Another game, another loss. Aston Villa welcomed Bournemouth to Villa Park yesterday, and allowed them to leave with three points. An all too familiar story.
The only saving grace from yesterday is that Aston Villa aren't mathematically doomed, just yet (though they might be relegated by the time you read this, depending on the result of Leicester vs Sunderland). But I took to my seat yesterday above the tunnel at Villa Park, fully expecting our fate to be sealed. And I was curious, how would the players react? How would the fans react?
The atmosphere in and around Villa Park yesterday was bizarre, and unlike any game I've experienced there in 12 years of attending games. Walking down Trinity Road ahead of kickoff, my Dad commented: "It's like we're heading to a funeral". And you know what, that sums it up well. There's always a guy playing the bagpipes somewhere en route to the stadium, and yesterday's performance essentially played the role of the funeral march.
If this was a funeral, Aston Villa certainly didn't put the fun in it. The first half was dismal. Aston Villa were awful, and played as if they were going through the motions. Bournemouth were not much better. The difference though, is that Bournemouth are in a position whereby they can afford to play on autopilot, as they drift towards a midtable finish. Villa's autopilot however, is seeing the once mighty club plummeting, and at the helm is Eric Black, trying desperately to right the spiral. But Black is no pilot, and this plane isn't righting itself this season, at least.
The discontent from the Villa Park faithful took place before the final whistle; before Steve Cook and Joshua King's goals sunk Villa; before even the first kick of the game. As the team sheet was read out, the culprits, those who are not fit to wear the shirt's names were met by resounding boo's. Joleon Lescott, Kieran Richardson, Brad Guzan. Those who's attitude's this season have been appalling. The trio, who along with Gabby Agbonlahor care more about the salary and the prestige than the fans.
Leandro Bacuna too, felt the full force of the crowd's fury. But unlike the aforementioned trio, Leandro Bacuna has a lengthy playing career ahead of him. And thus his comments about wanting Champions League football were made more out of frustration than anything else. True, he would have been best to stay silent, but his frustration, as opposed to Lescott and Gabby's indifference is quite telling. His time at Villa is done, but looking back, Bacuna shouldn't go down in infamy, though he likely will.
My lasting memory of yesterday's game won't be the booing, or the game itself (in fact, I was only half paying attention by the end and missed Jordan Ayew's consolation goal. Oops!), but rather the chanting as the players went down the tunnel at half time. "You're not fit to wear the shirt" was the cry from the Villa Park faithful, and you know what, for the first time this season, I sung along.