Many of you probably saw this already, but the General's been on Villa Talk waxing on about how Aston Villa players need to "go out and kick the crap out of" the next opponents. Now, I'm not sure if he means all of the opponents in the remaining matches, or just keep up this kicking strategy until the Villa find a win, but either way, he's at least demonstrated that there is one person out there who is worse at tactics than Gérard Houllier. Because as far as I know, kicking out at the opposition remains a punishable offense in England, and considering the fact that much of the squad is already spending plenty of time in the stands, encouraging players to pick up fouls is likely not to be the best strategy.
This whole "football is war" analogy is utterly insane. Yes, the team likely needs to unite, to operate as one distinct unit than to focus on individual issues. But big bad bullies kicking out at ankles? No thanks.
I don't know the solution to the Villa problem. In fact, I spent much of yesterday trying to avoid Villa news, doing my best to ignore rumors and accusations. I wasn't quite successful, particularly when the "news" about Stewart Downing wanting out broke, but I made a concerted effort. Why? Because of the fans. They're going in circles, chasing after every piece of gossip, using it to support their beliefs that Houllier should be out, that the club lost everything when they lost Martin O'Neill, that the only formation is a 4-4-2, that Robert Pires has naughty photos he's using as blackmail...anything.
There's a war to be fought, certainly. But it's not on the pitch. And it's not the war between those who support Houllier and those who do not. It's the battle to keep calm and carry on. There's room for criticism. There's room for debate. But in the end, the fan base also needs to be a unit, a unit that supports the club and remembers that the claret and blue is of much more importance than trying to prove a petty point.