There was proof this morning that that you can still be surprised. Indeed, being a Villa fan these days seems to warrant taking out health insurance cover just for the shocks. If it’s not heart attacks, rivalry, players leaving, players coming…you can be damn sure the fan base will be up to something that will get the blood pressure rising. Although, I use the term “fan base” somewhat loosely.
And that is simply because the senseless, criminal and small mindedness of those people involved in vandalising Bodymoor Heath is beyond belief. Now, whilst I would like to think that it might be someone on the Blue half of the city winding us all up, the vitriol against McLeish’s appointment suggests that amongst our ranks is an imbecile.
An imbecile of the highest order.
Everyone is welcome to their point of view and there are plenty of places to voice it with the internet. But to go to the clubs world class training facilities to deface it with a personal view – albeit perhaps shared by many – but importantly not all – is not acceptable. It defies belief, and whether you agree with Lerner’s approach or not in interviewing McLeish, he built the training centre to further our club. A training centre, some might recall, that was a building site when he bought Villa, because we had nothing to pay contractors with to complete it.
To wrap up the graffiti debacle before entering full on rant mode it is important to remember this: No one person has the right to speak for all Aston Villa fans. Whilst we are all passionate about the club we follow, we must retain some level of perspective. This is a team that before Lerner, could not even afford to extend the loan of Eirik Bakke. That’s how far we’ve come. And whether we agree with him or not, let’s voice it, but in a dignified fashion. Not through aggressive displays on message boards, inane sound-bites on news reports or by behaving like morons with spray paint.
Which brings us to protests.
Protests for Villa fans were part and parcel of the Ellis years. Be it holding up pound signs, marching down Witton Lane or the infamous Ellis Out campaigns. One struggles to recall such animosity towards the mere interviewing of a potential manager. For all we supporters know, McLeish could be going in behind Mourinho whilst Benitez is pacing the corridor practising his interview technique. Whilst tongue in cheek that scenario is, the club have been so guarded surrounding the search that though the names might be different, the situation may not be so far fetched. Who’s to say that they aren’t still working a list of candidates?
The protest is occurring as this post is being written. And so long as it voices a clear message, that is balanced and representative of the majority of Villa fans so be it. But one wonders quite whose agenda is being put forward, particularly in light of the vandalism of Bodymoor Heath. One hopes that whilst the board might take note, they also reflect on it for what it is.
And finally the division emerging amongst fans is alarming. Fans who ordinarily might see eye to eye with one another, whom above all else refuse the prospect of McLeish solely because of his prior ties to Birmingham City. Whilst his suitability is open to debate – are we to disregard anyone, any player, manager, coach who has worn Blues colours? Even if they could improve us?
As I stated – McLeish’s suitability is subject to debate – but one wonders why logic and rational debate has largely gone out of the window. Are our fans seriously considering not backing a potential future manager of our club? Because that is not the way to support a football team, or more precisely back any person who wishes to lead our great club.
But regardless, one thing is for sure – the next 48 hours should make for some interesting times as an Aston Villa supporter.
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