A Contrast Between Fans And Press On Villa?
I got a nice email from a youngster yesterday, he said:
'I'm a big fan of your articles and thought I'd email you and express my opinion from the perspective of a 16-year old fan of 2 years from St. Louis, Missouri. I'm not whatsoever expecting you to publish this but maybe some of my opinions will influence your work. It will also just calm my nerves by getting my opinions out.'
Well, flattery will get you everywhere, but so will having a sensible opinion and a well thought out article... so here it is:
I've been rummaging around all the different blogs and news outlets that publish things about Villa and I've noticed that there's a stark contrast between how the fans judge the situation were in now and how the neutral journalists analyze it.
The Villa fans for the most part want McLeish out because they think his tactics are defensive and negative and it seems like were playing tentatively a majority of the games. The journalists are very slow to criticize McLeish and blame our struggles for the most part on the squad and players not playing to their full potential.
It seems both groups have an element of truth to them.
When it comes to McLeish, I think, it is not so much his tactics at all. McLeish's style of play can work and be successful. We've seen this at Stoke and a large part of Italian football. So the problem for me is not McLeish's tactics, but it seems to me that the underlying reason for the teams performance is that McLeish has an inability to motivate the players. I think one could argue that besides maybe Cuellar, not one player on the squad has consistently given their best effort week in, week out. In my opinion, the best managers are not the ones who are tactically adept, but who are able to get their entire squad playing the best football they can every time their called upon. A perfect example of this is Sunderland. Say what you will about Martin O'Neill, but you can't argue that he has gotten a mediocre Sunderland side playing some of the best football they have in years. Point is that in this league the team that wants it the most will have the most relative success.
In terms of our financial situation, I think many people are of mixed opinions. I think the obvious facts are that we have overspent on useless players and inflated the wage bill to a point were it's almost impossible to manage without making severe cuts. My only complaint about Lerner other than appointing McLeish was that he should have more strongly monitored MON ridiculous shopping sprees. It really says something about the character of MON that when Randy finally forced MON to be sensible with his transfers he couldn't take it and quit less than a month before the start of the season. It forced Lerner to hurriedly appoint a new manager that turned out to be a disaster.
Many fans make the argument that if we hadn't sold our best players we could have been like Tottenham is now and criticize Lerner for a lack of ambition. However Tottenham was in a very different situation than us. Spurs had a much greater depth within the squad. So when Harry Rednapp was told he had to sell before he could buy, he had much more desirable players with whom he could either sell or send out on loan without selling his best players and balancing the books at the same time. Villa had a bunch of crap players on huge wages that no one wanted and were basically forced to sell their best players. I think the fans are a bit ungrateful of Randy especially considering he pumped so much money into the club and took a huge loss this past year.
To summarize, fans need to analyze our situation by attempting to look at history and try to understand the circumstances of the situation when decisions were made. McLeish is not a terrible manager. He was appointed because of experience and reputation and was not right for Villa from the start. My advise to McLeish would be to sack him quietly and on good terms in the summer and appoint a manager with a proven record of getting his team to consistently give 100% each game. I hope you think I was fair in my arguments and find my thoughts somewhat informative.
Thanks for listening.