Let’s get one thing straight - Leandro Bacuna is, right now, an average player. He will put in an average performance most of the time. Sometimes he will be worse than average, sometimes he will be better. For the most part, Leo Bacuna is a player of 5’s and 6’s rather than 1’s, 2’s or 10’s. He gets a job done, sometimes, and he doesn’t tire out.
And now, he’s leaving. Sure thing - that’s ok. What’s not ok? The circumstances surrounding his departure. Leandro Bacuna is leaving Aston Villa because of his treatment, and not by the board, or the team, or the players - but by the supporters. For whatever reason, Villa’s most bang average player, is also public enemy number one in B6 as well.
This has kind of happened before, though. Hasn’t it? Earlier this year Ashley Westwood was moved on - and he wasn’t exactly worshipped by the fans. Did they force him out? Nah. Did they make their feelings known? Yes - and over and over and over. It seems that at Villa, there’s a point of no return. Well, unless you’re part of a select group.
I’ve spoken to many Villa fans and the general consensus about the dislike for Bacuna is that he’s ‘just not very good, is he?’ - which, is well - I just don’t know if that’s a good enough excuse. There’s also ‘he thinks he is better than he is’. Let’s just break this down. If Leo Bacuna thinks he is better than he is, why is that any sort of a problem at all? If we want players who are happy to settle for being bang-average, let’s just set up shop and pretend to be Rotherham United (no offence to the Millers, of course).
There’s also issues with his ‘lifestyle’. Bacuna made the mistake of spending time in the sun with his family instead of churning butter in the wilds of Mercia. Here’s the thing - if you’re chastising someone about what they do in their spare time, it probably says more about what you should be doing in your spare time than anything. Bacuna’s always match-fit, he’s always training - yeah, he’s not great - but nothing Leandro has done in his spare time has affected Villa - ever. Believe it or not, but one sole player is not responsible for our relegation (although Lescott comes close). Let it go.
Bacuna’s treatment at Villa Park hasn’t been good - and let’s be completely frank about - some of it has been racially tinged. That’s not going on a PC charade or whatever angry plasterers call it these days, but it’s the truth. I’ve certainly heard him being referred to as a ‘black c**t’ on more than one occasion. Yes, it was one or two people, but if it’s one or two people, those views are mirrored - and it’s bad enough to think those kinds of things, let alone say them. This was all capped off with Bacuna being jeered off the pitch after another average game. What’s more, other players have gotten away with murder while Bacuna has just been, well, Bacuna.
This is not a Leandro Bacuna love-in, but we need to have a honest chat about how our fanbase reacts to players. Are we supporters? Willing to back our club to the hilt or are we the mocking crowds of the Coliseum, turning our thumbs down waiting for the next Lion to be chucked out. Our players might not be ‘good enough for us’, but are we being good enough for them?