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Villa Fan Asks Where's The Ambition?

Peter Keogh asks: Where’s the ambition?

O’Neill has said that we have to sign players just to stand still. That was before Barry and Taylor left and when you consider we’ve already lost Laursen and will no doubt be getting rid of Harewood, that puts us four players down on last years self-confessed small squad. In an interview with a Birmingham paper early in the summer, Randy said we wouldn’t be spending silly amounts this summer and although that we can add £12mil from the Barry sale to the pot (plus the £2 from the Taylor sale), we can’t have more than £40m to spend.

We need a Laursen replacement and a Barry replacement out of that money (Sidwell and Gardner should be fighting it out with Petrov and one more top class midfielder) who you have to expect to cost the best part of £10m each – that would leave us with only around £20m. From that we need (I would argue) a creative midfielder to supplement Milner and Young, a goalscorer (I have faith in Agbonlahor but he needs time), a backup right back and a backup / first choice left back (assuming that either Bouma is (please no) forced to retire or that Shorey doesn’t make the grade). That’s four players minimum just to get the first team up to scratch.

On top of that, the last two years have shown us that we need decent quality back up players. The youth team clearly have some talent and players like Bannan, the Fonz and O’Halloran are bright prospects for the future but it’s too much to rely on them when we’re short in a UEFA Cup game. And we can’t rely on Young, Gabby, Petrov and Milner playing every game without injury. My question is how can we sign the replacements for the two Internationals we’ve lost, the players to bring the first team up to scratch and the numbers to bring our squad in line with those around us with such a tight budget?

I support the sustainable way that we’re building a team and maybe I’m hoping for too much, too soon but without any sniff of a trophy since 1996 and 3 years into the Randy project, I hoped for more. The Mail are reporting that we’ve missed out on Sturridge (who looks a real prospect) and now Hull are talking about speaking with Owen. Surely if we don’t have the funds, these are the types of players we should be looking to sign? My feeling this year is the same as the last few – MON (as great as he is) doesn’t like paying for players and waits for a deal to come. The trouble with this is that by the time it does, somebody else has already stepped in (Bentley, Milner (the first time) and Sturridge would appear to be examples of this).

My message? Show ambition, buy the big player early, give prospective signings the belief that we are the place to be – not Everton, not City, not Spurs. A lack of ambition is something that has been aimed at Villa since Southgate left. In spite of everything, I think it’s a cloud that we’ll struggle to shake until some is shown.

PS – for those who would argue that the c£10m signing of Young was showing ambition, I would counter that one Swallow does not a summer make.




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The Journalist

Writer: Peter Keogh Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Wednesday June 24 2009

