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Something to be happy about!


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by JimCohen

The off season! I love it. After what has been one of the worst seasons I have ever experienced in 23 years as a Villa fan, we can now start speculating about who we will buy, who will stay, who we will play and who will be our manager. It’s great! We can forget the season just gone, draw a line under it as the players like to say, and think about the season to come. But I think we can draw a lot of positives from this season too. I will try and convince you that I am not mad.

1. Young players coming through.

It doesn’t matter if you think they are good enough for the Villa first team or not. We have raised the experience levels and development curve for a lot of our younger squad players this season and they will either go on to have great careers with us or be sold off for more money than if they had just played a few reserve matches and cup games. Players like Lichaj, Herd, Clark, Baker, Weimann, Gardner and Carruthers came from relative obscurity for most fans outside Villa Park. Albrighton, Delfouneso and Bannan gained more valuable first team action. Look at our reserve team now compared to most other teams and you will recognise most of our players. Not because we are Villa fans and we know our squad better, but because our reserve and youth team play for our first team so much more than other teams.

Yes this means our first team is weak and we need more players, I think we all know that. But if one or two of these players can come through to be regular first team players in the seasons to come and the others go for a couple of million or so between them, then that works for me. I think Clark and Weimann will make it myself. Both look like top players in the making. I would like to see Herd make it as well, but I fear his passing may not be up to scratch. His tackling, work rate and shooting seem good, but what separates great CM's now seems to be their ability to retain the ball. His pass ratio this season was well below what should be expected of a starting CM for most teams. 66.43% if anyone cares. Lichaj looks solid and could surprise a few, but is a late developer. I think he will play Premier League football and I hope it's for us. He is a great versatile talent and seems to have an eye for a goal too. For Baker, Gardner and Carruthers it is too soon to tell, but despite one shocker against Man United for Baker I thought he did very well indeed and the other two showed glimpses of real talent. Bannan, Delfouneso and Albrighton need to step up, they went backwards this season in terms of performance, but the point of this section is playing time. Experience. This is invaluable and they all got a lot more than they would have at other teams making them better more experienced players and potentially more attractive prospects for other teams if they don’t make the grade for us. We sold Luke Moore for £3.5m remember!

2. It will never be this bad again!

We broke every record going in terms of bad performances this season. Goals scored, goals conceded, home wins, points tally etc. A real shocker! We have had 5 managers in two seasons if you include the stand-ins. We have sold 3 of our best players, our skipper was diagnosed with a serious illness, our leading goal scorer was out for the majority of the back end of the season, the fans were against the manager and not offering the best support and we had the worst manager in our history! But we still stayed up!

Surely if we fix a few of these things, players get fit and well again (please God) and we all get behind the new team and manager, then we WILL be better.

3. We don’t own the player registration for Joey Barton.

So there you have it. My reasons to be optimistic.

Role on the transfer speculation thread...

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I firmly agree with point 3 - in my book, everyone has a right to a second chance... even somebody who poked our dear Queen in the eye with a shitty stick. However, Joey 'Mad Dog' Barton has abused the right to a second chance, time, after time etc. If he sets foot in Villa Park as our player ever, I will return my ST without hesitation. The guy is a mark one penile delinquent.

Point 2 - I almost agree with you. Anybody coming in now and intent on giving 'all' of our squad a chance to prove themselves to be good, obedient young men could see us back down in the pooh and possibly worse in 12 months time. One way or the other, some of our players just have to go. I have to have faith that our owner will make a fitting appointment this time round - somebody we can grow to admire and respect, somebody who shares our passion, somebody who takes responsibilty... and utmost, provide a team that at least entertains us - the paying fans.

Come on - we're Aston Villa... With the media having made such a big thing about the hurt felt in Machester City's ranks over the last 40+ years of mediocrity and pain - one day it will be our turn again.


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A very nice article, Jim.

I'm happy just now with what's happened this week, but I'm now waiting to see what appointment(s) will now transpire. It's OK being happy that McLeish has gone, but just what will replace him? We may yet go from the frying pan into the fire; just how will the chairman provide for the "Bright Future" that he boasted of?

I just hope that the next manager has some flair and can motivate.

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Nice point regarding Luke Moore - Never thought about it that way. 3.5m for Luke Moore is up there with 20m for Downing (taking into account how much we paid/time of sale and what they did for the first team). Both absolute rip offs.

And thats not having a go at Luke Moore (or Downing for that matter) but how having a succesfull academy doesnt necessarily mean lots of kids tearin it up in the first team.

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