Writer: J P Fear
Date:Monday May 1 2006
Do us a favour Doug. Bring Martin O'Neill to Villa Park, then sod off!!!
Reports and whispers have suggested that the latest in a long line of Villa managers is about to join the dole queue and be given the flick by Doug Ellis. Now the press are linking us to our next manager and I must admit, the one name excites me greatly.
Like many fans, I've long sung the praise of Martin O'Neill and there seems to be more and more talk about the chance of him coming to Villa Park. Lets face it, he knows that Doug won't be around that long, he knows that Villa - no matter how much it is sleeping - is a massive club and a massive challenge. He is also a great man manager, he'd get the best out of the sum total of all the parts at Villa and bring in a fresh 'buzz'.
Can you imagine O'Neill putting up with some of the performances our team have put in this season? OR making the excuses that O'Leary has? Or turning on the fans? No, I can't either.
I know - as most of us do - that Doug Ellis is the major problem at Villa BUT O'Leary has done himself no favours this season the way he has set the team up, spoken about the club and fans and dodged most of the blame. Even the late charm offensive and the few quotes saying he loved it at Villa hasn't done the trick and with the banners out, it seems his number is up.
So why not Martin O'Neill? He's worked on small budgets before and worked miracles at Leicester with far less quality than is in our squad. He'd also know how to wheel and deal and would have the respect of what is to all intents and purposes a split dressing room at Villa. No way is that squad 100% behind O'Leary despite what a few of his own signings might say.
Villa, with or without Doug (and it will soon be without) is a massive club. The size of the stadium, the history, heritage, our record, the massive fan base plus catchment area will always mean - despite the problems - that Villa is a big job for most managers and with reports suggesting that Martin O'Neill wants to get back into football AND that he wants to remain in the Midlands, we can but put two and two together and dream!
A report in the Birmingham Mail suggests that Doug wants to speak to O'Neill and Alan Curbishley BEFORE deciding O'Leary's fate. However with his dour image and the fact 2/3rds of season ticketholders who voted in a survey said they wouldn't renew if O'Leary was still in charge it looks like changes are inevitable, especially as our attendance this season is already 7% down. Not to mention the fact O'Leary has managed to accrue our lowest ever points tally in the Premiership and will see Villa finish 16/17th despite admitting we were budgeted as a top ten club.
Alan Curbishley, who has resigned after 15 years in charge at Charlton, has already said he is looking to take a break from the game telling Sky Sports:
'I don't know what the future holds but I am looking forward to a bit of a break. I went straight from playing in management and it has been non-stop, so that's my main aim - to recharge myself. Then we will see what happens then but I have no immediate plans, that's for sure.'
So come on Doug, you failed to bring in Brian Clough, a man who would have kept the club at the top, as you said there was only 'one Mr Aston Villa, me', now bring in Martin O'Neill. Then go and become the full time pro tennis player you so obviously are and leave the Villa to people capable of restoring us to what we were when you left first time, European Champions.
Date:Monday May 1 2006
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