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AVFC Is NOT A Step Sideways For Paul Lambert

AVFC Is NOT A Step Sideways For Paul Lambert

Vital newbie Gerard Brand:

Why Aston Villa is not a step sideways for Paul Lambert and why time is imperative.

After our fine club gained its seventh manager in just over a decade, the staple musings of a stolen manager were there for all to see. Condemnation of lack of loyalty from Norwich fans and neutrals were apparent and expected, while personal favourite "he`s too good for a team like Villa" made me chuckle for a split second.

Put yourself in Paul Lambert`s shoes. A young, promising manager who has performed what can only be described as miracles at Carrow Road - a statement nobody could disagree with. The most important two words in that statement, however, are young and promising. This suggests that he is as yet unsuccessful to an extent that would allow him to be tagged a 'proven` Premier League manager.

Another season at Norwich would not have helped that, and in my opinion, could only have made things worse. Expectation may not be over the hills and far away at the Canaries, but it would have been tough to ask Lambert to extend their fortunes in a way that showed improvement, other than cementing a place in the Premier League, a big ask at the best of times. With top scorer Grant Holt wanting out, and a lunch box treasure chest budget previously criticised by Lambert himself, a move to Aston Villa makes perfect sense.

Those who claim Villa are a team on a mudslide, a team that Paul Lambert should be avoiding - 'the poisoned chalice` has been heard a few times - are forgetting something. A 'poisoned chalice` in footballing terms suggests that a manager enters a team as a good manager but leaves as a bad one. Let`s take our last six managers as an example:

John Gregory - came from Wycombe, left as a Championship standard manager.

Graham Taylor - a bad appointment, and a manager clutching at straws at the tail end of his career. Left the same as he came - not good enough.

David O`Leary - both succeeded and failed in his three years, has been out of management since (seven games at Al-Ahli aside), but is still linked to jobs in the Championship on a regular occasion.

Martin O`Neill - four successful years, left with arguably more credibility than when he entered, with more modern day PL experience under his belt.

Gerard Houllier - another bad appointment, but could see a direction before poor health took it`s toll. Reputation (there wasn`t much in the first place) definitely not hampered.

Alex McLeish - a catastrophic appointment, and his reputation as relegation-obsessed, negative minded manager was very much upheld. Left with the same qualities he entered with, which was none.

These examples dispel the laughable myth that Aston Villa are a club that destroys managers, while little is said about the poisoned lake at Stamford Bridge and Anfield. I expect nothing but an enhancement for Paul Lambert`s career at Villa Park, and for months I have convinced myself he will be a Manchester United manager in the next five years. I will not be surprised or disappointed to learn that our club is merely a stepping-stone in his promising career. He will be better equipped to achieve a greater profile at Villa Park than at Carrow Road, with (slightly) more funds, more pulling power and one of the best training facilities and academies in the country.

Some would undoubtedly be at their computer right about now screaming "what about the fickle fans?" Time is the most important thing needed for him to be a success. I`m confident he will be given it in abundance, even though our fan base has been accused of a fickle nature in recent years, something hard to disagree with. With a breath of fresh air comes a new outlook, and having already heard of tens of people renewing their season tickets upon the news of Lambert`s appointment, there will be a buzz around Villa Park again.

He cannot be judged until our starting XI is dominated with his players and his vision, which in itself is subjective. But for us, most importantly, we must see a direction this coming season, something we saw nothing of in McLeish, saw glimpses of with Houllier, and saw in abundance in 2006/2007, O`Neills first campaign.

Expectations? No higher than tenth place, no lower than seventeenth. Football is not all about results, and nor should it be this coming season (40 points aside). It`s about being entertained, and seeing a future that is worth going through the turnstiles for. It will NOT happen over night.

So with this, in time I`m convinced we will become a team that is liked again. Some of us may not care if we are admired by supporters of other clubs, but nobody can tell me they didn`t take pleasure out of being praised by all corners of the media and neutrals for our performances under O`Neill. Lambert should bring this. But in time, please. Don`t let the media have a field day, there is nothing worse than the criticism WE received as supporters last year, when we knew full well we had no choice.

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

Writer:Gerard Brand (@gedbrand91)
Date:Monday June 4 2012
Time: 9:14AM


Alright calm down dear. Why would anyone let the insults of a few, understandably, disgruntled Norwich fans get to them?
04/06/2012 09:36:00
chocolate teapot
04/06/2012 09:49:00
Norwich fans would probably argue that the 'promising' tag should no longer apply - and if it should, then it does present a risk for an established PL club. I certainly agree with you that he needs time, agree that some fans have been vocal in their lack of support. But to be fair to all Villa fans, we're not expecting top 6 finishes or cup finals - we're expecting entertaining football, commitment and spirit that is instilled by the manager and a club to be proud of. I don't think Villa fans are any more fickle than the fans of other clubs, in fact I think only a small minority were anti-McCleish from the beginning. Lambert seems to be a breath of fresh air - one of the new breed of managers that doesn't tell his players how to play, but teaches them how to play. The league table might suggest a sideways step (if not backward) but it is onto a path that has, at this stage, got more potential. Of course, the other side of it is that it takes a lot less to have a more successful season with Villa than Norwich - although I don't think Lambert would have shied away from that challenge. Looking forward to an exciting (and probably frustrating) Summer and a fresh start next season.
Football is Life
04/06/2012 09:51:00
Just ignore all the nonsense spouted by people who know nothing. I, too, see Lambert as a potential ManU manager when Sir Chewalot is finely put out to grass. No problem.

We are no more 'fickle' than any other fans. Listen to Arsenal fans moaning about Wenger or Spurs fans moaning about Redknapp. There will always be fans like those at every club. We have no more and no less than the others.

chocolate teapot
04/06/2012 09:53:00
It saddens me to see Graham Taylor shot down like that. And please can we stop perpetuating the myth that we're fickle. No more so than any set of fans up and down the country.
04/06/2012 09:55:00
Yes, very unfair on Taylor, as were the England fans when he left Villa to manage England.
04/06/2012 10:16:00
I can understand the Norwich fans distress. We all felt the same when losing Barry, Milner, Young and even Judas Downing (you can see the ***** Downing still makes me mad). However, such is life. Players and managers will always move on to bigger clubs, it's the way of life. Aston Villa, although having underperformed for a number of years, is a much bigger club than Norwich - fact! I hope Norwich find another good manager to enable them to move on and that Paul Lambert instigates an ongoing improvement to our wonderful club.
04/06/2012 10:21:00
That was a good read Gerard. I will comment on Manure - Lambert there, no I don't think so... more like Mourinho. The rest I tend to agree with.
Pride of Lions
04/06/2012 10:25:00
why is everyone talking about lambert leaving (stepping stone to biiger and better things?????) before he has even stepped foot onto Villa Park?...Negativity breeds Negativity. Lets just focus on the here and now and enjoy the moment.
04/06/2012 10:47:00
Every manager is on a stepping stone: do well you get a better offer, do badly and you get fired. That's life, that's a career. Only managers that this does not apply to are Ferguson and Wenger, though both are edging towards their own edge. Moyes too has created a nest rather than a stepping stone. Its only the supporters who stay around for a long time, or life. Agree that Taylor does not deserve the above comment.
04/06/2012 11:08:00
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