Writer: J P Fear
Date:Saturday March 25 2006
Attendance: 32 605
They were giving tickets away for a quid to the kids and Villa still couldn't get close to selling Villa Park out. You wonder why? Not if you were there no. Listen, I could go on about the game, but I really wouldn't know what to say, there was no real talking point apart from a rather entertaining banner. Agree with it or not, the person who wrote it at least used some imagination. The slogan, on a tangerine coloured banner, simply said:
'We aren't fickle, we just don't like you!'
Well, rightly or wrongly, it had me and the people who sit around me laughing, although I'm not sure O'Leary saw the funny side. Hey, you have a go at the fans, that is what you get and that banner was joined in the second half by one that simply said 'O'Leary Out'. If I had known it was banner day I'd have joined in with a reminder to Ellis that he is the 'real' problem at Villa Park, although I would concede that O'Leary has run him close this season.
Anyway, I said this would be a cheerful match report and the only way I can do one is by not mentioning the football. I can't mention the pies because I didn't have one. So what is there left to talk about? Ahhh, there is a problem. Nothing. NO songs from the crowd, no atmosphere, just a collection of very tired and fed up fans and a squad of what looks like very tired and fed up players. I started to wonder what a 'collective' of Villa fans could be called. We used to be 'The Lions' now we might be 'a mumble of Villa fans' or judging by the empty seats 'an exit of Villa fans'?
The same comments could come tumbling out of my mouth, 'a lack of clear direction and leadership from top to bottom' etc etc but you've read it all before. Best thing to say is 'I surrender'. I thought about not renewing next season, plenty of people around me are saying they won't, but I've come to the conclusion, along with my mate Ian who I've sat by for a good few years, that we'll give it 'one more season'. We said it last season as well and I have no doubt we will say it next season. Why? Because Villa gets into your blood. The manager will change (sooner rather than later I hope) and the chairman WILL go (repeat that over and over like a mantra, you might even come to believe it) but the fans will always be fans. There was no real pride on the pitch today, but I'm proud to be a Villa fan.
If you want some cold hard facts, you can read the stats: http://www.astonvilla.vitalfootball.co.uk/stats.asp?a=14136 Villa had the lions share of possession, but it is of little use if you don't know what to do with it. We came close a few times and if not for a 'keystone cops' moment, we might have taken the lead in the first half, which was marginally better than the woeful second, but a series of blocks and miss-kicks, most notably from a shattered looking Gavin McCann meant we didn't. Play like this against the Baggies and the Blues and we will be very unhappy boys, in fact play like that against any of our forthcoming opponents and O'Leary's not so merry men may well carry on increasing the stats showing this is Villa's worst Premiership season on record. I have it on good authority that Arsenal are quaking in their boots at the prospect of playing us next weekend.
There, you see I'm starting to talk about the football, that will never do. All we have to be happy about is David O'Leary loves us and we aren't Leeds. Can't get more cheerful than that. David, if I was you, I'd walk out, leave Ellis isolated, because you seem to have lost the fans and lost the dressing room, there is rarely a way back from that. Still, might make a nice book for you to write.
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Date:Saturday March 25 2006
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