This week, Aston Villa secured the title for the fourth time in five years. This isn’t a glimpse into a utopian future where the Second City reigns supreme; our Aston Villa Reserves have indeed secured the title of the Reserves League South under the stewardship of Kevin MacDonald.
Though it’s no secret that the Villa has an astounding academy, why is it that our first-string squad continue to play second-fiddle?
By no means am I saying that Kevin MacDonald should take the helm as the Aston Villa Manager. Upon Martin O’Neill’s departure, MacDonald did oversee Villa dismantle a West Ham side 3-0. It was exhilarating and exciting, but ultimately unexceptional. West Ham were a poor side who got put to the sword on opening day.
Aside from this bright start, MacDonald was unable to stop the 6-0 drubbing at Newcastle United the same season, and oversaw Villa’s capitulation in the Europa league, our last sniff at European football. However, despite the poor run that eventually saw MacDonald return to the reserves, our second team continues to produce players bounding with potential that perform and outplay their peers.
Four Points Lost, or Two Points Gained?
After a disappointing Easter weekend that saw us concede twice from winning positions, the games against Liverpool and Stoke seemed to represent four points lost rather than the two we picked up. The only glimmer of hope was the core of youth that finally got to see real time on a Premier League pitch.
As Damian has regularly called for on this blog, the youth need time on the pitch to show their worth. If only forced by the hand of injuries and illnesses, this weekend, the manager fielded two line-ups boasting a majority percentage of Villa academy products.
So what’s the point?
The media have regularly come to the defence of Alex McLeish. Villa supporters are accused of criticizing McLeish due to his time on the Blue side of Birmingham. We’re also considered delusional for our ambition of returning to the top half of the table, as pundits regularly point out our young, shallow squad, a team that never bought conceivable replacements when we ‘sold our best players.’
However, the success in the reserves seems to suggest something that supporters of Villa have been screaming since the beginning of the season. The youth are playing with a completely different footballing philosophy.
Brimming with positivity, the reserves continue to perform with an attitude that simply doesn’t exist under this manager—and they win! Reiterating another one of Damian’s key talking points from this very blog: I'm hoping our owner is seeing that with the younger players, we really do have the basis for a good footballing side.
After securing another title in the reserves, here’s hoping that Mr. Lerner begins to notice that our academy breeds some amazing talent. With the right person in charge, this club can get back to living up to the Proud History it celebrated 30 years ago lifting the European Cup.