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Mumblings, Moanings, Martin and Marlon.


JohnCresswell
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A few thoughts on the past year at Villa Park, where we find ourselves now and where we may find ourselves in the future.

The thing about the future is that nobody can really tell what’s going to happen. Even the magnificent Derek Acora from that dreadful show on UKTV Living can’t really see into the future. It’s his spirit guide Sam, obviously.

And neither, I think, would a lot of people want to know. You see, it takes the fun out of things, doesn’t it? I always used to hate it when prospective employers would ask me “Where do you see yourself in five years?†in interviews. I don’t go around planning every detail down in life – it’s meant to be fun, if we knew what we wanted to do and where we want to be then not only will it not be a surprise when we get there, but it’ll be disappointing when we don’t.

And I think that’s the attitude I’m beginning to take to the Villa. I got suckered in to the comments from O’Neill about ‘five year plans’, taking the team to the top and the CEO twice commenting about bringing in “Top Class Playersâ€. After years of baron transfer windows, it was just what I wanted to hear – of course, I didn’t (and still don’t) believe we’ll sign the likes of Snijeder – we won’t until we can offer UEFA Cup football at the least, but hidden amongst that doubt, it still put that seed of excitement, that thought of “well, maybe….â€

Whatever the five year plan O’Neill has, you cannot guarentee that it will get us to the top. Even if it was the most cunning plan since , it won’t guarantee a thing. For example, the Premier League could continue the farce that is West Ham’s ‘signing’ of Tevez and decide to award them the Premier League title for the next five years for “thinking out of the boxâ€.

Perhaps if I hadn’t listened to this five year plan, the ideal scenario, then I would be so disappointed with the way things are on the pitch right now. Off the pitch, I couldn’t be happier. As a fan, I know feel appreciated, wanted – and not just for the cash. It’s brilliant, first class.

But all of that is secondary – because if I’m walking out of Villa Park after a defeat, I won’t be saying “Well, it’s a shame we missed all those chances, but on the upside the sausage and chips were lovelyâ€.

As I said, having listened to the plan, listened to the initial enthusiasm from all corners I really thought we’d make a big push this year. It hasn’t happened so far, and it seems that O’Neil wants to concentrate on squad size, rather than replacing the first team players with better ones, but bringing in players to come in should we see injuries like last season, when Gabby was forced to play in games he really shouldn’t have and Isiah Osbourne was played about 18 months too early.

With all these clubs being taken over recently, and all these new plans being put into effect, some teams will lose out, and that might be Villa, or it might not be.

I’m not going to hide my feelings about our transfer dealings so far. So a team lacking in quality, we’ve been slow to do anything about it – which is a shock considering how much enthusiasm was drummed up before pre-season, I had thought they might want to take advantage of that.

I was disappointed by the signing of Harewood for a number of reasons. Firstly, I felt that Luke Moore can do the exact job that Harewood will be doing and that efforts would have been best used elsewhere, such as the search for a right back. I also felt that Marlon did not add any quality to the squad. By that I mean the thing I think the tem currently lacks is a spark. A player who can make something out of nothing and win us the game. Be it a ‘Hitzelsperger’ who can hammer a 35 yarder from nowhere, or a ‘Merson’ who can be quiet for 89 minutes and produce something out of nothing. To me, he’s a ‘Beattie’, a ‘Heskey’ – a player who relies on confidence and being given a chance. If he has been signed as a squad player as O’Neill has claimed, then he’s not going to get that chance to get a run of confidence going. That said, if he hasn’t scored many by this time next year, and hasn’t managed to get into the team, I can see him wanting to move on and trying for first team football elsewhere.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that with all the talk I didn’t imagine the club using this summer to by these players who aren’t particularly regarded as ‘good’ players, but ones that could ‘do a job’. I’d expected us to buy players for the first team and ‘relegate’ the players whose places they were taking.

The fact that we haven’t isn’t a problem, I’ve just got to get used to it and realign my expectations. I know everyone at Villa wants the best for the club. No-one in that kind of work will actually go to their office or wherever and think “today I’m going to make an utter mess of everything I doâ€.

So I’m going to try to make some promises to myself for the forthcoming season:

• No matter who says what, I will wait until I see it before it happens

• Should the first team remain rather similar to last season’s, I won’t be placing any expectation on it other than to finish around where it did last season. Some clubs have strengthened significantly, others have been weakened. We are, so far, rather similar to last season so any improvement will be a nice bonus.

• To give up getting worked up at games. We’ll win some, we’ll lose some and we’ll draw some.We don’t currently have one of the top six first teams, so it’s silly of me to expect us to be challenging for that European place.

So I’m just going to sit back, watch, not get so wrapped up in it all and hopefully, enjoy it a bit more.

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"Firstly, I felt that Luke Moore can do the exact job that Harewood Harewood will be doing"

Are you a not-so-clever person?

No offense but really?

BOF : Edited abuse. New user please read guidelines.

