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So How Many Players Do Aston Villa Require?

So How Many Players Do Aston Villa Require?

It is my belief that this summer poor Mr O'Neill is going to be hounded, barracked and slated by quite a few Villa fans. Significant numbers of people couldn't contain or control themselves when we signed Zat Knight and in particular Marlon Harewood - accusing Mr O'Neill of undershooting the expectations of the club.

I'm one of the O'Neill fans, and have written about this before, but when I try to express my belief that he has a plan and we should trust him, I sound well….less than convincing. So, the only way I can relate to Mr O'Neills task this summer is through playing Football Manager. [Bear with me on this] I have a process I go through regularly in that game to satisfy myself that I have depth in the squad. It's pretty simple really, I write down the major positions, and who can play in them. If someone plays two positions, I call them a ½ player for each position. If someone doesn't normally play, but might get a few chances a season I call them an (R). Similarly with youth players, I call them an (R) too.

So what do we have at the Villa then? This would be how I assess the current squad - you can argue it if you like, but this is my assessment.

(R) Taylor

(R)O'Halloran (Out until Feb?)


½ Gardner

½ Maloney

½ Maloney
½ Petrov
½ Gardner

½ Petrov
½ Gabby

½ Gabby

This is how I've seen the team this season.

Let's add it up, and I'll also put down what I'd personally like for each position, and how I would breakdown the composition (ie in Centre Back, I'd like 3 big name first teamers and 2 reservers)

Total [I`d Like] plus breakdown

GK 1R [3] 1 + 2R
LB 1 + 1R [2½] 1 + 1R + ½
CB 3 [5] 3 + 2R
RB ½ [2½] 1 + 1R + ½
LW 1½ [2½] 1 + 1R + ½
CM 4 + 3R [5] 3 + 2R
RW 1 + 1R [2½] 1 + 1R + ½
FWD 2½ + 1R [4] 3 + 1R

I've written down what I'd consider to be a good squad - it's 27 players in fact. There's enough competition for places without things getting out of hand. So where are we short?

GK 1 + 1R
LB ½
RB 1 + 1R
RW ½

So, if I was made boss tomorrow, I'd go looking for the following regular big name players

1x right back
1 x keeper
1 x right winger

The following backup/young players who are prepared to bench warm
2 x centre backs
1 x right back
1 x left winger
1 x keeper

The following utility players would be on my horizon though not top priority
1 x RW/FWD
1 x LB / CB

Now, here's the thing.

That all assumes I'm not looking oust any of the current first teamers. This would give me the support function necessary for the squad to function within reasonable injury/suspension criteria.

For sure Mr O'Neill will be looking to improve the first 11 too, but he's also sure to go buy less exciting players for the squad.

And I for one think it'll be a good thing.

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

Date:Tuesday May 20 2008
Time: 3:48PM


I'm not good at Math! :p
Fan of Blues
20/05/2008 16:03:00
A very comphrensive breakdown. I don't pretend to understand a word of it, but may I sum up? We need bodies.
20/05/2008 16:05:00
Well said Saurat!!
20/05/2008 16:08:00
Good shout!
The Fear
20/05/2008 16:12:00
A bit complicated, I think I understand, and agree with most of it! IMO the regular big name players needs to be increased by a quality forward. Goalie, right back, right side midfield and striker. We then need squad players at goalie, right back, centre half, left back and maybe two centre midfield. Easy, but who? I don't pretend to know enough about the foreign market, so I will stick to players with premiership experience (mostly!). In goal..Scott Carson (I think he wiil develop into a very good keeper) and possibily the American dude..Right back...Justin Hoyte and maybe Steven Carr..Left back..Nicky Shorey...Centre back..Gary Cahill (seriously haven't got a clue)...right side..either James Milner or David Bentley (yes please)...centre mid..Zoltan Gera (versatile) and Steve Sidwell. That just leaves a striker...Thierry Henry of course!!!
20/05/2008 16:24:00
I have it on good authority the Barry thing is a done deal......
20/05/2008 16:24:00
Dont think it is too hard to understand, plus he has obviously put alot of thought into it. Plus his final total is at the bottom for all to see. Remember what your Maths Teacher always said "show calculations", evoflash has, well done mate.
20/05/2008 16:27:00
"I have it on good authority the Barry thing is a done deal......" Go on then, joff, share your source with us! (That's the person who told you, not your ketchup!) :o)
20/05/2008 16:37:00
Good authority my ar$e!!
20/05/2008 16:38:00
WTH?! I think if you add the sum total and divide by 7 it equals, we must do better. The last 2 transfer windows have been dissapointing. We have a great crop of young English guys which must be our best selling point but we have to show our hand and make early bids on the likes of Bentley and Micah Richards to show real intent. That would show we mean business. What about Santa Cruz as 20 goal a season purchase.
Mister Mick
20/05/2008 16:46:00
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