Aston Villa - The O'Neill Achievement
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The O'Neill Achievement

There's plenty we don't know of, I'm sure both Randy and the General will have gained tremendously by his input, especially in the early days.

His signing for the club, despite the 'vague' circumstances was a tremendous boost, after the Ellis / O'Leary debacle. His New Manager impetus lasted well into the second half of the season, and his signings last January worked at the season end to give us a decent 9 match run, to finish twelfth.

He brought a more defensive approach initially, which led to more draws than wins or losses, but it stopped the slide and though whilst not as impressive as some previous managers first seasons at Villa, Villa showed a tenacity not to lose often missing before his entrance.

Work in clearing out as many dissidents as possible led to a much smaller squad than ever before and a failure to lure players, meant this season started with a squad well below even I'd guess his own meagre requirements.

Still, he now had a defence that although without a real right back for the first time in a long time, looked the business. In goal he put a top prospect which must have helped in the early days, as few goals were conceded until October when they conceded 4 too often.

Midfield was strengthened, just, and the form of Ashley Young gave all a huge boost, although the in and out form and appearance levels of Petrov and Carew didn't help.

Later in the year saw a new resilience and fight about the team, they no longer appreciated when they were beaten and subsequently they rarely are.There are still problems of course but should O'Neill leave tomorrow what he would leave is a far better prepared squad than the one he originally took over. It is at last a squad not a number of individuals.

The players know what to expect, what is expected, the stability he has brought allied to the generosity and wise head of the Owner, has meant there is no longer the publicly fought out unrest, we associate at Villa, under Ellis. These days, on and off the field, its generally good news. So the climate under O'Neill is one of stability and promise for the future, which can only be good.

On the field the first 14 can do a decent job without fear, and as long as the medics keep their fitness levels up, a small improvement to a top half finish is assured come May. There are downsides of course, but others can elucidate, but for me Martin O'Neill hasn't done a bad job, for the club, its far bellow what I'd hoped when I heard Lerner had bought the club, but its far better than what would have happened if he hadn't and if O'Neill had not signed.

That's a big achievement, well done Martin, now lets see you really take us forward.

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The Journalist

Writer: avfc48 Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Wednesday January 9 2008

Time: 5:46PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

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Brilliant manager!
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09/01/2008 18:00:00

I am shocked , avfc48 has written an article that doesnt include moaning after a defeat. You must of read all the comments after your last arcticle well done! a positive article, a good read. I think slowly but surely villa are getting there, and im thankful that we have o'neill, just look at newcastle, thats a rocking ship if ive ever saw one.
Report Abuse
09/01/2008 18:01:00

I think there are too many people with short memories, who have too quickly forgotten just what a state we were in in Ellis' last season. I think MON and the board are doing a great job and are rebuilding the club on solid foundations. Just what did you hope for when you heard Lerner had bought the club? Massive investment for immediate but short term success a la Chelsea? I personally see echoes of Man Utd in Villa. They didn't win anything in Sir Alex's first three years, but look at them since. I hope we go on and build a real dynasty at Villa Park under O'Neill, based around a young team who grow and develop together and then potentially play together for the best part of a decade. From where I'm standing we have every chance of doing just that and I for one am very satisfied with the way things are going.
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09/01/2008 18:07:00

Haha, Jon.H, just wait for the abuse now you've compared us to united, I see OneAaronLennon in our future. However, I do see what you're saying, and I agree to an extent. We won't experience such success so quickly, obviously, because the game has changed so much, but there are comparisons to be made. I also think we have to stop criticizing MONs transfers. Yes, we all expected more, but look at what he's done with them. IMO we need to show more faith than we do, as he clearly knows what he is doing, although the sooner we get shot of the crazyfrog the better if you ask me. Poor poor marlon.
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09/01/2008 18:23:00

