Aston Villa - Is Harewood Really So Bad?
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Is Harewood Really So Bad?

It's been a funny old day.

One moment I'm sat peacefully at work, occasionally sneaking a glance at NewsNow when no-one's looking, reading the same old rumours from TribalFootball recycled and re-quoted across hundreds of sites, wondering when the hell we're going to see a rumour with a glimmer of truth in it.

I go home for lunch early, have a sandwich or two, finally manage to exorcise the ghost of Saturday nights' mixed grill kebab (much to my relief), drop down at my desk, hit my favourite Internet Explorer bookmark...

...and my blood turns cold.

Three words scream and bounce around inside my skull, I'm in a state of shock, oblivious to the world around me.. a client calls, trying desperately to give me his credit card details and all I can think is:


...but as the afternoon progresses, somewhere in between reading rants and raves and abuse and grown men attempting to make a former Marine cry, I start to think to myself..

'Is this really such a bad move?'

And for all the negativity I'm reading, and my own personal dislike of the player - I've never been a Harewood fan, nothing to do with the lad himself, more due to the fact that he hasn't stopped scoring against us since West Ham arrived in the Premiership - I can see all kinds of logic in his signing.

I remember him bulldozing his way through Villa's defence not once, not twice but three times in a recent match at Villa Park. He could have scored more.

I check Wikipedia, to see he has a career record of roughly one goal every three appearances (104 goals in 341 appearances) . Not bad, not brilliant, but not bad. For reference, Craig Bellamy, who is a year older and the player the Hammers have signed for twice Harewood's reported fee, has approximately one in four (94 goals in 373 appearances). Darren Bent has one goal every 2 1/2 games (78 in 190).

I remind myself that at the moment, Carew is the only one of our forward line who has a real physical presence, and that should we lose him through suspension or injury, we've got no real options to replace him.

I realise that Michael Chopra, a player who struggled in the Premiership with Newcastle, had one good season in the Championship, has recently changed clubs for £5million, Nugent, untried at Premiership level, for £6million and everyones favourite golfer, Craig Bellamy, for £7.5million. Darren Bent, a player who was relegated with his club, for £16.5 million. Hell, Kieran Richardson has just moved for £5.5million. In a world of ludicrous figures like these, I start to think what a bargain the reported £3.7 million could be.

I wonder how many goals each of these players is going to net this coming season, and whether when all is said and done there really is over £11million pounds worth of difference between them. And the more I think about it, the more of the reaction I read on the forums starts to sicken me.

Even if we were in a position to do so, even if we had the carrot of European football to dangle in front of prospective signings, not every player we sign would be a world beater.

This is a player who can come in for a realistic fee and do a solid job for us at a time when we need bodies in the squad. I don't remember Doug Ellis being barracked into hiding when we signed Julian Joachim. He never played every game, never set the world on fire, but gave us options and scored some important goals.

Harewood could quite easily do a similar job. I see him as direct competition and cover for Carew - however the pair of them played together could wreak havoc on a tiring defence, and give us another option. And his arrival's not likely to put Moore or Gabby's noses out of joint, either.

I'm not going to try and persuade you that Harewood's arrival would be a coup, that it would be a fantastic signing, or that he can be the man to fire us into Europe. Nor am I going to comment any further on the player until I've seen a: if he signs and b: how well he does. What I will say is that anyone who was thinking we are going to go out and splash £10 million each on players to replace those who have left, or who thinks that without European football we can attract players WORTH that kind of money - is deluding themselves.

Harewood would be a solid signing. Not awe-inspiring, not gasp-inducing, not bums-on-seats megastar, but ham and cheese, work hard, run all day, knock you over solid. And at for that type of player, for £3.7million, is the kind of reaction - no, scratch that, backlash - we've seen today really justified?

So I'm not particularly pleased to see him in talks with the Villa, I'm not overly annoyed either. I'm willing to give him a chance to win me over, and I'll support him while he tries to take that chance. Can't you?


Just as an addition, Neil Baker posted these facts in the forum:

From 05/06 season:

Shots on target/goals (excl. pens)

1 Henry (Arsenal) 58/20
2 van Nistelrooy (Man Utd) 64/19
3 Bent (Charlton) 40/14
4 Rooney (Man Utd) 72/14
5 Bellamy (Blackburn) 32/12
6 Harewood (West Ham) 32/12
7 Keane (Tottenham) 37/12
8 Drogba (Chelsea) 34/11
9 Lampard (Chelsea) 62/11
10 Crespo (Chelsea) 27/10
11 Mido (Tottenham) 27/10
12 Yakubu (Middlesbrough) 35/10
13 Pedersen (Blackburn) 17/9
14 Giannakopoulos (Bolton) 20/9
15 Camara (Wigan Athletic) 27/9
16 John (Fulham) 28/9
17 Cole (Man City) 30/9
18 Nolan (Bolton) 31/9
19 McBride (Fulham) 37/9
20 Moore (Aston Villa) 15
21 Hasselbaink (Middlesbrough) 22/8
22 Beattie (Everton) 28/8
23 Ronaldo (Man Utd) 41/8
24 Defoe (Tottenham) 44/8
25 Owen (Newcastle) 13/7
26 Viduka (Middlesbrough) 22/7
27 Roberts (Wigan Athletic) 25/
28 Luis Garcia (Liverpool) 29/7
29 Vassell (Man City) 29/7
30 Baros (Aston Villa) 33/7
31 LuaLua (Portsmouth) 40/7

