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Current Dilemma At Aston Villa Football Club

We are well into the second half of the season and Aston Villa's season is in danger of unravelling as many fans feared it would.

At the start of the season Alex McLeish was appointed manager and Ashley Young and Stewart Downing were both sold.

One of the oldest, and the fourth most successful club in English football history, faces the prospect of possible relegation from the Premiership for the first time since it was founded in 1992.

One of only four English clubs to have won the European Cup after a historic night in Munich in 1982 against Bayern Munich, to which you can add seven FA Cups and five League cups, might not be good enough to be playing in the top division next season.

Fans are upset.

Players are upset.

Manager Alex McLeish looks increasingly like the wrong man for the job.

Where do we go from here?

The current state of Aston Villa Football Club is something fans aren't used to seeing with the past success the club has had.

Currently near a relegation battle, only eleven points above the drop zone, is something I couldn't of expected to happen this season.

Unrest is visible in the Villa Park dressing with players showing ill feeling towards manager Alex McLeish, both on and off the field. On Twitter recently one Villa player tweeted, "He was unhappy for the first time playing football" and in a recent Barclay's Premiership match against Newcastle several senior players told McLeish to '**** off'during the match. If any player has a problem with the way things are they should speak directly to the manager, not broadcast it through social networking sites.

If a team appoints a manager who has previously managed your team's biggest rivals, it isn't going to go down well. But that's exactly what Randy Lerner did, appoint Alex McLeish who quit Birmingham City to take the Villa job, after two relegations in three seasons with them. I couldn't personally believe it was happening to my beloved team, our new manager having a CV like that.

When the news broke on Talksport that he had been appointed my head literally dropped when I was driving my car down the road.

Along with the controversial appointment also came Ashley Young and Stewart Downing, Villa`s best two players last season leaving to join Manchester United and Liverpool respectively. It wasn't new to me that Ashley wanted to leave for Champions League football, but the news of Stewart wanting to leave, meant we had no wingers to supply record 24 million signing Darren Bent.

40 million was there to spend and one of the men brought to replace the pair has already been on Twitter saying he is unhappy at the club, great news in itself that. The other Marc Albrighton, a Villa academy graduate was then frozen out the team for the first half of the season by McLeish to the anger of many Villa fans including myself.

Over six months have passed with Alex McLeish in charge and the predicament Villa find themselves in is eleven points above the relegation zone even with away wins at Chelsea and Wolves. If Martin O'Neill was still in charge I honestly think we would still be finishing in the top six and pushing for Champions League qualification each time and gracing the pitch at Wembley, twice done under him.

I think I speak for the majority of Villa fans here when managers like Mark Hughes were available why did Randy Lerner think that a manager who has got relegated twice in three seasons with our biggest rivals Birmingham City should be the man to take Villa back to glory days of the past.

Social networking protest groups prior to the appointment and even a 1,000 strong fan protest at Villa Park, which I attended, which got coverage from several media outlets including Talksport and Sky Sports News were expected to happen.

So the question is does Lerner sack him or back him, with the realism of Championship football next season now a realistic thought.

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The Journalist

Writer: Chris Heath Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday March 13 2012

