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Villa Fan Says No Black & White In Footie

Villa Fan Says No Black & White In Footie

It seems to me that football fans like things to be very black and white (no, nothing to do with Newcastle), almost the archetypal good vs evil depicted by religions throughout history. By the very nature of our status as football fans we are tribal and the acts of labeling, stereo-typing and prejudice are mechanisms that help us to function and even survive.

There are some that are not able, apparently, to disconnect these mechanisms. I'm tired of being labeled anti-MON or an MON hater. Personally I think he seems like a nice guy but this has absolutely no relevance to his status as the manager of Aston Villa Football Club.

I am a fan of Aston Villa not of any one individual, as Fear likes to point out, players, managers and even owners/chairmen come and go, we remain!

I was delighted when we got MON as manager of our great club and very pleased that he was able to stabilize the club so quickly and even impressed with his consolidation leading to our 6th place finish last year. This last season was his opportunity to push on and show that he was more than a man capable of creating a team that was hard to beat (remember Villa never beat an MON lead Leicester City).

He had built a strong foundation and set the scene to bring in the right players and push on. Not too many of us expected to break the top 4 but many were hopeful of displacing Everton, what we all expected was a consolidation of our top 6 status and progression in terms of the squad and playing style. Most are realistic enough to know that to displace any of the top 4 (or even 5) would take more than just a flash in the pan but in fact a club looking like it's going places in order to attract even more top players, those on the fringes of playing in the CL but perhaps looking to get more 1st team football early in their career.

Instead we got mainly older players and/or from teams below us. Players who can do a job for us but will not help us to move on in anyway other than by grimly hanging on to our top 6 status. Credit where credit is due, MON created a buzz about the club which drove us from season's opening to overachieve until just after new year. I say overachieve because, if you look at our playing style and the playing staff used, most of our success was down to us outworking our opponents rather than outplaying them. Our work ethic and speedy players made up for any lack of craft, guile and tactics but sadly, as history confirms, this could not last. Players tired, became injured and received inevitable bans which halted our momentum and made many, including the players (I believe) start to lose faith.

Then came Moscow, the ultimate destroyer of any momentum and faith for many. Later in the season it looked like MON became desperate, trying questionable substitutions and even more questionable, bizarre even, tactical positioning which at one point left Milner as right back and Nigel Reo Coker as left back, apparently hoping to stumble upon some magic formula that would result in him being hailed as some sort of misunderstood genius, the mad professor type. I believe he was becoming weary of tarnishing his reputation as a tactical genius and imho he only made things worse but that is the risk when accused of having no plan B, especially as the accusations appear to be correct.

I would argue that Aston Villa's limited success, this last season, was due to MON's ability to build up the player's belief and use this fact to motivate them to achieve at a level that they could not maintain for an entire season. As I said earlier, credit where it is due, MON got the players playing at a level beyond themselves for over half a season but I doubt he will be able to do this again as the players have seen what he can do and will see his limitations, limiting their faith in him and thus themselves, as a team if not as individuals.

My point? I too can see what MON has achieved and I do believe that he was the right man for the club when he came in. His downfall has been his success, in that he has achieved his limitations, imho, in a much shorter period of time than anyone could have expected or even hoped for.

I'm not anti-MON, I'm pro Villa and I believe that it's time for both Aston Villa and MON to move on. Aston Villa are ready to move on to the next stage of development thanks to MON. MON needs to move on while his reputation is still relatively in tact.

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Writer:Villan Of The North
Date:Sunday June 21 2009
Time: 10:22AM

