Dave Woodhall on Villa’s defeat at Millwall and the continued search for a manager.
Sometimes we lose sight of the fact that the main aim of football is playing football matches. The big story of the week has been the search for Steve Bruce’s replacement but there was also the small matter of three points to be won at the New Den on Saturday afternoon.
A trip to Bermondsey is never one to look forward to at the best of times – Villa have never had a good record against Millwall, or any side from sahf o’ the river for that matter. And travelling there with no manager, hardly any defence to talk of and not much confidence either is probably not the best of times.
Then again, Millwall are struggling themselves, in the bottom three and without a win since August. So which low on confidence, wondering where the next win is coming from, team would come out on top?
Villa, to their credit and despite a team selection by Kevin MacDonald that looked like it had been okayed by Steve Bruce, went into the lead thanks to a goal from Tammy Abraham, which would no doubt have caused football fans around the country to nod wisely and note that a team who’ve just got rid of their manager can always be relied on to upset the forecasts.
But this is the Villa, and in particular the Villa managed by Kevin MacDonald. Every team has one like him, the sort of backroom staff member who’ll still be in a job come what may. The club could be wound up and the ground turned into an office block and he’d be the caretaker. The trouble is, he doesn’t have much of a record when it comes to stepping in to look after the first team.
Millwall ended the first half on top and soon scored an equaliser once the second half began. Their winner wasn’t much of a surprise, neither was the fact that it went through Orjan Nyland’s legs. Much as I want to like him, there’s no denying that our new keeper looks absolutely lacking in confidence, and more than any other position that’s the one thing the man in what used to be the green jersey needs in abundance. It can’t help that he’s playing behind a makeshift defence with even the round pegs not fitting into round holes and neither can it help them that he’s so error-prone.
Steve Bruce may be no more than a memory but the malady lingers on. Villa need a manager to hit the ground running and inspire the supporters. Whether it’s the latest favourite Rui Faria, the recurrent Thierry Henry, the more experienced Brendan Rodgers (my own choice) or whoever, he needs to mould this bunch of individuals into a team and bring some hope into the lives of a fanbase that see the prospect of another season of rebuilding and consolidation after a summer that should have seen seen the final touches added to a table-topping team.
Another away game, another sold-out ticket allocation. I’ve said it before and I’ll continue saying it from as long as it’s true. We don’t deserve them, and they certainly don’t deserve us.