Date: 31st December 2010 at 2:23pm
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Yes, the fans will remain the one constant through the years, while the guilty move on and grow fat on the spoils of their disgrace.

Serenity Now!

Its along time ago but I can distinctly remember hearing some scientist on the telly, explaining how experiments had revealed that when a piece of toast accidentally falls from the human hand, it is a completely random event, whether it falls butter-side up or butter-side down (the latter being the most regrettable), when it hits the kitchen floor. Thus he declared, there is no such thing as Sod’s Law.

Of course, the guy was talking rubbish because the main feature of the law, is that things must go wrong, just when its the least convenient – the lamentable outcome has to occur, when it combines with other circumstances to make it a disaster. If it doesn’t matter, it’s just a bit of toast for the family pet.

In the real world, Sod’s Law exists.

So it seems that Villa find themselves as victims of Sod’s Law, by having the computer spew out a cluster of horrendously tough fixtures, concentrated into five winter weeks, in a season when one manager gets the ump and departs, leaving a belated new guy to start a total re-jigging of the whole club, with a depleted squad, who are to a man highly suspicious of his wily Gallic ways.

Evenly spaced out over the season, with winnable matches in between, would mean confidence and fan-morale could have chance to recover, leading to no talk of crisis, or questions about the ability of the manager, or the generosity of the owner.

Sod’s Law has it that Villa will have to face a veritable Becher’s Brook of either the perennially strong (Man United and Chelsea), or the recently improved (Man City and Spurs), in that notoriously difficult period in a season, at a time when Villa have actually got weaker by both failing to recruit and by selling their latest want-away money chaser.

And there’s one hell of a drop on the other side of Becher’s Brook, if they don’t get it right.

It would seem that, if you want to have any chance of getting over this hazard you had better believe that you can, or else there is some guy with a gun, ready to blow your brains out, should you fail, and I don’t just mean the horse.

Villa need to keep their nerve and do a Foinavon and emerge from the melee, still in the saddle.

To do that, the squad, the manager and the fans, need to escape the crippling fear which seems to be hanging around their necks like so many millstones, these days.

A bit of serenity might serve us best, right now.

Face our demons and concentrate on the difficult task at hand.

No one is going to convince me that Blackpool have better players than Villa, but I can’t avoid noticing that Blackpool play entirely without fear, while Villa seem crushed by it. But the Villa players are not alone in showing rather more fear than is quite heroic; the fans are fearful too.

And for good reason.

No one really knows what is going on at the club. We have been told that Randy is just as ‘dedicated’ as he ever was but what does that mean? Are we to take it literally? Or are we to take it that he is just as dedicated as ever but to an entirely new vision for the club?

There is no doubting that Randy Lerner has put plenty of his own money into the club, and the papers tell us that Aston Villa is in debt to him for £70m.

The question is whether he thinks that £70m has brought the growth that he envisioned? Has he found out, what others discovered before him, that despite his massive investment, and commendable fan-friendly PR, that he has not been able to grow the brand substantially enough, to close the gap between Villa and the next tier of clubs (Tottenham), in terms of turnover?

I would certainly like to have it explained why there is such a massive difference between Spurs (turnover £113m) and Villa (£79m), being that Spurs actually have a smaller ground (36,310 versus Villa’s 42,788). More corporate cash available in the UK’s capital, as opposed to the post-industrial Midlands, maybe?

It would certainly be interesting to see how much Randy has managed to increase Villa’s turnover by, and how it compares with other owners, percentage-wise. What an interesting league table that would make.

Maybe he has just bashed his head upon Villa’s law of diminishing returns.

Deprived of any information to allow the fans to see the problems for themselves, their only responsibility is to demand the best possible football for their buck, and preferably in the Premiership.

Failure to keep Villa in the Premiership would be a total disgrace, and it would certainly stand as an eternal accusation for those who are responsible for Villa’s decline, from the sulking players to the manager and his coaching staff who have failed to give the players a clear understanding of what they expect of them, without creating confusion or triggering tantrums.

While there are plenty of candidates who might have to live with the shame of bringing Villa low, its different for the fans. They have lived with the destructive lies and delusions of football and business egos for too long, to be really changed by the latest potential fiasco, and even in the face of some outrageous goings-on at Villa Park they remain heroically and touchingly loyal.

They don’t see the manager as a guy who has made big promises for a reported contract worth £8m. They see him as someone like themselves who needs their moral support.

These are the guys and gals who deserve all the respect and honour if there is any being handed out. These are the people who are far more loyal than any player, or manager, and who often invest a far greater proportion of their meagre income into the club, than any owner.

These are the people who are the real heroes of the game, not the guys who spend a hundred-million pounds of other people’s money, winning a few tin pots. Nor the deluded idiots who clutter the club’s car park with idiotically expensive cars, and think themselves hard done by, when they asked to work slightly differently.

Or those who are expected to show leadership and example in a crisis, who have shown exactly the opposite.

No, its only the fans who count and only the fans who are worth respecting, no matter how misguided and naive their loyalty so often seems to be.

For them, relegation will make no difference and they will still be singing Villa on, no matter what division they are in, while the players will be getting fat in their mansions, or telling the next generation of players how it should be done, while the fans listen and remember how they didn’t do it when the pundit wore the shirt.

Perversely, some fans relish a crisis, because during a crisis, the one thing a fan can offer, loyalty, suddenly becomes even more important, than during the glory days, when they are just another customer and just another mildly contemptible punter.

Yes, the fans will remain the one constant through the years, while the guilty move on and grow fat on the spoils of their disgrace.

God only knows what club’s would do without them because most of football professionals, don’t even come close.

Keep the faith!


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