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Villa On The Up

Villa On The Up

Whilst the world will always give rise to opinions and interpretations that vary with impressive spontaneity, I am lost as to what has activated the recent negative view of MON's craftsmanship to date. Just what and who else were we supposed to get at Villa Park? And just what has gone wrong in the past two years? If it is mainly the absence of a proper right-back (and there it was a lot down to hard luck in Delaney's career being cut short), then still to be able to fill it sufficiently well to elevate the club to a well-earned 6th place has proved that a good craftsman can even get the best out of a piece of ordinary rock rather than seeking the glamour of a diamond.

MON himself as oft-spoken about the shortcoming at RB, and this week he has gone and done something about it that is significant. We now have virtual solidity in goal and right through the backs and centre-backs, though one or two more in numbers will not go amiss. The strength in that department should now provide the base for the launch of counter-attacks that will be exploited by the pace of Gabby and the other Young, and if the attack could score as many as they did last season, how many should they score this year?

OK I speak as though I'm high on ecstasy, and the reality is that it may well take 2 or 3 months before we start seeing the best of our team. But I do expect to see it, and in fact with the addition of more talent before this month is out.

There's one more thing.

Having had the fortune to be able to read in great detail about the building of previous great Villa teams, I am immediately struck by certain similarities of today with the Villa team of the early 1920s that mostly came together in a short period of time. The strength and guile of the old full-backs Smart and Mort; the indefatigable resilience and creativity of skipper Barson and his colleague Frank Moss, and the remarkable speed and thrust of York and Dorrell all strike home with me as having their equivalents in the team now coming together at Villa Park.

In other positions there are similarities between then and now.

We are short, however, of one major player. An equivalent to Billy Walker.

Keep hoping and praying!

John Lerwill




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The Journalist

Writer: John Lerwill Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Friday August 8 2008

Time: 4:29PM

Your Comments

John, Well said. It may be that during the summer there is nothing else to talk about but potential transfers, and a lack of action gets some people down without there being a 5-0 thrashing to enjoy. Having said that I don't think that's sufficient explanation for some of the stuff I've read in the last few weeks. Not enough is made of O'Neill's ability to get a lot out of the players he has available, a similar trait to the successful managers of recent years (Ferguson's kids, Wenger's young Europeans, etc). Let's see what he can do with the team he's building before complaining. I can't wait to be honest.
Freelancelot
Excellent piece John.I too wondered where all this negativity had come from and as you said who could we have got who was any better than MON.....answer nobody.He is a top manager and person and I for one am delighted he is plying his trade here at Villa park.There is room for a couple more signings before the window shuts essentially a CB (Kaboul) RW(Milner) and a decent CF (maybe Ashton).As you say keep hoping and praying.
happyvillan
My mouth is watering...!!!
the_lergy
whilst i agree to a point i also think that fans voicing their concerns before there was any hint of a RB/LB arriving is not exactly surprising or unreasonable. great news shorey and young, but one more injury in that department and we are in trouble again - and the fact is that it's more than likely to happen with (hopefully) 50+ games this season!
edgley_1957
i do agree with you entirely on the point that these two full backs are the best we were realistically going to sign without taking a punt on an unknown johnny foreigner. There isnt actually that much quality about in the full back position!
edgley_1957
Well I disagree, of course. Fans are just too impatient and think they know more than the manager! As for injury cover, well, Bouma should be back in Jan/Feb and Grdner is still there to (inadequately perhaps!) to fill in. And we still, in fact, have a certain GB on our books. That we finished last year on 6th with so little cover in the full-back department just proves that the matter is not such a big issue as fans think.
the_lergy
6m Young = panic buy,
Villa 4 Ever
fans have a voice, or they wouldnt be fans! yes we're impatient, but why not, impatience is brought on by excitement and eagerness to see villa do well.. in my eyes it's healthy. if we all sat back and said - oh its ok MON will have it sorted - it would be a very boring summer, noone would bother reading any speculation and we might as well all give each other a cuddle and have a spliff
edgley_1957
The_Lergy when you have Mellberg struggling on the right against fast players and you have Knight losing concentration and with Carson being so inconsistant you could see where the goals against us were coming from, so i would say yes it was a problem and i think if we had a more experienced goal keeper last season with a natural right back so Medllberg could go and partner Laursen in the centre i don't think you can imagine the outcome could of been, If MON buys some cover for the back line and buys a top winger along side a top striker there's no reason why we can't challenge the top 4 clubs, last season the only team from the big 4 that we were ineffective against was Man Utd and you can't argue with that, but we beat Chelsea and drawn with them last season, we drew with Arsenal away and against Livepool away so we know we can match them when it comes down to MON's tactics and giving a good speach, we just need to be more consistant against the weaker teams and actually beat the teams that are challenging us, let's keep turning them draws into wins and we will be challenging for the top 4 sooner rather than later.
Villa 4 Ever
No arguments with the last few sentences, Villa4Ever, but the fact remains we still finished 6th last season and scored a lot. That was not at all bad going, so any "problem" was not so big, I suggest.
the_lergy
If you score more than you let in it's not a problem, but it was because of Young we was scoring alot he set up the second most goals in the premiership and scored like 9 or so himself, he was a fantastic player but this season he will have two men on him, so he will have to up his game even futher, We need Barry to stay or get Johnson as a replacement that's the only thing that will keep the pressure off Young, Routledge isn't ready to be our Right winger and Petrov isn't creative enough to be a RM, we need someone who can read the game and have good vision with a good cross, and the only person that comes to mind is Sananta/ Pederson or SWP, Sananta would take abit to settle and SWP hasn't been playing for a while, it will take a couple of months to see the team gel and be able to predict each others movements.
Villa 4 Ever
John - well written again but you omitted to mention Pongo Waring-what price would we pay for him now. Also Frank Moss in thec '20's? I remenber seeing Frank and Amos play in the 50's.
villacross
anyone see harold edgley play?? he was me great grandad!!
edgley_1957
Villa 4 Ever says the only team in the top four we were ineffective against lasta season was Man Utd. That's true. In fact the only two teams that really made us look ordinary all season were Man U and Portsmouth. To be honest I can see that being a similar story this year. Playing Portsmouth was already like playing against a team from Land of the Giants and THEN they went and bought Crouch!
Adam Deuce
ure half right there adam, i wont forget the mini slump we had. Derby/Sunderland. but now with Friedel in goal, we have a player who have single handedly stop ManU countless of times! cant waid for the new season!!
Gruck
We still need a proven winger that can sprint up the side, something Petrov can do and Routledge isn't ready yet, We still need a proven goal scorer and if we do get Santa Cruz then maybe Agbonlahor will move onto the right ??? Maybe that is why he isn't bothering with RW ?
Villa 4 Ever
villa4ever - you read my mind!! RSC or whoever, Gabby could again end up on the right
edgley_1957
Gabby is rubbish on the right FACT
TuBBz
What a very good, sensible, uplifting piece of writing. After perusing the comments, evaluating the content, you certainly have to agree with John Lerwills observations. No, we're not there yet, but we're definitely getting there. In MON we (or certainly should) trust. The man has overseen a playing revolution and reconstruction, and where we are today, compared to where we were a mere two seasons back, certainly takes some comprehending.
glensider
Our defence, on paper at least, looks stronger now than it has done in a long, long time. Obviously circumstances will dictate that our strongest looking defence wont line up week in week out, but with suitable back up and reinforcements brought on board in the next three weeks, we can very definitely look forward to the upcoming campaign with every confidence.
glensider
 

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