What We Learned as Villa Fans After Cup Exit and Boleyn Beating

Two more games to forget knocking Aston Villa out of the FA Cup and edging the club closer to the relegation trap door have disheartened even the most blinkered fans, already down after the lack of new players in January. What can fans take from yet more disappointment?


Tim Sherwood was given money to spend after breathing fresh life into Villa and taking them to the FA Cup final… but was he? It seems like survival and a cup final only earned him so much respect and trust, with many of the players brought in not being his first choices – and not by him.

Garde has aired his frustrations at not being able to bring in anyone at all, moaning that he would have thought the board would have backed him in bringing in his own players to put his brand on the team.

But why would they trust him? In 16 games he was won just twice, with one of those wins coming against Wycombe after a replay. Losses┬ámaybe improved to draws as far as the defensive line is concerned, but he was brought in to change Villa’s direction and pick up points – and the team is still dead last and heading down without much of a fight.


If Garde had shown some bravery when drawing or being behind and gone a bit more gung-ho to get a win rather than hang on to a frankly irrelevant point given the team’s situation and picked up a few come-from-behind wins, he would be a better situation to negotiate bringing in some new faces with the board’s backing.

If Villa had pulled off a few wins and moved out of 20th at least, maybe the board would have been braver too and tossed him a bone. Plus, players would have been more inclined to join the team.

While the board should shoulder the brunt of the blame for Villa’s pathetic surrender during the transfer window, missing a golden opportunity (as Stan Collymore suggested) to give the fans SOMETHING by way a lift in spirits in the form of a new striker, even it was the seventh choice and on loan, Garde should know this is a results business and for the positives in performances, he hasn’t done what everyone had hoped possible.


The Manchester City game was sad. Down a goal before some fans had taken their seats (those that still had the inclination to turn up), the match-day figures will tell you Villa had more possession, sufficient shots on goal, blah blah blah.

The bottom line: Villa were beaten pretty easily by a team still gunning for an unprecedented quadruple of trophies – and that still had the balls to tell their manager he wasn’t doing well enough and that he would be replaced at the end of the season, even if he wins the bloody lot!

Even with Delph to yell at, this result was about as demoralizing as it gets.


Certainly Ayew’s red card made the game more of an uphill battle (and his absence for at least three more games will make the next few tougher too) but West Ham deserved their win.

Fans will be tired of saying how this was winnable, but here’s the facts: this is not a strong squad. There are no stand-out players. Were there any sneaky inquiries or multi-million pound bids for any Villa players in January? No – because they aren’t better than what every other team already has.


With Delph and Benteke gone, there’s no identity any more. Six players from the Sherwood era team were chosen to launch the new kit in August – Sinclair (benched), Gabby (more on him below), Grealish (chastised and benched), Delph (sold), Benteke (sold) and Clark (benched). So who is left to represent and personify Villa? Westwood? Alan Hutton? Guzan?

Once again: the board is to blame for accepting relegation and being out of touch with what is needed to win back the fans if the team can’t win games. But this defeat was down to Garde’s tactics and not being as good as a team that could have been seen a peer.


The announcement that Gabby Agbonlahor would be starting against West Ham was summed up by one online comment: “Gabby LOL”

In support of Gabby, he’s a Villa fan and unlike Charles N’Zogbia, he feels something strong towards the team as he realizes his dream of playing for Aston Villa FC every day. But his return didn’t inspire much confidence in most fans given the online reaction and also his recent form before his long lay-off.


Gabby’s cause was always made more difficult after he found himself leading the line once Ayew was sent off. If he had scored a hat-trick and won the game single-handedly it would have been a biggest fairy tale than Sleeping Beauty.

But sadly his influence on the game was what fans have got used to in recent seasons. Another reason the final whistle was so painful.


Follow Adam Keeble on Twitter @keebo00

Follow MOMS on Twitter @oldmansaid



  1. Disagree on Garde. He has potential to be good but too early to criticise (other than for playing Bacuna full back when he can’t defend). Garde has conducted himself with dignity, especially since loss at WHU. Can’t blame him for picking Gabby when others were injured. Nor for losing after penalty not given and red card.
    He needs time and the right players and has had neither.

  2. Villa fans make me laugh. I’m one of them but we are a fickle bunch. Not got the energy nor willingnesss to read the whole of this article but the poster below who effectively says ‘bring back Joe Bennett’ must be deluded. The man who went to Bournemouth to cover Tyrone Mings and couldn’t even get into the team when he got injured? Great idea. Also appreciate how the article makes reference to our two draws and suggests we should have just ‘gone for the win’ and lumped more players forward so that we could have picked up 3 points and signed more players in January. What an idiot. Did you watch the west ham game? Did you see what happened when we pushed players forward to try to turn 1 point into 3? We ended up with 0. Moron.

  3. I totally agree with the article. Gardes tactics are negative. 1 league win. Useless team selections. Players hyped and over rated
    The likes of Gardner Johnson Bennett sent on loan. They are better than we have.
    Every team has a boost when a new manager arrives and stops the rot. Garde has made us worse.
    Hes paid a couple of million to get Aston Villa good results. Hes failed.
    And to say that Garde is the best manager since Ron Saunders is beyond belief.

    Even Tony Barton is a much better manager. Taylor, Atkinson, Little, Gregory. Did brilliant for Villa.
    Even David O’Leary a much better manager, who finished 6th in his first season and was 2 games away from qualifying for the Champions League.

    And have to say – I think Tim Sherwood would have got us a few wins to move us up the table. Dont feel sorry for Garde.
    Garde has 8 poor players in every match. Including the clumsy over rated Okore, Gana, Bacuna. Only Bunn, Gill,and Richards come out with any pride for me in the Hammers game.
    Clark is still best centre half. But hes ‘not cool” and fans get on his back. No one makes more mistakes than Gana and Bacuna. Yet these useless players go under the radar when criticism is handed out.
    Garde knew the situation.
    Sherwood didnt realise that he would have to pick players that he didnt sign or rate as a footballer. Feel sorry for Sherwood.

    We know the problem will remain until Lerner, Hollis, Fox, Almstaad, Reilly, have left this world famous club.

  4. Don’t agree about Garde, this is not his team, it’s Tom team. Learner and the board are to blame for this mess.

  5. Why go after Garde? He’s the best manager we have had for years, since Big Ron. The failure of signings isn’t down to him, by his own admission he spent a lot of time with certain players, and they chose to go elsewhere. Pretty sure a few more thousands a week would overcome any reluctance to join the bottom club. But Remi isn’t in charge of the finances.
    Gabby is the only senior striker we have, unless you think Villa can play with a false nine? LOL. He had to be played and is still as useless as he has been. Spends more time moaning than running. Should be sacked with NZog. Have heard the dressing room is toxic at Villa and has been for some time, through several managers. Don’t think you can lay that on the new players, they came into a bad place, and Remi has done well to get the best out of some of them.
    To start putting blame on Garde who has a better points tally than Sherwood btw, is foolish IMHO. He had to get some defensive solidity into the team, scoring 4 is useless if you concede 5. For a start he put Micah out wide when Okore came back. Sherwood wouldn’t have. But still if Remi is smart he has already lined up his next job. We’ll see him manage in the Champs League again for sure. Not with Villa though. And IMHO Villa and a subset of the fans don’t deserve it.

    • I didn’t write this article…but I’d like you to justify your claim that Garde is ‘the best manager we have had for years, since Big Ron’. Based on what exactly? His single league win? I personally reserve judgement on Garde’s ability, but you can’t go around making sweeping statements about how brilliant he is when there is no evidence to back it up.

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