Date:Saturday April 17 2010
Summer's (almost) here and the time is right........but for what?
I think we just could be on the verge of a defining summer for Martin O'Neill and Villa.
We have all seen the recent conjecture surrounding MON's future.
Will it prove to be just that or will we find ourselves with a new man in charge at Villa Park next season?
Don't look at me, I don't have the answer but I do think we are in for a very interesting summer.
MON frustrated many with a perceived lack of transfer activity in his first two close seasons (not counting the one when he arrived of course, we all know he had very little time to do anything in the transfer market that year). As a result we faded badly last season, having got ourselves into a great position to finish fourth at the turn of the year. To his eternal credit he did do something about that last summer and strengthened the squad considerably. The problem being, in many peoples eyes he has since failed to use the squad he has built and we have found ourselves fading every bit as badly, if not more so, this season as we did last.
We have a far stronger squad now than we did last season. We can all see with our own eyes the way the same 11 players get picked every week, and how that same 11 players are now totally knackered long before the end of each game, we didn't need John Terry to tell us that!
Perhaps it is better not to mention the selection of Carlos Cuellar at right-back ahead of Luke Young or his seeming reluctance to either rotate the squad or to bring on substitutes off the bench. That, after all is personal opinion and I am sure there are many who are happy with it. I am not one of them.
What about our Cup runs? I hear you shout, and I certainly don't belittle them. I had two great days out at Wembley (apart from the results of course) and a particularly enjoyable freezing cold night up at Blackburn. But (and there is always a but), Cup runs have a lot to do with the luck of the draw, and in both competitions we DID have the luck of the draw this season. We didn't play a 'big' club until the final of the Carling cup and the semi-final of the FA cup and we lost both games.
Rumours abound about rifts with Randy Lerner and, more pertinently in my opinion, seriously unhappy players at Villa Park. I think we dismiss these rumours at our peril, there are just too many of them to be entirely without foundation for me. For those that don't know me, I am not MONs biggest fan, and there are many on here that know that. But I am trying hard not to let my personal feelings for the man bias this article. It is simply my belief, from all that I have seen and heard that all is not well at Villa Park, regardless of what media spin the club attempt to put on it. So, I could be wrong, and everything is hunky-dory at Villa and we will have a normal, quiet summer with a few (hopefully exciting) transfers in and a couple of fringe players leaving. It could be like that, but something tells me it won't be.
Date:Saturday April 17 2010
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