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My O'Neill agenda


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by Malcolm Everall

My O'Neill Agenda

I simply don't have one.

At the start of O'Leary's last season I was criticising his lack of transfer activity during the Summer and no-one made any comments to me about making digs or slagging him off. True, many kept telling me that he'd spent a record spend for Ellis and top 6 finish was a surety, especially as we had brought in Baros.

Now all I said at the time was that given a few serious injuries we would still suffer, ok some had a go at me for criticising him when we weren't doing that bad and had spent so well, but that's life. At the time, I did an article like this suggesting I had no great argument against O'Leary, but that I wasn't happy with some of his buys. I've always thought Baros was a decent player but the money spent on him should have gone towards McCann type players to strengthen his options against injury.

When the end did come, I argued that his problems weren't helped by a lack of serious funding, injuries and a negative defeatist attitude throughout the club. Those vehemently shouting for his exit kept saying its all about results, its all about results. The same group now accuse me of having an agenda against O'Neill as I'm continually slagging him off, yet if I suggest it's all about results out they fly with such silly claims and comments about O'Neill in counter justification.

Now, I'm classed as someone who adored O'Leary, someone who defended him and someone who now slags off our present manager because of my agenda, which I assume means I loved O'Leary and was upset he left. I wasn't, things needed moving on, his exit proved the big move possible, his exit was the best thing that could have happened, it helped trigger Ellis' exit.

I like to think I'm consistent, I criticise whoever is manager and owner if I feel he's not doing the job to my satisfaction, be it Taylor who I criticised as the wrong man at the wrong time, O'Leary who I criticised often, and like O'Neill now, who for a man who is so well respected, so marvellous and so perfect has done atrociously results wise this season. Sorry I forgot, results don't matter anymore it seems.

I did exactly the same over Gregory and Little, who again I defended when the starving rats came out to ravage them in their last days and I probably will when the same happens to O'Neill unless he achieves what I hope, as he doesn't have the restrictions of Ellis to stop him.

Regarding new players - I like to be convinced with performances that they are as good as their CV supposedly says. All this talk that Carew is a top European player and that Baros is shit is puerile for the likes of me; and I'd guess Drat from his comments recently. It's of interest too that many of our strongest critics are those who so vehemently wanted O'Leary out.

I keep saying O'Neill remains a great choice as a manager for Villa in the circumstances of the takeover. I've explained why before. The performances on the pitch and his decisions off it have told me he's just a decent manager struggling to get up to speed after some time away from the Premiership. He's not this superstar manager many of the comments make him out to be. Not yet.

I've seen plenty of top managers falter at clubs; managers with great CV's too. Two from my favourite era being Brian Clough and Ron Saunders. Sometimes it doesn't work. O'Neill still has plenty of time and it looks like few restrictions, so should still achieve great things. For now he hasn't, you can't hide results.

I think the more I see of O'Neills doings the more he impresses me and I have faith he will turn the club around and assist in kicking off the necessary changes needed long term. I'm sure when he has a group of players all on his side and playing to a system he likes and desires, things will get better, much better, but if I don't like what I see I will still criticise, and I hope many more will too. Some are less guarded already.

I don't see it as slagging. Anyone who reads one of the 'DOL out' threads from his last season will appreciate that. I find it sad that so many people go to so much trouble to make points claiming the likes of Drat, I and others have an agenda against O'Neill because we tried to defend O'leary.

We all have differing opinions and differing ways of putting them.

I personally find the snide remarks and short digs made by some contributors and directed at those who share my views or have similar views to mine to be pathetic, and I find it hard not to bite and retort back. However, at the same time whilst I don't agree with the way some try to belittle my views by suggesting they are slagging, I still always enjoy their arguments and respond when I can to reasoned view.

O'Neill simply hasn't lived up to his banner headlines on various websites. Results say so and I can give you several reasons why.

That doesn't mean he will not, that doesn't mean I don't hope he will or believe he will not, and it doesn't mean I have an agenda against him. I don't.

As I have repeatedly stated; I think and always have thought that he was the ideal manager to take over from the situation left, and the incoming new owners. He's intelligent, media savvy and experienced at pretty much the highest level of football management. So why shouldn't he be an ideal choice?

However, whether he will turn us into a top 4 side and winning regularly in Europe is a completely different debate and one I don't expect to be undertaking for some years yet.