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The Journalist

Writer: BarosBarryBouma Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday July 17 2007

Time: 9:44AM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
I have to agree. I actually voted i wasn't keen on his arrival, but having seen him tear us apart with those 3 goals, i always dreaded seeing him play against us. For his price, he certainly could be a "decent" signing and we as fans owe him at the least, the chance to do a job for us.
Report Abuse
17/07/2007 09:50:00

Is Harewood so bad? Yes. A top Championship player.
Report Abuse
17/07/2007 09:55:00

I agree 100% with the article. Excellent writing.
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17/07/2007 09:56:00

For me Mido might have been a better option. It isn't wrong to say top players won't come to a club who aren't in Europe - however what has Storey-Moore been doing all of last season? presumably he was scouting potential targets. Where are they? Not all of them would turn us down because we aren't in Europe. I have to believe there are better options out there than Harewood. He gave no 'options' the the'ammers last season - what makes you believe he'll give us any - I just hope MON can bring something out of him. He truely would be a magician if he could.
Report Abuse
17/07/2007 09:58:00

My initial thoughts were exactly the same as BBB's, as were many other peoples I expect. BUT, the bloke hasn't kicked a ball for us yet, the time to decide is at the end of the season, not the beginning. Only time will tell if he will be a good or bad signing.
Report Abuse
17/07/2007 10:03:00

He's not a good enough squad player. If he is, then how come the ammers don't think so? His goals have come in the lower leagues. Come on - lets hope he opts for wigan
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17/07/2007 10:07:00

Good points BBB. Agree totally.
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17/07/2007 10:08:00

A thought for a second here, say he does sign...comes off the bench in the local derby and puts a brace past the bluenoses!?! Scoring goals is one thing scoring the goals that count is another.If we WERE to buy him and he did nothing but score the winning goals against the blues I would be more than happy. Team game guys, we need numbers and he would help make them up.
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17/07/2007 10:08:00

An excellent article with some very valid points. Good stuff BBB, it made for an enjoyable read. However, these points can only be used a couple for a couple of players in a squad before the quality of the players at our disposal starts to slip backwards. I won’t be unhappy if MH signs but I will if we fatten our squad out with lots of his calibre purely to get the numbers on board.
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17/07/2007 10:19:00

that is the thing isn't it Beefy, we do need quality, need to see we are aiming higher. Harewood might be ok, his scoring record apart from last year (was he injured all the time or just rubbish?) is ok but do we just want ok now? I think the anger isn't about Harewood, rather that our expectations are higher now. Maybe they can't bring in who they actually want? Targets might have had better offers, offers from clubs in Europe or might just not fancy us until we progress a bit more. Maybe next season is another consolidation season where we hopefully push further and harder in the top half? Would be good to see 2-3 quality signings, if that happens then Harewood or not, it won't have been a bad summer and I don't think any of us will mind if Harewood is in the team and is scoriing. Just would prefer Moore/Gabby, so hope they don't get pushed to one side. Still, it is MON who makes the decisions and whose job is on the line if they go wrong. The success done the Leicester way won't fit the modern game or Villa though and Celtic are a different proposition I think!
The Fear
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17/07/2007 10:24:00

There is too much being made of this, we can argue till we are blue in the face but as I have posted in all the other debates about this..........£3.7m on a squad player, who (like the whole shambles that was West Ham from the boardroom to the pitch) had a bad season last year. Its not a lot of money. He scored something like 15 the season before that, 17 the season before that and 14 before that. As I've said in other posts, I would have liked him on the bench last November when we only had 15 fit seniors, even if he had only scored 4 goals. It may have given us an extra 8 points. What if Carew gets injured ? MON always plays a target man, wheres the cover ? its time people started getting real with all this transfer s**t, to get world class players you need to have a world class team, with a world class manager, playing in world class competitions, unfortunately we haven't got any of these attributes yet. I watch Milan 7 or so times a year and have done for 20 odd years, as my family are from there, do you think they got where they are with a 5 year plan? where do you think the Kaka's and Messi's want to play ? In birmingham ? As as season ticket holder for over 22 years I have watched my beloved Villa slip backwards as other big clubs moved on. we are slowly moving forward now, so for gods sake give the board and manager a chance. We have spent £26m in the last 11 months, and I'm sure there are more to come in the next six weeks, when was the last time Villa did that ?............if MON thinks Harewood can do a job, then fine, he knows a little bit more about football than any of us. I remember a certain Peter Withe coming to Villa and everybody slated him..........he didn't turn out too bad in the end.......
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17/07/2007 10:25:00

he's not a bad player, he's just not prolific enough to win trophies for you. maybe if you signed SWP to supply him with crosses that may change...........
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17/07/2007 10:27:00

