Writer: J P Fear
Date:Tuesday April 7 2009
Martin O'Neill has refused to apologise for sending out a weakened squad to Moscow and throwing any chance of a cup this season but is holding a party for those who went to the game. That's ok then. What about all of us mugs who wasted (yes WASTED) our money going to other ties?
The meal, costing £15 000 of MON's own money (doesn't feel at all to blame or wrong but is splashing out £15 000? Yup, ok), takes place tonight for the disgruntled Moscow travelers (the ones who went through the official packages only I believe, I could be wrong) and some first team players are also said to be turning up... shame the same didn't happen in Moscow then this situation would never have arisen!
In an article in The Mirror Dion Dublin said: 'We plainly know now that it was the wrong decision to go about it as he did. I would have gone for the trophy. When you get so close to something why would you fob it off and then go for the league? The league is very important but if you can get a bit of silverware or get into a final, that's got to be good.'
Hopefully they don't turn up to the 3 course meal tonight only to find that the main meal has been replaced and only a starter and pudding are on offer! :o)
O'Neill says in the same article by James Nursery: 'With a couple more wins we are going to have qualified for Europe again, and by this time next year hopefully we will be able to cope with all the fixtures you have.'
So hang on, this year despite MON deciding to enter the competition, we weren't prepared (despite how many transfer windows and how much financial backing from Randy Lerner?) but next season all will be well and we'll be expected to take the manager serious when he says they are all out to win the Interflora or whatever they are going to call it next season? Didn't we hear the same at the start of this season? Wasn't the aim all last season to qualify for Europe? Wasn't that what all the players were dying to play in?
Frankly if I was UEFA I'd have banned both Villa and Spurs (and any other team who treated the competition with such disdain) from the next years competition - and yes, I'd do the same to clubs who don't field at least 75% of their regular team in domestic competitions as well. Harsh words I know and I'll be flamed by some for saying it but I really don't care. The actions of MON made me question why I am a season ticket holder this year and has made me wonder if I'll renew the automatic cup voucher scheme part next season. If he doesn't take cups seriously, how are we supposed to?
Meanwhile Graham Taylor has told The Times Online :
'They brought the players back early last summer for the Intertoto Cup in order to try to qualify for the Uefa Cup. There is a feeling among supporters, who are not anti-Martin, that the team had a great chance to finish fourth and go all the way in the Uefa Cup. What they are finding hard to understand is that the players who were brought back early for pre-season were not given the opportunity to go and win in Moscow. Then the players who were brought back into the side went 2-0 up against Stoke but drew 2-2 after the Uefa Cup exit.'
Adding, 'That created, for the first time in Martin's time here, some quite fierce criticism. The club did quite well to invite those 300 supporters who travelled to Moscow to dinner to compensate them. But it was almost like an admission of guilt.'
He goes on to say that when fit and playing well Villa are good enough for the top four but adds the squad isn't big enough despite Villa spending nearly £50m last summer. The report also says that Randy will again back the manager in the transfer window this summer adding that it looks likely Barry will be on the way out.
'I always believe any manager should have at least three years and we can see what he's achieved so far. While we're all a bit disappointed, having come so close to finishing fourth, I think we'll see Villa enjoy a significant season next season. If it doesn't go the way we all hope it will, there might be a bit of justification to the criticism. But not now.'
Article correction. MON has since told the official site that he has not paid for the meal.
O'Neill said: "It was an idea I had on the way back from Russia and, after it was cleared by the chairman, we both decided to go ahead with it."
Date:Tuesday April 7 2009
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