Aston Villa - What A Difference A Year Makes
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What A Difference A Year Makes

What a difference a year makes

Warning: This article contains NO transfer speculation.

This time last year, I, and I suspect many of you reading this, were in the depths of depression. The new season was just around the corner and the Doug Ellis / David O'Leary reign was still in full flow. I could see nothing but a relegation battle ahead for us, more, I was convinced that we were going to go down probably never to rise again.

Ellis had said it himself many times that they would have to carry him out of Villa Park in a box and, at that time, I genuinely believed that, that was going to be the only way we would see the back of him. Then, in the space of a relatively short period of time last summer all that changed.

So much has happened in that year. Our performances on the pitch haven't always been scintillating, but we all knew that MON and the team had a mountain to climb to put 20 years of neglect right and that it wasn't going to happen overnight. Last season on the pitch was always going to be about consolidation, it was what was happening off the pitch that was going to make all the difference.

I genuinely believe that we have the best board and CEO (Richard Fitzgerald) in the country, not the richest but the best. I think I can safely say that we have all been impressed with the way that Randy, the General et al have taken our club to their hearts, I particularly like the way they respect our past and the heritage of our great club, as shown in their renovation of the Holte hotel amongst other things.

Many on here have had dealings with the General to a greater or lesser degree and I am sure that they, like me have been impressed by his responses to ideas and suggestions put to him.

As the years passed under Ellis I became more and more disillusioned with what was happening at the club, my visits to Villa Park becoming fewer and fewer each season. Randy and Martin O'Neill have rekindled all my passion and enthusiasm for the club. Last season I bought a half-season ticket, this year I have bought my first ever season ticket.

I don't know where the next few seasons will take us, I do know that if the club doesn't succeed it won't be for the lack of trying. Under MON, our board and CEO I think we villa fans are in for exciting and successful times ahead and I hope I will be there to see it all happen.

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The Journalist

Writer: Jonah Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Friday July 13 2007

Time: 4:28PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
I wrote this article (while we are all sitting here arguing and bickering amongst opurselves about the lack of transfer activity) as a reminder of how things were and how far we have come in such a short time.
Report Abuse
13/07/2007 16:37:00

good work.
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13/07/2007 16:41:00

Lets hope that more people think like you Jonah, be nice to get 26000+ season ticket holders, generate some noise at home, like we do away. Good article. UTV
Report Abuse
13/07/2007 16:51:00

What happens when your passion and enthusiasm for this regime dies down? Do you resort to type and start missing " more and more " games,you sound like a stereotypical "fickle"fan to me but if you`ve bought into the new vision then great,personally over the last 20 years of neglect as you put it,i`ve had some fab times.UTV
Report Abuse
13/07/2007 17:50:00

Aspinall I have been a villa fan for nearly 50 years and don't need to explain myself to you or anybody else. I was there all through the dark days of div 2 and 3, never missing a game, so don't you ever dare to try and call me fickle.
Report Abuse
13/07/2007 18:48:00

Fickle =marked by lack of steadfastness, constancy, or stability : given to erratic changeableness
Report Abuse
13/07/2007 19:04:00

I don't think that there is anything fickle about what Jonah has to say Aspinall. I used to have a season ticket a few years ago but became disillusioned with the years of mediocrity and lack of vision/ambition that Ellis and co was showing. After a while i lapsed from renewing my season ticket and decided to start picking and choosing my games. I felt that if the current owner of club wasn't going to show ambition and commitment to me then i wasn't going to commit to a season ticket. (I also started a family around the time and money was at a premium.) Surely the club has a duty to show its supporters that it is at least trying to improve just as much as a supporter has their duty of getting down the match every week don't they? I've got my season ticket back this year. I'm not fickle, and i'm not daft either. I would not have spent my hard earned cash on a season ticket if the old regime was still in place. My money and time are too tight for me to just simply commit "because that's what i always do." I've never stopped going, but did pick and choose my games for a number of years when time and money allowed. But I need to feel that the club holds the same ambition and drive as i do. We've got that now, and as long as the current board continue to show an honest level of commitment i'll keep me season ticket come rain or shine.
Report Abuse
13/07/2007 19:12:00

it seems to me Apinall you have elected to miss the whole point of my post in order to insult me personally. That, of course is your perogative, but I findit quite sad that you knowing nothing about me, my circumstances or whereabouts over those years choose to do so. What a sad little man you are.
Report Abuse
13/07/2007 19:15:00

