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Are We Really Surprised?

Are We Really Surprised?

JuanPabloAngel asks: Are we really surprised?

Villa have been an accident waiting to happen from the day Martin O'Neill left us high and dry.

Since then, from the tediously protracted appointment of Gérard Houllier, the unmitigated disaster that was Alex McLeish to the shamelessly populist poaching of Paul Lambert, struggle upon struggle has followed.

The defeat to Millwall, hot-on-the-heels of Tuesday's humiliating League Cup exit to lowly Bradford City, is the inevitable consequence of our disastrous managerial recruitment. And things could, and probably will, get a whole lot worse. Current opinion seems divided between blaming Randy Lerner for his failure to throw good money after bad in a vain attempt to arrest our current capitulation, and Paul Lambert for singularly failing to sign or use any players of 'experience' to help educate, assist or bail out the £23m of youngsters he bought in the summer on his arrival.

Lambert fiddles while Villa burn?

With such hideous League form (some 31 points from the past 38 games, across two seasons - relegation form whichever way you look at it), we are pretty much down. Can anyone seriously see us collecting 17-20 points from the remaining games? Failure to put away the numerous chances we create, together with a defence totally and utterly able to defend, can mean only one thing.

Personally, I point the finger at everyone connected with the club over the past five years.

From allowing O'Neill to fritter away countless millions on sub-standard players, to the botched and misguided appointment of his subsequent replacements, to the current 'bury your head' mentality of Paul 'we'll go again' Lambert, we are the Titanic steaming headlong into the iceberg of relegation. It's all very well demanding Randy Lerner opens the chequebook this January and throws even more money at the team, as he did with Darren Bent a couple of years ago. He's tried that, and it didn't really work out. And it's all very well demanding the return of 'experienced' heads to help steady the ship (Dunne, Hutton, Warnock, for example), but these are the very high-earning, under-achieving players (along with the mercifully-departed Collins) that we wanted rid of last summer.

We have to face the reality that several years of bad management at all levels is bringing our chickens home to roost. Trying to make a silk purse out of the sow's ear that is our first team is virtually impossible, and Lambert has been brought in to try and salvage our Premier League status, and if he can't, he will (assuming he doesn't jump ship first) be around to restore us to our rightful place over the next couple of years.

I have no truck with Randy Lerner in terms of spending - he has invested much more than we could ever have hoped for, and has not saddled the club with the potentially crippling debts in the manner, say, of the Glazers' purchase of Manchester United. His lack of interference and headline-grabbing as perpetrated by, for example, Roman Abramovich (or even Deadly, dare I say) is laudable. Owners and Boards of Directors should stay behind the scenes. But where he must be held accountable is in failing to address our horrifying lack of football knowledge and experience at board level, in no small way responsible for our current freefall.

There has clearly been no long-term plan, no 'joined-up thinking' in terms of manager or player recruitment. This is where we have been crying out for a Director of Football, much-maligned though the role has become in English football. Would we really be in this position had, say, Graham Taylor or Big Ron had some influence at board level, helping out and advising our novice 'custodians'? I'm pretty resigned to our fate, and can only hope that Randy and our hopelessly inexperienced CEO see the shortcomings brought on by our lack of continuity and long-term planning. A spell in the Championship will give plenty of time for reflection.

Up the Villa.

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

Date:Monday January 28 2013
Time: 10:32AM


Can't argue with that. Dead and buried I'm afraid. Still love the club though.
28/01/2013 10:42:00
Many good points, I just wonder why when we are linked with a player they always end up elsewhere. Why our managers can't see when players just arn't good enough .. eg Bannan and dare I say it Gabby ... a goal now and then in the premier is just not good enough and what about assists ... not good enough and just what has happened to our home form. You see youngsters come in for other teams and they look good anyone comes in for Villa and they look like 'Bambi' . Come on Villa .... work harder ... play going forward not sideways and backwards and get some quality balls to the forwards... we might end up winning .
28/01/2013 10:51:00
Agree with what you say. We really really need to beat Newcastle as this could be our chance to get a bit more daylight between us and the drop as they all have difficult games below us.
28/01/2013 10:53:00
There is one party missing from this blame-game - the fans. From day one they chose to believe that it was all MON's fault for leaving and it was their collective suck-up, which allowed Lerner to stick with his secret plan without doubt or censure. They vetoed Steve McClaren and ended up with McLeish. They then continued their suck-up by blaming McLeish for daring to play the sort of pragmatic survival football because they refused to acknowledge the fact that the players were not good enough to play the expansive football they claimed to deserve. Based on the delusion that sub-prime players were good enough to play exciting football they endorsed the arrival of Lambert, agreed that he could buy cheap players and run the club in defiance of every known successful strategy extant in the Premiership. Having achieved all this they now reckon it was everyone's fault but their own. The fans need to accept their portion of the blame which is not insubstantial. For once, the slogan - "we are all in this together", actually has a ring of truth about it.
28/01/2013 11:12:00
Bit harsh on Houllier, he was turning it around and I believe he would have turned us into a decent outfit if he hadn't fell ill. We finished 9th only a handful of points behind the previuos season after all the turmoil of player mutiny etc ... the average talent/big earners which haven't done anything under 4 managers now are gradually dissapearing so come the summer better talent an sensible wages can be brought in. We just need to survive this spell. UTV
28/01/2013 11:21:00
Your quite right OnMeHeadFred we must share part of the blame A lot of fans wanted Lambert compared to what was on offer at that time he was a rolls royce! same as a lot of us wanted Nzobia the fact that he didnt work out was blamed on Mcleish but this season he is no better. The ONE thing I do not understand though is why in this window we have not loaned a couple of reasonable quality players who may be the difference between relegation or not this could have been done the first week in january and we may even have avoided the Bradford embarressment.
28/01/2013 11:49:00
I agree Merlin I wanted Lambert & I thought the Zog was a class signing (far better than Downing IMO at the time) . But like you & most on here, I've been saying that we're a couple of experienced (premier league) players & a year or so of being a good side. Now we're destroying the confidence/careers of a group of young lads & going down. Why ? I'm totally bemused
28/01/2013 12:02:00
I guess we won't know for sure what's going on behind the scenes this January - Lambert says on the Guardian site today that transfer targets this time have decided to go elsewhere, and frankly, who can blame them? The only players who would see Villa as a destination are precisely the sort we've signed before (Collins, Dunne, Ireland, etc) and of whom we are so desperately trying to get rid! I really can't see a way out, money or not so let's just get behind these kids who will be charged with getting us back up as soon as possible.
28/01/2013 13:00:00
Lerner has hanged Lambert out to dry. Moreover, Lerner has accepted out fate which undoubtedly see's us playing in the championship. For that I hate, and despise him. Clueless. American. Idiot.
28/01/2013 13:09:00
Yeah, I agree with OMHF too, we must take a small portion of the blame I suppose. It is a different way of looking at things, however, the fact sill remains we have no experience upstairs on how to run afootball club, let alone experience and quality on the pitch..... WE ARE SCUTTLED!
Pride of Lions
28/01/2013 13:12:00
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