Setting the Narrative: Kick Them While They're Down

BLACKBURN, ENGLAND - MARCH 03: Alex McLeish, manager of Aston Villa looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between Blackburn Rovers and Aston Villa at Ewood park on March 3, 2012 in Blackburn, England. (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)
Setting the Narrative is a weekly look at the coming days in the life of Aston Villa Football Club. Here are your storylines for the week of April 16th:
  • We've reached a point in the season where Aston Villa are pretty much but not quite safe. If you're anything like me, you lost faith in Villa's interest/ability to win a football match much earlier in the season. Never mind the general ineptitude and rot that appears to exist on every level at the club, not just the playing staff, and it's no wonder that seeing out the rest of the season is starting to feel like a chore.
  • Mind you, the chore of just making sure we're safe is preferable to not being sure at all and seeing all of your players getting injured. I have a lot of sympathy for fans of clubs in danger of relegation, because it feels like sitting in your basement during a tornado, not knowing if your house is about to fall down.
  • That said, with our almost-safety assured, and our lack of faith in Alex McLeish affirmed, we're going to have to strike that amoral bargain with ourselves and root against some plucky underdogs. After the jump, reasons to heap scorn on the weak!

Queens Park Rangers: If you're anything like me, you don't care for people who get on their high horse about "financial doping" and "money killing the beautiful game." Football clubs don't play in the Premier League because of elbow grease and good manners, they do it by spending more money than you or I will earn in a lifetime. That said, when a club spends a lot of money and falls flat on their face, it is HILARIOUS. I want QPR to get relegated just so no one thinks buying Shaun Wright-Phillips and Bobby Zamora is a viable strategy for competing in the Premier League. Speaking of embarrassing failures, I have nothing against Mark Hughes, but walking out on Fulham to manage QPR is like Chevy Chase leaving SNL in 1975 to star in Oh Heavenly Dog.

Wigan Athletic: It's really hard to work up any animosity towards Bobby Martinez, which is why you really should hope that Wigan Athletic finally get relegated so the poor man can get on with his life. Also, Dave Whelan is a dreadful man who talked Martinez out of signing with Villa (good decision!) and told victims of racism that they should "get on with it" and not complain (uh-oh!)

Bolton Wanderers: Nope, we're not doing this one. Too sad. (It was kind of bad the way Owen Coyle left Burnley.) (Phil Gartside is a twat.) (Stuart Holden is really Scottish I don't care what you Americans say.)

Blackburn Rovers: Any effort I make to demean Blackburn Rovers pales in comparison to their own capacity to self-demean. Steve Kean seems like a nice enough man who doesn't deserve all the crap he gets. Besides, he gives hope to so many of us that someday we too could make a lot of money without really being any good at anything.

Wolverhampton Wanderers: Their fans wanted Mick McCarthy gone, and now he has, and they're even worse. Fantastic. They've been a poor man's Stoke City for far too long, and even the notion of a "poor man's Stoke City" makes me nauseous.

By all means, feel free to sneer at the plight of the underdog in the comments below!

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