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What's Happened To The Villa Money? Nothing!

What's Happened To The Villa Money?  Nothing!

You can certainly tell it is summer, not by the sun but because there seems a great deal of frustration and doom and gloom doing the rounds at the moment!

It seems to be the way with Villa and more importantly Villa fans during the transfer windows. We all remember the promises not always delivered by the previous regime (nice way to put it I hope you agree as I'm not wanting to open up old wounds or start the Ellis debates up again!?) We remember managers moaning that players had to be sold before we could buy or that with 'just that little bit more' money we could do things. Who could forget being top of the league under John Gregory and having Brazilian Jouninho at the club, only for the transfer to not go through. Ooooooh the 'what if's' that followed that fiasco! We remember being told we were a big club but seeing us really going nowhere, or nowhere but backwards.

So then we have the current situation. We have a billionaire owner who has proved he is a class act (in my opinion anyway) by coming in and improving what needed to be improved and honouring the history and tradition of this fine club. However there remains a question mark over the money spent. Dean Saunders (a Villa hero of mine and many other readers I'm sure) was commentating for Setanta Saturday night and he couldn't believe the lack of numbers we have in the squad and the fact we had some kids on the bench as there weren't enough senior players. His conclusion appeared to be despite the talk of much riches at the club, there is little evidence of it. My opinion is you have to look at the manager not the owner. This isn't an anti Martin O'Neill article, far from it, I don't want the manager merry go round and do want to see what he can do for us. However I am questioning why the money isn't being spent. For years we had managers wanting money and a chairman not wanting/able to supply it, now we have a chairman with money and a manager seemingly reluctant to spend! (And before I get slated, there is NO reason why this club does not have a right-back or why we sold one - Aaron Hughes - if no replacement was available).

The money wasn't spent last summer after promises from the former CEO Richard FitzGerald, who I know regretted talking about 'world class signings' the moment the words left his mouth! And last January, whilst Villa were riding high, we bought just one player - Wayne Routledge - who then wasn't used! So I can understand why some are saying that MON hasn't got the money. Trouble is what do we want the chairman and board to do? Do we really want them to start buying the players FOR the manager? No, it would never work and if some rumours are to be believed, it didn't work under Dougy boy with Stan Collymore or David Ginola! One former Villa boy commented (in private hence no names) that it takes balls to make top signings, MON proved he had them when paying what everyone said was over the odds for Ashley Young (funny how no one is saying that now isn't it?!) but then we have the flipside where the likes of Salifou, Routledge and Harewood are brought in for little money and little risk. Basically, I'm told, that is the comfort zone for transfers.

I must also point out, where some are saying the manager isn't being backed, that MON has said himself the money is there but he won't be rushed into buying players for the sake of it. IF the money wasn't there, I am sure he'd say so, afterall it is his reputation on the line and he didn't suffer fools gladly during his very short stay at Norwich!

I had a poll suggestion the other day, unfortunately I didn't note the sender although I think it was Graydon (so apologies if I have that wrong!). He was asking: Given the low key transfer activity to date, should the club - tell us what we can afford - and what we can't ? - I know the club line is that detailing your budget - means selling clubs raise asking prices - but as we aren't meeting asking prices - this is no longer a valid excuse. Option 1 is : Yes - The club should reveal what is affordable Option 2 is : No - this will not help us. I think the question is more suitable to this article than a poll as in my opinion the club can't really come out and say what money is about, although a clear statement from MON about how he sees the re-building as going, what his vision is and how much backing he has from the board might well at least answer that side of things? Communication, it seems, is still not our forte at Villa, probably it is the same at most other clubs as well but to be frank, other clubs don't interest me. Right, I didn't like being frank, I'll go back to being me, that experiment was short lived.

We also have non executive director General Charles Krulak, who has toughed it out this summer on the four message boards he frequents, including ours Click Here having to deal with the constant questions about the transfer window that he constantly and rightly says is not his department! However he has drawn the line several times when it has been suggested that the money isn't there or the manager isn't being backed.

He said recently, 'I really do NOT get involved in transfers. What I do know is what I have said on this forum many times. MON does NOT have to sell players to buy players. Randy has NEVER said no to a request for money from MON...NEVER...EVER. If a player does not come to Villa, it is not because we have not made a 'good' offer. BELIEVE ME, we are out after players! Those players must make sense to MON's scheme and what he feels is right for our dressing room. Do NOT expect Randy to start 'picking players' for our Manager. That would be a disaster.'

I don't think things can be stated much clearer than that.

Over to Mr O'Neill to bring in what we need and after so many more left at the end of last season and with Gareth Barry seemingly looking desperate to end his total nightmare of being Villa captain and hero to many, it looks like we need 10 players at least! And yes, 6th last season with a limited squad was good, as the players have said recently we can't ride our luck on injuries again though, re-enforcements are crucial. Just imagine, 6th with a threadbare squad, where would we have finished if last summer the transfer window had born the fruits of the money available?! The Champions League, at times last season, was in our grasp if not for the want of a few top quality players and options from the bench, will the promised land be in our grasp again this season and will we have at least part of the missing bits to the puzzle in place to seriously get there?

Interesting times, lets hope come kick off we are all smiling. Darn it, I'm sure I said that last summer.