Time: 7:25PM

Your Comments

i actually think Albrighton is not that good at crossing after what i have seen lately, maybe Big Eck is right about him but who else is there at the moment. i would say give him support until next Christmas after he has set his own team up
andy3221
Sack him. Lerner doesn't have the bottle though. Browns fans were spot on with their assessment of Lerner. McLoser OUT! One last minute fluke of a goal doesn't change a single thing. The guy is an amatuer.
ljkal
I'm no Alex McLeish fan but this is without doubt one of the worst posts I have ever read on any blog so firstly congratulations for that. Secondly, you say that we are "currently near a relegation battle". Well yes we are 11 points above the relegation zone but we are also exactly the same amount of points away from 6th place and in fact only 4 points behind Sunderland in 8th place, who are of course managed by clearly your beloved MON. Thirdly, on to your beloved MON as you state that "If Martin O'Neill was still in charge I honestly think we would still be finishing in the top six and pushing for Champions League qualification each time and gracing the pitch at Wembley, twice done under him." Maybe we would be pushing for the top six but would that be enough given all the money he spent on dross like Heskey, Beye, Shorey, Sidwell, Reo Coker, Davies and the list goes on. Yes he signed Young, Downing and Milner but he signed more bad players than good ones and at inflated wages that have now left us in the mess we are now and before you say it yes Lerner should take some of that responsibility for bankrolling him but he is still at the club putting his own money in and trying to rectify the situation rather than throwing a hissy fit and walking out on the club a week before the season because he wasn't allowed to spend the Milner money. When United sold Ronaldo for 70m to Madrid and gave none of it to Ferguson did he walk out in a hissy fit? Oh and as for the two Wembley appearances how did those work out for us??? Finally, you say that you think you speak "for the majority of Villa fans here when managers like Mark Hughes were available why did Randy Lerner think that a manager who has got relegated twice in three seasons with our biggest rivals Birmingham City should be the man to take Villa back to glory days of the past." Is it the fact that McLeish has relegated teams twice that you don't like or the fact that he came from Birmingham City? If it's the former can I ask you if you would have Harry Rednapp as his replacement, as for the record he has been relegated twice as well. If it's the latter then how small minded are you? As for Mark Hughes, how's he doing at the moment? Nuff said.
866354
Pointless article. Nothing new here. Move along folks.
TelfordVilla
Incidentally, I believe that McLeish also managed to get a team to Wembley last year and they won. Fancy that. As I said before I'm no McLeish fan but I'm not small minded either. I support my team, you should try it sometime!
866354
Debate the points and lose the childish digs.
mike_field
Even if we ptcked up another NIL points we wouldn't go down..Mark Hughes I believe wanted to bring his WHOLE staff with him which woukd have meant Kmac etc all being replaced...NO WAY,,the Youth is the pne part of the club that is the BEST in the country
krfeskivilla
I believe I have debated the points or have you chosen to focus solely on the childish digs?
866354
Well said 866354 the best reply i have seen on vital villa forum for a long time,a true villa fan like i have been for 40 yrs. everything you have stated is true and .maybe if we filled the ground more often and generated more revenue.once a again great reply to this post
apache
Well thought out article... But if you look at some simple maths of the bottom 3 win/draw/loss ratio after 28 games they won't make 11 points prior to the end of the season. And we've still got some teams that we can get points off. I reckon we're ok this season.
Zarch
866354 another manager the fans wanted Roberto Martinez and where are wigan sitting in the pre BOTTOM anough said .
apache
Well argued, 866354. But what is the solution, apart from 'supporting the team'. Everybody is doing that in their own way, surely.
144wittonlane
The answer to that is obvious, lose the digs and don't try to be clever.
mike_field
I'm not sure what the solution is too be honest and I agree that everybody is supporting the club in their own way but my point is that things aren't as bad as a lot of people are making them out to be, we could however, had we not have cut our spending be seeing a Rangers type scenario at our own club. Football is in danger of going bust if it's not careful as multi-millionaire Chairman (Lerner) are now not able to compete with the multi-billionaire ones. We as a club have to be realistic and sensible about our finances and I think this is what Lerner has been doing, along with McLeish this season and that is what has led to a lot of negativity, along with what it has to be said at times some questionable football/results. All I would say is try and look at the positives as the only way we are going to be able to compete is through a successful academy. So far this season Clark, Herd, Bannan, Albrighton, Gardner, Delfouneso, Agbonlahor (I exclude Weimann as he was signed from abroad) have featured in a number of games, not to mention Baker, Johnson, Burke, who have made the bench. If you watch the reserves regularly (and I urge you to) there are also a number of players like Siegrist, Grealish, Graham, Carruthers, Cameron and Robinson, who all look like great prospects for the future. This is the realistic future of our club now and I think the sooner the vast majority of Villa fans get on board with this the better but it is not going to happen overnight and only time will tell if McLeish is the right man for the job. Jurys out for me so far.
