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Claret & Blue Blood #26


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ChrisVillan's column returns with talk of Baros, transfers, English youngsters and a few others bits and pieces to boot.

Sometimes one just feels the urge to bring back an old favourite.

And Don't Come Back...

Czech striker Milan Baros endeared himself to Villa fans this week by taking a good old-fashioned swipe at the club after his move to Ligue 1 leaders Lyon (hooray!). He suggested that Aston Villa was "not a good contract" for him, and Martin O'Neill has since revealed how unhappy Baros was at Villa Park. I have no intention of mentioning Milan Baros again after this article, but I think a few things should be said now. Milan Baros, you are and never were good enough for Aston Villa Football Club.

Your attitude was despicable and your ability questionable, so the prima donna act is just a joke. You might think you deserve to be at a big European club but the fact of the matter is you will always disappoint just like you did at Liverpool. Good riddance to you.

New Boys in the Bodymoor Bubble

As Baros flew to Lyon to escape the awful experience of being an Aston Villa player, two far better talents were in the Birmingham area thrashing out their terms to move into the club. Watford youngster Ashley Young, an England U-21 international, signed up for an initial £8m. That'll be the Ashley Young who turned down West Ham. Honestly, it couldn't be any sweeter if he gave them the finger out of his car window as he went home. Young comes to Villa with a huge price-tag over his head (more on that later) so we'll get to see how the boy deals with pressure as well as the infamous Second Season Syndrome (well, next season). I think Young's signing was a massive warning shot to the teams around us, a warning that if you don't step up their games, we'll be latching onto the coat-tails of Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea rather than being bogged down in mid-table. Well, that's the plan anyway I suppose.

Norwegian forward John Carew would, until last Saturday, been a rather unlikely signing. He's played in 328 different European leagues, for over 500 different teams, all before the age of 27. But he's never played in the Premiership and he seems focused on the challenge ahead. Quite apart from getting rid of the detestable Baros, Martin O'Neill has pulled off a shrewd, if opportunistic, piece of business in getting Carew into the club. We've replaced a lightweight, lethargic under-performer with a highly-rated powerhouse with a Europe-wide reputation which puts Milan's to shame. The big fee was for Young, but the 'name' signing was Carew, and it's made Europe sit up and take notice.

Premium Talent

The conduct over the weekend of Adrian "Please Call Me Aidy" Boothroyd, Watford and even Bluenose own-goal merchant Alan Mahon regarding Ashley Young's move to Villa Park was positively dripping with class and humility. It would be, I suppose. We could eventually be pumping their coffers with £9.65m. The discussion of Young's move on VillaTalk, and wider discourse, has highlighted one of the most frustrating features of Premiership football, namely the extortionate prices in the market for English players. I've had a quick look through some recent transfers and I picked out the following humdingers (figures, except Young, from Soccerbase.com):

  • Ashley Young - £8m (and rising)
    Michael Carrick - £18.6m
    Emile Heskey - £5.5m
    Joleon Lescott - £5m
    Andy "Andrew" Johnson - £8.6m
    Theo Walcott - £5m (and rising)
    Jermaine Jenas - £7m
    Peter Crouch - £7m
    Shaun Wright-Phillips - £21m
    Scott Parker - £6.5m

So what's the moral of this wallet-emptying tale of transfers? You gotta pay what you gotta pay. There's nothing you can do about it, English players are a premium resource in today's game and, for whatever reason, they cost a packet. It's just the way it is and whether Young turns out to be worth £8m plus remains to be seen, but we wanted him and we forked out to get him. How times change at the Villa. But there'll be a bigger Englishman moving somewhere else sooner rather than later and that, frankly, is just how things are.

The Weekend Off

One of the big differences of being a Villa supporter in this new era is that Villa-free weekends have become a source of dread rather than relief. Unfortunately, Ole Gunnar Solksjaer put paid to any dreams we had of winning the FA Cup so the weekend coming is one not involving our boys: it's FA Cup Fourth Round weekend.

So, a few games of interest (not in order of how much I give a toss):

Small Heath host Reading hoping for an upset. Unsurprisingly, I hope they don't get one. The all-Preeeemiership ties see Watford at West Ham and Manchester United hosting Pompey on Saturday, and Bolton travelling to Arsenal on the Sunday. Oh, and West Brom are at home to Wolves in one of those derby-type jobbies. So, Match Of The Day should be half decent, but I'd have given anything to have seen the Villa on it. Oh well.


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Did I hear correctly the dear departed Mr Baros helped his new team to a home defeat by Bordeaux on his debut?

Indeed. Missed an open goal in the closing minutes too I hear. Bless.

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2 things to mention.

Firstly I think it was Pete Bosworth a while back who said there are a lot of chairmen in the Premiership who will not like the fact that MON chose to manage Villa - as they know exactly how big we can get. The signing of Carew is just the start. Young was impressive yes, but we did beat a team to his signature that you'd expect to beat. Carew on the other hand, as Chris says, is a 'name' and we will now at least be on Europe's radar after it.

Secondly I think the media are hypocrites - although that's not a particularly controversial view to hold - it's obvious that they're there to sell papers/get hits etc. On one hand they slate managers like Arsene Wenger for not buying English and they get all hot&bothered about the number of English players in the top teams, then on the very next page they give out about the ridiculous price of English players and criticise managers like MON, Jewell, Fergie for paying the price they pay for English talent. There's no way around it. They give out when you don't buy them and they give out when you do.

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Abuse edited out. Welcome to the site, but please read the site guidlines.

Lovely. I don't know what that was, but I suspect it's why we struggle to get FP articles.

I'm sure it was deserved :winkold:

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