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

Writer:J P Fear
Date:Monday July 21 2008
Time: 9:28AM


Good article, but like many Villa fans, I just don't know what to say about this any more. I don't want to slag off MON or Randy or anyone at the club, but SOMETHING IS NOT RIGHT!! I haven't got a clue what it is that isn't right, but there has to a reason why we are seemingly unable to sign players. If we've got the money, a top class manager, we are an attractive club for potential signings, so why the hell are we not signing??
21/07/2008 09:44:00
Once we're in UEFA cup the floodgates will open, (Sits there praying with fingers crossed in the lotus position).
The Usual Suspect
21/07/2008 09:50:00
Great article Mr Fear. Me thinks that MON hasn't got a clue when it comes to signing top class players. He's living in the past & bidding not enoughfor players won't fool us fans. It's like my nan giving 20p foe a loaf of bread at the shops & being told it's £1 odd & her saying it was 2 shilling n my day. Well MON 2 shilling gets you Salifu,Harewood, Sidwell & 3 shilling gets you the vastly over priced Reo Joker. He is bargin hunting & that's not going to please us fans , remember last summer he had Craig Gordon there for the taking but went for the cheap loan offer instead & boy did we pay. I could bang on here for ever but come 31st August we'll be singing his name or sreaming for him to be sacked. My bet is sadly on the latter.
21/07/2008 10:07:00
usually I'm very optimistic but unfortunately I can't see the world class players signing until we've had a decent run or two in the uefa cup and get closer to that 4th spot. Its the old success breeds success adage. I can't see MON paying top dollar for world class players ever really. Think he'd be more inclined to get players to want to play for him and the club and sign them on the cheap when they are at the end of nearing the end of their contracts. Would be nice if I was wrong though.
21/07/2008 10:13:00
Saunders words on Setanta made me think that if say a player was 1m over priced if we had the money then surely MON would just say ok ok Xmillion fee and 1m bolt ons for performances, but instead he says hes had a bid rejected there is no need for a counter offer as we want to do transfers by the book... Erm no one else does, its NOT the 1980s we DONT need 11 players who are all 6'5"+ we dont need a paper thin squad, we dont need squad fillers like Routledge, Harewood, Knight we need quality first XI starters... Where are our scouts? WHY doesnt MON buy foreigners? WHY does he field a mish mash of players in a team and say "this is my best XI we have 7 midfielders, 2 defenders and 2 forwards, do something on the pitch" BLEH!
21/07/2008 10:20:00
The thing which really grips me is I have waited for years for Randolph Lerner to become Chairman of my beloved club freeking years. The club now has a chairman willing to back the manager with hard cash, he has faith in the manager he believes in the manager, hell I believe in the manager so why dont the manager believe in him-self. Villa finished 6th last season playing at times good attacking football we qualified for a shot at entering the UEFA Cup, I want the club to surge onward and upward, build on what has already been brought to the club. If the manager fails to bring in quality players it will set us back 2 more years irrespective of the chairmans willingness to back the manager.
21/07/2008 10:23:00
Oh my god we might as well all go and kill ourselves You first though Jinksy, you sound well depressed. Much has been said about the Bentley bid, but if we are turned down then why get into a 1 man bidding war? Wit until someone else's bid is accepted and then bid the same. Why drive the price you pay up yourself? Its business. And the window isn't even half over yet. Do hope something comes of the Friedel / Rob Green links. And the right backs are a necessity.
The Usual Suspect
21/07/2008 10:28:00
Romanianvillain i'll tell you what's not right. The right side of our team we just haven't got a right side & that is tottaly unexceptable. How long does he need?? Where is the player that was worth waiting for?? He hasn't got a clue. Ian Story-Moor flys off all over Europe looking at art gallerys, sunning himself because the players we buy are stuck in Spurs reserve team, Liverpools reserve team & FC *****ing Wii's reserve team. We atre now reported to be after a 10ft serb who's stuck in Valencia's reserve team. The sad thing is we'd all get excited is the girrafe signed because we are getting that desperate for players. We'll have the worst youth tean in the land next season becase all the youth team will be worming the ist team bench it's turning out to be the biggest joke since MON signed Reo-Coker for £8m. arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.
21/07/2008 10:29:00
Am I the only one who thinks that MON is just waiting to see if he can use UEFA cup football to put another string in the bow for the reason to come to Villa park, to attract the best players he can get at this moment in time? We aint in uefa cup yet, and when we are i'm sure we'll se a lot more transfer action, not many other teams have signed many except the relegation contenders and west brom signed and sealed their relegation with signing frank carson
21/07/2008 10:31:00
The Usual Suspect do you want a slap?? I haven't like you got Villa tinted spec's i deal in facts. The facts are we bid fpor Bentley but not enough so we were never going to get him & we have now pulled out so we will never get him. We are not entering a bidding war we have pulled out so wake you fool we are not bidding we have pulled out OK. Why don't we bid not enough for the tpo 10 players in the world & then when our bids are laughed off pull out. I suppose that would plaese fools like you wouldn't it? Top class signings are needed so instaed of bidding not enough why don't we be a bit claevr & bid enough it's not rocket sience.
21/07/2008 10:36:00
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