866354
Typical answer from the typical fan, back to blaming o'neil and the classic comment 'i support my team, you should try it some time'...Sorry we can't all be 'real fans' 866354, sorry we are sick of the continuous poor performances, boring negative ********* we have had to 'suffer' with this season. Like 144wittonlane said EVERYBODY is supporting the club in their own way, YOU are NOT better than any of us, we have season tickets, we cheer for the players and NOT the manager...We all have opinions, and mine is that Mcleish is useless and we are going backwards with him in charge. We lost key players in the summer yes, we were still left with a 'decent' team, a team capable in the right hands of sustaining a consistent position in the top 10, this may change yes, we might finish there come end of the season we don't know but nothing i can see at villa at the moment justifies that we are going in the right direction...We beat Fulham, wooo, we finally won a game! So what? one game, last minute winner, decent performance...well done Mcleish, finally! Took him 13 home games to finally give us a performance. 7 wins in 25 games, that is just not good enough at all, and for apache to have the nerve to say 'maybe if we filled the ground more often' is just wrong, why would people want to pay a lot of money to watch Mcnegatives crap? Just no reason at all! You don't have to attend games to be a 'real fan' nowadays, you might think in your small minded head you are but you aren't, fans all over the world support different teams, it's streamed online for FREE, not everyone can get to games it doesn't make them less of a fan. And not even gonna comment on Mark Hughes because i have no opinion on him, i never wanted him as Villa manager. I don't want Mcleish sacked, sacking him now would be pointless, we are probably safe yes but see the season out and hope he improves, don't want him there next year but im afraid we will have no choice...Im praying things change so i can enjoy the season whether i renew my ticket or not.
P.Avfc
"The answer to that is obvious", isn't that a dig? Why don't you debate the points I have raised rather than one line digs at me for being childish and clever?
866354
P.Avfc - don't believe I ever said I was more of a real fan than anybody else on here as you will see from my last post. As for blaming MON, I was answering the points raised in post, which I am entitled to do as part of the debate, so perhaps I could ask you who you blame for where we currently find ourselves as I would welcome your opinion? There is a bigger problem in football at the moment that isn't just unique to Villa. Rangers have shown that recently and it wouldn't surprise me if there are more awaiting the same fate in the premiership. I just don't want it to be us.
866354
We don't no anything about our financial state really so can't really comment, as for Rangers, they have had financial trouble for ages so doesn't surprise me where they are. And i think the blame has to come down to Lerner and Faulkner, when MON left a sufficient replacement should have been found immediately, they should of shown ambition instead of going with Houllier and then Mcleish...The managers post O'Neil have simply not been good enough. There are problems within the Villa squad but it is undoubtedly good enough to challenge the likes of Fulham, Albion, Stoke, Sunderland for that 8th spot, and if Mcleish doesn't reach top 10 it's a failure of a season in my eyes. So the problem would be Lerner, Faulkner, Mcleish and some of the villa team aka the old guard (dunne, collins etc). If Mcleish can finish this season strongly, get rid of the old guard, bring in his own players aswell as our youth players and pushes us for europe again then i'll support him...I want the best for villa, i want us to go forward, we have a young talented squad, a bit of backing from the chairman and a good manager is needed for success but i don't think we have that...I want to be proven wrong, i hope im proven wrong.
P.Avfc
Then we both want the same things P.Avfc
866354
The jury's out Lol. Incorrect.
Villan444
Villan444 - "Jurys out for me so far". If it's out for me how can it be incorrect? Lol
866354
I have to agree this article tells us nothing we don't already know. I think it is highly unlikely that we will be relegated. I'm also getting a bit tired of all this talk of negative football. On Saturday during the first half we played decent attacking football up to the final 3rd where no one seemed to have the balls / confidence to gamble. We were putting in crosses and through balls but no one (Gabby) was running on to them until Andy W came on and showed some real desire. I don't believe AM tells players "don't make runs into the box". The future is definitely the young players coming through along with Ireland who I think is really starting to show what a talent he is (surely AM must take some credit for this?). With Ireland in midfield, Given in goal & Carlos in defence we have a great spine with either Bent or Weimann up front. Is AM the man for the job? The jury is obviously still out but at the moment he IS our manager and I really don't think there is much we can do about it. The "You don't know what you are doing chant" at the weekend was a bit embarrassing. I have to admit to getting caught up in the heat of it and did boo a bit initially at the substitution of N'Zogbia as I thought Gabby was the man to go off. However on reflection despite a decent first half Charlie was pretty non-effective in the second half so I'd say it was a good substitution. The guy is on a hiding to nothing and that reaction on Saturday said it all.
Adam Deuce
Because I have no interest in debating the points you raised 866354, I am however telling you - which you've listened to despite wanting the last word - to lose the digs and all will be fine in our little internet world.
