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The General's thread - do not respond to other posts!


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An article on the internet suggests that Randy wasn't at the game on saturday. Is this true?

If so it makes us even more of a farce. Everyone knows the current state of the club and the chairman needs to be there witnessing it and should have had Houllier in his office after the game. His investment is in danger of vanishing!

If he was there then fair play but how can he sit there and do nothing?


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Who makes the day to day decisions at the club?

If our CEO tells Randy or yourself or anyone on the board for that matter that GH is the man for this job do you all just listen or is it discussed between all on the board?

I ask these questions because given the current situation we find OUR GREAT CLUB in it seems Randy is over the Atlantic.

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General, with all due respect, whoever wrote this:

We don’t see how changing things would have any positive impact on the team anyway.

can't have been watching much football in their lives, as history is filled with examples, this very season even, where a change of manager has had an immediate positive effect on results. Often being a combined result of a) players playing for their lives showing the new manager what they can do, B) players relieved that a manager they don't want to play for has left and c) the new manager instilling much needed passion and confidence in the players.

And you know as well as I do that that's what we need right now, results. Long term strategy is all well and good, but right now it's all about avoiding relegation.

This may sound harsh, but hear me out; with Houllier in charge I have us as one of the favourites to go down, not because we have the worse team, because we really haven't, but because we lack something the other teams around us don't, that being experience from being in a relegation battle. The other teams are used to being in this postition, they have the passion, they have the fight, they show it week in week out even though the quality's not always there.

We're the opposite, we don't have the fight, we don't have the courage, we don't have the bottle, and most importantly we don't have a manager that can instill confidence in our players, as we have seen over the course of the season.

I fear you (the board) have put the nail in the coffin with this decision, General, I really do, which brings me back to the quote I opened with. Knowledge about the game. I know you have said before that Randy likes to ask around, but has the board consulted with "football people" on this matter, or have you come to this conclusion that keeping GH is the best solution on your own?

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Evening General,

If you get to your new role and you find a manager there who has fallen out with most of his staff, slagged off the students, is really incompetent at his job, can't sort out basic problems in his department, talks more fondly about a college he used to work out rather than the one he works at now, and is generally underperforming...

Would you sack him, or would you allow him to keep his job?

Just hypothetically speaking, obviously. :winkold:

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what is the rational with the board sticking by GH when the fans and players clearly do not want him, and our PL status is in Jepordy

also what are our plans in the summer, has any futher developments happend in relation to the north stand and also what marketing plans do you have for the summer to re-boost attendance

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General Krulak here:

1. I am going to say something as a Fan, not as a member of the Board...of course the media cannot seem to tell the difference. I spent 35+ years in the Marine Corps and went to war three times. Now I know the Forces are not football so please bear with me. When my Marines put on their uniforms and the emblem of the Corps and went into battle and things got tough, the did not fight for their Commander, they fought for their brothers-in-arms...the men wearing their uniform and emblem. When a player puts on a kit and wears the Club badge, I would expect the same. We have VERY good lads who know how to play with passion. We have all seen them do it and have cheered them on. They are professionals who have given 110% in many games. What we need now is to quit pointing fingers and everyone look at the Claret and Blue of our kit and the badge they are wearing and go out and kick the crap out of the next teams we play until the end of the season!!! That may seem simplistic but that is how I have been raised. At the end of the day, they are on the Pitch and they can do it....do it for the uniform on their backs and the badge on their breast and the Fans in the stands! That is how I feel in my heart. I believe they can do it! YOU all can help by cheering them on...let them know that they represent a great and glorious Club. UP THE VILLA.

Nice analogy but at the same time i'm pretty sure that if you as an army were in a difficult situation you wouldn't remove your battle hardened, senior soldiers replace them with inexperienced rookies and then send them out disorganised. Again, fighting for each other is good but without tactics etc. a football match or a military battle will result in a lot of home casualties.

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When we get relegated, will Randy sell up?

If not, who on the "Board" will be resigning?

Or will we continue to blame a manager whom got us to sixth three seasons on the trot, and left for reasons which we dont know about, and who is now sueing the club for that parting of the ways?

As i said, the more i think about this situation, the more i suddenly realise its just not Houllier here, but something more deeper and more worrying.

