The FORTNIGHT in Villa #2
Friday, 22nd May
All the focus is on Sunday and what will happen to Newcastle. It`s lovely knowing we could send that circus out of the Premiership… not that it will stop them being the darlings of Sky Sports!
Saturday, 23rd May
There are lots of 'Barry out` rumours, with Liverpool, Arsenal, Spurs, Man City and AC Milan all believed to be interested. James Milner and Stilyian Petrov both say they hope he will stay but both also say that life will go on if he leaves. I`d fancy that the former will be hoping that MON looks at him for a replacement if he does go. Sadly, it looks like we`re in for another long summer of the Barry saga.
Speaking of Jimmy M, he says he wont celebrate if 'The Toon` go down. Unlike most the country outside of Newcastle…
Sunday, 24th May
Villa 1-0 Newcastle. Bye-Bye Barcodes! It`s not hard to be happy. I have to admit I am surprised at how some of their fans have taken offence to that kind of suggestion. I am pretty certain that if the roles were reversed that they would be lapping it up! That said, I have (albeit via the world wide web) come across a few good eggs in the Geordie crowd over the last few days who are sick of all the media fuss around them. On the flip side, I have come across a few that are just as bad as the ones I have met in 'real` life. I suppose every club has it`s good & bad though… I mean, there are some Villa fans (who shall remain nameless) who I would gladly like to slap the taste out of their mouth!
The game was a bizarre affair. They were gutless, we were wasteful. On another day we could have had half a dozen, but then on another day I suppose they would have scored one of the chances that Martins had. From their point of view, I don`t think words could describe how hurt and angry I would be if I saw the team I love play like that, given what was on the line.
From our point of view… well, the last handful of games I have felt like the players seem to be aching for the season to end. Luckily, the last day was about as easy a game as we have ever had in the Premiership. I do have some major gripes though with our inability to make the most of creating chances in the final third (we really need to invest in that end of the field in the summer) and the fact that we till managed to give them a couple of golden opportunities (guess what? We really need to invest in that end of the field in the summer too!) but it was still very nice to finish with a win.
Another season over, one of many highs and lows. My favourite game on a personal level was another superb away day at Blackburn. But the win at the Emirates has to be the result of the season, surely? I agree that Petrov was our best player, and I think the bad run we had will stand us in good stead for the future. With a few additions to a solid base, there is little reason why we should not put up a better fight next term.
Monday, 25th May
I can`t believe we haven`t signed anyone! SACK MON! SACK THE BOARD! ;-)
Ah yes, the silly season is upon us… Today starts with Michael Owen and David Bentley.
Tuesday, 26th May
Randy Lerner has spoken… it doesn`t happen very often, so be grateful. Personally I like the fact that he isn`t a limelight hogger and he always comes across as an intelligent and humble man in his interviews.
Now, depending on what media source you read, you will either get the slant of we will or will not be spending. Obviously the local pro-SHA press go with the latter. The truth is that his quotes give away very little and he simply states that success comes down to more than just spending money.
He also says that: he is confident Gareth Barry will stay; that MON can achieve great things with Aston Villa; and that he is 'in it for the long haul`.
Oh and a random Arsenal site says that we have nabbed 16 year-old Samir Carruthers off 'em. No idea if that is true or not, and good ol` Fear was just about the only other person to report it!
Wednesday, 27th May
Luke Young is hoping to be fit for pre-season. We all hope that too Luke!
Quite a few sources in the media (although none overly reputable) seem to think we are after Mbark Boussoufa (Anderlecht, attacking midfielder) and Nicolas Lombaerts (Zenit St. Petersburg, central/left defender), while a few others seem to suggest we`re after Liverpool`s Ryan Babel.
Thursday, 28th May
Apparently we`re not after Babel!
Anyway, ex-manager Graham Taylor talks about Gareth Barry and how he believes he may harm his England chances if he leaves Villa. I can see the point if he goes to Liverpool, as that will mean he plays here, there and everywhere - when he plays! If he was to move to Arsenal though it would probably be of benefit, as he would play more of a similar role there for England than he has done for us.
Speaking of ex-Villa managers, Kidderminster Harriers have announced that Big Ron is hosting a 'Sportsman`s Dinner` at their ground (Aggborough Stadium) on Friday, 11th September. If you`re interested in attending, have a peek at their website for more info.
Friday, 29th May
Right, apparently Sheffield United have rejected an offer we have made for Kyle Naughton - who I have been impressed with whenever I have seen him play - but nothing official comes out of anywhere so take it with a pinch of salt.
Stilyian Petrov says that Gareth Barry needs time to come to a decision.
