I debated whether or not I should write this story. On the one hand, it's entirely unimportant. On the other, I think it shows something interesting about our new manager. The official site has a quick story full of quotes about the fact that Paul Lambert is having Aston Villa switch dugouts when they play in Villa Park. Currently the team uses the dugout on the North Stand side of the pitch. Next season the players and staff will be in the dugout on the Holte End side of the field.
Now, like I said, in actual football terms this is perhaps the most meaningless thing we'll ever put on this site. (Actually, no, I doubt that. We do things like put pictures of Eric Lichaj in whatever this was.) It doesn't matter to the players where they sit while they aren't playing, and to those on the pitch, Lambert can yell just as well from either side. What makes this an interesting move, though, is the symbolism of the whole thing. Lambert says that he's making the switch because "The Holte End will be vital to us. That's the traditional area where you get the place rocking - and the rest of the stadium will bounce off that."
Now can you imagine Alex McLeish saying something like that? Lambert is trying to get on the good side of the fans early, and he's doing so by promising things both symbolic and substantive. What's the substantive then? Well, buried in the same article is this bit from Lambert: "We want to play the right way too. We don't want to sit off and wait for teams to do something against us. We will try everything we can to get on the front foot."
That sounds an awful lot like "We plan on playing attacking football" to me. This shouldn't be a surprise, as that's in many ways what we saw from Lambert's Norwich clubs. He goes on to say "Hopefully the crowd will go with it." Well, Paul, if you deliver what you're saying, they will. As frustrating as Villa fans can be on twitter and the like, they are also insanely passionate. There are few venues that can match Villa Park for sheer volume when the supporters are in full voice. We're all just looking for a reason to cheer on this team as loudly as we can, and Lambert seems to really want to give us one. He's saying all the right things. He's doing all the right things. And hopefully the result will be what we're looking for.
Less than a week into the Lambert era and it already feels like we're cheering for a different club. If you made it through last season, it seems like there is finally reason to be hopeful again. Lambert can't guarantee a return to competing for a European spot instantly, but it does seem like he's intent on returning Villa to being entertaining. And really, that's all we ask for.