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Reactions, reactions, reactions...


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As a moderator I have to admit to being completely perplexed by many of the posts on the site since the Fulham game.

The question arises: How should fans react when we lose to the second worst team in the league playing so poorly at the same time?

The difference for me is that whilst I'm pretty sure that every Villa fan was embarrassed by the result and performance, some will put it down as 'one of those things', 'typical Villa' and 'oh well it's a hiccup in the long term' and move on. Some will look at being 5th and the opportunity staring us in the face to push on, add in the lack of transfer activity (regardless of availability and the like), see the result, see the effect missing one player had and now another injury to a key player and will think that life is about to end and react accordingly. And in all fairness it is their opinion at that time and VT is merely a vehicle for them to vent forth.

Personally I'm stuck with the latter ones, however, I'll not be calling for the managers head. For want of a better analogy lets look at the 'journey' we are on and is oft referred to.

We've been told it's a five year plan - excellent as although we tried that under our previous stewardship it never saw the light of day - so it's a pretty long journey. Say the Grand National.

So far we've reached about a quarter of that time, or Beechers Brook first time around. However, the difficulty has arisen that we've got to a leading position far sooner than expected, not only that but some of our challengers have fallen by the wayside or are struggling for form.

There are fans that feel we should stay in the pack and gain strength and experience and look to get a place on the podium next time; there are those that feel that with a little bit of drive we could get a place this year.

Damn we hit The Chair, we've stumbled at the water the race goes one and we're still standing. Should we press on or just look at the longer term. Some of the fans want us to press on and win it now, some see the bigger picture. Neither is right, neither is wrong they both want the best for the horse and us as fans, it's just the timeline that is different.

Me I'd always try to win the race this time because you are never quite sure what the other runners will be bringing next year.

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I thought this post summed it up brilliantly to :-

I normally fill my diagnoses with opinion and comment. I've decided to treat this one a little differently, as there seems to be a wave of doom and gloom breaking through the comments on recent posts.

This diagnosis will be about facts.

Fact 1: Villa were poor at Craven Cottage today. They failed to get the ball down and play. They lacked ambition, and were too timid in the face of limited opposition. They passed the ball poorly, and surrendered possession cheaply.

They hit too many long balls at an off-colour John Carew, and sorely missed the verve and creativity of Ashley Young. They shot from too far out, too often - and lacked confidence in their ability to break Fulham down. They had enough chances to win the game, and failed to take them.

Both goals conceded, and therefore the defeat, can be attributed to defensive and goalkeeping shortcomings. Our much vaunted brilliance at set-pieces was nowhere to be seen, as the delivery from free kicks and corners was sub-standard. It was a bad day at the office.

Fact 2: This is Villa's second away defeat in just under a year.

Fact 3: Martin O'Neill failed to add numbers to a slim squad during the January transfer window. He achieved one goal, which is to recruit a second winger to balance the side's attacking options. That winger is young and English, which meets the criteria the manager seems to be setting for his signings.

12 months ago, he was much vilified for signing another young, English winger - and supposedly paying over the odds for him, unproven as Ashley Young was at Premier League level. That winger is now a full England international, to all but the blindest fan Villa's best player, and worth an absolute fortune.

Anyone questioning MON's ability in the transfer market would do well to remember that. Young is THE top signing of any manager in the last two seasons.

Fact 4: Martin O'Neill himself regrets being unable to strengthen the quality of the squad during the January window but is determined that he will not bulk the squad out with average players. He is intent on only signing quality, and is prepared to wait for it.

Fact 5: Villa are 6th in the Premier League after 25 games. At this stage of the season, the league table does not lie. Villa's fixtures for the first 20 games were much tougher than their second half programme, especially at home - where we play most of the bottom seven in the remaining home games. If we can maintain current form, a UEFA Cup place is guaranteed.

Fact 6: There are 4 Villa players in the full (reduced) England squad selected by Fabio Capello. And the "wider" squad selected earlier in the week shows Curtis Davies that he is knocking hard on the door. Can anyone tell me how long it is since we last had 4 or 5 in the full England squad?

Fact 7: The average home Premier League gate at Villa Park is just a few under 40,000. The club's target for this season was 39,000. Perhaps someone could tell me when the average home league gate last reached 40,000?

Yes, we didn't play well at Fulham. Manchester United played badly at Spurs, too - where we bagged four.

But we need to retain some sense of perspective. "Project Villa Revival" is going very well indeed.


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Me I'd always try to win the race this time because you are never quite sure what the other runners will be bringing next year.

F1 cars instead of horses maybe? :lol: :winkold:

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I liked the Grand National comparison Lancs. :lol:

For me I think we got interfered with by a rider less horse (Harrods Al shall we say) and now just need to regain our stride to keep in touch with Rafa's Farewell, Gollum’s My Pretty Toffee and Sven's Latest Fling, of course keeping our heads in front of Harry's Cheque Book and Sparky’s Great Unwatched as well as watching out for a strong finish from Dodgy Bubble Blower. Of course we will have to side step the stricken faller Small Heath Porn Boy on the way who will be awaiting a visit from the vet to put him out of his misery and the division as we head for the line ridden by Martin and trained by Randy. :winkold:

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It's a good post because it captures the issues, IMO, as does the other one quoted below it.

People all reach their own conclusions from the circs, and fair play on that.

Personally, the only other thing that comes into it, for me is "expectation". people all expect different things from the club and the team.

So the way I see it is that my expectation this season was that the club and team would improve over last season. Somehere around a top 7 finish, better players and signs of progress being sustained into the future.

So despite playing not that well in recent games - 2 points from 9 is about what we've deserved, to be honest - I don't feel that we're failing, overall, to meet what I'd see as realistic expectations.