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"Firstly, I felt that Luke Moore can do the exact job that Harewood Harewood will be doing"

Are you a not-so-clever person?

No offense but really?

Wouldn't you be better to ask Martin this? Ring him up or something?

He's not reading this you know.

Edit: Wahey! I got an answer in before it was deleted :)

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Slurp, Slurp,

i disagree with a fair few points, mostly because the last time i checked, the transfer window was still open.

Another point is, how on earth could Luke Moore do the same job as Harewood? totally different types of player, Harewood will replace Carew to give the opposition the defence a continued athletic battering, while giving Gabby (And LUKE) the chance to nip in and take advantage of changes, not in a milion years would you get Luke performing the same job as Carew or Marlon because he isn't built the same way.

It is also very much MON's style to have Two big strong forwards, supplemented by skillful, quick goalscorers. Just look at his Celtic side, on occasions he had Hartson and Sutton with Larsson and Bellamy.

Everyone's entitled to their opinion of course but for the site owner to come out with an article like this sets a precedent for the whole site.

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"Firstly, I felt that Luke Moore can do the exact job that Harewood Harewood will be doing"

Are you a not-so-clever person?

No offense but really?

Wouldn't you be better to ask Martin this? Ring him up or something?

He's not reading this you know.

Edit: Wahey! I got an answer in before it was deleted :)

Gizmo, he was referring to someone else, not MON.

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It's a fair article apart from the part where JC says the squad is the same as last year so he would expect a similar position. The part of last season which lead us down the table was without Sorenson, Carew, Young, Maloney, Gabby on the right and most importantly Laurson not on the pitch.

Our squad is already way better than the one which started last season, can push for a place in Europe and will do.

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It's a fair article apart from the part where JC says the squad is the same as last year so he would expect a similar position. The part of last season which lead us down the table was without Sorenson, Carew, Young, Maloney, Gabby on the right and most importantly Laurson not on the pitch.

Our squad is already way better than the one which started last season, can push for a place in Europe and will do.

Indeed. It's like the january transfer windown never happened. :?

significantly better squad than at the same point last season. Significantly better first 11 too.

and it will be strengthened again before the end of this current window.

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With the squad we have right now I would not expect us to do significly better then last year, other teams have spent the transfer window better then us up to now and I will not set myself up for dissapointment by thinking Europe is likely.

However allot can change between now and the end of the transfer window so i guess a re-evaluation is in order when the window closes.

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Lets give the MON a chance and the benefit of the doubt (which there seems a lot of!). He is the man that will make a team out of a squad, so lets see what is in our squad a the start of the season. If the likes of Bolton and Reading can challenge for European places then so can we with our current squad and a good manager (and a right back obviously!) Big names do not mean success, a good team does, i have full confidence that even if we dont go into the season with world class superstar names, we will have a better team on the pitch. So lets get behind the players and the manger, be realistic in what we can achieve and make sure we fulfill our own role as supporters!

Up the Villa!!!

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Like you John, I don't believe we can see the future. However, I've a feeling your article has come from a potential future a few weeks away. I'm still hoping we'll find a very different path and I certainly haven't given up on us having a significantly stronger squad come the Liverpool game.

I read MON's comments yesterday (the day before ?) differently to you, strengthening the squad can mean strengthening the group of players with numbers or better players, it could mean sticking what we've got into the weights room for a fortnight. Strengthening is a term that leads itself to question and like so many terms of late I think we might be over-analysing it.

Still, thanks for taking the time to put your point of view in such elegant detail, elements of your article have been expressed elsewhere this week without thought or grace.

Marlon Harewood seems to have managed what usually takes Villa strikers years to achieve. He's divided the fanbase.

I'm in the group that still has a belief and an expectation, you're not. I think we agree that we'd all prefer you to be wrong, but again only time will tell.

And that's the crux, regardless of how any of us feel, regardless of the weight of our hope, we can't see the future, we can only wait for it. Whatever will be, I guess we'll see.

Does anybody know where I can get a flux capacitor ?

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It's a fair article apart from the part where JC says the squad is the same as last year so he would expect a similar position. The part of last season which lead us down the table was without Sorenson, Carew, Young, Maloney, Gabby on the right and most importantly Laurson not on the pitch.

Our squad is already way better than the one which started last season, can push for a place in Europe and will do.

Indeed. It's like the january transfer windown never happened. :?

significantly better squad than at the same point last season. Significantly better first 11 too.

and it will be strengthened again before the end of this current window.

Yep agree there.

It's a rather defeatest article actually

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I agree with your sentiments JC. I can't help casting an envious eye over at Man City (something I never thought I'd be saying). Don't get me wrong, I don't want a crooked former Thai PM running the club on embezzled money, but the speed with which Sven is trying to recruit quality signings is more impressive than the way we are sluggishly moving around the transfer market. Even Fulham, albeit with a different budget to ourselves, have made some very positive moves in the transfer window which I'm sure has created a fair degree of optimism amongst their fans for the forthcoming season.

