Aston Villa - An End To Villa Boom And Bust?
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An End To Villa Boom And Bust?

An End to Boom and Bust

The manager: He is highly lauded by the football fraternity, both personally and professionally and was a powerful, fearsome defender throughout his playing days. He has the medals to prove it, having achieved at the highest level. There's just one problem. The fans can't stand him or the brand of football he has brought to the team. Crowds are down and the Villa faithful are subdued. Sound familiar. No, this is not Alex McLeish. The manager I'm talking about is David O' Leary and it's the 2003-2004 season. By Christmas we are in the bottom six and it looks like we are in a relegation battle. Only 4 months into the job the fans are calling for his head. A saviour is needed, the only problem is that the saviour has just been and gone.

Not two seasons before the Villa faithful had heralded the Return of the King, Graham Taylor in January 2001. Having led us to promotion in 1988 and a second place finish to Liverpool in 1990 Graham Taylor swept into Villa Park to a standing ovation, to complete what he had started ten years before, only the game had moved on and, in the end, so did he. A relegation dog fight in the 2002-2003 season left us having to beat an already doomed Sunderland on the final game of the campaign to guarantee safety. We ended up 16th with 45 points. I remember those games, particular that painful night stood behind the goal watching the Blues physically and mentally batter and beat us in what was an ugly violence marked game full of hostility and vitriol. If you think the football is bad now then perhaps take a look over your shoulder and remind yourself of how bad we were then. It is football I would never want to see played again in the famous claret and blue.

After what we'd seen under Graham Taylor we all laid into to David O' Leary from the off and the pressure cooker started. We didn't like his sardonic manner nor his aloof attitude, In short, we didn't like him, mainly because of what we saw on the pitch. Yet we finished 6th that season after a fantastic post-Christmas run, ending on 56 points, 4 points of the Champions League places. In his second season in charge we finished mid table in 10th on 47 points. In his third season the decline began and we finished 16th after narrowly avoiding relegation for the 2nd time in four seasons. The manager was duly sacked. It should be remembered, however, that David O' Leary managed to squeeze, on a classic Doug Ellis budget, one and half very decent seasons out of the players under his charge in his three seasons at the helm, having spent somewhere around 10 Million, which was a pittance.

Deadly Doug often applauds himself on the sensible way he ran Aston Villa; that he turned down the likes of Carson Yeung and waited for a suitable custodian whilst monitoring the club's abacus. It should also be remembered, however, that he also relied on some very astute and erudite managers to ensure that his Premier League Football team would maintain its status on his budget. These were boom and bust years marred by restrictive finances in which good football people like Taylor and O'Leary did their best to squeeze blood out of stones with mixed success. Our demands, however, were not tempered by the financial reality. Bizarrely, neither was the chairman's, whose expectations never matched his paltry if soundly calculated transfer budget.

I, personally, do not want to see these days again and for very good reasons. It is no surprise that the best teams in football are built on continuity and investment. Both from the fans, the manager and the board. You don't have to look to Barcelona to find a good model of what I'm talking about. A fantastic footballing culture is currently being fostered and nurtured at Swansea City, a continuity of sporting excellence begun by the wonderful Roberto Martinez and now championed by the talented Brendan Rodgers in a period covering 2007-2012. Swansea City have laid down footballing principles and core foundations both at a sporting and business level and they played us off the park in our own gaff in January to boot. They stroked that ball around like it was beautiful. They embarrassed us and I believe that Alex McLeish understands why and that he intends to turn the club around establishing long term foundations for success.

Does all this mean I don't have doubts about McLeish or that I've loved what I've seen at home and on my travels on the road this season? Of course it doesn't but I don't want boom and bust. I am sick of it. I want success through continuity, from the boardroom to the pitch. Stones are being laid and it will take time. This season is transitional but we will turn the corner, I have no doubt that the 'turning' is going to hurt a lot. That is not necessarily a bad thing because in the 'boom and bust years of the last decade many stupid decisions were made and as a result, a pervasive, apathetic culture seeped in which has to be driven from the club. Every penny the club generates has to be spent well so say goodbye to the gold digging badge kissers or the blockbuster buy who spends half the season on the bench and the rest of it in a nightclub. There is going to be a grand clearing of the Villa decks and it will not be pleasant. Yes we'll pay big money for a star name but the message is going to be clear: 100% of your game for 90 minutes or clear out your locker, son.

