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Claret & Blue & Totally Confused

Villa boss Martin O'Neill has confused me. Ok, it isn't difficult to confuse me I admit but he has repeatedly said that there is no cap on spending and that Randy Lerner will back him in the transfer market. Ok, that bit I am clear on and know for myself anyway, the club have money and are willing to spend. Fine, all well and good.

Next up he says we have a 'nucleus of a good side'. Ok, I'm clear on that, I agree we have some good players and some bright young prospects and have brought in one very good addition in Nigel Reo-Coker. The other one I'll reserve judgement!! So far, so good.

Next up he says he is still looking to strengthen, fine, we've heard it all summer but ok, he is wanting who he wants and hopefully we'll get them before the window closes at the very least.

All clear so far.

Now this bit confuses the hell out of me.

'Ideally I would like to go back to the size of squad that we had at the end of last season. We've lost six or seven players and only improved it by two so far.'

Notice the problem? We've let players leave a squad that Martin O'Neill (and David O'Leary before him) rightly said was too small. Now if it was too small last season, why would it not be too small this season if we match the numbers in the squad?

I understand we'll have hopefully improved the quality of the squad although Marlon Harewood - no disrespect - isn't the best example of that. Surely you would buy in quality before off-loading the players you don't want though? We all know injuries dig deep in football and then we have the same situation we had last season with not enough cover. Both Stuart Taylor and Thomas Sorensen got injured last season meaning we had to loan a keeper, before the season has already started we Sorensen is again injured so not a great start there? Then we have no recognised right back, let alone back up?

Confused? I am. I know to question amongst some is seen as sacrilege and don't get me wrong, the last thing I want is a manager merry-go-round, but you do have to laugh, all the years we've had managers saying there is no money and they need players, now we have money and a manager unwilling or unable to act decisively in the transfer market.

Never an easy thing being a Villa fan is it? Looks like it isn't that easy being the Villa boss either. I noticed an article title on Villa Talk that said Aston Villa - UnPrepared. Hmmm.

Fasten your seat belts, it could be a bumpy ride.




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The Journalist

Writer: J P Fear Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Wednesday August 8 2007

