Villa are a sober reminder of how bad things can get.
Chelsea fans think they’ve suffered this season — it’s not a patch on what’s going on at Villa Park.
The air of despondency there is thick enough to choke on. The absent owner cares little about the club, just his investment. The various managers have been little more than transient custodians, and as for the players — they seem to have no pride or self-respect; some of them are so far removed from the pain that the supporters are feeling, that they feel no responsibility whatsoever.
Take Bacuna, talking about wanting to leave to play Champions League football elsewhere — extraordinary!
The club is on its knees, on the cusp of relegation — you as a player helped put them there but you can’t wait to jump into your Bentley and disappear into the distance. It’s unbelievable.
No wonder Villa Park was half-empty on Saturday. It’s easy to have a go at those fans now staying away but why should they pay through the nose to watch their club painfully dying in front of them, suffering the humiliation of having TV cameras trained on them to catch every wince, every blow as their team edges closer to the abyss?
It does make me thankful for small mercies, and hopefully it has been a lesson to those running our club as to what could happen should the mistakes made this season be repeated.
We, at least, have an owner that cares. He may not always get things right but he wants nothing but success for the club.
We also have a fan base which has not reached the tipping point that Villa fans have passed. Perhaps that is because many of us still do not take success for granted — certainly those of my generation.
For me, Chelsea being one of the elite of English football is still a little weird to fathom.
Like most fans I want to see players that want to play for us — it all may be an act, but I am happy in my ignorance. They may not always be popular, and their form may have wavered at times, but Pedro, Fabregas, Terry, Ivanovic and Willian look to me like they are up for the fight — along with a couple of the youngsters. I am happy to now add Pato to that list.
Yes, his signing and subsequent fitness, has been a circus, but he seems genuinely pleased to be here, says all the kind of things that supporters want to hear and most importantly grabbed his chance on Saturday and did a good job.
Don’t get me wrong, Villa were possibly the worst, most disillusioned side I have seen possibly ever, but it was a good game for Pato to get a gentle introduction to the English game.
It’s a bit of a weird point in the campaign now for us as we are effectively freewheeling to the end of the season. There are two grudge matches (Tottenham and Liverpool) left which, if won, would perhaps help us close the door on this disastrous season with a bit of positivity (as well as helping derail Spurs’s title aspirations).
Then onto a new chapter with Conte — who some fans are already writing off because he lost a friendly with Germany — give me strength!!
Given what’s gone on here this season, and taking into account the other offers that he undoubtedly got, I’m just pleased he felt confident enough to take this challenge on. A proven winner as a player and a manager and apparently passionate about the game and how dedicated players should be — he deserves our support and backing. And if you want to know why, just cast your eyes back to Villa Park and see what a fractured club could lead to.
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