Time: 11:10AM

Your Comments

Looking forward to some optimistic articles later in the summer once we've made our signings. I do think now would be the time to bring in a wow player or two but to be fair, it doesnt' matter what I think or anyone else thinks, only what the manager thinks... A lot of thinking there, my head hurts!
The Fear
Looking forward to some optimistic articles later in the summer once we've made our signings. I do think now would be the time to bring in a wow player or two but to be fair, it doesnt' matter what I think or anyone else thinks, only what the manager thinks... A lot of thinking there, my head hurts!
The Fear
No Optimistic articles till deadline day then Fear ? P.S I'd argue we had a sniff of the FA cup in 2000 as we were in the final - and had it not been for Calamity James.....
Mat777
No Optimistic articles till deadline day then Fear ? P.S I'd argue we had a sniff of the FA cup in 2000 as we were in the final - and had it not been for Calamity James.....
Mat777
Are you saying showing ambition is buying big name players at a huge cost, or that you agree with the 'organic' sustainable approach. Surely the two are not compatible, and according to some, we are unable financially to compete with those spending big sums like the 15 mill spent by Everton on Marouane Fellaini, or Liverpools recent spend on Glen Johnson. O'Neill says we needed 8 men before we lost Barry, Laursen and Taylor, even 40 mill, 50 mill divided by 11 is around Ellis' average yearly spend.
avfc48
Are you saying showing ambition is buying big name players at a huge cost, or that you agree with the 'organic' sustainable approach. Surely the two are not compatible, and according to some, we are unable financially to compete with those spending big sums like the 15 mill spent by Everton on Marouane Fellaini, or Liverpools recent spend on Glen Johnson. O'Neill says we needed 8 men before we lost Barry, Laursen and Taylor, even 40 mill, 50 mill divided by 11 is around Ellis' average yearly spend.
avfc48
What do you mean wheres the ambition?What do you want us to do realisticly,Win the league?not going to happen unless you have man city money nowadays.Win a cup? we have the ambitions to do that,Compete in europe?We have the ambition to do that,Break the top 4?we have the ambition to do that.The club has the ambition to do everything that is realisticly possible for it to do.Just because we haven`t made a signing yet this bollocks is starting again.The title should be lets make some signings because as far as ambition goes the club is doin all it can.
lerneravfc
What do you mean wheres the ambition?What do you want us to do realisticly,Win the league?not going to happen unless you have man city money nowadays.Win a cup? we have the ambitions to do that,Compete in europe?We have the ambition to do that,Break the top 4?we have the ambition to do that.The club has the ambition to do everything that is realisticly possible for it to do.Just because we haven`t made a signing yet this bollocks is starting again.The title should be lets make some signings because as far as ambition goes the club is doin all it can.
lerneravfc
I mean why are we not snapping up Sturridge? Why are we not saying that we'll have a chat with Owen? Why are we not making that big signing early to stop people like me (and players like Barry) moaning about a lack of ambition? We need to be making a statement of intent and signing either Sturridge or Owen (or Bentley?!) early in the window would have gone a small way towards doing that. I'm worried that we'll get beaten to all the early buys again. But you're right, it's early days, so let's see. Unless something good happens this summer though I am worried about Man City, Everton and Spurs.
claret&blue82
I mean why are we not snapping up Sturridge? Why are we not saying that we'll have a chat with Owen? Why are we not making that big signing early to stop people like me (and players like Barry) moaning about a lack of ambition? We need to be making a statement of intent and signing either Sturridge or Owen (or Bentley?!) early in the window would have gone a small way towards doing that. I'm worried that we'll get beaten to all the early buys again. But you're right, it's early days, so let's see. Unless something good happens this summer though I am worried about Man City, Everton and Spurs.
claret&blue82
The argument that we are four down just doesn't stack up. Harewood and Taylor will get nowhere near the first team again, as has been said, I think we are better off going with kids in these areas of the squad. As for Fellaini, he was a great buy I agree - let's see if we sign Defour? It's funny how Felliani is used in arguments as he's good, but the shyte signings aren't. My concern is MON playing players out of position and the lack of creativity in midfield. Wheater, Owen and Bentley appear to be the certs for me. Wheater=Knight=Davies=Cuellar right?
tarzan
The argument that we are four down just doesn't stack up. Harewood and Taylor will get nowhere near the first team again, as has been said, I think we are better off going with kids in these areas of the squad. As for Fellaini, he was a great buy I agree - let's see if we sign Defour? It's funny how Felliani is used in arguments as he's good, but the shyte signings aren't. My concern is MON playing players out of position and the lack of creativity in midfield. Wheater, Owen and Bentley appear to be the certs for me. Wheater=Knight=Davies=Cuellar right?
tarzan
We are not snapping up sturridge because chelsea who are bigger and way better and richer than us at the moment were in for him aswell,If it was us against everton then he would have joined us.we are not saying we are "having a chat" with owen because o`neill doesn`t speak like that in public.Get real about it we are a b + level club who have every realistic ambition we can have at the moment.I understand the frustration but everyone should know by now what o`neill is like,For the last two seasons he has kicked us on from where we were so lets give him a chance to do it again.The problem is we are not a big a club as a lot of villa fans think we are,So some people will always be frustrated no matter what.
lerneravfc
We are not snapping up sturridge because chelsea who are bigger and way better and richer than us at the moment were in for him aswell,If it was us against everton then he would have joined us.we are not saying we are "having a chat" with owen because o`neill doesn`t speak like that in public.Get real about it we are a b + level club who have every realistic ambition we can have at the moment.I understand the frustration but everyone should know by now what o`neill is like,For the last two seasons he has kicked us on from where we were so lets give him a chance to do it again.The problem is we are not a big a club as a lot of villa fans think we are,So some people will always be frustrated no matter what.
