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A Fear Moan! Season So Far Totally Unacceptable

The Telegraph have an article saying that Paul Lambert has a budget of 10million plus any money from sales he can generate.

The reporter, John Percy, says that Paul Lambert and Randy Lerner have met a couple of times in the last few days and it has been decided, no real surprises here, that Stephen Warnock, Shay Given, Alan Hutton, Richard Dunne, Charles N`Zogbia and Stephen Ireland as well as record signing Darren Bent could be available for sale.

Meanwhile, Lambert will target a central defender, a left back, a 'ball winning midfielder` and another striker.

It has to be said that, in my opinion, it is highly unlikely that a reporter will know the transfer funds, the Club don`t say these sort of things! However, that list of players who could be allowed to leave makes sense, they are all top earners and would free up wages. For me it is more about experience than wages, I don`t have to deal with the balance sheet. Dunne should go because his sort of 'influence` isn`t what we need at Villa, Hutton should never have come although to be fair to him, he didn`t deserve to be ridiculed and dropped to the kids for training, he wasn`t what we wanted as a player but he always gave his all. I can`t for the life of me see why a manager wouldn`t be good enough to manage and get the best out of Bent but hey, that argument has been done to death. I kept hoping with Ireland he`d come good, but he won`t and the booing off of him v Wigan sort of said it all. N`Zogbia let down the manager who put 10m worth of faith in him, I`d love to see him gone (or for him to wake up but that doesn`t look likely, yet more money wasted) but I`d not let Shay Given go, not until the summer at least, we need his experience should Guzan get injured surely?

I also can`t see how the experience of Warnock couldn`t have helped. He had a poor season last season and still made the most interceptions of any full back. With shipping in 15 goals in 3 games, it looks Lambert is just being stubborn here, unless he has other off field reasons, which to be fair, we`d not know about. And did he really need to be humiliated and alienated from the rest of the squad? Do managers have to be so petty?

But the main key in clearing out the dead wood is making sure they are replaced. If not....... well, we are already in a relegation fight... again.

The report also interestingly says The Scot`s determination to build for the future is brave but flawed and a failure to bring in experienced leaders next month will be gambling with Villa`s Premier League life.

I`ll give that an amen. I`m truly shocked at the rank incompetence of setting up a squad like this. Not just me, Martin Laursen has said several times how much he relied on experience when he was young to help him. Dwight Yorke, Dion Dublin, Big Ron, Gareth Southgate, Andy Townsend... etc etc have all had their say about it as well and all agree, we are very poor and SHOULD NOT be dicing like this.

John Percy adds Lerner and Lambert had talks on Friday and again on Sunday and the pair must establish a strategy to ensure the "we will be fine" mantra does not appear ridiculous in May. Lerner declined another opportunity to speak to the media after this latest defeat but the atmosphere at Villa Park did all the talking for him.

He also correctly asks what the supporters reaction would have been if this season had happened under 'he who shall not be named` in charge!

Basically, this January is crucial to Aston Villa and our season. Not just this season either. Going down is almost too bad to think about with the massive money Prem League deal kicking in next season. It would set us further back. But you knew that already.

Frankly I`ve never started a season with so little hope, if a tit like me can see we didn`t have a suitable squad and didn`t have nearly enough experience to help the 'kids` then how can`t a Premiership manager not see it? Not as if the football luminaries as above plus the pundits haven`t noticed either. It is all well and good saying in a repeated mantra 'in Lambert we trust` but it is the league table we have to trust in really and our position isn`t good enough. We aren`t a Norwich City type, we are Aston Villa. Regular top six, proud history and yet many seem happy and say they can see the improvement. The only real improvement is that the man in charge isn`t 'he who shall not be named`.

Can you not see what damage to the confidence of young players this is doing? Have you stopped for a single moment to consider how humiliated and down these players must feel? How is that progress? How will that help them? They`ve been thrown in at the deep end and told to sink or swim. Sorry, some of these players can`t even swim and never will if we are talking challenging for the top 4-6. And they have no 'instructors` (ie experience) to learn off. How is that progress? How the HELL is that progress? I feel for them, apart from the Chelsea game you can`t say they`ve not put in the effort, but effort alone is not good enough in this big boys league, it is also about quality and ability.

