Well, you could say that the owner of the club has drilled down to the basement. He’s worked his way through every tactic that only he understands and now he’s got to the bottom floor he’s probably ready to admit there’s nothing left to build on without a massive re-think of how matters have been conducted, what has been done wrong in those processes and what grand plan is needed to get back to viability and a semblance of hope worthy of this great football club.
But while all this monkeying around has been taking place, the fans (in the main) have been made to be distraught. Those that are not hide their pain and demonstrate a wonderful sense of humour; people like the fans that perpetually go to every away match and generally survive their experience through a song or two. They are the great minority but, importantly, the core of the club’s support. Without them a football club would almost certainly die, but while they’re still around there’s a basis for optimism.
In one sense it must be how Britain was feeling in 1940, after losing its one remaining ally (France) and its core armed forces somehow escaping via Dunkirk. Somehow, Britain had to work from that basement, but luckily we had a leader who was able to rally everyone to the cause and, more, use every guile to outwit the opposing forces and come out of 1940 with a moral advantage.
Aston Villa needs a similar sense of purpose born out of near desperation and this (to my mind) is the best test of Steven Hollis. The test is whether he and Mervyn King and the latest board members can provide the previously missing leadership at the club in order to set a fair course and have a firm strategy to achieve it. That, I believe, is the real test of the review taking place, for without adroit leadership and a sound strategy coming out of the review, the review itself will mostly be worthless.
The situation is serious. So serious I suggest that the board actually needs to have a visible indication from the fans of how much we need them to sort this matter out, a matter which many hold dear to their hearts. Shouting and demonstrating to get “Lerner Out” (with the help of Spurs fans!) is alright to a point, but as the board is allegedly already looking seriously into the plight of the club then I think the demonstration banners should now read more like “Wanted: A plan of action to celebrate 150 years of history in style!”
New plans for the club cannot be implemented in a short time. Not even in one season. Therefore, just as in 1968/9, it needs to be accepted that a time for re-building has to be allowed, with a visible target of a 150th birthday (in 8 years’ time) as a vision for a grand accomplishment. Whether a realistic target is winning the Premiership or simply finishing in the top-4 I leave someone else to decide.
But for the remainder of this season, let’s have some joy. Let us please see fresh (young) talent so that we can share their enthusiasm and give them our backing. Even though we’re virtually certain of relegation, it would be nice to see Traore back and creating mayhem in the Newcastle defence. And – who knows – Green thriving off his service.