Writer: J P Fear
Date:Wednesday March 29 2006
Its well documented that Sir Alex was apparently 1 game away from the sack back in 1990 when Mark Robins stooped to score a header against Forest in the 3rd round of the FA Cup, the rest as they say is history.
It had me thinking though as to whether getting rid of David O'Leary would be the best option for us or whether you stick with it and see where it takes you. After all we have had a habit of getting rid of managers for far too long now and it has rarely paid off in my opinion.
One of our longest serving managers that I can recall was Ron Saunders and he went on to win the league in the end as well as lifting the League Cup on two occasions and producing a team that went onto win the European Cup.
Now I'm not saying that DOL will necessarily take us to these heights but is it not worth while sitting back and letting DOL see out his contract taking him to 5 years at the helm to see if he actually gets us somewhere in the end?
Yes I know that the majority of the time the football has been poor, individual mistakes have been at a premium and the home form for the last 2 years has been nothing short of abysmal but as I say we have chopped and changed managers enough over the years to know that it isn't always the answer.
I'm up for giving him one more season to put things right and if nothing improves by this time next year then its bye bye.
People have argued that he has had money to spend and therefore should have improved us beyond doubt by know but I have another slant on it that may just prove that he hasn't exactly had the rub of the green when during his time at Villa Park.
Firstly he inherited a team who had just finished 16th in the Premiership winning one game away all season and only surviving due to their home form. The football was awful, the players average and the dressing room apparently split into several camps.
To sort this lot out the board give him 4m quid to spend. He tries to get Robinson, Phillips and Emerton but the board only allow us to get McCann and Sorenson from the worst team ever to appear in the Premiership(until this season that is).
After a slow start the football improves, everybody is happy and we go on to play some of the best football seen at Villa Park since the Big Ron days. The crowds are back and the place is buzzing with us missing out on Europe due to goal difference.
What do the board do? Back him - not a chance - £4m again allowing him to bring in Laursen from AC Milan and Berson together with 2 loan players. We recoup money by selling Crouch which everyone applauded at the time.
Injuries hit us right from the start of the season and results are naturally effected along the way. More and more kids are thrown in to try and steady the ship and in fairness Europe was still a possibility right up until the Spurs game was a bridge to far.
The January of that season the board showed their true colours again by failing to land long time target James Beattie leaving us with DJ-DJ to contend with because another defensive midfielder is just what we needed!
This summer a major overhaul of players was needed due to the small numbers. In order to improve both numbers and quality in my opinion 25m was needed but only £10m was spent on bringing in 8 players after recouping further money from the sale of Nobby and Vassell.
£10m on 8 players suggests that the quality of such players was going to be average at best and sure enough that has been reflected in the level of performance we have got out of these players coupled with the average players we already had on board. Injuries haven't helped again with everyone of the new signings having had a spell on the sidelines keeping them out of action for lengthy spells. Even more kids have been thrown in to help us out with 5 of the 11 against Everton being under 21 last week - is it fair to expect them to perform in the premiership at a high standard and get results - I don't think so.
All of this surely needs to be taken into consideration when you evaluate the managers time at the club. Had he had all his players available for longer and been backed by the board at the right times then I think we would have been in a much better position points wise and we wouldn't be moaning as much as we are now.
Its worth thinking about when calling for his head.
Would anyone else have done any better in such circumstances?
By WH Taylor
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Date:Wednesday March 29 2006
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