It could be argued that anyone buying a season ticket during the last years of Ellis was, in fact, tacitly supporting Ellis and all he stood for. You may recall that if the Randylution had not taken place then many would have boycotted Villa Park last year. How else could we show our displeasure with the old regime?
Report Abuse
13/07/2007 19:39:00

It's seem's that some of us are letting our frustration boil over a little. There's strength in unity, so lets stick together. Having said that, I do appreciate we are not all cloned, and we will inevitably have a differance of opinion from time to time, but lets remember... we all want the same thing, which is success for our club!
Report Abuse
13/07/2007 20:15:00

Jonah: I understand fully where you are coming from. I always make 3 or 4 games at Villa Park a season, including last year. I never did it at all during O'Leary's last year, I found driving halfway across the country on my rare Saturday off to watch a mediocre Villa performance - It was never the fact that Villa lost but the manner in which they did. I felt so sorry for the fans who went to places like Doncaster or Man City. Now, the pride is back, the mediocrity is evaporating, fans vote with their feet and I'll be getting up there every opportunity like the rest. Would I have done it with Ellis in charge? no, I don't think I would. Because even if we get beat this year in matches I think it will be because the other team were better and luckier, not just because they were more committed and concentrated more. Bring on the new season, I've never bought the home and away shirts before in on season but I will be buying them from the club both for me and my son NOT because I am loaded (I'm not!) but as a 'thank you' because of the gestures made by Randy last season for the away fans at Chelski and the Sheff U game, and the General's appearances on the messageboards. I want to put more into the club than I would have under Ellis because this board and its staff deserve it. What a difference a year makes indeed - I can't wait to see the difference two or three make!
Report Abuse
13/07/2007 20:22:00

I can't believe people are bickering. What have they to bicker about? Lack of transfers? At the moment we have a decent young side that will be a the foundation of a truely great side in the years to come. Transfers will happen but they won't happen over night. If we are goning to outlay vast sums of cash (which has already occurred) then a degree of cuation is required. Jonah is spot on with his assessment of where we have come from and where we are heading. Lets stop the mud slinging and look forward to a brighter future (one without "I'm a better supporter than you" attitude.)UTV
Report Abuse
13/07/2007 21:05:00

Anyone with family i fully understand if you don`t make games,jonah-lighten up as i haven`t insulted you personally,i`m just stating that you actually commited a "fickle" act - so what ?? Some people are going with the new owners "propaganda in some ways" and in a lot of ways i am glad,6 games before end of season everyone was worried about relegation of which has now been forgotten,the new boards actions since taking over are standard business practice whereas we had a doughnut in charge before but if DOL had the same expenditure as MON( who i love before world war happens ) do you not think he would have acheived the same?
Report Abuse
13/07/2007 21:09:00

DOL would definately ahve blown the doe. His recorded speaks for it's self - cheque book mgr. Would Lerner allowed this - thats another question. Relegaion last season was on the cards but that was more to do with the squad MON took over than anything he did himself. We surely would have gone down with Doug and DOL. MON convinced Barry to stay and has bought players in at varying times to steady the ship. For that alone marks the man out as an astute coach. In truth tho, this season will be very important one for MON. I firmly believe that it takes 2 to 3 season to build a team that compete consistently with the best. We are only starting this journey now.
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13/07/2007 21:23:00

Applause, applause for Jonah. Excellent positive and upbeat article. A reminder to us all of how it was, what might have been, and the transformation that has taken place in so short a time. Great read Jonah old boy!!
Report Abuse
13/07/2007 21:33:00

thank god we have mon in charge, spending wisely as though it was his money that he is spending. I have no doubt good choices are being made and a plan is in place. Even if we sign no more players this window, I for one have faith, because enough improvements have been made, BH Hole hotel etc. UTV.
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13/07/2007 22:43:00

Sorry holte hotel.. Not hole
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13/07/2007 22:47:00

Had the changes not been made I am sure Villa would be looking at the route finder for Plymouth and Norwich this season. Not a pretty thought is it, nothing against Plymouth and Norwich but its not us really.
Report Abuse
13/07/2007 23:37:00

col8 - been there and done that with my father - bournemouth - blackpool - 3rd Division - now theres a sobering thought - LEEDS UTD
Report Abuse
13/07/2007 23:57:00

