Once upon a time Aston Villa were the winners of the European Cup.
A year later Villa defeated Barcelona for the European “super cup”.
Those were the days.
Villa are now in the bottom half of the “championship” (the old second division), after a decline over many years.
Most Villa fans will have their view as to the biggest marks of the decline.
Mine, for what it is worth, was the awful, unforgivable decision in 2009 to field a weakened side in Moscow. Other Villa fans will have their examples.
But nobody will suggest that such criticism means that Villa fans are not really Villa fans and that they actually want opposing teams to win.
Following an under-performing football team is not fun, but it does not make you any less of a fan when you point out the under-performance.
Watching the UK government deal with Brexit is a lot like watching Aston Villa in decline.
Unforced error after unforced error, as the side does ever more badly over time.
The memories of greatness only making things worse.
Some suggest that criticising the UK’s many mistakes over Brexit is to be on the side of the EU. That one is “talking down” the UK and “cheering on” Juncker, Barnier, or whoever.
But a person can be critical of a thing, and express that criticism, without it meaning that the person is opposed to it.
One suspects the people expressing such views have never followed a crap football team.
There is no pleasure in watching the government’s foreseeable difficulties on Brexit, just as there was no pleasure in watching Aston Villa’s foreseeable relegation.
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