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O’Neill Can't Polish a Villa Turd

O’Neill Can't Polish a Villa Turd.

By Michael Bakewell

Over the past week Martin O’Neill has crossed the line with the travelling masses, and respective fans alike into the realms of personal accountability, not a good place to be, with any fan. However, on the face of it, ‘the meal’ gesture is very generous one, however, once depicted it has a certain irony to it.

The 300 or so that will be in attendance must have initially wondered where would they be dining, initially their pent up rage and anger being pacified by such a warm, fuzzy gesture, and then it became crystal clear. The PR machine at Villa Park had sparked into life, and tried to combat the fans initial knee jerk reaction with another knee jerk reaction, fighting fire with fire so to speak. I personally would have viewed this as an insult, the club almost treating them with contempt, that the invite extended to them is for the Holte Suite at Villa Park, and enjoying food in an establishment that is already heavily subsidised by them, and every other fan for that matter.

The Moscow gamble was followed closely with a tasteless serving of Stoke at home, and a full strength, fully rested Villa team incapable of holding onto a 2 – 0 home lead. I personally feel for Carlos Cuellar after his 2nd half performance yesterday, simply put, he lost his head yesterday after the first 20 minutes of the 2nd half. Any of the 40,000 in attendance would find that hard to disagree with. What is particularly difficult to understand is at the risk of his confidence suffering even further, and being played out of position week in week out O’Neill should have done the responsible thing and substituted him, protected whatever remained of his shattered confidence. With a substitutes bench packed with Shorey (switch L Young back to right back), Coker, and Gardener (like for like); more than enough choice to replace Cuellar with, and balance up and tighten up the defence. Also to stabilize the passing play up the right flank to allow Agbonlahor & Milner easier penetration into the channels instead of Cuellar panicking and looking inside at every opportunity, and losing possession time after time. Also, as always we relied too heavily on the wide play and dead ball delivery of Ashley Young. Our overall game is becoming too predictable.

Moreover, Zat Knight (AKA Franz Beckenbauer) couldn’t be expected to do the work of two of his defensive partners yesterday, as Davies was shaky aswell, especially after the introduction of Fuller. It almost looked yesterday that Davies is still suffering with a knock and reoccurrence of his shoulder problem. Credit to him for battling on as best he could. Moreover, the Gardener and Reo-Coker gave enough choice to tighten up the midfield with and bring off a remarkably useless and widely ineffective Agbonlahor, whose performances in recent weeks have been seriously indifferent. Some opinions suggesting he has became lazy, a premadona suffering with the dreaded ‘Lamborghini Syndrome’. Back to Franz Becke….. I mean Zat Knight; his form and game has been superb since getting his chance in the absence of our Captain Martin Laursen – long may it continue. Moreover, long may Stilian Petrov’s form continue, he was awesome yesterday, and MOTM by a long way. Overall, a very commanding display from Stan – again.

The manager is equally as responsible as the players, and he should have done more to protect them yesterday, as this show was very much the Managers gamble. If not for his completely baffling inability to make effective substitutions, it is his own stubbornness and belief in his players, Ala Arsene Wenger. A guy who sits behind me joked that Carew was coming onto play right back! Enough said.

I love O’Neill but this week has been the worst in his reign for 3 years, we sacrificed a completely win able tie in the UEFA Cup for what? To draw at home to Stoke with a fully rested first team squad? NOT GOOD ENOUGH. I thought football was about winning trophies? And however the club, The General, or the manager tart up the Moscow farce, it will never sit well with me, EVER, and many would find that hard to disagree with. Like I said, it is down to personal accountability, and if we fail in our attempt to secure 4th and a Champions League birth, what then? The price of O’Neill’s gamble is just too high, and the cost? Even Randy couldn’t afford that.

On Wednesday night we need a knee jerk reaction from the Manager and the team, because ‘the meal’ aside, on goings at Villa Park and in Moscow over the past week have left a very, very sour taste in everyone’s mouth – pun intended, of course.

