A Question Of Villa Expectations
After all the hype and anticipation the signing of Marvellous Marvin Harewood was a disappointment. But the more important question of course is whether he will still be regarded as a disappointment in ten months time. Last season he had a shocker. So did Reo-Coker, Curbishley and the whole West Ham team, even Tevez didn't get to start a game until January. Harewood's record prior to the 06-07 season is very respectable.
Reo-Coker was welcomed with open arms and Harewood flayed alive on this forum which is puzzling. Perhaps it was to do with his age, 28, but many of the most prized strikers last season were older players - Van Nistlerooy (30), Trezeguet (29), Totti (30), Del Piero (33), Klose (29), Toni (30), Inzaghi (33), Drogba (29). Harewood may not be in this league but don't knock his age.
It is, as always with Villa, a question of expectations. Did we really think we could attract people such as Huntelaar, or Babel, or yes, even Defoe? We finished eleventh in the league. Eleventh. Behind such giants as Bolton, Reading, Pompey and Blackburn. Did we honestly think galacticos or wanabee galacticos are going to drop off the end of the world and descend to B6 to join the Randy Revolution? Well, yes some of us did, the optimism and one-eyed naivety of football supporters has no equal, but it wasn't helped by Richard FitzGerald promising us world class signings. Maybe that was a bit dumb. As was his statement that all would be in place before pre-season training. He was the naive one, he has had very little experience of the football world. This summer must be proving a real education for him, poor chap!
MON spoke of a five-year plan. We should always bare that in mind. He knew - even if we didn't want to believe it - that top players aren't even going to consider a club like Villa in our present position. We can't offer European football, nor the cache of a London club nor the hysterical hero-worship of 50,000 geordies week after week. But even getting into Europe will not be enough. Not until Villa qualify for European competition on a regular basis will we become an attractive prospect for the better players.
Everything MON said at today's press conference confirms Harewood is a squad signing, cover and competition for the others, which is fine, and if he can recapture previous (and his usual) form it will be Carew who is polishing the bench. I find it laughable that some people are questioning whether Harewood is an improvement over Angel. We shall see, but I consider JPA to be the most criminal waste of money ever inflicted on the long-suffering Villa supporters, which is quite a feat if you consider that list includes Collymore and Balaban. Pushing on to the next level cannot happen in just one season, or two, probably not three, and particularly not as rival clubs are not just going to rollover and let us muscle into their territory.
Five years is at least realistic to get Aston Villa recognised as a serious football club again. Perhaps Villa will indeed sign some 'star' players before the end of August. Most of you I suspect would put Shaun Wright-Phillips in that category despite the fact that the last time I, or anybody else for that matter, saw him play well is now lost in the midst of time. All I remember is that I was still in short trousers. I'm not interested in star signings, I'm more interested in effective signings which, as ever, will be proven by performances and results not by our private fantasies and wild expectations.