Big Mouth Strikes Again. Some Rather Sad Thoughts.
I hate this time of year. It makes me miserable and irritable. I hate the cold. I hate the lack of sun. I hate, that for the second day in a row, I`m not going to be able to see past the end of my nose due to freezing fog. I hate that despite all this, we have to enduring infuriating 'happy` Christmas music. Look, I`m miserable, let me play Radiohead and The Smiths.
And now we`ve got to put up with Villa being what can only be described cleanly, as complete garbage.
I know O`Neill left at the worst possible time. I felt that whoever would come into Villa Park after O`Neill`s departure, would struggle. O`Neill has a habit of leaving teams in a mess, and it looks like it`s happened again. The reason? O`Neill has 'success` by playing a particular brand of football. He naturally fills his squad with these type of players. He brings in the type of players that react positively to his style of management.
So bring in a manager who is so far away from O`Neill as is humanly possible, and the team will struggle.
But I`ll tell you something - he isn`t helping himself.
I`m fed up of one up front despite struggling to create chances. It`s a coward`s formation, and despite it being seen as a way to stay strong against the better teams, often involves you getting thrashed. As our previous two league games have shown.
I`m fed up on the continued presence of primarily Richard Dunne, and secondly Stephen Warnock in our team. Warnock, I have some sympathy with as we don`t have another left back at the club - something that isn`t his fault. But playing Dunne week in, week out, when he is making four or five utterly shambolic errors a game just does not make sense. Not only are the errors, the silly fouls, the lapses of concentration happening, but he`s being brushed aside by players who aren`t particularly fast. Captain fantastic? More like Captain Craptastic. Shut your mouth instead of the weekly comments about the team needing to play better, and cut out the silly, childish, ridiculous errors.
And then we have some quite frankly bizarre behaviour creeping in. I know Liverpool means a lot to Houllier. And I`m sure he doesn`t need reminding that he is the Villa manager. But from the touching of the Anfield sign, to the coming out after the game and praising the Liverpool fans yet ignoring the travelling Villa supporters - who had sat in minus-whatever to watch that rubbish and paid good money to do so? That`s just as bad as O`Leary`s 'fickle` moment for me.
You should want us on your side, Gerard. We are your club`s supporters. Do you really think the Liverpool fans would have been chanting your name had we not completely rolled over? Perhaps you think they would. I don`t.
And now I`ve read a comment from Houllier saying that the game was over after 15 minutes, once the second had gone in. It`s a shame Alex Ferguson didn`t think the same a few weeks ago when we had somehow managed to get ourselves two goals up against them.
I`ve stopped getting angry about it now. It`s more of an acceptance - I think it`s almost certain that we will be relegated this season. The players we have aren`t good enough and there appears to be a lack of enthusiasm to invest in the squad.
The damage has been done and I`m sure unsure that anything we can do will help. I wanted to give Houllier a chance. I thought it was a brave, interesting and exciting appointment. But he`s pushed for change too quickly. There was always going to be a section of support ill-at-ease with him - but I wasn`t one. I liked the way he clearly researched the club`s history and talked about it in his press conference. I liked the idea of having someone at the club who has won so many trophies.
But getting rid now is unlikely to help. Especially with the transfer window so close. Because if it takes as long as it did to bring in somebody else, the window will be over, again. And we`re stuck with a squad which isn`t good enough for Premiership football.
The club needs leadership. We don`t have a marquee player (and if we did, we`d end up selling him in the summer). The club doesn`t have a manager who wants to be seen as the one man in control anymore. And the club`s owner is anonymous. We need somebody to stand up and be counted.
Back in the summer I pointed out the need for a football administrator. Somebody who could sort out the contracts for players like Barry, Milner and Young so we kept hold of the good players at the club. Somebody who knew the football business, who knew which managers would be interested in Villa and could interest the better ones in joining us. Somebody who could advise the board of businessmen on the footballing side of the FOOTBALL club. That need is becoming more and more apparent as the days go on.
Perhaps during this week`s board meeting, Randy Lerner will need to make a decision. A decision to remove Houllier now, or give him the cash required to transform this team immediately. Tottenham were in a similar position to ourselves only a few years ago. Levy, then under pressure sanctioned a large spending spree, which moved them not only away from the relegation zone, but towards the top.
Every time the board has needed to product a rabbit from a hat, they`ve come up with something less fluffy and delightful. They failed with Barry. They failed with Milner. They`ve failed with Young. And it looks like they`ve failed with Houllier.
It`s alright pointing at money they have spent and could lose. But we have more to lose that just money. We have faith and emotional investment. And to be honest - I`m at the point now where I can`t be bothered putting any of those three into the club anymore. It feels like a worthless cause.