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Lern By Doing

Forgive me for my absence from here for a while, I`ve had pressing uni commitments which have prevented anything being written sooner than now. Season`s going well........!

Looks like we`re back on the old bus again. For the third season running, our great club is being put through the wringer and seemingly for no reason. What`s going on? Is this really the new start we were being sold when Paul Lambert took over? 15 goals on 3 games? Cup embarrassment at the crucial stage? Key players omitted from the team?

It hurts to say this (well, it hurts to say any of it, and especially with such increasing apathy) but we are no better off than last season under Alex McLeish. Money has been spent, players have arrived but the same frailties exist: positive first-half, lead taken/established. Poor second-half, inability to kill off games, goals conceded, heads drop, leads lost, games lost, points lost. The same staunch Old Firm confidence and statements that things will be fine. They won`t be. And they`re not. The blame game has gone on for too long now and it needs to stop somewhere. But where?
Is it with Lambert? Has he bitten off more than he can chew with a club of our size? Is he naive in believing that this team has the confidence, discipline and motivation to keep us in the Premier League? Is he arrogant to shrug off 15 goals in 3 games and suggest it`s just a blip? The answer of all of those is a resounding "yes." But can he be to blame for the last 3 seasons? No.

We saw Lambert`s abilities as Norwich manager and seemingly made a unanimous decision that he`d be the ideal candidate to manage us to success. He may do still, but at the minute it could be argued that his hands have been tied by an owner with his own vision of how the club should be run. Mr. Lerner, step forward.

It`s one thing to have an ideal, but it`s completely another thing to just run with it without thinking it through in the long term, or even the short term as is being proven. Don`t get me wrong, it`s great that we want young, ambitious hungry players. I mean, Sir Alex did it and look what happened. The chairman obviously saw David Beckham`s goal against Wimbledon back in 1997 and heard that Beckham was a YTS product. He is now waiting for Barry Bannan to do something similar.

The argument here is that our chairman has turned us into the Mighty Ducks. Young, hopeful, lots of heart, talented but raw with no real aim or direction except to go out and do what they do. Poor but honest. It`s becoming deafeningly clear that Mr. Lerner no longer knows what to do with Aston Villa Football Club. He tried the "spend-all" policy: it paid off in the short term, we got up to 6th, made a cup final, lost a manager and subsequently all of our prized assets. He is now trying the "success on a shoestring" approach. We are in the same predicament as last season despite spending more money on players. Houllier was experienced and influential enough to convince him to spend £24m on Bent. Does he not care that a large chunk of transfer money is now regularly sat on the bench or frequently injured, and that he can currently expect to make a huge loss on him in the summer or even before the end of the window?
You`ll notice from the title of the article that Doug`s name has been mentioned. Doug Ellis` tenure as chairman didn`t sit well with many supporters, but no-one can say that he would have let it get to where Lerner has gotten us. He managed to spend money, keep us competitive, mostly top 10 finishes and with more than 40 points in every season since the start of the Premier League. We finished 16th twice in 14 years. Under Doug, our lowest points total was 42. That was in the 2005-6 season, the season he stepped down. Under Doug, we also finished 2nd, 4th and 5th despite his continued reluctance to shell out huge transfer fees. Granted, it was a simpler time back then, but it was still a remarkable achievement.

Compare this to Mr. Lerner`s reign, in which we have finished 11th in his first season, 6th place for 3 seasons in a row and then have managed to find mediocrity in finishing 9th (thanks to Bent), 16th and now languish in 17th with no clear direction, philosophy or statement of intent from anyone high up that suggests we will turn this corner smoothly and that things will improve. Some words from the chairman would not go amiss. If he doesn`t grasp the concept that he has a duty to (we`ll say it in business terms because football is evidently no longer his passion) provide the best possible service for his customers, then this relationship is pointless. Under Doug we were an aspiring club which always wanted to achieve success in the most economic way possible. Admirable. We were safe and secure at his bosom because he loved us and wanted the best for us in every way possible. Under Mr. Lerner, we have become a rotting apple which tastes worse with every bite and is currently lying in the bottom half (where else?) of a rubbish bin.

Take a lesson, Mr. Chairman. The last guy loved this club as much as we do. He spent money when it was important and he took action when he needed to. He listened to the fans, he responded to the fans and the fans knew he was Aston Villa through and through. He also trusted you to do right by his club. We know nothing about you except that you`ve spent lots of money, seen it wasted and have taken a back seat ever since. It might be time to stop pretending to be someone you're not.

If you love the club, treat it with respect or let it go to someone who will run it properly.

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The Journalist

Writer: Turkish Penguin Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Friday January 25 2013

Time: 10:26AM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
Bit rose tinted regarding ellis. He was never as bad as people made out but it wasn't all sunshine and rainbows at all.
bikini inspector
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25/01/2013 10:31:00

totally agree bikini . Start of every season Ellis would promise us the equivilent of Messi & we'd end up on the last day obtaining a has been or an uknown . He he was a rich man by our standards but he couldn't have competed in todays market . Shame we can't get someone with Ellis's love for the club & Lerners money
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25/01/2013 10:44:00

