Date: 23rd November 2008 at 6:00pm
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Is this really the beginning of Villa’s brave new era?

OK, forgive the question, as the title of this article, but I have been around as a Villa supporter since the late nineteen forties.

Sadly, I managed to be in the Far East when we won the Cup, beating Man United in the process and I have never been about when we have achieved anything since. But that is not what this is about.

When we won the European Cup with the team created by Ron Saunders, I felt elated and believed that we were at the beginning of a brave new era for the club. Sadly, spiteful HDE when he regained control, immediately set about dismantling the team that he had no part in putting together and so began another twenty five years of mediocrity. For a few years, at the beginning of each season, there was a little optimism in my aspirations for the team.

But that soon died and, in the place of hope there was despair and misery. With fingers crossed that we would manage to stay in the top league.

Depression became the standard feeling when thinking about the possibilities of Villa winning anything serious and is, I suppose, still my fall-back position when I contemplate the possible result of the next match whoever are the opponents of the day.

It is sad really because since the arrival of MON and Randy things have been so different. We have an owner who really seems to care, not only about the club but also, more importantly in my mind, about the supporters as well. Something that was never evident during the whole of the previous owner’s tenure. He always gave me the impression of thinking, ‘What’s in it for me?’ not ‘What is best for the club’.

The old depressive me (or is it the realist?) can’t help thinking that, if there had been no change, this great club would now be struggling in the Championship; not pushing for a top four place in the Premiership.

It has taken twenty five plus miserable years, but now there really does seem to be a reason for optimism. With the dead hand of HDE removed from the tiller and a great manager being given a free hand to build a new team, we are going forward in leaps and bounds.

The new optimistic me thinks ‘Yes, now we really are going places. Yet, old misery still thinks ‘We will blow it against Fulham, just like against Middlesbrough, Stoke and Newcastle’.

Old age is not a time for being congenitally miserable, even in this current economic climate, so I am now going to become an optimist where Aston Villa are concerned. So, to answer the question I posed at the top then ‘Yes, this is beginning of a great new era for us’.

There is one caveat though ‘Providing MON stays around’. See the old misery still has not completely vanished.