It’s been a strange, strange year, but while the rest of the world tossed and turned from uncertainty to the brink of Nuclear Warfare, at least for Villa, it was a stabilising period.
Despite a brief fling with the possibility of relegation from the Championship, Villa found themselves wedded to the middle of the table. An unhappy union for one of the partners, that’s for sure. While the Championship and the EFL are VERY happy to have a team like Aston Villa in their setup, you get the feeling that the Villans are starting to chafe in their current role.
However, divorcing themselves from the Football League is a tough proposition - because the only way to do that is to quite literally ‘get good’. Villa will need to be better than ever before to achieve automatic promotion and right now, it seems like there are 3 or 4 teams destined to claim those spots. Villa may have to settle for the lottery of the playoffs - but even then, that’s a difficult proposition. Either way, we Villa fans are ideally set for a slightly better season than the previous effort, and that’s the low bar.
But still, we are all disgruntled. We see the Premier League product - the fluid football of Manchester City, the regimented Manchester United, the unpredictable Arsenal, the wondrous fightback of Crystal Palace, Liverpool’s style, the story of Brighton and Huddersfield - so can you blame anyone for being disappointed with the current footballing display on offer at Villa Park? Especially with teams like Wolves and Bristol City who have deployed attacking grace as their main weapons this season in the league we are currently occupying!
However, one thing we must all remember is this - no matter what we see - this is the best Villa performance in almost seven years. We haven’t been this high up a table, or performed as this much of a threat in years. A child would be approaching his teenage years without seeing Villa do anything like they are doing now. They are kids growing up who quite literally have never seen an Aston Villa side without 19 other teams standing on top of them. This is cause for celebration, despite anything else - Aston Villa are actually doing ok.
And that’s more than we can say for other teams, or even other countries and other peoples across the world. A quick google search can reveal anything from a genocidal massacre, or the political self-destruction of a proud nation - right through to two obnoxious world leaders trying to clatter each other with stupidity, with nuclear arms in the mix. You can see too many videos of a few police officers expressing lethal force with glee, you can see too many people attaching their flag to mindless hate, you can see too many disagreements that end in genuine agony.
There are so many problems in this world today, but on the flipside it’s also probably the best time for a certain bunch of people to be alive (and that probably includes me and you, reader) - so let’s all take a moment to be grateful for what we have, rather than what we don’t have. The only reason we should be judging others is to see if those others are doing ok, or if they need any help to be doing ok.
And yeah, let’s just appreciate Aston Villa for once. We could be playing a lot better, but we’re ok - and that’s all that really matters when you start to think about it.