Why I Won't Be Walking Out on 74

As a result of a miserable campaign, followed by an uninspired January transfer window; Aston Villa fans have had enough and are planning a walk out on the 74th minute in protest of the way the club is being run.

In context, the number 74 has been chosen in relation to 1874, the year Aston Villa was founded and this will continue for the next three home games, starting next Tuesday night against Everton.

The idea seems to be inspired by Liverpool's successful 77th minute protest over rising ticket prices next year. However, Villa's protest is more deep-seated than that. For six years, the club has been on a downward spiral towards relegation and it seems it is now more than inevitable as the club sits bottom of the table, eight points adrift.

But I will not be one of those fans partaking.

I have been a season ticket holder for the past seven years and this has been the most negative I have been as a fan. Even under Gerard Houiller where we sat 20th in the league after defeat against Sunderland, there was still hope. Yet, now I have little hope left and am already thoroughly prepared for relegation - unlike the actual club is. However, I won't be walking out on 74.

There are logistical and practical reasons for that. The biggest reason being that I have already paid to watch ninety minutes of football and however difficult, I'm going to watch it. There's also footballing reasons for it too. In my opinion, it will effectively be like handing the opposition over the points. I'm continually reminded that football is nothing without fans so isn't that what we should be abiding by? Shouldn't we be trying to pack out the stadium and support the team to stop the inevitable from happening? I have always said that we are not relegated until there is an R by our names on that table. So shouldn't this be the time where we encourage the players to gain points, rather than just forfeiting them when we walk out?

Despite Liverpool's protest getting a reaction from the owners, the team actually suffered. Liverpool were two goals to the good, and a good 40% left the stadium, only to get into their cars to realise they had now drew 2-2. That is what I'd be most concerned about.

But if you're going to walk out, why come? You're going to have to pay money to the people you are protesting about anyway. That's kind of the whole point, no? If you want to make a point, don't turn up. Don't give Lerner and Fox your hard earned money. That's where it will hurt them most. Not the empty seats with sixteen minutes to go, but the empty seats at kick off. The empty seats that aren't paying them.

I understand why people will walk out, believe me we're all hurting, but I don't think we will get the desired effect. If Aston Villa are 2-0 down, a lot of fans will already leave the ground whether there is a planned protest or not. In reverse, if we are 2-0 up (unlikely I know) will you still want to walk out? Because I know for certain I wouldn't. I'm going to savour any Aston Villa victory between now and the end of the season.

I for one, can say I've only ever left one game early - and that was an away game. Even when my mom and sister left the Manchester City game five minutes early, I sat with my dad and battled through to the end, at 4-0 down.

Let me ask you a question, did you stay till the end of the Liverpool game? At 6-0 down with twenty minutes to go, did you leave? Or did you witness the Villa fans coming together to support Remi Garde?

For me that was the greatest sign of solidarity. For five, ten minutes "Remi Garde's claret and blue army" rang around the stadium. It was the strangest, yet most warming thing I have experienced in my seven years as a season ticket holder. I've experienced the most electric of atmospheres over the years, and also the most volatile. But this was different. It was almost the attitude of f*** it, let's forget we're losing terribly, let's forget how rotten the club is from top to bottom, let's just enjoy and support the one man that is trying for our club.

Whatever, you decide to do, do what is best for you. You are the fans, not the "customers" of one of the greatest football clubs. However, you decide to show your frustrations, remember that form is temporary and class is permanent and one day we will see Aston Villa great again.

Molly Jennens

I'm Molly Jennens and I am an aspiring football journalist. Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoy it.

No comments:

Post a Comment