Comments

0
I'd like MON to stay for at least 2 or 3 more seasons. Unless you have an insanely rich arab backing you, the premier league is a marathon, not a sprint. Look at Newcastle and Leeds sacking managers of clubs after unrealistic expectations, (where are they now). We need managerial consistency and very few other managers in the Prem have as much respect from peers and players alike as MON. Let's give the man the time that PL managers should expect, not what people demanding instant success do. To mention that MON isn't TRYING to get the players in to take is to the next level is quite frankly laughable.
Cubos
21/06/2009 10:34:00
0
I'd like MON to stay for at least 2 or 3 more seasons. Unless you have an insanely rich arab backing you, the premier league is a marathon, not a sprint. Look at Newcastle and Leeds sacking managers of clubs after unrealistic expectations, (where are they now). We need managerial consistency and very few other managers in the Prem have as much respect from peers and players alike as MON. Let's give the man the time that PL managers should expect, not what people demanding instant success do. To mention that MON isn't TRYING to get the players in to take is to the next level is quite frankly laughable.
Cubos
21/06/2009 10:34:00
0
Not that i'm actually quoting you on that last sentence of mine, I just think eventually MON will get it right and will finally get the players that are going to take us forward.
Cubos
21/06/2009 10:36:00
0
Not that i'm actually quoting you on that last sentence of mine, I just think eventually MON will get it right and will finally get the players that are going to take us forward.
Cubos
21/06/2009 10:36:00
0
A thought; 1989-90 (i think possibley 90-91) Villa 3 Man U 0. United fans all demanding Ferguson's head on a spit(Tony Daley had sat Clayton Blackmore on his arse all game! Brilliant day) United go on to win FA Cup, the rest is history. Speaking of History, Ron Saunders success = experience + potential, Graham Taylor = experience + potential, Big Ron = experience + potential. Until we break into the top 4 consistently, that's the future. Question is how much time do we give MON. If we can see the cracks, surely he can. Lets see what type of filler he uses and how he applies it. Get behind the team and be patient I say. Starting again will achieve nothing. How great is MON pulling power and tactical know how? We're about to find out. The history of claret and blue has always been this way since I became a fan in 1970's. Only a consistent period of success will change it. Keep believing!
northamptonvillan
21/06/2009 11:51:00
0
A thought; 1989-90 (i think possibley 90-91) Villa 3 Man U 0. United fans all demanding Ferguson's head on a spit(Tony Daley had sat Clayton Blackmore on his arse all game! Brilliant day) United go on to win FA Cup, the rest is history. Speaking of History, Ron Saunders success = experience + potential, Graham Taylor = experience + potential, Big Ron = experience + potential. Until we break into the top 4 consistently, that's the future. Question is how much time do we give MON. If we can see the cracks, surely he can. Lets see what type of filler he uses and how he applies it. Get behind the team and be patient I say. Starting again will achieve nothing. How great is MON pulling power and tactical know how? We're about to find out. The history of claret and blue has always been this way since I became a fan in 1970's. Only a consistent period of success will change it. Keep believing!
northamptonvillan
21/06/2009 11:51:00
0
I have to say i find the qoute: "MON needs to move on while his reputation is still relatively in tact" quite staggering. Are you seriously suggesting that MON should "do one"? Other managers, at Villa, may have got higher finishes than ONeil, but he is still in the building stage and when the team gets it right they are as good a side to watch as anything else the premiership has to offer. Unless you have some managerial mastermind up your sleeve i think you should be grateful for the manager that we have
Kuffit
21/06/2009 12:37:00
0
I have to say i find the qoute: "MON needs to move on while his reputation is still relatively in tact" quite staggering. Are you seriously suggesting that MON should "do one"? Other managers, at Villa, may have got higher finishes than ONeil, but he is still in the building stage and when the team gets it right they are as good a side to watch as anything else the premiership has to offer. Unless you have some managerial mastermind up your sleeve i think you should be grateful for the manager that we have
Kuffit
21/06/2009 12:37:00
0
I'd like to echo part of your sentiments, VotN - I totally agree that football is (or should be) all shades of grey. There are no absolutes. And my position is also like yours: I'm not a MON-lover (!!) and nor do I think MON is the Messiah (I'm not even sure the Messiah is the Messiah!), but from then on we differ somewhat. I believe, like a lot of other people, that consistency is the key to long-term success. Not short-term fixes or fu**ing up your salary structure for the sake of expediency, but doing things like the (old) Liverpool used to. Quietly. In the background. No player bigger than the club. Etc. One thing especially strikes the football fan who looks at the history of the game: not many managers come into a club, achieve instant success, and then go on to build long-term success too. Most legendary managers (SAF, for instance, but he's only one) have built slowly over an extended period, and have been given time by their board. Do I think MON can move us on to the next level? I've no idea. Nobody can tell that in advance. Do I think he deserves what you're throwing at him? I don't think so. Compare MON and Moyes last season. Their teams ended up 1 point apart. They had some horrible injuries, but so did we (i.e. Freddie and Laursen). Moyes is being feted by their fans simply because they ended up on a high, rather than starting on one, while MON is being told he should maybe walk. Your opinion is one I respect and I see your arguments, but I have to say I don't agree this time around.
BobTheBuilder
21/06/2009 14:08:00
0
I'd like to echo part of your sentiments, VotN - I totally agree that football is (or should be) all shades of grey. There are no absolutes. And my position is also like yours: I'm not a MON-lover (!!) and nor do I think MON is the Messiah (I'm not even sure the Messiah is the Messiah!), but from then on we differ somewhat. I believe, like a lot of other people, that consistency is the key to long-term success. Not short-term fixes or fu**ing up your salary structure for the sake of expediency, but doing things like the (old) Liverpool used to. Quietly. In the background. No player bigger than the club. Etc. One thing especially strikes the football fan who looks at the history of the game: not many managers come into a club, achieve instant success, and then go on to build long-term success too. Most legendary managers (SAF, for instance, but he's only one) have built slowly over an extended period, and have been given time by their board. Do I think MON can move us on to the next level? I've no idea. Nobody can tell that in advance. Do I think he deserves what you're throwing at him? I don't think so. Compare MON and Moyes last season. Their teams ended up 1 point apart. They had some horrible injuries, but so did we (i.e. Freddie and Laursen). Moyes is being feted by their fans simply because they ended up on a high, rather than starting on one, while MON is being told he should maybe walk. Your opinion is one I respect and I see your arguments, but I have to say I don't agree this time around.
BobTheBuilder
21/06/2009 14:08:00
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