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Tough Competition For Villa

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.




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The Journalist

Writer: avfc48 Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Wednesday August 1 2007

Time: 8:27AM

Your Comments

seems like Money is killing the Premiership if only it could go back to being about football instead of money and being a celebrity
Christo
and your point is? - We must spend big I suppose is what you are suggesting. Well I think spending wisely is more to the point. Only time will tell and that is something this club hasn't given a manager for 25 years. SAF spent wisely when he became Utd's amager and their fans were calling for his head when he hadn't won anything in his first three years - Look what happenned next - prudent transfer activity (occasional clanger) and a talented youth system. I will go out on a limb here and compare Villa to those early Utd days - Prudent transfer activity fused with a talented youth network - THIS IS THE RECIPE FOR SUSTANED GROWTH - I challenge anyone to disagree. So you see there is more than one way to skin a cat. We'll see who has the better method.
myleftfoot
I've been racking my brains for ages trying to figure MON out and the only explanation I can find is that he is convinced he has the basis of a side capable of getting in to Europe and is gambling big time by keeping his money for now in the hope that when we are in Europe he'll have even more cash to splash out on a better quality of player. Either that or he doesn't know his arse from his elbow. You decide.
DeanoVilla
There is nothing new going on here. the big clubs have always spent the big money. Yes players are getting more expensive every season, but again, there is nothing new there. However, not all these expensive players will be successful, the history of the game is littered with expensive failures. Good managers can still pick up bargains, those with an eye for young talent. MON surely falls into that category, everybody did a double-take when he paid what he did for Ashley Young, but he is already looking like a bargain.
jonah
I agree with the comments of myleftfoot, but at the moment ,we have a number of problems that need to be addressed. We have only one RB, who is injury prone and out of contract, no second LB, apart from Barry who is much better used in the midfield, we have a want away CB(Ridgewell) because he can't play every game and questions about the GK. While the policy of prudent transfers is correct and right for the long term we have a problem NOW. If these issues are not addressed and money spent doing it, no matter how good MON and the present squad are they will not succeed. As a successful business manager I know that you cannot make progess by pretending problems don't exist. They must be addressed and, in this case, it means buying players, even at a somewhat enhanced value.
Obediah
Niall Quinn's article on the BBC website last week is far more insightful into what is actually happening with agents & transfer fees. AVFC48 is quick to point out the issues, but I would really like to know which players he thinks we should be signing? Matthew Taylor (8.5m), Craig Gordon (9m), Peter Crouch (20m) and Leghton Baines (6m) are just four random names that could have cost us in excess of 40m!. MON is after players who want to wear claret and blue - that's his top priority and you can't put a price on that. As I fan that's all I can ask for, I don't care about the the big time charlies on big bucks.
tarzan
Blah blah blah AVFC48.....enlightening us with the facts...I'm so glad you're here to brighten things up. Without YOU Martin would be lost. p.s. It's disrespectful to keep calling him O'Neill. We use MON around here.
koolbill
kool post!
tarzan
I don't get paid O'Neill's salary, I don't have the facilities of scouts agents or the insider knowledge any manager has so what point is there in me suggesting what players to bring in? Its not down to me, its down to the Villa manager. I'm assured money isn't the problem, I believe money isn't the problem but in the second season, the 3rd transfer window in which the club is trying to increase the quality of the squad to cope with a sustained Premiership season we have limited signings, when all but the enlightened with their advanced hindsight, expected better. I've already said the squad has improved in quality and the first 11 are better than for some years, but the backup squad is far poorer than at any time in recent years,as Sorensens, a player most enlightened want replaced anyway, injury has shown. We don't necessarily need to spend big, we don't necessarily need to spend the 20 to 30 millions yet, but we needed several more 10-15 millions well before we fell back on the make do, 3-5 millions and loan players, that now look, because of increased demand and prices and a seeming unwillingness to spend such, all we may get. As of now we haven't gained an inch on those above us, no matter how God like you think O'Neill's attributes are, he's going to be hard pushed should any of his 6 main players get injured in the first 3 games even if he brings in quality before the Liverpool game, simply because they will not have time to bring their bags with them let alone settle in.
avfc48
Money has to be spent, we need goalkeeping cover, we don't have a fit right back, etc etc. It is all well and good having blind faith, but there is a lot to prove and as the current squad lies, I don't believe we would be able to sustain a top six campaign unless luck really is on our side with injuries etc. IF we were going to go into the season as we are, then I'd question why we let Hughes and McCann go (I'd also have kept Jlloyd but that is a different argument, some rated him, some didn't and the only one that mattered was MON obviously didn't as he didn't give him a chance!)

