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'If It's Football, It's Vital'

What A Difference 3 Years Make To Villa

Villa progressing well under Martin O`Neill`s leadership

Saturday 24th September 2005, three years ago we played Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and lost 2-1 to Jose Mourinho`s men. Who could have foreseen the later problems we faced that season? Our team that day looked like this: Sorensen, Hughes, Bouma, Mellberg, Ridgewell, Berger, Davis, Barry, Milner, Angel. It didn`t look too bad at that point in the season but just over a month later Villa were in disarray.

There was takeover speculation all the time. A change at the top was needed, it was going stale. Doug Ellis, a very old man running a premiership football club was becoming a joke. David O`Leary was trying his best but on minimal funds. It was that Manchester City game on Halloween Night at Eastland's that showed us all how bad things were at Villa Park. We got easily beaten by Man City that night and we never looked capable of doing anything. Takeover speculation was clearly getting to the players and even the manager, David O`Leary. After that the season got worse. David O`Leary lost all the respect he had gained in his first two seasons as he called 'some` of us fickle. As soon as he said a bad word against some of us there was no going back for the former Arsenal defender.

In January David O`Leary told us how he had to send Eirik Bakke, a loanee from Championship side, Leeds United back to them as we couldn`t even afford to keep him. There was problems, big problems at Villa Park.
We completed the season and narrowly avoided relegation with Gareth Barry and James Milner holding the side together. Fans weren`t happy, the manager wasn`t happy and clearly Doug Ellis wasn`t happy. It was time for Doug to go, the fans knew it, the players knew it, the manager knew it and more importantly, Doug knew it. The club was up for sale and Doug Ellis asked Rothschild's to help out to try and find a investor for the club.

Speculation continued over takeover talks and very quickly the same bunch of players were back in training and clearly all was not well at Villa Park. A players statement was released questioning the boards penny pinching and cost cutting at Villa Park. Doug Ellis was fuming and set up a four man panel to investigate recent goings on at Villa Park. After this investigation, David O`Leary was sacked as Villa manager.

On August 4th 2006, there seemed to be a bit of light at the end of the tunnel for us Villa fans. Martin O`Neill was appointed Villa boss and was possibly Doug Ellis` most popular move as Villa chairman ever. Ironically that was his last. Randy Lerner, an American Billionaire agreed to take over the club and this is where our improvement began.

The 2006-2007 season saw us finish 11th, comfortably. We were playing good football and with some very bright prospects for the future. The following season O`Neill made more improvements to his squad and we finished the season emphatically in 6th place and that was well deserved.

And now on Saturday 27th September 2008, just over three years on from those dark days, we lie in 3rd place having just beaten Sunderland at Villa Park. We are in Europe, have a very talented squad and capable of going far in the next few years.

What a difference 3 years makes.

Up the Villa.




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The Journalist

Writer: Randy.Stand Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Sunday September 28 2008

Time: 10:43AM

Your Comments

Oh yeah, by the way i think Luke Moore should be in that team against Chelsea in 05, either i forgot or the website i got the team from forgot.
randy.stand
To be honest, 3years ago I had never felt so down, I know we dropped in the lower divisions in the 70s, but somehow this just seemed like something we weren't going to get out of, to be honest when I look back now, I'm pleased Doug kept us out of the financial problems that some teams got in, who would have thought Leeds utd would still be in the positiion they're in today! no one would touch them now, and that could have been us, we were going nowhere and now we sit 3rd in the prem and back in europe, they were in the semi final of the champions league and doing well in the prem, and now they're in div1! so like you say what a difference 3years make!
eltoro
its is incredible how we have changed from the old to the new. I can remember when robbie keane was at wolves and we were (apparently) runners for his signature. Deadly D would not cough up something like 500K so that the bid would be accecpted. now we have a chairman who is not afraid to inject the transfer cash needed for the squad! im just thanking the gods we have Mr Lerner as a chairman and not some total tool like mike ashley!
Villa-in-my-Blood
Happy happy. Joy joy!
Adam Deuce
martins a miracal worker
steve bhoy
Yeah mon =]
Blitz
Yea all a part of the 5 year plan,,, world domination is just 12 months away.
col8
i forgot how grim it was in that final o'leary year, is a testament to MOn and Randy.. brilliant really.
krisvilla
 

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