Glensider what transformation? I cant remember you winning any thing your at best a mid table team living on past glory. I think the best u lot can hope is bottom half if you are pining your hopes on N.R.C then your in BIG trouble. All cocker can do is run alot, so much in fact he dissapears up his own rear end. Also it would be nice if your supporters turned up to every game most of the time your stadium is half empty. Anyway all the best 4 the season, at least it will be funny watching you lot scrap against relegation.
Report Abuse
14/07/2007 09:15:00

shoe hammer: Coming from a man whose team would be playing in the championship next season if the FA had any balls, your post is sooo funny.
Report Abuse
14/07/2007 09:45:00

Jonah whats funny? I was just dealing in facts. Dont you agree? And why should we be playing in the championship? Did u lot beat Arsenal and Man u home and away? We won 7 of our last 9 if u lot had done that u may well have got into europe. We took our punishment (5 mil is alot) for what was after all very very minor problem. The only reason u want us to be relegated is because we pose a much bigger threat than Sheff u.
Report Abuse
14/07/2007 10:20:00

Agree Jonah - what a laugh. New Board, New Kit (Nike), New Holte Hotel, New Training Ground, New Manager, New Relationship with the fans. I call that a transformation any time of the year. Surely the ManU/Tevez farce just shows that WH should now be docked points for every game Tevez played in at the end of the season? They claimed that they had full control over the player, and now it is obvious they didn't. FA, get your act together.
Report Abuse
14/07/2007 10:21:00

Why r u lot so bitter. And i agree u have made changes off the field but you dont win anything for having a new hotel, new board(is it dry wipe because i could do with one of those)Training ground etc. We have control of where Tevez goes otherwise he would already be a manc so get your fact right CLVilla.
Report Abuse
14/07/2007 10:44:00

Man U are unveiling him on Thursday. Be interesting to know how he would already be a manc, being as how he doesn't return fron Copa America until Tuesday. Enjoy your annual relegation battle showhammer, lets hope no FA to save you this season and you get what you deserve.
Report Abuse
14/07/2007 11:51:00

Shoehammer, please don't come on and be all 'you aint done nothing' attitude and then be all rhetorical when you get challenged. Your team has been proven to be cheats via Tevez. You should have been docked points but the Premiership/FA wanted Eggs millions in the EPL not Championship so don't delude yourself into thinking there's any other reason you're in the top flight. However, you have a very good manager who did an outstanding job. 7 out of 9 wins is great stuff, especially beating the big boys. How about you show some Curbishley style class when you next come on here? And you do win things for a new hotel, like Michelin stars and a colour page in the good hotel guide, so raspberries to you. Jog on. pppttthhhhwww!
Report Abuse
14/07/2007 12:26:00

Back to Jonah's article.I can reinforce first hand the change of direction within the club, when I got the opportunity to meet the CEO.As for shoehammer, what an idiot.If my facts are correct the last time you lot won anything of note was the FA Cup in 1980,the year before we won- The league, followed by the European Cup and then the Supercup(beating Barcelona).It may be past glory, but where is your past glory.You aint got one.We don't give a ***** about any comments you make so stick to your own message boards, you diluded fool!!...After 38 games we will see who has progressed the most.And as for your chairman, I would not trust him for one second, his stance on Tevez is going to screw you guys.
Report Abuse
14/07/2007 19:32:00

Come on Shoe Hammer. You're a yo-yo team laddie. Always have been, always will be. That's one thing West Ham will always be associated with. In the top league for a couple of seasons, down with the also rans in the minor leagues for the next two or three. Some things in life never change. The yo-yo fortunes of WHU being one of them.
Report Abuse
14/07/2007 21:39:00

Dickhead= a prat who hasn't got a clue what they're talking about, an aspinall.
Report Abuse
14/07/2007 22:00:00

Ha ha,i like it! Only took you 2 days!!
Report Abuse
15/07/2007 08:37:00

could have done it quicker but I have a life
Report Abuse
15/07/2007 10:35:00

Fairymuff mate,bust me foot so living on Internet/Skysports/Noddy = have no life.
Report Abuse
15/07/2007 10:45:00

Shoe - have you? For a contract to be terminated all parties have to agree. As far as I can see the owners of Tevez knew nothing about it, so the contract must still stand. If this were possible a player could just tear up their own contract with their club at any time and move. The least that has to happen is compensation should be payable. And without good foundations buildings collapse.
Report Abuse
15/07/2007 10:51:00

No going back to the bad old days of Ellis and Odreary, God how lucky we are.
Report Abuse
16/07/2007 00:52:00


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