Writer: J P Fear
Date:Monday July 23 2007
Interesting article by Tony Cascarino in The Times today - (O'Neill must think big and spend big )
To paraphrase, Martin O'Neill, spend some money, make Villa great again!
In a less flippant summary, he says that O'Neill is 'one of the best managers in the business' but then questions what is happening at Villa and why the millions available aren't being spent.
The stated aim is the Champions league and yet the transfer window hasn't exactly been an active one to date for the Villa and Cascarino questions the purchases of both Marlon Harewood who he says is a 'hit-and-miss striker' adding 'last season he could not hold down a place in a team who were flirting with relegation' and Nigel Reo-Coker (who he says hasn't take us any further because he just replaced Steven Davis who was surprisingly sold to Fulham.)
He also questions why we've not gone for the likes of Scott Parker, Joey Barton (no thanks) or Mark Viduka but adds 'I do not want to have a dig just for the sake of it, because for getting the best out of players, nobody comes close to O’Neill. He makes average players good and good players great, but can he make great players fantastic?'
As a former Villan, Cascarino says he knows that us Villa fans won't tolerate being made to watch 'direct football' something we've been force fed through the last few seasons and he does have a point, I must admit I expected more than what we got at times last season with the long ball passes to John Carew - who is a far better quality player than just a big target man - and I don't think we should be subjected to that this coming season, the performances of the last few games is what we all deserve to see. Leicester City were successful playing a certain way BUT that isn't what will bring success these days, not at a club with a billionaire owner and pretensions for the Champions League. So to move on, we have 4-5 weeks left to bring in the right sort of players to help push Villa upwards.
Cascarino questions 'If Tottenham Hotspur can buy players such as Darren Bent for £16.5 million, why can’t Villa? O’Neill does not need any advice from me, but if I was him, I would be moving heaven and earth to sign players such as Jermain Defoe. Players who defenders hate playing against. Players who can score for fun. Players who can make Villa great again.'
From reading the forums and speaking with fellow fans, I don't think Tony Cascarino points out anything differently to what we are all already talking about. Where are the big signings, where are the big name players and when will Villa put down a marker of intent? Harewood is a fair enough squad player but as Cascarino says, he won't get opponent defenders 'quaking in their boots'.
I must admit the comments from Martin O'Neill last week about not being in the business of bankrupting a club and worrying about the cost of transfers worried me. (Villa Boss Worries On Transfer Costs) We aren't close to going out of business, there is a good amount of tv money to spend even if Randy doesn't want to dip further into his pockets (he funded the Petrov and Young signings). The prices of players are the prices of players. You either pay those prices or you remain a mid table club. Surely he should target the players and the club should decide what they can and can't afford?
We've let a good few players go, we need to now replace them, if not there will be no point Martin O'Neill saying the squad is too small again, he had a case last season, but not this season now he has let Davis, Gavin McCann and Aaron Hughes leave, all squad players who would have given us extra options.
It is easy for the punters and us internet fans to pass these judgements, it must be more difficult in reality but then, that is why the managers are on million pound contracts, so basically, over to you Martin, our poll asks about this and 60% at the moment are saying they'll give it two more weeks and then if there are no more signings, they'll panic!
Give it 2 more weeks, then I'll panic! (60%)
Plenty of time, no panic (17%)
Worried, decent players have moved elsewhere (10%)
Not many transfers made anywhere, not worried (7%)
Panicked, we need to buy now (6%)
Come on the Villa!
Date:Monday July 23 2007
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|2.||Pride of Lions||852|
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|15. Aston Villa||9||3||1||5||-10||10|
|16. Crystal Palace||9||2||3||4||-3||9|
|17. Leicester City||9||2||3||4||-4||9|
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