Good Article 48.The table does not lie, and we are definitely a united football club on the up.At the start of the season I noted let's hope we are best of the rest for January transfers.And here we are, the cups could have been better but if Martin get's the players he wants and I personally believe he has the full support of the chairman, we could have a great finish.It is still too early to get above our station, but with the best gates in years and a strong passionate counter attacking side, we are in good shape.So Europe next season and those floodlit Thursday nights down at VP, hopefully leading onto Tuesday and Wednesdays, times are good. UTV
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09/01/2008 18:27:00

Jon.H, what you've written is exactly what i've been thinking for a while now. I can definately see the same echoe's as you see with Man U. I like MON's style and approach, as I believe it will reap a lasting success. AVFC48, a fair and positive article!
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09/01/2008 19:41:00

A great manager we are very fortunate to have him, given 1 he never got the England job and 2 the state of the club when he came in, I feel it was RAL that appointed him not Deadly. I think it was a gift by RAL to Doug " thereyou go Doug unveil MON to the fans before you hand over the keys. As I said a great manager. a good article AV.
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09/01/2008 20:19:00

Progress is being made on all fronts. All Hail MON, Randy and co. The club was in the death throes when these guys arrived on the scene, the least they deserve is time and backing from the supporters to get the job done. A few knockers out there too blind to see exactly what is going on and being achieved. Fortunately they are very thin on the ground, and remain insignificant and unimportant. Carry on Martin.
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09/01/2008 21:35:00

Did 48 really write this? ..... I'm in shock
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09/01/2008 23:18:00

Nice one Cyril.
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10/01/2008 04:00:00

I bet he wrote this through gritted teeth. His default position is to complain, complain, complain. Two days after no-one agreed with a highly MON critical article he now changes tune completely? I don't think thats a coincidence. Having said that i do agree with most of what the article says, i just doubt its sincerity.
The Usual Suspect
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10/01/2008 09:03:00

I think that about sums it up nicely. We are moving forward and the club looks in good hands both on and off the pitch. However I believe that we can not rely on lots of big money transfers in the forseeable future. M'ON needs to identify previously unknown talent that can be had at bargain basement prices but that may well yield masive returns in the future. Instead of buying a 10 million player we need to find them and then make them worth that amount. Players such as Anelka, Yorke, Platt, Beckham, Ugo and many many more. These players cost virtually nothing but were eventually sold for multi millions. I am not saying that finding uncut diamonds is all we should rely on but I would rather find another Mark Delaney than pay 6 or 7 million for Chimbonda, who in 3 years will be worth next to nothing. Chimbonda is 28 so has no resale value. Wages and transfer fee means he would cost the club in excess of 10 million. Find a 500,000 player with potential and in 3 years he would have cost maybe 2 or 3 million. Then you sell him for the sort of money Wigan got for Chimbonda and reinvest the profit in the club.
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10/01/2008 09:13:00

Can't argue with any points in the article. Everyone wants us to be top 4 especially with Randy's Billions, but they always told us it was a 5 year plan so we must be patient (God knows we have been under HDE.) Knew there was a Villa fan under there somewhere trying to get out and write positive articles. UTV
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10/01/2008 14:25:00

Dont know too much about Stearman, only seen him play twice (the two LC games against us), but Chimbonda could prove a useful acquisition for two or three seasons. Depends very much on the sort of figure Tottenham are looking for.
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10/01/2008 15:32:00

The only worry I have is that with the passing of each season the gap between the top teams and those below grows. Even spurs who under Jol kept finishing in the top 5, spent big this summer and are well below us. Blackburn, Everton, Portsmouth and now Man City have all graced the heady heights, but the usual suspects always seem to pull it off. At some time O'Neill has to be able and of course capable of making that leap, and the longer it takes the greater the competition. I can't see Newcastle making another managerial mistake, well maybe I can, I can easily see Spurs finishing higher than they are and jumping on next season. At sometime soon, we have to start competing on all fronts not just be doing amazingly better than expected.
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10/01/2008 17:21:00


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