Villa 1-2 Bolton - Match Report
I just feel totally and completely lost for words after that. For a number of reasons really. Nobody can deny that we completely bossed Bolton for 60 minutes of the game, and the goal, when it came, was totally deserved. From there on we should have just shut up shop, saw out and inevitable backlash and maybe added another.
But this is Alex McLeish`s Aston Villa. A team with no quality on the wings. A team with a midfield that just isn`t up to the physical demands of the Premier League. A team that, now, with no claret and blue rose-tinted glasses on, is in very serious danger of being relegated from the top division since before the Premier League was formed.
I said in a Facebook 'Midlands football banter` page that the real shame in all this is that it`s us, the fans who turn up every week, who suffer. If we go down, then Randy is still rich, so why should he care? If McLeish gets sacked, as I believe he now should, he gets a big pay-off, so why should he care?
Lastly, the players, who would be sold and still earn massive pay packets at other clubs, probably Premier League ones, so why should they care either? This sums up the problems for me at Aston Villa at the moment. We`ve got a group of people right throughout the spine of the club that just don`t stand to lose anything by us suffering relegation, so it doesn`t matter to them.
This can be coupled with the fact that we have no experience of relegation battles, which is why teams around us look so much better prepared than we do. We all know that the manager also has experience of relegation battles but they are not positive so it`s not worth talking about.
I just don`t see how McLeish can get us out of this, and what makes it even harder to take is that most of us predicted this on the day he was appointed but we were ignored by a stubborn rich man who thought he knew best. I`m not sure if I can make the effort to shell out for away games if I`m not going to at least see a desire to win, and I don`t see why I should give the wrong impression by giving money to a regime that has no ambition for Aston Villa. I can take defeats, and I think I could take a relegation although I haven`t experienced it in my lifetime, but that coupled with a clueless owner, manager and chief executive with turgid football and no seemingly desire for improvement nor any ambition? That might be a step too far.
This might all be reactionary rubbish that I`ll regret saying when I wake up in the morning, but isn`t football supposed to be about how the fans feel? Without us, clubs wouldn`t exist after all.
There is one thing I would like to talk about however before I get onto the game, and that is Stephen Warnock. This is a man who has taken a lot of stick for a variety of reasons during his time at Villa but, in a unfamiliar position tonight he gave his all and got what we all thought was going to be an important goal. It probably still was, but for all the wrong reasons in the end. Plus he didn`t play to shabbily either and that`s why I`ve decided to nominate him as my man of the match.
Tonight could have been so different though had Chris Herd scored the headed chance he had in the second minute, and Heskey was unlucky after a brilliant turn, and great performance all round tonight, could only be followed by a shot straight at the goalkeeper.
The claret and blues continued to dominate and arguably should have gone in at half-time at least one goal to the good, particularly after Stephen Warnock`s piledriver pinged off the top of the crossbar and over. Charles N`Zogbia also went close with a free-kick before the interval and most of the Villa faithful on the Holte felt pretty confident going into the second half.
Bolton did come into the game a little more as a Chris Eagles free-kick finally worked Shay Given at the start of the second half but when Warnock scored after some great work down the right wing by N`Zogbia nobody could really deny that Villa deserved the lead.
Not that it lasted, as a clumsy challenge by the normally reliable Carlos Cuellar gave Bolton a penalty that was well struck by Stiliyan`s namesake, before another minute later Villa unbelievably (Jeff) found themselves two goals down after RedScouse figure of ridicule David N`Gog scored a tap in.
When Heskey was replaced by a long-time ineffectual Agbonlahor, you got the feeling that it just wasn`t going to be our day.
So now we find ourselves just three points above the relegation places with three games to play. They do say that it isn`t over until the fat lady sings, but she`s finished warming up and is just about to start. The only thing that can stop her is the gift of three points from our not-so-good neighbours West Brom.
It`s squeaky bum time now, so we can only hope.