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I'd also be confident in saying that Gregory spent by far and away more than any manager under Ellis - certainly a country mile more than O'Leary.

And while Malcolm is correct in saying that there seems a perception that under DOL results were vital and under MON they aren't - to me that is explained by the fact that under DOL we were going nowhere except maybe down. There was no bright future and the only thing we needed was for him to keep us in the Premiership as we were beginning to exist from one season to the next - and each season looked closer to doom. He was also in his 3rd season as a manager and had been given 2 to prove himself. His performances were deteriorating and in the end he had to go.

MON on the other hand is in his first season. That remains the biggest difference between the DOL of 05 and the MON of 06 when it comes to fan patience. Also he is being given time because for the first time in 25 years for a Villa manager he has a bigger picture to look at which no other manager since Tony Barton has had. Of course we still can't allow ourselves to get relegated, but I don't think anyone thinks that'll happen under him - maybe foolishly ? Maybe. He has now bought some players. Results must improve but everyone is confident that they WILL improve. That confidence wasn't there under DOL and DOL hadn't proved at any previous club that he is a good manager whereas MON would be given more leeway because of his reputation. The 2 scenario's were very different not only because one was under HDE and one is under RL.

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The problem I have and I guess many other people have is that much of your opinion (this article and the odd few posts excluded) seems to be enveloped by sly digs and sarcasm yet you constantly seem to accuse others of doing this. I think it is also too early to suggest that results wise his performance hasn't been good enough considering the state the club was in when he took over. We are in a much healthier position than I think we would have been had O'Leary stayed which admittedly says as much about O'Leary's failings as it does about O'Neills ability. However, had we had a more even spread of the harder fixtures, I genuinely believe we would be in a top 8 position at the moment. We are only 4 points behind Spurs after all.

With home games against Wigan, West Ham, Sheffield United, Everton and Portsmouth, all games I would hope we would win (although things rarely work out exactly as planned or expected), we could see ourselves firmly in the top half of the table which would represent excellent progress in my opinion.

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its a matter of expectation imo

if you were expecting MON to do better, then you'll be disappointed with results. If you were expecting him to do worse you'll be very pleased with results. Me? I think our results this season have been OK, pretty much as i expected them to be

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The problem I have and I guess many other people have is that much of your opinion (this article and the odd few posts excluded) seems to be enveloped by sly digs and sarcasm yet you constantly seem to accuse others of doing this.

This is the one problem I do have with Malcolm. There exists a Malcolm that continually produces quality front page articles but there also exists a Malcolm who sometimes only comes on to the forum to get a rise - albeit he is very good at it.

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The problem I have and I guess many other people have is that much of your opinion (this article and the odd few posts excluded) seems to be enveloped by sly digs and sarcasm yet you constantly seem to accuse others of doing this.

This is the one problem I do have with Malcolm. There exists a Malcolm that continually produces quality front page articles but there also exists a Malcolm who sometimes only comes on to the forum to get a rise - albeit he is very good at it.

I havent read this article for this very reason and I wont either. It'll be alot of back-tracking and finger pointing and frankly I dont really care anymore.

Still as I scrolled down and past it, it looked long. Well done.

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its a matter of expectation imo

if you were expecting MON to do better, then you'll be disappointed with results. If you were expecting him to do worse you'll be very pleased with results. Me? I think our results this season have been OK, pretty much as i expected them to be

I personally was a little disappointed after the momentum we generated at the beginning. I was expecting a manager to push us on and to beat the likes of Fulham and Boro at home, Charlton away. Those are the results that have disappointed.

But then again, maybe MON isn't a 'turd polisher' and our squad really is pretty average.

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results are important but just like with DOL or any other manager i won't start getting on their back after a few months in the job and without the chance to bring in players.

If you got on the back of every manager and made sly digs towards them after they had just started then your right in saying that you are fair.

The problem I have and I guess many other people have is that much of your opinion (this article and the odd few posts excluded) seems to be enveloped by sly digs and sarcasm yet you constantly seem to accuse others of doing this.

Agree with that totally

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I find it amusing to think that you believe people care enough about your 'position' to post it as a front page article!!

Please feel free to post your own front page article on your position and don't post about posters.

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I havent read this article for this very reason and I wont either. It'll be alot of back-tracking and finger pointing and frankly I dont really care anymore.

