I first made contact with Allen about the position opening up with this blog on December 21st, 2019. My first article was published January 10th, 2020. I’ve been here basically a year now and let me tell you what, when it all started I had absolutely no idea. I never would have guessed this year would have seen football just stop. I never would have thought that matches without fans would move from being a controversial last resort to something we mostly just assume. I never would have thought I would go this long without attending a live sporting event, or that I would have to keep tabs on testing protocols and results to see who was playing on the weekend.
All of that is just a small part of the SPORTS aspect of what 2020 has become. It doesn’t even scratch the important sides of things: the lives lost, the people put out of work, and the forced separation from our loved ones to name just a few examples. This year has been a test in a way that in the future will make me hesitant to call any other year ‘difficult’.
For our club, Villarreal, we saw two legends move on from the club. We returned to Europe, hired a new manager, and showed assertiveness in the transfer market that I don’t think any of us ever expected. Our club has weathered the storm better than most thanks to wise financial management for years and an owner who is truly passionate about our project and for that we are grateful. We are also grateful to the club itself (especially Thomas McIlroy and the International department) for how helpful and willing they have been to give us access that many fan blogs do not have to interviews and information from the people of the club.
As readers of our blog, many of you have stuck with us even when we were making up all kinds of silly things just to fill content while no football or transfers were going on anywhere. We’ve passionately debated the merits of players, managers, tactics, referees and VAR, while seeing our team do well. I want to personally wish each of you a Happy New Year, and let you know how grateful I am to be able to share football with you, because it’s a beautiful thing that brings people together.
Hopefully, 2021 will see this pandemic round a corner, hopefully, it will see Villarreal continue to show progress and excel, and hopefully when we come to the end of it we will find you all well. Endavant Villarreal!
-Zach Hicks, site manager, on behalf of our entire VUSA team.