Date:Monday March 16 2009
4.100) Hi General,
This isn't really a question, more of a view from me on what is going on at the moment, and granted I know very little about Randy Lerner and I'm now going to assume a few things.
Lerner came to the club and technically he inherited Martin O'Neill. Over the two years that following O'Neill (with Lerner's full backing) managed to take the side from 16th to 6th. Along the way, O'Neill has made some decent signings, Ashley Young being the obvious one, many on here complained the price was too high, in hindsight he has been exceptional value for money. And last season after being starved of European football, we finally qualified for the UEFA Cup again.
O`Neill did spend money in the summer, with some big money buys - Luke Young, Carlos Cuellar and James Milner, and a couple of players to bolster the squad - Shorey and Sidwell, plus 2 goalkeepers called Brad. Expectation was understandably high amongst Villa fans, and I would have thought Mr Lerner and his board also.
The season started well, the club launched a website promoting our return to the European stage, special collectors editions of the Match Programme were made for the Home legs (I have all 3!) and in the last game, a free flag was given to every supporter at the game, as a memento and dare I say it, it was a night to remember. O`Neill followed it up by making (in my eyes) the wrong call regarding 'resting` players for the big game, the resting argument falling on its face somewhat as L.Young, Knight and Davies all travelled. And as many on here predicted the side were out of the competition.
Now for me, Mr Lerner has plowed a lot into promoting this season`s UEFA Cup to Villa fans, and O`Neill took a gamble, probably getting some tentative backing from the board in the process.
We then throw away a 2-0 lead over Stoke, and after a below par performance from a usually reliable Brad Friedel, we concede 2 goals against Spurs. Meanwhile O`Neill refuses to start John Carew, a player that it was well publicised broke club rules. Yet despite being the clubs most prolific goalscorer constantly finds him low in the pecking order behind an out of form Gabby Agbonlahor.
So here comes the assumption from me, probably wrong, but I would consider Randy Lerner to be an ambitious and highly intelligent individual.
I assume Lerner has doubts, he has seen O`Neill practically throw in the towel in the UEFA Cup by putting out a ridiculously weakened side for a game against a side that are ultimately going to be playing Champions League football next season (to concentrate on the league), he then follows it up by attaining one point from the next three games. We fans are constantly assured, from your goodself in part, that money is available. O`Neill appears to have refused to strengthen the squad in January and get in the players to push on in the league (barring Heskey). O`Neill obviously has personal issues with Carew and in my opinion O`Neill needs to get over it, because he is costing us points, and WE, ASTON VILLA are far more important than O`Neill`s feelings towards our best goalscorer.
Lerner will be seeing all these things, the 6 players out of position yesterday, the lack of confidence being shown to our best striker from the management, the prioritising of the league (that has proven to be pointless) and O`Neill`s decision not to utilise Lerner`s funds (that we are assured are there) to strengthen the side further in January. Plus the ongoing lack of depth in our squad (3 years O`Neill has had to address this).
No doubt O`Neill has laid the foundations, but I assume that Lerner would have had high expectations for this season. And if O`Neill doesn`t deliver (there is still time for us to turn it around mind), I suspect that he may well be shown the door. American businessmen are notoriously ruthless, and I suspect Lerner is the same. 5th would probably be acceptable, but 6th is standing still and I doubt that Lerner is one for standing still, I would like to think he is one for moving forward.
Just me assuming General, and I have no doubt that if you do reply to me it will be to shoot me down, I do not expect you to agree with me, but I would like to think Lerner will do what is best for the club, and I have full faith in him which is more than can be said for Martin.
Date:Monday March 16 2009
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