Time: 12:11PM

Your Comments

Yeah O'Neill has made a boob with that comment.
still skeggy
Let's wait until the window slams shut before we pass judgement.
pongogidman
I do not see any problem in having the same squad size as at the end of the last season if there will be no "dead-wood" like Djemba Twins or Hendrie or someone "crappy" else counted in this squad size... This size of squad with all-quality members would and should be enough to achieve Euro-place. So there will be 5 more signings I hope...but quality signings of course.
Majkee
Good post Fear. We should be questionning the management
notthedougellisstand
The 7% in the poll thinking we're going to challenge top 4 with this squad need their heads examined....I do wonder about some of our fans at times.....
YatesyVillain
Dont panic eveyone MON has it in hand, if he doesnt get the players in by the end of August he will get them in Jan and if he doesn't get them in Jan he will get them next summer and so on and so forth.... :(
DeanoVilla
We shouldn't really be hoping this stage of the season though Majkee, they should be in the shirts and ready to be on the pitch! Other managers have managed it.
The Fear
I am getting fed up with the critisising of MON and his transfer policy, yes he may have lost out on a couple of signings and yes he may well have learnt to replace players before they are sold. He is not stupid but in fact much more astute that most of us on this site give him credit for. Give him the time and get off his back - yes everyone makes mistakes and learn from them. Signings will be here soon, all we need to concentrate on is getting behind the team on Saturday and giving us that extra man (RB). Pleanty of time but it will come good believe me.
KSarge1
jeez, i can't wait till the bloody transfer window is shut so we know whether we are in the **** or not!
splatt
As was pointed out somewhere - I manager isn't going to criticise his chairman. I don't beleive there is money for players. You say villa managers have harped on about the lack of cash - true - but for a long time a lot of managers insisted Ellis was backing them in the transfer market - until a succession of managers failed to land players. it became obvious then despite managerial denials - there was no cash - whatever MON says I don't beleive there is money.
qKing
Mellberg can fill in at RB on Saturday - he is good in that position. Taylor,Mellberg,Laursen,Cahill,Bouma,Barry,NRC,Petrov,Young,Gabbi,Carew - No problems at all with that team.
KSarge1
I have to admit that I am now worried. I think we do have a fantastic board and the best manager we could wish for, however, I do feel let down in this transfer window. The board have worked extremely hard to gain the support and trust of the supports back, but they are risking losing this and burning their bridges if they do not buy any quality signings to help our squad, and soon. MON is a fantastic manager, however I do feel he has boobed in this window. It isn't as if he has 4 weeks like the Jan transfer window to get players in. Negotiations could have started in May and to hear comments now in regards to negotations continuing I cannot see us adding as much as our squad needs it.
PaulG
TBH qKing, I would love to argue and say there is money but we have seen no proof this this summer.
PaulG
If Craig Gordon chose Sunderland over Villa, fine. It's a nice, comfortable little Scottish Village between Edinborough and Middlesburgh). If it was because we were haggling over a price, as has been rumoured, then we have to ask questions. Players are going to be worth what other clubs are prepared to pay for them, and we have to look to accept that (as we are told about the signing of Young Ashley). 9m is a huge amount for a keeper, and possibly next year, when all these clubs are spent, the 'next Craig Gordon' might only have a market value of 6m). The risk is, if the theory is to buy when all the other clubs have spent up, that you get a Fulham or Blackburn that get bought out by a Pol Pot with bulging pockets next season who keep prices high. However right now, which is when we need players, a young, rising current club captain (like Reo-Coker or our other rumoured target, Curtis Davies) who could excel and fill a place in the team for years to come? What disappoints and confuses me is that he fits EXACTLY the type of player we are looking for, and a crucial position. In this age of honesty at the club, it would be nice to know why he didn't even get to Villa Park for talks.
LeoTheLion
Hey Leo, good to see you about mate!
The Fear
In defence of the board they spent money on Petrov 8.5m, Young 8m up front, Maloney 1m before this window. This would equate to 17.5m. This was before any money came in. This window there has been a net spend of 4.2m. Reo-Coker 8.5m and Harewood 3.7m offset against outgoings of Davis 4m, McCann 1m, Hughes 1m and Ridgewell 2m.
notthedougellisstand
Nice comment splatt...at first we couldnt wait for the window to open, now we want the bloody thing to shut again! Its been one hell of a rollercoaster this summer (even if it was crap one!)
son_of_cher
I've seen nothing to say Gordon has joined Sunderland, nothing on their official site, nothing but rumours. He drove down to the midlands last night. He will need to spend a bit longer than a few hours to make a decision. The northern press have it in for Villa, so until he is paraded in a SAFC shirt then I'll ignore it. As for the rest, lets wait and see. Its getting very late, but defenders don't need much time to settle, we are good going forward now, lots of pace and confidence.
astonmilan
