I'm a literature graduate, prone to being opinionated about anything and everything, but most likely to be found espousing my thoughts on Films, Football (Soccer for my American and Australian friends and readers) and books.
A week after the battling draw at Stoke, Jack Grealish returned and whilst we told ourselves not to get too carried away, we knew things could now improve and they did in astonishing fashion.
Frank Lampard’s playoff chasing Derby were the first in line for a resurgent, hungry Villa and were blown away in one of the most dominant first half performances ever seen at Villa Park – a 4-0 win and a Grealish wondergoal marked the return of the good times.
Saturday 16th April 2016. A painful date etched into the minds of all Villa fans; the day that a solitary Marcus Rashford goal confirmed Aston Villa’s relegation from the top flight for the first time in 28 years leading Joleon Lescott to infamously describe it as a “weight off our shoulders”.
Combined with Randy Lerner’s increasingly remote, seemingly apathetic ownership, a succession of failed managers and a scattergun mass recruitment drive of players that never gelled into a team (many of whom have since built successful careers elsewhere) and Villa’s once touted “bright future” looked like a distant, crumbling memory.
As Villa face down an increasingly difficult relegation fight, we may be forced to draw any much needed inspiration from past escapes. With the arrival of Roy Hodgson’s Crystal Palace to Villa Park for another crucial clash tomorrow, it seems apt to delve into the archives and return to the challenging 1994/95 campaign. It was a season where Villa escaped relegation on the final day at the expense of this weekend’s visitors.
“It’s the hope that kills you”. It’s an old adage that has become a cliché, at least it has if you’re of a Villa persuasion. With the teams above us in the relegation battle beginning to pick up much coveted victories and finding the resolve to grind out the results needed, the situation has grown increasingly desperate for Villa who have yet to find their resolve. As fans, hope is starting to become all we have left.
It’s been a long season (exceptionally so with the COVID-19 enforced break), and it’s certainly been a testing one for Villa throughout. With games quickly running out and just one point separating four teams in the relegation battle, it’s more important than ever for Villa to get back to winning ways.
We’re entering a hugely difficult period of playing 3 of the top 6 sides in quick succession and given our poor record against the top 6 sides this season it’s a worry. We knew it would be a tough season when we were promoted though and either way, now would be the ideal time to rectify that record, starting with the local derby against Wolves.