This is the transitional year for me and it will be worth it. Undoubtedly, it's ugly at the moment but with a long term financial and sporting commitment we can start to lay solid, long term foundations for success. Let's get behind this manager and take the team forward then. Say no to boom and bust and believe in what the club are trying to do. Next stop on the journey- Wigan.

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The Journalist

Writer: Villa_Grizzly Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Thursday February 16 2012

Time: 3:49PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
was posted by Villa_Grizzly on our facebook part of this site, happily he has said it is ok to post here as well. Makes for interesting reading. Some I know will just jump up and down and totally dismiss but hopefully a few still trying to fight to find some reason to be optimistic will take a crumb of comfort. If not, collective prayer mats instead maybe?!
The Fear
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16/02/2012 15:54:00

Good read. I like the sustainable spending with a focus on bringing throug young players. I just don't think mcleish has the best football philosophy for it.
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16/02/2012 16:07:00

The underlying issue (stability) is an undeniable requirement. But - and there are so many 'buts' - we surely expected more from Randy's administration than what we are going thorugh, and surely a future can only exist with a manager on board who we could believe in. This so-called 'transition' is to what? I have little faith, I'm afraid.
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16/02/2012 16:19:00

Agree with parts of what you're saying - firm foundations should be the cornerstone of any top-flight football team. HOWEVER, my gripe (and indeed the problem many fans have) is that this particular manager is not up to the task. He plays dull, uninspiring, insipid, tactically inept football that guarantees fans are bored at half time, let alone full time! McRelegation has proven time & time again that the only building he's likely to be doing is in lower leagues. Personally, i believe that Martinez would have been a good choice, which left me bemused at best with McRelegation's appointment, and at worst, very angry. The club can build a strong future without this clown in charge. UTV!
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16/02/2012 16:42:00

Get behind a footballing tactically inept clueless manager ? No thanks ! He needs to go...NOW ! We will only get worse. I will NEVER get behind someone who should NEVER have been appointed in the first place. Weve have all this firm foundation and transition ********* with O'Neill and now look what happened there. Im not attending VP ever again until this this ***** is out of the club. The rest of you are free to waste your money on watching a clueless manager and players that cant be arsed and more importantly not want to play for him either....
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16/02/2012 16:53:00

Is Grizzly Tony Morley ??? because at a recent charity event I attended with a friend he was saying the exact same thing and that massive changes are afoot in the summer ........ I just can't see how AM is the one to implement them ? ...... anyway losing my faith so they either do something in the summer or I don't have a ST ... simples ..... oh and UTV
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16/02/2012 16:53:00

Very well written and I agree with a lot of it!
cheshire villan
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16/02/2012 16:59:00

The point should be made that, generally, the players haven't been the problem during the MON, Houllier and McLeish years. Villa have and have had players that many EPL clubs would bite a hand off for. The main problem has been the men in the dugout.
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16/02/2012 17:50:00

People point at Chewalot and Wenger and say 'look what success continuity brings' - but it's actually the other way around; their success has earned them continuity. I wouldn't mind the under-achievement so much if it was a manager who I liked and who was trying to play proper football; I attended in the worst days of D'Ol, GT etc, but there's no way in hell I'm ever getting behind AM for any amount of time, and certainly not for the long-term. (Well written article btw, but I completely disagree :) ).
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16/02/2012 18:38:00

I disagree too. Where has AM showed that he's built anything? I'd like to see and end to the boom and bust too, but under AM it will always be bust, because his footballing philosophy is basically flawed. As for comparing him to Martinez, well, sorry, but that's a joke. Simply put, AM will never be the one to take us anywhere.
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16/02/2012 20:02:00

???? When did Ellis boom???? Randy boomed to get certain people on side but has now bust as he didn't know what he was doing.
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16/02/2012 20:32:00