I 've just raised this on the transfer thread, I believe this has a lot to do with the sell on fees of the players and the clauses. If you are paying near 10m for a player you want some kind of guarantee of control and return on investment IF (and that's a big IF in Gordon's case) the price RISES. You only have to look at what a mess we've made of this in the past (Ugo, Crouch and Alpay spring to mind). Teams like West Brom, Hearts quite rightly want the customers to pay top dollar AND have money is the price goes up - they win both ways.
tarzan
Although im disappointed with the lack of transfer activity up until now, its very easy to look over your shoulder at other teams transfer dealings, but generally speaking (and excluding ludricous transfers involving the top 4 teams) i havent seen too many players move clubs this summer that ive thought 'thats a player we desperately needed'. Players like Alan Smith would be nice, sure, but he cant play centre back, and he cant play right back. And taking Man City as another example i bet Sven hasnt even seen half the players play that have come into Man City. Villa steadily improved last season, and i'll bet we do the same again this season.
andrew144
MON is too much of a nice bloke and doesn't want to waste any of RL's money. You have got to be ruthless in this cutthroat business. SPEND SPEND SPEND, BUY BUY BUY (take a leaf out of svens book @;-)
Villan444
I have remained steadfast in my belief all summer that MO'N would deliver but I've gotta hold my hands up. Something has gone terribly awry in the last 4 weeks that has given me grave doubts about the future. Our already small squad is decimated and we are totally unprepared for a long, hard season. We had the spotlight on us this summer - a lot of players and a lot of other clubs were watching us closely to see exactly what kind of muscle we have under the new regime. Not just financially but also an increased ability to be able to lure the top players to come and play for us. The simple truth is we haven't punched our weight. I agree with one of the posts above that states there are very few players who ahve moved this summer that I envy other clubs of signing, and if they are weren't MO'N's targets then it's irrelevant anyway. However, what I find totally unacceptable, if not drastically negligent, is selling before replacing on the scale we have. If players like Aaron Hughes and Steven Davis were allowed to leave and players were lined up that have fallen through (which I believe could well have been the case), that's forgivable up to a point. That's the way it goes some times and life ain't always fair. But we don't appear to have learned from these instances because last week we've sold another player (Liam Ridgewell) before replacing him. Now if we can bring in Curtis Davies, that would be very good news as he would be improving us in that position. But until his services are secured, why have we agreed to let a player who can still step in and do a very competent job for us go? I find it absolutely mystifying and I'm at a total loss as to explain our strategy in the transfer market now. It's not just the lack of the kind of signings we all hoped for - it's as much about our suicidal willingness to keep selling off our assets with no apparent sign of replacements in sight. MO'N has dug an almighty hole for himself over the course of this summer, and it gives me absolutely no pleasure to say this because I love the man and believe he was the best choice to take over the team last year, but at the moment he seems intent on only digging that hole deeper. The honeymoon period is over. Last season was one of transition - this year it's about results. We're not gonna win the league and we're probably not going to break thetop four. But anything less than UEFA Cup qualification this year (and that means as low as 7th place) has to be considered failure. At the end of last season, there was nobody outside of the top five that was not within catching distance. Everton, Bolton, Blackburn, Portsmouth, Reading - solid sides with a couple of particularly good players. With the right additions, there's no reason we couldn't be going into this season confident of overtaking these clubs. The opportunity has been there. The resources are there. We have every right to ask why we haven't made those necessary additions but either way, failure to catch these teams cannot be seen as an acceptable return for this season. That is a realistic ambition and its high time we starte holding our club accountable to results. If we finish 10th this season, some will say that's progress over our 11th place finish last year. Well, technically it will be. But it won't be good enough. We have got to compete. We say we're a big club and we have to start acting like one. Everything's coming together off the field but it means nothing if you don't get it right on the pitch. Last season, it wasn't MO'N's team. He didn't have a summer to prepare the squad. He had to work with what he had. He's now had plenty of time to make this HIS squad and whatever money he spends between now and the end of the transfer window, MO'N has to deliver this season. There are no more reasons or excuses why we can't be going into this season to compete. It's as simple as that.
Alec
MON can't settle for buying 2 or 3 players who he thinks are perfect players at the perfect price and put all his eggs in one basket. You have to buy 5 or 6 players and hope 2 or 3 of them work out. That is what happens at the big clubs and that is how you win. You have to spend money to make money. We needed Gordon and we could have had him WEEKS ago.