Tarzan, I would point out that avfc48 isn't the manager on 1million a year, so not sure it is his job to target or suggest players.

Not a kool post, this site is run for fans, opinions and discussions, without it we'd be lost, or you lot would have to put up with just my crap, which would be even worse! lol
The Fear
Bugger, avfc48 posted before I did pointing out he isn't the manager! Oh well! lol
The Fear
It is interesting to see the split of fans. Some do seem to have blind faith, others are fairly optimistic, others are looking scratching their heads and wondering why Spurs, Pompey, West Ham, Man City etc seem able to get in there and spend and we are getting quotes about value for money and expensive prices. At the end of the day, you pay the market value - no matter how expensive - or you remain mid table. Be interesting to see which MON chooses because one thing is for sure, THE MONEY IS THERE!
The Fear
I'd like to see us all in 6 or 9 months time if we are in mid table because am sure we will have a lot of moaning to do
Christo
It is a bad thing to change a whole team in one go. Spuds have bought 7, we tend to buy 2 or 3 at a time so they have time to intergrate with the other players. It also seems that when we can we buy 2 players who are linked, ie; petrov maloney. nigel roc and marlon. Since when was avfc48 not the manager?
morky13villa
Fear, OK fair enough you've indicated here that we should have got in there and signed some of the players Spurs, Pompey, West Ham, Man City have.
tarzan
We have enough forwards and midfielders, of very good quality may I point out, to sustain a decent season. We WILL have a CB, RB and LB, yes LB coming in, plus a goalkeeper before the transfer window closes. It doesn't take as long for a defender to settle as it does midfielders or forward players...... lets remember Bouma is a CB, Melberg can play RB, Gardener can play RB, so a couple more defenders will do. To the McCann, Samuel and Ridgewell blah blah blah.....they obviously don't want to fight for their places, they just wanted a job, as did Davis, if you want to win things you have to train harder everyday, work for your right to start, they obviously thought they just needed to turn up and do a bit......good riddance and good luck in their new clubs.....hunger and the desire to compete is what we need..........so lets look forward to the season shall we.......if players come available and they want to play for our club first and not a big salary, fine. No more wasters please.
astonmilan
Astonmilan, can I ask on what information are you making the comment that 'We WILL have a CB, RB and LB, yes LB coming in, plus a goalkeeper before the transfer window closes.' The only indication we have from MON that we will be signing more players is the comment regarding a RB. I still believe we missed the boat with Luke Young. He would have been a good signing in a position that undoubtedly needs to be strengthened and at 2.5m was a bargain. I believe that if we DON'T sign at least 4 players before the transfer window closes then we will be in BIG TROUBLE again in November and December. Now before you all come on here and say MON knows this. Yes he does, I agree but can we all honestly say that it looks like he knows what he is doing because I'm beginning to think that maybe he doesn't. We all know that transfer fees have risen from the previous few seasons but we knew this in January when we paid nearly 10m for a player with just 6 months Premiership experience. The board and MON must have also realised this, if they didn't they were gravely under-prepared. I do believe that the money is at the disposal of MON but he is trying to sign players on the cheap. That is all well and good when you don't need those players but every club now knows that we need not just a RB (MON has told them so) but also a GK. I honestly hope I am proven wrong when the season starts and transfer window ends because I want nothing more than Villa to be a top 6 side again.
notthedougellisstand
good point not the doug, however 2.5 is what luke young is worth and not a bargain. He would have been a stop gap. I dont think we missed out, we didnt want him. there is enough experience at the back, we need a younger right back with pace. Smiler is the best comparison in terms of price and length of service. With villas much talked about 5 year plan luke young would not have lasted that long. Hangeland is better value at 3.5.
morky13villa
People keep talking about Hangeland but he is a CB. So unless you are proposing on playing Mellberg at RB (not good enough going forward), this would not solve the problem. Luke Young is 28 and would have been here for four years of that five year plan at which time hopefully we would be in position to sign a bigger and better player. Anyway doesn't matter now as he is at the Boro.
