Writer: Mike Field
Date:Wednesday April 8 2009
The fans who attended last nights apology 'dinner' were treated to a fullish explanation from the manager over why he rested so many players.
Most newspaper reports on the event are leading into it with the admission from O'Neill that if he had another 9 players in the squad he would have gone to win the UEFA Cup.
Forgive me for ignoring that bit though as it'll only lead onto a rant about who signs players, who sells players and I really can't be bothered with that debate again.
Speaking at the dinner, O'Neill said:
'You went to Moscow thinking we had a chance in a game. You have spent hardearned money going so I'll give you the explanation and then don't ask me to explain anything again.
'We played against Moscow at home and we went as strongly as we possibly could.
'We were hoping to try to get through in the tie and we were sitting fourth in the league.
'Then we played Chelsea and I thought we looked a wee bit leggy. The players won't be coming to tell me but I have to make these assessments.
'I made a decision at that stage as we were going to Moscow and playing on a plastic pitch.
'If we had another nine players in our squad then we could have gone for it.'
So there we go, we looked leggy against Chelsea but we still played our normal defence against Moscow, we still didn't have an appropriate bench in case things started to go wrong.....I'm stopping there.
The fans in attendance were treated to a 3 course meal of Tomato Soup, Sirloin Beef and Sticky Toffee Pudding.
They also got the chance to meet Gareth Barry, Brad Guzan, Craig Gardner, Nathan Delfouneso and Ciaran Clark as the free drinks were handed out.
Each fan also left with a Villa goody bag before entertainment by comedian Adger Brown.
The feedback from the event seems to all be positive, and many fans seem content with the explanation given.
However the explanation has been obvious for a long time and it doesn't mean I have to like it or agree with it, even if I understand it.
The same sort of rest could've been achieved in different ways and the outcome would have been better.
Date:Wednesday April 8 2009
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