mike_field
If you've no interest in debating the points then perhaps a blog is the wrong thing for you to be on, oops childish dig and last word again, my bad.
866354
This article is shockingly poor and way too emotional. If we cut through the emotion and actually look at the facts in a calm manner we might get to something productive. There have been some good points on here, mainly from 866354 imo. 1. We needed to cut back on spending or end up like Rangers or Leeds 2. MON dropped us in it and we've had two very bad seasons as a result - he failed us badly by NOT doing his job 3. The financial climate and overspend by MON means we need to cut back or run the risk of point 1. occuring 4. We've underachieved this year, in terms of performances and results because with point 3 being a contributing factor 5. We HAVE looked good going forward at times 6. The future is in the kids, that much is now very clear So the present has mitigating circumstances McLeish was not and is not an exciting prospect BUT if he gets his transfers right in the summer we may very well do ok to decent next season. The fact that he'll be stamping his authority on the team in the transfer market is scary, very scary, BUT it is what will happen. Who's coming for the ride? Earlier in the thread someone was waffling on about being a better fan if you go to the games. Well I don't think the original poster said that BUT I do feel it's true. If you don't go to the games how exactly do you support the team, how do you be part of the twelfth man? By satellite? Emotionally you may still be attached to AVFC but you certainly don't walk the walk. Entitled to a view, sure but you simply cannot be as involved with the club if you don't go to the games. Those that commit to home and away are something else>>>>>
Jongekki
Lerner needs to grow some and realise he has made a BIG and I mean BIG mistake.
Pride of Lions
In my humble opinion the article was a waste of 15 minutes of my life. All old facts that we have been over time and again. MON is not in charge as he stormed out of the club in a tissy fit. So to sum up if if's and buts were buttercups.
Surpsy
866354 do you even know who mike_field is? I agree with some of both sides of this discussion. I agree about MON with signings and also were we'd be now if he stayed. I for one enjoyed his spelt at our club and think he is a very good manager. Yes he made some rubbish signings that hurt us and he should have sorted his spat with Randy for the sake of the team/club especially since it was right at the start of the season. But he's gone and it's time to move on. Cutting costs to balance the books is fine, pushing more young players up and looking for bargain buys is fine also BUT who's making the footballing decisions..... McLEISH... that is a big problem. I don't want a big name manager either and I know we wouldn't get one but an up and coming young manager from the lower leagues would be better than this
AdzVilla11
I think you are a bit off with the relegation thing, it is very unlikely at this stage. I would have agrred had we not secured the 3 points on Saturday. We can debate as much as we want, Mc leish is going no place. Yes I agree he should never have been appointed and yes I agree he should be gone. Mr Learner will not spend (or lose) any more money on Manager's. I hope when O'neill comes back to VP on 21/04 we all show him what we think of the mess he left after him and what his reckless use of the Chairman's money has done to our club. COTVABU
irish villa
The quote that "we are nearly in a relegation fight and ONLY 11 points above the drop" is laughable. Is it too hard to say we are ONLY 6 points from the top 10, admittedly not something to be proud of but a lot closer as as possible option that the 11 points we would have to lose for us to go down!! I am far from happy with the season but we have no devine right to be beating anyone in this division but most fans still say we won the European Cup in 82, we should be doing better, IT WAS 30 YEARS AGO PEOPLE!!!!! Get with the times and realise with no money you do very little but survive in this division, it's why the ones who spend money have been closer to winnings things than other teams, just like we were when MON spent 140m during his time at the club. Really getting fed up of the negative stuff fans are coming out with now regardless of what the club does. Times have changed, we are no longer a big club who can compete just like 15 other teams in the division, deal with it and you will get less frustrated by it all
whvilla
Whvilla, and without the lucky 3 points on Saturday, we'd be 9 points off the top lot and 8 from the relegation zone. Unlikely now but a possibility. 876543, the jury consists of several people, NOT 1 person on his own. And No, you're not the judge either. The majority have decided already regardless of all the individuals who are bloody optimistic and just base their argument on hope, pride and excuses.
Villan444
Not quite sure why there is anything to debate here? None of us think AM was a "great" appointment at the time. Some of us gave him time. Most of us know he isn't going anywhere. As for the article, I can't see how we are in a relegation scrap and are 11 points off it. Don't think Mark was frozen out, he himself admitted with all that was going on in his life he wasn't able to concentrate on football. "Realism of championship football a reality"? Maybe is we loose the next 5. Even then I would struggle to see those in the bottom 3 making up 11 points or more in that time.
revdpete
