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Expectations, Expectations, Expectations or is it?


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by avfcinwales

For so long Villa fans, most, anyway, longed for the day when there would be a new owner, allied to a new and half decent manager. Well you may have noticed it came to pass but amongst the fog of euphoria, many have advocated a wait and be patient philosophy, the Prozac dream.

It goes like this: "We can't expect things to change overnight, we need to be patient, sit back, support the club without question, be glad its all gone through, be glad its happened in your life time, all is wonderful. It will take time, but we have the best manager in the Premiership, the best owner, full of promises to make us great, we just have to be patient".

As a result articles such as this get stopped, criticisms of the manager makes you a pariah, criticism of the new owners something worse.

Now I know no matter how many times I or those like me say it, we won't be believed, but we are all overjoyed that O'Neill took the club on, of all those available he was the best. He's not by far, the best in the Premiership though and far from a name in European terms.

Same with the new owner. Its brilliant Lerner got the club when you consider some of those in the bidding, and compared to the previous owner he's a golden goose. As his board have already shown their PR is on a different level to what we have come to expect. Already the signs look promising, the training ground go ahead alone, worth the entrance fee, but there's a long way to go but I don't see why we have to wait for major things to happen, if the intentions are as they say.

For all their combined problems O'leary and Ellis left behind a club in a better state than many in the Premiership. Despite their end of season position, as my mate Lerwill was always reminding me our Premiership finishes hadn't been that bad compared to most, apart from the big lads. As Lerwill and Ellis' PR kept reminding us the club wasn't in debt, well not in comparison to Everton, Man City and so on. By Premiership terms we weren't that poorly off in reality. Now our owner is a billionaire, has loads of dosh, not as much as an Abramovich sure or possibly not as keen to spend as him, but hey he and his mates are all proven World Class businessmen, you mean to tell me they can't finance a major spend if the return is there. Of course they can, its bullshit to suggest they can't, they aren't corner shop owners these guys, behind the PR, behind the dream they weave, are some seriously heavy financial movers, and they own and run Aston Villa.

So why should there be this settling in period, why do we have to wait and see, take our time. Neville lost the race, Lerner won it. We didn't get Southgate as manager we got the dream ticket I'm told, the main man, so we have it all, so why should we have to wait, why should there be this need to lower expectation, to accept one or two seasons of mediocrity, until all the long term bad is slowly eroded away and replaced with the new dream.

Is Sutton, Agathe even Petrov, your idea of a club looking to take on Europe and bring success to the club asap. Is buying a 40 year old who rarely gets into a side propping up the Premiership, your dream purchase? If it is, it shouldn't be, not with the dream team we have now in charge. If Neville had made it maybe, but you got your dream team, so why settle for the Prozac option, why sucker yourself into accepting second best. We've done that when we didn't have a, it seems, management able to do it differently, now we do.

Look at the state of our club, financially and even player wise, we aren't that bad off, in comparison to some who are likely to gain European qualification, we are in superb condition. We have a wealthy and highly competent owner and board with stacks of money, excluding Chelsea and Manchester United who else has, Portsmouth, maybe? No one else has even Spurs, Arsenal, certainly not Everton, Bolton, West Ham, and co.

Who else has such a good youth setup as ours, seems to be already. OK other clubs are far better at getting the best potential kids but hopefully the new dream ticket will even help that hugely.

Who else has the potential support base we have. Everyone forgotten we are the only Midlands club in the Premiership. For miles around no Premiership football lads yet we can't pack them in even with such a surprisingly good start.

Which belatedly leads me on to the manager and the existing squad. Its the same squad many on here tipped for Europe two seasons back, plus Petrov minus DLC, Phillips, and Milner. As early results have shown it hasn't done too bad, surprising many including O'Neill be he believed. So whilst I appreciate we are in the transfer window, and its always hard to get the right people in January because of contract restraints, I thought we were no longer the 'Olivers' of the Premiership. No longer does the manager have to justify his expenditure with the sale of his best players, no longer does he have to spread 11 million over two seasons, no longer are we the poor buys of the Big boys.

At least I'd thought not.

I expect my team to succeed.

I expect the new management to keep their promises, not over a long term of several years but now. Now is when they own the club, now is when I want results. I want the manager to be looking to bring in the best, players with long term potential, better still with proven ability.

I want him to bring in players in January to compliment the undoubted talent we have and ensure we qualify for Europe next season.

Then in the summer I want them to bring in even better players to ensure we not only do well in Europe but we maintain the growth of the club in the Premiership. I don't want ex drunks, over the top stop gaps 40 year old past geniuses with little to offer, unknown unproven cheapo from lower divisions, that's the Ellis way. That's the way past managers worked, its not the way the dream ticket should work, not for me anyway. You know what I'd bet my bank balance that the management know it too, I just wonder how much under all the excellent PR, they mean to achieve.

