The idea for this regular column was for me to share my thoughts about how different it is supporting Villa without a season ticket after many years of having one, and hopefully, become a little more motivated for the beginning of next season.
But talking about that seems rather pointless considering the week we`ve just had. So, to sum up in one paragraph what this column was going to be about:
I became weak. I decided that despite the poor pre-season form, despite the lack of players in - there would be no harm in maybe going to the West Ham game. Yes - I`m weak. But it`s the Villa, right? Well turns out that I`ve already got plans on Saturday and that my girlfriend had bought tickets to go and see Westlife, and I`d forgotten. Yes. Westlife. Then there was going to be numerous jokes. Followed by admission that to console myself, I`d be going to the Vienna game instead. But two family birthdays fall on that day so fate seems to be conspiring against me.
That`s that done. Now onto this week….
I won`t shed any tears that O`Neill has gone. I felt he`d taken us as far as he could, and quite frankly whilst he gave us some fantastic days - it`ll be great now to consider the idea of buying players from countries away from the UK. It`ll be great to consider the idea of going through March and winning a game in the Premier League, which we haven`t done in the past four years. It`ll be great to consider the possibility of winning a game in May, something we haven`t done in the past three years.
However, it was the manner of the way which O`Neill left that angered, and to be fair worried me. He left at a critical time of our season. He did it when he could have walked three months ago. Had he done it then, we`d have had a better pick for replacements, we`d have had more time to do it, and the replacement would have had more time to settle, and sort out the mess that has been left behind.
The mess, is quite important. Players on high wages who have performed below what could have been expected from players on such high wages. The likes of Heskey, Sidwell, Beye - all players on big wages who have under performed. Not forgetting the likes of Davies and Luke Young who have been bought, played well on occasions but been dumped to never play again.
But whatever you think of him, he`s gone now. It`s in the past and it`s important for Aston Villa that it stays in the past.
So where do we go we go now? Well I think we can forget bringing in that striker we need for the moment, and just be happy if we manage to bring in Stephen Ireland.
Bringing in a new manager - a decent new manager - is tough enough at the best of times, let alone at the beginning of the season. If you are looking for a UK based manager with experience and available - then you are looking at our former manager and that`s about it. Alan Curbishley - no thanks - a good job at Charlton but stepped up to West Ham and failed. Gareth Southgate? The man who left us in the manner he did, and managed to send a stable Middlesbrough team down? No thanks.
Currently employed there`s probably two who may be willing to move who have shown themselves to have the necessary skills. Pulis (but would you want to watch his kind of football? ) and Bruce - who would never be backed by a certain element of our support, unfortunately.
So, if it`s an external appointment - then it`ll be from abroad. The more time goes past, the more I`m warming to either Sven or Klinsmann. They could have the ability, if backed, to bring in a 'Name` or two - someone to get the fans excited with. Someone who can take the game and do something when the opposition are just sitting in front of us whilst we pass the ball side to side.
Bob Bradley, I think is probably a disaster waiting to happen. No experience in Europe, let alone the Premier League. A relative unknown to these shores, certainly not enough to satisfy those who want someone who they can get excited with after the disappointment of O`Neill. Stay clear please, Randy.
My tip for the job is still McDonald. He`s cheap, he`s available now and he knows the club. He`s also 14/1 which I think is great odds. Whether he`s good enough I`ve got no idea - he didn`t do particularly well with Steve Staunton in Ireland. But I think, with the lack or real alternatives, he`s the obvious candidate staring right at us.
What? We`ve got a game on Saturday, too? Last week I predicted a Wigan style start to the season, and with what has gone on this week I can only stay with that prediction. The poor preparation for the season has got worse this week - we can only hope this has brought the team closer as a squad. West Ham have strengthened, have a new manager in place and did the double over us last year.
I`m going for an agonizing 2-0 loss. Hope I`m wrong.
More next week...
Manager Tim Sherwood has spoken of his disappointment - and shouldered the blame - for today's one nil loss to Stoke City.
All the stats from Aston Villa (0) vs (1) Stoke, Villa Park, 3/10/15 Att: 33,189
Statistics, damn lies and Aston Villa..
Bit of a mix and match today from manager Tim Sherwood's pre Stoke press conference.
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