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Expectations are everything


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by Drew'sMilitia

Drew’sMilitia looks at the role our expectations play when supporting Aston Villa and asks that we keep our feet firmly on the ground… At least most of the time.

Since the start of the ‘Randy Revolution’ we have witnessed a steady progression, both in attainment and the resulting expectations which have followed.

MON has steadily established a predominantly English squad with real pace, flair and talent at its core. As the bar has been raised, the expectation for the next hoist of the bar has been correspondingly higher.

Sixteenth to Eleventh to Sixth and resulting qualification for the UEFA Cup via the INTERTOTO, coupled with us beginning to cause SKY SPORTS and MOTD a few headaches as well as our other companions in the Big 4, errm the Top 5, ummm the Top 4 plus Villa? But it’s not just what to call us and how to refer to the group into which we’ve sidled which is causing problems. We’re causing real headaches to many of our Premiership colleagues. And oh isn’t it fun!

Now bearing in mind that in business, politics, project management, marriage, infact in just about any discipline – and that includes football, it’s all about setting expectations. With fans, with the Board, with the players, with the media (whether explicitly or implicitly) and then, where possible, making sure you at least meet those expectations, or even better, exceed them. And that’s why you hear MON being very careful when asked about his expectations for Villa. ‘Could you win the Premiership?’ he was asked after another sound performance. ‘Have you been drinking?’ was the perfect, measured response from MON. And quite rightly so.

You won’t hear MON ‘bigging-up’ Villa’s chances of a UEFA Cup victory, a Premiership win or runner’s up position or an FA Cup victory, but that doesn’t mean they’re not thinking it. Just don’t say it out loud otherwise it becomes an expectation.

The reason for this piece is to caution us against getting caught up in the ‘hub-bub’ of the Premiership, of ‘Big Four-dom’ and the lure of the Champions League and all that that entails. The fact is at some point in the future (and this isn’t conjecture – it’s a fact and no I’m not being negative just realistic) our fortunes will take a dip. Hopefully just a temporary blip and stutter, rather than a major head-over-heels type affair, but it will happen. We will have a period of games with few if any wins. We will hiccup, we will have a stumble. I don’t know when this will be and sincerely hope that it’ll be a considerable way into the future and certainly not in this superb season, but mark my words it will happen, as sure as eggs are eggs. All I’d like to ask is that when it does happen that you remember what we have.

We have a superb manager. I would even go so far to say that we have one of the top four best managers in the country with an owner who is the very best. The structure and support mechanisms are second to none and the players we have are improving all the time. The potential is all there. So often we see clubs dispensing with or getting nervous with their managers after a very short amount of time and after a relatively short spell of ‘poor’ results. Paul Ince got a matter of months, Sven started off well and when the front-half of the season didn’t match the back-half of the season he was shown the door like a ‘cut-and-shut’ second-hand car salesman. Newcastle thought their saviour had come and now they’ve got a man in need of a haircut who’s big on expletives and courting controversy but it’s debatable whether he will keep the barcodes up? Harry Rednkob talks a good pitch for a barrow-boy in North London but he’s a long way from securing that club’s Premiership survival.

So where’s all this going? Well, here’s the punchline. It all comes down to a request really. A plea, a suggestion even. When the brown stuff starts hitting the fan and everyone’s getting nervous, remember – we have the best manager, the best owner, the best set-up in the land and there’s no point trying knee-jerk changes just for the sake of it. I know Randy is far too sensible and knows only too well how good our manager is but let’s face it we’re not all blessed with the same insight. So please remember, when it happens, as it will, keep calm, Don’t Panic Mr Mainwaring! MON will be the man to dig us out and reset the sights in the correct direction. Let’s face it, it’s always easier to look at things like this in the cold light of day before the event before all that emotion gets charged up and ready to fly.

As for this season – with the steady curve of improvement that Villa sees its’ trajectory following I think we could see a good solid finish in top five territory or then again we could just go ballistic… And if that happened I honestly think I would too! Oh happy days.

UTV - Ian D

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Love the thread Ian D and many thanks for the realism. Yes i agree a blip will surely come and we have a decent manager to deal with it. Not sure about the signing of Heskey though, as he is injury prone and doesn't score enough goals. However, we have paid well under the odds for a England striker, but will he give us more than two seasons being 31 years of age? Regards, Ciaran.

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Love the thread Ian D and many thanks for the realism. Yes i agree a blip will surely come and we have a decent manager to deal with it. Not sure about the signing of Heskey though, as he is injury prone and doesn't score enough goals. However, we have paid well under the odds for a England striker, but will he give us more than two seasons being 31 years of age? Regards, Ciaran.

Thanks Ciaran. I agree that Heskey may not be the big name we were looking for but I think it’s a very astute signing and will be a useful addition to our line-up. I hope he answers any potential critics with his actions on the pitch. Personally I’d like to see Michael Owen but I’m sure people would be wary of him too. The bottom line is that MON knows better than any of us, his squad, their strengths and weaknesses and future plans, so I’m content to let things unfold guided by him. I’m braced and ready for delight and disappointment as most Villans are! Cheers.

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