notthedougellisstand
No one seems keen on the Baggies players, price or quality reasons? or both?
tarzan
Tarzan, McShane was value for money and maybe worth a risk but I would much prefer an established RB. I've got mates who are Albion fans who say that Davies isn't as good a player as Joleon Lescott who went for a lot less money. They reckon he is a 5m-6m player at best in the current market. Most of that is due to the potential he has and not his current ability.
notthedougellisstand
The worst type of recruitment, in any business or profession, is the one where you settle for second best. We have no idea if MON's No 1 targets are unavailable or have rejected us? Regardless of how much we speculate the fact is, that since RAL & MON took up residence, the goal posts have moved again. With HDE we had no money, then suddenly we did. Now, all the competition have money. Point being, waving a big fat wedge of cash isn't going work, we have to "sell" players on the idea joining us and to do that, you have to have something to sell. While the truth hurts, we might as well get used to the fact that our new management has inherited a neglected and run-down product, that is appealing only to us, the die-hards. Anybody doubting that should name the players prepared to join us ahead of Chelsea, Utd, Arsenal, Red Scouse, Spuds, Newcastle or even Man City, and let MON have their phone no's. Let's get real, 20 years of neglect isn't going get corrected in 12 months. As for the last post, in one sentence how can you say "we paid nearly 10m for a player with just six months Premiership experience" and the next "money is at the disposal of MON but he is trying to sign players on the cheap". Contradiction or what? My guess is, that the players MON's "A" list didn't want to come here and the prices on his "B" list have been inflated beyond all expectations. Yes, money to spend but nobody to spend it on?
Stevew
Stevew, has MON said or not said that he is trying to find value for money ? What would that indicate to you ? Would it make you believe that he is going to go out and get the best possible player he can or would it say he is going to settle for second best if they are at the right price. Do you honestly believe that Harewood was a first choice signing ? I think Harewood may prove to be a good squad player but he was not first choice otherwise Villa would have gone for him as soon as Wigan's offer was accepted. So, understand that I was not contradicting myself, I was merely stating the facts. Also you say waving a big fat wedge of cash isn't going to work. Do you really think that Bellamy wanted to sign for West Ham ? He went there for the 75,000 per week he was offered. Nugent went to Pompey for the exact same reason. If you think it only comes down to selling the club then you are sadly mistaken and are living with the fairies. Players are the same as anyone else if you were offered more money to do the same job but for a smaller company you are going to leave. I agree that the club has been neglected for 25 years and it will take time to get us back into the top six but unless we actually speculate a little this will not happen. Ultimately the club is only as good as what is on the pitch. I think we have some very good players but we need more, if we are to challenge the top six this season. The players, management and board have been saying that this is what they want. This is also what every Villa fan wants so all I want is for us to show this as a club because this transfer window has been disappointing so far.
notthedougellisstand
Agree notthedoug. I also have to agree with avfc48 on this one re definitely needing more players in the 10-15m bracket to really lift us up there above the Portsmouths and the Boltons of this league. We can either believe MON just won't pay that at the moment, or we can believe that he's trying for the Lahm's and the Sneijders, but they just don't want to come to us at the moment....and maybe us not being prepared to throw the wedge at players isn't helping either? It's a crude tactic to attract players, but it works sometimes. However do you really end up attracting the right kind of players? Can also be very divisive to those existing players who are on lesser wedge.....
YatesyVillain
