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Catalogue Of Problems = Long Road Back For Villa?

Interesting article by Mat Law (one of the senior writers who sometimes also goes on the Sky show, Sunday Supplement) in The Mirror

It calls for some sort of director of football, but that aside, brings up a few very good interesting talking points.

You can read the whole article here: www.mirror.co.uk

A good few who know me will know I`ve said the same here as have others obviously, I'm not being a football sage here! The board does appear narrow (Randy as chairman, a CEO and a finance director + one non exec) and it wouldn`t hurt at all to have someone we identify as a 'football person`.

Trouble is, they decided on (or if you believe the manager and Ellis inherited) Martin O`Neill. He would never have accepted someone 'above` him because he knows everything, including how to spend madly on wages and leave a club .... sorry, I was going to get all bitter there, I`ll stop.

The article, and the bit I find interesting, suggests that Steve Stride, who was operations manager, was moved on because Randy Lerner agreed when taking O`Neill that the manager and the manager alone would be responsible for wages, transfer fees etc. He was very obviously a hands on manager and the board would, I would imagine, argue that the manager IS the football person at the club (ie you don`t need one on the board of directors as well)

The report says:

Faulkner took Stride's title, before becoming chief executive, but it was O'Neill who called the shots. O'Neill undoubtedly made good signings such as Ashley Young, John Carew, James Milner and Stewart Downing, but ultimately broke the bank in his pursuit of Champions League football. He spent 3.5million on both Zat Knight and Marlon Harewood, 8.5m on Nigel Reo-Coker, 10m on Curtis Davies, 4m on Nicky Shorey, 5m on Luke Young and 5.5m on Steve Sidwell. Habib Beye was another 3m signing from Newcastle and was handed a 42,000-a-week salary, while Gary Cahill was allowed to leave for Bolton for just 5m.

So there you have it, if true, it does show where it nearly went SO right and ended up going SO wrong. The manager choices since haven`t helped either.

O'Neill achieved three successive sixth-placed finishes, but never managed to qualify for the Champions League or win a trophy.

Mat Law adds By the time he quit over the sale of Milner to Manchester City, O'Neill was understood to be more than 20million over the budget he had agreed with Lerner.

He ends, People who work closely with the club claim Faulkner is very good at many aspects of his job and the support of leukaemia victim Stiliyan Petrov has been wonderful. So let Faulkner concentrate on what he is good at and bring in a sporting or football director to oversee the shift in policy in wages and transfers, and work closely with Lambert. Lerner must finally start to take the advice of football people who want the best for Villa. He must also accept that it has to be a gradual process and not an immediate sea change. Taylor rescued Villa, following the club's last relegation in 1987. Lerner may well need some one-on-one guidance on that particular scenario if he doesn't get it right soon.

Can`t argue with that. I get slated at times (poor little old Feario, and me a little cripple boy as well) for sticking up for the CEO but sorry, everyone apart from Randy Lerner are staff, they do what their boss says and it is the owner that has to look at the fact this is not working and make changes.

I know people call for Lerner to f*** off, or 'put up or sell up` etc.... Easier said than done. He HAS put money in (and yes, some is via the Lerner Trust and so does bear interest, the Trust can`t not charge interest but it is lower than bank rates) and he has seen near misses (a final and semi at Wembley plus at one stage so close to 4th) and total misses (bringing in the most unpopular manager ever, now fights in the bottom three for three seasons in a row etc) but for me, apart from the hiring last season, I can`t slate them. I can`t congratulate them either. The finger of blame points to more than one single person, one single incident. Whatever, the culmination is we are in a relegation dog fight and personally, unless something massive happens this January, I can`t see we are going to get out of it. I so hope to be wrong.

We reached for the stars, we missed. Now how or who will pick up the pieces and restore Villa to their rightful (or if that word is too arrogant, our historic) place in the top 6 of English football. It might be a long road back.




