Date: 21st January 2009 at 12:04pm
Written by:

Villa are still the outsiders

I am really beginning to wonder exactly what this very good Aston Villa side will have to do before they are acknowledged by the football writers, critics and pundits as being a serous team with a realistic chance of finishing in the top four this season.

Have you noticed how, over the past few weeks, while Villa have continued to win their matches, the writers and commentators from all branches of the media have taken every opportunity they can to knock the team, their style of play and their inexorable rise up the league. Every little bleat from a defeated manager or disgruntled player, who was ‘stuffed’ by his Villa opposite number, is repeated time and time again throughout every so called ‘news’ outlets on the planet, but positive comments about Aston Villa are in very short supply.

Take, for example, a couple of recent incidents. Villa beat the Baggies, fact. While the Albion played some pretty across the park football they forgot that the object of the game is to score goals. So Mowbray bleats about Villa’s style and all the media pick it up and Villa’s deserved win is reduced to being a fluke, a lucky set of circumstances or whatever.

It has happened time and again this season; anything but the deserved acclamation that their success deserves. To make it worse this sniping goes on and on for days and days, the so called ‘facts’ being
regurgitated ad nauseam. The number of column inches criticising Villa rises proportionately with their rise up the league table.

It happened again last Saturday. The whole of the media have jumped on the ‘fact’ that Milner may have scored his goal with a combination of his head, shoulder and hand. Their goalkeeper shouts ‘Foul, the goal should have been disallowed’ and all the hacks join in. They all forget that Milner started his run from near the Villa goal line, running as fast as he could. By his own admission he hoped to get his foot to the ball, but he was tripped.

Chimbonda did a beautiful ankle tap and Milner sprawled forward instead of sliding into the ball, so the wrong end of his body hit the ball. To my knowledge only one pundit picked this up, Alan Shearer on
MotD, who pointed out that if the referee had not awarded the goal he would have had to send off the defender and award a penalty; so you could argue that Sunderland got away with the lesser of two evils.

Again look at the penalty the Gabby won, no one has mentioned the fact that the defenders leg came up under Gabby’s right arm so that his foot was in front of Gabby’s face. A penalty? Well, it was right on the edge of the area, so the commentators jump on that option and have a field day about it. But what about the dangerous play? That is ignored; again, it could have been a sending off offence. Well, we will forget that and concentrate on Villa’s’ undeserved’ win instead.

I suppose, really, we faithful Villa fans should be grateful. While the hacks are knocking us our competitors may not be taking us a seriously as they should. I hope that is the case anyway. But, I would like to see some recognition for the fact that Aston Villa are a very good and effective footballing side with very real talent.

However, I would like to bet that the next time Villa lose it will be trumpeted in headlines across the media, you know, ‘Villa in free fall’ or some such rubbish.