Writer: J P Fear
Date:Saturday April 29 2006
David O'Leary is still amongst the favourites for the sack race but it appears he wants to stay on just in case we do get a takeover!
The under-pressure Villa boss, who can only equal our worst ever Premiership season if we win our next two games (at Anfield today and against Sunderland at home next week), says:
'I'm happy with that because I'm determined to stay here and see this job through.'
That isn't exactly music to the ears of the reported 2/3rds of season ticket holders who answered a questionnaire from the club saying they would not renew if O'Leary remained in charge.
'I've got two years left on my contract and I want to do the best I can for Aston Villa and the supporters here. I don't want to spit my dummy out and desert the place and then in six months' time someone come in take over the club. I don't want to miss out on what might happen in the future here.'
Ellis has told O'Leary that he will have to wheel and deal in the summer because the real cancer at the club is unable to run us like the top Premiership club we should be. Wigan and West Ham have already promised their managers £20million for summer spending, Ellis says we have to sell from a nearly-relegated-down-to-bear-bones-squad in order to bring in new players.
O'Leary said: 'I've already been told by the chairman that to get players in next season it is what we sell that will enable us to buy. That's the way things stand at the moment. We have to generate funds by what we can sell and if we don't we will be staying with what we've got.'
So, we sell Lee Hendrie (maybe £1million or slightly more?), lose De La Cruz (no fee), Peter Whittingham (half a mill?), maybe Mark Delaney (small fee, possible move to Blackburn?), Djemba-Djemba (half a million tops?), Mathieu Berson (possibly £1million?). Jlloyd Samuel (possibly £2million with Charlton and Fulham named as potential suitors). Then what? How do we replace all those 'bodies' to make up a squad that is also paper thin?
There are also massive question marks over Juan Pablo Angel (and again what fee would he generate now aged 30? Certainly no more than £2.5million.) and Milan Baros. Baros is our top scorer and although the blind amongst the fans insist he is lazy he is in-fact the same as all our other strikers - starved of distribution. So if we can't buy quality to supply the crosses and passes, he will continue to struggle. SO the lazy way for the board to get out of the trouble they have got Villa into (and don't tell me we aren't in serious trouble) will be to sell the prized asset. THAT is why it was leaked about the clause in his contract allowing him to be sold for a sizeable bid.
You also have to look at quality players like Olof Mellberg and Gareth Barry. IF bids came in for them, they would surely jump at a move to any club who has some ambition? Careers are short and at Villa the best the players can hope for is a nice living whilst at a club that is doing less than drift.
Some reports suggest that the board have already drawn up a list of potential replacements for David O'Leary and name Alan Curbishley (Charlton) and Martin O'Neill amongst others. But with no money to spend, a small squad and a cloud over Villa Park in reference to possible takeovers, who would really be tempted to come? There is always someone willing but is there anyone of the quality needed to make a silk purse out of a sows ear? You know the answer to that... don't you?!
Date:Saturday April 29 2006
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