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A Question of Faith


blandy
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by avfcinwales

A long time ago when I was pondering the thought that in 12 months time I would be sitting my GCSE's, having just sat through the mock exams to assess what I should take, I considered how I should branch out in the future.

I mention this for two reasons, my youngest is about to sit his first set in June, they do some over two years these days, it seems, and is having similar thoughts.

At the time my nan, bless her practical Irish soul, suggested I'd be better off worrying about not having a girlfriend and the lack of a job during the upcoming summer holidays, than how I would go in the future, as it didn't matter what I thought I'd end up doing - that was fated anyway. Its a philosophy I've lived by ever since but as a 15 year old with decent prospects ahead, I took advice from various educators, as to my prospects and options.

In amongst those talks was a long, long chat with the Religious Instruction teacher ( that's what we called it back then). Now this guy was a remarkable man, retired military, Naval priest on board and active warship duty during the war as a young man. His view on God was years ahead of the time, and considering our Head Master was also a fire and brimstone man of the cloth, he taught Religion in an amazingly refreshing and I thought stimulating way.

In conclusion he suggested that I joined a special teach in held at the Lichfield Diocese, he was a big mate of the Bishop at Lichfield and would be attending. Cutting a very long story short, I learnt much that summer, mainly because they ran a Rugby tournament for trainee priests and older priests and I was soon chosen as their fullback. At the end of the 4 weeks, I'd gained plenty of friends, could now easily hold my own on a Rugby field and had become more independent and questioning than ever I thought I could be. I was also told by the Bishop that I was a superb prospect who could make himself a big future within the Church, but only if I could find my calling.

Well here I sit all these years later wondering why I never found it and why even though I did achieve the expected grades I avoided the 'arts' and went into the 'sciences'.

Some preamble and if you are still with me, my point is that when Martin O'Neill joined the Villa, many fans as I saw it, received the call.

Now as the season reaches its end, many that did are now questioning their faith.

Many others have retained their belief, mind.

I've always questioned my lack of belief in God, and I've done it time and time again

I am a Villa fanatic and have been since before my GCSE studies - there isn't much you could question about my Villa faith apart of course my lack of fervour for some of its ministers.

O'Neill for me was and still is a nice intelligent bloke with a good media manner, well liked in footballing circles who hadn't really achieved much other than prove he wasn't a fool as a manager.

He'd been out of the game a long time, well out of the cut and thrust that the Premiership had become for 6 years and when he joined he brought with him the same coaching team he'd known and trusted, men who had similarly not been that active football wise for the same amount of time.

I still think he can do a decent enough job mind, he's done a decent enough job in the background, probably a better job than many a better coach could have done, but eventually to maintain a Faith you need to see an increase in believers and to achieve that O'Neill needs to get his on the pitch success going.

He never was the Messiah, but he is the leader of the Faithfull, the Villa Faithfull, maybe he time will come soon.

Personally I'd like to see a sign, we have several games left before the season closes, the chances of a total collapse resulting in a surprise relegation are very slim, so lets see a more progressive attacking game and selection policy.

Lets have an indication on the thoughts for next season, lets win a few games.

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A very fair piece and a good read. I appreciate your legitimate doubts about Martin O'Neill but I think it's a shame you don't always express them so articulately and without belittling irony. Still, I sympathise with your viewpoint but just keep the faith, MON will do well for us.

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I agree whole-heartedly. I don't really expect Villa to be winning things or even challenging for a European spot yet, but I do think that MON has had enough time and money for us to be showing signs of playing a more attractive game than we are at the moment.

Like you Malc, I'd like to see a few goals, a few decent performances and a few points before the end of the season. We don't have to turn into world-beaters to do that.

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An interesting read.

Not sure that Mssrs Robertson and Walford would agree that coaching a Champions league team and winning numerous titles and trophies is "not being active football wise" though.

All this talk of catholicism and Celtic aren't football !

Four hail marys for you tonight Malc.

A question: Would you take the progressive attacking game without the results between now and the end of the season ?

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...good post malc and i get your point.

I only ever wanted one Manager and that was Martin O'Neill.I have not lost faith in him, but i would be lying if I said I did'nt expect any better.There are technical issues on the field of play that appear no better than under previous managers despite personnel changes.

I was not expecting world beaters at this stage , but I was expecting a more resillient side.I still believe passionately that the defensive side of our game is adversely affecting the offensive players confidence.Our performance at set-pieces has ripped the heart out of the team and this is where I believe Martin perhaps should have shown a different side of his personality by condemning such irresponsible defending more vigoursly.

