Jump to content

New Villa regime at a crossroads?


ChrisVillan
 Share

Recommended Posts

With Gareth Barry gone, Martin Laursen retired and Ashley Young the subject of increasing speculation, Chris Nee asks if this summer could be a harbinger of change at Aston Villa Football Club.

Silence is golden - sometimes. I like the way our club's publicity is run, I think it gives us an air of professionalism so sorely lacking at White Hart Lane or The Sty. I wouldn't change it, even given the chance, because I'd rather be a frustrated but ultimately satisfied supporter than have to watch my manager shooting his mouth off every 30 seconds like some sort of cockney rent-a-gob. Many fans on these boards are now demanding a statement, any statement, from Martin O'Neill about the continuing speculation on the futures of John Carew and Ashley Young. This atmosphere of uncertainty has understandably emerged from the ashes of Gareth Barry's protracted move away from the club.

In my view, the signal required to stem the flow of negativity is not a bland statement about how Young isn't leaving and Carew loves the club. The ethos of the club since 2006 has been that actions speak louder than words, and the actions here need to be a firm refusal let further key players leave and to make a big splash in the transfer market.

My stance on the Lerner administration is that I'm still massively in favour. The concerns being whispered around the supporter base currently are, I hope and believe, unfounded. I think we have the funds to be competitive (and these days that means fighting for fourth, sadly) without being the exaggerated plaything of an implausibly wealthy, faceless man. Give me Randy Lerner over Abu Dhabi, Abramovich or Glazer every single time.

But I too am growing concerned, and not for the first time.

This time last summer, I became troubled by O'Neill's transfer dealings. In an ideal world, he'd be a little more free spending, a little more ruthless and a little more aware of the fact that leaving our transfers until late in the summer does not only affect factors he can then manage, such as players stepping in with the season underway, but also factors he can't. With a silent club snaring no signatures, the negativity which results from Barry's departure can stew over the summer and in turn leads to any medium-to-good quality signings being immediately written off as panic buys.

A big signing in the next few weeks would do wonders for Villa, O'Neill and Lerner in terms of public opinion and general atmosphere. As fans, we're worried. We're worried about maintaining our top six position, about whether we'll ever break the top four, about finances and about the ceiling on O'Neill's capabilities. Each one of those worries would be eased by the signing of a top quality player who fills a gap in the team and sends a signal to the rest of our targets that we mean business.

Plenty of Villa supporters love O'Neill for his kooky demeanour and his unusual ways of working. But, once again, this summer could be seen as a crossroads for Villa. We might blow the loss of Barry out of our collective consciousness by signing a top-class replacement, or even a breathtaking signing for somewhere else on the field. We might have a summer like the last one, which sees us leave it to the last minute to plug the holes in the team, signing players who strengthened the squad overall but didn't do much to improve our strength in depth. Or we might do nothing of note, leaving Barry's move as the Villa headline as the season starts and beginning the season with the stagnant, edgy aura which engulfs us now.

If the club does nothing to flush out the current negative feeling, I fear for next season. To state the obvious, it will have left the squad under strength. But it runs deeper. Failure this summer, and our appalling form so far in 2009, means the team needs to achieve a blistering start on the pitch in order to avoid O'Neill's position being called into question by an increasing section of supporters as Christmas approaches. As David O'Leary found, once that slippery slope begins, it's difficult to avoid.

But this time there are more questions: is Lerner's loyalty to O'Neill such that he will be given time, warranted or unwarranted, that other managers were not given? Is there anyone better and obtainable? Isn't it now time to stick by a manager and give him a chance to mould the club in his image?

I'm going to sit on the fence for now, because the quiet manner of the club means that nobody outside really knows the full facts. What I do know is that improvement is essential on the field, and getting the supporters onside is equally important.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It is the 19th of June. All that has happened to our club is that a player who has wanted to leave for the past 12 months has finally left, and for an excellent fee.

There are no grounds to panic. No grounds for the anxiety that is manifest in this article. It is just a slow news period and we are feeling a bit left out of the few big money signings, or potential signings, that the "big four" and their counterparts in Europe are making.

MON and Lerner will deliver, all is well.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderator

I think this hits the nail on the head really. It acknowledges that there is still time and that all is by no means lost, but it also reminds people that there are big things that need addressing and that, whether some see it or not, the sooner those things are addressed the better for all concerned and they're better for a variety of reasons.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think this hits the nail on the head really. It acknowledges that there is still time and that all is by no means lost, but it also reminds people that there are big things that need addressing and that, whether some see it or not, the sooner those things are addressed the better for all concerned and they're better for a variety of reasons.

Zackly.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It is the 19th of June. All that has happened to our club is that a player who has wanted to leave for the past 12 months has finally left, and for an excellent fee.

Agreed. However, it is only human nature to also look at the darker side of things - that side being that we've lost our two best players and not replaced them yet.

I think another issue here is also down to who we're being linked with. How much of it is true and how much of it is just lazy journalism remains to be seen, but this air of negativity i think would be quelled slightly if we were continuing to be linked with Hleb and such - rather than Zokora and Distin - they reek of the Harewood signing.

Spurs get linked with a higher grade of player because they 'actively' go after them, even if they realistically don think they'll get them. When do we ever hear of Villa representatives in Italy thrashing out a deal for one of Inter's quality but unneeded players?

It would be nice to think we are at least trying to aim our bar a little higher...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderator

I agree with most of it as well.

I think, in essence, it's down to the manager to get down and do it.

I'm not really interested in words, not interested in newspaper or broadcast media space filling speculation, I would just like to see the club and the playing staff evolve with the addition of and or replacement of players, preferably with better players.

