun, win or lose. And it`s so sad that we we`ll be one down next season.
The upshot for the Villa board is there will be a lot of similar decisions to be made in clusters of season ticket holders throughout the ground. It`s been a miserable season and RL will have a very difficult time of selling a second season of McLeish equating to a third consecutive miserable season, even to those with a decade or more of season tickets behind them!
Emotional fallout equals less bums on seats Randy!