And don`t come out with the 'we`ve only lost 3 and everyone is panicking` It isn`t just three games, I`m actually fairly relaxed because it is nothing that I didn`t expect. But the worst league start, think at one point it was ever, last time I read it was the worst start in 40 odd years! So this is not knee jerk, it is an end of year observation.

NO, I am not saying Lambert out, but I am saying he needs to wake up very quickly. To bring through a few of our youth prospects at a time is great, that is what we would all like to see surely, but to end up with a squad of young inexperienced (in the Prem) players, average age around 23 and players from lower leagues just isn`t the way. With Norwich he was able to build the momentum as he went through the divisions. It is ridiculous the way he thought he could do it all in one go at Villa. This isn`t some tin pot club, this is VILLA for the love of God, they all need to wake up to this. The reaction to the Wigan loss illustrated just how tested and frustrated the Villa fans are right now.

And I will point out before some come on and flame away, as said, this isn`t knee jerk for me, I said all this in the summer in the forum and got a beautifully rough reception, being called miserable etc. It wasn`t miserable then, it isn`t miserable now, it is just fact. The league doesn`t lie, we have the worst goal difference of any team and we are one place above the relegation zone. If you consider that good enough, I`m happy for you. I consider it an insult to the club I love. If Randy or Lambert consider this current season good enough for this club, then I`d suggest they also think long and hard if this is the right club for them. Lambert talks about the bigger picture, lovely, what about the here and now? The Clubs direction is a massive worry, I hope they can correct it and that Lambert goes on to be everything we ever dreamed of in a manager. At the moment for me, he gets a D and a 'must do better`. I hope and pray he can do. Maybe with a few good buys he can salvage the season and we can relax a bit. In the meantime, sorry, not acceptable in any way shape or form. He does have a job and a half on his hands, but he`s not started that well and some of the problems are made by him.

And please, many Villa fans these days seem to equate quality with rubbish because that is what a lot of our 'experienced` players have been for us. I`d point to some of the beautiful players we`ve had over the years not the tripe certain managers targeted at high wages and then didn`t play them or played them out of position. What I`d do for Barry and Milner in midfield right now for example.

January is a fascinating month, fascinating to see if they can bring in any useful, experienced, quality players and also fascinating because we face Swansea, Southampton, West Brom and Newcastle. All four, just a few seasons back, we`d have expected to beat. Now all four of those clubs will smell blood.

In three teams being worse than Villa we trust.

Happy New Year to you all, keep everything crossed!




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The Journalist

Writer: J P Fear Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday December 31 2012