I feel it does no Villa fan any good being crucified for their views people like voiceoftheholte,villan444 will sing and support Villa just as strongly at any game as those who support Mcleish. So disagree with each others views by all means but respect each other as Villa fans. My own view is while we are not going to be top 6 for quite sometime and Mcleish is not satan, he is responsable for the tactics and some of the perfomances this season have been painfull to sheer dross. Man Utd,Spurs,Man City,Swansea others have been good to fair Chelsea and last game Fulham. I do dislike a manager blaming players even if deserved it cant be the reason the tactics are poor. I hear people saying we need to pull together and support the team regardless of the manager thats fine but will not cover up a team playing badly. My own feeling and heavens above dare I be the one to critisize Randy Lerner that the board lack the most basic football knowledge and need the advice and guidance of a Director of football. Should Mcleish turn things round with limited resources no one would be happier than me because I couldnt care if he came from Timbuctoo Rovers so long as Villa are playing well and winning a few games. UTV
Merlin128777
I knew it would (once again) be Martin O'Neill's fault. He's history. Learn from his mistakes and move on. We won't get involved in the relegation struggle this season. For me, that's not the issue. It's the BORING football.
chocolate teapot
AdzVilla11 - Do you or Mike underscore Field know who I am? Villan444 - The key words are 'it's out for me', therefore it's my opinion, so how can that be incorrect? It's simple really, you have your opinions and I have mine, neither of them can be incorrect because they're our opinions, so please don't tell me what my opinion has to be!
866354
866354 don't get involved with Villan444. He gets his rocks off reading other peoples opinions then making snotty self important personal attacks on them. Don't quite know what Mike_Field is trying to moderate about but there are plenty of people making smart-arse opinions about each other, I just happen to believe Villan444 is the most offensive. MON is ancient history now but because of the false start with Houllier, his legacy still festers on. The Ginger McNamecalling will just put off any other manager that might want to give the job a go. The "entitled" internet ranters will just slag him off for not spending the millions that the owner can't or won't allow him to have. The only thing I agree with the ranters about is there doesn't appear to be any Villa history related football knowledge at the top. All that was chased away under MON.
jbd656
865432, you shouldn't use terms like jury if you don't want to be explained to what it means. You're talking as though it's a consensus by using that term regardless of putting "for me" at the end. And thus, your lesson for the day endeth. ;-). Seriously though, long will it take for you to make your decision on Eck??? He has been a failure EVERYWHERE with the occasional flatter to deceive result. He should be in charge of a national team like Scotland as he's not consistent enough and the flukey cup win last year was bettered by MON twice with lowly Leicester aswell as runners up medals another time and with us.
Villan444
865432, you shouldn't use terms like jury if you don't want to be explained to what it means. You're talking as though it's a consensus by using that term regardless of putting "for me" at the end. And thus, your lesson for the day endeth. ;-). Seriously though, long will it take for you to make your decision on Eck??? He has been a failure EVERYWHERE with the occasional flatter to deceive result. He should be in charge of a national team like Scotland as he's not consistent enough and the flukey cup win last year was bettered by MON twice with lowly Leicester aswell as runners up medals another time and with us.
Villan444
I don't think championship football is a "realistic" prospect. To drop in to the bottom 3, one of the bottom 3 sides needs to acquire 50% of their total points from 28 games in the next 10. And that's just to catch up to us today. We've also got 10 games.
evoflash
As for jbd656, don't think that I've ever commented on any of your pompous snotty posts previously so not sure why you've got the hump other than me having a minor bit of banter with your new hero 87534 or whatever his number is as he obviously shares your incorrect view that Villa are still the best regardless of fact or what anyone other than you few thinks. Stop living in the past and look at what's going on at our club you sycophantic licker.
Villan444
Actually Villan444, McLeish was the manager of Scotland and they beat France in Paris but that was also probably another 'flukey' result. Thanks for the English lesson on what jury means but I think you'll find that 'the jury's out' is a common expression and once again 'for me' means it's my opinion and so on and so on and so on. But you clearly don't get it and reading some of the other comments on here you've clearly got form, so I'll leave it at that. Oh and by the way you didn't need to post it twice I got the message first time! Interesting that Mike underscore Field isn't moderating anybody else for childish digs isn't it?
866354
866354, we're all Villa fans and I just see it as banter which to those of us who've played the game know that its rife in football. If everyone thought the same it would be boring. I don't mean to offend anyone and I'm sure you didn't for saying what you got moderated for. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, not all are right though. I take it all in jest. Well done on picking up on my posting twice, that really hurt?!?! P.s. you should set up a fan club, I think that Jbd656 has a crush on you!! (again all in jest for those that have never left their desks to go down the pub or played the game!!)
Villan444
The France game was a flukey 1-0 and that was a one off. All he's good for, and why the league has always confounded him!! Cup manager at best.
Villan444
Do you know what this is?....it's when two people fancy each other and they tease each other....;-)
evoflash
Best comment of the thread Evo! lol