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The Journalist

Writer: J P Fear Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday January 15 2013

Time: 12:52PM

Your Comments

Can't argue with this article, Taylor would certainly add great experiance and know how to advise Randy, PF i have no problem with, i know some claim he is to blame aswellfor the mess we are in but surely Randy is the boss? First things first we need some players now and then we can build back up but survivng yet another relegation battle is getting too close for comfort on our future now, Randy has to buy us players and then really take the bull by the horns and sort this club out we are a shambles on the pitch and lack quality experianced players but they cost wages not peanuts Randy!
CLIVETHEVILLAN
yes agree with quite a lot of it, I read it this morning before you put this up. I think a lot of people have said for a long time that its quite clear that PF and RL have little football knowledge - hiring the muppet last season clearly shows that!!
maigrait
I must say I thought it was a very good article, not sure Taylor would be a savour for us though. Sad to see what has happened to our great club, we are the laughing stock of English football at the moment. That being said we also have been unlucky, injuries, late goals conceeded, bad ref decissions and basicaly not getting the rub of the green. we will be playing Championship football next season as we will not win the 6 or so games we need to stay up. The way i feel i would much prefer to be in the Championship winning games than they way we are now as following the Villa is not a very nice at the moment. I still love my club despite what O'Neill has done to it and we will have glory days again. COTVABU
irish villa
We can talk and talk about whoose fault and the history of it but end of the day its the here and now Randy needs to look at without a reasonable outlay of money on a 2-3 players albeit loans of quality experianced players we are in deep dung relegation would cost both Randy and Villa vast sums you cant charge premiership prices in the championship good players dont want to play in the championship and with the big rise in tv fees due its going to make getting back and staying there even harder in future as the gap widens. Cannot believe Lambert will go lamely to the slaughter when 3 good loan signings could turn us around. I like Lambert and he still has my support but lose the stubborness Paul pride comes before the fall.
Merlin128777
Read this earlier this morning and it seems to hit the right note for me. Sir Graham would make an excellent choice for that role and give PL the support that he needs at a difficult time.
cheshire villan
Good, very considered article. Not sure whether Taylor is the man, be the right man to give advice, but he would be better than no-one for ****s sake. Whoever he does talk to (if anyone) Lerner needs to listen and act on what he hears. However painful it is.
144wittonlane
Yup good article.. I do believe Randy would love to see this club successful but has been unfortunate with the influences around him. There was definately a touch of naivety with the Houllier & AMC appointments & even perhaps the structure regarding transfers under MON. However he has done a lot of very good work too, albeit not so much with the playing side, which is of course the mainstay of any football club. I do think he will learn from this however & the wounds can be healed. Of course we have the urgent matter of relegation to deal with which is out of our hands now to a point, as was highlighted by the gifting of 3 points to Southampton by Halsey on Saturday. This is the biggest problem now. We have a reputation of being weak & in my experience officials subconsciously take this into account when making key decisions especially against the big guns. So i fear we will suffer this from now on in this season & will be victim to several more shocking decisions amidst our survival battle. This means we not only have to improve to a standard of getting enough points but we also have to improve sufficiently to be able to absorb those decisions as well as get enough points... this makes it a very difficult task indeed. For evidence of this just remember the much repeated line "when your at the wrong end of the table decisions always seem to go against you" This is what i am most afraid of now. I think with our injured players back & one or two additions we could make a fight of it however.
danceoftheshamen
I can't believe we are still moaning about Martin O'Neill. He left nearly 3 years ago. He made a number of questionable signings, but I don't remember too many people complaining about that at the time. We thought we had a sugar daddy in Randy Lerner to bank roll success for the foreseeable future, but unfortunately that wasn't the case. We are where we are financially. There will be no big signings this month and in all probability we will go down unless there are 3 teams worse than us over the next 16 games. Very sad and it hurts, but there's nothing any of us can do to change it, and blaming O'Neill for the mess we're in now is laughable. What about laying the blame on the peole who have run the Club over the last 3 years of stagnation since he left and, more importantly, the overpaid average players who let us down week in week out?
