A Non Glory Hunting American Villa Fan!
As an English football and Villa fan living in America, I have the unfortunate task of having to tolerate a seemingly infinite amount of glory-hunting, FIFA obsessed, woefully ignorant, European soccer fans. When these Ronaldo-worshipping trolls learn of my passion for AVFC, they are simply overwhelmed at the thought that I would support a team like Villa who are sinfully guilty of not spending 10`s of millions per transfer window on overhyped ego-maniacs who they can watch on youtube every week and buy their jersey and feel like individuals because they like soccer.
If they`re not pretending to be born Barcelona fans, most of these people will support one of about 5 English clubs: yes, you guessed it. Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea, Man U, and of course most recently, the oil-rich Citizens. Recently, the most annoying have been the so-called Liverpool fans. They just can`t seem to stop going on about how Liverpool are going to be "unstoppable" this year, and how Brendan Rodgers is going to be the savior of Liverpool.
It's incredible to me that the media and football fans in general (esp. Americans) are unable to see how incredibly overrated Rodgers actually is as a manager, and how criminally underrated Paul Lambert is compared to others. So it's time to set the record straight. A bit of background for Rodgers: After failing horrendously at both Watford and Reading, Rodgers took control of a Swansea side that had already been playing well under Roberto Martinez, and with an astronomically superior squad to all Championship sides, managed only to secure promotion with Swansea through the Play-offs.
Now this is a story we all know but it's worth reminding those who doubt Paul at the moment. After a short managerial learning experience at Livingston, Paul Lambert took control of League 2 outfit Wycombe Wanderers in 2006. While keeping good form in the league and leading Wycombe to victories against Premier League sides Charlton and Fulham in the League Cup, Lambert managed to get a 1-1 draw at home to Chelsea in the first leg of the semi-final, despite being knocked out in the second leg at Stamford Bridge. After narrowly missing out on the League 2 play-offs, Lambert resigned from Wycombe and was appointed manager of struggling League 1 side Colchester in 2008. After leading the club to a solid mid-table finish in his first season, Colchester began their second season under Lambert with a 7-1 win over Norwich City. He was then appointed manager of Norwich city less then a month after than victory, and began his reign with a League 1 title and promotion to the Championship. However, Lambert didn't stop there. He went on to finish runners-up in the Championship, therefore securing promotion to the Premier League and being the first manager to lead a team to back-to back promotions in a whopping 11 years. There was clearly something special about this coach.
In Brendan Rodgers first season in the Premier League, while boasting a side containing stars like Scott Sinclair, Joe Allen, Gylfi Sigurdson, Leon Britton, Nathan Dyer, Ashley Williams, and Michel Vorm, Rodgers was able to finish in 11th place, barely beating out Norwich City by goal difference. This was seen as a massive achievement by Rodgers and resulted in him receiving a soaring reputation as a tactical mastermind with his Barcelona-esque style of play. To top it all off, Rodgers was rewarded by the geniuses at FSG with the Liverpool job after a year and a half with Swansea. Elsewhere in Wigan, Roberto Martinez reads the post, shaking his head.
In there first season in the top flight, The Canaries, under Paul Lambert, were able to finish level on points with Swansea at 12th , despite having probably the worst squad (in terms of quality) to ever survive in the Premier League for a second season, curiously finishing with the exact same record as Swansea. The decider between the two ended up being goal difference. So logically it could be concluded that Swansea were the slightly better team. The only problem with that argument is the Norwich beat Swansea in both fixtures last year, and beat them well. Yet, when Lambert was appointed Villa manager, it was hailed as only a "solid" appointment. Some imbeciles even pegged us for relegation.
It seems there's this desire in sports media today to report news in order to create a story, so that relevance is no longer a top priority, but keeping your audience thoroughly entertained is. In this case, perhaps they realized Norwich's run was infinitely more impressive than Swansea's, but it just wasn't as pretty.