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Managers, Media And Madness: Aston Villa And The Sixth Circle Of Hell

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David Moyes. Rafa Benitez. Mark Hughes. Carlo Ancelotti. Steve McLaren. Roberto Martinez. Owen Coyle. Alex McLeish. It's been a month since the season ended and Aston Villa are still without a manager -- although not for lack of trying. By the media, anyway. We have no idea just how far negotiations went with each of these men (except for perhaps Martinez), or even if they occurred at all, but what we do know is this: every single one of these names has caused a flurry of hits for a website and, more to the point, a change in the betting odds.

So how do we know what is real anymore? At times it seems as though the Villa managerial search is designed simply to put Villa fans through as much hell as possible. The excitement will rise to a fever pitch, and then hearts will sink so low that people contemplate jumping off the highest building they can find. We're already traveling into the deepest circles of hell, and we haven't even had to really deal with the transfer market yet.

And what for, really? Why do we believe this nonsense? It seems unfathomable that Randy Lerner, et al, could have really been in discussions with all of these men. Flip through the names. There's no connecting thread. Different methods of management, different temperaments, different styles of play. Lerner's not just throwing shit at the wall to see if it sticks. So who is?

It's pretty clear that there's simply not enough news out there, what with all the transfer rumors floating about and everything, to fill a 24 hour news cycle. So why not pull names out of a hat? Just grab everyone who recently left a managerial position and link them to Aston Villa. And then get angry at the club when they refuse to comment on the managerial selection process. If they're not commenting, then whoever the latest headline is about surely must be the next manager for Villa. Right?

If we think about it logically, there's no way Lerner and company are gunning for McLeish. But it doesn't matter right now, because we're all so far in a tizzy that we'll panic about anything. And the coach that got our rivals relegated while playing ugly defensive football would be enough to give even the most stoic supporter a few heart palpitations. But there's no logic in the managerial rumors -- it would be best if we could just treat them as one does a two year old that has a temper tantrum in middle of a crowded grocery store.

Alas, we're all on edge, and when nerves are frayed, it's much easier to lash out than to ignore.