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The Night The Dream Died - Why Martin Left IMO


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by RichardCanning

There they were, two Villa players from the past 5 years, both England Internationals celebrating the opening goal against a Top 4 side and then going on to win comfortably 3-0, but they were both in the wrong coloured shirts. How did it come to this?

Lets roll back to 2006: When Randy arrived and with Martin in charge I believed that the club could challenge for the league. It would take time as the top 4 was well established but Martin would buy players to challenge and bit by bit we would build.

I liked the idea of the nucleus of the side being English players and the purchase of players with Premiership experience meant they did not need to learn the English game. I could even live with the signing of a veteran like Chris Sutton as long as the results showed we were moving in the right direction.

Soon we finished 6th. It was obvious to myself that some players who had helped us to get to this point would be surplus to requirement as they were no longer of the level we required (Zat Knight & Marlon Harewood being two examples). They could sit on the fringe of the squad/be sold and whilst some saw them as a waste of money, I saw them as a by-product of what we were building towards. Hopefully better quality would then replace the current squad and so on.

Each season we made progress with cup runs etc. and the loss of Barry last year I could take, as I felt we moved forward. With Martin in charge the team spirit was there. In fact I felt we had won the war when Man City failed to make the Carling Cup Final. Then the Milner saga revealed me to be completely wrong!

Man City have spent massive and gate-crashed the whole plan by making it virtually impossible to take the next step of finishing 4th consistently to attract top quality signings and push on for the title (Lets face it they are gonna throw money at whoever to get them finishing in that Top 4). Whilst I don't blame them for doing this, it does lack class and creates a massive problem in my mind...

I don't see us ever challenging for the title again (Hell I don't want to dream of finishing 4th because no-one will care who finished 4th in future years). I mean, the dream of seeing the side being crowned champions of the country is over and I fear soon we'll be looking to emulate Fulham's efforts last year as a means to quantify a successful season.

I've enjoyed the highs and was sad when Martin left, but I think he saw with the Milner sale and the wages situation what I have outlined above. We can no longer challenge and I like to believe he honestly thought we always could and was willing to work for the club on that basis.

No man is bigger than AVFC and no man is irreplacable but I think we're about to find out just how good a manager Martin was by how difficult it will be to replace him.

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Know what Wet Spam fans felt like when they sold Ferdinand, Lampard, Cole & Defoe. Bit like seeing an old girlfriend out on the town, laughing & happy. Still not sure I'd want Arab, Chinese or any other dirty money to make Villa top dogs tho'.

Anyway, we're Villa fans - WTF would we find to moan about if everything was perfect lol?!

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Totally agree, BOF.

I have always thought that in order to break into the top 4 we'd need 2 things to go our way - one of the sky 4 to have a bad season ( according to their standards ), coinciding with Villa overachieving. Let's not kid ourselves - we haven't had a squad good enough for top 4, we've been in the battle because of the good foundations, strong spine and team spirit, not because we've had the class to even be in that fight. We just couldn't overachieve enough to crack the door open, but we were never deserving to be there, based on the quantifiable things - revenue, class, ability to attract players and sponsors, etc.

Last summer we lost our captian in Martin Laursen through injury, our previous captain, Barry and a very important defensive player - Bouma. Arguably 3 of the top 5 performers we had until that point. Few thought we'd be able to push on and become even better but we did. IMO this was an extremely overlooked achievement. We did it not because we had bought top class replacements, but through team spirit, blood and guts, not class.

Then Man City came and we know what happened. Obviously we can't compete with their spending power and IMO by losing O'Neill we've lost the man who built this squad and who was able to consistently get the best results out of the quality we had. Thus losing the one thing that we've had over our rivals - commitment and team spirit. I understand the man has a lot of flaws, but no one could blame the team for not giving all they had week in week out. Now, the replacement manager will be up for a difficult job to match and exceed Martin's achievements. Not because they wouldn't be good enough ( don't want to get into a fight over who the better manager is ), but because they would need the time to rebuild the squad according to their vision and we don't seem to have the needed funds to do that.

