It becomes a habit

Dave Woodhall gets increasingly depressed in south London.

Selhurst Park is a horrible place, and the journey there isn’t much better. Villa have got a poor record in south London for a slong as I can remember and this was never likely to change on Saturday. It was a dismal match with neither side good enough to win, but whereas games like this often fizzle out into a goalless draw, when Villa are involved the opposition invariably get a late winner.

Our long-suffering away support finally turned on the manager after Palace’s goal and he’s not got much cause for complaint. “We are a million miles from where we want to be,” said Paul Lambert after the match and he wasn’t far wrong. Crystal Palace, managed by Tony Pulis, had been livelier and more inventive throughout. What does that tell you about the Villa?

Yes, we’ve been unlucky with injuries, but we’re not the only club that has them. More significantly, this time last year the team were playing themselves out of trouble in a way that boded well for 2013-14. What happened to that?

And all of this is accompanied by the wall of silence that Villa have turned into an art form over the years. Nobody seriously expects Randy lerner to say a word, even though he quite clearly should. Whatever plans the club may have in place, and whatever stage they may be at, we can only guess, because nobody’s telling us anything beyond the occasional “Everything’s alright.”

It might be. There might be some master plan that included finishing seventeenth this season as a prelude to unleashing a wave of spending in the summer that will shock the world. However, I wouldn’t bet on it. What I do know is that at the moment Villa seem to be directionless, with no-one showing the necessary leadership to alter the situation and reassure supporters. We need one more win from the last five games to be sure of staying up and although logic makes you think that the team can’t be as bad for the rest of the season as they have since beating Chelsea, you begin to wonder why not? The past four weeks haven’t been good enough and everyone from board to players must share the blame. The situation has to change, and soon.

And on a more serious note, this week marks the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster, given greater poignancy by the start of the inquests and the hope that we might, at last, have Justice for the 96. RIP.