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Fables of the Reconstruction


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by blandy

There’s a (allegedly Chinese) curse that says “may you live in interesting times”. It seems to me that the Chinese must be alright, if their insults lead to what we’ve seen at Villa park these past few months.

It’s worth casting the mind back to the summer just to realise how interesting times have been since then.

There we were in June and July, reading the thoughts of the Villa faithful. These thoughts ran (not quite exactly) along the lines of “I can’t take any more of this dull ambitionless Ellis and O’Leary inspired mediocrity, I’m off to saw my own legs off for a bit of light relief” - and that was just the players!

A quick look at the archives shows just how angry, depressed, frustrated and disillusioned we all were, almost without exception. The main Villa part of this site had almost turned into an off-shoot of the previously no more than pleasant and diverting “Off-Topic” forum which had become full of people taking refuge from the storm of depressing mediocrity that had infested Villa park and taken deep root.

So things weren’t good. They really weren’t.

Since then we’ve had, so far, a steady and rapid journey back upwards. I’ve almost got the bends from the speed of the rise. It’s been so dizzying that I can hardly believe that what went before ever really happened (even if it largely “not happening” lasted for 24 years).

To date the rise has largely been an emotional one rather than a tangible one. Spirits have soared; the same small squad of players have looked more determined, more motivated, more organised and more competent than they ever did over a 10 game spell last season, or the season before.

Martin O’Neill has been universally welcomed by the supporters, players and other people at the club. The media have started talking more positively about the Villa and gates which were threatening to be pitiful, following lamentable season ticket sales pre- the change have more than recovered.

Off the pitch the speed with which Mr Lerner and his team have acted to address problems has been breathtaking at times:-

Long overdue Training ground development lying stalled because the “ring-fenced” money set aside by Ellis was a fantasy? – Holy RSJs! The builders are only back in on the job the next day.

Derelict Holte Hotel decaying sadly behind the ground and shaming the club? – brew-up-lads-tastic! The workmen are in and refurbishment started, and with a sensible plan for what to use the place for.

But the biggest change is the rediscovery of the soul of the club. It’s the refreshing attitude of the new board and new manager.

We used to have a Chairman who said a lot and did little, now we have a Chairman who says little but does a lot.

We used to have a manager who made excuses and said the players were honest, but not good enough, now we’ve got a manager who has the players believing they can beat anyone, and if they don’t beat ‘em, they’re sure as heck not going to lose to ‘em.

We had a Chairman who treated supporters with contempt and who seemed to see us as a wretched bunch whose sole purpose was to put funds into his coffers and tell him how munificent he was.

Now we have the General and Randy listening and talking and being interested in us as people, as part of the club, and now it’s the Owner, like the fans, investing in the club.

I don’t know what’s going to happen next - will the ground be developed, will players be signed steadily, or in a big rush next summer, or not at all. In a strange way I don’t care because I trust the people in charge to get it right, on and off the pitch. It's a long time since I've trusted the club, or since the club trusted us.

Like a Chinese meal, the “interesting times” curse leaves me wanting more - Bring it on.

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Good stuff Blandy. A well-written, humourous and more importantly a true article. I never get fed up of these 'things are looking up' articles :)

But now I fancy a King Prawn Curry with Fried Rice and Chips. So you've just cost me a tenner you git :)

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A good article, and well timed too.

I think things have changed so fast that many of us are guilty of forgetting just where we were a few months ago. We really have been on an incredible journey - and it going by last night it shows no signs of abating.

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...well timed...I think things have changed so fast that many of us are guilty of forgetting just where we were a few months ago. We really have been on an incredible journey...

Thanks, yes - what you say is exactly the reason I wrote it, Digsby.

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Spot on Blandy! This is the first season in a long time where i've been excited about our next game, and seeing as many matches as I can. You summed up that optimism pefectly my friend. Trust is a hard to win, and the new regime has done it well so far. Am I worried about the club? Nope, like you I trust the people in charge.

Up the Villa!

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