SWP is overated and just as hit and miss, but will cost us 3 x as much.
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17/07/2007 10:30:00

Spot on Fear
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17/07/2007 10:45:00

I agree with you about SWP. We have Gabby and Young who are similar players and cost us nothing. We need to sign a RB and a class CB. From there on in any players we buy must be quality players to replace those in the first team.
Hoss The Villain
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17/07/2007 10:57:00

We need cover for Carew, Harewood fits the bill. Luke Moore can make the grade and become a quality striker, Gabby can only get better, Ashley Young is an amazing prospect, and Maloney isn't a bad little player. so up front we aren't that bad. Midfield is ok, could do with a decent playmaker, there may be one in the wind, who knows. Its at the RB and CB positions we are weak, and I'm sure someone will come in soon.
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17/07/2007 11:03:00

Good article, and I think Harewood would be a decent addition to your squad. The fact that he had a poor season under a new manager shouldnt count against him. MON can surely handle him better than Curbs did.
Report Abuse
17/07/2007 11:08:00

Hopefully, 24 hours on from the initial hysterical outbursts that greeted the news of his possible signing, the enraged supporters that tore into the player himself, MON, Randy, the board, in fact anything to do with AVFC, will in the cold light of day, have calmed down enough to at least comprehend that we haven't signed the anti-christ, just a mere very useful addition to a very under-staffed squad. Those who have been crying out all summer long for the arrival of European super-stars will of course remain disappointed, and until they realise that we are not yet the big attraction or star name that will attract the top drawer players, then that emotion will remain. MON obviously believes that Harewood can do a job for us, help us continue our major rebuilding work, and play an important role in helping the club improve on last seasons eleventh place finish. For heavens sake, lets give the guy a break, and more importantly, lets give him a chance.
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17/07/2007 12:03:00

yeh i agree to, cant say im not disappointed, but if he scores against the blues he will be a legend lol
Report Abuse
17/07/2007 12:26:00

ok let me put it into perspective. davis out for 4mil, harewood in for 3.7mil. need i say more?
Report Abuse
17/07/2007 12:39:00

Rick112 you beat me to it ! The signing of Harewood (and we all assume it will happen now) is good business for the club. If JC gets injured where would we be without cover. Having read all the comments on this site and others . I also have changed my view from "oh my god no !" to "mmm could be useful". I think this signing is a real wake-up call to where we are at , and has brought us down to earth. Too much expectaion is expected in the short term of the Randy era. Harewood will be just a part of the stepping stones we need to achieve the ultimate goal of Champions League football. I doubt if he is our answer long term, but let him try and show us otherwise. As many of you have said if he scores vital goals we will all be cheering. Good Luck Marlon ...............
Report Abuse
17/07/2007 13:19:00

Good write up BBB One player dosen't make a team but being part of a team just might make a player :)
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17/07/2007 13:37:00

Got to say that i'm with the guys who originally went "NOOOOO!!" but having given the whole issue some thought i think he could be a very good signing for us. Look at how O'Neill had Heskey playing at Leicester...someone who has never produced the same form again since playing under O'Neill. Harewood is the same sort of strong, fast and direct player so maybe just maybe O'Neill can get him playing to his full potential!! We have to trust our manager and only when his signings fail start getting upset about them!! UTV!!
Report Abuse
17/07/2007 13:59:00

Just read MON comments....still not excited but coming to terms with it...can't believe Spuds are gonna get SWP!!!!
Report Abuse
17/07/2007 14:31:00

Where are you getting the information that SWP is going to the spuds?? I have read that Ian Wright has stated time and time again that the one club that SWP would not be going to (should he move that is!!) is Spurs and that wrighty has a massive amount of respect for Villa...UTV
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17/07/2007 15:58:00

SSN tdiddyo - i know; not a fact but they are talking as if it is...why would you guys want two little wingers in the same position? That's just greedy. Let's get real about the 'daddy' aspect - SWP is his own man and will go where he wants - believe me.
Report Abuse
17/07/2007 18:43:00

Marlon is obviously not the big name arrival we were all craving and expecting, but if he does the business for us, then come seasons end we'll be applauding MON for an astute piece of business. Of course, on the other hand.......
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05/08/2007 09:51:00


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