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The Journalist

Writer: Michael Bakewell Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday March 2 2009

Time: 10:58AM

Your Comments (oldest first)

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02/03/2009 11:04:00

A little harsh I think, just because we rested players it doesn't mean they've had extra rest. They had the same rest as the Stoke boys after player far more matches than them. I didn't watch the game yesterday so I can't comment on the players but I still don't think Martin can be blamed and I'm sure Randy will be with him on his decision to keep players for the Prem. The systems to blame not the Villa, CL is too big a prize, it makes football clubs.
Report Abuse
02/03/2009 11:11:00

Ironically this article is a bit of a nkee jerk reaction, you wouldnt of wrote it if we did beat stoke. It's not a sprint, its a marathon, we are gonna have days like saturday. Moscow was a decision took by Mon as you say he's stubborn, that stubborness wins football matches, as well as lose them. We can't win every game, its a prem season, credit to stoke for changing things round, still inexplicable to let a two goal lead slip, bit of time wasting practice on the training pitch me thinks. Do agree about petrov and Knight they both been playing well.
Report Abuse
02/03/2009 11:15:00

spot on bakes.
Report Abuse
02/03/2009 11:40:00

Is this the same Petrov and Knight that the massed ranks of terrace managers were slagging off in similar fashion to this post a few short weeks ago? Does anyone else remember the vicious posts against both Stan and Zat? Dear oh dear - DO'L was right, DO'L was right ...
Report Abuse
02/03/2009 11:40:00

i just cant see how anyone could slag petrov off after this season. sugar bags was it bob?
Report Abuse
02/03/2009 11:41:00

I've had Chelsea fans winding me up today about the fickleness of Villa supporters. 10 minutes to go signing 'by far the greatest team', 10 minutes later booing...I guess they have a point.
Report Abuse
02/03/2009 11:55:00

DOL was not right, fans are and always have been / will be entitled to their opinion. Last week split the fans but it doesn't make any of us lesser fans. Didn't take kindly to the booign yesterday though, that was bad.
The Fear
Report Abuse
02/03/2009 12:12:00

LOL a Chelsea fan on being fickle, now that is ironic!
The Fear
Report Abuse
02/03/2009 12:12:00

MON has become a victim of his own success. The guy has totally transformed this club. Yes we achieved nothing yet but we have come a long way in a short time. People need to remember the ODreary days. For 85 mins our performance was excellent. Yes we ****** up but lets look at the bigger picture. MON probably didn't believe himself that with 11 games remaining we would be 4th (3 points of 2nd place) and 6 points clear of Arsenal in 5th. Need some PMA for the rest of the season here and get behind the lads and the Martin O'Neil as one. I don't think some realise how lucky we are to have O'Neil. UTV
Report Abuse
02/03/2009 12:12:00

I think it must be written into Cuellar's contract that he plays a certain number of games this season...otherwise I can't for the life of me figure out why Mart picks him at RB...agree that Petrov was superb yesterday...Gabby looked very time we're 2-0 to the good, Mart, please - bring off Agbonlahor and just shut up shop!
Report Abuse
02/03/2009 12:15:00

Oh yes...and one more thing...the booing yesteray was a disgrace!
Report Abuse
02/03/2009 12:17:00

Does anyone know what fickle means? I think some of you need to look it up boys. It doesnt mean having a negative opinion FFS
Report Abuse
02/03/2009 13:10:00

Its funny, I only said to Randy.Stand during the game yesterday how much Zat played like Franz Beckenbauer. I am glad I am not the only one to notice.
Report Abuse
02/03/2009 13:12:00

I can't remember leaving Villa Park feeling as angry as I did yesterday for a very long time. However I did NOT boo. As has been pointed out we have come a very long way in 3 amazing years. I tried to excuse the booing that proceded the Wigan game as being aimed at the referee. You can not excuse the booing yesterday and it did not feel / sound like a minority. I guess it's easy for a few to make a big noise with boos but from where I was it sounded like a majority were making their feelings known. It helps no one and gives us Villa fans a bad name.
Adam Deuce
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02/03/2009 13:13:00

Villa will achieve what they deserve at the end of the season. If the fact that we can't hold off stoke when 2-0 up means that we miss out on the champions league placing , then no one with Villa can moan. I too was so angry yesterday that we sacrificed a good atempt on winning a UEFA cup game for a point against Stoke. If we do not achieve CL spot, MON should apologise to all supporters that he has gambled with our dreams and failed with his decisions in this past week. Love MON as our manager, just feel well a truley let down in the last 2 games.
Report Abuse
02/03/2009 13:28:00

