Aston Villa - Calm Down Dear
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Calm Down Dear

After last season it is understandable that the fans are now excited and already emotionally invested in the new season. Lambert's limes will take the pitch at Upton Park on the 18th, the whistle will blow and a new era will begin. Game on, my friends, game on.

Mind you, after the débâcle of 2011/12 a tin of tuna and a bunch of flowers would get me out of my seat. No surprise then that since Paul Lambert took over I have found myself positively floating, having contracted a virulent form of Lambertitus, a neurological condition that leads to football related mania and hyper-manic mood often associated with the wearing of luminous clothing.'You can keep your Oscar's and Hazard's.' I cry. 'We've got Matt Lowton.' Amazingly, my non Villan friends don't share my new found optimism.

Expectations were driven so low with Machiavellian appointment of McLeish that talk of a tenth place finish leaves us all quite giddy though the pundits are undecided. Some have us in a relegation battle, others have us as high as 9th. It is difficult to tell given the thin nature of the squad, the amount of question marks that hang over key players and the fact that some of the younger players are still to prove themselves consistently. It could all come together of course, like a lime coloured dream or alternately we could be pigs in lipstick come the end of the season. The question remains then: should excitement be tempered with some healthy realism given the level of financial austerity and the apparent sell to buy philosophy?

When I look at our dealings in the transfer market it would be fair to say that I am starting to get a little anxious. On one level we have brought in what looks like four top level performers in Vlaar, El Ahmadi, Holman and Lowton for around £9 million. Contractual ends for Beye, Heskey and Cuellar and the end of the loan deal for Jenas have reduced the wage bill significantly though none of these exists resulted in incoming transfer revenue. Only Collins' sale to West Ham has resulted in a saleof £2.5 Million. I estimate that transfer income added to wage reductions have led us to recoup somewhere around £15 million though recent player acquisitions before wages have cost us a rumoured £9 million. In short: lets not dance down to the bank just yet.

The grapevine tells us that we are also looking to offload Dunne, Hutton and Warnock, which will free up further valuable funds and bring in much needed transfer revenue. However, we are still to receive official bids for these players, the season is a few days away and we are still missing a quality left back, a top level ball playing midfielder and a new striker. To say that the squad is in transition and is thin on the ground is an understatement. With our share of the TV money being absorbed by wage and club costs and our finishing position leaving us with around £1.5 million in winnings the climb seems as steep as ever, even if it is taken with renewed excitement, togetherness and hope.

It is worth reminding ourselves that many of the academy graduates, who were drafted in to cover and bolster a depleted and struggling squad, are now regulars. Gardner, Clarke, Baker, Herd, Bannan, Albrighton and Weimann were all bloodied in difficult circumstances and now find themselves either in the first team or on the bench. They are no doubt soon to be joined by Daniel Johnson and Sammy Curruthers. Considering our financial limitations it is essential that these players are able to bridge the gap from being academy stars to elite level footballers in the most competitive league in the world. Paul Lambert, with his mix of inspiring man management and tactical nuance may be the man to do this though not all of them will make it.

I am excited and looking forward to a brand new season under Paul Lambert as are you. However, should we be more realistic and keep our feet on the ground? We will certainly no more by the 1st September with two games under our belt and the transfer window closed. Perhaps we should reserve judgement until then?


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The Journalist

Writer: Villa_Grizzly Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday August 14 2012

Time: 1:53PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
follows on nicely from the poll + forum thread: Is The Villa Squad Strong Enough For This Season?
The Fear
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14/08/2012 14:09:00

We should realise at top 12. Then steadily improve the season after - with more players being attracted to us and seeing our potential with a new style of play and a top notch young manager...That is all.
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14/08/2012 14:10:00

Very good read that and fair on reflection with all the excitement and buzzing feelings going round our club now that we do not get carried away and don in the dumps if we start off badly r go on a bad un early on, we do lack quality and experiance for sure, im hoping however Rambo Lambo still gets us a few quality players in before deadline day but as you quite rightly state we are probably awaiting bids for Warnock Dunne and Hutton lets all start praying to Mcgrath we can offload these terrible trio if thats whats holding back out transfer dealings ay UTV!
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14/08/2012 14:12:00

Yes very balanced article, I am a little nervous that we conceded a total of 5 in our last two friendlies. Same old same old, hopefully not. As you say we will now a lot more after the hammers and Everton games. COTVABU
irish villa
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14/08/2012 14:42:00

Enjoyed the read and your humor! After last season it is no wonder we are so excited however, yes, we do have to keep a measure of balance
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14/08/2012 14:47:00

actually Irish Villa, it was 6! haha, but I'm feeling ridiculously optimistic nonetheless. It would be interesting to see a breakdown of how much we are saving in wages compared to at the end of the MON era with people like Beye, Heskey, Collins, Carew etc off the wage bill. Surely we have cut enough costs at this point?
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14/08/2012 14:47:00

After the signing we had made, I though, yes please and a couple more will do nicely...... but nothing. In other words, I was excited because of the incomings, but my excitement has tempered a little because the incomings have stopped. I cannot for the life of me see how the hell we can go into a new season with one quality striker..... to me, this route is very short sighted............. Should of gone to Specsavers I suppose!
Pride of Lions
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14/08/2012 15:02:00

