Writer: J P Fear
Date:Monday May 22 2006
Is this a U-Turn by Doug Ellis? More spin? OR an attempt to get some season ticket renewals going?
Doug has said that although the books will have to be balanced, the sell to buy doesn't mean that O'Leary won't be able to bring in players BEFORE sales.
So maybe we can hope for the transfer of James Milner now?
Doug told Graham Hill of the Sunday Mercury:
'The manager knows exactly what he can and cannot do.....I know what might be happening at other clubs which means that when you talk about sell-to-buy, it's not as black and white as it sounds.'
'We have to be flexible in this depending on circumstances. The manager knows exactly what the situation is. In theory it is sell-to-buy. But that doesn't mean to say that we cannot make the odd move. An overhaul of the squad is probably the right word, ,b>but you won't hear the manager say that the squad is too small.'
Blimey, he'll be mentioning the mythical £20million sum soon!
He also says: 'I am a realist and I expect to be in the top 10 next season, and we will budget again for that. But I'd love to be in the top six so that we can qualify for Europe again. We have given the manager the opportunity to continue to try to achieve that. He's guaranteed to me that last season was a one-off. And I know that any successful football club has to have a relationship between manager and chairman with no inhibitions either way. It has to be blunt sometimes, and believe me I can be blunt. But I have issued no ultimatum to the manager. I've spoken about youngsters, but we cannot win 'big time' without some old heads.'
He also says he is confident that Villa will be sold but that everyone should stop worrying about it!
'Everyone knows what the situation is and I am confident that we will find a buyer. But maybe the time is now right to stop talking about takeovers - it would be wise not to keep speculating. Now is the time to focus on the team for next season. That is our priority and it is full steam ahead. We should be thinking about the club. Let's get on with it and make sure we have a hell of a different season. And it will be. Our finish this season was disastrous.'
If all that was on the up, you'd say it was reasonable for a squad re-shuffle, but how many times have we heard it all before? And we always end up selling our 'stars' to fund lesser quality arrivals. I guess, as usual, we'll all have to wait and see (or not see for those hundreds that choose not to renew!). It could be an interesting summer. It will certainly test David O'Leary and his transfer ability. Great time to lose your head scout....... Gulp.
Date:Monday May 22 2006
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