Twitter really is the modern — and world wide — call-in sports radio show. And Dr. Tony Xia took the mic this morning and opened the phone lines.
Gutted throughout the whole day&night. 85-86-87-88th, improved or xxxx? I'd like listen to ur constructive suggestion!— Dr. Tony Xia (@Dr_TonyXia) September 15, 2016
As a former radio producer and call screener — this kind of open question still makes me a little queezy — but let’s go to the tweets!
Let’s start with a productive one -- and a feeling shared by many fans (and written up in greater detail here
@Dr_TonyXia Playing with 4 forwards,although maybe exciting does not give tactical superiority in games,coaches/manager needs to do better— The Duke (@TheDuke1) September 15, 2016
The performance differences after the break was a common thread. And will continue to be until something changes.
@Dr_TonyXia Need to take chances 1st half, or if we're only 1-0 up second half push for another goal rather than sitting and getting nervous— Matthew Padget (@MattPadget) September 15, 2016
While some called for support — no matter the frustration the fans feel at watching what feels like re-runs of a miserable TV show.
@Dr_TonyXia the fans need to get realistic and SUPPORT the team. The booing, moaning and anxiousness does not help the players. Keep faith.— bonez (@TokeJ7) September 15, 2016
Perhaps we need some professional help is just what the team needs.
@Dr_TonyXia a sports psychologist might be an idea— Steven Healy (@Ste_Healy) September 15, 2016
A sports psychologist was a frequently mentioned idea. Some of the breakdowns are mental. Losing begets losing — especially with late collapses. Hopefully once the pattern breaks (which it has to..... right?) the nerves will settle and the leadership that has been brought into the team can show itself.
If you can’t beat the system — maybe it is time to change it?
@Dr_TonyXia ask the league for villa have to only play in 80 minute games!?! Any chance?— Jonny morecock (@MORK_DA_TORK) September 15, 2016
Dr Tony has some pull — he may be able to pull a few strings. How about negative time added on?
Some called for the head of the manager — but more called for him to stay and adapt to what he is seeing. Most (based on my totally unscientific looking through tweets) seemed to echo the call for patience.
@Dr_TonyXia give it time Tony...a lot of change in short period will take a short while to find our groove. Performances are much improved.— Dolalu (@Dolalu) September 15, 2016
Then there are the trolls. I’m not posting them. Don’t feed the trolls. Some highlights: Turn to cocaine (hell of a drug). Violence against players (seriously... can this stop being a thing?). Oh well I guess there is only one thing to do —
@Dr_TonyXia sherwood back— TACTICS TIM (@ffsayew) September 15, 2016
Somehow I think this suggestion might be an enemy plant.
@Dr_TonyXia Tony, genuinely think you should start picking the team & getting much more involved in what happens on the pitch. #CoachTony— NUFC Polls (@ToonPolls) September 15, 2016
But a dangerous one at that. An involved owner is great and still a little shocking based on what Villa fans have had to deal with for the past decade. This kind of involvement is cathartic and the right of every fan. But in the end the decision has to be made by the players/manager/coaches in the locker room. And things have to get better... hopefully.
What are your thoughts? I’ll hang up and listen.