Date:Thursday July 19 2007
Actions Speak Louder than Words
We Villa fans have had some interesting summers of recent late, the last one on its own was the most remarkable in modern times, when again we looked at the summer with some dread, owned by a man who had shown time and again that any manager had to delve deep to find quality at little or no cost.
When the manager finally left some way into the summer, the owner pulled off two of the flamboyant moves he was prone to do.
Firstly he employed Martin O'Neill. An extremely well liked manager, highly respected, media friendly and at first glance a wonder of an appointment, most certainly a huge name and one seen on his introduction as the saviour of the club and possibly the man to make the way ready for the coming of a new owner.
And so it came to be, by the season start Villa found themselves owned by an American Billionaire and a new regime had begun. The new regime brought a huge swing in optimism, the owners promised to make change to put Villa back on top of the tree amongst the best in Europe, the talk was of 82, of past glory of no restrictions, of a future full of plenty of the 5 year plan.
One of the oldest managers in football retained his job, his Fans optimism remained high, promises abound from all around the club, talk of big spends, the introduction of the 5 year plan, the CEO with his repeated talk of signing 'top class players', Directors with their 'money is no problem, getting the right player is' adding fuel to every fans belief this summer would be different, the season ahead would see Villa at long last competing with the best or at the least showing a desire to so do.
The following season has seen many surface improvements, a huge change in attitude and an ever increasing level of promises, backed by money on the table to push through planned improvements the previous owner had instigated but never found the need to finance. As the season progressed time and again the American influence could be seen all over, back room improvements abounded, fans were made to feel involved, a new higher quality management structure was instigated and promise after promise gave huge encouragement to fans world wide.
On the field the picture, despite all the optimism a goodish start, was followed by a huge stutter mid term, but a great 9 game finish meant an 11 th in the league finish. Not as good as most first seasons for previous managers but with a Premiership saving expenditure late on, in the January transfer window far exceeding that of those higher achieving previous managers, lower midtable security was achieved.
The summer is always a time of speculation, a time for rebuilding a fans expectation and belief and a time when managers have a chance to show their mettle via the transfer window. Come the day though players started to depart, no one special but for a team accepted by all including the manager as short on players, short on quality, there were players in there who had held the side together during that sticky mid season struggle and their departure surely left a weaker squad.
Off field essential improvements abound, nothing new mind, nothing that hadn't been muted for some years, but action has most certainly been instigated and improvements have been made. During the season fans won't be admiring the new training facilities, a new pub they can't get into, better chips or colder beer, home fans behind both goals, if their team has just played out another mid table uninspiring performance because its short on players.
'Actions speak louder than words' goes the saying.
We've had the words, its late on, very late on, its time the off field on field actions started to match the promises that made the fans optimism so high they spent on record season ticket sales. It will happen I'm sure, it should have happened already.
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Date:Thursday July 19 2007
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