Time: 11:00AM

Your Comments

Still on the fence with Lamberts spending, not sure he will get it right in Jan, whatever happens I hope it happens quickly and doesn't become a MON type window, buying right at the end of Jan, it may be all over by then!
eltoro
With you on this Mr Fear but to add to the gloom I would add in my mind the jury is still out with Mr Lambert. I was pretty surprised when we employed him I must say. He did well with Norwich but then Jewell arguably did better with Bratfud and where is he now? Oh and Coyle with Burnley. Oh and Brown with Hull. What a bl**dy nightmare. All we can do as fans is NOT turn on the manager or players and IN LUCK WE TRUST !
cropped
Can't argue with that. It is also incompetent to rely so heavily on the January window which is always a desperate time to buy. No team wants to lose their best players in the middle of the season, those that are available are way overpriced precisely because teams are desperate. The best run clubs do very little business in January, if any, Villa are relying on it to save our Premier league lives. Madness.
Saurat
Can't argue with any of that. That defence should be changed, their nerve has gone. Warnock will do for now, the lads involved in this calamity over xmas have to be taken out of the firing line. They are shell shocked.
bikini inspector
Massive passion, truth and real concerns as always from JF. My belief remains that we ARE in a far better place than we were 12 months ago, because we all knew we were going nowhere. Now we might be going somewhere - but the where is the issue - midtable comfort zone, a last gap escape, or doomed. The big don't know in all this is, is what is hidden behind Lambert's comments. It is hard not to sympathise with him that the first dozen games were a 'getting to know you' period, given he was trying to make big changes and it always takes time to bed in. I remain quite confident that behind his comments he does see what we all see and will rectify it. January is a huge month, and the Soton game is the Wigan game plus plus plus in must win terms. The mark for PL of a D seems a bit harsh but hindsight will show what mark his first half of the season should be given, depending on what happens next, and how he reacts to what has unfolded so far. It's make or break, and I remain hopeful it is the former. Up the Villa!
stennyvilla
100% with you.
Trekker
Best article I have read in a long time Fear. My only comment is that when PL arrived he had very little to work with and even less in the transfer kitty. To have us just above the relegation zone is a marvel with what we have at the moment. So I give him credit for that. In terms of the transfer policy - that is RL and the Villa board through and through. Can you ever imagine a manager turning down a massive transfer kitty? No thanks Mr Chairman, I don't need the 50 million pounds you are offering. I will stick to buying bargains from the lower leagues... PL is buying cheap and young because he has no choice. We have no experience because it was either sold or is considered too expensive.
Astriel
He's had half a seson now to assess the team in real time on the pitch in the Premier League. He will know who and where we need them. Defenders will be priority and a tough midfielder(s) maybe a forward. This was always going to happen with young players and he told everyone not to get carried away with the good form as a beating was always around the corner ...... just didn't expect three in a row !!!! ....... I have faith in Lamberts footballing knowledge and our new scouting system .... just hope the travel to Swansea tomorrow is a bit more happier than the last three travels ! UTV
astonmilan
Was reasonably comfortable with the direction we were going until 3.59pm on Sunday 23rd December. The 6 days that followed have been the worst in our Premier League (possibly our entire) history. The kicking at Chelsea was horrendous, but I looked at other teams who have conceded similar amounts of goals (The Arse at Manure, Wigan at Spuds, Sunderland at Arse, ManCiteh at Boro) and thought it is how you recover that is the imortant factor. But going in to the Spuds game with no experienced defenders and losing another centre half at 0 0 and without 3 of our 4 strikers, I feared the worst. The confidence was shot. Now we can only hope that PL shows to be the managerial genius we want him to be and that Randolph, as he did under Houllier, dips into his pocket in a time of need.
voiceoftheholte
Partly agree though massive respect for your passion. We are in a better place than under McLeish. You can see that they are trying to restructure and cleanse the club and that in fits and starts anew type of football is being born but agree that we need some proven quality. Definitely need a creative midfielder. The amount of goals we've scored is just not acceptable. Creativity is the problem. I'm sure when the injuries clear up things will balance out again. Also, if we did sell those players we should have at least another 25 million in the kitty plus the 10 million we reportedly would be given by Lerner.
Villa_Grizzly
