Reasons To Be Cheerful & Reasons To Worry!
Fear, I'll give you fear
Fans commonly exhibit knee jerk behaviour, many are quick to idol worship certain players / managers who can then do no wrong and have their name sung week in week out (even when they are playing woefully) and equally quick to vilify other players / managers who can then do no right no matter how well they play or how hard they try.
The level of optimism around the club at the moment is great to see and a far cry from much of the last two or three years but how much of the positivity is founded in reality?
There are many reasons to be positive.
1) we don't have Mike Ashley as a chairman,
2) the wage bill has been / will be significantly reduced giving the club headroom to rebuild
3) we have a squad of players who on the whole want to play for Aston Villa and aren't only here for the money
4) many of our players have potential and could be very very good either making us successful on the pitch or generating funds for reinvestment through their sale
5) the scouting network appears to finally have found their passports
6) the players who featured so heavily last season are now a year more experienced and have had time to learn to play together as a team
7) the club are acting swiftly in the transfer market getting targets early which is infinitely better than the debacles of previous transfer windows
8) some of the players signed appear to have real ability (but then so did Savo and Balaban nuff said).
However there are also some big pointers to caution.
1) We finished 5th bottom last season in one of the poorest quality premier league competitions for many many years the same group of players will not suddenly become world beaters
2) Our run from January that many are lauding as top six form only included 1 win against a team in the top half (and that was West Ham who somehow amazingly managed to finish 10th showing just how poor the league was last year).
3) The same manager will be in charge next season who's tactics and motivational skills (despite being seen as a genius by some) were brought into question several times during the last campaign, failed to produce results against Bradford and Millwall in the cups, and seemed clueless as to how to halt the rot during the drubbing at stamford bridge.
4) Defensive mistakes cost us dearly over and over again last season, individual errors as well as poor shape, poor marking etc, apart from the signing of one CB (another rel! atively inexperienced player) nothing has been done to address this, the coaching set up is still currently the same and no additional defensive input has been added.
5) Inexperience cost us points last year both individually through mistakes and collectively not knowing when or hard to chase a game, heads dropping, not knowing when to slow the pace and retain possession etc that experience isn't gained in a single season and hasn't been added to the squad yet
6) we don't have a natural captain at the club, a good talker who can fire the team up on the pitch and also calm them down when needed, an older head who others can look to and rely on when the going gets tough.
Looking at the published fixture list for next season, August looks seriously tough, one of the hardest starts that I can remember. 3 points from August would in my opinion be a good return (especially if it could also see us remain unbeaten) and would allow the season proper to start in September but three defeats in those opening games could damage fragile confidence and make the inexperience in the squad shine through even more acutely.
I genuinely hope this coming season is far better than last year but I also share the concern of others that several of the failings of last season are yet to be addressed. Of course it is still early and the set up may be perfect by the start of preseason training but in my ever so humble opinion there is as much a place for balanced concerned observations as unfaltering positivity
A bit of a response to: Never Fear, Look On The Brightside by AVbornandbred