avfc48 gets pillored from post to post with every posting he makes, yet his comments and observations cannot always be dismissed lightly as just the ramblings of a permanently negative mind. He speaks sense, certainly on this occasion. The basis of a very good team is already at Villa Park, I genuinely believe that, but the collection of individuals that I witnessed performing over in North America are not yet realistic challengers for a top six spot. Admittedly it is very early days in our preparations match fitness wise for the upcoming premiership season, but there are glaring weaknesses in the team/squad that needs immediate and urgent action. Obviously Martin is well aware of these failings, and equally obvious I believe something has gone very much amiss with regards to our transfer dealings this summer. I can understand the club not wanting to pay over the odds in todays market, but sadly that necessity is confronting us head on, and unless we do so, we are not going to take that step towards reaching the next level.
glensider
MON will only bring in players he knows a lot about, he has never took many chances. And yes we will have defenders come in before the season starts, because we need them. MON knows a little bit more about the transfer market than any of us on here, and the last people to know will be us. It's his job, he knows what he's doing. This transfer window has been a joke, overinflated panic buys basically, Big Sam is doing exactly what MON is, working hard for the players he needs....it takes time....they have to fit in with everything at the club, with managers of this pedigree, Pardew and Co will buy just to buy and take stupid gambles on overated salary hunters. Most of the players being junked around aren't as good as their tags suggest, Hunger is what's required, hard to find though in a market full of primadonna's.
astonmilan
Notthedougellisstand......I don't want players coming to play for us for money......isn't 40k a week enough ? I watch Milan a lot and they have a wage cap of 80k euro's, Kaka was offered 140k euro's by Real Madrid, but he stayed because he is sold on Milan, all the players there are, and thats why they are successfull, it's a honour to wear the rosseneiri shirt. This didn't happen over night, or certainly with a five year plan, you instill passion into a team, the fans get with it, you win a trophy or two, get into europe, attract quality players who want to win things, establish yourselves as challengers on all fronts.......just like Spurs are doing now, but its took them time. It will take us time, we now have the best opportunity this club has ever had to do it, and it will happen, and when it does it won't be a one season wonder. Europe is our target this season.....lets enjoy the ride. If anyone on here knew anything about football management and the daily in's and out's of a premier league club, having to get a squad prepared to face Man Utd on a saturday come three O'Clock then we would be in a position to critisice..........CV's to VP if so please.......its easy to critisice........but much more fun to support
astonmilan
Mr Fear, how do you get crap through the filter?
Hoss The Villain
Blimey it does, wonders will never cease.
Hoss The Villain
Good debate today. I'm worried about the goalkeeping position the most. We need a decisive & confident keeper particularly in the big games, close games & derbies. We could potentially lose up to 10 points like last season.
tarzan
It a horrible feeling Tarzan, not knowing anything, with the clock ticking away. Goalkeeper is an absolute priority. I genuinely believe that the friendly against Internazionale at VP has been set up intentionaly to get any players who aren't sure sold on Villa and Villa Park. Fergie was renowned for it in his earlier years, any targets who are unsure such as Boswinga, Emana etc....will get the chance to see what Villa is all about, if they are there. What better than sitting behind a desk than a trip to our new training ground, tour of VP and then see the squad in action for real in a match day enviroment........but what do I know.......my glass is only half full
astonmilan
Man City are showing how it's done, that's three in a very short period of time. You guys might be right, we may need to splash the cash and not worry!
tarzan
yea but thanks to there new chairmen it could allcrumble if he is found guilty
Christo
Squeaky bum time to coin a phrase? This squad will be bottom 6,poor preparation on the verge of amateurish.On this occasion my fears seem to be coing true-i honestly think we`ve been blagged beyond belief ? Ticket Office was rammed today so maybe it`s just me!!!!!!!
ASPINALL
Hey asp, we have changed ok players for quality. Maloney for hendrie, reo for smiler, baros for jc, JPA (who had been my favourite) for a much younger and hungrier marlon, Ashley young for as it turned out davis. We need a couple of defenders and a keeper. Why panic, this team of ours is on the up, bott 6 is tosh.
morky13villa
No way will we finish in the bottom six before I heard a question on talk sport which was so stupid the question was who would finish higher ASTON VILLA or birmingham city what a joke