Partly agree though massive respect for your passion. We are in a better place than under McLeish. You can see that they are trying to restructure and cleanse the club and that in fits and starts anew type of football is being born but agree that we need some proven quality. Definitely need a creative midfielder. The amount of goals we've scored is just not acceptable. Creativity is the problem. I'm sure when the injuries clear up things will balance out again. Also, if we did sell those players we should have at least another 25 million in the kitty plus the 10 million we reportedly would be given by Lerner.
Villa_Grizzly
still don't think we should sell ireland, yes when were playing bad he doesn't look intrested, but when were playing well he is a top top player! yeah some might say we don't need bit part players but on his day he is un stoppable, how many of these players do we have? exactly.. if we can get him playing well week in week out he will be a gem.
Tr1dent
Surely Villa's position over the previous 2 seasons would have told him that most of the senior pro's (those left after any salable asset had been removed and not replaced with equivalent quality) could not be relied upon to dig in and perform, let alone be calm heads and role models for the inexperienced signings. He still went the way of youth though, whether through choice or enforced by board restrictions on fees and wages, and we are where we are. Being 17th is not only because of 3 games but points accumulated from 20! I still feel a more balanced recruitment policy was needed (and said at the time) and would have preferred to have 1 player capable at this level right now rather than 2 who are not (yet). This next 5 weeks will tell us if he knows what needs to be done, and also whether RL has a clue about how perilous the current situation is. I bloody well hope so. UTV
heavy d
They will beat Swansea 24 - 0, you heard it 1st from me. Sorry about writing this in Crayon but they won't let me have anything sharp in here.
kevinl48
Thanks for a very good article Mr fear. Thought provoking, but ultimately depressing because in order for anything to change, Lambert has to say to himself 'I was wrong'. He will not be able to buy experience of the sort Shay Given can contribute, or even Warnock for that matter. It's a mystery what Warnock has done wrong - he really did give his all and the stats are in his favour. But what will selling them achieve? These kids' confidence will be destroyed if he doesn't do something. Not meaning to be overly=psychological, but anyone who has played a team field sport knows how important a senior player or three on the pitch is, whether you're doing well or *****e. A father figure, even though he may only be a couple of years older, but has more experience. Lambert has sidelined everyone who could do that. Football is a confidence game. There's no-one left to shore up these kids because Lambert has *****ed on them all. I await the window with interest, but I'm not optimistic. Prove me wrong PL. Please.
144wittonlane
*****e = faeces (bag of). *****ed = urinated. (sorry language filter).
144wittonlane
Tomorrows game is massive- will be interesting to see what happens & the same with the transfer window. Here's hoping for some experienced loans!!
thorpyuk
Lets see what January brings. 10m isn't backing the manager in my books.
Evoflash
We need a winter break to get the lads fit and to get more work on the training field done. With games every 3 days since the 8-0, the team has had to carry on as before but we're losing a player a game due to injury aswell. Nice article Fear, and agree with 144...
Villan444
Not sure who this Jonathan Fear character is, or why he thinks we here at Vital Villa would be interested in his observations, but you have to admit that the man speaks from the heart, and provides us all with a huge dose of reality and common sense.
glensider
Lost for words, just feel bloody miserable . I said last year I'd be happier if we at least had a go at the teams. Well we have to a certain extent & I'm not. What's wrong with these managers ,most of us on here can see what's wrong, OK we have minor disagreements Bent etc But on the whole we agree & it's obvious what we need
AstonBilla
Not contributed on here for a while since changing jobs, but after the Christmas horror shows I feel it's really important to stick with the manager and our very young players and, most importantly, not to fall into the trap of overreacting to every result. After the win at Liverpool there was all sorts of talk of us rapidly climbing the table, which I thought at the time was premature. And now, even though it's as bad a run as most of us can remember, we need to remind ourselves that there are 18 games left, a transfer window about to open, and some winnable games coming up in January. We could be much worse off (Wolves, Blues and QPR immediately spring to mind). I remain confident that over time Paul Lambert will buy the sort of players he thinks will get us winning games but, as with every manager, some of those buys will not work out. As long as most of them have the right attitude I'll continue to give my support. We shouldn't crucify Lambert for that. I saw many people hurling abuse at Lambert from the Lower Holte on Saturday when the 2nd goal went in, with some even saying he should go. It wasn't his fault that Ireland decided not to tackle, or that KEA or Holman couldn't pass the ball 5 yards. The result against Wigan might have been different if it hadn't come within 6 days of losing so heavily at Chelsea and against Spurs and we shouldn't forget the massive influence that confidence has on performances. Role on tomorrow. I'm quietly confident we'll do better away from home, where the pressure will be eased a little.
