The Villa Times - 12/03/2007
Unoial Villa News...
The all new and improved Villa Times returns. It is actually exactly the same as before I went on holiday but everyone else seems to get away with calling things new and improved so why not me!? I've added all new ingredients and some vitamins, enjoy!
The Mirror claim that Martin O'Neill has made an enquiry for Liverpool striker Craig Bellamy and that Rafa Benitez is willing to sell him at the end of the season.
John Carew says 'I am enjoying the Premiership. It is a fantastic championship - the biggest one in the world I think and I'm happy to be a part of it. I hope I fit into the football here. It is very quick and very good, so it will be interesting to see if I can do well here. It is aggressive and very, very competitive, but that's the way football should be. The intensity and the will to win should always be there and it is definitely there in English football.' He also says of O'Neill, 'The manager is a great manager. He takes care of the players and is really dedicated, as everybody knows. So I'm very happy to have a manager like that, who really loves football and is very hungry to win. Every team needs a manager like that.'
Shaun Maloney is a doubt for the home game v Arsenal due to a virus. Martin O'Neill said: 'We think it's the same problem Patrik Berger had a couple of weeks ago. He's back in this morning, but not 100 per cent and he'll train alone this morning.'
The gossip sites are saying Villa are targeting PSV Eindhoven striker Arouna Kone. The reports claim Martin O'Neill will offer in the region of £7.5million but faces competition for the Ivory Coast international from Manchester United, Liverpool and Everton.
Midfielder Lee Hendrie, on-loan at Stoke City Football Club, is out of action for up to three weeks because of a knee injury. Wonder if that means he will be returned to Villa for treatment? Must admit I'd forgotten he was on loan, I thought he'd gone!
Villa are offering the last five games in a 'season ticket' package. This covers the games against Liverpool, Everton, Wigan, Portsmouth and Sheffield United. The offer runs up until Friday March 16 and prices start at £30 (under 16s) and £90 (adults). The package includes the usual season ticket benefits of 0% off in Aston Villa merchandise stores, Free claret and blue magazine, Free yearbook, Exclusive access to the Holte Suite before and after a game (entrance fees apply).
Supposed Villa target Steve Sidwell might stay at Reading. The midfielder can walk away from the Madejski Stadium in the summer when his contract runs out and has thus far refused contract extension offers. With Villa, Chelsea and Everton all said to be interested, along with most other Premiership clubs no doubt, Sidwell has told the Reading Evening Post: 'It's that time of year again after the window when there is a lot of speculation. Because of my contract situation, I understand there will be speculation but, as long as I am wearing the Reading shirt, I will continue to give my all. I am sitting tight until the summer. If we did qualify for Europe, then that would really make me sit up and take notice. I would be stupid if I didn't but I need to look at the whole picture.'
Villa reserves are looking to win four in a row as they take on Watford tonight at the Bescot Stadium.
Vital Villa asked if Jlloyd Samuel should be allowed to leave on a free in the summer. 4% voted that he should not be allowed to leave and that he is a good first team player. 30% thought he should be kept as he is a good squad member. That left 57% saying he should be allowed to leave because he isn't good enough and 6% saying he should go as he is next to useless. Only 3% were unsure.
Oh dear, this is ominous! One Villa crock talking about another! Villa and Wales right-back Mark Delaney says that fellow defender Martin Laursen can come back from yet another injury problem. The team would certainly be stronger with both of them on the field but you have to have serious doubts about both players after repeated come-backs and constant injury problems. That said, with Laursen, hopefully the hamstring injury was just because he hasn't been able to play that much football in the last couple of seasons. Full article: From one Villa crock to another
In the 9,452,120th article to come from a player about the Aston Villa takeover, Thomas Sorensen has given his opinion on the matter. Sorensen told the official site of his feeling that the club was now moving in the right direction, and even found time to praise Doug Ellis for his efforts during Deadly's reign (of terror?)...kind of. Full article: Sorensen Speaks Of Villa Future
Villa's Austrian Under-21 powerhouse goalkeeper Robert Olejnik has moved to Lincoln City on loan until the end of the season. Olejnik, who is third choice behind Thomas Sorensen and Stuart Taylor had a spell on the bench thanks to injuries to the other two, playing back up to Gabor Kiraly. At the time Olejnik said that he had been given the chance to move to the lower leagues on loan to gain first team experience, but obviously had to stay due to injuries.
Gabriel Agbonlahor has been called up for international duty by Nigeria. The jet-heeled youngster Gabby has been forced into making his international career choice earlier than I'm sure he'd expect, after Nigeria boss Berti Vogts has named him in the squad for the Africa Nations Cup. Agbonlahor has played for the England U-21's and has previously stated his determination to break into the full squad, but due to the new rules (the same rules that Jlloyd Samuel tried to use for the World Cup) he may choose the Super Eagles. When linked with the call-up way way back in September he said 'I could play for Nigeria because of my dad, but I could also play for England and I've always wanted to play for England seniors. But I wouldn't completely rule out Nigeria in the long term.'
The operations director of Aston Villa football club, Steve Stride has handed in his resignation notice effective from the 31st May 2007. Stride, who joined the club in 1972 has been involved with many key aspects in the off-field running over the years. He even took some of the supporters flack for being a 'yes-man' for one Herbert Douglas Ellis and after the past few years, must be looking forward to a bit of a break! Full article: Steve Stride Resigns From Villa
Olof Mellberg is looking for a win on Wednesday to give Villa fans something to cheer about a mere 5 1/2 weeks since our last home game! He also says things are changing for the better at Villa: 'It's been a positive atmosphere the whole season - even though we haven't really had the results we wanted in the last few months. I think it was a positive change before the season, with the new manager coming in and the new owner coming in. We've seen things happening with new signings and the training ground is coming along, which they've been talking about for many years.' Full quotes: Mellberg Looking For Home Cheer
Thought for the day: Is Santa so jolly because he knows where all the bad girls live?