One of the most cataclysmically moronic managerial decisions ever has been corrected. Finally. Less than one year after Randy Lerner looked at the relegation of Aston Villa’s arch rival and decided to pay for their manager, Alex McLeish is out at Villa Park.
No word of an official apology from the owner’s office, which is fine. AVFC’s supporters deserve much more, though it’s difficult to figure out exactly how much.
At the risk of going over old ground, it bares reminding how idiotic this move was. Birmingham City won the League Cup, but they also played the most soul-crushing brand of soccer in the Premier League. The style McLeish infused in the Blues embodied every trite cliché soccer haters spew while extolling the virtues of some of our indefensibly mind-numbing pastimes. It was 11 players trying to collide with the other guy’s 11, and if one of his team’s fear-driven long balls happened to generate a goal, so be it.
Imagine being an Aston Villa fan and having to get with that dross. Whereas at one time Martin O’Neill had Ashley Young and Gabriel Agbonlahor exploding into counter attacks, McLeish was using Emile Heskey as a midfielder. The results:
- 37 goals, fewest in the Premier League;
- 17 draws, five more than any other club;
- a -16 goal difference;
- 16th place;
- a 10-match winless streak to close the season, with only one win in Villa’s last 17 games;
- Villa’s worst league finish in six years;
- the club’s lowest point total in 42 years;
- an intimate relationship with eternal ennui.
The collateral damage: Premier League fans were treated to 38 more games of horrible, horrible soccer.
Randy Lerner and Villa’s board got what they bought. Unfortunately, they had to bring their supporters into their self-induced nightmare. I can’t remember a fan base as morose as this year’s Villans, and who can blame them? It’s as if Dad came, told you he’s marrying the teacher that clearly hates you, and oh by the way, they already had a new baby that they love so much more than you.
Thankfully, bad Mom is gone, and she that crying brat with her. Villa fans may have had to crawl through 500 yards of foulness we can’t even imagine, but today, they got their Andy Dufresne moment:
(warning, one S-bomb in the following video, so it’s debatably NSFW-y)