Date: 24 February 2017

Location: Hillsborough

Contest: Aston Villa v. Sheffield Wednesday

Half-time: Aston Villa 1, Sheffield Wednesday 2

For lack of a better term, I was very disappointed at the half-time scoreline against Sheffield Wednesday. I think we all were. And I think we all had good reason. Save a Lewis Grabban half-chance inside of the box that wound up in the net in less than convincing fashion, there were no positives to be found. The entire Aston Villa squad seemed as though they couldn’t pass a an eye test, let alone pass to each other. The Owls not only looked the better side, they looked as if they were completely dominant over almost every facet of the game.

I read a lot about Aston Villa throughout the week, as I am sure many of you do as well. There have been abundant claims that the Villa faithful are too tough on their team, no matter what league position the team finds itself in. While some have decided to use the dreadful ‘f’ word to describe Villa supporters, I do not believe that many were acting very fickle at half time against The Owls. It looked as though Aston Villa were about to slip on a banana peel against a side who couldn’t field their starting eleven due to injury.

In no uncertain terms, that made me want to break something. I kept thinking to myself:

“Villa are better than this.”

“The traveling fans deserve better than this.”

“Why in the hell does Villa keep thinking Joshua Onomah can offer something in this team?”

The poor performance of the first half did not come down to one Joshua Onomah. You, me and your neighbour a few doors down that supports a team you don’t care for knows that football results rarely come down to the performance of one individual. Football is the purest team sport on the entire planet. While Onomah didn’t have his best of showings, and maybe hasn’t had even a mediocre showing in a while, mainstays of the starting eleven looked…well…lost. Was it a knee-jerk reaction for me to scapegoat a player who wasn’t doing well?

Yes, it was.

Does it happen often with the supporters of Aston Villa?

Yes, it does.

Should we cut that out?

Yes, we should.

Although Aston Villa has their fair share of injury woes at the moment, a few things remain constant at the club. The supporters are passionate. Travelling supporters are often deafening in the away sections. And we cannot accept a lacklustre performance. These are three great things to pride ourselves on.  It brings me great pride in knowing that Aston Villa supporters stand staunch of those three very, very important values. But, we as Villa supporters seem to forget sometimes that we are in the Championship and a performance like we have all witnessed at Hillsborough in the first half of the game is a part of the process.

Aston Villa will not win every game until the end of the season. That probably seems like a really silly thing to say, but believe me… there are supporters who act as if every game is an easy three points in the bag. That’s just not he way it is. Sure, those that feel that way are proud of the team. Sure, those supporters want nothing and expect nothing but the best from the players who are selected.
That’s not only honourable, that’s the way you’re supposed to support, at least I was taught so. Loudly, proudly, and relentless. Alas, Villa will not win every game. There are going to be times that we are not the better side on the day. There will be times when you’re going to want to rip your hair out and have a million questions to why things are going wrong.

This is a part of the process.

In my opinion, this is a great time to be an Aston Villa supporter. There is no doubt about that. You can dislike the manager. You can dislike come of the loan/signings that have been made. You can dislike that injuries seem to pop up at the most inopportune times imaginable. But, there is no reason to be down-trodden in spirit as an Aston Villa supporter at the present time. There was a panoply of Villa supporters that I talked to when Villa were relegated from the Premier League not so long ago. During the discussion, one thing kept flowing out of their mouths with such conviction:

“It’s going to be a long way back, but I know we’re gonna get there.”

That, my fellow Villans, is why should be proud of this football club right now. Was it ever going to be an easy route back to the Premier League? Not in your wildest dreams. Was Aston Villa ever going to walk the league and never lose a game on the way back to the Premier League? Never. But, we are doing it our own way. There may be some skids and slides and bumps and tears and fist fulls of hair at times. But, we are Aston Villa. And as Aston Villa supporters, we need to start realising that losing, poor performances and maybe an error or two are all a part of the process to get us back to where we belong.

Not only do we owe that sentiment to ourselves, we owe it to every single player who puts on a Villa shirt and goes into battle for us. It will not be easy. It was never going to be an easy ride. But, if you wanted an easy ride, you would support another club that doesn’t have a percentage of the pride, passion and love that we hold within our hearts and souls. You can call me crazy, I do not mind. But one thing is for certain:
I am #PartOfThePride and I now realise that the first half of the Sheffield Wednesday game is #PartOfTheProcess.

 There will be trying times and there will be happy times.
That’s Aston Villa football. And I choose no other way.
Follow us on Twitter @claretandview // Words by Mark Jirobe (@VillaMarkPGH)

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