Onwards & Upwards For Villa
What a difference a summer makes ! Going to Spain on a coach holiday wasn't the best I've had and certainly won't be doing it again. One thing got me through the agonising 48 hour round trip though, and that was the realistic chance that Doug Ellis would no longer be dictating my beloved football club.
The rumours of some American Billionaire and an Army pal taking charge to me were just going to be the same old tosh. Afterall, how many of us believed the Comer Brothers deal would conclude and oust the tyrant of so many years mediocrity, spin and penny pinching not to mention clearly stating once that he had gold and black blood in his veins... Wolves anyone ?
After so long, a new dawn and new era has now cast its shadow over Villa Park. For once I now have something to be happy about ! The rumour came true. We are infact, now owned by someone who cares AND has been quoted as saying wanting to put his 'heart and soul' into the football club AND it is the American Randy Lerner whom the Press were touting.
Could be no more than words to raise our spirits after so many years of garbage, underachieving, call it what you like. For me I do believe he is a man of his word, I mean what chairman would want to go to Scunthorpe on a miserable Wednesday night for his first game ? No offence to Scunthorpe fans.
Martin Samuel quite rightly said when discussing Randy Lerner's enthusiasm that you don't see Malcolm Glazer at Old Trafford very much do you ? So now we can look forward to a secure future and an owner who deep down wants to bring the good times back to VP.
As for the team, am I really watching the same team our old friend David had ? He was all too often stating they were honest lads and could ask no-more of them and that they were consistent in post match interviews. I would sit there every Saturday night waiting for MOTD to ask him about the days events and could predict it everytime ! honest lads etc etc but one thing was apparent. We were infact consistent, awful at defending, awful in midfield and awful up front.
So now it seems David was to blame, I can't believe what I am watching. The team are playing for each other, look like they are enjoying it and we are unbeaten. Martin has even said he'd like to have done better !!!
Whilst we are happy where we are and the fact we are unbeaten Martin wanted to be top as we should have taken three points off both West Ham and Watford. With only one signing in Stilian Petrov, who for me so far has been outstanding and the possibility of Didier Agathe being used we are doing superb. Its brilliant to see our Academy creating promising talent. When you look at the current squad and starting eleven we have Barry, Samuel, Luke Moore, Agbonlahor, Davis, Ridgewell, Cahill, Whittingham and Gardner who all came through the youth ranks.
Apart from Manchester United who else has brought the same amount of youngsters into there first team in such a short timescale? Admittedly we had injuries and O'Leary was forced to play them but it sure has paid off and they all have so far proved there worth and established themselves in O'Neill's future plans. The scary thing is, there are more youngsters on the way with Gordon Cowan's and Kevin MacDonald obviously more than proving their worth.
The formation we have been using is attacking which is nice to see along with resolute defending. For me, the most exciting graduate has to be Gabriel Agbonlahor. This lad really has talent, all he needs to work on is his dribbling. His pace is too much for most full backs and when he gets forward it brings the rest of the team into play i.e letting Petrov and Davis get into the box to back up Moore and Angel. All in all so far so good at B6. It seems Lerner and Krulaks Operation Aston Villa is now full steam ahead ! As for O'Neill's targets in January, I wouldn't like to guess at who is next in through the door as money is not always something O'Neill has had in abundance. He's that good without it, who knows what he could be like with it !?
Onwards and upwards for now. This truly is the new beginning for all us Villa fans as we have a reputation for moaning. This seems to be disappearing very quickly. All I can do is congratulate the team on a superb start and proving their ability and to Martin O'Neill for putting into practise what so many fans, journalists and managers have described him as. Here's to a fine season...
By Brian Brogden (AVFC Swindon & Wiltshire Supporters Club)