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More holes in this article than a Swiss cheese.

For all their combined problems O'leary and Ellis left behind a club in a better state than many in the Premiership

How on earth do you come to that conclusion? It was our worst ever Premiership finish, and we categorically WERE in debt to the tune on about £12m. Add in falling turnover, falling crowds and a massively increasing wage bill and things couldn't get much grimmer.

No longer does the manager have to justify his expenditure with the sale of his best players,

Which of O'Leary's 'best players' exactly did he have to sell to fund the purchases of Baros, Bouma, Hughes and Phillips etc? (looking at that list, O'Neill would have a job to waste £11m quite so emphatically).

Whichever way you dress it up, all your posts are just saying "I'm gutted to be proved wrong about O'Leary and I'll only be happy if O'Neill falls flat on his face ". Over and over again, ad infintum.

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I think it is quite a good article actually. It raises some interesting questions which should be of relevance to us all. I don't agree with it all but then I wouldn't expect to as I didn't read it.

FWIW I believe that the new owners will stick to their promises as they will have to if they intend to get a return on their investment.

I think we should be prepared to give it a couple of seasons to really assess the progress but see no reason why we can't see real progress in terms of silverware, europe etc... even sooner. It is possible.

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The squad IMO is not good enough for European qualification this season (FWIW I believe we'll finish 10th this season due to a lack of squad depth). Malc says it almost was a while back, but things and times have moved on since then, with the sides Malc says can't spend as much money as we can, having spent heavily (most notably Spurs!)

We are now behind these sides and having to play catch up, I doubt all this catching up will be possible in January as any purchased players take time to settle (even world-class ones eh Mr Shevchenko) and as such it is too bigger ask for a European finish with players who haven't settled in.

We have to be patient to the tune of one year minimum to recover the damage Ellis & DOL have done to the squad.

To build a unit of players to challenge for titles and attract quality players takes time and not even Malc can be naive enough not to realise this. Hence for me this article is merely to provoke and with a Director reading the site nowadays it doesn't take a genius to work out who it aims to provoke or have I just failed my latest efforts at understanding Malcolmology?

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More holes in this article than a Swiss cheese.

Whichever way you dress it up, all your posts are just saying "I'm gutted to be proved wrong about O'Leary and I'll only be happy if O'Neill falls flat on his face ". Over and over again, ad infintum.

Risso - there may well be holes in this, however I do not read it as the latter. There are relevant points in this post and am not prepared to see it be dragged down because of the poster and not the content.

Malcolm is on record, within the article too, as wanting MO'N to succeed, I cannot think of any Villa fan who wants differently.

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To build a unit of players to challenge for titles and attract quality players takes time and not even Malc can be naive enough not to realise this. Hence for me this article is merely to provoke and with a Director reading the site nowadays it doesn't take a genius to work out who it aims to provoke or have I just failed my latest efforts at understanding Malcolmology?

great comment :nod:

Personally, i feel that if you "expect" as much as avfcinwales does then you are just setting yourself up for a life of disappointment.

I don't 'expect' Villa to succeed. I am desperate for them to succeed, but I don't expect it, as generally nothing in life, or specifically football/any sport is that simple.

What i do expect is for the Club to genuinely strive to succeed. To respect us fans, and treat us correctly, rather than just as a group of walking pound signs. To invest in the team and infrastructure of the Club. To back the manager and give him all the backing possible to get the team he wants and believes can succeed. I expect them to invest as much as possible to bring success (emotionally and with hard work, not just cash), as I invest emotionally as a fan.

If they do all of the above then I'll be happy, as we certainly won't be far away from success on the pitch, and I'll be proud to follow a well run, and respected Club. If we come second in the League for the next 10 seasons to Chelsea who keep buying every top player by paying inflated transfer fees and wages (funded by money gained through possibly 'dubious' means) then I won't be disappointed. I don't want success at all costs, and I don't want Villa to be Chelsea.

If we lose a Cup final through a missed penalty, or a last minute header hitting a post then of course I'll be disappointed, but I won't be angry, or feel that my expectations haven't been met. That's just footy. It happens. Can't blame the manager, players or owners for that (not in the same way you can for a series of inept performances over time, which are clearly the result of poor management and effort throughout the Club).

Personally, I don't expect the new team of MON & Randy to wave a magic wand and suddenly bring success. They need to get to grips with the Club, understand it and its needs and then work at making it better. I'd rather have a long-term fix than a short-term one such as spending 30 million quid in January on a player who could 'do a Shevchenko' and not fit in with MON's plans, but whose signing would attract headlines.

