I have a feeling that what I'm about to write may cause some strife, but hey what's life when it's not interesting?
So far this summer Villa have signed Curtis Davies. And that's it.
Man City have just spent £19m on Jo
Spurs have signed Gomez, Dos Santos and Modric
Newcastle have signed £10m Gutierrez
Take a look across Villa forums, and transfer threads. The repetitive whine of transfer-hungry fans dribbles out on to the desk, making a foul stench, and leaving me with a headache and sore eyes. But I persevere through the choking fog, because I too suffer from the disease known as Transfer-Junkyism.
There seems to be no end in sight to levels we're all going to when trying to satisfy the transfer crave. The merest mention of a Sidwell, a Henry or even a Chimbonda, and we're clicking, scrolling, hunting every last source for news that a signature has been made. Five minutes passes and the depressing loop restarts with the two-hundredth visit of the day to Newsnow.
The apparent spending of the other clubs works as a multiplication factor for the stress leaving us convinced that we'll be fighting Stoke for 17th place, and that Mr O'Neill knows no more about football management than Steve 'Flash-Boy' McLaren. I can't go on like this.
Today I took a step back, and surveyed the teams around us.
Blackburn have signed nobody
Arsenal have signed 1 youngster (Ramsey) - £5m
Everton have signed nobody
Liverpool have signed Degen - Free
Man United have signed 16 year old Davide Petrucci
Portsmouth have signed Glenn Little - Free
I can feel my headache subsiding, and my temperature dropping. Clearly it's NOT a 'Martin O'Neill Thing'.
What about the spending the big bucks though. Surely we should be at least competing in the transfer market with Man City and Newcastle, if not out-spending them?
Let's have a look shall we, I got the figures for net spending from www.soccerbase.com, and from http://www.purelymancity.com/wp-content/5yearspendingcomparison.jpg and had a look. By all means take a look for yourself. Here's a summary of what I saw.
Man City spent £36m last year. We finished above them.
Newcastle have spent £40m in the last three seasons. They've been flirting with relegation lately.
Spurs have spent £59m in the last five seasons. They've had one decent run in the Uefa cup, and a carling cup. Been expensive hasn't it.
Middlesbro Spent £25m in the last four seasons. Remind me what they did with all those great players?
Pompey have spent £26m since '03. A single FA cup win brought the city to a standstill.
Everton Spent £23m since '03. They're doing pretty good, better than anyone above.
Since '03, Villa have spent £39m.
That's not bad. I think we're competing in the transfer market.
What about the 'big boys'?
Chelsea have spent £257m since 2003. Fair do's. They've gone and done it. Hats off lads.
Liverpool have spent £86m since 2003. Without the Champions League win, the cupboard isn't exactly bursting. Though, hands up the UCL is pretty impressive and I'd like another one.
Arsenal have profited £1.6m since 2003! One title, and one FA cup.
Man United have spent £78m since 2003. Success story is the same as Chelsea. Hats off lads. Well done.
Unless we go in with spending like Chelsea, I'd say that while net spending does have a relationship with success, it isn't a mutually exclusive relationship. The urge to splurge on fancy names can backfire, and you can end up with massive disappointment.
There's some pretty big numbers in that table, West Ham £21m in 06-07; Newcastle £19m 05-06; Pompey £19m 07-08. Nothing to show, apart from a single FA cup.
So there you have it my fellow Villains.
We've seen that we're not alone in the whole 'not bought anyone interesting' thing. Neither have most of our peers. The other thing we've seen is that major transfer spending isn't the key for success.
It's time for us all to cure ourselves of Transfer-Junkyism. It doesn't do any of us any good. It's the 3pts on Saturday that count, and we seem to be doing a better and better of job of getting them.
Take a step back with me, and lets look forward to the new season.