One of the real joys of running this blog is getting to interact with some of the other great Villa writers on the Internet. We've invited some to write guest posts for our Dead Week. Our first come from MattVillan, who you can find on Twitter at @dvtavfc and writing regularly here.
My name’s Matt and I support Aston Villa.
Rémi, I’m going to be straight with you from the off. It’s really not fun to be an Aston Villa fan right now, in both the short and long term.
In the short term, we had just lost our eighth game on the bounce, as you had the pleasure of attending with your new bosses, Messrs Fox and Reilly. It wasn’t good was it? We started a shit eleven, conceded early and had to wait until the 38th minute until our manager for the night realised that literally anyone from his bench would improve on his selection, and that was only because he was forced to due to an injury to one of our arguably better players. Then, come half time, we had to face the indignity of the pundits laughing at one of our generously reimbursed "stars", the self-proclaimed super fan, Gabriel Agbonlahor.
He’d only touched the ball 8 times. Two of those were kick offs.
In the second half, we grew into the game a little, thanks to our opposition easing off and we even had a little period of dominance after the bitter old man who picked the team that night decided to put his vendetta to the side for a moment and substituted on who was to be our man of the match. Of two good chances, one was a shot by Ayew deflected into the net and the other was a free header that fell to our best man in the air. That one missed an empty net.
You also saw us concede three. One, where a player who should really know better got out-muscled after going too tight (again. He’s got an awful habit of doing this). One where a young man was simply given far too much time on the ball in the box and the final when a converted left-winger who is apparently our best left-back decided he just didn’t care enough to not play everyone onside.
We concede an awful lot of goals Rémi, and don’t score half as many. We lost our best player since (whisper it) the Premier League began over the summer and replaced him with a tree from the championship, the probably overpriced and likely underused younger Ayew brother, and an empty void that had "needed a message from god".
Even when we had this wonderful footballer in our squad though, in the last 4 seasons we’ve averaged 38 points per campaign. We’ve had seasons where you could have had a net win if you’d bet on every game to be a draw, seasons where we’ve conceded 8 then 4 then even 3 to Wigan without reply over Christmas, then got knocked out of the cup by a team 60 places below us in the league pyramid, and seasons where we’ve even been teased with a sensational cup run all the way to the final, where we got battered by 4 goals to nil and barely registered a shot.
Frankly it’s been shit.
Rémi, I want this to end.
Sunday was a really good start Rémi. You proved to us that not only were the players politically jettisoned from our side up to it, but you also showed that we had a team that can grind out results when we need them. Thank you for that Rémi, but it’s just the start. We were lucky. Were it not for a combination of Brad’s face, De Bruyne’s standing leg and the crossbar we wouldn’t have seen our total for the season crawl up to 5 points. As I said, just a start.
I want to wake up on matchday, not full of that feeling of deadened dread, not soaked in the knowledge that I will go to bed that night disappointed, ruminating pointlessly, but elated, relaxed and maybe even happy.
I want to sit on the train not worrying what terrible errors from players or the manager will cost us the points today, I want to sit on the train eagerly awaiting a performance worthy of the price I pay. I want to be entertained and I want to come away from it pleased, more often than not.
I want, when people ask who I support, not to have my response greeted with pity, a wry smile, a hand on my shoulder.
Most of all Rémi, I want to enjoy football again. I want it to be fun
If you can do just that, you will have our hearts forever