Writer: Mike Field
Date:Friday July 18 2014
A few weeks back it was reported that West Bromwich Albion were prepared to solve one of Paul Lambert's long running headaches and take Scotland international right back Alan Hutton off our hands.
Having tried to give him away for the princely sum of a handshake for the past 24 months, a most incredulous action then followed - especially as Albion were prepared to give us some pennies.
Lambert blocked the move, and having already talked about how good Hutton was again and how amazed he was nobody had come in for him, Lambert decided he wanted to keep him and actually start playing him.
I'm not sure at this stage who was more confused, Villa fans or the Albion hierarchy.
In any event that led to papers speculating that Hutton was demanding showdown talks with Lambert because, having been ignored and treated like **** for two years, he wants to move on.
That is again the stage we find ourselves at and nobody knows if the previous showdown talks took place or not, all we know is he played well and set up Darren Bent last night in our three one victory over Mansfield in the opening pre season friendly of the summer, and the papers are again now full of claims that he's going to demand to be let go now.
Speaking following the game Lambert said.
'I've always known they have been good players. Everybody knows the situation that was going on with the football club. But these lads have been brilliant.'
Nice attempt to re-write history there, what was going on with the club was balancing books - now we know for a potential sale and not just so we didn't breach the Prem rules and that still doesn't change the fact it was Lambert's vision to go young and inexperienced - so paying somebody a weekly wage and having them train with the kids and not even come into contention for the first team still doesn't save on their wage does it.
Oh match related bonuses I hear people cry...they'd really amount to more when you think the manager has spent fees and wages trying to replace the bombsquad and then had to spend fees and wages in trying to replace his replacements because they offered little more than the bombsquad would've done to begin with.
So now we are back at square one.
Will these talks ever take place? Will Alan Hutton or the remainder of the bombsquad remain come the close of the window...
All we do know for sure, is having gone from young and hungry and unexperienced, Lambert does seem to have learnt given his moves in January and now this summer, and irrespective of individual feelings about a players quality, you look at the squad now, and even though some of our youngsters aren't that young and they have now got some reasonable match numbers under their belts, there is certainly a better balance to it.
That in itself can only be a good thing, but will it be enough for the extra ten points we all hope for so we can have a break from our bums squeaking this season.
Hutton, just like his solitary 45 minutes in pre season two summers ago that I remember saying back then, was possibly his best game in our shirt, did himself every credit in the match last night. But having kept his mouth pretty much shut really and not thrown his toys out of the pram, would anyone begrudge him kicking up a fuss now - if this repetitive mention of showdown talks comes to fruition.
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Date:Friday July 18 2014
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Lambert - Ron Remains A Doubt (Thursday September 18 2014)
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Lambert Speaks Following Contract Extension (Wednesday September 17 2014)
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