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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.

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The Journalist

Writer: Saurat Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday July 17 2007

Time: 4:15PM

Your Comments

There is now a pic of Marlon in a brand spanking new Villa Home Kit on
Cracking article. Sense at last - hope 48AVFC reads it.
Weve still got time to sign a few surprises. Welcome Marlon, im sure you'll prove your doubters wrong.
it aint even august yet! thats when the real transfer action happens.
The Usual Suspect
Fair points, however a little defensive on the RF element.Yes we have been promised world class signings, and come 1st September and we have not seen "quality", then that is a fair comment.However RF is mainly running the business and Martin and Randy are dealing with the transfers.To put things into perspective, 2-3 months ago agents may have been blowing smoke up their arses, but come the business end of things and the crazy market-everything may have changed.It's about setting your sights high!...Fair enough I say.But the club can't make players sign just as much as they can't make us fans sing!!
Harewood, 27, has been told he can leave Upton Park and Birmingham have already had a 3m bid turned down. Redknapp said: "I've been keeping an eye on Marlon. I like him - he's strong, quick and powerful "He's a real handful on his day and most of all, can definitely get you goals in the Premier League. If he could get 15 goals, he'd be a snip." We need a dcent RB and goalie now, maybe an experienced CB back too. We shouldn't waste money whilst rebuilding.
Good article, if anything this signing has brought everybody back down to earth a bit.
Nice one Saurat. Common sense.
MON worked wonders with a certain Emile Heskey back in his Leicester days and MH is a similar styled player. I remember the golas he scored against us a couple of seasons ago and apart from our dodgy defending at the time, all of them were taken well and with style. Welcome to the Revolution Marlon. I for one will be right behind you...
Several of the points and observations you have made, I have already posted on various threads in the forum, so to say I agree with you 100% is an understatement. Until supporters 'get real', it is more than likely that several other signings will receive the same backlash over the course of the next season or three. Welcome aboard Marlon Harewood. Wear the shirt with pride, give your all, and you'll receive the full and complete backing of the realists amongst us.
Well said, lets judge the guy after six months.
Some common sense at last! I think some supporters expected to see Ronaldinho at B6 next season. 12 months ago, we'd have been delighted with Harewood who, so it shows how far we've come that we're spending 4m on a squad player. Remember the furore when Sutton signed? For me, he proved to be a bargain and I've no doubt Harewood will be the same
Shaun W-P scored 2 amazing goals against West Ham this season and given support from MON would be as good as anyone. Once again our manager has gone back to a player that has played at one of his previous clubs (Forest.) I think he is too narrow minded and it is only Nigel and Ashley who he hasn't got past connections with via ex clubs. I don't think Marlon is anyone's ideal signing and I was very worried by the rumours but now he is one of us I wish him well and will give him a chance to prove himself. Please don't be the next Heskey
Have faith in MON signings. After January last season we started to get our act together and look like a team to be reckoned with. I am sure this is going to happen this season. 4 key signings are still needed. Goalkeeper,RB,LB and midfield.
I have this cunning plan, lets spend our remaining 25m transfer kitty on one Peter Crouch ;-) The prices are ridiculous, SWP is on 65k per week too. I expect Young and a keeper next.
hes a villain now so its time to get behind him.....who's next then.......
Look at the bigger picture and get behind whoever MON deems fit enough to wear shirt. The work done by the board and manager over the past 12 months has been phenomenal, and although we may disagree with some decisions, the club I'm sure will appreciate constructive critisism but we must support them at all times. Harewood's form suffered last season possiblly due to Curbishley's appointment and the hystieria that surrouded and arrival of Tevez. The key to this working for Villa and Harewood is the people that he is surrounded by. We should be able to install confidence in the lad and the fans have a big part to play in this too... Get behind Marlon, he's ours, he will give 100% and more, he knows he hasn't got an easy ride and knows he's at most 4th choice striker... Marlon - Work hard, win us over, and welcome... we expect you to rise to the challenge!
I'll second every word there bazzah. There seems to be a lot more common sense and realism in the air today.
Was anyone excited by Maloney? No but we don't want him to leave now that we've seen his potential. Still not quite sure how he fits in at Villa though.
Villain Of The North
I think Harewood is a bit lucky that he got the chance to join Villa.And I think he knows this,where some players we could have signed would have felt we were lucky to get them.
Saurat - great article and full of common sense. Spoken by a man who knows what it takes to be in Europe year in and year out.
pongo wearing
Can't argue with athat one - good points
I'll get behind the guy - i've never booed a player at Villa Park in my life, but it's still not what I expected. Good article, lots of good points, but after hanging on this site every day for the last 6 weeks expecting bigger things - i'm still deflated. Put it down as i've said on another thread to poor expectations management from the Club. I do take issue with you though Saurat comparing Angel with Bosko Balaban....a tad harsh on the bloke! I think people also use ridiculous extremes on this website too much in order to emphasize their points, as I really don't think any of us (sane ones) expected Ronaldinho at VP - just a little bit more high profile and exciting than a near-relegated clubs cast off squad player. Hope he can step up with some better players around him and make something of his chance with us. Good luck Kryton.
Welcome to the Villa, Marlon. You'll do just fine!
I never had expectations of big names from champion league clubs to come to Villa but I did expect more that what we have got - thats not alot when you analyse exacting what we have - two out of form ex 'ammers. Come MON lets get that big fish.
Jesus....I've just seen a picture of him in the online story in the Sun...he's HUGE!!! Are we just going to try and Batter teams to death? Bring on Senderos....!
Excellent article,all true and if we get a couple more "effective" signings as stated above then we should all be positive.
I'm positive.....that is i'm positive i'd be nice to the bloke if I ever ran into him in the street....Jeeeeeeeez he's a big fella.

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