As in any walk of life, it's important to give the right impression in whatever you're doing. The way Villa have gone about their task this summer is endangering the confidence levels the same board has been responsible for building in it's short reign.

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rather than replacing the first team players with better ones

apart from a right back who exactly needs replacing?

i think our first 11 looks dam good and certainly good enough to challenge for europe

Mellberg and laursen, do they need replacing?

NRC, petrov, young or barry? who needs replacing out of that group

Carew and gabby? i'm happy to start our season with that pairing upfront

Do people forget that during january we improved our team alot while the likes of pompey and newcastle did sweet f.a

do we forget that we went on a 10 game unbeaten run at the end of the season thanks to the improvements made in january

But all of that is secondary – because if I’m walking out of Villa Park after a defeat, I won’t be saying “Well, it’s a shame we missed all those chances, but on the upside the sausage and chips were lovelyâ€.

Why do you have such a defeatest attitude towards the upcoming season?

like i said above after the additions in january we looked a much better team.

we have now improved our midfield, we will have gabby and luke as strikers for the whole of next season and i'm sure young players like gardner and cahill will continue to improve.

We still need a couple more players but i can't understand why people are writing next season off as a nothing season

i don't see any reason why we won't be competeing for a european place.

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we have now improved our midfield, we will have gabby and luke as strikers for the whole of next season and i'm sure young players like gardner and cahill will continue to improve.

inexplicably some players won't perform next season. Young players are espeicially prone to being one season wonders - Laursen is Very injury prone to a lesser extent so is carew. Graham Taylor once said you will be lucky if you have six players fit and in the peak of their form at anyone time.

I can't beleive anyone can say our signings to date this close season have been a anything other than a dissapiontment. I must admitt when we were first linked with reo coker - I thought he would be a fringe player ! - then when I heard MON bigging him up, I thought ah - he's our star signing.

I can't puzzle out - where the lack of signings come from - usually a lack of signings indicate the manager doesn't have the funds available - not always. However we have been assurred that the manager has a significant war chest - so it seems he has chosen not to use it. I would guess that lack of european football is the main reason. West Ham with all the millions - have only attracted similar players to villa - so that theory makes some sense.

without much foundation, I also beleive MON has misjudged this transfer window - he was nowhere when Bent joined spurs - and Harewood was available all summer - but MON left it until the very last minute. Apparently he likes to work like this - much as I have respect him - this seems a particulary dumb tactic. I m not expecting a big signing now - as I said earlier NRC is our 'big' signing of the summer.

For all this - I have hunch - that next season will be great one for villa - 4th place I reckon.

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Yes, it's obvious that we're done signing quality players. The transfer window is actually over. Other clubs move quickly because they are sharper than us, couldn't possibly be because they aren't doing their due diligence in the recruitment or negotiation processes. O'Neill is refusing to sign players that have jumped to other clubs out of sloth, stupidity, and inexperience. The club has seen no improvement in squad quality over the last 12 months - I mean, who would seriously trade a group of overaged and/or unmotivated and/or mediocre players [baros, Hendrie, Djemba-Djemba, Angel, Hughes, McCann, and Samuel] for younger and/or better talents[Petrov, Young, Carew, Maloney, Reo-Coker, and Harewood]?

I've suggested this in prior posts, but I'll make a bald statement here: Villa fans as a whole have the psychology of abused children. The mismanagement of the club for over two decades has left many of you without any capacity for trust. If things aren't going perfectly, then the abuse must be returning. If promises aren't kept immediately, now, now, now!, then faith has been broken. Bill Simmons, after surveying the league supporters last year, called Villa's "the most miserable, self-loathing fan base in the Premier League." Despite massive positives, y'all continue to live up to that reputation.

Now, as has been noted elsewhere, it's not as if you don't have the right, and it's not as if you don't have good reason - Deadly Doug kept me away from this club for several years despite a complete lack of serious alternatives, so I sympathize as much as I can for someone who wasn't actually suffering through the rot. But... the negativity on this board is getting poisonous at times. I suppose there's nothing to be done at this point except wait for the management to prove you wrong, if they can. If you can't stop viewing every piece of news in its most negative light, then taking a step back and being less passionate for a while might be a very good idea.

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General Krulak here:

I probably shouldn't even get in on this one...as I rarely read what is "out there" on other threads because I am busy enough on my own but, here goes. I guess I am a wee bit surprised at this post simply because it appears that it was driven by one act...a signing of one player. Out of that signing comes a bubbling up of skepticism, lessening of optimism, etc. Obviously, that is the right of the author...and the right of anyone else who finds agreement with the comments...I am not arguing that point. All I am saying is that the mood swing, based upon one signing, seems a bit severe. I have fought in many a battle where things took an unexpected turn...or things didn't go exactly the way I wanted them to go....and the stakes were VERY high. I did not lose my focus when that happened and I didn't re-set my expectations.

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