Vital Football

Latest Aston Villa News

Something For The Weekend (408)

Something For The Weekend (408)
Returning unwanted gifts.

It is not actually possible to avoid getting stuff you don't want at Christmas time but some gifts just surpass all others when it comes to prompting the desire to deprive them of house-room. Others can be downright insulting.

Gladly, Christmas is one thing which has definitely improved since the old days, and not only has the hideous Christmas jumper been given ironic status, so they can be worn without shame, these days, some people actually include the receipt with their offerings, which allows people to take the gift back to the shop, should granny or granddad want to swap their fishnets and basque, for a bigger size, at Ann Summers or the lingerie department of Villa Village Store.

Therefore, it was no surprise that there were queues stretching to Witton island from the Villa shop this week, as countless fans brought back their holiday defeats and tried to swap them for a smaller size. The most unpopular item, as might be expected, was the eight-nil defeat by Chelsea, which fans were demanding should be swapped for a five or a six-nil, which they were saying, was still too big but slightly more acceptable.

Of course, receipt or no receipt, Villa's unhappy customers got absolutely nowhere, and even those who were trying to swap an only slightly over-sized Spurs' four-nil defeat for a three-nil, or the Wigan three-nil defeat for a respectable one-nil, were turned away unconsoled and mostly in tears.

There were a lot of cries of, 'we won't wear it', but it just looks like we will have to; like it or not.

Obviously, there is not much to like about such an ugly blot on Villa's record and the fans' seem to be seeking their main source of consolation by trying to find someone to blame. The candidates range from Randy Lerner and Paul Faulkner, to every manager right up to the present incumbent. This is very gratifying but it actually doesn't get you very far or is very productive, even though there is a lot to be said for a good dose of righteous chest-beating.

I have my own list of favourites which seems to change according to the day of the week. And of course, since I read John Lerwill's book, Aston Villa: The First Superclub, I have increased my options when it comes to candidates for taking the blame.

Obviously Kaiser Wilhelm II is on the list for starting World War One, which changed everything for Villa but I don't think it was anything personal. However, the thing which really keeps me awake at night, is raving about the person who sold Clem Stephenson to Huddersfield, who once appointed as club captain allowed Herbert Chapman to build his reputation, which ultimately resulted in Arsenal's emergence and Villa's eclipse in the 1930's. Probably the most significant turning-point in Villa's history, as far as I am concerned.

Widen the time-frame when looking at Villa history, and there are just too many things to get mad about, which actually put present candidates into a flattering light.

Trawl through Villa's history and plot their decline and the guilty men are many. Wars and economic recessions dog the club's efforts to recover from their periodic bouts of self-neglect. The economic collapse of 2008 is just one of many which have thwarted the club's better efforts at growing the brand.

From the 1973 energy crisis onwards, through the 1980's and 1990's recessions, we see Villa's fortunes decline, with the local economy.

This is not the first time the world economy has scuppered Villa, on the verge of what looked like a mighty leap forward. Unfortunately, Randy Lerner's wealth wasn't spent, it went to the same place as the 20% most people have lost on the value of their houses since 2007.

Oh yes, and Paul Lambert is a very good manager, who is only guilty of a little bit too much hubris; so no good fussing about that.

Therefore with all other candidates eliminated from my investigation, there is only one suspect remaining, and that would be the media.

It seems no coincidence that Villa's slump in form, from the rampant vanquishers of Norwich and Liverpool to the cannon-fodder of Chelsea, Spurs and Wigan, came after they started to get praise and love in the media, from the newspapers to the punditry on Match of The Day. Having prematurely booked their passage on the relegation express, they went the other way entirely and praised them equally disproportionately, which seems to have freaked the whole squad out, and has left Lambert and the fans totally bemused.

As all good parents, teachers and leaders of men know, too much praise can be as toxic as too much criticism.

In fact most people tend to err on the safe side and withhold praise altogether, rather than risk triggering the complacency which praise all too often engenders. For those who have lived a life where praise has been withheld, a sudden dose of praise can completely discombobulate them altogether. Top football managers will know exactly how much praise is right for every member of his squad, and will know those who will be ruined by too much and those who will be ruined by too little.

Then there is the fact that people are in perpetual denial about their need for praise and resent it when they get it because they see it as an accusation that they are the type of vain and weak person, who needs praise. They often come out with some totally unconvincing speech about how they know when they have been good and don't need anyone else to tell them. They are usually unaware that they seem to be seeking praise for not needing praise. Resenting the doubters from the past is also a common reaction and a destructive distraction.

So it can be seen that the sort of emotions which a sudden big dose of praise can produce, especially for those who are not used to it, can take an athlete out of the zone and into the distracting mental state where they are likely to choke or panic.

It seems likely that learning to deal with the praise which ensues from proving themselves good enough to play in the Premiership, is something that Lambert's players were always going to have to face up to, in their journey to fully-fledged top-flight players.