KevJoyBoy
The problem we have, is Lerner thinks he knows, I can't see any other reason for the constant mistakes.
eltoro
Agree with KevJoyBoy, sick to the back teeth of people blaming MON, but you all know I was a bit of a MON fanboy ;)
eltoro
MON's wife Geraldine even changed all the club blazers and ties because she didn't like them, that's how much control he had over Aston Villa .... his way or the highway. He drove James Milner out of the club after repeatedly pulling him up for fitness training outside of the club as it was none existent at the club !! the damage left by him has brought us to this, Lerner should have appointed a football man at the top and we desperately need one now to help Paul out ...... not Graham Taylor though please, I was there home and away when we fluked our way to the top of division one ! and still wonder how the hell we managed it to this day ! .. UTV
astonmilan
This is where keeping Houllier in a different and less stressful capacity would have helped... Director of Football Affairs/Operations rather than a DoF would give him the same duties and the title change wouldnt put people off as much as the standard DoF title seems to...
CDX_EIRE
I agree CDX_EIRE ..........
astonmilan
We wouldn't have had to pay his contract off either, merely renegotiate his terms and move him upstairs. Would have meant the club retained Footballl knowledge and saved money. The fact it would have made sense is the reason it didn't happen. Houllier's first choice for buying a striker was Benzema and Lerner wanted Bent. He also had Cabaye lined up for the summer but the club threw that move out too. Shows that having money doesn't mean you have sense!
heavy d
But gents, surely Houllier would be too overpowering and then we'd have to get a manager who shared his philosophy, neither Eck nor Lambert fit that bill. I too was a MON fan but he was given too much too soon and therefore lost the plot in the market. Still, Randy acted like a sugar daddy as said and he gave no-one reason to think that he'd want it all back. I also don't think that Randy learns from his mistakes unfortunately, despite his surname!!!!
Villan444
I suppose thats the big danger of a DoF V444... I think Houllier was fine in the transfer market I understand you dont like Bent you have admitted previously we could afford to play him because we had the team to support him... Makoun would have been fine had Houllier hung around and look at Michael Bradley he has become an excellent for Roma... oops went off point... I would try and set it up so its not a continental style I would let the manager identify targets but the DoF sort out fees/wages, then I would both work together for off field matters... Of course we could simply just bring in Gregory, Little, Taylor to act as football advisor to Lerner for manager selections and scouting networks, youth systems and whatever else... We need some sort of change because we are so poorly run... Even just a footballing man int he boardroom would make a difference...
CDX_EIRE
I wouldn't have minded Houllier intervening and stopping Mc***** signing N'Zogbia and Hutton and putting forward his own suggestions. Would you? Looking back on it, maybe McLeish wouldn't have wanted to come in the first place. EVEN BETTER! There is nothing wrong with a DofF if the manager is strong enough to put his own case across and convince the Chairman his choices are right, but in the case of Houllier vs McLeish in a football knowledge battle it would be like a tank against a pea-shooter.
heavy d
This appeared online yesterday - difficult to decipher what message this sends, to us for example, other than the other gang of four should not be allowed to "pull up the drawbridge". Or - we reserve the right to spend willy nilly even though we have no apparent intention of doing so any time soon......... http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/blog/2013/jan/14/premier-league-split-financial-fair-play?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+theguardian%2Ffootball%2Frss+%28Football%29
malacaxeta
And I have just read the Mat Law piece and been reminded of something, again - Mcleech appointed on the advice of Fergustein. Repeat that very slowly to yourself, three times. Can you ******** adam and eve it. Personally, I would lock up anything thats not nailed down when that shower come to Villa Park, including changing bars of soap for those dispensers that you now find in Travelodge etc
malacaxeta
A lot of the former managers been mentioned on the threads. Not a good sign. If Villageddon happens and the club are relegated then the policies at board level are directly to blame. if you sell or lose your best players -- Barry, Laursen, Milner, Young -- then you are going to struggle even if the bottom line adds up.
VillaWillRiseAgain
