Dear Tyrone Mings,
In one bad moment, we realized all at once what you mean to us. There are few moments in sport where someone’s agony is shared. This was that. We’re not all going to be on the same path as you right now, how could we be? But we’re backing you on it.
Why? Well, the answer is incredibly simple.
Every Villa player is always ‘one of us’ until they do one. We’ve had the boyhood heroes and the local lads. We’ve had the big-money signings, the flair and style, the panic buys, and more. We’ve had ‘Mr. Aston Villa’ a few times and all.
That title, ‘Mr. Aston Villa,’ has been pinned to people who just happened to be here - or others who opted to leave at the first desirable opportunity. In some ways, they are definitely deserving of the title, in others - they just get called it because there’s nobody else.
I’m not sure that anyone could argue that you’re not ‘Mr. Aston Villa’ - and that you won’t forever be a Villan. Few others have defined the rise of the club over recent years like yourself.
You came in during a fairly uncertain season, where anything could - and did - happen. Within a few games, it was clear that you were here to stay, and an undeniable fact when you went back home covered in glory and a full Villa kit. Then, when the opportunity came to walk the walk and prove people wrong, you did exactly that, and not just once.
What about you and the fans? Every game you’re giving your shirt away to someone you clocked during it. A Twitter search reveals how much you’ve done in private for a few fans who needed help as well. You’ve also been stern when you needed to. Like when you clapped back at fans who decided to bite at Anwar El Ghazi? “Let your apology be as loud as your disrespect” sticks in the mind. How could your teammates not back you after things like that? How could fans not back you after that?
That’s not even mentioning the times you’ve used your voice to stand up for yourself - and stand up for something. Protests, politicians, you’re one of the only high-profile figures in sport who have called out the things that aren’t right in this world, and you haven’t shut up about it. That’s admirable.
So you back yourself, you stand up for those who need it, you have a great relationship with the fans and the club misses you on the pitch whenever you’re off of it - and if you ever left, it’d be with our blessing because you’ve done all of this the hard way. That’s a true ‘Mr. Aston Villa’.
As for right now, who knows what the future holds? The outlook for us, looking on in, is unclear. Only you know how it’ll go from here on out.
One thing is for damn sure though.
We’ve got you, because you’ve got us.
Read more from James Rushton on Villa via the excellent House of V newsletter.