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Moscow Meal Gives Explanation

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.




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The Journalist

Writer: Mike Field Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Wednesday April 8 2009

Time: 2:28PM

Your Comments

The excuse unlike the steak was a bitter excuse to swallow.
col8
col8 all you do is moan. If you are not happy then don't come. If, and that is if, M'ON made a mistake, then so what. Get over it. Stop moaning, you are boring everybody. Arsenal, Spuds, Manure, Murderpool, Bluescouse, infact even the likes of Stoke, Bolton and Blackburn have played weakened teams in competitions this season and lost because of it. Manure have even played a weakened team in the League and their fans were so upset about it only 75,000 turned up on Sunday and then again on Tuesday for two games live on the TV.
voiceoftheholte
voiceoftheholte, I'm glad you've noticed that Man Utd had a weakened team out against us (so weak that we should have annihilated them, but came up well short of that), but they did so out of necessity. And they still won. And yes, other teams have played weakened sides at various times (as we have also, both in the League and FA Cup), and in each individual circumstance such action might be justified (and clearly is if a result is gained). But each case must be judged on its merits, and it is clear that, even if it was an honest mistake by MoN in this instance (which I can well believe, given the list of mistakes he has made as long as your arm), it was a bad mistake, the repercussions of which will be profound. If there wasn't already enough of an incentive to achieve Champions League football already, surely the prospect of playing in the Europa League in an empty stadium will provide the extra inspiration this team is sorely lacking at this moment in time. Of course we should be getting right behind the team and manager in these last seven games, and doing all we can as supporters to help Villa finish 4th. When the season ends, a post mortem (and I use that phrase deliberately) - if necessary - can be done.
Albarnista
I wasn't on about Manures team against us. They have rotated the squad even when players are fully fit for many premier league games. And why hould we only get behind the team for the last 7 games?? We should get behind the team every game, there shouldn't be any special reason to get behind them. As supporters we should be behind the team every game, every season. And as for a post mortem. Don't make me laugh. are you saying the Villa are dead, because as far a I am aware post mortems are done on dead things. And as for empty stadiums, we had between 5000 and 17,000 empty seats for every European game this season, so the fans wern't that bothered anyway. But that doesn't get away from the fact, M'ON made a judgement call. In many peoples eyes he made a mistake. So what??? If you show me a man who has never made mistakes, then I will show you a liar. It doesn't get away from the FACTS that we are improving. Last season we finished 6th on 60 points, 5 points behind Everton. This year we have played many extra games, but look like we will improve on that, although that is still to be proved.
voiceoftheholte
I feel even more bitter now, not about the game, but the fact I love beef and sticky toffee pudding. Bugger, wish I'd gone to moscow now..! lol :o)

Oh well, got to put this behind us now, onward and upward for the Everton game hopefully.
The Fear
Furry muff
Nimmo
On A positive note, we should be in europe again next season, I'm pretty sure he'll be going for it with a stronger squad and irrespective of league position he wont make the mistake again.
johnmurphy3112
VOTH is sick of people moaning and spends all his time slagging off fans as fickle. The venerable Mr Fear is fickle according to Voth, but he clearly is not. It is not a matter of fickle or not fickle, it is a matter of principle for some, on which some genuine longstanding fans take issue. The fact that all sorts of other teams may have fielded weakened teams for their own reasons does not justify it. Villa have fielded weakened teams too and been criticised but never to this extent. It was a competition we had a chance of winning and played 9 months to get that far. The principle is you don't give up on a chance to win a trophy. This has all been said, but surely voth you must recognise that these are strong solid die hard fans with principles, not fickle. Lets agree to disagree and we are all entitled to our views but DOL slagging of loyal fans as fickle does not go down well and neither are your word justified, when it is clear that fans are very passionate about this issue as well as their love of Villa. As for the explanation, I admit it does not satisfy me. What is being said is if he had another 9 playes it would be a different story. Lots of fans just want us to play our strongset team or very close to it, and I was hoping that is what we would do in future. The answer seem that will not be the case - the extra 9 players willenable us to continue to field a weakened team, but perhaps a stronger weakened team!. Anyway, back to the present, and let's stuff Everton.
stennyvilla
Looks from what I read as if Martin was in good spirits, hopefully winning over some of the dissenting voices. Surely its over and done with now, time to move on.
glensider
Agreed johnmurphy3112. Lesson learned, and hopefully this summer MON will take sufficient action to rectify this squad-size problem, a problem that few would/could deny exists. To progress, to challenge on four fronts next season, extra bodies have to be at the club, and quality individuals at that. We cannot, and must not, see a repeat of this seasons weakened teams being sent out, merely to risk players for the premier league assault.
glensider
 

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