A Welshman, an American and an Englishman write an article..
Wait, want to hear a better joke? The actions of a minority of Villa's away support can be described as a punchline to what has been a terrible season for Aston Villa FC.
The above video shows a man shouting 'fucking prick, fucking wanker, fucking twat' so much in the space of twenty seconds that his voice starts to bloody break. Why is this deemed acceptable at all? Three of us at 7500toHolte decided to write this piece, because frankly - it needs saying.
I get it, being an Aston Villa fan hurts right now.
We've invested so much time, money, emotion and energy into following the team; and to see the club the way it is right now is horrible. Honestly, I probably would have taken a break from football until Euro 2016 if it wasn't for this awesome community. The thing is, we're all feeling it, but we forget that the players are too. To be a professional athlete at a high level, you have to be super competitive.
There is no way that any of Aston Villa's players have gotten to where they are without having belief, desire and self confidence. So there is absolutely no way that the players don't care. They all want to win as much as we do. At the end of the day, Aston Villa's players are people first and foremost. True, they earn more money than the rest of us, but that doesn't give anyone the right to hurl abuse at them. Outside stadiums, in the stands, on social media. It doesn't matter where.
To hear some of the stuff that fellow Aston Villa fans are saying is sickening. True we partly pay their wages, but that does not give us the right to abuse them. It's ruining the reputation of the entire fanbase, and that sucks because 99% of you guys are amazing fans with great stories to tell. Just think back to last season, when the media targeted the Villa fans for the West Brom pitch invasion. We were vilified for celebrating a huge result. Just think what the media will say to this? The club's reputation is in ruins, there's no need for us to make it any worse. There are ways to voice our anger, but hurling abuse at the players is not the way to do it. We're all better than that.
This is the state of our club: winless since August, hopeless on the pitch and now shameless off the pitch. While the losses hurt, after seeing videos on social media of the players being subject to abuse of "You're not fit to wear the shirt" and being bombarded with profanity as they boarded the bus, my heart sank once more. We've been through an unbelievable fall since securing safety last season, but these post-match videos have taken us to a whole new level. We are a proud club and a dignified club - but if we can find no dignity on the pitch, shouldn't we at least look for some off it? The players' effort isn't the problem. No single result isn't the problem. The problem is the administration, the ownership, and the upper management of the club - they are the people who have run this club into the ground, but the players are the only ones capable of compensating for those mistakes. Let's not alienate them as well.
Seeing players like Jordan Ayew, who payed part of his own transfer fee to make sure he could come here and has done all he can to singlehandedly pull us up, be abused by the fans that he plays for, I fear that we may regress even further. If we lose the few players who are still on the side of the fans and still hold respect for the club, what will we have left? The solution to this awful mess is redefining the culture of the club by restoring an atmosphere of positivity and progress in the club - not misery, contempt, and abuse.
This is not a sermon condemning fans for showing emotion, but merely another passionate fan who thinks that this is fundamentally the wrong, and possibly the worst way to exert frustrated energy. We have to think about the big picture: if, when, and how, we might return to the Premier League. This situation is quickly snowballing into one of the worst curtain calls for a Premier League team ever. Ever. That's not how I want to remember it.
If an actress earning £100,000 a week walks down the street, are you entitled to harass her? Based on the knowledge that you have of her latest film being utter tripe, you might feel somewhat validated that the fact you paid money to see her perform entitles you to hurl abuse her way.
I shouldn't need to tell you that the above is horrifically wrong, but based on the evidence - I apparently do.
Money is relative in this game. Aston Villa's players certainly did not set the bar for player wages, they are just being paid what everyone else is being paid. What, however is absolute is the fact that almost no-one on this earth deserves the kind of abuse that is being chucked towards the playing staff of Aston Villa FC.
Entitlement is a funny word isn't it? Entitlement is the type of emotion that gave the world terrible events such as the trading of human beings over the Atlantic Ocean. Of course, the harassment of footballers is not even close to that event, but you can certainly see where entitlement gets you? Nowhere good at all. Nothing positive stems from an attitude of entitlement.
I have paid almost a grand to follow this team this year. I cannot afford to be doing that. I have sacrificed a chunk of cash to see this football team fail - I have as much a stake in this as the people you see abusing the players following the Wycombe match. Am I angry? Of course I am, but I believe I have the emotional capacity to let it go, like everyone else on this planet.
The scariest thing about this for me is this: what if you change the human contents of that coach to a group of say #blacklivesmatters activists, or maybe those in favour of lax gun control issues? What if a presidential candidate was boarding that bus? What if a bunch of pro-abortion protestors were being abused aboard that bus? Suddenly you have an ethical and moral crisis and certainly a case for the police - but because these people play for Aston Villa FC, it's seen as OK by a majority of Villa supporters to heckle and abuse them. Well, I'll stand up against the world to say that you're wrong.