Scot Dutch
Well that didn't happen and I guess we should move on there is no point crying over split kilts
Christo
A few months ago there was great joy on this site because Steve Stride had left the club. I thought then that this had been a mistake and wonder now if we are seeing his loss. Whatever people may think of his service to Herbert, the point is that here was a man with over 20 years of transfer dealing experience. Other than MON no-one at the club has ever worked in the market before. You can't replace experience with just brave words.
Gordonsleftboot
Confused aint the word for it mate.
jonah
Fair point Gordon, but we may have ended up with ropey loan deals and the type of fan appeasing panic buys of previous years. I don't know.
tarzan
Questioning MON's summer transfer dealings, or lack of, is not sacrilege. It is exactly the sort of response that this complete and utter shambles of a summer (transfer market wise) should be sounding from the lips of Villans everywhere. Selling players without replacements has been a shocking decision, leaving us in the lurch, while other teams have strengthened on account of our generosity. I cant believe that we are entering the new season without a specialist right back, yet we allowed the likes of Luke Young, available at a bargain price, to move from Charlton to Boro completely unchallenged a couple of weeks or so back. We lack depth virtually all over the park, not a situation any of us expected after the drum beating from the CEO and chief scout only last June. Record season ticket sales have been achieved on the back of those hollow words. O.K., the window remains open until August 31st. I understand that, but find that argument irrelevant. New signings should be onboard by now, have enjoyed pre-season training at BH and played in the tour games. Jeez, we've had since mid-May to get our show on the road. We have been found very sadly lacking.
glensider
Couldn't agree more Glensider
notthedougellisstand
i cant see Curtis Davies being a good buy for 8m, good player no doubt but 4m = hangeland, 3 for de jong, look abroad and buy fast dammit!
shortshadyuk
The new players we sign before now and the end of the seaaon better be worth waiting for and MUST be better than players we've missed out on. Anything less and some people better start answering questions.
son_of_cher
I notice that the transfer rumours have failed to appear today on the website. And coupled with the constant talk about transfers waiting to happen along with the previous promises, I get the impression that the club are pretty imbarrassed about this.
andrew144
And so they should be andrew144. This summer has been a cock-up of major proportions. Must say that thats an outstanding posting from 'Alec'. Written from the heart obviously. The Big 4 are about to become the Big 5 if Tottenham finally get it together on the pitch. The cash that Jol has spent will surely see them break into the elite? We though are getting left even further behind, thanks to this wasted summer.
glensider
Yea Spurs hve made some impressive signings and thats because they went a little bit extra with there money to get there players
Christo
Last minute signings i expect to see ;)
rk1888
longest post i have ever seen on vital and one of the best i have seen also from alec.mr fear should put this on our home page i reckon as the time has come,outstanding article.no one can put it any better than that. get your finger out MON please now FFS!!!!!
Belfast Villain
reminds me of VOTH where has he gone?? havent heard of him in ages.
Belfast Villain
alec that is one big post. paragraphs may have helped. retarded people like me find it difficult! but anyway, i think i have heard the same sentence written on this site more times than i have ever seen any sentence rewritten on anything, anywhere, at any point in time. and the sentence is...(for 5):
ric112
The Roller Coaster starts on Saturday, lets hope we all manage to stay on the ride as the season could be a long ride with more hoops than a tin of Spagetti.
col8
Isn't it obvious? Quality players are out there if you have the money.... and Villa apparently have. Take us (MCFC). Frank comes in and Sven splashes out. Six new players and some real prospects. 25 million+ spent with another 25 million to spend this year. All looks good for a top 8 place. I am willing to bet there won't be much between Villa and City (we have started from a lower base). The problem is either a) O'Neill doesnt have the clout that Sven has in attracting talent or b) Who are Aston Villa? I'd go for option a) but option b) could be relevent?
Aston Smithy
Smithy - Sven stated he was managing Utd in a press conference so maybe players think they`ve signed for them? Plus,apart from M.Petrov and Bresciano could we say we know anything about any of them,if they were worth that money seems strange no-one else was arsed?
ASPINALL
Sven couldn't really be bothered I mean he got all his players after watching some videos or DVDS and aint it funny that a former England manager aint signed any English players
Christo
No Christo its not. As Sven explained he has a great respect for English players, but no time for the ridiculous amounts of money being asked to part with them. Which I might suggest blows in the face of a manager whose policy is to buy British, read Celtic, and whose knowledge of overseas players is very limited, not having Sven's modern day worldwide contacts
avfc48
will front page now BelfastVillain.
The Fear
Being confused is all part and parcel of being a Villan. When aren't we?
glensider
 

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