The Villa Rant: The Five Stages of Aston Villa Grief

The post-match column, the Villa Rant looks at supporters grief...

New year, same struggle. A 3-1 loss to Sunderland has compounded the misery that all Aston Villa fans must feel at the way the club has been run into the ground over the last few years under the clueless tenure of Randy Lerner. The one good thing left at the club, the fans, can all be found in one of the following stages of Villa grief, or maybe several of them. Where do you land?


This tends to manifest itself nice and early in the season, but often continues throughout the year. In some it has reached extreme proportions, including in the patron saints of denial, Tom Fox and Randy Lerner who seem to believe that nothing is wrong at all down at Villa Park.

From those experiencing Villa denial you can expect such gems as ‘we’re too big to go down’ or (despite the complete lack of evidence) “I definitely think we’ll stay up”, and “we’ve just been unlucky.”


What’s more natural when something or someone you love is mistreated than to get angry? Anger towards the board is fully justified as is criticism of some of the under performers on the pitch. This anger will also play a big part in fans voicing and displaying their concern and disgust at aforementioned boardroom deniers, and may be key in the fans finally getting a message through to the sound proof bunker that is the boardroom.

With many it will find its way out into the world online via social media opinion, criticism and sometimes abuse. Whatever the outlet for the anger, I wouldn’t fancy being Tom Fox heading into the supporters trust meeting later this month.


The bargaining phase has well and truly begun with many diehard Villa fans willing to pray to god, sell their soul to the devil, and everything in-between to try and save this club. A quick glance at Villa forums or twitter accounts will reveal many offers to perform a wide range of comical and desperate acts if Villa can perform a miracle and survive, keep an eye out for “If Villa stay up I’ll…..” posts for this one.

Unfortunately the one piece of bargaining that really counts, the sale of our club by Randy Lerner, doesn’t seem to be as forthcoming as the fans willingness to do anything for the team.


This one has been casting its ugly shadow around Villa park for far too long now. Week after week the depression of Villa’s woes continues to take its toll. One needs only to look at ‘before’ and ‘during’ pictures of the last few Aston Villa managers to see how the cloud of doom residing over Villa Park can visibly age and drain an individual.


Luckily for those managers they didn’t have to hang around too long, for the rest of us were here for life and have been victims of AVFC depression for what seems like an eternity. Watching Defoe score against us just seemed to highlight the repetitive and predictable nature of Villa’s miserable present.


For many of us the fact that Villa have been riding their luck and balancing on rotten foundations for quite some time now is all too apparent. The management of the club isn’t good enough. The results aren’t good enough. The players aren’t good enough. Every real fan wants Aston Villa to remain in the Premier League but it’s hard not to accept that Villa are almost certainly down, barring a miracle that has showed no sign of happening. It doesn’t get much less inspiring than a 3-1 loss to the closest team to us in the league, meaning we’ve gone half a season without a win.

Moving on…

Forcing the issue

So are there any positives to be taken from Sunderland hammering another nail in the coffin?

That goal. The combination of Adama and Gil, two players we have all been screaming to see more of, was a joy to behold and gives hope that we may actually squeeze some entertainment out of this season. Surely they have forced their way into the team now on a more regular basis?

Garde may also have his hand forced in some other regards too. Cissokho’s return was a must after Amavi injuries and lack of adequate cover. The lack of any real fight from the team must force Villa into the transfer market. More positioning mistakes at the back mean that Okore must return and that coupled with Hutton’s injury mean Richard’s must finally move to right back.

Garde also finally caved and gave Kozak a chance, whether the vocal support for the Czech had a say in this remains uncertain but what is becoming worrying is that our manager seems to take far too long to make necessary decisions and often only does so when injury or suspensions force him to do so. Will he make these much needed changes? We’ll see.

FA Cup

While League games are yielding sweet FA for Villa, next week brings the opportunity for at least some enjoyment in the form of a possible cup run, although on current form even that may be wishful thinking!

To date however Villa are still in the competition and a win against Wycombe next week could be a last chance to build confidence build some sort of momentum, or at least bring a temporary smile to our faces.

The cup also brings with it a reminder to those Birmingham fans who seem so happy to try and wind us up. No matter how bad we’ve been this year, we still managed to beat them!


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  1. I see Fox and Lerner as an anagram of ex-feloner ? By sabotaging the club from the inside its clear they are on the make in the shares they must have put a wager on for the shares to go down and make a killing after all no buffoons would replace a whole squad and management all the way through the club so all that all you are left with is incompetence and inexperience – you missed out denial, ridicule and sacrificial

  2. As someone who’s grown up in Cleveland and is a diehard Browns fan, the similarities between the two clubs are shocking similar. The worst part is once Learner sold the Browns, nothing has been fixed and honestly we might be worse.

    Wanted to post the link to the original “factory of sadness” video.

  3. Under Lerner’s stewardship, the Cleveland Brown US-football stadium earned the nickname Factory of Sadness. He sold the team the following year. To Messrs Lerner/Fox: You are indeed clueless and need to SELL NOW before our Villa Park earns a nickname reflective of your supreme ineptitude.

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