I'm not bothered about whether anyone else has got better or worse, or done better or worse in the window. Just Villa.

And I think that the co-incidence of the closure of the window, with just one in and one out, and the defeat has amplified people's reactions.

The window itself was a bit disappointing, both in that a player I really rate left, and that only one came in, albeit in a position we need someone in at.

I accept, personally, that the club tried to get who they wanted, but (like a lot of other clubs) were thwarted. I don't like it, but I understand it and accept the reasons given.

Now we're where we're at, it's just a case of re-focusing on what has got us to the decent position we're in and eliminating a few of the mental errors that have been creeping in.

Unlike LV, I'm in the first camp put it down as 'one of those things', 'typical Villa' and 'oh well it's a hiccup in the long term' and move on is pretty much my view. I just can't see the point in getting too bothered about it. It's not like we can do anything about it, as fans.

Finally, I think that Manager, players, fans, everyone should almost ban this "small squad, need to strengthen" talk until we're in a position, as a club, to do something about it. And we should ruddy make sure we DO take action when that chance arises. Enough "excuses" just get on with it.

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How should we react?

Well, I think we were all pretty fed up at losing in that manner - everyone accepts we will lose some, but it was pretty uninspiring and clueless.

Yes, it was the best away run in ten years (I'm told), but it could have ended better than that.

Beyond that, the big difference I see is between the people who are really frustrated by the lack of action in the window and think we've sacrificed a golden opportunity, and those who were unhappy with the window, but think that if MON wants to play a longer game about bringing in only the right players, then he's earned the right to do that. Even if that means passing up opportunities to sign people who can do a job short-term but who aren't the long-term plan, or who might be good players but who could upset things.

I think both groups share the same reaction to the defeat itself, and share the same long-term ambitions. It's the degree of acceptance of the means by which we get there that seems to differ.

Unfortunately, the way in which these differences are expressed can be pretty off-putting right now. I've seen many debates conducted on this site in a far better way than some of the threads you can find at the moment. Maybe we'll all kiss and make up. Mmmmmwah!

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We really need to retain perspective. We are currently in an excellent position as far as the 5 year plan is concerned. MoN was given the single directive in his first year, survival. This was achieved easily. This year I would speculate the target would be 6th to 8th, which is still achievable. However, although the league position does not lie at this stage, I'm more concerned with our team performance and individual form. There are at least 3 players who need a rest, NRC, Carew and Gabby. But we do not have the luxury to rest anyone without weakening the side. My only concern is that we will now start to fall away and finish 8th, which may be within the target zone, but will not qualify us for Europe. And there's the rub, how can we attract the quality players we need to progress if we aint in Europe. Catch 22 anyone.

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A great summing up Al, and it may come as no surprise but one that pretty much sums up my views too.

There are a few issues I have, firstly this bloody 5 year plan that is talked about. It's used as a cloak, a defence, something to hide behind. What is this plan and where are its aims and objectives? We don't buy players, it's all down to the 5 year plan. We miss out on Europe, don't worry it was never part of the plan. How can I not worry because I don't know what the plan is?

Secondly being a lover of horse racing, opportunities to win still have a factor of luck about them. This season we had / have a excellent chance to achieve at least a place and some of the prize monies that go along with that. A gap appeared we were well placed on the rails, but to get through that gap we need stamina, alertness and the will to win. I think a lot of the comments as a result of the inactivity in the transfer window are borne out of the belief we wont have the attributes needed to make that move.

As an aside it remains frustrating that after so many years of Ellis and co, where their inability to understand how to play the transfer window game, we still seem to be unwrapping it out of the box and have not really read the rules yet

The last point I'd like to make is that I dont have the same feelings as PeteB on as fans we shouldn't get worked up. VT is a forum where I can get worked up and voice my disappointment as well as my happiness where and when. If people want to categorise me in to any particular group, so be it, wont be the first and wont be the last.

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Finally, I think that Manager, players, fans, everyone should almost ban this "small squad, need to strengthen" talk until we're in a position, as a club, to do something about it. Enough "excuses" just get on with it.

agree with all of your post Pete, apart from this last bit, although i understand where you're coming from with it.

I think MON uses the "small squad" line/argument in an attempt to bring unity/close-knit-ness/bonding/sense of purpose/team spirit within his "small squad". Bonds the lads together, kind of thing.

Mourinho used it, to a large degree, in his constant portrayal of "everyone is against us/hates is/doesn't want us to win/especially the refs/the FA. We will show them, as we are stronger than that. Hence people on this board started calling him Moaninho. And IMO to a mlarge degree it brought about the squad unity/sense of purpose that he was looking for.

MON is , IMO, using a similar approach with his "small squad" thing. Trying to use it to bond the team together and use it to his advantage. "we've got the smallest squad in the league, but we will show the others what we are really made of" type thing.

That, and the fact that we Do have a thin squad, is why we keep hearing about it, not just from MON but the media in general.

I honestly don't think it's ever been used an an excuse for dropping points this season, by MON anyway, yet .....

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I agree with post. all the villa fans moaning about the lack of quality signings need a reality check. until we get in to europe we're not going to attract that type of player to the club, so we'll just have to get the best of the likes of reo-coker, harewood etc. there is not one player that went in the january transfer window that i was disaapointed didn't come to villa, certainly not defoe (another luke moore type if you ask me). lets face anelka wasn't never gonna come with likes of chelsea after him.

i think the vast majority of genuine fans know the score and are prepared to wait a bit longer for the glory days. lets face it we've been waiting for 25 years! in my opinion these moaners have just rejoined/jumped on the villa bandwaggon since MON/Lerner and are p*ssed off that they've got nothing to show for it yet.

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