The weekly: Hope, hard work, honesty and smarts

There comes a time for everyone that they figure out there is no tooth fairy and that Santa doesn't really exist. As Aston Villa fans, we learn that early on.

But we're starting to believe in something else. Is it fair to say that we're starting to believe in hard work and honesty?


Sure, you can buy a team and win the league. Manchester City did it last season and Chelsea before them and after buying the title, do they feel pride?

Don't get me wrong, it's the game and they're playing it and if it happened to us, I'd probably be writing about how we dominated the season and played some fantastic football. But I know I'd feel hollow. I know, deep down it wouldn't be as good as things past. I know it wouldn't last.

Hard work, honesty and smarts

And now things are changing. Sure, our season has been horrid and had Lambert been sacked on more than one occasion not many people would have been surprised, but the club stuck by him and things are looking better, albeit we are still not safe, by a long way.

And the football has looked much better of late when he reverted to a variation of 451 (I'm not going back into, I promise), put Gabby on the left with a little freedom and had two men in the middle.

But the players and manager are the key parts in this. The manager has put his faith in them and they've repaid it with hard work and honesty. As supporters, when we see that, if fills us with pride and belief.

But it isn't just hard work and honesty. The players we have today are smart. Too many players in previous season haven't had the smarts and all the hard work and honesty in the world doesn't help unless you have the smarts and our players today, seem to have it.

Barry Bannan has stopped hitting the hopeful ball. Fabian Delph and yes, I'm a long time admirer, is playing some of the best football we've seen from him (okay, it isn't that much). Gabby is also finally starting to look the type of player many of us knew he would be supporting a striker and not having the pressure of having to score 20 a season.

But the hard work and honesty also plays a role, they're needed just as much as the smarts are. And when you mix all those things together and try to keep the ball and play it on the ground, it can fill you with a great feeling. It can even make you start to believe in something again.

Match post tomorrow, this is about something else and probably not expected.