Writer: J P Fear
Date:Sunday July 16 2006
The soap opera of Aston Villa continues, this time the club have released a statement saying the reporter for the Express & Star has admitted there was no joint press statement.
Looks like the fans were very much in favour of the players as our poll backed them with 75% saying they were right to release it and David O'Leary should do the same. 11% said they were all heroes. Only 13% said they shouldn't have released the statement and just 1% were unsure.
The club have claimed: The reporter at the centre of inaccurate claims of dressing room unrest at Villa Park has now acknowledged players did not yesterday make a collective statement.
The claim was initially reported in the Express and Star and was immediately picked up by the Press Association - the accuracy or otherwise of the initial report was not verified at this stage.
The story was then carried by several media outlets, but the fact remains that Villa's players did not release a joint squad statement criticising Chairman Doug Ellis.
There is no evidence any such squad statement exists and players remain furious they have been portrayed in this way.
So where are the player retractions? Where is a statement from the manager? It did seem to good to be true that the whole squad would have released such a hard hitting and in my opinion accurate portrayal of the mess at Aston Villa, but lets face it, the statement came from somewhere and 'someone' wanted it released.
Some reports are suggesting that this is all part of a game of Russian Roullete between Doug Ellis and David O'Leary in a tussle over the managers job. I'm not totally convinced by that although it would surely suit Doug for DOL to get so fed up that he walks?
Are we now to believe that all is ticketyboo at Villa? Not what some are saying at Bodymoor Heath, that is for sure.
Are we to believe that none of the players or management staff are unhappy at the lack of direction at Villa? Are they all pleased the training ground re-developments are on hold due to no funds OR the fact that Doug Ellis said at the AGM that the money for this development was 'ringfenced'? How many lies do we have to face before the truth is finally told?
So the players, according to this statement, must be looking forward to the new season with no re-inforcements, no ambition and no leadership. Maybe they could all put their names to a joint statement supporting Doug Ellis then? Maybe the manager will do the same? Not one forced on them by the dictatorial 'menace of B6', just one from themselves telling us that all is well, they aren't all unhappy and won't all jump ship at the first sniff of a possible transfer.
They couldn't release such a statment because it would be untrue. No matter who released the initial statement, it sums up what all involved at Villa say privately.
As the Mail said yesterday, 'So, once again, we demand: Just go, Doug, and, for God's sake, take O'Leary with you!'
One attempt that we haven't tried before is to ask nicely. Maybe we have all missed a trick. So, here goes, lets see if this works.
Dear Mr Ellis. PLEASE, please, please, LEAVE VILLA PARK NOW.
Date:Sunday July 16 2006
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