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O'Neill On Villa Return

O'Neill On Villa Return

Martin O'Neill was very matter of fact about his return to Villa Park today - it would be easy to snipe but I'll return the favour as best I can.

Speaking to the press following the game, he said simply:

'I think it's a very natural reaction considering I've gone two years and they've never known my reasons for leaving. I was expecting it and I got it.'

Whilst 'his reasons' appear to be pretty obvious for those who also look at 'off pitch matters' he is correct with the assertion that we've never directly heard his side of events. Maybe we will one day and those of us who have speculated can see how close to the middle ground we got, but it's not really something to discuss at length again now I would suggest. It has afterall been done to death numerous times!

What O'Neill did discuss was the timing of his departure though, saying simply:

'With the idea that I left them in the lurch, I apologise maybe for leaving five days before the start of the season.'

Would have made a much more sincere impact without the word 'maybe' unfortunately. But it's akin to the apology fans received following the Moscow surrender, so probably par for the course and I'd imagine most will be happy that he did at least address the timing issue.

He also adds, which does partially muddy history slightly:

'I came to this club a fortnight before the season started with a team that had almost been relegated the previous year. The timing was not great five or six days before the start of the season but I think the team I left behind was infinitely better than the team I started with.'

Yes he did join officially in roughly that time frame, but his previous discussions with both Doug Ellis and Randy Lerner allowed him additional time to plan before taking charge - hence the Stan transfer being sanctioned pre Randy's take over being completed.

The squad he inherited also finished pretty strongly the season previous to DOL's meltdown, and whilst I don't disagree the squad he left on paper was superior to the one he inherited (after the spending that should in fact be a given), if we use that logic that it was a relegation worry squad he inherited because of one season, then given our last two seasons made up of the players he brought to the club (this season less so than Houllier's season obviously) if we focus on whether a team is capable of being relegated - it's a struggle to accept the phrase 'infinity better'.

What nobody can argue on really and extremely unfortunately is the fact that we as a club have failed to take what was good about Martin as a manager and build on that, whilst finding better at what he was bad at.

Had we done that, everybody would be laughing.

Sunderland Match Thread

Given so much of the discussion about O'Neill centers on transfers, spending and wages, Vital Villans might also have an interest in two threads on the forum.

McLeish In The Market

O'Neill In The Market

Ending the interview I've seen, O'Neill added:

'Listen, in the scheme of things it's a sideshow today and the main event is the two teams. It will always be that.'

And he's right of course, admiration/revenge when it comes to former managers or former players are for the fans to get excited about, sadly today the team didn't get the 3 points they had to target and that's what history will record.

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Writer:Mike Field
Date:Saturday April 21 2012
Time: 7:43PM


I didn't think he got much at all. Maximum 20% booed, double that clapped and the rest were silent. McLeish got bigger boos at the start!
jake findlay
21/04/2012 19:48:00
Boos from where I was sounded loud, but wasn't in usual seat so don't know if he had to take much abuse on touchline, doubt it. Hey ho, done now, at least he maybe concedes he was BANG out of order with his timing, sorry, he knew what he was doing.
The Fear
21/04/2012 19:55:00
Thanks for taking your share of the responsibilty martin, wish you still the manager.Right now Now we are stuck with a spineless defeatist. Apology accepted, thanks for the good times.
21/04/2012 20:14:00
"and they've never known my reasons for leaving." Suggests to me there was plenty that went on that I doubt we'll ever know. And don't forget he got paid out for apparently leaving us in the lurch, which tells me all I need to know. No worries though Mike, I know you never liked him. I'll bet you wish we had him now though LOL.
21/04/2012 20:50:00
as much as i love the wee man, its his ownfault if he is not willing to discuss his reasons for leaving. He is free to do so. But he didn`t have to maybe apologise, but he did.
21/04/2012 21:12:00
Heard the interview on Radio 5 Live and thought he came across fairly reasonably to be fair. Was half expecting him to be very defensive to the questions and come across as a bit of a ***** but I think he came across ok and made some good points. He wasn't the biggest ***** of a manager in the dug outs today.
21/04/2012 21:15:00
Nah Badge, loved him to begin with but quickly saw through the holes. O'Neill didn't get what he wanted in the tribunal, neither did the club - they settled remember so both technically won and lost in fair measure. Which is what we know, both sides could've done things differently at the end of the day. And no, not even now would I have wanted another season under him - we should've got better!
21/04/2012 22:13:00
Interested to see where we'd be should Houllier have stayed healthy
21/04/2012 22:28:00
Houllier would have had us challeging Man Utd/Citeh, O'Neil is a ***** manager and I don't know where this myth came from that O'Neil is the be all and end all when it comes to managers but it is simply not true, the bloke is a kin to Steve Bruce.
Green Villan
22/04/2012 02:30:00
Well no apology would make me forgive MoN for leaving my club with just 5 games to go before the start of the season TBH, he can stick his pathetic atempt of an apology where the sun don't shine for me, oh and as for Sunderland appointing MoN what a grave mistake they have made, its one thing haviong MoN as manager with not much money that i think he is better at getting the best out of a small squad of players, but for Ellis Short the Sunderland chairman to trust him with a big transfer funds in the summer after seeing what MoN did at Villa when having access to a mass amount of transfer funds and the players he buys and what will happan when he has had enough there, once a quiter always a quiter i say!
22/04/2012 13:23:00
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