I've been debating with myself how frustrated I can be with this team. As a new fan, I'm in a bit of an awkward position. I don't have the weight of years of angst that a long-time fan will have cultivated. I haven't shared in the collective highs and lows, and from here in Washington, DC, I may never be able to. It seems to me a bit like being a bandwagon fan. Think of the stereotypical American Manchester United fan. Why did they choose that team? Well, because the Red Devils are "cool" and it gives them some soccer cred
The "good" news is that Villa are not nearly as prominent as Man. U., so I doubt anyone will accuse me of bandwagoning. But will long-time fans hate me for complaining about the team? What can I possibly complain about? I get the joy of watching some world-class soccer, and I get to see it played by a likable group of players. Well, except for Heskey. No one would fault me for complaining about him. But I think it's OK for me and other new fans to complain as a general rule. After the jump, I'll explain a bit, and hopefully you can give me your thoughts in the comments.
Firstly, I know I'm pretty safe here. We're already building a warm and welcoming community that's great at embracing new fans. Both of our editors are new to Villa within the last five years, and if I had to hazard a guess, I'd imagine about half of our readers can join that group. We're happy to be in this with anyone who is willing to commiserate with us. And even more importantly, we're all learning the game together.
But even if we weren't, complaining is a part of sports. We, unfortunately, have not chosen to root for a flawless team. Anyone who has watched the past few games has been lucky to see moments of absolute brilliance. Downing's goal against Stoke? Breathtaking. But at the same time, we've gotten to see the back third of the team totally collapse. Now, if there was no learning, we'd never notice this. And at the beginning of the season, I probably couldn't have pinpointed exactly why this team was frustrating. But since we are learning, we can see the problems, and that'll lead to complaining. If you know what's good and bad, and the bad is happening more often, you'll be unhappy.
Finally, complaining is a sign of caring. I can't remember the last time I complained about the Mariners, because my passion is dead right now. I care about Villa, way more than I anticipated. So if you're an old-timer and the complaining of we new folk agonizes you, I apologize. But look on the bright side, you're being joined by new, totally passionate fans.
And for everyone, new and old, I think it's good to remember that we do get to watch world-class soccer. And it is played by a very likable group of players. Complain, be frustrated, be upset. But let's not forget how lucky we are to be able to watch a team that makes us care this much.
Let me know what you think in the comments! Should new fans be able to complain? Is there really any reason to complain this year? What other sports teams make you this frustrated?