Stimpson's Season Review 2015/16

In our latest fan feature, South London Lion and season ticket holder David Stimpson, 75 from Streatham, shares his views on the season that condemned us to relegation, with a club record low total of just 17 points…

"May we begin with the realisation that had the teams going down with us doubled their tally of points, the glory of Champions League football would be theirs but had we doubled ours we would still be relegated.

I saw every game from the first at Bournemouth to the last at Emirates. My abiding impression throughout has been that our squad has lacked match fitness. We always seemed to fade towards the end of the first half and even more so in the last fifteen minutes or so of the second. Other teams soon cottoned on to this. An outstanding example was the defeat at Leicester where they turned a two nil deficit into a three two victory, and showed us that they were a force to be reckoned with. The same could be said of the last game at Emirates. We held on for 78 minutes having conceded early to an average Arsenal side, only for it all to fall apart in the last twenty minutes. I am sorry but I cannot find a single redeeming feature in our performance, much less the management and overall direction of the Club.

I would prefer not to comment on individual players except to regret Gabby's fall from grace. I have always liked him. His best days were under Martin O'Neill but then that is true of the squad generally.

None of the managers we have had have been impressive and all must accept responsibility for the lack of fitness and our team’s inability to retain possession and score goals.

Our strikers have been toothless and useless. Oh for the days of John Carew who had a knack of putting the ball where it should be, and for dear old Emil Heskey who kept possession so fiercely!

Our mid-field has been spineless rather than being a spine. I have prayed for a Gareth Barry or James Milner who would bring it all together and an Ashley Young or Mark Albrighton to bring some speed into the attack.

Likewise the defence which has conceded far too many free kicks in dangerous places and at awkward times. Neither keeper has really been at the level we wanted this season but to be fair they have not had much help from the people in front of them.

The Home games have seen a falloff in attendance which I suppose is understandable but we maintain a defiant attitude and do justice to the bar before and after in the Holte Suite and Lions Club Lounge. Overall, our facilities at the Villa Park stand comparison with any in the country and I hope they can be maintained.

Away fixtures are always a pleasure except for the awful results! The sheer enthusiasm of the away fans has to be seen to be believed.

The saga of our ownership, Chairman and Directors would be worthy of a book in its own right and perhaps somebody may write one.

Randy Lerner has been trying to sell for some while but thus far has not been able to do so. Lord King and Bernstein joined the board then resigned almost immediately. One does wonder how such experienced people accepted a position without clarifying exactly what's involved. The Chief Executive and others have come and gone. The new Chairman does seem committed but all this must have a debilitating effect on the players. And of course staff at all levels will lose their jobs and face pay cuts caused by our relegation and that is perhaps the most depressing part of this unhappy story.

As to the future, we wait to see who will buy our club and what changes will be made. The Championship is a very easy place to drop into but difficult to get out of as the teams there fight like rats in a sack to escape. Will we be up to that?

I have renewed for another year and will continue to go to away fixtures whenever possible.



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