Thoughts and issues regarding the past and present of a great football club by "The Chronicler".

Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Time For A Sing-Along?

Well, we had a good win at Norwich, and there are positive thoughts that the upcoming Brighton game will yield another much-needed win. And, hopefully, a win of the same sort of calibre as at Norwich.

And since then two favourites - McGinn and Mings - have been doing all the right things on the international front.

So, while all Villa fans should be in a positive state of mind right now, perhaps the time is ripe to raise an issue or two that surely need to be addressed.

While racism has taken up a lot of the headlines at the moment, a good friend and long-time Villa supporter recently wrote to me and expressed his unhappiness with what he termed vile chanting heard at Villa Park, which, he says, "not only contains foul language but is often personally abusive to people. What some players and managers have to put up with is also unacceptable. Some of the hand gestures towards opposing supporters, players, manager and referee are also highly offensive."

He adds that this scenario is made worse by the fact that women and children are present. And this concern reminds me of words uttered by the late great Phil Woosnam - once a master of ball play on the Villa Park turf - who looked forward to the day when football grounds could be places fit to receive families. But that was back in the 60s, just before rowdyism in football truly began. Nevertheless, after the 1968/69 takeover, there was a big attempt at making a Villa Park football match a family-orientated occasion, and I know that ideal is still very much present.

Clearly, however, there are some fans that don't agree with such ideals, and hence my friend's concern.

How can this matter be addressed? Well, to some extent I put such rough attitudes down to a sense of over-competitiveness on the part of those particular fans, who clearly do not have the civility that you find in the other football sport - Rugby Union. Why is it that what I consider to be a much rougher contact sport has almost no record of incidents that match my friend's complaint? I find that very odd, and always have.

The solution? Well, rugby followers - particularly the Welsh - are famed for their singing which, let's face it, unites people. You also hear England supporters singing the Queen's praises when soccer's all-whites are winning!

At Wembley, there used to be the pre-match community singing at Cup Finals and other matches, but this has sadly subsided into an opera-singer led rendition of "Abide With Me". Nevertheless, at least that is in place - a means of uniting all supporters in a very positive way.

What I suggest is that at Villa Park, and all football grounds in the major divisions for that matter, a form of community singing should be introduced in, say, the 10 minutes before the players come out onto the pitch to start the match. Personally, I feel that "Abide With Me" should be a mandatory item on that agenda, but perhaps there are suitable alternatives to generate a sense of unity and civility amongst all fans.

If this isn't a solution to "the problem", then what is?


Sunday, 6 October 2019

By George! Is this the turning point?

After a win like this you sing the National Anthem or, better still, thank Prince William and Kate for bringing son George along so that we can see him celebrate like any other proud Villa supporter!

The pic reminds me of when I first went down to Villa Park as a lad and saw Danny Boy and Tommo wipe Man City off the park. That was back in the early 1950s - baggy shorts and all.

But to return to this match, yes we were fortunate that Norwich had been hit by injuries, but the fact is that the score at half-time could have been much closer than the 2-0 lead that we had, but for some stalwart defending. It could have been 3-0 to us at that point, though, as Wes failed to take the opportunity to seal his hat-trick from the penalty spot.

With the caveat that injuries to both the Brighton and Norwich sides helped us to comfortable wins, the next match (again against Brighton) is surely going to bring out the maximum number of fans to VP in anticipation of seeing their favourites take their improvement one step further.

It cannot be a coincidence that Villa's improvement as an attacking machine has come about with the inclusion of Conor and Marvelous - who is! I have rarely seen such a cool cookie as he in front of defence. He is full of skill and determination, and seems to act as the perfect springboard for the Villa attacks. Conor, for his part, glides along and anticipates very well, taking charge on at least 3 significant moments yesterday to set up a goal, win a penalty and then score himself. He now has the remarkable record of scoring in all the four major levels of English football.

But the whole team seems to me to be playing as a team should be right now.

I wonder how long it will be before we see that Man U not only want to buy McGinn but the whole Villa team! For me they all - on this form - look to be on a par in terms of quality.

Yes, the Villa are moving up! Please, Dean, let's keep it that way!


Monday, 23 September 2019

Slipshod Is Not Quite The Word For It

Oh, dear. Now that was sad. Pause: no it wasn't, it was just downright silly!

It was almost a carbon copy of the late collapse at Spurs on the opening day. Silly errors, all presenting the opposition with three goals. The best or worst of it is that the Gunners - and Spurs - are not showing themselves to be great shakes this season, which means the future is clouding somewhat for Villa.

I am not really pessimistic as to fear the worst, but there is a certain naivety in the team that is bordering on the calamitous. The saddest thing about yesterday was that the centre-back combination that we have been lauding so much each made a significant error leading to goals.

Adding to this - and despite our two slickly created and taken goals - is that our shooting is non-functional. Too many shots aimed at the keeper or without sufficient power. Yesterday we should have been out of reach of the Gunners before they recovered but for our woeful shooting, and followed by those so silly errors.

To my mind the situation really does call for a player of more maturity to be picked to help steady the ship. I have said this before and I think it worth repeating. Perhaps Lansbury or Conor is that player, probably at the expense of El Ghazi, who for me is not entirely convincing.

As a possible alternative, what about Davis playing with Wesley? Both of them work hard in retrieving the ball and I feel that the two together would be a mighty battering ram against opposition defences if allowed to blossom together.

I feel that some sort of decisive team adjustment needs to be made. And something that will be key to giving Villa the extra touch of oomph that is so badly needed.

As well as to stop making those silly mistakes. They keep talking about doing that, but when an extra touch of pressure is applied it looks as though we buckle.

Well, at least we scored, with Jack, at last, doing something really decisive to create the second.