We have been brought down a peg or two from thinking we were nearly CL material under the MON era. The average top CL teams wage bils are 120m +. Fans need to accept we are not a massive force in the Premeir League. We have or never will have the revenues, even when we were punching above our weight a few years back under MON we never sold out the stadium like Man Utd, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool etc and now Man City and Spurs... even Newcastle and Sunderland blow us away with attendances. The simple truth is Lerner knows this now and has adjusted the clubs operating budget to suit. If you seriously think some sugar daddy is going to come along and blow a billion pounds on us get real. we need to build a competitive club now from the ground up within our means. We've lost more money in the last three years than it took to bump Glasgow Rangers FC. Birmingham is and never will be as glamorous as Manchester or London for either investors or players. We need to run along the same lines as Everton and build to compete as high as we can. The truth is hard to take sometimes, but it's the truth never the less. UTV
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25/01/2013 10:50:00

................ one word of caution, if we force Lerner out of this club we will be *****ed ........ forever.
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25/01/2013 10:52:00

the fact that you've beenbusy at Uni says it all,you aren't old enough remember the Ellis years mate. Ellis was a skinflint who milked the club for years in days when the finances were very different and there as a healthy profit to be made. Think selling our prized assets is a new phenomenom? think again. His love for the club is based solely on what it did for his bank balance, his ego and his social status. The only good thing about Doug as an owner was his ability to be ruthless, a lesson that Lerner would do well to learn. Lambert despite the fan fareof his arrival has failed miserably and shown himself to be well out of his depth
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25/01/2013 11:13:00

Doubt it.
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25/01/2013 11:20:00

Ellis broke up our most successful team of all time,the one that gave us that proud history! He also used the club for his ego and for his own personnel financial gane! Ellis also watched as we were taken down to the old first division! Ellis also banned all history of our 80s team as he wasn't in charge then! Douglas Ellis, please don't bring him up as a hero!
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25/01/2013 11:29:00

I can't even start to get into more Ellis debates. If anyone thinks he did well for us in his time, ok, I'll surrender. We were done and dusted five years after winning THE cup. All you have to do is talk to the team of 82 as to what he broke up (Alan Evans said we should/could and would have done what Liverpool went on to do) and by the end, the money 'ring fenced' for bodymoor the one agm was gone by the next... We were on our knees. No point looking back at all, it would be valid to look forward, if Randy can't take us forward (and the last three seasons are saying he has stalled at best) then what next, not looking at what was. Over 20 years at the helm and just two league cups is not good in my book. hey ho!
The Fear
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25/01/2013 11:35:00

welcome back though Turkish! LOL
The Fear
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25/01/2013 11:36:00

However you dress it, it's too late now, we're going down. Sad, but true.
Pride of Lions
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25/01/2013 11:43:00

astonmilan understand where you are comming from but the truth is attendances have been decided by two factors success and cost not location. Villa could attract bigger gates but the game no longer belongs to the common man in the street a lot of folk these days have to balance there love of the club against want they can afford those of us who attend on a regular basis are the lucky ones. Gone are the days of attending a match costing no more than 4-5 trips on the local bus. I wonder what owners and gates clubs would get if TV was not so involved therefore less publicity would we still see billionaires,Sheiks, and the prawn sandwich brigade turning up I dont think so. Money has improved facilities grounds etc. but by pricing it out of reach of the not so well off.
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25/01/2013 11:47:00

If I remember correctly Ellis was a director at Birmingham City before he took over at Villa,he may have "bought " into Villa over the years but not born to it like many of us. And I think it would be fair to say the best years we had at Villa was when Mr Bendall was chairman not "deadly Doug" He was so we say more hands on than Randy but Villa by then was his main investment,where with Randy we are just another company.
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25/01/2013 11:57:00

The word Ellis should be added to the swear filter. He loved himself not so much Villa. Bendall was better but again that is not saying much. Misery all round *wrings hands and ambles off *
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25/01/2013 12:06:00

Merlin ..... when Big Ron had us rocking the average attendances were 33,000 mate and it was only 7 quid into the Holte ..... when we won the European Cup they were 31,000 ....... it's never been no different. I agree that its ridiculously expensive nowadys though and I think the club should do more to entice youngsters and families from the local area to the games. We have thousands of empty seats week after week so why not get local schools there for a daty out to see if they can catch the bug ? We are one of the bigger clubs in the Prem but not massive and most of our History is pre 1920's, we tend to kid ourselves that we are up there with UTD and Liverpool who have dominated football between them since the 70's. We have a decent history in the Prem to be fair but we have to get back to real life and accept geography is very important to football nowadays.
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25/01/2013 13:10:00

I understand it's easy to make out now Ellis was great as things have got so bad and desperate at Villa we are all clutching at straws i see tbh, it's a shame it's come to this, Randy has made mistakes we all do, but to not be prepared to invest anymoreto save the club is alarming, but where do we go from here, us fans either stand up and be heard if Randy fails to srt something out before the transfer window shuts or we all just moan and suffer seeing the club slip into the abyss, lets hope something changes fast but i doubt it ery much imsad to say, we are in dark times approaching i see. UTV!
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25/01/2013 13:20:00

*but no kneejerk !!
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25/01/2013 13:43:00

clive I think he will be no kneejerk stuff. It has to be done right mate, if that means suffering now for the last time then I'll take that. UTV
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25/01/2013 13:43:00

With you on inviting the local schools etc astonmilan but success is the key not geography man. city were not filling their ground untill the big bucks arrived and with it the success Chelsea the same Arsenal buit the Emirates on the basis of their on field success.up till then their crowds averaged 40,000 or so. Although I do agree there is a certainapathy among midlanders to support these you have to go back pre seats to league cup semi final while we were league 2 (61.000 +) to find our last decent crowd
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25/01/2013 16:02:00

Ellis may not have been a saint but he was better than Lerner. No doubt.
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26/01/2013 08:22:00


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