In my view he needs to borrow Alex Ferguson's Hair Dryer once in a while.

The other point that maybe troubles some fans like me, is I wouldn't have a clue in what to expect from Martin in the next transfer window. Is he happy with some of the players all of the players none of the players, is he planning a few additions ,major surgery or what.....What positions is he particularly not happy with.

I know it is not easy to divulge this information, but equally it is not easy for us to make judgement as to whether we are on the right lines or not.

I will continue to have blind faith and support him, but to say I am happy with what I am witnessing on match day would be a lie.

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You're younger than I thought if you did GCSEs...

classic :lol:

methinks Sir Malcius of Everall is getting his GCSE's and O Levels (or their predecessors) mixed up.

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Aye, before GCSE's there were O levels, and for the rather less bright, CSE's. A CSE grade 1 was roughly equivalent to an O level grade D or E I think. Then they combined the two and came up with GCSE's, and gave everybody 10 A*s.

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An interesting read.

Not sure that Mssrs Robertson and Walford would agree that coaching a Champions league team and winning numerous titles and trophies is "not being active football wise" though.

All this talk of catholicism and Celtic aren't football !

Four hail marys for you tonight Malc.

A question: Would you take the progressive attacking game without the results between now and the end of the season ?

Thanks for spotting the feel of the post OBE :))

Yes I would. I'd like to see if O'Neill can produce an indication of what may come next season.

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You're younger than I thought if you did GCSEs...

classic :lol:

methinks Sir Malcius of Everall is getting his GCSE's and O Levels (or their predecessors) mixed up.

spot on

comes of none stop talk from my son and his GCSE's and my questionable degree of senility :) :oops:

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An interesting read.

Not sure that Mssrs Robertson and Walford would agree that coaching a Champions league team and winning numerous titles and trophies is "not being active football wise" though.

All this talk of catholicism and Celtic aren't football !

Four hail marys for you tonight Malc.

A question: Would you take the progressive attacking game without the results between now and the end of the season ?

Thanks for spotting the feel of the post OBE :))

Yes I would. I'd like to see if O'Neill can produce an indication of what may come next season.

I think I probably would too.

On O'Neills deification, do you not feel some of that is based on him being part of the Holy Trinity of new manager, new owner and new board, rather than a reflection of an excitement based only on a new manager ?

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Up until now I have always beleived that our inabilty to compete in the transfer market was the root cause of our problems. I never thought I would say this - but I don't think we can buy ourselves out of this one:-

1. I beleive wealready have defenders to provide a more solid back line than we are currently seeing

2. At 6-7m - Petrov has proved a massive error of judgement - and in pure stats Gabby is as good a front player as young at 8-9m

....what confidence then of our next venture into the transfer market.

I beleive that MON, out the premier for six years - isn't re adpting that quickly .....lets hope he does ...but in the interim lets not start seeing what isn't there ................ie 16m investment for little or no retun.

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Petrov has proved a massive error of judgement

I don't think he has yet.

and in pure stats Gabby is as good a front player as young at 8-9m

Football is not a statistic. In my opinion Young is comfortably worth several of Gabby.

16m investment for little or no retun.

Nothing like letting the team settle for a few months, eh?

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16m investment for little or no retun.

It's comments like this that are leading me to spend less and less time on here. It's a shame, but I am losing the will to keep arguing with this kind of thinking.

That is simply unjustifiable, based on the history of transfers in football.

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I think I probably would too.

On O'Neills deification, do you not feel some of that is based on him being part of the Holy Trinity of new manager, new owner and new board, rather than a reflection of an excitement based only on a new manager ?

No, when he joined under Ellis few knew he was part of some of the takeover options and his deification was made then when he joined and has stuck with some ever since and why not when you consider the options maybe available at the time.

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At the time O'Neill joined, under Ellis remember, he was probably the best option, no one really knows how much he knew about or was involved in the takeover, if anything.

If comments received from on above are truthful, he's done a great job of assisting the new owners assimilation into the club and into Premiership football.

What he hasn't done in my view is performed as well as some think he has and this none stop 'give him time', this wait until tomorrow spiel was always pathetic, and now its getting beyond belief.

IF he was as good as his write ups he doesn't need the time.

This doesn't mean I think he should be replaced although I have to admit with the changes likely come the summer in Europe I'd be very tempted to move him upstairs and bring one of the big hitters if we could, but if we don't I would still be willing to see how far he does take us next season.

His track record suggests he can get us stabilised, it doesn't suggest he can make us into a top 5 side, but you never know

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