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John Barnes On Villa This Season

Former England midfielder John Barnes, now a pundit for the New Football Pools gives his opinion on Villa this season and also the booing incident (the one that never was and was blown up thanks to the Villa boss Martin O'Neill making all Villa fans look bad. :o(

'It was disappointing to hear some of the Aston Villa crowd`s reaction to the substitution of Gabriel Agbonlahor at the weekend. The lad may be short on confidence at the moment but he has been brilliant for the club this season and like Martin O`Neill said some fans have short memories.

Villa have hit a bad patch of form and this has seen Arsenal climb above them in the league whilst Everton are also pushing them hard. It`s hard to look further than the current top four to be honest but that doesn`t mean Villa have had a poor season, far from it. To be honest Villa have probably overachieved this season and if you`d told most Villa fans at the start of the season that they`d be separated from 4th place due to goal difference at this stage of the season, they would have bit your hand off.

The performance of the side seems to have levelled off in recent weeks but that`s not to be unexpected. Martin O`Neill doesn`t have the biggest of squads and certainly not the strength in depth of their rivals. To finish in the top four, the team would have to play at their maximum best for the rest of the season but that isn`t really feasible. Unfortunately for Villa, Arsenal have the knowhow and a number of top stars returning so I can`t see them slipping up at this stage.

Despite the obvious disappointment of the home defeat to Tottenham I still find those Villa fans that booed Agbonlahor ridiculous. The young lad has been a massive part of Villa`s season and doesn`t deserve that treatment. The striker has played nearly every single game and it`s no surprise he`s hit a barren run. After what he`s done for the club this season I am shocked at the reaction to him even if it was only a minority. He is a local lad and for me is one of Villa`s top performers. Villa fans should back him and the side because wherever the club finish, they`ve had an excellent campaign.'

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The Journalist

Writer: Site Staff Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Wednesday March 18 2009

Time: 9:00AM

Your Comments

I really do wish the manager had talked about himself, his team selections, his substitutions instead of again turning on the fans, or some fans. I am fed up that it is always the fans fault. We are a loyal bunch, there might be a few numpties but then, we all pay bloody good money and have supported Villa through thick and thin before this manager, before the last manager etc etc and we'll all be here after as well. Sometimes, just sometimes, it would be nice for people who ARE responsible to take the fecking blame themselves instead of constantly deflecting it! :o)
The Fear
LMFAO, no the boo's/jeers/cheers were aimed MON, but the media would never report that because he is nice little man. He is responsible for squad size, he is responsible for picking Gabby week in week out and not resting him despite having a hungry young forward in Delboy and a prolific goalscorer Carew available. Sorry but I cannot see why Agbonlahor was even put in that position.
young_jonah
Sorry but I cannot see why Agbonlahor was even put in that position. Istead of blaming it on the fans, maybe MON should take a look at himself.
young_jonah
Is MON the new DOL!?
Class of 82
Perhaps Class of 82, perhaps
young_jonah
I'm embarrassed by the fans that have become critical so quickly. We have over achieved for 18 months, in reality finishing top 6 this season is a success, and the squad is getting stronger, if not at the pace we'd like.
keithlees1978
No, DOL was totally dislikeable class of 82. It isn't nice to turn on the fans though, it was only some not all but the amount of stick I've had this week from fans of other teams because of the comments, they didn't even see the incident so just think we booed a player, that wasn't what happened and it is a bit unfair on a good faithful set of fans!
The Fear
I feel the same keithlees1978. If anything this site has become more negative and doom/gloom than another well known blog I used to find that way. It seems the role has reversed and coming here is less of a pleasure these days. Fair enough, everyone's entitled to an opinino but the supporters need to take their fair share of their negativity contributing to the team's spirit. Maybe if we got behind them their belief in themselves would pick up once more. I don't know if i'm on my own in thinking this but I don't think MON is necessarily the one who is at fault for our lack of form. Despite our successes this season, I don't think we've actually performed that well. When you look at the opta stats, we had more players in the top 5 performers last season, and when we have won games this year it's been down to the team spirit not blinding individual performances. Carew, Ash Young in particular have not really sparkled for me this year.
johnnyuk
I am thrilled with the progress nade and i think o`neil lis right for the job in the long term,But why should i be happy with the uefa cup antics and then dropping 8 points when the games included wigan and stoke at home,Damn right i am critical of that.In my opinion o`neill has some nerve having a go at the fans after what he did in russia and hamburg,We put money into that fat paycheck of his and we live in a democracy so yes we will have a ******** opinion.
lerneravfc
Despite what I just said, I agree with lerner.... I think MON got that wrong for sure.
johnnyuk
Absolutely with you johnnyuk. We have had the odd game of excellence but not consistently this season. During our golden spell we were creating luck with our graft and spirit. I think that MON has done an excellent job. Ultimately he has made some mistakes, but we all make mistakes in our jobs. Finishing top 6 is a success this season ,but then the hard work begins. Next season Man City and Tottenham will be up with us and Everton in the battle to break the top 4, extra competition means we will need the extra options to keep us ahead of the game.
keithlees1978
I can assure keithlees1978, that i have felt this way all season. Check any thread in the forum for proof
young_jonah
At last the true fans speaking out. I am fed up with the "blindly back MON whatever decision he makes" people who post on this site. In the real world we love you Martin, but god you have ballsed it up with some strange decisions in recent weeks. Rest Gabby now, and change tacttics when you can see things are not working pleeeeeeeeeeeese.
HolteEnder43
Fans who were there at the weekend were suprised as much as anything else to see the poor lad get a deserved rest and give someone else a chance. The majority (not minority)cheered. People, especially failed managers (and failed commentators at that) should not comment on something like this if they weren't there as I have watched the replay also on Sky and it didn't look or sound anything like it did in person.
Villan444
you lot are unbelieable. one clitch in the season and the knives are out for MON!!
johnmurphy3112
This has got so blown out of proportion its unbelievable. Who booed Gabby!? Ok we'll cheer for him to undo the bad press. Guaranteed he'll start on Sunday (and so he should - he's brilliant for us).
AVFC4ME
How how we turned. When everything was hunky-dorey early on, we were singing the praises of MON, Gabby et al, at every opportunity. A few poor performances and bad results and the knives are out. Sad really.
glensider
MON isn't immune to making mistakes. Every manager worth his salt out there makes them. Jeez, Ron Saunders made a few. If he were around today, in charge at Villa Park, some of these supporters would be on his back, hounding his every move. Its an on demand world. Supporters want everything now. It aint gonna happen.
glensider
 

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