lerneravfc
We are not snapping up Strurridge because, he's been made an amazing offer by Chelski. £55k per week and the cut from a 10m fee?!? His agent must have the right horn. If Sturridge even plays a couple of dead rubber CL this season, his price will rocket.
tarzan
We are not snapping up Strurridge because, he's been made an amazing offer by Chelski. £55k per week and the cut from a 10m fee?!? His agent must have the right horn. If Sturridge even plays a couple of dead rubber CL this season, his price will rocket.
tarzan
Lerner - I agree, O'Neill has moved us on each year. I'm just concerned that this year is going to be a Vital one (excuse the pun) and competition will be the stiffest yet. Wheater, Owen and Bentley would certainly relieve some frustration!
claret&blue82
Lerner - I agree, O'Neill has moved us on each year. I'm just concerned that this year is going to be a Vital one (excuse the pun) and competition will be the stiffest yet. Wheater, Owen and Bentley would certainly relieve some frustration!
claret&blue82
Ambition isn't lacking, but competence most certainly is, and that is far more worrying.
Albarnista
Owen and Wheater transfers must be delayed out of respect to the relegated clubs IMO.
tarzan
Ambition isn't lacking, but competence most certainly is, and that is far more worrying.
Albarnista
Owen and Wheater transfers must be delayed out of respect to the relegated clubs IMO.
tarzan
Citeh aren't buying top 4 quality players. If they sign Tevez I'd take notice.
tarzan
Citeh aren't buying top 4 quality players. If they sign Tevez I'd take notice.
tarzan
I agree with the article a signing now would be good, the number of disgruntled fans is growing, 2 players out plus a retirement and 0 players in, its worrying and anyone who thinks O'Neill will be bringing in 11, even 8 players needs to take a look at his track record, I will be surprised if the club make more than 4 or 5 signings this summer.
young_jonah
I agree with the article a signing now would be good, the number of disgruntled fans is growing, 2 players out plus a retirement and 0 players in, its worrying and anyone who thinks O'Neill will be bringing in 11, even 8 players needs to take a look at his track record, I will be surprised if the club make more than 4 or 5 signings this summer.
young_jonah
Hold on, fellas. The window is'nt even open yet! Though just like you Villans, we are also getting seriously worried about the lack of transfers!
JT_daniel
It's a balance between youth and quality. I'm looking at the quality this time round. There's no point signing- Shorey's, Knight's & Harewoods, we'd better off playing Delfounso, Gardner etc. The Glen Johnson fee is a worry.
tarzan
Hold on, fellas. The window is'nt even open yet! Though just like you Villans, we are also getting seriously worried about the lack of transfers!
JT_daniel
It's a balance between youth and quality. I'm looking at the quality this time round. There's no point signing- Shorey's, Knight's & Harewoods, we'd better off playing Delfounso, Gardner etc. The Glen Johnson fee is a worry.
tarzan
That's the next issue is that with the Ronaldo and Kaka transfer, there could well be quite a bit of money floating about making good players even more expensive. Young looks a steal at £10m if Johnson's gone for £18m!
claret&blue82
That's the next issue is that with the Ronaldo and Kaka transfer, there could well be quite a bit of money floating about making good players even more expensive. Young looks a steal at £10m if Johnson's gone for £18m!
claret&blue82
There isn't any, no one in the long term will achieve much with MON's transfer policy in todays premierleague. Before my time but if MON was manager in the 70's when his demigod Clough was about, im sure whoever he managed would have honours, but as you would expect from someone who is obsessed with Clough he is a bit outdated for 2009. I thought the 'statement of intent' would come after Barrys loss but the more time goes on the more the pain of that will leave MON and im sure a Sidwell MK 2 will be only his way. I have said it before that we dont get in bidding wars for any of the players we sign, we hardly ever sign a player that anyone else wants and in the main we see the reason for that when they put on a claret and blue shirt. But MON's arrogance/ego knows no bounds, when someone says Harewood is shit for example he just brushes it off because he is MR Man Motivator the transformer of players careers - he dosent need any top class players in his view.
Mickey_Villa
There isn't any, no one in the long term will achieve much with MON's transfer policy in todays premierleague. Before my time but if MON was manager in the 70's when his demigod Clough was about, im sure whoever he managed would have honours, but as you would expect from someone who is obsessed with Clough he is a bit outdated for 2009. I thought the 'statement of intent' would come after Barrys loss but the more time goes on the more the pain of that will leave MON and im sure a Sidwell MK 2 will be only his way. I have said it before that we dont get in bidding wars for any of the players we sign, we hardly ever sign a player that anyone else wants and in the main we see the reason for that when they put on a claret and blue shirt. But MON's arrogance/ego knows no bounds, when someone says Harewood is shit for example he just brushes it off because he is MR Man Motivator the transformer of players careers - he dosent need any top class players in his view.
Mickey_Villa
Ooooooh! You've had a make-over Vital Villa! Nice one! I've an alternative idea on what's happening to our game and the Villa - where do I post? Assuming I'm allowed to initaite a thread??? Vital Villa is still miles ahead of the other fan-sites... All relates to the above by the way... I'd just like to hear you thoughts?
ljkal
Ooooooh! You've had a make-over Vital Villa! Nice one! I've an alternative idea on what's happening to our game and the Villa - where do I post? Assuming I'm allowed to initaite a thread??? Vital Villa is still miles ahead of the other fan-sites... All relates to the above by the way... I'd just like to hear you thoughts?
ljkal
Same old threads every year. We should all be used to this crap by now!!
samtozer
Same old threads every year. We should all be used to this crap by now!!
samtozer
Jesus Whats the world coming to economy is bad people starving but clubs must spend millions of pounds so that our club can win honours!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
dannybhoy46
Jesus Whats the world coming to economy is bad people starving but clubs must spend millions of pounds so that our club can win honours!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
dannybhoy46
The window is open JT, opens midnight on the last game of the season.

