Since the Championship Play-Off Final that didn’t go Aston Villa‘s way, there has been much speculation and aggrandising taking part on social media. Which makes sense if you sit down and think about it a while. There is no doubt that Aston Villa are trying to adhere to Financial Fair Play rules this coming season, but how can one distinguish the real news from fanfare?
Avoiding the Aston Villa Fanfare
If ‘Tommy BigVillaFan”, who has 6 followers and follows 1000, tweets something like:
“I’ve got some great inside information. Keith Wyness has been sacked, club to announce soon. Finally got rid of the failure!”
Odds are, this is just not true. Either Tommy has plucked this from absolute thin air or will do literally anything to garner more followers and retweets. It would be unfair to say that our fictional character would never have inside information, but a move of that magnitude would be addressed by the club immediately to make sure the supporters knew what was happening. It is rather sad to think about, but we do live in an age where people will ‘make things up’ for attention on the internet. Simply clicking on the profile of the person should give anyone a good idea if the information has even the slightest bit of truth to it. Most of the time, if a fan has a very deep opinion on a matter, he will put a spin on it to make it seem like the truth.
Research, Research, Research
As above, doing even the slightest bit of digging on the internet can bust or solidify a claim that may seem a little too good to be true. News broke this past week of former Inter Milan boss Andrea Stramaccioni being linked with a shock move to become Aston Villa head coach. Supporters did not take the report lightly, which was first reported on Italian website TuttoMercatoWeb. Mindful and proper research would have struck this claim right down. Once reaching the online report in question, something very strange stands out immediately. TuttoMercatoWeb looks like a website from 1995 era internet days. It does not look like a website that has an ounce of professional or even semi-professional graphics. The website looks more like a 10 year olds first attempt at designing and producing a website for a classroom project. Also, this so-called “report” is about the length of a paragraph. Hardly hard-hitting journalism, my fellow Villans. While the Villa family are downtrodden at the moment due to Financial Fair Play issues and general wonderment of what the team will look like come the start of the season, we need to be better as a whole to identify and strike down claims that are not coming from genuine and reputable sources. We are all wounded after Wembley, but that does not mean we still cannot use a bit of common sense to help ease the pain of the fiction swirling around Aston Villa as of late.
The Horses Mouth
Earlier in the week, Villa fans were handed a statement from owner Tony Xia and a report that John Terry was not returning to the club next season. It hasn’t been too often that a football club will release two statements on the same day, and Villa fans should feel very blessed that they have an owner who wants to at least attempt to communicate with his supporters. It is not promised or deserved that a football club will directly try to inform supporters of happenings within the background. While Dr. Tony’s statement may have left us all with more questions than answers, he still made an attempt to communicate. Whatever emotion or feeling those two statements gave you, one thing stuck out like a sore thumb about Xia’s statement:
If it isn’t coming from the ‘horses mouth’, it just isn’t true.
Sure… there will be rumours going on all summer long. Anyone who has followed football will tell you that summer time is the time that football tabloids, journalists, op-eds and fan pages will drive supporters of any team absolutely bonkers. In the modern day, it can be difficult for some people to distinguish fact from fiction. Add that to how much we all love the Villa, and that’s a recipe for loss of hair well before you’re of age to. We live in a world where people want news and answers to their questions very quickly. To put it bluntly, Aston Villa are used to bad news. The past handful of years have not been kind to Villa, barring a new owner and a new found optimism at the club. Villa supporters will not be happy in hearing this, but unless news is coming directly from the club itself, take it with a grain of salt. As mentioned earlier, Tony Xia seems to want a very streamlined communication route with the supporters of Aston Villa. Patience is a virtue, and that is a virtue that Aston Villa fans of all ages must submit to this summer. We have no other choice than to sit on our hands and wait to see what happens. It’s a raw deal. Maybe the most raw deal considering the rumours circulating about Jack Grealish and other mainstays at Villa, but it’s a deal nonetheless.
The bickering and fighting found on social media about which player needs sold first is doing no one any favours. Of course we all have opinions on who needs to go. Of course we all have opinions on who needs to stay. The one thing we all share an opinion on is that we want to see Aston Villa do well. None of us make these decisions about the inner-workings of the football club. We may want to, it may even be some peoples dreams to turn off Football Manager and do it in real life, and that’s okay. Alas, if a transfer is not directly reported through an official AVFC outlet, wait around to hear it from them. I know, I know… it’s difficult. There are going to be players all summer long that you may want brought in to Villa. There’s quite a few Championship calibre players who I’d love to see in Claret & Blue myself. Due to Aston Villa being in financial constraints at the present day, supporters believe the clubs high-earners need to be shown the door. The unique problem at Aston Villa is that some of the highest earners have close to zero value on the transfer market. To break it down simply: you cannot sell what people do not want. There a lot of intangibles that go into why players are kept, yet don’t play. You can argue leadership, you can argue experience, and you can argue a positive personality may be keeping them at the club. It is 100% fine to have an opinion and to be steadfast about it. It’s another thing to bicker and berate other supporters because they do not share that same opinion.
We, the Aston Villa fan base, should be better than that. Emotions will run high all summer with AVFC supporters and there is no doubt about it. I’m afraid the only thing we can do is enjoy the weather, have some faith in Tony Xia and wait to see how Financial Fair Play impacts Aston Villa moving forward.