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O'Neill To Wine And Dine Angry Fans

Martin O'Neill has offered to host a dinner for angry fans who turned up to the CSKA Moscow match unaware we would be fielding such a weakened team.

The fans who had spent thousands following the teams European run were obviously angered by what many fans believe was a total capitulation by the manager who prioritised our league campaign.

This is of course notwithstanding the fact that the youngsters who came in did a very admirable job and were in many ways unlucky not to secure a result themselves.

The offer was made to around 300 passengers during the flight home on Friday where O'Neill said he stood by his decision, and that the meal is his way of saying thankyou to the loyal fans who have spent good money during the UEFA campaign.

Plenty of fans are still angry about the decision, at least so far that we had no experienced option on the bench if the need arises.

But yet again, O'Neill and the club have taken the flack and dealt with it admirably. It can't have been an easy decision to make for O'Neill and this gesture I guess will be heavily welcomed by the fans concerned.

A good laugh, good nosh and maybe a bit of clearing the air will go a long way as we now concentrate on the league campaign.

The dinner is to be heald in the Holte Suite, but the date has yet to be decided.

The press will spin this into an apology, and whilst it may signify that and fans may take it as such, O'Neill lives and dies by his decisions, and with the CSKA match being our 3rd in 6 days, even if you didn't agree with the decision you can still see the logic behind it.

I doubt O'Neill views it as an apology, but in either case it's a fantastic gesture.

A quote the BBC obtained from one supporter on the flight:

'Its a nice touch to come and say that and softens the blow of the trip. It takes a lot of bottle to do that and shows what type of manager he is.'




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The Journalist

Writer: Mike Field Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Saturday February 28 2009

Time: 5:18PM

Your Comments

how nice for them, they see Villa throw in the towell at great expense but at least they get a free meal. Hurrah...!
The Fear
I look forward to meal then! :)
leelindsay
He didn't have to do anything. Wonder if he will give me a meal & a glass of wine as I travelled up from London at great expense to myself for the Chelsea game?
TuBBz
he didn't do much in fairness (one of those funny little emoticons here to make everything alright)
The Fear
Well at Hamburg it was a similar experience, apart from we had already qualified. But most of the fans were still annoyed. At the end of the game, MON came right accross the pitch to applaud the fans. I was still hanging around waiting for the traffic to die down when he came out and got on the team bus. He saw that some of use were still there by the gate and a German girl was gesturing that she wanted his autograph. Although he was already seated and the bus wanted to pull away, he got up, came down from the bus, invited us into the VIP area, signed the shirt and took the time to take a photo with us. Friedel came out too. For me, that meant a lot that he was trying to be extra curtious to the fans because we were obviously disappointed with the team and result. I drove home with a good feeling after that. So I can understand the fans, who get the meal, even if its value is far below the expence they have forked out, will still appreciate it in the spirit its been given. If we now go on to win against Stoke and Man City, I am sure most will agree with his decision.
villa_de
I think its a nice gesture good on him. some nice result's today too. UTV PS i was and bit peed at the time but i do understand after calming down his wise decisions.
chris the villan
my mate's got wine and dine tattooed across his knuckles! haha. what a treat though, exceptional PR from villa yet again. come on the boys! three-nil tumora!
benji_starsky_avfc
You can see how the people who travelled to Moscow would be upset, but the next round was already drawn and Shakhtar Donetsk are next up. They were 2 up on the Spuds and MON would have seen a trip to Ukraine on the horizon if we got through. If we beat Stoke and go 8 points clear of the Gooners again, Martin will be a genius, and CL here we come. Hell, we'll only be a point off 2nd place!!If not and..........perish the thought, we're caught, it's Europa league by the front door. Did we think that a year ago? Not likely! I'm sorry for the guys who went to Moscow, but the squad is just not big enough to cope with a big game on Saturday, fly the same team to Moscow on Tuesday, play Thursday, come home Friday and have the same players play again on Sunday. If we get to the CL we can attract more players in the summer, so MON may have a point. The players have been great, but can't let their boss or their fans down after this decision. UTV.
Madirish
 

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