What's been ignored here is that our players wanted and vocally supported this strategy. All they are bothered about is Champions League football, you only have to look at our Captain's behaviour last summer and the quotes from last week. Last week is just symptomatic of the modern game unfortunately and a lot loyal fans (myself included) are falling out of love with it. The only solution is to break the top 2 (not 4) monopoly, but I can't see it happening - just the media's obsession with Man U getting the quintuple. The interesting thing about MON's reign; is what an appalling cup side we've become. I think or priorities would be different if we were now 7-9th in the league. Would we swap places with Boro or Spurs?
Report Abuse
02/03/2009 13:42:00

I think you need to drop the big donkeys Carew and Heskey, play Gabby upfront on his own and play an extra midfielder. You look a much better team tht way.
Report Abuse
02/03/2009 13:47:00

The target this year was to qualify for Europe and do well in the cups. That we are fourth with a substantial gap has "moved the goalposts" so to speak. CALM DOWN. There are 20 clubs competing for the same thing. We are better than 80% of them. Last five minutes yesterday was a disaster - two goals that should have been prevented by centre-backs that were in Moscow (the first coming from a cross that should have been blocked by a left-back who played in Moscow). But don't rest the players....
Report Abuse
02/03/2009 14:23:00

What an ungrateful bunch some of you are. If I were MON I would be tempted to just walk out now. Do you remember where we were? Do you remember what it felt like? Everybody just needs to take a step back and stop being so greedy. Nobody said it would all be perfect, but surely most people will have to admit that we are better off than we were 3 years ago? Your expectations are too high based on the investment we've made to date. Even 5th this year will be an improvement. Name me one other side that has improved 3 seasons in a row?
Report Abuse
02/03/2009 14:40:00

Good one Mr Bakewell not the sort of article to please the Happy Clappers as can be seen, but decent thoughts. I thought the way Knight backed off and his attempt at defending Whelan's shot was pathetic, but over all he was the better of the two cb's and against a defensive side so poor as Stoke were, is that saying anything. Petrov has always been a top class player, thing is he hasn't been the Petrov seen at Villa Park for 3 seasons, until recently, why do people forget that ? Its interesting that the same man who decided Moscow was the time to show a white flag is the same decision maker who took us into the Intertoto, played a near full side the week before Chelsea and played nearly the same defence as in Moscow. Sorry I forgot, Agbonlahor was to blame for the defeat, silly me, and he was one of those rested. We have now played more games than last season and most of those out Sunday have played in nearly all of them and there is still 11 to go,
Report Abuse
02/03/2009 15:05:00

I started the sign protest with my own money so come on AVFC48 - put your money where your mouth is - pay for and start an MON out campaign - see how far that gets you. Give it a rest for Mcgraths sake - he's made mistakes (even SAF does) but come on we have come so far - we are all dissapointed but a dig at MON at every opportunity is pathetic. At the same time why not campaign to get Ellis back in charge.
Report Abuse
02/03/2009 15:55:00

Good call, HR1874! I can see MON going too! I love the club but am utterly embarrassed and ashamed by the booing of ANYONE wearing claret and blue. Those Chelsea boys have got a point, OloftheGreat but as Fear pointed out, I'm sure the irony would be lost on them. Opinions are opinions and while I may not agree with avfc48, I respect his right to state how he feels. However, the booing has to stop as it really gives us ALL a bad name.
Report Abuse
02/03/2009 16:02:00

Its ok to moan after the fact, or a "blip" Michael Bakewell for manager anybody?? Didnt think so..... In MON we still trust!! ( And no its not rose tinted glasses, its utmost respect for the position we are in )
Stourbridge Villan
Report Abuse
02/03/2009 16:18:00

Heskey (the teachers pet ) has turned up in the same way that Petrov did and is being played when not up to it and isn't fitting in. Why did we change the winning formula of Gabby up front on his own with 5 in midfield. Good article.
Report Abuse
02/03/2009 16:31:00

Because the "experts" on here kept saying why play 4-5-1 at home (or away) - it's negative football etc etc etc.
Report Abuse
02/03/2009 16:37:00

so he changes it and we still have a moan!!!
Report Abuse
02/03/2009 16:38:00

I never moaned about the winning streak. It wasn't broken so ...... All we do now is long balls to both the forwards and Gabby's first touch is awful with his back to goal. Heskey has jumped over a few well earned squad hierarchial positions just because of his past relationship with the manager and his England caps which have got nothing to do with Villa!!
Report Abuse
02/03/2009 17:09:00

