You all know this, but I love my football. I always have and probably always will. And Aston Villa is my team. I don’t think that will ever change nor do I want it to change. And they are my local team and that's how it's supposed to be done.
But for me and many others, the game at the top level is broken and it has been for a while. It’s not the game we grew up and fell in love with. And as we’re about to witness our side drop into the Championship, the sad truth about all this is that I’m not actually that bothered about it.
I don’t really care that we’re about to be relegated and I don’t think it would bother me if we didn’t come straight back up.
I think the reason for not caring is because I’ve never felt this separated from the club before. I don’t think the owner cares about the Club or the supporters. I’m fairly certain very few, if any, of the players care and I’m confident it’s not just our club - it’s football as a whole at this level. Money has a lot to answer for.
All the people that did care retired 20 years ago.
And even though this season has given us Leicester, I think most pundits, if asked today to predict who will win the Premier League next season, would pick one of three sides. And they’d probably pick one of those three simply because of how much they are going to spend in trying to buy the Premier League next season. Leicester are the freak result the Premier League must serve up every few years and I'll bet you they wont do it gain next season.
Money has ruined the game - of that I am certain and I don’t think we’re going to see another season like this one for some time.
My truth is this that I’ve fallen out of love with football, not just Aston Villa. But I’m going to change that and I’ve made a plan.
Back to the future
A few years ago I wrote a post about wanting to find another team to follow in the lower leagues. There were a few suggestions, but I never really followed through with it. But I've now found my team. And this season they are going to be managed by Olof Mellberg in his first season as a manager.
The team is called Brommapojkarna (translated into English it’s The Bromma Boys). They are from Stockholm and they play in the third tier of the Swedish professional league.
And some interesting things to know:
- The league season starts in two weeks and runs until November
- Brommapojkarna have been relegated the last two seasons (from top flight to third tier)
- The home stadium is called Grimsta and holds 8,000 people but only has a stand on one side of the pitch - the rest is out in the open
I remember as a kid playing in the park after dinner and before bed. Every night was the FA Cup final. “Next goals the winner” was the best and worst thing you’d hear. And we were kids, it wasn’t about money. It was about scoring the winning goal or making the last ditch tackle. It was about winning … as a team and those moments.
And growing up in the 80’s, for most teams in the First Division, there was a real belief that at the start of the season you could win it. The playing field was level.
I think for BP (I’m going to call them BP from now on), there is a real belief that they can do well this season and get promoted. There is a real optimism for this season that I’ve not felt about Aston Villa for years and regular readers will know this because I joke about it a lot. I have some real optimism to look forward to.
But it’s also every team in the list league. It’s like everyone believes they can win it or do well and for that reason, it’s this league I've picked. And for sure Olof Mellberg helped.
It’s going to be hugely interesting for me to watch how Olof Mellberg approaches this. I’m actually quite nervous about it all for him and about having to write about something that he has done. But at the same time, I know with absolute certainty there will be no thought of sackings and absolutely everyone wants him to succeed. When was the last time I could feel like that about a manager?
In short I picked this team because of opportunity, because of optimism, because it feels more real and honest. I picked this because it’s something I can have fun with and because it's something I can share. And I think sharing is the important word here. I don’t feel as if I’ve shared anything with Aston Villa for years other than my credit card number. With BP, I can share the ups and downs and maybe you can join in.
But this project and I want to be clear that it is a project, isn’t about one thing, it’s about everything connected to this Football Club. That it happens when our season is over and just starting is a bonus. I'm going to go in wanting to be gripped but not knowing where it will take me. I want to fall in love but maybe that's not the best place to start? I just hope this project helps.
So what’s going to happen?
Well, first things first I’m going to start a new website dedicated to the project. I can’t write about this team on this website. But I’m telling you about it because I thought you might find it interesting. Nothing will change here. In fact, I hope things get better here because of it.
I’m also very close to getting my first sponsor and I have a publisher interested in the project so if they both come on board, it will go a long way to helping with the costs and if anyone has any ideas on what I can do to sell my soul - I’m more than interested to learn about them.
There is also a chance (a good one I hope) that we are going to do a weekly podcast, starting the week of the first match, which is the week after this one. So we’re probably not going to hit the first week, but I’m hoping there will be a lot to talk about the week after.
And that’s about it. It’s a personal project for the reasons above. I don’t really know what is going to happen or how, but I’m open to everything and I hope the next few months are fun.
So if anyone fancies meeting up at a home game in Stockholm, let me know. I'll be the guy standing in the rain.
Please keep comments below to the subject of this post and project - your feedback and views are appreciated. For anything else, Aston Villa related, you know where to go. I'll remove / move comments that are not connected to the above. Cheers.