Backing Houllier is backing relegation, and for that, the Board will never be forgiven. :twisted:

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General, can I simply ask, what is it exactly that the board sees in Houllier that us fans don't? Because you must know deep down this club is in pieces under Houllier's reign of terror. Surely Mr. Lerner does. And despite Faulkners lack of any football knowledge, he must know it too.

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Why is our CEO not using the official site to issue his support of Gerard? Seriously I am sick to death with our PR, we are fed this information by Pat Murphy from the BBC who has added his own personal bits.

Actually, General, I would strongly urge you to listen to what Pat Murphy has to say here. He is an excellent reporter who knows and understands the club and, as usual, he is spot on. The relevant audio begins around 1:05:40


To paraphrase, Houllier "doesn't get Aston Villa" and has lost the players. Even if we do stay up, which would require a great deal more fight than we're showing presently, it's blatantly obvious the Houllier isn't the man to lead us forward - not least because we would have to entirely rebuild the (really quite talented) squad if he sticks around. And there is no way back for him with the fans now, he has done too much wrong, on and off the field.

I sincerely hope that the club is being prescient and looking at potential successors, if not for now then for the summer.



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I have been asked by other Villa fans to post this letter to you. It is from a friend who wrote in to the Evening Mail, and it sums up how Villa fans feel right now. Even if you choose to not reply, please have a read.


Where has the pride and respect gone from Villa Park?

The place is an absolute shambles at the moment and the current custodians, not just of the club, but also the famous claret and blue shirts – which Tommy Docherty (who knew the significance) once said 20 thousand people would turn out to watch drying on a washing line - simply don’t seem to care.

I get the impression that these days the club is considered successful as long as it is in the top division, supporting itself and the fans are acting as unthinking drones still buying the tickets and merchandise, regardless of what is on offer on the pitch. Someone had the temerity to complain about the manager yesterday.

Being a lifelong supporter who cares and buying season tickets and merchandise come rain or shine obviously doesn’t give people the right to an opinion anymore as the stewards were sent in and threatened the dissenter with arrest unless the banner was removed. This isn’t Libya, surely we are still allowed an opinion? It was a petty response and only served to alienate the fans further from the club. Instead of threatening him they should’ve congratulated him, for reminding everyone what passion for the club used to be about.

From the owners down, there seems to be a general couldn’t-care-less attitude. When Lerner arrived, he was always on a winner, simply for the fact he wasn’t Doug Ellis. He took on a club, thanks to Mr Ellis, in the black and with a popular manager. Although Mr Ellis left the club financially stable, he interfered far too much, but now we have gone from the sublime to the ridiculous.

Now I understand he shuns the limelight and I respect his right to privacy, but there are limits and if that is the case, why did Mr Lerner buy a high profile football club in the Premiership, a league which in itself has a worldwide high profile?

Following Martin O’Neill’s departure, instead of having a ‘good luck to him, the club is bigger than anyone’ attitude, we have just floundered, directionless. We have seen no leadership from any quarter, just silence and ineffective appointments. The fans weren’t even considered good enough to receive a proper explanation as to why O’Neill left.

To be fair to Mr Lerner, he is prepared to throw money at things, but that isn’t what is needed, we need people in charge who understand the club and its fan-base.

With the improvements to the ‘fan experience’ – part of the overall sterilisation of English football – and the detachment of the fans from most modern players, some of the soul of this great club has been lost. That can be regained but we need strong leadership and character to achieve that, not faceless executives (Paul Who?), clichés and the condescending tone that we, as fans – people who live and breathe the club – don’t understand the ins and outs of professional football. They’re probably right, we probably don’t, but what the people of the West Midlands do understand however, is hard work, application and endeavour, something which is seemingly lacking from all levels at Aston Villa at the moment.

The fans are people who work hard, in many cases for little reward, they are people who are struggling financially, like the West Midlands region is as a whole at the moment, people who even in the face of losing their jobs will have saved dutifully to buy their season ticket at ‘their’ football club.

They have also been watching football all their lives, they know when something is wrong at the club they love, they know when someone is hiding and not putting in a full shift. If they turned up at work and showed the sort of application the players showed against Wolves on Saturday, they’d be looking for another job.

