“Nath” asked what our views are about how outsiders perceive Aston Villa as a club and I’m happy to chuck my tuppence worth in.
The simple answer is I really don’t think anyone has a major problem with the club, certainly not from other club’s supporters anyway.
Newcastle supporters are probably itching to be the ones who ultimately send us down this season, after we took the proverbial out of them when we relegated them, but I’d been on a few of their websites previously and the consensus was that they had no beef with us.
What has been a surprise to me more than anything is the fact that even Blues fans I work with have hardly mentioned the Liverpool defeat and I was dreading seeing them after that disaster.
The truth is I thank them for that. They probably saw how low I was.
But even from them, banter apart, I’ve always got the impression that they think we shouldn’t really be going down.
It’s a grudging respect, I think.
I always trawl opinions in the Newspaper websites, to try and gauge how others see us and while you’ll always get the odd mug, I’ve found that fans of the big clubs particularly tend to feel sorry for us and genuinely do see us as a bit of an institution, with words like “great awayday experience”, “brilliant history” and “great support” cropping up often.
That said, I think there’s also a case that we’ve not been perceived as a major threat for a long time either, which makes it more difficult to dislike a club.
So I don’t believe it’s the fans then.
As for the media, well, they’ve never really liked us have they?
Even when we won the league, the papers were rooting for the tractor boys.
Although in fairness, that could just have been about wanting the smaller club to win out, much the same as many are rooting for Leicester this season.
But basically, there’s more to it than just that, imo.
We’re Midlands and it’s just a no-man’s land, stuck between the North-west and London, which are the only two places that seem to matter, it seems.
Losing out to Manchester for the BBC studios was a bit of a blow to me, but I digress.
What I do find interesting, is that it seems to me that the closer you are to the club, the more incisive the comments have been.
People like Collymore, Merson and God have been amongst the biggest critics and while the latter two might not be so well connected anymore, you’d expect they might have some inkling of what’s really going on. Collymore probably even more so.
And then there’s Lambert and McLeish.
They’d know better than almost anyone.
And pretty much everything I’ve read from them (if I can be bothered) comes across as thinly veiled negativity.
It isn’t good.
Moving on to the commitment thing then and if you haven’t heard this, you really might want to, as it isn’t good either;
I know. It’s Ron Toss. But he does ask some pertinent questions.
Remi talks about commitment and basically says that he’s struggling to pick the players up.
Having listened, I wonder if there’s a bit of confusion caused by the language, where Remi might be confusing “commitment” with “confidence”, but that was addressed separately so I don’t think so.
What does come across to me in the comments, is that some of the players don’t give a toss, but the manager has no options but to keep playing them, as they’re basically the best of a bad bunch.
Which just reinforces my view that we won’t be seeing many kids starting in the next few games.
If this is what Remi thinks, you have to wonder what his opinions of the younger players really are and I find that thought frankly scary.
If the rot goes as low as the younger squad players, we’re in deep, deep trouble.
Maybe this is why the ex pros are saying we’ll struggle so much next year?
I don’t know, but things just get bleaker by the day, it seems.
Not only is the team incredibly poor, but we seem a club in utter disarray; even more so than that Newcastle side/club that got relegated.
Still, they managed to get back up pretty sharpish.