Date:Wednesday August 1 2007
O'Neill recently suggested that apart from the difficulty he was having finding and competing for players, that with Liverpool spending how they had when they had what they had, it was getting even harder for him to catch up.
Its been ignored by most but its a very relevant supposition for a club with a 5 year plan, which culminates, I thought, in us achieving a top 4 place consistently.
When the plan was proposed, agreed, released, publicised and became the basis of fans hope, things weren't what they are now.
Liverpool weren't expected to sign 8 players, Spurs 7 now, and spend so much to do so, I'm sure, neither for that matter were most others.
On day one, the plan was built around a combination of components Its not just about spending millions on players its about rebuilding Villa into a viable club able to cope with and maintain a top 4 or
thereabouts position, to put us up with Arsenal, Manchester Utd, Liverpool and Chelsea.
Thing is ultimately, one factor alone has to be achieved before the 5 years plan can be said to have succeeded and that's success on the pitch.
So whilst all the other components are important in their own right, essential even, finishing with enough points to put Villa in one of the European Qualification positions is the deciding factor.
To achieve that Villa need players of the quality throughout the side like those teams I've mentioned. We could be lucky they could come from within the youth system, but we'd have to be very lucky.
So we need to purchase them.
Not a problem ?
Well those who have, already get the best and to get to them it means big spending not once, twice but every transfer window and when the best of those there, already spend greater, the need to beat that spend becomes greater.
There is of course a chance one of those there will falter, Arsenal they say, but Villa aren't the only one with these ambitions Newcastle, Spurs are closer than most, having invested heavily, I'd dare to suggest Man City have a dream ticket perhaps, they certainly have one of the if not the best manager able to do it.
The increase in billionaire owners has added to the problem too, when the plan came forth there weren't anything like the quantity we have now, and its increasing as is the level of spend. Villa's problem, O'Neill's problem is that the need to spend more as prices inflate, to stay still has increased, spending small means you either have to be very lucky or very good, better in fact than managers who have already consistently shown with in some cases several clubs.
A manager might be able to produce a team capable of finishing 5th, 6th, with make do signings, which might mean a European qualification. To be certain though there's a need for the big spend, and now, because the possibility that prices and demand will decrease is I'd suggest as likely as Blues winning a trophy.
Date:Wednesday August 1 2007
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