Totally agree with you in principle - until you get to the man at the helm. Where in his CV has McMuppet ever shown the slightest aptitude to be able to do this rebuilding job and take us forward? Ask any Bluenose or Rangers fan, and they'll answer that question for you. And what are these "stones" you talk of that he is going to lay in the summer? Knowing McMuppet, probably a new 5 year deal for Heskey....
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16/02/2012 20:47:00

Well written article. I think though that Gordon Brown showed that there is no such thing as an end to boom and bust, things go in cycles and always will. I hope you're right and if there is to be a massive change it will be interesting to see what that means, given that we are almost fully spent up on wages and with little in the tank for replacements. Youth is obviously the way forward whoever the manager may be. I think the McLeish detractors ignore the fact that he has never really had the resources at other clubs to do much with, but I'm not sure he'll get them here either. Still Swansea and Norwich have shown its not just about money.
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16/02/2012 21:57:00

I have to agree to the post except the manager at the helm bit. Get rid and get Brendan Rodgers who wants to see the ball stroked around. The majority of the fans do not want the current brand of football cos simply it doesn't bring results. We have seen enough of McLueless to know now he aint for us and not because of where he came from either. As a life long fan I will always back the club but it is time for Randy to restore some faith and get THE right man in to turn us around. If that happens then we can seriously start to think about bigger and better corner stones and start to beleive once again.
holte ender 1969
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16/02/2012 22:03:00

holte ender 1969
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16/02/2012 22:04:00

Shame rodgers has just signed a new deal with swansea !! but doubt he would join us as swansea's got more ambition !! Great Post agree with most of it !!
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16/02/2012 23:44:00

'They embarrassed us and I believe that Alex McLeish understands why and that he intends to turn the club around establishing long term foundations for success.' - McLeish understands? Turn the club around? What absolute nonsense! McLeish couldn't organise a p155 up in brewery. Until he goes it will be nothing but poor football and empty seats at VP. While in principal I can agree with the artcle, but the fact you that you think McLeish can do it (what evidence is there to support such a view???) is just straight up bananas! #mcleishout
Bobby Norman
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17/02/2012 11:23:00

Nice article villa_grizzly. I know it's tough to be a Villain at the moment, but I do hope that the past couple of years can be put behind us and look forward to a decent season next year. I don't think it is fair to expect a miraculous turn around in performances as the team needs fine tuning in a few key areas and with no money in January to do it, it won't happen this season but I can understand the frustrations aimed at the man at the helm. The demo before the Mancity game does demonstrate that the minority thought it was a good idea. I do look forward to better things next season, fingers crossed!
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17/02/2012 12:34:00

Unfortunately "fingers crossed" doesn't win you many games fenrison. Perhaps that's the genius master plan that Eck uses as seen in his last interview when questioned how he was going to win his next game. Suprised any agreed with this article
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17/02/2012 13:20:00

Well, there had better be big changes in the summer because without them, the ground will be half empty next season if you listen to phone-ins and read posts from current ST holders, claiming they wont be back until AM is gone. I've been a ST holder for 30 years, and even I'm seriously questioning if I want to go next season. It's not McLeish though for me, it's the fact that in August before a ball is kicked, the BEST Villa can hope for is 8th place, even with a half decent squad. If you then sell 2 or 3 of our best players to teams above us in the league each year (without bringing in adequate replacements), common sense tells you that you'll fall further down the league. We're about where we should be in the league right now if you look at the players we've lost and not replaced, and I'm not sure which manager could do a better job. In my view, AM was employed to be the fall guy (I'm not sure if he knew that at the time or not). Randy knew he would be hugely unpopular, and as long as AM's here, Randy can continue to sell our prized assets and let AM take the blame. I admire the bloke for taking the job to be honest - they weren't exactly knowcking the door down last summer, were they?
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17/02/2012 13:30:00