Each to their own at the end of the day. Interesting article though

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A good, article like Trinity Tom says, although I don't agree with it all either. The new owners have done more so far than Ellis ever has. Actions not words, and had Agathe and Sutton arrived in January I would have been surprised.

I have and will be up to VP more this season than ever, principally because I believe, and want to believe, certainly not any less than when E**is was in charge. Good points raised about O'Neill, I openly admit that the feelings of hope I have now are similar to those I had when O'Leary first took over and we were doing well, so in some ways remain pessimistic because look how quickly that one went tits up.

Ellis and O'Leary were proved to be bullshitters of the highest order and their collective incomptence brought them down. Will the same be said of RL and MON? Gut feeling says no, if they were I'm sure the training ground and the Holte Hotel refurbishment would have started on the last day of the transfer window, along with the arrival of Danny Mills and Phil Jagielka.

I can only speak for myself but the new regime get a completely clean slate, regardless of how it might turn out. But if the supporters get to fill the away end at important games now and again with free coach travel, and things continue the way they have done then I can't expect any more.

Although the pie makers and Holte End bar staff might feel differently, the amount of shit they seem to have been taking lately :winkold:

VILLA FOREVER

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A thought provoking article Malcolm. However, I believe the fans have to give the new management team some time to consider the situation at B6 and draw up a medium to long term plan.

Given the lack of time MON had to obtain new players, Petrov apart, the ones we have are short term stop gaps and obviously the wages are not the critical factor they used to be under Doug.

Given the General's posts on here, things sound good and they have to have time to put whatever their plans are, in motion. Of course they have the money, and it is not necessary to wait for an influx of new players (transfer windows permitting), but that I imagine will be MON's call, as when he identifies players he'd like and they are willing to come to Villa Park.

MON comes across as a shrewd person, and seems to be saying he's looking across a full spectrum for players, not just the big names in the UK and Europe. I don't think he's a "throw money at it" type of manager, unlike his predecessor, but he will live or fall by his judgements. I think you just have to give them time Malcolm.

Your last sentence sounds like you think that what Randy and co are saying is simply bulls**t, but it seems to me, that everything they said since taking over is being borne out.

You may be saying I told you so in a year or two's time, but I don't believe you will.

Look at what's going on at West Ham, I know who I'd rather have in control at B6, and it's not a get rich quick Iranian.

:roll:

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I agree and I'm sure we only signed Sutton cause MON is not convinced by Baros and his attitude and therefore felt we need some cover , Agathe was a kind of stop gap for Milner I guess ..both out of contract and better options (although only just) of MON having to put his boots on turn out for us.

Lerner came in too late for Aug deadline , I'm certain we will sign 5 players in Jan with possible only Baros leaving . Who the 5 are i have no idea but i expect it to be 2 strikers , 1RM ,1CB & 1 RB ... the only question being are the players that MON wants going to be available in Jan

Keane seems to be one name , is Keane the man to take us to European glory ?? I'd say no but he's getable and will do the job for stage 1 as will the other 4.

Our brand name is still too low to attract the big names , this season is to get us on the map , following season is where we go for World domination

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There's two elements really to our desire, and the board and managers desire to see the club improve.

The playing side of the club and the infrastructure/support side.

In some respects the non-playing stuff is easier to get right, and improve - it "merely" requires expertise, finance, willpower, enthusiasm and co-operation.

So re-starting work on long overdue upgrade to the training facilities can be put into place almost straight away, and results will be seen in May or June next year, for example.

Fan relationships and marketing and so on - we've already seen results.

The football team side of things is a bit different.

It is possible, to beat the odds a bit and take a side from say 16th to 6th over the period of a season, but it's a lot harder to keep it at 6th, as the element of luck needed is not going to stay - ask David Moyes, or David O'Leary for example.

What I'm saying here is that it is impossible to go from last seasons 17th place to winning the league this year. To demand or expect that would be basically, stupid.

What is it reasonable to hope for is sustainable improvement in the team and squad and league form and placing. It is reasonable to hope for luck in the cups and determination from the team. To expect this, or demand it even, is fair enough.

10 league games in to the season, and a couple of away ties in the Okey Cokey Cup we've won 5, drawn 6, lost 1.

Last season we were losing to Doncaster.

There has been improvement, and it's happened with basically the same squad. It's not luck either - injuries are still a problem, as they were last year.

There are NO valid grounds for complaint, to my mind, at the moment, and I'd also say it's too early to make "demands"/set expectation levels quite as high as you seem to be doing do for this season, Malc.

