Unfortunately the Joleon Lescott situation today just reinfoced what a lot of Villa fans currently think about the club and the culture on and off the pitch, that nobody cares, the players are off living the highlife and are waiting for their pay check and the exit door.
In some cases i think that's 100% correct but in the case of Joleon Lescott, a guy i've met only twice out and about and several times at games, i'm really not sure this applies.
Joleon and his Brother Aaron are Villa fans, i knew Azza as a young pro at Villa so i know this to be the case, and i think Joleon has gone on record to confirm he is, so why do something as silly as tweet a pic, then make a ham fisted apology/excuse?
Well, hes a proud guy, a Premier League winner, and the last 6 or 7 years has been used to winning, so going "home" to be part of a mess that's Aston Villa will be hurting and when the hurt gets to boiling point, as i know all too well, things get on top and you lash out. Might be a tweet, might be to a fan having a pop when you get on a bus. No justifying it, just merely acknowledging that its existed for as long as pro football has existed.
Competitors that no longer compete, in any walk of life are not comfy people to be around at times.
Micah Richards contacted me a few weeks ago and we had a long text conversation. He asked a few questions and i gave what i hoped would be a few honest answers back. I believe he cares too.
I told Micah, that when i was at Villa, i really really wanted to do well, but at the start of the campaign in my first season, instead of challenging , we lost our first 6 games. I remember Blackburn away particularly and the traveling Holte rightly gave us our medicine. "You're not fit to wear the shirt". I think Savo got caught in a spat with the away fans, and on the coach on the way back to Bodymoor we all felt ashamed, embarrased and in all honesty, not knowing what to do.
As a dressing room we had arguments, harsh words were said and we managed to rescue the season. We ended down theline in a European Quarter Final, a club record unbeaten run and the same players, with the same skillsets that had let them down months before dug themselves out of a hole.Character, belief, facing your doubts if you will.
I see the senior players looking around, players who've been winners, players who've recently played with Aguero, Silva, Young, Benteke, Milner, Barry, Yaya and i see their actions, especially Joleon and Micah as those of two guys who simply don't know what hit them, at one of the country's biggest clubs, and they have no answers.
Some feeling after being the cock of the walk a blink of an eye ago.
Joleon should'nt have tweeted the car pick, it was silly at best and insulting at worst, and my opinion is that he knows it was silly, panicked at the response on twitter and put out the "sat on the phone tweet". Only Joleon knows if that's true or not, but as i told Aaron, his brother, its doesn't look great whatever the reason.
But we all make mistakes, so a rational solution would be for Joleon to be honest, apologise and move on.
Fans, and i'm one ( i went to more games pre football than many will have done as lifelong fans always look at things in black and white, and of course football, like life is shades of grey.
There will be players bought by the moneyball method that are trying their hardest but who simply aren't good enough to play on the stage they are on, have no understanding what a club like Villa means to its fans, or its historical relevance or indeed its recent past of being competitive. So they tweet on holiday, in a motor, with the model wife as if they don't have a care in the world, when in fact, from experience i can tell you the opposite is true. You dread playing,you dread the reaction, you dread the muted response when your name is read out.
That's when you go back to simple basics, do little simple things, and slowly dig yourself out of that hole.
I don't see that from may Villa players because of the system that bought them as much as their technical failings. No test of character, no test of whether they want to be a part of the club, just bought on FIFA like stats which measure absolutes like pace over 100 metres rather than the variables like, "does he have the bottle for a fight"
That's a model unsustainable in any walk of life, not just football and as Leicester and Spurs have shown, a mix of grit, determination, individual and collective belief can drive you far.
Villa have none currently and its the Lerner/Fox culture that has nurtured this as much as any individual player tweeting, spitting, shouting or hoverboarding their way around B6.
Villa players aren't good enough and they know their fate already, it was on display to a nation on TV today, but i'd put it to you that the indifference of players like N'Zogbia who is happy to goad Villa fans, of Okore who already believes he still is Champions League quality after offering Villa next to nothing as a competent defender isn't shared by Micah and Joleon , both who've proven in their careers the will, spirit and desire to win. Not excusing performances, just asking you not to compare 2 players playing poorly towards the end of their careers who have few answers to the current problem to 2 players who frankly do not give a fuck about Aston Villa, and will be smiling in another shirt elsewhere in the summer.
Villa is poison, its cancerous, its toxic.
Randy Lerner got away with his failure at the Cleveland Browns due to no relegation and a willing buyer.
At Villa he will not be so lucky, and that means somewhere, sometime soon he has real questions to answer and real problems to solve.
Are 2 old men on the board going to change a demoralised ground staff?
Do we trust Fox, Reilly and Almstadt to recruit well to get out of the worlds toughest league?
Are there more than 2 or 3 players to build around?
If you're a villa fan reading this then i think you know the answer.
So what next?
Ex players have offered their services , the club felt January wasn't the time to fight like lions, merely render the manager impotent in the market, and as mentioned, Fox and Lerner believe 2 old bankers can sprinkle some magic dust on the club and turn it around in time for the great 2016/17 fightback.
Its not Joleon's faux pas today i'm worried about , that's a meme today and forgotten tomorrow.
Its the white flag being raised by an institution that in good and bad found a way to be competitive.
A heart, a soul and a purpose.
Never has a grand football club of many been destroyed by so few.