THink the next few weeks will show where the ambition is as there will be players incoming and hopefully that will put smiles on all our faces. Time yet ... optimism and hope!
The Fear
The window is open JT, opens midnight on the last game of the season.

THink the next few weeks will show where the ambition is as there will be players incoming and hopefully that will put smiles on all our faces. Time yet ... optimism and hope!
The Fear
2 points - firstly - dannybhoy46, nice to see some bloody perspective.. tho i must admit ive been sufferin from a lack of it lately, as my 2nd point demonstrates.... i have never in my life felt so utterly fed up, miserable and down right pissed off about a transfer window. not just about the villa, well mainly about the villa actually but, i dunno, im just not lookin forward to next season at the mo. sorry. hopefully ill change my mind but as it stands i see us strugglin for top 8, and personally i dont see MON signing the calibre player required to replace who we've lost. ill say it again, sorry, im just being honest
lurman
2 points - firstly - dannybhoy46, nice to see some bloody perspective.. tho i must admit ive been sufferin from a lack of it lately, as my 2nd point demonstrates.... i have never in my life felt so utterly fed up, miserable and down right pissed off about a transfer window. not just about the villa, well mainly about the villa actually but, i dunno, im just not lookin forward to next season at the mo. sorry. hopefully ill change my mind but as it stands i see us strugglin for top 8, and personally i dont see MON signing the calibre player required to replace who we've lost. ill say it again, sorry, im just being honest
lurman
You people seriously need to find a summer hobby! I yearn for the days when the Evening Mail would be the source of news on the Villa. Every night during the summer (after reading the cricket scores and seeing how crap Warwickshire were) you'd read the latest speculation on who the Villa would sign. Next day - same routine. Much less stress and much more realism! The internet is turning traditional bitter "the club/manager is useless no matter what fans" into twisted raging lunactics!
gmvillan
You people seriously need to find a summer hobby! I yearn for the days when the Evening Mail would be the source of news on the Villa. Every night during the summer (after reading the cricket scores and seeing how crap Warwickshire were) you'd read the latest speculation on who the Villa would sign. Next day - same routine. Much less stress and much more realism! The internet is turning traditional bitter "the club/manager is useless no matter what fans" into twisted raging lunactics!
gmvillan
i believe MON really should speak up and give us a list of all the players he really likes and has an interest in signing. seriously though why does a statement of intent need to be made to us the fans?? im sure if there are villa players with worries for example ashley young that he would of spoken to the manager and probably been reassured by the manager. im still suprised people are thinking MON should be more open about his transfer dealings, i mean we all know that isn't his way and he wont be changing it any time soon. would we rather fire MON and bring in "appy arry" just to appease us with name dropping and not actual signings. granted MON transfer dealings can at time seem confusing but how many BIG NAME signings coming to a premier league team have been made yet this window. i guess barry and johnson could be considered fairly big names but that is about it. im not trying to give MON a pass but i definatley think the gun has been jumped.
1982benny
i believe MON really should speak up and give us a list of all the players he really likes and has an interest in signing. seriously though why does a statement of intent need to be made to us the fans?? im sure if there are villa players with worries for example ashley young that he would of spoken to the manager and probably been reassured by the manager. im still suprised people are thinking MON should be more open about his transfer dealings, i mean we all know that isn't his way and he wont be changing it any time soon. would we rather fire MON and bring in "appy arry" just to appease us with name dropping and not actual signings. granted MON transfer dealings can at time seem confusing but how many BIG NAME signings coming to a premier league team have been made yet this window. i guess barry and johnson could be considered fairly big names but that is about it. im not trying to give MON a pass but i definatley think the gun has been jumped.
1982benny
