After a see-sawing season so far, Aston Villa blogger Matt Turvey offers a plan for fans that may protect them from footballing insanity this season.
You can call Aston Villa many things nowadays but predictable is one adjective that no longer fits the club from B6.
After a period of dull, mediocre, (lower than) middle of the road attempts, this season's Villa promises to be about as predictable as a bipolar girlfriend - wildly erratic but, because you love her, you can see past such traits.
Take a look at many of Villa's fixtures to date and you'll see an almost reversed logic.
Swansea, a team many fans feared after they had scored ten goals in three matches, were beaten 2-0.
Southampton, a team who were, at the time of playing, without a single point (though with valid reasoning considering their prior fixtures), beat Villa 4-1.
Manchester City, last season's league champions fielding a so-called "reserve" team consisting of over £200m of players, were beaten 4-2.
Make no doubt about it, Villa are far from predictable.
For some, such unpredictability would be enough to drive a sane person mad and, looking across many of the internet's varied blogs, forums, and other fan driven outlets, there is much madness to behold. It is as though this bipolar lover we have taken on in the form of our football club has started to rub its traits off on us, much like any partner we commit to for the long term. Suffice to say the outlook of many fans are, to say the least, changeable on a daily basis.
For others, their sanity is aiming squarely in the middle. Whilst I am reticent to suggest that being sensible is the best way to support a team, pragmatism goes a long way to helping balance out these sine wave like fluctuations of performances, promising as they do to provide a veritable roller coaster ride of emotions if one lets football take hold.
Some might suggest that a balanced view, one that doesn't resonate with a million instantaneous reactions after a joyous win or a terrible loss, is some sort of indicator of a less passionate fan, of a fan that somehow cares less about the team than those who waver erratically from misery to ecstasy and back again on a repeated basis.
To those people thinking that, I say such a suggestion is nonsensical. Speaking as a season ticket holder who attends games regardless of our manager, players, or league position, it is safe to say I am truly besotted with Villa. My attitude to winning or losing may be rational and pragmatic, but I most certainly love this club - I sing for the shirt, for the badge, or for those honoured enough to be able to wear our colours.
Having grown up in the literal shadows of the ground in nearby North Road, Villa's plight has been a constant stream of experience for me whether as a small boy playing football in the streets of Aston or now, as a 33-year-old man who spends most of his time writing about the game or otherwise being engrossed in the sport.
Is it “better” to be pragmatic or changeable? There is no definitive answer, and this in itself drive a million arguments on football sites, Twitter, and Facebook every day - people seem to want to suggest “their” way is the right way, and anything else is just plain stupid.
In the cold light of day, those of us that do love the club, rather than following it out of rationality, ergo the “fanatic” that the word fan comes from, will go regardless. Love means going whoever the manager is, renewing whoever the manager is, and attending whether it is sunshine, rain, or snow.
Fanatics don’t sit stroking their chin when people ask them about their club, they just support them regardless. It may be absent of true rational logic, but fanatic support is a logic unto itself.
So, to that end, I do love the club. I feel it as the trumpets blare before kick off, as I stand up and applaud the team on to the pitch, and as I shout support whether we are 5-0 up or 4-0 down, and as I get goosebumps as the crowd jumps up when we get a goal.
That kind of love is not logical, not rational, but it is supportive nonetheless. Whilst love can often be challenging, there's a great feeling to be had when things go right tempered, of course, with reality so I don't, as I illustrated above, vacillate from happiness to sadness like a needle bouncing on a polygraph - doing so isn't easy but, trust me, it saves a lot of emotional distress in the long run.
So, as we approach the next game in our calendar - a local derby against West Bromwich Albion - our team will be set to stir our emotions both individually and collectively. Local bragging rights go to the victor and, to the loser, shame in the face of their rival supporters at work, or in the pubs and clubs of the area.
Whatever the result, whatever our emotions come quarter to six on Sunday afternoon, remember this - love will have ups and downs, but the core of it remains, and will remain, for as long as we live. Football may make us happy and sad but, despite the impact it can have on our lives, I think we will unanimously agree that we would certainly never want to do without our beloved Villa.
Love is indeed blind, yet enduring all the same. Long live love, and long live Aston Villa Football Club.
*You can follow Matt Turvey’s regular opinions at his own site, Aston Villa Life at www.astonvillalife.com, via the site’s Twitter account @astonvillalife, or via his own Twitter account @MatthewSTurvey
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