Transfer Window - We've Improved
I've just read that anti-Mr O'Neill rant, and feel I should respond with my own perceptions on our situation. Remember - this is my perception, I'm not saying 'This is it'.
Let's look at the transfers
03/08/07 Liam Ridgewell Birmingham £2m
Questionable defender at best. Don't believe the hype, I've seen him. He had British Rail timing, Royal Mail distribution, and a PeeWee Herman tackle. Somebody should have explained what the penalty box denotes, and how offside works. Rejoice that Blues must now suffer.
25/07/07 Jlloyd Samuel Bolton Free
What the hell happened to him? Either way he was terrible. His lack of effort was nothing short of disgraceful.
19/07/07 Lee Hendrie Sheffield United Free
The only good thing about him was his 100% attitude. Shame he didn't have the ability to match. Off the pitch he was a complete loser, and not the type of professionally minded person we need.
05/07/07 Steven Davis Fulham £4m
Decent player, one-season wonder who clearly had an issue with his role at Villa park. Didn't play much last season - perhaps he didn't put the effort in? Maybe didn't believe in the Villa Team Mentality? I don't know. Man United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Spurs didn't even raise their eyelids when he became available.
05/07/07 Chris Sutton Retired
Good luck Chris
27/06/07 Aaron Hughes Fulham £1m
Shocker. Never had a good game ever.
13/06/07 Gavin McCann Bolton £1m
Smiler was hailed as the 'poor mans Roy Keane' - I don't know how poor you'd have to go. He had a few good games in fairness, but not the consistency we need. I always felt like we were compromised when he played.
31/05/07 Robert Olejnik Falkirk Free
In summary, a bunch of average players - the best of whom (Davis) wasn't the super player in his second season that he was in his first.
31/08/07 Curtis Davies West Brom Loan-£9m
Bedrock defender. More than adequate replacement for Olly. Bright future. He does have it all to prove to us, but it should not prove problematic for him. IS he the long-term Ferdinand replacement for England? I don't know. Maybe?
29/08/07 Zat Knight Fulham £3.5m
An uncut diamond. Kevin Keegan and Chris Coleman couldn't polish him, maybe Mr O'Neill can? A gamble, but an interesting gamble.
10/08/07 Scott Carson Liverpool Loan
The only transfer that concerns me. Villa shouldn't be loaning players, unless we have the option-to-buy.
01/08/07 Eric Lichaj Unattached Free
See - Mr O'Neill is an impulse buyer :-)
17/07/07 Marlon Harewood West Ham £3.7m
As per Zat Knight. Had a shocker last season. A bargain if he recaptures his prior form.
06/07/07 Nigel Reo-Coker West Ham £8.5m
The jewel in the crown. Reminds me of Steve McMahon (yes, yes let's hear the jokes, but he was a great player). A terrific future ahead of him. Has an attitude problem according to the media, but so did Roy Keane.
In summary, some gambles but in the main planning for the future with young(er) English players. Definitely a refreshing approach to transfers @ Villa Park. I remember when we were famed for buying older players. We've also appeared to have avoided the duffers for sale - just read Birmingham's players-bought-list if you're not clear what I mean.
We might have a gap at right-back, but it's clear from the interviews that Mr O'Neill has given that he has a plan for that. I agree that he will live or die by that plan, nonetheless it's a plan. His plan could work, stranger things have happened. I've no idea what O'Halloran is like, nor do I know if Davies is a good RB. I'm not on the training field all day, Mr O'Neill is. While I'm disappointed, and part of me wants nothing more than to drive up to Birmingham and tell Mr O'Neill just what a fool he is for not getting Glen Johnson, the rest of me says 'see what he's got planned'.
Now, I'm not stupid but I'm no good at tactics. When I watch Match Of The Day, I'm always amazed by the insights shown by Hansen et al. Don't get me wrong, I know my way round some pretty complex things, but tactics just fox me every time. However, what I see from Mr O'Neill is that despite obstacles he seems to pull things out of the bag. Not always, but he can do it, and does do it. I feel that perhaps the RB obstacle may be one of his own making and hence a pretty frustrating state of affairs, but it's all 'may be' and 'what if'. I haven't seen a terrible blatant problem @ RB this season yet. Yes, I felt we never got started against Liverpool, but I'll forgive him the first day of the season.
I look around at other clubs like Blues, Middlesborough and Newcastle and I feel we're in a much better situation than they are. OK so they're not the Tottenham's, or the Liverpool's of this world but Rome wasn't built in a day. We're not Chelsea. And to be honest I'm pretty glad of that. These boys will grow into stars. We won't be accused of buying the title. I look at where we were this time last year, with the players above, and feel we're also in a much better situation than we were last year. Maybe not perfect in every position, but on the whole, we're in what feels like a significantly better place.
We're all different. The Status-Quo isn't acceptable for some. I'm glad for these people. They keep the rest of us sharp. But I don't want to get depressed about our situation when it's not a depressing situation.
Moreover I'm excited about the future - we're going to get there. We haven't bought for the future in a long, long time, and it's thrilling now that we are.