Writer: J P Fear
Date:Monday May 7 2007
Anyone else laugh when they heard Blues had lost and Sunderland had won the title?
Keane has to be the hottest managerial talent around at the moment, if he can impress in the Prem next season, he's surely the main candidate to replace Sir Alex, another title to his name today too.
Yesterday a good win, superb performance not a long ball tactic anywhere and no Petrov or McCann.
Thought Gardner came of age, Gabby showed again what a potential talent he is, and also how much difference Berger and Laursen could have made over the last few seasons had they been fit, and how wonderfully consistent and talented Gareth Barry has become. His head on and run in the box would have been replayed every 2 minutes had he played for a London club, pure brilliance.
The first major change of the Lerner era opened today at Bodymoor Heath, and what a change that is too. From the dark ages to the future in one fell swoop, congratulations and plaudits Mr Lerner, its a significant plus.
8 games without a defeat is a fantastic performance especially as 3 of the 4 wins were away from home and the last two have included 3 goals something beyond the teams abilities all season, does it mean O'Neill is finally up to speed, seems according to the Sky commentator he now thinks he is, or more accurately he know thinks he will be for next season.
You have to say since the injury to Carew, the suspension to McCann the poor form of Young forced his hand somewhat, the change of style and move of Gabby back to the middle has made all the difference, promising performances have become decent results.
A good end to a, for me, disappointing season on the pitch. I still feel we could have done better, a more positive outlook might have given us the 3 or 4 wins instead of draws needed to gain European qualification.
Still as the full gate yesterday and the opening of the new Bodymoor Heath facility today to say nothing of the above stats show, this nearly completed season has seen a huge sea change from days of yore
The outlook can only be positive, Mr Lerner has made it so. Gone are the days of grumbling about lack of funds, about poor communication, about old fashioned values, things are different, no that's too simple a word.
Things are changed beyond my wildest expectations, nearly on a par with my finest Villa dreams and its all thanks to Mr Lerner and his cohorts.
Signs are O'Neill is nearly up to speed, I still doubt his inbuilt tactics, but his PR is beyond belief and he seems able and willing to learn.
I seriously question his scouting ability, in comparison to other Premiership clubs, its Celtic or bust so far. Friends at Celtic questioned the prices he paid and the contracts he gave out to older players, Celtic are still paying the cost today, and although Young has like Gabby huge potential 10.5 million, no way, could we sell Gabby for 2 maybe 5 million, I doubt it, 10 I think not.
8.5 million for a player who has flopped this season is no clear recommendation either but on the plus side Maloney was a snip, and Carew fits the O'Neill plan more than Baros did, although I maintain he's not a 20 goal a season man and we really need one, but so does half of the Premiership.
A war chest has been recently vaunted, the media has started to be convinced, more good PR, more exciting prospects and potential, what more could we want.
Well yesterday showed us all what we want, a repeat of that Rotterdam moment. Its some time off, mind and I'm still not convinced O'Neill is the man to achieve it, but I'm convinced Mr Lerner is. In many ways next season is the most important one in our recent history.
The major changes are ongoing, the signs on the pitch look promising, the manager looks to have finally got going, next season will start full of promises and genuine optimism for the sort of success we as Villa fans have been deprived of for most of Ellis' time.
I bloody hope it happens.
Date:Monday May 7 2007
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