I recently read on The Mag, Brian Standen’s article ‘So much for the ‘Let’s Have A Laugh at Aston Villa Party’, and wanted to respond from an outsider’s viewpoint.

I am an Aston Villa fan of 35 years and a season ticket holder as well – BUT PLEASE DON’T STOP READING NOW!

I have always held a fondness for Newcastle United as a traditional and ardently supported club – for me you are what’s good about English Football – steeped in history, a proper old-school community club, a strong identity with a rightful place in the top division.

Whatever nonsense has taken place with a minority of our supporters and yours in the past…for me…is irrelevant.

I have always prided myself on supporting my club and not letting myself get bogged down in negativity towards another club – whoever they are (inc. our most local rivals).

Rightly or wrongly (I understand you may disagree), in my heart I have always felt that Aston Villa and Newcastle were of a similar ilk – Big clubs…big history…somehow losing their way. I was certainly not celebrating the last time you guys went down – let’s put it that way.

There is much talk at Villa about Newcastle at the moment.

It is not the infantile, jabbering nonsense that has been trotted out by minorities before. To the contrary, our questions are more about looking to Newcastle’s previous relegation (and subsequent promotion at first attempt) and trying to gain some hope from it?

We are down…and have been since losing to Sunderland at Christmas but Newcastle managed to retain their Premier League players following relegation and that surely contributed to the speedy return?

We have very few Premier League players in our squad but, as you guys proved, need to retain what little there is to try and effect a quick return.

You have been owned by a questionable guy for years – his absence and appointment of various ‘non-footballing’ executives is another debatable point for us at the moment and parallels some of the issues we have had – we simply can’t get through to our owner…

So on to my point and the title of this e-mail. Newcastle United supporters deserve better.

Steve McClaren was mentioned as a possible appointment for us and we made a lot of noise in opposition – like it or lump it he is a risk for any club and Newcastle are too big to be toyed around with.

I think Newcastle will survive (genuinely) but I think that there is a need to appoint a manager that has a proven track record of success in the English Premier League. If I were you I would prefer to see Mike Ashley limit spending on players in order to secure a proven manager (Benitez? Mourinho?).

Don’t laugh…they should be looking ambitiously because ultimately the fans are ambitious. I was at Villa Park the last time we were relegated in 1987 and it’s as bad a feeling as you can get as a supporter (especially when your team has not demonstrably fought for survival).

It’s a slog I’m not looking forward to but accept is going to happen – you guys don’t deserve it after recently going through it (Newcastle fans pictured above at Villa Park on day of 2009 relegation) and you also don’t deserve to be a yo-yo club – it just doesn’t make sense that a club as big as yours should be misplaced at the bottom end of the league.

I don’t know if Ashley ever intends to sell up but surely he doesn’t want relegation again? We are all looking at Leicester this season but a simple point to make is that they went for a manager who was somewhat beyond them (on paper)…who knows if it will last…who knows if they will do well in Europe but success breeds success and their strategy of recruiting a proven manager has paid off.

Finally, there has been a lot said about the plight of any club being down to the players on the pitch. I get that point – but Ranieri has made very minor changes to the playing staff – Newcastle have quality in their ranks on the pitch – for me it’s down to Ashley to make an appointment that shouts out loud a statement of intent for you guys and stop appointing mediocre nearly-men.

I hope that we don’t see you guys in the Championship next year – all the best for the rest of the campaign.

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