The Aston Villa Ten Commandments continued…
6. Thou shall keep Christian Benteke
Hats off to the Villa board, so far so good in this matter. Every transfer window brings a fresh threat of the Belgian departing, which Villa have resisted so far. While Benteke has been through some lean spells this season, I don’t see any other Villa striker getting even close to double figures for the season. An improved midfield with more dimension going forward would undoubtedly make more use of Benteke’s talents. At the moment, he is under-used as a target man for the hoof. His finest moments and goals are always when Villa have strung a few passes together and have executed clever link-up play around the opponents box. Give Benteke the ammunition and you’ve got Villa’s first 20 plus league striker since Dwight Yorke.
7. Thou shall not hoof
Football fans pay their money to be entertained and hopefully watch a decent football match. Some of the football at Villa Park in recent times has been dire. Premier League players get paid extortionate amounts of money to provide the best level football you’re meant to be able to see in the UK. Sometimes though, you’re better off going down to the local park on a Sunday. Of course, it’s not just Villa’s problem. Look at West Ham, a team with a rich heritage of passing football, but Sam Allardyce gets booed due to his direct style, even when the Hammers win. Villa tend to score when there’s been a bit of actual football preceding the goal, not after a predictable hail mary hump up field. The likes of Delph, Westwood and Weimann all have bright footballing minds and would benefit from a change in philosophy. Also, I think Benteke is getting bored with being the poster boy for the hoof; if you want to keep him, you’ve a better chance if he’s enjoying his football. The fans want more style and I’m pretty sure the players do too.
8. Thou shall seek more leaders
Ron Vlaar is one. Delph through his actions can inspire. Guzan is commanding at the back, barking out orders. But beyond that, Villa need more experience and leaders in the squad. The idea of getting Grant Holt as a ‘proper man’ was a nice idea, just the wrong player, as he’s ultimately a past-his-best striker. More experience and seasoned professionals who roll their sleeves up would certainly help in negotiating cup ties against lower division teams, who always come fired-up to play the Villa. Frequently losing against such teams (Bradford, Millwall, Sheffield United) in Lambert’s reign, when easy paths to Wembley then beckoned, has cost Villa supporters considerable feel good factor and potential adventures. We need to be less fragile. Experience helps.
9. Thou shall create a Holte End to impress the rest of the Premier League
Still to this day, despite the influx of new stadiums and increased capacities amongst the top clubs, no free-standing stand in the English game has the potential to make a name for itself as the always impressive Holte. We can sit here all day behind our computers, ipads and mobiles, picking fault with the team and manager, but what are we going to do about helping get this club back to where it belongs? So, supporters, it’s time to go that extra yard, let’s get together, com up with ideas, plan banners, displays, new chants and take the Holte onto the next level. It can only increase the enjoyment of match days for supporters and also inspire the team onto better things. The Brigada 1874 boys in the corner of the lower Holte do their bit, but we need that effort right across the two tiers of the Holte.
10. Thou shall have a voice as a Villan
The relaunch of the Aston Villa Supporters Trust (AVST) is weeks away (the new website is almost done and will be live in two weeks time). The aim is simple, to create a representative body that will help push the club’s ambition, increase Villa supporters’ standing on a national level and also help in local community projects. It will also potentially prove a vital supporter–club communication channel. The club have been open to the concept over the past few months and Villa fans constantly complain about a lack of interaction, so the potential is there. The AVST can become whatever you want it to become, so get involved, sign-up and follow on social media. We have several months ahead, before the new season starts to create something beautiful. The old AVST site can be found here – http://villatrust.org.uk/ and you can follow them here on facebook