KevJoyBoy
After the emperors new clothes, we now have the elephant in the room. Dude - he needs to go, soon. I had the epiphany moment at some point in the 2nd half vs Tottenham and the Wigan game just confirmed it. Took me straight back to 1987, This guy will take us down if we let him. And it wont ruin his career either as he can blame his own lack of experience and the owner. You can run Randy but you cant hide. Dont give a flying one about your private life - this is not a business, its a football club.
malacaxeta
good article JF, and on the money for me! believe we need THREE quality midfielders to come in TOMORROW a strong midfield will take pressure off the back 4 and give the forwards something to work with........get yer shirt on Sid - and call Sir Denis and Desi.......Tony too!
griffgriff
I kind of think this should have waited til mid-January to see who he is actually trying to sign... Everyone is complaining about the lack of experience IMO PL wanted to see how some of our senior players he felt he could work with reacted and played when he came in... As we can see none of them stepped up (Warnock, Hutton, Collins would not fit PLs system, Nzogbia and Ireland have been the same 5 or 10 minutes flashes every 2 or 3 games, Dunne has been injured and Gabby has been OK but if he wasnt fast he would shipped out and as for Bent and Given they havnt done anything wrong PL just fancies more all round type players)... After those we have Holman, Vlaar and El Ahmadi as our only experience but unfortunately Vlaar is the only one worth playing and for me El Ahmadi is the only poor signing PL has made IMO... I respect your opinion and I cant argue too much with what has been mentioned but it would seem to me (and I think Mike Field also said) that he wanted to give certain players here a chance before he brought in others... January is unfortunately a big month for us and you can be sure he didn intend for January to be so important for us... Managers can be very stubborn (see: Ferguson on not signing a CM and Wenger not giving players a larger contract or signing better quality players) it would be no surprise to me if PL is going to stick to his guns however Im going to give him some credit and say he will bring in a mix of guys... I just hope nobody overly reacts if and when he gets someone with no experience because he wont just sign players around the age of 20-23 we've seen him sign Vlaar (27) and El Ahmadi (27)... Depending on the number of players he brings in I can see 3 players coming between 25-28 with over 150 games each and 1 or 2 under 23s coming in as well... If it were me Id bring a CB, powerful ballwinner, creative CM, LW and CF in some ways we dont need a CF but if Bent isnt going to be played then we do... IMO PL has been dealt a sh/it hand and he has made some mistakes but I dont think he is being overly stubborn (because all managers are stubborn) or hasnt a clue what he is at as some people have suggested... We are back to square one we need to rebuild confidence bring in some reinforcements and chalk up more points... PL briefly found stability, a winning formua and put a run together without his experienced players so there is no reason to doubt his ability to perform another miracle (because thats how it seemed at the time) when he gets his experienced guys back and adds more quality to the team... For a couple days after the Wigan game I really was at a loss to see where we were going but having got that out of my system I can see a way out... Grab some points at Swansea and bring a good signing early in the window and watch the optimism return to the Villa faithful ;)
CDX_EIRE
wooo thats what I call a comment!
CDX_EIRE
We could well get a positive result against Swansea. I just find it depressing that we have sunk so low that winning against Swansea would be seen as a surprising result. Don't get me wrong, no club has a divine right to beat anyone or retain Premiership status, but this is a far cry form the "Bright Future" blarney we were given when Lerner was taking over. We are where we are - 1 point outside relegation (Southampton still have a game in hand), with a lopsided squad which is short on both ability and experience (even when all playing staff are fit). Every decision Lerner has made seems to be based on how he feels at that particular moment, with scant regard to the performance on the field and an apparent lack of a consistent strategy. To move this club forward it is clear that both board and manager need to be flexible in their approach, but it appears the club are meeting the current situation with stubbornness and a blanket "We'll be fine" club mantra based on how many beans are on the abacus down at B6. We'll be fine? On what evidence is this based? Is potential relegation seen as fine?
heavy d