I totally understand why Kevin McDonald was appointed as caretaker after O’Neill left, but I believe that he wasn’t given enough time and the owners panicked following the Newcastle result.

The Houllier appointment was a mistake on a par with the appointment of Graham Turner and like Turner he is being given too much time. I am sorry, but I believe that Mr Houllier lacks the personality or presence needed to manage a club such as Aston Villa. He doesn’t understand the fans. After the Liverpool game, he showed not only a lack of regret that his current club had just been stuffed in an inept and incompetent performance, he stated he was pleased that Liverpool had been the victors. He acknowledged the Kop, but ignored the visiting Villa fans.

It wasn’t so much contempt for the fans, it was total disregard. As was the total surrender at Manchester City – where he bizarrely said that Villa were unable to compete with a team we had beat weeks earlier and also managed to alienate a talented young player who actually wants to give his all for the club in the process.

Houllier has shown me nothing to make me expect anything other than a prolonged flirtation with relegation. He got it wrong from the start again yesterday, as his early substitution showed. The players obviously don’t respect or more importantly fear him or his assistant, Gary ‘Yes Boss’ McAllister – a Scotsman who showed passion as a player but who now in management shows the inspirational qualities of a comatose Phil Neal.

The Leicester bonding brainwave summed the pair of them up, clueless. Take a bunch of over-paid, over pampered players away and when two of them behave in a way, which not only brings the club into disrepute, it also shows utter contempt for the fans, fine them two weeks wages and make them promise not to do it again. Imagine that under Ron Saunders, in the old days when Villa used to win things (there’s a clue there), their feet wouldn’t have touched the ground.

Enough is enough, if we still had any real respect for this once great club, neither Collins nor Dunne would pull on the shirt again. How dare Houllier criticise the fans for caring and showing an honest opinion at what they were offered on Saturday. Again he shows how out of touch he actually is.

Some of the other players need to have a long hard look at themselves. I say some, because there are still players at the club, who although treated poorly by the current management still show the qualities this club should be all about, decency, desire and commitment.

Money isn’t, or shouldn’t be the be all and end all, it won’t buy you everything, things like respect don’t have a price tag, they are earned.

Let’s be honest, another major problem is Ashley Young, who is holding the club to ransom at the moment. He won’t sign a new contract, regardless of what the weak management team do to placate him. He was made captain, a ridiculous move, as Young shows no leadership qualities - but this sums the whole desperate attitude around the club at the moment. He demands to play in a ‘glory role’ which not only doesn’t suit him, but one which makes the team less effective. He demands to take the penalties, he also demands to take the free-kicks and corners. He dives like a petulant child at every opportunity (not something which I was brought up to believe that Aston Villa players do) and is getting a reputation for it. It’s always the same script, after falling to the ground as if he’s been shot, Young gets up slowly, holding his back, hands on hips we have the little hobble sequence and he is off again looking for another opportunity to prostrate himself. He would be lost in a decent team, he wouldn’t get on the Man United bench, Young is anonymous when he appears for England and hasn’t had a truly telling game for Villa for ages. His prima donna attitude is making the team less effective, so, especially after Saturday, how is placating Ashley Young in the interests of AVFC?

We have had bigger and better players than Young leave the club, Gidman, Gray, Platt and Yorke to name but a few, have all left for pastures new, but Aston Villa has still remained and will long after the memory of here-today-gone-tomorrow footballers with no affinity for the club has faded.

On paper we were a much better team than Wolves but they defeated us on Saturday with a simple philosophy of tactics, hard work and teamwork. Those are the only things which will get Villa out of the current situation, but unless things change, I honestly can’t see where the inspiration for the fight against relegation will come from.

Lerner needs to act now, sack Houllier and McAllister, install people in the club who understand it and what it represents. We need people who care about Aston Villa or who have professional pride enough to robustly relay the significance of representing such a great club to the players, and more importantly to suggest they actually start earning their vast salaries.

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If the club won't sack a manager who's had 6 wins in 25 outings with a top 6 team for the last 3 years then can we get Kenny Mac in the dressing room and dug out for the last 8 games? Someone who the players like and would want to play for.

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