It's a bit warm for December. The usual connotations that Christmas marketing bring have fooled the best of us into thinking that this month will bring the freezing cold as well as the usual blanket of snow. You'd also expect a Coca-Cola truck ploughed through your front room walls much like the Kool Aid Man.
Speaking of being fooled, following draws against Manchester City and Southampton; Villa fans might have been duped into believing that Aston Villa can 'tango' with the best of them. The beautiful Oliver Giroud would smash this theory into oblivion with a deserved penalty not even ten minutes into the match. He would then go on to taunt a depressed Holte End with a six fingered gesture in reference to the exact number of points Aston Villa have comically fell into this year as though an extra in a Chaplin flick.
Oliver Giroud's angelic face and taunting actions were annoying to receive. We as fans don't deserve an overpaid Frenchman to mock us, we've already got one in the reserves! Maybe he should have performed it in the face of our players: players who could do with a reminder of our current situation. After all, it's not like the hard-working fan deserves being taunted by a striker who will be forgotten within ten years.
The Holte End right now exists as nothing but a punctured lung - squeezing out its last pained song whenever the players on the pitch inflate it. The question is not how bad can my metaphors get, but who struck at the heart of the Holte End to leave it in such a state? Was it Randy Lerner and his lack of interaction? Was it Tom Fox and his crushing corporate wing? Was it the eleven on the pitch, who failed to inspire? Can we point the finger at ourselves, as we roared so hard for Villa to clutch the stars, only to fall so fast back to Earth? The answer is possibly all of the above combined. Randy Lerner doesn't seem interested, Tom Fox probably played a part in banning Villa's vocal supporters, Villa's players aren't performing and the demand for success is only creating a pressure cooker at home.
Going back to Giroud, where is Villa's player of equal ability? Where's their Tyson? Their McGregor? Their Kenny Powers? Their Tyson Fury? They have no-one with bite. No-one to deliver a knockout punch, no-one to strike a grand slam at the depth's of the ninth inning. No-one to talk smack and deliver. Aston Villa are worthy of someone like that, the person they've failed to bring in during seasons of cocking around in 17th place. To go back to a Boxing analogy, I can compare Villa right now to Ricky Hatton. Instead of getting lean and mean, we got fat - snorted cocaine in a dingy pub and got put on our asses. Instead of fighting back, we let ourselves commit thoughtcrime and THINK we could win, THINK that we could get out of this situation year in and year out and THINK that we could strive to success without doing anything, in fact. We became fat, lazy and pretentious. How did we let this happen? How could we assume that we were a big club, when so many are snapping at our heels?
The atmosphere at Villa Park is getting downright nasty. We're turning on players because we've got nothing else. The manager's been changed, no-one's buying us - we're a rat pushed into a corner and you're damn right we'll boo the slightest bit of bad play and this was cemented by a group of people deciding to leave at the 20 minute mark. I can't blame them at all, but it appears there are some within the fanbase that can. To those people, I'll ask that they don't act so fickle to mock those with broken hearts. Supporting Aston Villa right now is a task, and especially more so if you've got to cut a chunk of your Sunday out to do so.
When I opened the car door on my way back from Villa Park, I was in a state of confusion. I just don't know what to think anymore and Chris Nee of the Aston Villa Review (fully recommended podcast, by the way) underlined it perfectly. Aston Villa aren't even playing the same damn sport as the nineteen other teams in the Premier League. Aston Villa are not a football team, they are the beaten, broken whipping boys of the Premier League and I'm a fucking idiot for paying to support them. I was damned from the moment my dad pulled that purple-ish Reebok kit over my head and onto my body. I was damned the instant I pulled a Juan Pablo Angel sticker out of a packet of Monster Munch. I signed a death warrant when I plastered Agbonlahor 11 over the back of my shirt and when I begged my dad to get my ‘32 Red' AVFC kit signed by Gareth Barry. When I took my girlfriend to the last home match against Watford, for the first time in my twenty-two years on this planet, my love for this club started to wander. It genuinely faded, as though I would consider how I would break up with it.
But then it snapped back. Premier League Football is not the endgame. Premier League Football is nothing to be proud of. Premier League Football allows beautiful overpaid Frenchman to mock cold Brummies. It allows clubs like Arsenal to travel to the beating heart of Birmingham and laugh at Aston Villa, the fallen pride of the Midlands. Premier League is but a label we can slap on football teams and ship off to the four corners of the glove. That's it. It's the wrapper of a microwave meal and it's not the end of the footballing world. Falling to the Championship represents a homecoming for Aston Villa, as they re-enter the very Football League they pushed to found in the first place. There would be nothing without that, there wouldn't be the chance for pretty Frenchman to laugh at us and maybe our pretentiousness is grounded in that? That the world owes Aston Villa and the other clubs that helped create the Football League for their weekend fun.
There are twenty football clubs in the Premier League which represent twelve of England's fifty-one cities. There's so much more to England than Manchester, London or even Birmingham! A drop to the Football League brings us back to our roots in more ways than one and it will be a good reminder that football does actually exist outside of these headlining towns. This also ties in with the ‘brain drain' phenomenon which is seeing the city of London vacuum up the creative talent of the country as it sucks the young into its laissez-faire rent wasteland. There's simply a lot more to offer outside the elite and maybe this drop to the second level of the English Football Pyramid will give us Aston Villa fans a glimpse of why we support this club in the first place.
Going back to Aston Villa, I genuinely can't put my finger on the team's problem. It's not tactical, we're lining up well! We've not got too bad of a squad either. The players seem bereft of confidence and lacking in will, but gritting your teeth and trying 'really hard' doesn't win you games - Sherwood will tell you that. After every goal, the players slump with their shoulders down and to see that in people who are representing the industrious city of Birmingham is a let down. We're more than that. We're fighters, we're proud. I wish some of the city's spirit would find itself manifested on a matchday at Aston Villa, but it's not there at all frankly. We've never been the people to 'accept' a deemed status, why our Villa's players accepting the drop?
The monolithic London football machine chugs closer to another spell of domination following Villa's surrender to Arsenal, but the Birmingham Boy I am believes we'll be back one day, to bare our lion's teeth and bite the bastards back. As I said when I started off this piece, it's strange to feel a slight chill in December when the tug of Winter should be kicking in, but that's just another effect of the planet warming. Climate talks took place in Paris earlier this week and much like the change of the Earth's climate, nothing short of a complete reversal in attitude and character will stop Aston Villa's tailspin, but I'll be there clutching onto the cockpit as it burst into claret and blue flames and plummets back to an unforgiving Earth, even if everyone else has parachuted to safety a long time ago.