I don't think Lambert would work with a director of football, there would just be a bust-up and he would walk out. I think our problems began with the sale of Stewart Downing. We knew Ashley Young was off, and we could have weathered that, but having lost Milner as well, we really could afford to lose another creative midfielder/winger. Even so, we appeared to be surviving over Christmas 2011 (mid-table, win over Chelsea), and then Bent got injured. Then there was the loss of Stan Petrov, which hit us much harder than anybody realised. What would we give for his presence now? The thing is, last season we had enough points in the first half of the season to carry us over the line, whereas we don't this season. It's easy to make McLeish the panto villain, but at least he kept it reasonably tight at the back. Lambert has undone all that, while doing nothing to address the lack of creative flair. That said, I think we have to stick with Lambert now. We can't afford another change.
Mark from Dudley
Yeah. Well good poknts Mark. Don't think that Lambert can address the flair situation though. It's wee Bannan or Ireland or no-one.
Villan444
I think it has all been said before in a round about way, but still a good article.
Pride of Lions
Mark - McLeish kept it tight at the back!!!!???????. I don't think so. We were awful, and clearly it is still a huge problem. It was looking better before Vlaar and Baker got injured, with no protection from midfield. But we can get it back on track again. Whether we do soon enough or not is the big question.
stennyvilla
Finally some sense. The reasons for our demise are multiple and varied. Scapegoating one person is unhelpful.
Villa_Grizzly
Only thing I'd disagree with is the suggestion that Carew was a good signing. Agree totally with the idea of moving GH upstairs and said so at the time, maybe he who walks on water would consider the role or failing that we could look at someone with no villa connection but with loads of experience.
AVbornandbred
Good article and it's not a Villa fan citing MON's role in our downfall but a neutral observer (as far as I know). Taylor would fit and Randy desperately needs some football brain around him. Graham would have plenty of opportunities for his legendary quote,"Do I not like this..."
Wicked messenger
Being pedantic here, wm, but it's 'Do I not like that'. ;)!!!
VillaWillRiseAgain
That is probably the most balanced Villa related article I have seen in a national paper for a long time, beats the crap out of the club being slaughtered by real Fleet Street writers as well as the occasional muppet like Savage. I have been too disappointed to say much recently, but we have to believe that this team will be OK, even if PL has to swallow some pride. Whatever we feel about Dunne, he will put himself on the line and we NEED him NOW, even if we might not want him long term, Bent when he is fully fit again, is NEEDED, has anyone considered that that ankle injury he had last year might still be affecting him? The biggest problem is midfield, and that should be addressed before the window closes. Confidence is the key, up to the Liverpool game things were begining to come together, then Chelsea came along, some early goals conceded against Wigan, and Bradford led to heads dropping, and they folded under relentless Tottenham pressure. Luck has deserted them recently, with chances missed and dodgy penalties, but I believe that they are only one good win away from getting back on track. I also feel that it will come against Bradford, and the boost of a Capital One Cup Final against Swansea, who have not beaten us this season, by the way, will be the spark this team needs, provided PL fixes the midfield weakness.
Madirish
If someone with the experience and good intention of Villa pays you a visit, you should pay them the courtesy of hearing what they have to say.
tokyovillan
It is total arse gravy. Law simply repeats every platitude he's read on Villa sites like Vital which the fans assume just because it is in a newspaper must be true rather than a mere collection of fan mythology and prejudice which has been used to excuse and explain the last few years. Having won the fans over by repeating back to them their own opinions, he then makes the claim that appointing a DOF would be the cure. But the truth is that DOF's in English football do not have a good track-record and are still seen as a controversial foreign innovation in an industry lauded for its autocrats. Adding a second and possibly countervailing voice to the management structure just undermines the manager and dilutes his authority. So I just see Law's case as entirely based on specious rhetoric and a doubtful conclusion. All that the article reveals is that Law knows about as much about how the club is run, as the rest of us. And that is virtually nothing. So just another newspaper opinion which has no more authority and probably less, than that of the fans.
OnMeHeadFred
Savage may be a muppet mad irish but he predicted we'd go down at the beginning of the season & I for one rubbished him .
AstonBilla
The best run of results since O'Niel took place while Houllier was sick and McAllister was in charge. To this day I can't understand why he couldn't have continued.
Winsforvilla
If we appointed a DOF it should form part of his contract that at no time will he become manager of the club regardless of circumstances as I feel this is usuely the stumbling block the manager feels under constant threat.
Merlin128777
 

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