Date:Tuesday July 17 2007
Did I misunderstand Villa ?
Although I often criticise the way O'Neill does things, and have often predicted his transfer dealings would follow form and be late in the window and varied in age and experience I did hope and suggest he needed to get at least 8-10 players to make the squad viable and that even allowing for his penchant for spending huge he would be expected to do a deal like Carew and Maloney along the way.
Throughout last season the management went out of their way to promote that Lerner would not have a pot of gold but he would meet any needs that his manager in whom he had complete faith had.
But when each day dragged by and we hadn't signed anyone those who became nervous especially during the Reo Coker Saga, were continually placated by more reinforcing suggestions from various members of the management.
Still with 5 days to go before the squad flies to the states we have 1 new signing and our main board in the General, who does a superb job in a difficult position, has found it necessary to remind us of lasts seasons signings and the clubs achievement to finish 11th.
Now I came into this summer rest, of the opinion Aston Villa would be making moves forward on the pitch, that they would buy players to match the quality of Young, and certainly to beat the quality of all those so far sold and to be sold.
Reo Coker was a good start albeit too long in coming and too drawn out for a bloke whose club wanted to sell and who wanted to come, but the sort of minimum quality I'd expected.
Now judging by yesterdays response I would guess many other fans feel Spurs is the way we expected Villa to be and whilst, believe it or not, I fully understand O'Neill's move for Harewood it hasn't given me, along with the seemingly arduous job he is making of bringing players in, confidence that the management are in anyway, even allowing for Reo, meeting the promises made. The General said yesterday on this site, paraphrasing, that money wasn't the problem signing the right player was.
Its a problem judging by most of the rest of the Premiership only we, Everton, Man City and Reading seem to be having and we all know they have much different expectations and basic squads to ourselves and other limitations we I thought didn't.
If the owners had said we are a club who this summer will stabilise on our 11th finish and will be looking to stabilise the club and look to move slowly up into a higher position, carefully watching the pennies I'd have whinged, I always do, I'd have gone to great length to suggest we could aim higher, I always have, but I'd be less concerned than I am now.
In fact I'd have been very impressed we had signed another huge potential for 8 million to join Young, I'd be worried that so many players had left, but I'd be confident O'Neill would bring in O'Neill players to suit our season of consolidation and Harewood, Gardner, even Young would have been adequate stocking fillers. I think I'd still be worried with a few days left and several days into training more players hadn't yet arrived but I'd still be hopeful of at least 7 or 8 more players albeit some being loaned in.
Thing is that's not the message I have been given for months, its not the message the General was giving me yesterday Reo Coker's signing was well within the guidelines as I saw them Harewood, Gardner, Luke Young most certainly are not.
That's what worries me, when Ellis left I accepted dissimulation, false promises and rhetoric was a thing of the past, I'm starting to have doubts and judging by the universal response yesterday amongst Villa fans I feel justified in saying I'm not alone.
Date:Tuesday July 17 2007
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