Writer: J P Fear
Date:Sunday September 9 2007
Martin O'Neill has spoken about Villa owner Randy Lerner and says that the performance and atmosphere at the Chelsea game was what he deserves for his investment in Villa.
The Villa boss told the official site:
'Games like Sunday - that's what Randy Lerner got into Premier League football for. That's the type of excitement that people yearn for. The place was rocking, it really was fantastic. I think he is of such a mind that a game like Sunday's stands out. That's what you would like to be the norm, but he's realistic enough to know it might not always be like that.'
He also says that Randy is experienced enough in sport due to his ownership of NFL club the Cleveland Browns to realise that to start to really compete will take time.
'....he's genuinely in this for the medium to long term. Of course I'm the eternal pragmatist when it comes to these things - you don't get that sort of time. But he has never expected instant results. I remember him saying in January/February that if we finished higher than we did the previous year that we'd say that was progress.'
Somewhat confusingly he adds, 'We by comparison to smaller clubs are trying to invest and that's great, but by comparison to the big boys, we're still well behind. But the fun of it is still trying to compete with those people when the level of investment isn't anywhere near what they've put in - not that he's ever said it, but there has to be a bit of sense to all of this. I would dread to think what the wage bills of some of the big clubs and some clubs not in the top four. I think we've got a real sensible structure here. Some of the players at this football club undoubtedly could earn more elsewhere - even in this day and age.'
Finishing, 'This is what I want - a group of young hungry players. I want a period of three or four years where the players grow together and feel this is all worthwhile. Nothing lasts forever, but this is the idea.'
That kind of suggests he doesn't think the big money backing is there doesn't it? You have to be careful with some of O'Neill's quotes because when he goes off on one he can cloud the issue rather than cast light on things...! My understanding is the money is there ready to invest and it is the manager and his team who highlight the players he wants to bring to the club. Still, I like the idea of young and hungry players, as opposed to those more interested in the bling and off field antics.
Oh, just to clarify, I'm not trying to stir anything up here, I'm genuinely confused at the latest statement from the manager as it totally flies in the face of what I think is happening at Villa.
Date:Sunday September 9 2007
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