The dust hasn't really settled yet because changes are coming but I want to start this post by saying you're all right. Now, there are always two sides to a story. He said, she said. And you know what, everyone is entitled to an opinion and right or wrong, you can have it.
At the core of mine has always been a series of questions that validate my opinion. Like, wanting stability over constant change and upheaval.
I’m writing this because what follows is just my opinion. I’m not really basing it on facts even if I believe them to be true e.g. stability over constant change isn't just the reason, it's one thing. But the truth is, they are just interpretations that enable me to form my opinion.
And for regular visitors, you’re going to see that my views on things haven’t really changed. And this season, because it was the second, was always going to be harder. Next year is the hardest. By that I mean teams don’t generally go back up in the third season if they’ve not gone up at the first time of asking. It’s the fourth season when if a team is going to go back up it will happen.
So even now, I don’t expect us to go up next season. Do I want us to go up, yes. But I also want John Terry, Sam Johnstone and Robert Snodgrass to stay and I want Jack Grealish to say that he never wants to leave and it's not about the money for him.
But do I think that will happen? No. Does that make me a bad supporter or right or wrong? No. The harsh reality is that Lerner and his dealings took us down and the dealings of Xia are keeping us down.
And while I expect our owner to do a runner soon and while I also expect many Aston Villa supporters to be backing the manager, just as I also expect some to be saying he has to go, there is every chance the owner can't find a buyer willing to put the necessary funds in to get us up.
And everyone is right, in their own way.
We lost at the weekend because we invited Fulham onto us. We didn’t go out to try and win the match and play on the front foot from kick off and that was what we had to do. The first goal was always going to be the most important and everyone knew that. It baffles me, that I know this, that I write about it before the match, but the manager went out and played the way he did.
But I also know he'll learn from it.
And that is why those that want Steve Bruce out are right. The football isn’t going to win us any prizes and his style is also not nice to watch. They are right. But just as they are right, they also can’t deny that he got us very very close this season and that stability is more important than change and upheaval.
And for just as many that want Steve Bruce gone, you also have the same number, if not considerably more, that want him to get a chance next season. And they want that, because they see we got close this season and they’ve also enjoyed it this season and they know that stability is important. Especially now.
It’s hard, when you’ve had fun and enjoyed yourself, to say you don’t want that again.
Up or down
A couple of months ago I had come to a feeling that regardless of what happened, we should replace Bruce at the end of season with Gary Rowett. This is the first time I’m sharing this, because change in the season is rarely good (see the stability comment above) and I also said I wouldn't mention it
But Rowett has now gone to Stoke. Add to that that it’s the third season in the second tier coming up and that I’d not be surprised if we had a new owner soon, I fall back back to my feeling that change isn’t always a good thing. Even if, with the third season coming up, now might be the time to make it.
Some wont like me writing this, but it may be the best thing that Bruce stays and is supported as best he can be. Change now might bring about many years in the wilderness and I suspect it will mean we see a very different team next season. Bruce is best placed to get some of these players back, to maybe keep Grealish and he's proven he can get a group of players to gel.
The football isn’t pretty but we did get to the final and we won more games in a season than we have for a long time. There is no guarantee with a new manager that we will get better. In fact the odds are stacked against that happening.
Yes, there is a style we should be aiming for but, but let me be blunt, so is every other side. Very few get there and it’s not as easy as just talking about it. Had we gone out from kick off like we did in the second half at the weekend, we’d have won and we’d not be feeling the way we do right now and it would all be different. That wasn't about style of football, it was about tactics.
It is what it is
Again. Please read this next part. I'm not saying I am right or that you are wrong. I'm sort of saying, be careful what you wish for. In their second season in the Championship, Leeds failed in the play-offs and look at them now. They've spent a long time down and if you speak to a fan, he'll tell you that too many changes took their toll.
And yes, I want the romance of a re-birth, but it doesn't happen just because we want it, there is a fair amount of luck involved and when you've got an owner that knows so little about the game and we are relying on the manager, who has the majority of the experience at the Club, it might be better to know that romance isn't something you can force, it's something that just happens.
I suspect that next season we are going to see a lot more of Green, Bjarnason, Bree and O'Hare and I don't necessarily think it's a bad thing. I'd like to say also that we're going to see a lot more of Grealish, but I don't think anyone would blame him if he left. But I think he'd go down as a Club legend if he gave it one more season and inspired those around him. Because he can.
It is what it is. Complain about it if that makes you feel better. Moan about why the manager has to go. Or what you could do, is from right now, support the manager and players that are staying with everything you've got and maybe, instead of creating negativity, we can create something positive out of this.
I mean, we want romance, but we're not willing to give that support we all talk about as unconditional.
Again, just my opinion. And you're right. All of you.