Writer: J P Fear
Date:Thursday February 26 2009
Holte End hero and former Villa midfielder Ian Taylor has joined in the argument over the under strength team to be fielded tonight in the UEFA Cup game v CSKA Moscow.
He seems to share the disappointment of many fans who he says have been 'bitterly disappointed' saying in the Express & Star 'I can understand two or three big names being left behind but not eight or nine. It’s just waving the white flag.'
He also says that having worked so hard to get to this stage it seems a 'real shame' especially as he could see Villa with a full strength team having a good chance to progress.
Taylor concedes the squad size is biting, 'It just isn’t big enough to handle these games.'
On a positive note he does champion the young prospects like Barry Bannan, Shane Lowry and Marc Albrighton 'I’ve long been calling for them to get a chance. This could be their opportunity and they will need to take it.'
There is an article in The Mirror by James Nursery today with a quote from Vital Villa's very own Jonathan Fear + H&V's Dave Woodhall and Vital Villa member Lee Lyndsey. I said: 'It is frustrating after all the passion and hope Villa fans have invested in the fact we are back in Europe.Some of the older fans like myself remember football always used to be about winning silverware. All the club's focus seems to be on the Champions League now. I think the best way to gain experience for hopefully the Champions League next season would be to do well in Europe this season.'
Thing is, no matter what we all think, only one man's opinion really counts. The man of the moment, Martin O'Neill has again talked about the team and reminded fans that we've not lost the game yet!
He says he knows that around 300 of the Villa fainthful have travelled and would like to take the time to see what they think after they'd spent their money. He says the criticism of him for the under strength side is going on for ages and the attitude appears to be that resting players is 'sacrilegious' even though other clubs do it. Thing is though, not sure other clubs in an important game like this rest 8 of them, just a few?
'For me, this competition is important. Perhaps if we were further down the line, if this was a quarter-final here tomorrow, it might be a different issue. But who is to say the players in the side tomorrow won't be able to turn this around? We have a real fighting chance of doing it and that would be fantastic for us. That would maybe placate those travelling fans.'
Sounds like he has agonised over what is the best thing for Villa, 'Whether in time it proves to be correct is in the lap of the gods.' He also says for him getting into the Champions League isn't about the cash, it is for the kudos.
Interestingly he admits he isn't totally sure he's done the right thing but it was his decision and that is that.
'The irony is we spent all of last season trying our hardest to qualify for this UEFA Cup. Yes, I will be upset if we lose because we came into this in the Intertoto Cup in July, so it is important to us. But I've made a decision and I stand by it. Am I comfortable with it? I'm not sure you're ever comfortable. With hindsight will I change things? Who knows, but I've done it now - it's my decision and no-one else's.'
COME ON THE FONZ. COME ON JOHN CAREW... COME ON THE VILLA...!
Date:Thursday February 26 2009
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