This is truly laughable. We were relegation fodder 2 years ago. We are now real champions league qualification contenders. An element of perspective is required. If MON walks we will all be sorry, very sorry indeed. Even avfc48. Be careful what you wish for.....
Report Abuse
02/03/2009 17:12:00

Villan444 - you didn't mate but other so called "wise ones" did and still they come out and moan!
Report Abuse
02/03/2009 17:22:00

Bakewell Tart more like. I haven't read such dismissive **** on this website for a very, very long time. Utter ****e. Why don't you p*ss off and support Man U after yesterday. Yeah, we're all mightily hacked off - one big ass shock but we deserved it and MON was dead right, we tried to showboat when we should have ran the clock down line Chelski did last week for over half the game. The midweek rest was spot on. The UEFA Cup is no more than a training ground for the CL, and it's UEFA who've devalued it not Villa or Spurs. A day out for 4th, 5th, 6th etc place - a sojourn for Milwall for ****s sake!!!! As relevant as the Zenith Data Systems Cup that should be scrapped now. ALL players have a dip, just be thankful that Zat, LukeY and Petrov have stepped up to the mark when our strikers and Barry have dipped - just dipped that is. Happens to Rooney & Ronaldo so it can happen to anyone. 4th place doesn't just mean CL football, it's a gateway into KEEPING our best ****in players and attracting new ones who aren't aware we won the PROPER European Cup and building on from there. Lads, we learned a lesson yesterday - remember the lesson and grow from there. MON - nothing always goes to plan, if the 'Sky 4' or Real Madrid can't always get their targets, then who are we to say we should put up with giving long term contracts to less than average journeymen???? I'm still more than thrilled at the step up year on year since Randy & MON took over. Despite the blips, so should you be...
Report Abuse
02/03/2009 17:36:00

I agree on the Cuellar thing, no reason for him to have played as i would have only understood if Delap was playing.
Report Abuse
02/03/2009 17:56:00

Never fear Villa fans, next up is Manchester City. Unfortunately for us, you have been having a poor run of late, and City being City, we are nailed on certs to lose embarrasingly to you. Now if you were challenging for the title and unbeaten in 10 games, I'd fancy "typical City" to beat you...
Report Abuse
02/03/2009 19:10:00

Think you`ll do us buddy, we look poo at the minute and your place is a notorious Villa loss.
Report Abuse
02/03/2009 19:19:00

I've told you once, and I'll tell you again. WE ARE VILLA AND WE ALWAYS BLOW IT. It's gone boys. It's 5th or 6th for us this season.
Report Abuse
02/03/2009 19:36:00

The booing is mindless but you can understand the frustration. If the lads wanna be succesful and win things why are they playing with no heart at the important part of the season?! I just cant make it out. We could lose Barry and 4th spot now. Piper, there has to be a time when villa dont blow it so lets keep the faith. Its still early days
Report Abuse
02/03/2009 20:25:00

I want to know who's got the secret formula? There must be one. People seem to have all the answers, so this football lark must be a science. Hence there is a formula by which you can calculate how to win every game. Can someone pass it Martin please. Maybe SAF has it in his safe? Maybe not, apparently he has lost a game or 2 in his career. Who's got it then?
Report Abuse
02/03/2009 21:00:00

Please stop moaning, DEFINITELY stop booing (a total disgrace as far as I'm concerned) get behind and SUPPORT the team. We're supposed to be Aston Villa SUPPORTERS not Aston Villa BOOERS. They f****d up yesterday and they know it. I'm sure MON knows it as well. They've ran their nuts off all this season, played more games than last season already, and have collectively taken us to heights we would never have thought possible even 12 months ago. Yesterday was one game. Look where we are for f***s sake! I'm astounded that anyone should boo after yesterdays performance. Agreed for 88 mins we had the game won and screwed it up in the last 5 by trying to be clever but they will learn. I just hope the boo boys learn that slagging off your team or individual players when they're so close to achieving something that will be MASSIVE for the club's future is not what is required. What are you trying to achieve exactly? Dent the confidence even further? Very clever. And as for Gabby, the kid is knackered. He needs a long break, get his energy back and to come back in a positive frame of mind. He knows his touch has deserted him for the time being, and the last thing he needs is to get slagged off. He needs supporting, which to be be fair a lot of the Holte End did do yesterday but a lot round by me didn't. WE NEED TO PULL TOGETHER!! We CAN finish in the top 4 but we need to do our bit and support not slag off. I understand the frustration after yesterday's game, but the booing is out of order. I was embarrassed by it in all honesty. That's what you expect at Old Trafford or Stamford Bridge, NOT Villa Park. Let's pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and play this 11 match season that we've got left in the same frame of mind as we started this 38 game one - with hope and WITHOUT fear (not THE Fear of course. I think we might need you). UTV. Come on you mighty Lions!!!!!!!!!
Report Abuse
02/03/2009 21:13:00