Still as I scrolled down and past it, it looked long. Well done.

:lol::clap:

ditto.

yep - i scrolled past and looked at the responses instead. Same old fare, IMO.

argument goes in circles and then back-tracks. People rise to the bait, etc etc ...

Edit: I also look out for Malcs posts as they usually ellicit an eloquent response from Pete Bossy.

I'm rarely dissapointed by such responses, as they are top notch.

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I havent read this article for this very reason and I wont either. It'll be alot of back-tracking and finger pointing and frankly I dont really care anymore.

yep - i scrolled past and looked at the responses instead. Same old fare, IMO.

argument goes in circles and then back-tracks. People rise to the bait, etc etc ...

I'm guilty of this too...

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its a matter of expectation imo

if you were expecting MON to do better, then you'll be disappointed with results. If you were expecting him to do worse you'll be very pleased with results. Me? I think our results this season have been OK, pretty much as i expected them to be

Ok Pete? On one of our worst run's ever in the premiership?

The results have been poor and we have been fortunate in some matches to gain a point. People say Arsenal for example, but lets be fair in matches like that we were battered for most of the match.

If results were OK why has MON consistently said that we need to improve the squad?

Looking at some of the replies to the post on here, really does back up Malc's assumptions of this being more of a personal response rather than looking at the facts. There is hopefully a very long way to go with MON being our boss, but for me the whole "team" is the more important thing and the ones that will enable success. MON is a key part of this team but not the only one and without the others will fail like previous managers

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I find it amusing to think that you believe people care enough about your 'position' to post it as a front page article!!

Please feel free to post your own front page article on your position and don't post about posters.

I have no desire to tell the world my position, and I doubt the world is interested!

...and tell me, how do I not comment on the poster in this instance, when the article is about the poster?

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Digsby if people looked beyond the personal abuse thing, there is a valid point (even if it wasn't the one that Malc was making) about the support that some on here are giving to MON. Is it all at any cost? Is it being able to question where we are, what has happened and what the expectations are? etc etc.

Far too many for me are allowing dissatisfaction with the previous manager prevent them from doing any sort of analysis of what's happening at the club on the playing side.

Assuming MON's appointment was Day0 in Cambodian style and previous politics was wiped from the record, then start to make some comments on what has happened to date and what hopefully will happen. By doing this the petty point scoring will be eradicated

p.s. and for the record I think we are heading in the right direction but not at the pace that some think and some would like, but at least its forwards and in the right direction

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Drat, I would suggest that the league position is the best this squad could acheive unless we were lucky with injuries, which we haven't. We need to add to the squad so that we can improve our best position. I probably could have phrased this better but I am sure you can see the point I am making.

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Totally Tom - and its pretty much the same as MON has stated about the need for new players. I think that was the cause of the frustration the past couple of weeks as a lot of the fans shared the same views. FTR I think we still need urgently at least a couple more players in this window to supplement the squad, a midfielder being the most important.

MON has to be judged at key points in the season. OK this is just me, but keypoint number 1 was the day before Jan transfer window opened to see where we had progressed, what we need and suchlike. Keypoint number 2 will be at the end of Jan to see if we have addressed these issues and Keypoint 3 will be at the end of the season.

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MON said repeatedly at the start of the season that we were punching above our weight. This season is about consolodation, keeping a cool head and sorting the squad out. As long as we dont get relegated, I'm not too bothered about this season.

Next season is a different matter entirely.

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I havent read this article for this very reason and I wont either. It'll be alot of back-tracking and finger pointing and frankly I dont really care anymore.

Still as I scrolled down and past it, it looked long. Well done.

:lol::clap:

ditto.

yep - i scrolled past and looked at the responses instead. Same old fare, IMO.

argument goes in circles and then back-tracks. People rise to the bait, etc etc ...

Edit: I also look out for Malcs posts as they usually ellicit an eloquent response from Pete Bossy.

I'm rarely dissapointed by such responses, as they are top notch.

Agree with Jon and Grant

I'm afraid if you dish it out then you must take it in return

It's a bit rich for this post to accuse people of personal digs and sly snide comments when the person making it is one of the biggest exponents.

Or is Ayatollahs, Starving rats, idolisers, worshippoer, rocket polishers not deemed to be sly digs.

All having featured in posts recently

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