I don't think anyone actually expected Aston Villa to beat Manchester City yesterday. I for one thought we'd lose by two or three at least, and yet, at the end of 90 minutes, I felt the worst feeling that I've ever felt in 13 years as a Villa fan. Hopelessness.
See, while the scoreline itself wasn't a real surprise, the manner in which Villa rolled over killed me. The club is in a fight to continue existing as we know it, but the desperation that we as fans feel was nowhere to be found on the pitch. The eleven out there went through the motions, and when the goals flowed, not a single player stood up and did anything to change the course of the game.
After Manchester City scored their first goal, Aston Villa didn't record a single effort on target. They only recorded one all game, against the run of play in the first half.
Where do we go from here?
Mathematically, Aston Villa are still in the fight. Three wins, and Aston Villa could be out of the drop zone. But can anyone see it happening? Can anyone see Aston Villa winning any more games? Because, I can't.
Now, there's people out there who probably thought that Villa were doomed weeks, months ago. Conversely, I'm sure that there's still people who still have hope. Before today, I was one of those people. Ahead of every game, I'd hold on to the glimmer of a possibility this result would be the start of a miracle. The Crystal Palace and Norwich games happened, and then Villa followed it up with nothing. And more nothing. And here we are.
Up until it became certain, I figured I'd still hold out hope. But no longer. I'm now resigned to the fact that Aston Villa will be a Championship side next season. The benefit of being so awful this season is that we at least have a lot of time to come to terms with this, and I think we'll need it.
Aside from hopelessness, I don't know how I feel. A lot of people are angry. I'm not angry. Honestly, I feel so so detached from the club, further than ever before. Whether or not that's because of the shitshow that is the ownership, I just don't know. I go into every match expecting nothing, and I still come away disappointed.
I still love Aston Villa, and writing about Aston Villa is something I love. But yesterday was the worst day in 13 years as a fan, in the worst season (though I did go to Subway for lunch, that was pretty great). Newcastle United is our last home game of the season, and with my best intentions, I will be at Villa Park on that day. Why? Not to remonstrate at the board, not to hurl abuse at the players and not to commiserate the players. I just don't know when I'll next get the chance to see a Premier League game at that beautiful stadium.