I want our improvement to be sustainable, gradual and the culture of improvement to seep into every pore of the club, rather than be bolted on, on the back of some dollars and some flashy managerial PR.

In every respect the new Chairman and board are much better than the last lot and the new manager is much better than the last one.

Essentially, I trust the Club to get it right. I don't demand that they do, or have a right to expect that they must. But I believe they will. And that's a big change, given that maybe 3 months or so ago we were run by a bunch of clueless clowns and were going to get relegated.

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Thanks LancVillan and the others keen to have a go at the article and not just me.

I take on board all you say about giving the board and O'Neill time but I had already pre=empted those comments in the article.

I don't think for one minute what the board are saying is bullshit, or that they will not in time carry out their promises.

We do differ if you don't think the basic squad O'Leary left is not good enough for Europe it is, or it would be with a few more decent additions

My point is, the squad is now managed by O'Neill, if he is as good as you all say he is and I believe he once was, then it should not be beyond him to add enough cover and quality in January to achieve a top 6 finish, we just aren't that far behind the likes of Newcastle, Spurs, Blackburn, et al. Believe me O'neill knows we are, the players know we are not.

Yes, we are miles behind the big 4 and getting to them will take time, but getting in Europe should not, be the backing good enough and the manager up to it.

I'm not talking here of world domination, that will take time, but the start has been made, the changes to Bodymoor Heath a good example.

My view is, a manager with those ambitions backed by a board with those ambitions doesn't buy stop gap measures or the sort of player he did whilst at Leicester.

For all I know he might be planning along my thoughts all ready, great, I'm just saying preaching the Prozac view isn't the only viable way forward.

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by avfcinwalesSo why should there be this settling in period, why do we have to wait and see, take our time. Neville lost the race, Lerner won it. We didn't get Southgate as manager we got the dream ticket I'm told, the main man, so we have it all, so why should we have to wait, why should there be this need to lower expectation, to accept one or two seasons of mediocrity, until all the long term bad is slowly eroded away and replaced with the new dream.

I don't know about you, but what I want for Villa is long-term, sustainable success. I want us to be challenging for the top four spots in the league every season, I want us to be competing against the best in Europe and to have a tilt at the title from time to time.

Like it or not, achieving that kind of improvement is going to require gradual change - not a step-change. For one thing, we don't have unlimited financial resources. We're not a billionaire's play-thing. As a result, we have to spend wisely. We can't waste money. If Lerner DOES sanction a big spree this Jan, it's going to eat into the budget for future transfer windows. Do you want that? What if that first spending spree doesn't produce immediate results? I'm sure that, when Tevez and Mascherano joined West Ham, their fans - and, presumably, Pardew - thought that they'd be safely in the UEFA spots. Hasn't happened for them, has it? But these are the calibre of players you'd like to see us sign, I'd assume.

There are two other reasons I can think of why our progress has to be gradual. First, if we're buying from the top-drawer of footballing talent, we're going to be competing for their signatures against top-drawer teams. Like it or not, we have to be able to offer success to these players before they'll come - they're not likely to take a gamble on us when they could get guaranteed Champion's League football elsewhere. At the moment, the best we can hope for are players like Petrov - players with proven quality who are still slightly below the very top tier.

Second, the best way to manage change is to manage it gradually. I don't want to see us buy a hatful of star players in one fell swoop who then fail to gel, spark dressing-room unrest, fall out with each other, the manager, and the more established players and leave everyone laughing at our failed gamble as we splutter to a mid-table finish.

The right way to achieve long-term success IS to add more quality and more depth - but to do it steadily. You saw how we were torn apart by Liverpool last weekend. We're a long way from being able to play that kind of football and it'll take us some time until we can go toe-to-toe with teams like that. If we try take a giant leap forward, we'll just land on our arses.

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I think that the article underestimates, hugely, the mess the club was in, and still is in to a certain extent. the reason I wanted Ellis out was that he had run the club into the ground, it was a club stuck 25 years in the past. I think it will take some considerable time to put right, as much time as it will money.

I dont see the need for the big rush tbh

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Good points raised about O'Neill, I openly admit that the feelings of hope I have now are similar to those I had when O'Leary first took over and we were doing well,

No offence but we were relegation foda until nearly Christmas under DOL's first season in charge , This season we've looked unbeatable at times and MON has only been in charge 3 months

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I've changed my position from the 'we should take it slowly' approach I wanted a few weeks ago. Maybe I'm wrong too. Maybe I've gotten carried away. Maybe my expectation is too high. Maybe. But maybe I've realised that getting into European competition is very important this season, to raise the profile of the club and make it more attractive to join in the summer.