Curtis Davies says he expects an influx of new players. He is slightly mis-quoted as saying he expects six, but he does basically say he believes it will be around the same number as last summer, hence where the 'quote` came from!
Oh and we are apparently after Pietr Trochowski, who plays in midfield for Hamburg.
Saturday, 30th May
No football. SIGH. Mind you, how many times do we play on a Saturday anymore?!
The transfer window IS on though, and today mostly revolves around the suggestion that Gareth Barry is off to Arsenal.
Also, Nicky Shorey says he is unsure about his Villa future. Personally, I think it will be no bad thing if he stays, but with (hopefully) Bouma back next season, you would imagine he wont play much more than this season at best.
Sunday, 31st May
Michael Carrick pulls out of the England squad with an injury. "What does that have to do with Villa?", I hear you cry. Well, James Milner is his replacement! Well done that lad.
Following on from recent speculation that our neighbours from Small Heath want to sign Craig Gardner, they are now also being linked with Nicky Shorey. I`d say the latter is the more likely.
A couple of (sadly not very reputable) websites link us with Wagner Love. I`d be delighted if that was to materialise, I must say.
Finally, it is announced that in next seasons Europa League, we will have five officials rather than three. The extra two will be monitoring the penalty area`s as an alternative to video evidence. Crikey!
Monday, 1st June
Blimey, it`s June already…
So for some reason, Graham Taylor has piped up again about the Villa, this time saying that MON needs to sign at least five players. Cheers Graham!
Another rumour does the rounds. This time it is Argentine defender Renato Civelli, who will be available on a free when his current contract at Marseille expires.
John Carew talks about how the arrival of Emile Heskey has spurred him on and helped to be a motivation in his excellent end-of-season goal-scoring form. So, competition for places DOES work… who knew?!
Tuesday, 2nd June
Gareth Barry signs for Manchester City.
Well, by the time this comes out, plenty will have been written. So I will summarise:
He was a good player for us during his 12 years. Versatile and intelligent, he finally settled in central midfield. There was definitely a place for him in the team had he stayed. He was under-rated for many years by many people, in my opinion. That said, I also think he has been a little over-rated over the past couple of years; comments like, "He is Villa`s best player by a mile" as I heard earlier from a Sky Sports News reporter is nonsense. He will take some replacing, but he is certainly not irreplaceable. The last time our so-called 'star player` went up to Manchester for a fee in the region of £12m was when Dwight Yorke left, and that was a bigger loss - by a long way.
On to the move itself, and well, it is easy to see that City should have the resources to improve over the next few years. Whether they will or not is a different matter, and I will be very surprised if Gareth Barry is playing Champions League football come the 2010/2011 season. The bottom line is Gareth Barry went there for the money.
So, out with the old and in with the new. No point in dwelling on it, what is done is done, we just need to concern ourselves with who is coming in.
Wednesday, 3rd June
Well there is one thing then! Barry has written an open letter to the Villa fans. Thanks for the 'Dear John`, but this is about all the time I am willing to waste talking about an ex-player.
We are linked with Obefami Martins. Last time he played at Villa Park he had a 'Mare!
Thursday, 4th June
Rumours today are… Defour, Bentley, Lescott, Huddlestone. So all names we`ve heard before. But wait! There is also Antonio Apono, who plays in midfield for Malaga. Apparently he is unaware of any interest, and we probably aren`t interested. But hey, why let that get in the way of a story! There is another report from Spain saying that we have bid £7m for Jose Manual Jurado (could there be a more Spanish name?!) who plays for Athletico Madrid, but spent last season on loan at Mallorca. Finally, the other rumour from today also is from Spain, with suggestions we are looking to sign former Arsenal player Alexander Hleb, who now (occasionally!) plays for Barcelona. That`d be nice…
Annoyingly, that lot from Manchester who wear Coventry shirts are now linked with John Carew. He sort of dismisses it, without actually doing so. I`d rather he just said, "I`m not going anywhere". That said I suppose he has made lots of noises about loving life at the Villa in the last few weeks, and in the same interview he talks positively about our chances for next season.
You know how we could do with a Paul Merson style player to turn those annoying home draws we have had into wins? Well the man himself will be appearing soon for the Old Stars. Good for him. I hope he`s as happy and healthy as he can be these days.
Oh, and apparently we`re not after Hleb. There is however a rumour that we have made a bid for Eduardo Salvio, who plays up front for CA Lanus.
So, sorry about the delay but I suppose better late than never and all that jazz. I think the next few weeks will little more than me relaying rumours. Hopefully, there will be a few confirmations too!