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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.

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The Journalist

Writer: evoflash Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday May 20 2008

Time: 3:48PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

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I'm not good at Math! :p
Fan of Blues
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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.
Report Abuse
20/05/2008 16:05:00

Well said Saurat!!
Report Abuse
20/05/2008 16:08:00

Good shout!
The Fear
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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!!!
Report Abuse
20/05/2008 16:24:00

I have it on good authority the Barry thing is a done deal......
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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.
Report Abuse
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)
Report Abuse
20/05/2008 16:37:00

Good authority my ar$e!!
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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
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20/05/2008 16:46:00

Read the first 3 para's then bailed out. This is the way it is. Professor O'Neill could be accused of thinking he is so clever he can do it differently to everyone else. He can buy young or under-achieving footballers and improve them into top notch performers. Maybe he can, but we don't have time for that approach we players that can do it in the next match not the one six months from now. Harewood is a case in point. He can do it now. Had been able to do it at the start of the season who knows where we might have finished. This what we need for our match squad. Goalkeeper - not Carson - he won't get better as he gets older. TWO (2) full backs - Bouma can't play and Young makes him look good. A centre half - Davies is excellent but injury prone-Laursen could be the same at any time. Two midfielders if we keep Barry - 3 if we don't. A main striker - Big John cannot play two matches in 7 days - sad but true. That's a whole load of loot. Is he brave enough to spend it ????? Somehow, I doubt it. I still think he is great though.
Report Abuse
20/05/2008 16:53:00

Well i cant name names obviously but someone who is close to the family (well his Wife to be exact)..... look im Villa through and through and dont want it to be true so dont get me wrong i dont want it to be true either!
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20/05/2008 17:04:00

Ya ya, joff. So your second cousin's nephews neighbour knows a guy whos sister is mates with Barry's wifes hairdressers aunt who happens to be staying with you this weekend for the first time in 20 years or what?
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20/05/2008 17:22:00

what the hell? haha. i have played that game for over 10 years but never, ever, have I done anything like that. i would say though, that we need an AM R/C with pace 15+ and creativity 15+.
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20/05/2008 18:07:00

I think we're behind in this grand plan of MON and RL. If we're honest MON is a gem, the man for the job 100% BUT we we're VERY lucky with injuries last season. And before we start to rebuild and add quality to the squad we have to pay for Davies, sort out the Carson situation, replace Mellberg and find a genuine RB. £20m gone already. Then we need two more RB's another CB a LB, CM, Playmaker a RW and a 20 goal a season striker. Remember if we want a serious crack at europe and a decent run in the domestic cups then we need two teams. Either we change our expectations for next season (we also want a crack at breaking into top 4) or MON and RL need to get busy. Q. Are we allowing ourselves to get carried away and ultimately putting unwelcome pressure on AV
Mister Mick
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20/05/2008 18:33:00

My brain hurts!
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20/05/2008 18:38:00

Most of our current squad are just that, squad players. We now need players of Barry, Laursen and Young's quality in abundance to get to the next level. A lot of teams have players that carry others and we are one of them. For example, if we hadn't scored so many goals then our defence's and especially goalie's inability would have stuck out a lot more. Times are changing constantly and we have to stay ahead of the pack or at least keep up with them. Time for Randy to spend, spend, spend.
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20/05/2008 19:13:00

This is all b@#@@ everyone knows that MON is running a very tight ship to keep the morale high and ensure he can keep the players we have. I can see him adding only one or two. A goalkeeper (probably Carson and a righ back. That's it.
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21/05/2008 00:41:00

Formulas, trigonometry, drama and theory were never my strong points at school. Maths and science I understand is that you need lots, quality and quickly.
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21/05/2008 01:40:00

joff, you have a lot of things on 'good authority', and when someone comes up with that old line it usually means that they are speaking a load of twaddle. Thats my experience over the years anyhow. As for our needs, two keepers, a right full back, a left full back of sufficient quality to challenge Freddie, a central defender, another midfield maestro of the Steve Sidwell/Seb Larsson variety, wide right front player (Jimmy Milner anyone?) and a proven quality striker. Thats our minimum requirements. Good article evoflash. Definitely provides food for thought.
Report Abuse
21/05/2008 07:47:00

sounds like we can add stephen hawking to our list of celebrity villa fans!
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21/05/2008 11:06:00

Look's like we need about 10/15 players.
Report Abuse
21/05/2008 13:47:00

My wish would be - Heskey, Savage, Izzett, Elliot.
Report Abuse
21/05/2008 13:50:00

We certainly need a minimum of five or six Blitz. Five or six proven quality players at that. We'll never survive another season so injury/suspension free, particularly if as hoped we enjoy a reasonable run in the UEFA Cup and the domestic cups.
Report Abuse
21/05/2008 17:21:00

I would say we need 9. 2 Keepers, 2 Right backs, 1 Center Back, 1 Left Midfield, 1 Right Midfield, 1 Center Midfield and 1 Striker.
Tallaght Villan
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21/05/2008 21:38:00

Well if we get a third of the players the press linked to the club so far we will have 8 goal keepers 9 rightbacks and 32 midfielders.... now that just leaves the 32 strikers...
Report Abuse
22/05/2008 08:30:00

i got bored by the second paragraph but i get the jist....we need a couple of players.
Report Abuse
22/05/2008 09:23:00


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