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'New' football and fan connection


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I've probably, quite rightly been given the tag as a moaner - never satisfied with Villa. Probably because I never see the brighter side of things (and on reflection, I can see this must drive people mad). I'm making this post because I want to know if people are as apprehensive as me, maybe if I get some of my concerns out I might be able to find a few more positives.

First up, I did have concerns that buying so many players untested at this level would cause us problems. I now think I may have been wrong, although we are struggling a little, there are signs that things are coming together and we will pick up more points over the next few months.

My problem comes with the fact that every single one of my favourite players over the past few years, has been sold on. Every single time I have put faith in the club and purchased a shirt, put a name on the back, we've gone and let that player leave.

I actually had Downing's name put on my shirt after the club (and McLeish) said he would be staying. So that made me feel a little pissed off, amongst other things.

Now I am feeling like it is not worth feeling any connection with the players, because I am thinking most will be sold within a year or two and any connection I had with them will leave me feeling the same way I did when Barry, Milner (gutted with that one), Young and Downing went.

I know "new football" means we will never see long term stays at clubs again, but to see so many high quality players and fan favourites leave, has left me feeling less of a connection with those on the pitch. Especially when we had so many lazy pieces of crap still making the first team sheet.

And then this season hit and over the past few months I have felt like I really want to connect with Benteke, Westwood, Lowton, Vlaar and others - players who I am seeing put effort in and make me feel bloody proud they play for us.

And the problem is, I just think that the moment I do let myself feel that connection, these players will be sold and I will feel as gutted as I did before. No amount of money can replace real quality, a real fan connection and this is perhaps why there is not that feel good feeling and why fans boo a lot - because we do not have that connection with players as our favourites are moved on too quickly.

I actually feel we have the making of something, maybe we will not see the rewards for a season or two yet, but we certainly have a lot of potential and with some more additions will go somewhere. But I just feel very apprehensive about that fan-player connection, as I dread more of my/our favourites leaving..

Am I alone with this?

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I lost all care for players staying or going after Milner left.

I don't have much care for them staying apart from the local players/youth players.

Gabby is the only player at the club who I would be gutted about if he left. I hope he stays for the rest of his career and breaks Yorke's PL goals record.

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My connection is with the club itself and not any individual player. They are basically employees and will move on if a better gig comes along... with the odd exception, Gabby being an example.

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The thing is football is just fantasy and escapism. So just enjoy watching the players/team. There are more players in the side now I "like" than there have been for a while - they're not big heads, they're not all "look at me", they just work hard and try hard, and some are good to watch from a skil lpoint of view. So just enjoy that, and don't worry whether they will leave tomorrow, next year, in 3 years.

The likes of James Milner - if City are on the box, or he's playing for England I hope he does well, because I admired his approach and honesty at Villa. Same with GB. Ashley Young on the other hand....he was cheat at Villa, and he's worse now.

The point being that Some leave and you find they're actually pretty ordinary, some leave and remain liked and some leave and all the things we kind of overlook a bit (arrogance, cheating, being a numpty) seem so much more stark.

It'll be the same with all the ones playing for Villa at the mo'.

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I agree with you too on a lot of points. Down the years, my biggest connections have been with players like Spink, Cowans, McInally, Platt, Bosnich, McGrath, Yorke (treacherous word removed), Taylor, Merson, Milner, Laursen and Ashley Young.

For the latter, I noticed that he tapped his United badge after the Holte had booed him for about the 50th time and I just called out something like,

"Yeah, you can tap your badge... Loyal to United? You wouldn't know loyalty if it smacked you on the arse..." Then, after he cynically dived again for no reason and the Holte started branding him a cheat once more (which he is by the way...), I called out something like,

"You used to cheat when you played for us as well..." which he did of course... and he used to kick the ball away and earn himself stupid yellow cards. Actually, with what he actually did for us, on balance, we probably miss him less than people like to think. Another, poisonous little journey man cheat. A little bit of talent, snapped up by a BIG club and after a promising start, seemed totally in the shade at Villa Park.

On other players, I still have fond memories of Spink and Platt, and McGrath... but more recently, the players can go to hell.

Platt was my first real 'favourite' player - being so proud when he scored THAT goal against Belgium. I **** loved him. Then there was Sir Ian Taylor - I nearly cried when he got his goal at Wembley in that 1996 league cup final. It was the stuff of dreams. Local boy, really did good. and he was a proper personality - really nice to talk to. Not a jumped up spoiled little tosser like Balotelli or some others I could mention in a very long tiresome list.

It's just one element of a game that is 100% money oriented now and is a damaged product.

The reason the ref seemed to side with United at the weekend was not solely because United were the bigger club in this instance - it's that the big clubs will just call the ref a racist if a decision goes against them. What the **** is happening to this game?

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Lack of continuity was the biggest issue rather than actually losing the players for our fall in the last two years, closely followed by McLeish buying rubbish. O'Neill showed he could replace Barry - we went on to have our best season under him after he left. He could have done it again with Young and Downing. Likewise I'd have had faith in Houllier to spend the money that McLeish ultimately got to replace Downing and Young, if the rumours are true we had agreements with the likes of Cabaye and Demba Ba for little or nothing.

If we lose our best players - the trick is to keep Lambert, as he is the key to replacing them.

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