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Takeover Talk: Glad to be a Villan


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With such a long break between games, and the transfer window having slammed firmly shut, I’ve took it upon myself to try and take a bit of a wider look at football. It didn’t really work mind, as it soon came right around to Villa again.

Transfers may not be something the press can actively talk about for a large part of the year now due to the window in place, but something seems to have taken it’s place – takeover talk.

Over the past few years Villa had been the main club the press seemed to enjoy doing this to. We’d all get excited (even if you said you weren’t) at the thought of a cash injection and the club going places other than down. And what happens once we finally get our man? It seems like every club in England are being taken over.

Manchester City are the latest club, apparently, and rather ironically it’s being said that both Michael Neville and Ray Ranson are both looking at the possibility of putting in separate bids for the club.

So what has all of this got to do with the price of fish? Well, nothing, unless you are someone who was effected by the three ‘Cod Wars’ between 1958 and 1976.

Despite being incredibly happy with Villa’s takeover, I will happily admit that I was also a tiny bit annoyed. You see, West Ham, media darlings and one of those clubs who have that “We are a big club, honest†mentality got taken over at the same time, and of course rather than actually do any reporting on Villa, the same tired clichés got dragged up whilst the press-pack whipped themselves into a frenzy at the signings of Tevez and Mascherano and possible MSI investment, and later on Magnusson’s completed takeover. I didn’t like it one bit – after waiting for so long, it was our turn for a bit of publicity, to be in the spotlight.

So this is possibly one of the reasons why, with this enforced break on us in which we see Villa playing what seemed to be one game in a month,with another break following, rather than go down the easy option of cheering on whoever is playing Birmingham City, I’ve been watching (and laughing) as West Ham continue to get closer and closer to playing in “The Championship†next season.

Even during January, the hype went on. As West Ham went about signing players at overpriced values on vastly overpriced wages (all of whom have injured themselves or failed to perform), Villa went about quietly (sometimes too quietly for some of us!) assembling a new forward line. Once again, it was West Ham who seemed to be making the headlines, and we were all being told of how they would now stay up easily.

I can even remember one buffoon newsreader on talkSPORT saying he was happy that West Ham hadn’t signed Ashley Young as he wasn’t worth the money yet virtually in the same breath congratulate his club for signing Lucas Neill on his megabucks deal from Blackburn.

So, even though I may have a dislike for them, I have to admit that I almost felt sorry for the West Ham fans as Charlton scored their fourth goal. And then I realised who it was and soon snapped out of it.

Because folks, out of all the recent takeovers that have happened around the Premiership recently, with the exception of Chelsea (and even then there are always question marks regarding Roman Abramovich’s long term interests), Villa have without doubt come out as the club with the best deal, and West Ham as the worst.

Manchester United’s takeover certainly occupied more column inches than any of the others. The fierce reaction from some of the fans was probably more down to the fact that a lot of them think that the world is out to get them – they’ve probably taken that from Ferguson who often seems to display that attitude. Whilst the Glazer sons have gone about actually providing money for the manager and building up the stadium it’s actually been ‘business as normal’ – except for that huge, huge amount of debt the club has had to take on as a result of being taken over. Villa? Well as no money has been borrowed by Randy Lerner, we simply don’t have that problem.

Liverpool’s was done in probably the quickest of all of them, yet in regards to PR it was Gillet and Hicks who made the biggest gaffes. We don’t expect new owners to know everything about the game, but to call their purchase a ‘franchise’ showed a deep lack of understanding. Randy Lerner? He waited six months before his first ‘interview’, meanwhile he let his actions do the talking. Whilst Gillet and Hicks went for a big ‘all singing, all dancing’ press conference, Lerner went for a lower key affair keen to put the emphasis on Villa, not his name.

And it’s appreciated.

West Ham – where do we start? At a time they needed a manager with motivational abilities, they chose a new one who out-stayed his welcome at Charlton and whilst had achieved to begin with, in recent years has been seen as being rather dour. I can imagine Alan Curbishley’s teamtalks are no more inspiring than I imagine David O’Leary’s were once he’d given up any hope of taking Villa any further. And we haven’t even got to mentioning how Magnusson has borrowed money to buy the club, that some reports say that the interest on this borrowed money is a very high value indeed.

In fact, the only club who can come near is possibly Portsmouth. Gaydamak’s money meant Pompey stayed up and have now pushed on to be a better team than they could've dreamt of beforehand. One thing they do need is a new stadium. Their current ground is appalling – without even a roof for away fans. One was planned before Mandaric left, but now it’s on hold. Lerner last week again stated aims of improving the outside of Villa Park (the return of the mosaic? Please!) amongst redeveloping the Holte End and North Stand – once the team has been improved.

So, the results may not be going our way yet, but I think it’s fair to say I wouldn’t want to be a fan of anyone else but Aston Villa at the moment.

And that’s before we even mentioned the fan involvement actively encouraged by directors since the takeover!

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A great article, and I agree with just about all of it.

These are days we'll remember and this is a fantastic time to be a Villa fan.

Considering where we've all come from, I don't think there can be another group of fans as happy with their takeover as us.

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