There's two small difficulties with my wishes - 1. I'm not an expert judge of players playing for other teams, so am mostly unable to hold any kind of opinion on a lot of them - i.e. I don't know who would be the players we/I would like to see come in, and 2. MO'N doesn't seem, by nature, to be likely to do anything quickly, based on previous seasons at Villa or anywhere else.

I think he must like tormenting us anxious fans.

Players will I am sure be feeling some of the anxieties that we have as fans. Particularly the ones whose agents fancy a bit of the action.

I guess they all report back in a few week - maybe another 4. By then, in whatever order, we really need to have got in several good standard players more than we've got now.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It is the 19th of June. All that has happened to our club is that a player who has wanted to leave for the past 12 months has finally left, and for an excellent fee.

There are no grounds to panic. No grounds for the anxiety that is manifest in this article. It is just a slow news period and we are feeling a bit left out of the few big money signings, or potential signings, that the "big four" and their counterparts in Europe are making.

MON and Lerner will deliver, all is well.

MON seems to not understand the concept of the transfer window. He seems to think that you can only sell players before the squad return to pre season training, but can't buy in it until the last 2-3 days.

How many transfer windows is MON going to waste? Is it because he can't sell the club to players or that he does not plan properly.

I'm getting pretty frustrated at his poor performance in transfers.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • VT Supporter
With Gareth Barry gone, Martin Laursen retired and Ashley Young the subject of increasing speculation, Chris Nee asks if this summer could be a harbinger of change at Aston Villa Football Club.

Silence is golden - sometimes. I like the way our club's publicity is run, I think it gives us an air of professionalism so sorely lacking at White Hart Lane or The Sty. I wouldn't change it, even given the chance, because I'd rather be a frustrated but ultimately satisfied supporter than have to watch my manager shooting his mouth off every 30 seconds like some sort of cockney rent-a-gob. Many fans on these boards are now demanding a statement, any statement, from Martin O'Neill about the continuing speculation on the futures of John Carew and Ashley Young. This atmosphere of uncertainty has understandably emerged from the ashes of Gareth Barry's protracted move away from the club.

In my view, the signal required to stem the flow of negativity is not a bland statement about how Young isn't leaving and Carew loves the club. The ethos of the club since 2006 has been that actions speak louder than words, and the actions here need to be a firm refusal let further key players leave and to make a big splash in the transfer market.

My stance on the Lerner administration is that I'm still massively in favour. The concerns being whispered around the supporter base currently are, I hope and believe, unfounded. I think we have the funds to be competitive (and these days that means fighting for fourth, sadly) without being the exaggerated plaything of an implausibly wealthy, faceless man. Give me Randy Lerner over Abu Dhabi, Abramovich or Glazer every single time.

But I too am growing concerned, and not for the first time.

This time last summer, I became troubled by O'Neill's transfer dealings. In an ideal world, he'd be a little more free spending, a little more ruthless and a little more aware of the fact that leaving our transfers until late in the summer does not only affect factors he can then manage, such as players stepping in with the season underway, but also factors he can't. With a silent club snaring no signatures, the negativity which results from Barry's departure can stew over the summer and in turn leads to any medium-to-good quality signings being immediately written off as panic buys.

A big signing in the next few weeks would do wonders for Villa, O'Neill and Lerner in terms of public opinion and general atmosphere. As fans, we're worried. We're worried about maintaining our top six position, about whether we'll ever break the top four, about finances and about the ceiling on O'Neill's capabilities. Each one of those worries would be eased by the signing of a top quality player who fills a gap in the team and sends a signal to the rest of our targets that we mean business.

Plenty of Villa supporters love O'Neill for his kooky demeanour and his unusual ways of working. But, once again, this summer could be seen as a crossroads for Villa. We might blow the loss of Barry out of our collective consciousness by signing a top-class replacement, or even a breathtaking signing for somewhere else on the field. We might have a summer like the last one, which sees us leave it to the last minute to plug the holes in the team, signing players who strengthened the squad overall but didn't do much to improve our strength in depth. Or we might do nothing of note, leaving Barry's move as the Villa headline as the season starts and beginning the season with the stagnant, edgy aura which engulfs us now.

If the club does nothing to flush out the current negative feeling, I fear for next season. To state the obvious, it will have left the squad under strength. But it runs deeper. Failure this summer, and our appalling form so far in 2009, means the team needs to achieve a blistering start on the pitch in order to avoid O'Neill's position being called into question by an increasing section of supporters as Christmas approaches. As David O'Leary found, once that slippery slope begins, it's difficult to avoid.

But this time there are more questions: is Lerner's loyalty to O'Neill such that he will be given time, warranted or unwarranted, that other managers were not given? Is there anyone better and obtainable? Isn't it now time to stick by a manager and give him a chance to mould the club in his image?

I'm going to sit on the fence for now, because the quiet manner of the club means that nobody outside really knows the full facts. What I do know is that improvement is essential on the field, and getting the supporters onside is equally important.

Very good post and sums up the views of very many villa fans i speak to....Excellent Chris.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

A bit o.t.t for me. We must face facts. First, without doubt the 2nd half of last season was not all that bad. I think you will find that the points we gathered over the last 19 games were equivalent to finishing 7th if that had been achieved over the whole season. So allthough extremely disappointing, not finishing fourth or better, it was still an excellent performance overall. Second, despite all the hype from Krulak, I am convinced Martin is working within a very strict financial budget that does not allow him to "splash the cash". So it's obvious we're never going to attract world class players. QED

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...
Â