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I think that O'Neill agrees with you, which is why he left when he did, making damn sure that the hitherto best available candidate was no longer available.

In my opinion two mistakes will cast a shadow over our club for the next couple of seasons.

Not kicking O'Neill out when they had the chance towards the end of last season, and allowing James Milner to leave.

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It won't be forever. The sugar daddies will leave the game eventually, cutting and running from the clubs when they get bored or discover you can't buy your way to the top of the Champions League or even the Premier League.

This will cripple the club just like happened at Pompey when there is no infinite pot of cash and they are tied into ludicrous contracts can never generate the income to cover.

Where does this leave Villa? Midtable obscurity possibly but at least not in the dock in years to come like many teams trying to fight off HMRC.

Footballs broken now and I don't think it can be fixed.

I think you're right, as a club I think all we can do is bide our time, be sensible with money and be stronger for it once this whole corrupt **** of billionaire playboys and their playthings falls apart.

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Considered comment but in my opinon 50% absolute rubbish.

Martin O'Neill was not the be all and end all of this club. The cog which kept the wheels turning.

A good manager, yes definitely. Villa's position has changed in the last 18 months with the arrival of Mega rich Man City.

if they wanted to they could buy anyone at this moment in time. No other club can. the goals posts have changed significanlty since RL took over and no one envisaged such a change.

I'm was an O'Neill fan and I still am but christ he bought some stinkers and put them on good contracts. Barry and Milner have both gone to probably the only club that could afford them. Is that Aston Villa's failing. i don't think so.

Both wanted to leave and both got their wish. You can't keep wantaway players, surely Ronaldo and Madrid provied that one. Look at Mascherano now. Unhappy where he is and as a result of that in the end he will move. Maybe not this window but its a dead cert for me.

Uefa are telling us that we have to live within our means. Is that such a bad concept?

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Considered comment but in my opinon 50% absolute rubbish.

Martin O'Neill was not the be all and end all of this club. The cog which kept the wheels turning.

A good manager, yes definitely. Villa's position has changed in the last 18 months with the arrival of Mega rich Man City.

if they wanted to they could buy anyone at this moment in time. No other club can. the goals posts have changed significanlty since RL took over and no one envisaged such a change.

I'm was an O'Neill fan and I still am but christ he bought some stinkers and put them on good contracts. Barry and Milner have both gone to probably the only club that could afford them. Is that Aston Villa's failing. i don't think so.

Both wanted to leave and both got their wish. You can't keep wantaway players, surely Ronaldo and Madrid provied that one. Look at Mascherano now. Unhappy where he is and as a result of that in the end he will move. Maybe not this window but its a dead cert for me.

Uefa are telling us that we have to live within our means. Is that such a bad concept?

This is probably the best thing UEFA have ever said, and they need to make it happen, sooner rather than later, before a large number of fans decide to leave Premiership football for another level where there is still competition. When 15 of the clubs have little or no chance of winning the league, except if lucky perhaps, a domestic cup, there's little desire to spend a lot of money to watch your team be also rans year after year.

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I think you're right, as a club I think all we can do is bide our time, be sensible with money and be stronger for it once this whole corrupt **** of billionaire playboys and their playthings falls apart.

It'll never happen.

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It won't be forever. The sugar daddies will leave the game eventually, cutting and running from the clubs when they get bored or discover you can't buy your way to the top of the Champions League or even the Premier League.

Whilst I agree, Im also pretty certain that when "The Sugar Daddies Leave", football, at least in this country, will collapse with it.

The only reason why the Premier league is the most exciting in the world is because of the money-driven mad scramble to be, and remain, a part of it. Once the people bankrolling these clubs leave, including our own, then the premier league will tumble.

It's a sad world, but one that we can't do without unfortunately.

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BG_Villa_Fan wrote:

Totally agree, BOF.

The piece was written by RichardCanning.

But due to my general anonymity on this site I'll let you take the credit Bri

Oh I couldn't possibly :) For one, I don't fully agree with your reasons as to why he left :P
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