I think we should pull all the stops out this January to get 2 high profile players as well as a couple of highly rated up and coming talents and have a real go at getting into Europe. The long term of the club is in the youth system - that's being taken care of - so lets go for it, why not splash the cash and start building for this and next season. January transfers are not easy to pull off, but it is possible - it can be done. Lets not waste a season - the revolution has started- Europe is the goal. We CAN do it.

The board have issued a rallying call to the fans, so lets get on with it. The team must stay focused and fit until January to keep us in the mix but with a few head turning signings a top 6 is possible.

Disclaimer - this does not mean I will or anybody should slag the board off if things don't go to plan, or if the plan is to do things a bit differently, as long as there is a plan, after Ellis, I'm happy.

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I've changed my position from the 'we should take it slowly' approach ....I think we should pull all the stops out this January to get 2 high profile players as well as a couple of highly rated up and coming talents and have a real go at getting into Europe. The long term of the club is in the youth system - that's being taken care of - so lets go for it, why not splash the cash and start building for this and next season. January transfers are not easy to pull off, but it is possible - it can be done. Lets not waste a season - the revolution has started- Europe is the goal. We CAN do it.

The board have issued a rallying call to the fans, so lets get on with it. The team must stay focused and fit until January to keep us in the mix but with a few head turning signings a top 6 is possible.

Disclaimer - this does not mean I will or anybody should slag the board off if things don't go to plan, or if the plan is to do things a bit differently, as long as there is a plan, after Ellis, I'm happy.

I sort of agree with all of this. It's not tbh like any of us are saying anything significantly different I don't think.

Basically, I would imagine that any competent board and manager would want to do things as quickly as possible, but not to act in haste, if that makes sense.

There's absolutely no point dicking about, or prevaricating. Definitely.

Equally there's no point going at things like a bull in a china shop.

Planned, sustainable improvement is what's needed, and with a good pace to it.

My sort of reserve is that I have absolutely no idea what level of resource is available, and therefore no idea what level of progress based around resources to expect.

I do have an impression as to the level of expertise and ability available to the top men, and as a result of that have already been hugely delighted with the steps taken ,and feel rewarded in having being very keen on them coming to the club before they actually did.

The Team improvements will depend to an extent on the cash available, but also on the image of the club as somewhere players want to come - not (just) for the money, but for the professional opportunities it offers them, for the non-financial rewards - playing to supportive full houses, top facilities, the real promise of improving their games, etc.

Malc's article is not totally in line with the way I look at things, but it's also not that different.

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Malc - I can't believe that what you've written is really what you feel. I think you're just trying to wind us up!

Do you remember what I quoted as being my vision almost six months ago? - New owner, new manager, finish top-half 06/7 season, eighth or better 07/8, Top4 08/9 and Euro Cup Finalists May 2010. I genuinely feel this is now possible -what more can any level headed fan reasonably ask for?

UP THE VILLA

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It goes like this: "We can't expect things to change overnight, we need to be patient, sit back, support the club without question, be glad its all gone through, be glad its happened in your life time, all is wonderful. It will take time, but we have the best manager in the Premiership, the best owner, full of promises to make us great, we just have to be patient".

As a result articles such as this get stopped, criticisms of the manager makes you a pariah, criticism of the new owners something worse.

Now I know no matter how many times I or those like me say it, we won't be believed, but we are all overjoyed that O'Neill took the club on, of all those available he was the best. He's not by far, the best in the Premiership though and far from a name in European terms.

Spot on, and a superb article.

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I still maintain that you can't have it both ways here.

Either we have the dream ticket or we don't.

How many sides have better squads per se than us, out of the top four, and of the top four we are in the mix as of today with two of them.

Why do we have to build the club from the ground up, that's Ellis type rhetoric, put off talk, jam tomorrow thinking.

We have a squad now that should with a decent run of injuries, achieve a top 10 place. If not O'Neill is an idiot not the manager those advocating the slow approach are saying, is he.

O'Leary managed 6th and 10th with much the same men minus, some interesting new talent now stars in the squad, so why shouldn't we.

With the right transfers in, in January we should push on for a top 5 finish why not, what has building the club up from the ground got to do with it.

Success breads success, a good cup run gets the crowds in, a good European run gets crowds and tv and revenue well in, what has what Ellis did in the past got to do with anything.

I'm not talking of spending Chelsea money, never have, I am asking for the manager to meet the expectation level some have put on him.

If he does and if he gets the right backing why is it so impossible to achieve a top 5 place, is it some of you deep down have fears O'Neill may not be up to it?

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