I'm beginning to enjoy going away a lot more than home games, i left just as they scored the second on Sunday so i didn't hear the booing but take that is was coming from the whole ground ?
chris the villan
Report Abuse
02/03/2009 21:51:00

HeathfieldRoad1874 2006dryden ljkal gappy65 What they said... I was gutted we didn't beat Stoke but credit to Stoke! This season has been a massive learning curve and anyone here who believe it's our devine right to be successfull should ...k off and support Man Utd!
Report Abuse
03/03/2009 10:39:00

MON should be sacked. It's scandalous that him and his turds are only 6 points ahead of Arsenal and a whopping 3 points behind Liverpool and Chelsea.
Report Abuse
03/03/2009 11:16:00

I tell you what - IF we beat City tomorrow - I wonder if some will find the minutest of faults. There's always something to complain about - Good CONSTRUCTIVE criticism is what discussions and opionions are about - not negative DESTRUCTIVE ones. Criticise but look at the whole picture. We have come so far in such a short time it's making some on here impatient. 16th to 11th to 6th to ??? 5th or 4th is season on season improvement. Enjoy, debate but don't (mass)debate ;0)
Report Abuse
03/03/2009 12:23:00

avfc48; i couldnt agree more with you dude. bakes has balls to play devils advocate on this subject, and even roll with his own name? Fair *****in play. some people on here hate to see opposing, well constructed opinion, when did bakes call for the gaffers head? I clearly saw him state he loved oneill, but fundamentally was condcerned with the risk/gamble he has taken. READ IT PROPERLY PEOPLE. I agree the Moscow gamble was to big a gamble to take, waving the white flag in such a cup competition for other potential riches and $$$$ is to synonymous with the modern game and money is the cancer eating away at the beautiful game. I still firmly believe the cost and consequences we may have to bear could be catostrophic for us.
Report Abuse
03/03/2009 12:38:00

agree avfc48 and stig, if people just took the time to at least pay respect AND read what others are saying, it would make the debate far more interesting. We have been 6th before, I hope upon hopes this season we improve on that. The season isn't over yet. I never saw the UEFA (not winning, just competing) and top 4/5 as mutually exclusive and if it was, you have to question - as the stated aim by MON was top 4 this season (see quotes to Barry 'give us one more season, if we don't make the top four then fine, you can look to leave' paraphrased obviously. I don't see the problem with fans being disappointed at last week, all fans will move on but just because we have MON as boss, does not mean fans can't say when they don't agree with something, that does not mean they are calling for his head, I have not seen ONE say he should be sacked. On the flip side, he isn't the messiah until he takes us back to the Holy Land of seeing a Villa captain lift the cup. I bet you some of the rested players would have LOVED to have played in the UEFA last week and to have progressed. I would lay good money on a few - especially Barry who waited years for Europe - would have been gutted at our exit. Only my opinion, I don't know that for a fact, but his quotes this week saying he doesn't feel tired does suggest he could have played quite happily, after all we have a break next week and don't play again until the 15th.
The Fear
Report Abuse
03/03/2009 12:48:00

and no Naz my Turkey loving friend, football is all about results, I don't think people will complain at any positive result. The complaints about Stoke were only the gutting feeling of knowing how important the result would have been and to be fair the players and manager were no different in slating it, well the manager anyway! :o)
The Fear
Report Abuse
03/03/2009 12:56:00

Fear mate - I know it's about results - but there were "moans" even when we won - about the formation - individual performances - still moans none the less. As I said Constructive Criticism is fine. And yes I Love Turkey - the weather - the girls the cheap drink and food! What more can a man want - plenty of Sun Sea and hows your father? ;o)
Report Abuse
03/03/2009 13:25:00


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