Ellis To Go - The Only Solution?
Graham Taylor spoke with Graham Hill of the Sunday Mercury this weekend about the situation at Aston Villa.
Seems Mr T see's what the majority of Villa fans do, that the club has gone 'stale' and that we need a new 'dynamic' board. He also says that he left for 'other' reasons than the poor season the team suffered and says that David O'Leary is now also finding his managerial career being dragged down by the club.
As we've said many times, there is no leadership at the club from top to bottom.
He said in the Mercury: 'There is certainly a need for change at Villa. It has to happen' Warning 'But just because a new owner comes in, it doesn't mean they buy Villa for football reasons. People think it cannot get much worse than it is now, but it certainly can!'
'The depressing thing about Villa now is that I don't see where they are going to get a lift from. When you go there, you can see that the club has gone stale. I just look at it from the outside, or when I do commentaries for Radio 5, and I think 'oh no!'. Nothing raises the spirit and, while I think there is a lot of fault, I don't think it can be placed at the feet of just one man even though this is now David O'Leary's team.'
O'Leary was critical of Graham Taylor when he took over 3 seasons ago saying that a club the size of Villa shouldn't be finishing 16th, however Villa now find themselves once again in a lowly position with plenty of 'smaller' clubs taking massive strides forward whilst Doug Ellis looks for further cut backs whilst walking around turning light bulbs off!
GT adds: 'But there's no getting away from the fact that the club lacks dynamic leader-ship. Whatever Doug has done for Villa, and I know he's had health problems, that simply is not there. What's needed is a team effort because people are not pulling together at the moment. When I left Villa three years ago, it was because I was being dragged down with the club and now the same thing is happening to David O'Leary.'
He also thinks that O'Leary is up to his neck in it, although some rumours doing the rounds suggest if Ellis stays, O'Leary will be walking. I doubt it, but ........? No manager is going to bring the success that this club can achieve (and has) whilst Ellis and his autocratic business practices remain. For every plonker who thinks we have a steady ship and we aren't Leeds, there are ten times as many fans who know we have no money, no firm footing and we aren't Arsenal!
GT says of O'Leary 'Looking to the long term, he won't want to let the Villa job get on top of him. But I really don't think he can get out of it now. The only way he can is to start winning games again. But when you're a plc and you cannot get football decisions through, then you start to wonder what you're doing there. Maybe David is thinking like that now. I'm not being big-headed or gloating, but I could see this coming and it gives me no pleasure.'
'I recognise some of the problems. Apparently, there are cuts being made over the development of the training ground - yet the chairman says he wants Villa to be a big club. Come on! I proposed the redevelopment of Body-moor Heath in the late '80s, but now it is 20 years out of date. I consider myself to be a Villa fan because of the association I have had with the club. But you have to ask yourself why I got out - because of one season of bad results? That wasn't the reason.'
Interesting times, without major changes in the summer, the board might find the season ticket renewal figures shocking next season and will need to prepare themselves for many more sub 30 000 attendances. Villa have sold more than 40 000 only twice this season, neither (Liverpool 42 551 and Birmingham City 40 158) being sell outs.
The fans are voting with their feet, the previous managers have spelt out that it is impossible to work with Ellis and the quality players might well be angling for moves. One exit could help stem that tide!