McLeish Out: The Open Rant

I'd like to think that 7500 to Holte is one of the least reactionary sources of Aston Villa commentary on the Internet. And that's not just the writers, it's the commenters too. I take pride in the fact that most everyone around here will usually take a rational approach to their emotions about the team. And no, match threads do not count. No one should be held responsible for what they say during sporting events.

But this thread will not be a part of the rational trend. Watching yesterday's match, I finally hit my breaking point with this club. This wasn't just a change from being optimistic to being pessimistic. That's happened to me before. Nor was it simply being angry. If it was a matter of that, we'd have all snapped after that atrocious Arsenal match. No, this was something more, and I know I wasn't alone. Seconds after the match ended, I checked my email only to find a rapidly expanding thread between the writers of this site entitled "F*** this club." Only it wasn't censored for front-page appropriateness. Every last one of us seemed, at least in the moment, to be filled with some combination of rage and disgust. I can't speak for the others, but I know that I'm still there.

What we saw yesterday has become so typical its nauseating. A bright first half -- okay, that's not typical, but it's also not unheard of -- followed by a steaming turd of a second half. Had Villa continued to play like they did in the first half, there's no reason to think they wouldn't have won 3-0. But they didn't. Immediately, it seemed that Bolton were picking apart the defense, and for no good reason. I don't know what it is about these players -- or their manager -- that causes this, but it's unacceptable. This is a club with obvious talent, and one that shouldn't be in the thick of a relegation battle. They aren't top-six material, but they are likely top-ten. And even with the injuries, they should be well clear of the drop.

Instead, they aren't. It's almost certainly not entirely the fault of Alex McLeish, but he's got to shoulder a huge amount of the blame. His tactics are stifling, and aside from the fact that they've not produced results, they haven't even produced entertainment. I doubt any rational person expected Aston Villa to challenge for a European position this year, but everyone had to think that we would be entertained by more than a few games. We weren't, despite the fact that we've got some truly exciting players on this club.

At this point Alex McLeish has entirely lost the fan-base. The crowd was chanting against him, and the Internet was more abuzz than ever with #McLeishOut. And for once, I didn't think the reaction was overdone. Though I was disappointed in the boos at the end of the match yesterday, but only because they didn't seem to go on long enough. This team is atrocious, and change must occur. If Randy Lerner can't affect that change, he ought to find someone who can and sell the club.

I made a decision a few years ago to become a Villa supporter, and now I'm Villa 'Til I Die. But I'm sure not happy about it now. I generally only have time to watch one or two matches a week, which means that the vast majority of of soccer consumption is Aston Villa. I'm not sure how I've kept coming back, but this team is making it difficult. McLeish needs to go now, if only to prove that someone -- anyone -- is listening to us. Change must occur or the team will rapidly lose fans until only the insane remain. And for once, I don't think anyone can be blamed if they jump ship. Godspeed, and we'll be here when you come back. Maybe.

Please, take some time and leave your rant in the comments. For once, be irrational. Use profanity. Let it out. This is our place to vent.

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