Date:Friday February 8 2008
I'm sure I'm going to get some flak for this post but I really don't think enough of us are realistic about what we should achieve this season or indeed possibly even next season. I'm certainly not saying we shouldn't set our targets high but as with most performance management criteria there should always be a Threshold, Target and Stretch.
Personally I would say our Threshold this season has almost already been achieved already which is to finish higher than last season. Our Target should be to try and sneak in to a UEFA spot and the Stretch would be the Holy Grail that is Champions League qualification. Realistically, Target and Stretch should probably be the same for the next couple of seasons at least and then we should be looking to mount a serious challenge on the Prem BUT these things take time. You can't build a title winning team inside 2 years. Martin O'Neill has been spot on so far, identified the players from the inherited squad he wants to keep, promoted some of the younger players and brought in a selection of players who have improved the quality of the squad in areas we were lacking - in my opinion the only mistake MON has made in the transfer market was letting JPA go, how he'd have loved to be playing with a player like Ashley Young in the team.
I respect MON for not rushing out and signing players left right and centre IF he feels they do not add the required quality to the side. If we suffer a run of injuries and suspensions I would rather he continue to give some of the home grown players their opportunity. Let's not forget that the players we are left with for the remainder of the season are the ones that have got us to where we are in the table and there's no reason to doubt that they can't continue to keep us up there.
But let's also not forget that this is a 5 year plan and we're just over half way through year 2. When year 5 comes around we all hope that we're going to be challenging the big boys but we should always remember that they have all had quite a headstart on us and moving into the elite 4 is going to take patience. We are a club on the up and let's be positive about it, let's enjoy the improvements that have been made since Randy Lerner and MON arrived but please, please, please let's stop the bickering and sniping which was justified under the Ellis era and be thankful that those days are behind us.
Up the Villa
Date:Friday February 8 2008
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