Sometimes the maddest of people can sound sane. I think we have a case in point regarding this article. The writer is obviously not a ten year old on his dads computer (it might actually be Alex McMuppet). What he is asking for is for the fans to have faith in what McMuppet is doing and continue to support him and the club as he makes the necessary changes!!!! I nearly fell out of my chair laughing. This man had three and half years at Small Heath and the team still played the most boring, unispiring football imagineable. They never looked like turning any corner. Ever! He had four years at Rangers and they played dull, unattractive football and finished up 3rd in the annual two horse race. He was chased out of Glasgow. The only corner he turned in Glasgow was into a dead end!! He has absolutely no history of success or building football dynastys. He has a record of failure and negativity. I am absolutely dumbfounded that you would even contemplate allowing such a negative failure of a football manager in charge of the long term strategy of Aston Villa. The article is well written, but Sir, I think you are a very, very misguided individual.
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17/02/2012 13:56:00

A well written piece but it rather avoids mentioning poor tactics even with the squad shorn of creativity playing Heskey in midfield defies logic with other options available. At the end of the day this will carry on to the end of the season only then with poor season ticket sales which I am sure they will be poor will Mr. Lerner replace him the result of that will be another year of a manager getting to know the squad and hoping and praying we dont get landed with another poor manager e.g. Mclaren. The only way this will happen sooner is if this guy looks like doing the "double" and taking us down as well.As a man Mr Mcleish seems a decent hard working guy and I have no problem that he left Small Heath to come here his signings have been mixed , Given an excellent signing , N zobia wanted by a vast majority on this site when polled, and Hutton his biggest mistake to date. But the tactics have at times been the stuff of nightmares, spurs swansea,man utd, man city to name a few.I would add to this that a number of players should hang their heads in shame as well putting in a performance now and again isnt good enough for a Villa shirt
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17/02/2012 15:29:00

Good article, agree with most of it, we need to build, we've got some great kids coming through but I also agree that McLeish has demonstrated a poor brand of football, so is he the man to lead us for 3 yrs or more. Sadly, I doubt that.
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17/02/2012 20:32:00

villainyorks - "Is McLeish the man to lead for 3 years or more, sadly I doubt that" - no sh11t Sherlock. That statement is on par with Michael Fish saying "there might be a stiff breeze but I can assure there is no hurricane" just before Kent was blown away in the regions worst ever hurricane!!!
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18/02/2012 11:02:00

lets admit it Randy and MON spent some seroius cash to try and break into the champions league, it nearly worked and was very exciting (sometimes!). Then a dose of financial realism and MON was off, Randy is definitely tightning the belt at the moment and that is why AMC is here and not the Ancellotti/Benitez etc. Now i'm hurting this season as much as any, but look at Rangers, portsmouth and a host of lower league teams in the last couple of years. I dont want that for my club. There was a football finance expert on the bbc breakfast news Sat morning (proffessor somebody!) he made a few interesting points; only TEN of the 92 league clubs operate in a finacially sensible way ie wages 60% of income or less! That the American owners are bringing a more realistic financial model to our game ( we have one of those!) and that modern football is always refered to as "its a business now " but is'nt run like a business. I do believe, no matter how ugly it is now, Randy is trying to do the best for us for the future. It just wont be the champions league future we all dreamed of with spurs and city vastly overtaking us.
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19/02/2012 09:08:00

Agree with all you're saying Rich BUT, does the football have to be so ******** negative??? We have the players to win more than enough games to guarantee survival but Eck has this "we're doomed and will only just struggle to survive " attitude since the season started. Ellis kept us as one of those 10 profit making clubs. Randy is the fool to have lost the plot although some will choose to blame MON who was only trying to do his job and win games (opposed to trying to draw games Eck you stupid cock.)
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19/02/2012 09:45:00

Agree with the sentiment of the article but not with the idea that Mcleish can turn things around. His track record shows that he won't be able to do it or even come close. We need fresh ideas and a fresh approach in the summer.
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19/02/2012 13:34:00

villan444 good to see that you're still in love lol
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19/02/2012 13:38:00

Yeah sorry you didn't get a card from me this year on valentines day bornANinbred, I've moved on?!?!?!?!
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19/02/2012 13:51:00

You are right about fingers crossed for tactics Villan444, but I am refering to transfer targets to fill in gaps where we lack potency on the field, Robbie Keane coming bac permanently, players playing with passion and heart from kickoff untill the final whistle and more noise from the Holte, of course, as long as we have something to sing about
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20/02/2012 14:05:00


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