Christo
We`ll see.....? We have a crap defence but you are all correct around forward areas,Scum have purchased far,far better in this market .....so far.........Defences are the key BOYS.
ASPINALL
that and goals I guess
Christo
We have a crap defense ? Laursen, Mellberg, Bouma, Cahill, and now young O'Halloran coming of age. We only lost 10 games last season while a new manager was sussing out the team. Agreed Asp, it needs strenghthening and fast in case of injuries, but it is hardly crap. Man Utd's isn't that good compared to the other top three, but attack is the best form of defence, keeps the pressure off the back four. We have a good attack, very good in fact.
astonmilan
Ok,apologies - crap is harshly worded.
ASPINALL
aint that bad but dould do with more Danes and Swedes
Christo
I'd go so far as to say that in Defence and Midfield (first 11) we are more than a match for the likes of Tottenham who are really setting the benchmark for us at the moment (a lot of jealous glances across in that direction). Up front they are obviously stronger, and they also have a hugely deeper squad to select / rotate from - and that's been built up over the last 3 or so seasons. We all know where our probs are, which is basically RB and lack of squad cover (GK, CB) re capability in pushing for Europe. Get it sorted please MON.
YatesyVillain
I do also wonder about the current policy of cherry picking players for positions we need to fill. Agreed that we should have our main priorities, but clearly if someone strong becomes available in the meantime that you think could be a step-up, why not try to get him? I quite like the idea of going for a Taylor or a Baines and then pushing Bouma back into the centre alongside Laursen. At least that solves the CB cover, and also means if we truly can't get a specialist RB in, Olly is earmarked for that spot exclusively in tandem with Delaney.
YatesyVillain
Yatesy - that makes perfect sense ( you would think? ) We needed a quality keeper and RB in Jan and we`re still waiting.
ASPINALL
Tarzan, Man City "may" be showing us how it's done. Buying players won't get results. Buying the right players will. As for having a crap defence Aspinall, suggest you check your stats from last season? Although there's no doubt we need more defenders, I think you'll find scoring goals was the problem.
Stevew
Astonmilan you misinterpret my message I will support the Villa no matter what but I also believe I have the right to question the current situation. I pay my money and go to Villa Park (season ticket holder). I have remained patient on the issue of buying players but do believe that we are getting to the stage when the majority of the purchased players should have been at the club already. I believe we will have another Petrov situation where we have to wait for the player to settle into the club before we see the best of him. I believe we do have the nucleus of a good team but we need a first choice RB and GK plus a couple of squad players to ensure we are not in the same position we were in last year when we had a bare bones squad.
notthedougellisstand
Stevew as you know our solid defensive performaces last season were built around Laursen, who's injury prone. Lack of cover is my worry.
tarzan
As I said our first 10 are capable of giving as good as most. All last season O'Neill kept excusing results with the I didn't have a full pre season. Time and again fans had a go at me with that excuse. Later on he went on to say the squad wasn't big enough for him to cope with the injuries and suspensions and needed strengthening, he did something to avoid relegation in January and we were all assured by those who said I was panicking that he had a list and he would fill the squad and improve the quality. We have squad strength, improve quality and a full pre season Hang on 8 days of pre season left nearly 8 players out and 2.5 in, and Harewood improves quality. Oh dear. The only good point is that at least the limited squad we have is made up of players O'Neill will pick, part of our problem last season was his inability to pick players good enough
avfc48
Yep - so what you're saying is we lack depth in the squad. Agreed. So why are you having a pop at Harewood when he is obviously just squad cover? Are you saying if we went out and bought 3 or 4 players for 4m to bolster the squad that isn't good enough for "Phase 1" of the 5 year plan?
YatesyVillain
Goalkeeper, right back, and central defender please. Then I'll feel we genuinely have a chance of finishing top six.
glensider
It'll be very interesting come mid-winter time, to check back and reflect upon some of these comments.
glensider
 

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