I think Redknapp bringing off Zakora at right back for Corluka at Villa Park this season around the 25th minute to keep Young under control shows his tactical ability, imagine O'Neill bringing off right back and putting a right back there, a scary concept I know. Also Redknapp may run his mouth way too much but given the choice of Defoe and Keane or Harewood and Heskey, I know which 2 I would rather have, and that is coming from someone who rates Heskey very highly!!!
young_jonah
I think Redknapp bringing off Zakora at right back for Corluka at Villa Park this season around the 25th minute to keep Young under control shows his tactical ability, imagine O'Neill bringing off right back and putting a right back there, a scary concept I know. Also Redknapp may run his mouth way too much but given the choice of Defoe and Keane or Harewood and Heskey, I know which 2 I would rather have, and that is coming from someone who rates Heskey very highly!!!
young_jonah
Zakora is a central midfielder YJ. And had done a decent job at right back on a number of occasions. In fact, if you read 'Arry's post game quotes he complements Ashley by saying that Zakora handled Ronaldo with ease but couldn't cope with Ashley. So i guess that 'Arry is just as stupid as O'Neill by your reckoning..... although maybe, just maybe, they both have more knowledge than you and me both..... I can only imagine what our fans would say/moan if O'Neill brought an established international full-back off the bench after 25 minutes to replace a central midfielder that was playing in his position.....
gmvillan
Zakora is a central midfielder YJ. And had done a decent job at right back on a number of occasions. In fact, if you read 'Arry's post game quotes he complements Ashley by saying that Zakora handled Ronaldo with ease but couldn't cope with Ashley. So i guess that 'Arry is just as stupid as O'Neill by your reckoning..... although maybe, just maybe, they both have more knowledge than you and me both..... I can only imagine what our fans would say/moan if O'Neill brought an established international full-back off the bench after 25 minutes to replace a central midfielder that was playing in his position.....
gmvillan
1982benny - you seriously want MON to publicly announce his list of transfer targets!?!? Let me go through a couple of issues with that. Firstly, while I admit it is fairly commonplace nowadays it's exactly the reason I think 'Arry is such a hypocritical c*nt. Secondly, I'd rather MON went out and BOUGHT that list of targets, rather than just talking about them. And finally, its a great way to double the price of anyone we're actually after. More generally, I realise I was perhaps going over the top complaining before, Im not whingin just about Villa, but for some reason this summer has got me down a bit when it comes to the footie (which I never thought Id say). I dont really know why, I think Ive just finally got bored of the papers making up utter b*ll*cks every day. Im just waiting to see who we sign, but as i say i dont personally think (for various reasons) the signings are going to be that great, and we're going to be stalling a bit this summer. Hey ho, Spurs will inevitably start poorly, Citeh will inevtiably underachieve with all their multi million pound star players like stuart taylor and newcastle will continue to provide much amusement despite going down
lurman
1982benny - you seriously want MON to publicly announce his list of transfer targets!?!? Let me go through a couple of issues with that. Firstly, while I admit it is fairly commonplace nowadays it's exactly the reason I think 'Arry is such a hypocritical c*nt. Secondly, I'd rather MON went out and BOUGHT that list of targets, rather than just talking about them. And finally, its a great way to double the price of anyone we're actually after. More generally, I realise I was perhaps going over the top complaining before, Im not whingin just about Villa, but for some reason this summer has got me down a bit when it comes to the footie (which I never thought Id say). I dont really know why, I think Ive just finally got bored of the papers making up utter b*ll*cks every day. Im just waiting to see who we sign, but as i say i dont personally think (for various reasons) the signings are going to be that great, and we're going to be stalling a bit this summer. Hey ho, Spurs will inevitably start poorly, Citeh will inevtiably underachieve with all their multi million pound star players like stuart taylor and newcastle will continue to provide much amusement despite going down
lurman
Nah it was sarcasm lurman. i think if you read my comment it becomes pretty clear that i dislike "appy arry" for the way he conducts his business and much prefer keeping things quiet. sorry if that wasn't to clear.
1982benny
Nah it was sarcasm lurman. i think if you read my comment it becomes pretty clear that i dislike "appy arry" for the way he conducts his business and much prefer keeping things quiet. sorry if that wasn't to clear.
1982benny
 

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