Dear Santa (aka, the Man in the Claret Suit):
It's been a year since I've written you. How are things up at the North Pole? It was really nice of you to let Marc leave the toy factory and come play midfield for us. And Barry too! They both told me to say "hello" to you. Marc asked us to tell you he'd like a Hot Wheel for Christmas this year. He likes the Batmobile. And Barry wanted us to give you his letter to you, so here it is:
Gérard asked for a nice bottle of Bordeaux. He said the cabernet sauvignon would be the only way he could deal with the "savages who want my head." He'd also love it if you have any magical injury-healing potions. Ashley Young wants to get a more fashionable snood for the winter matches. He wasn't sure if they exist, but he figured if anyone could help it'd be you.
Jack Woodward just wants to get back to Wembley so he can announce a game for some Cup Winners. He asked if you could help us out in the FA Cup. We thought of telling him that's not what you usually do, but he just seemed so happy. We couldn't break his heart like that, so see if you can help him somehow. Even Stephen Ireland deserves something, no matter how hard it is to remember he's been nice this year.
It's been a pretty tough year for we Villans, so it'd be extra special if you could bring us something nice for Christmas. I promise we've been good. Don't put some fans on the naughty list just for wanting Houllier gone, they're just frustrated. But what about us here at 7500? What do we want most for Christmas? You'll find our wishes below, Santa, and those of our readers in the comments.
Be sure to fly safely! We'll all leave cookies out for you!
7500 to Holte
Aaron: Seeing as how our position in the league table is most likely going to effect what the club decides to do in January, I'm wishing for at least one win and one draw from the final three fixtures of 2010; away against Wigan, home against Spurs and away against Manchester City. That doesn't seem like all that audacious of a wish, but it would put Villa at 24 points, likely good enough to be in the same part of that table that they reside in now heading into a new calendar year. The start of the year sees some difficult fixtures, with Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United all on the cards within the first month and followed by a run of eleven straight fixtures that Villa would likely be considered favorites to secure all three points. If they can end 2010 on a strong note and add some talent to the squad going into next season, a lot of the negative feelings that have accumulated over these past four and a half months will be a distant memory come May. If they limp through the rest of December, it would be rightly difficult for Randy Lerner to justify any major investment into the squad and 2011 could be just as much of a struggle as the preceding year.
Kirsten: Here is my realistic wish for Christmas: http://www.youtube.com/
I know, I know, you're probably all just thinking it's a way for me to slip in a video featuring Ezequiel Lavezzi with his shirt off (multiple times!) But in seriousness, where's the team bonding? I don't usually go in for touchy-feeling crap, but it seems to me that this is a team that needs a bit of time off the pitch to hang out. Well, they need time on the pitch to hang out as well--having a more definite starting XI will certainly help--but when they appear as though they've never been introduced to one another, it makes me think events like this could help. Have them make a silly calendar. Get them into a charity hospital like Chelsea. Why was it just Stephen Ireland that went? Do these guys all hate each other? The young'ins are clearly cool with one another, but it makes me think that there's a definite dividing line between the youth and the older players. Bring on the team bonding! Rope courses! Tree jumping! Failing that, sitting with pints talking about birds.
And if that doesn't work I just hope Santa brings me a copy of Barry Bannan's letter to him.
Robert: I want Villa to go on a run of good form and play fun-to-watch soccer. There have been a few games this year that have been more enjoyable than almost anything I've watched in sports for several years. A European spot would be nice, and lots of winning would be great too, but I just want to see a bunch of exciting soccer. In a few short months, I've grown to love this team like crazy, and I know I'm now hooked enough that W-L doesn't really matter in the long run. Instead, I just want to watch the kids and smile.