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A Contrast Between Fans And Press On Villa?

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.


Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

Date:Thursday March 29 2012
Time: 11:00AM


A nice piece of analysis.
29/03/2012 11:08:00
It's a fallacy that 'Arry Redknapp has turned Spuz round. With Jol they would've finished 4th except for Lasagne gate and Redknapp couldn't get worse than 1day. They have Levy who is as tight as they come to do all the transfers. MON HAD to do everything as Randy didn't have a clue what he was doing (as now proven) and money wasn't seen to be an issue, along with the fact that he's rarely here. Faulkner was brought in as a Levy-like character and immediately started selling the VERY best players, unlike Levy who has kept Modric for example. If we'd kept Milner in the same fashion, we could be up there now. MON has made mistakes true but whilst concentrating on the playing side of things, he couldn't be expected to keep all the players happy aswell as monitor transfers. Levy will loan them out and literally blackmail them into signing big contracts.
29/03/2012 11:23:00
And McLeish IS a terrible manager....
29/03/2012 11:25:00
Nice effort dude, but remember the club didn't in reality make a huge loss. Amortisation is simply depriciation on player values - not a sum the club has to pay out, so don't get confused. The other cost was compensation to MON and his staff (remember RL LOST the tribunal), and to GH and his staff. I'm sorry, but Randy bought this element upon himself with bad judgement. We knew GH had major health issues, and it pleased non of us to be proven right. Otherwise, we'd have shown a profit. ...And this is without the compo for McClown... I don't think we're ungrateful at all. And don't forget RL has LOANED the money to Villa, not GIVEN it to us. Keep up contributing though!!!! UTV P.s. What made u choose our club from all the way over in the USA???
29/03/2012 11:26:00
And McLeish IS a terrible manager....
29/03/2012 11:31:00
It's good to see some attempt at rational argument. Where it falls down is that he provides no evidence for his comment 'McLeish is not a terrible manager'. The evidence is there for all to see that he is a terrible manager. I'm not talking about opinion on his style of play or the odd formation he insists on using but about his history. Look it up for yourself. Every club he has managed has been worse off by the time he left compared to when he started. This includes leading Rangers to third place in the two horse race that is the Scottish league. He has failed at every club he has managed. Why should it be any different at Villa? The answer, of course, is that it isn't different. He is failing here just as he did everywhere else.
chocolate teapot
29/03/2012 12:01:00
A 16 year old that can write sensibly, with good punctuation and grammar. Obviously not from the UK then. Had this have been from a UK based 16 year old your letter would have been written in crayon!!! It would have said 'mcleesh is crap and is our worsest mamgere effer and he shud be sakked'. The points are well delivered and explained. I laughed at the bit saying that McLeish isn't a bad manager, but I think that oversight can be forgiven. Good post young man.
29/03/2012 12:10:00
Good post well thought out piece like those above my only question would be how many games have you managed to see in the states ? Your opinion of the manager would be I believe a bit different had you sat through the games against Man Utd, Man City, Spurs,Swansea and most recently Arsenal. As an old fan this is not the sort of football Villa are known for , the art of peacefull surrender has no part in Villas history and should not be a part of it now.I hope the sort of football Villa are currently producing does not put you off following the team and hope you can convert a few more fans in St.Louis good luck and hope to see further posts from you.
29/03/2012 12:50:00
Nicd post but as most have stated he isnt far off the worst manager,ive seen to grace our historic club,we've had a few too and yes,don't get put off by the rubbish footall,it can't get any worse,we hope.UTV
29/03/2012 13:23:00
Flip... you said "It forced Lerner to hurriedly appoint a new manager that turned out to be a disaster" referring to Houlier. If GH was a disaster, then Mcleish is a huge fetid nucular explosion causing horrific destruction wherever he treads! Good points though!
29/03/2012 17:26:00
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