Plus, winning makes them smile. And that has to be worth something, right?
I've already gone on the record as saying that for all practical Aston Villa-related purposes, this weekend's match against Liverpool is meaningless. And with emphasis on "practical," it absolutely is. Villa aren't playing for anything: they're guaranteed of safety, and guaranteed of not having a spot in Europe.
But life isn't always practical. There are a few things at stake this weekend, and we'd be remiss to ignore them. The first is the most obvious: pride. If Villa can win this weekend, and a few things break our way (losses or draws by Stoke, Bolton, West Bromwich Albion, and Newcastle) the Lions stand to end the season in 9th place. Given all that we've been through this year, I imagine that 9th would feel like a gigantic moral victory. The season wasn't nearly as good as last year's, but to say that we only dropped three spots in the table has a nice ring to it. Maybe it doesn't reflect what happened, but as we distance ourselves from the season, I imagine that we'd all be able to play some nice games with our mind and use that to bring hope for next year. After all, "We finished in the top half, and only dropped three spots!" has a much better ring to it than "Dear God, we barely avoided relegation and finished in the 30th percentile."
Additionally, though I can't speak for the players, I imagine that the same trick would work for them. For as terrible as the middle chunk of this year was, things have ended on a pretty decent note. If all of next year went like the end of this year, we'd all be happier, and that has to include the players. They must know that they are part of a team that is much better than its record, and that will help to keep players around, or just to keep them happy.
Finally, and this means a fair amount less, I want the win just so
Gareth and Kirsten can experience the joys of seeing Villa win while in the same country as the team. (edit: Gareth already experienced the joy of a Villa win at the Emirates. This one is all for Kirsten and her first match at Villa Park -ks) They, like the rest of us, have poured their hearts into the team. And maybe, if we're nice, they'll let us vicariously share some of the first-hand joy.
So it may not mean a lot, but a win on Sunday would be fantastic. As much as I say that the Scum losing is my priority for the weekend, we all know that's not true. The first priority is always to see Villa win. UTV!
(Note: Friday Feedback is on a bit of a hiatus while half of our crew gallivants around Europe. It's not that they can't respond (they can) but rather the fact that it won't hurt us to take a break, and I think they should get to enjoy their trips. It will be back at some point, never fear.)