Obviously, all this can be managed and dealt with within the football bubble but it is just not possible to control the influence of praise by the media on players. It becomes a one-size-fits-all blanket of unqualified praise, which is well-known to distract players and rarely does it make them better.

Happily, Villa enjoy a respite from their Premiership woes this weekend, as they take on Ipswich, in the FA cup, who are a whole division below them.

Lambert and his players must focus on efficiently doing the job at hand and not get carried away, thinking they must prove something by thrashing them, or try to avoid disapproval which might accrue from a narrow victory.

They just need to get the job done and get back in the zone.



Happy New Year and keep the faith!

Writer:Steve Wade
Date:Friday January 4 2013
Time: 4:47PM

Comments

0
Little bit surprised and disappointed you couldn't find some fault lying at the feet of Thatcher to be fair Steve. You really must do better my good man!!!
The Fear
04/01/2013 16:53:00
0
Excellent article. Aston Villa the first super club seems to be sold out though!
plastic villan
04/01/2013 16:59:00
0
Excellent read again as usual Steve.
Pride of Lions
04/01/2013 17:51:00
0
Ah, Clem Stephenson to Huddersfield ! Hateley to Milan, Bruce Rioch to Derby, Andy Gray to Wolves. Proof that Villa have always been a selling club.
TelfordVilla
04/01/2013 22:02:00
0
Telford, Who would buy Villas current squad i wonder?
quietman
05/01/2013 15:49:00
0
quietman, you wont be saying that in the summer when they come a calling for Benteke, Westwood, Wiemann etc etc. These Villa boys will get better as the season goes on. By May we wont want the season to end........(and not because we havnt got enuf points to avoid the R)
TelfordVilla
05/01/2013 17:05:00
Page 1/1
  1. 1

Login to post a comment

Recent Aston Villa Articles

Lambert Gets Linked Again?

Aston Villa are again being linked with now West Bromwich Albion striker Rickie Lambert.

Villa Players Return To Training With Familiar Face

Well it's Wednesday, and earlier today the players returned for testing and day one of Roberto Di Matteo's era at Villa Park.

Birmingham Games Switched On Police Advice

Not a great shock to see the home and away games against Birmingham City moved this season is it - if anything the only surprise is the announcement has come this...

Grealish Starts 2016/17 The Right Way

With the headlines Jack Grealish created last summer by doing what all footballers do in their down time, the lad has certainly learned this time around.

Archived Vital Villa Articles

Vital Villa articles from

Site Journalists

J P Fear
Editor email
Profile
Mike Field
Editor email
Profile
Steve Wade
no email
Profile
Villa_Grizzly
no email
Profile
Turkish Penguin
no email
Profile
Glensider
no email
Profile
Chris Heath
no email
Profile
M Calucar
no email
Profile
JuanPablo Angel
no email
Profile

Current Poll (see more polls)

Can Gabby redeem himself and stay?
Suggested By: JP Fear
Yes34%
No62%
Meh, not sure4%
ScoopDragon Publishing Entire League Network of Sites

League Table

# Team P W D L Pts. GD
C Burnley 46 26 15 5 93 37
P Middlesbrough 46 26 11 9 89 32
3 Brighton 46 24 17 5 89 30
4 Hull City 46 24 11 11 83 34
5 Derby County 46 21 15 10 78 23
6 Sheff Wed 46 19 17 10 74 21
7 Ipswich 46 18 15 13 69 2
8 Cardiff 46 17 17 12 68 5
9 Brentford 46 19 8 19 65 5
10 Birmingham 46 16 15 15 63 4
11 Preston 46 15 17 14 62 0
12 Q.P.R. 46 14 18 14 60 0
13 Leeds Utd 46 14 17 15 59 -8
14 Wolves 46 14 16 16 58 -5
15 Blackburn 46 13 16 17 55 0
16 Forest 46 13 16 17 55 -4
17 Reading 46 13 13 20 52 -7
18 Bristol City 46 13 13 20 52 -17
19 Huddersfield 46 13 12 21 51 -11
20 Fulham 46 12 15 19 51 -13
21 Rotherham 46 13 10 23 49 -18
R Charlton 46 9 13 24 40 -40
R MK Dons 46 9 12 25 39 -30
R Bolton 46 5 15 26 30 -40
Vital Football Comment
Latest F1 News
Pirelli announce driver selections for Austria
Latest Vital Boxing News
Froch Not Sure About Groves!
Write for Vital Football

Recent Aston Villa Results (view all)

Aston Villa Fixtures (view all)

Vital Members League Table

RankNamePoints
1.The Fear454
2.sirdennis193
3.Fulford187
4.BodyButter160
5.glensider143
6.JuanPabloAngel131
7.kefkat114
8.DeanoVilla107
9.Melon Donkey91
10.HeathfieldRoad187484
The Vital Football Members League