It's very simple folks, take the childish nonsense to facebook or abide by the site rules. A quick post asking people to debate the points and not the poster is hardly moderation even if you want to feel like a victim. Nothing has been removed so far, but if people can't type properly and treat others with respect then it will change.

Everybody is angry at the season so far but it's not an excuse to treat this site like a playground and think you'll get away with everything even if we let a lot go normally. Stick to the debate and lay off each other and the personal cracks and then I can sit here giggling at the comments instead of thinking 'here we go again'.

866 if you want drop me a PM or email, because believe me mate, I always get the last word :-)
mike_field
866354 doesn't need me, he's got jbd656 as his bitch evoflash!! ;-D ( again in jest.) Think that you can get away with a lot more from Polish Mic if you put only joking afterwards ;-D
Villan444
****, Polish Mic beat me to it.
Villan444
"One of only four English clubs to have won the European Cup after a historic night in Munich in 1982 against Bayern Munich" .... Oh b*ll*cks ... I know I'd had a few drinks that night, but I must of been at the wrong game, 'cos I'm pretty sure I was in Rotterdam !! lol.
bixit
I'm Herr Flick 444, don't you forget it! Just remember even jest doesn't always come over when you type, it's easier on the forum as you can add smilies to set the tone, we all want the same thing so when anger is high, it's easier to stick to the point without the personal digs incase the humour doesn't come over.
mike_field
Mcleish is a problem. But the biggest problem is a clueless yank that doesn't even reside in the UK anymore. Lerner has proved time and time again that he is incapable of making the right football decisions, and continuously takes the wrong advice. The sooner both of them are gone, the better.
Stig
....and a Jammy 1 nil win won't even begin to fool me that it's all coming together finally. You can't polish a turd.
Stig
"Best comment of the thread Evo! lol". Not a childish dig but the best comment and Evo has clearly debated the points. Not very consistent is it Mike? It's a shame you don't practice what you like to preach and because I have no interest in debating the points you raised Mike underscore Field, I'll give it a miss thanks ;)
866354
That's a shame, I thought you might be fun :-/ Nothing wrong with a good debate.
mike_field
 

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