I think its immensely important we keep our feet on the ground and not get carried away or expect too much. The last two seasons have resulted in near relegation and the squad is hardly vastly improved from this on paper. Its very similar to MON's first season in which we finished 11th, if Lambert can get anywhere near that or at least avoid a stressful last few months I for one would be delighted.
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14/08/2012 15:20:00

well i dont want to win anything using petrodollars or dodgy rubles. that leaves - a homegrown team who grew up playing together plus a few key entrants and 1-2 superstars ie Bent plus whoever. seems to me the only other way left in todays game. but this team needs to want to become legendary in the modem game rather than buzzin to leave for another 5k a week elsewhere. btw sorry caps key is broke.
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14/08/2012 15:53:00

I strongly suspect that Lambert will have funds available at xmas should he need them and will begin the real building next summer. Its easy for everyone on here to have opinions on the squad but PL has only seenthem for a few games and might have more faith in some of the younger players than many on here do.
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14/08/2012 16:40:00

Get the impression that PL is keen to show what he can do with limited resources so wouldn't want to spend loads anyway. In the MON mould, don't reckon that he'll rotate too much either so pointless having too many benchwarmers!!
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14/08/2012 17:07:00

I have been made aware that wages are now at 60% of turnover. Not sure if that is current year or previous financial year as the results are released retrospectively. Wheeling and dealing could still be done, but I think we are pretty much going to go with what we have. Dunne and Gabi's injuries will probably save them until Christmas. Warnock will only go if someone wants him. Personally I think he is a good left back, who has now moved to the area, that suffered a terrible loss of form for a couple of months last season. I would not be unhappy to see him play again for us. But this is a good article and we should not get carried away. However I go in to every season hoping to win the League, the League Cup and the FA Cup. I usually then readjust my expectation in early September, then again in November, January and March. The 19th Minute. UTV
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14/08/2012 17:13:00

I would breathe easier if we just got another couple in before the window shuts but if it's to be the current squad I am still optimistic. I don't personally think we will get top 10 but I'd be more than happy with an exciting season, goals, good football and plenty of fight resulting in 12th. Then we can ship out more dead wood and continue to build. Let's take things slow, quick fixes tend to go **** up pretty quickly in my experience.
Lion Heart
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14/08/2012 18:10:00

The squad definitly needs some more cash spent, would Lambert really have jumped ship for a £9m transfer budget? The board stated they "wanted someone to re-invigorate Aston Villa" which would obviously cost money. They gave Eck close to 20m in a cost cutting season so I honestly think the cash is there for more players. An interesting 2 weeks awaits!
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14/08/2012 19:04:00

Perhaps I'm in the minority but I don't think Warnock is all that bad, not a desperate need to replace him. Same goes for Dunne, but he is definitley past his best-before date. We are still a couple of players light, especially with Prem experience - Holman and El Ahmedi look decent but haven't played in the Prem yet, Makoun as well (if he can sort work permit issues). But hey, the transfer window is still ajar, so who knows?
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14/08/2012 19:14:00

*definitely (sorry!)
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14/08/2012 19:15:00

I too think the squad is not quite there yet... Clearly this is going to be a long term project but for me the Prem will be even tougher this season with the likes of Reading, Southampton & QPR having big bucks owners backing them as well as the usual suspects of course.. Would be happy with top 10 this season but think we are some way off having a squad capable of that & indeed we are in danger should Bent of a couple of our other key players continue to pick up injuries..... We are of course already minus Petrov, Dunne, Gabby & Albrighton for lengthy spells which is not what we need at all.. The first 6 games for me are season defining because of this.... So for me we need at the very least cover/partner for Bent & a LB as many have already stated.... Still over reliant on not picking up injuries though which is my main concern.. However the massive changes at the back are also concerning as it will take time for us to gel properly... Ditto in Midfield.
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14/08/2012 19:24:00

We need a bright start and I expect another 2 signings before the month ends (hopefully striker and defender). The point is that we have a positive bunch rather than the doom and gloom of last term. UTV. 19th minute for Stan.
holte ender 1969
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14/08/2012 22:43:00

Good article which some up what all of us should be thinking. Lambert might seem like are prays answers but I'm not a religious man (unless you count football) so lets just see how things go. Is good to have some optimism around for a change though
Aussie Villain
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14/08/2012 23:22:00

Start of a new season. Are we not allowed to think we can win the league? Isn't that what August is all about?
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15/08/2012 00:39:00

In trying to offload Dunne, Hutton and Warnock we need buyers who are desperate enough to take them. Dunne is injured so there is little chance of him being sold until January, the other 2 might as well be injured for all the interest that they will attract in the Market. Unfortunately we will have to accept a knock down price on all 3 if we want to get rid.
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15/08/2012 01:35:00

PL will do well to keep us out of a relegation dogfight with what he has got to work with personally will be well satisfied with a position of 12-14 assuming we try to play football.I feel it will take a season or two for Lambert to get his own team together in the meantime can he inspire whats there to produce their best .Still feel the midfield looks weak and will be overun bringing the defence under a lot of pressure.
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15/08/2012 11:39:00


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