agree about Jan though CDX_EIRE, but we need to make moves early in Jan rather than the usual trying to sneak the paperwork through with a couple of minutes to spare on Jan 31st. UTV!
heavy d
DearMr Fear, thank you , never a truer word said or written , I really hope he gets it right but as I told you at the start of the season tactically he seems lost. Lets all wish for a big improvement fast UTV
andy3221
As if a journalist would know the figure. What absolute nonsense. (The journalist claiming he knows, not you Fear!)
Sheriff Kimbo
I do agree overall, apart from the Warnock thing (I think he is THAT bad, he often does things a Sunday morning player should never do let alone a Premiership footballer who likely earns more in a week than I do in a year) and to be honest, people can clamour for experience all they want but for me, that has to, it has to, it just absolutely HAS to come from new signings, because I have zero faith in that list of players likely to be sold to have any positive influence on the squad. In the current system N'Zogbia and Bent would both be happier than in a 4-3-3 (Bent ideally needs to play in a two and Zog would possibly thrive in the role Holman played behind the front two of Benteke and Weimann) but that would be down to them two to put the effort in. However I still think that neither are the leader type, and frankly, we lack these type of characters and I see absolutely no solution that does not involve buying new players. Given better than Guzan? No way. Hutton better than Lowton? No way. People asking for these players to be put back in - and I have seen it on Twitter and what not - are clearly just panicking without looking at the situation properly. We need new players, and we need them to bring in both a higher level of experience and quality than what we have.
Sheriff Kimbo
We need 22 points from a possible 54 to be safe. That's 7 wins in 18 games (a 39% win ratio)....our current win ratio this season is 20%, i cant see it magically increasing without quality.
son_of_cher
Very well put Mr Fear.
ljkal
Being an Irishman everyone should listen to what I say next: Shay Given is an excellent GK and no doubt was one of the reasons we stayed up last season BUT Guzan is the type of GK we need at this point in time Guzan's all round ability gives him the nod over Famous Seamus... Richard Dunne a player I have rarely if ever liked when MON signed I feared the worst but then he was great and I thought may be he will be good however when Houllier came in everything I knew about him showed up the disaster mistakes and decisions and odd OG shocking stuff Dunne is only good when his back is against the wall... Ireland could have and maybe should been the best player ever to play for Ireland but its probably safe to say he will never do it on a consistent enough basis for us so I will finally admit Villa should let him leave in the summer...
CDX_EIRE
Yup January is huge, we have to sort the belief and confidence issue now and 2-4 good experienced heads in there would make the world of difference. If Lambert was wanting to give our existing senors a chance under him, he knows his answer for the most part now. There are players out there that would make the world of difference to this squad, give them a lift and also provide the professionalism and experience to lead them so those showing signs of developing into good Premiership players have every chance to.
mike_field
I'm not Irish so EVERYONE should listen to this (lol).Midfield experienced, quality, big, strong player or 2 ASAP. Not too hard to work out. Got to give him a chance. It's his first proper window with us after assessing the squad. No histrionics/hissy fits please gents about him getting sacked. Who on earth could do better. The much fancied 'Arry Redknapp is going downhill quicker than us with a much better, more experienced squad.
Villan444
The forensic analysis of your report Mr Fear has scorched the screen of my computer. Total respect for your passion, indeed love and knowledge of our club. I was so disappointed with the performance at the Spurs game last week. At the Lane, had Benteke taken his 2 chances, we could have won. I felt Wigan was a relatively difficult game, but I never imagined a 0:3 scoreline. I do believe our young team has, in Shakespeare's words "the stomach for the fight" but they need the guidance and indeed strength of seasoned pros around them - guys who have experienced and fought their way through difficult situations. I think winning at Swansea is too much of an ask, but at this point, would be satisfied with strong performance, even if defeated.
Forest Hill Villan
18 games left... Let's say we get 6 wins, 6 draws and 6 defeats. That puts us on 42 points! Is that enough? It might be a bridge too far for the likes of QPR, Reading and the Saints but can anyone see us getting the required 6 wins though? 6 draws is pushing it at the moment with this boom or bust approach to games that seems to be prevalent. As it stands, this team, manager and owner are taking us down and I really have no faith that we can pull a rabbit out of the hat in January that will save us from complete and utter disaster.
Rawlie
Stranger things have happened Rawlie...
CDX_EIRE
 

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