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The Road To Nowhere

The Road To Nowhere

The Road To Nowhere

So, the window is shut. Jim White's yellow tie is back under lock and key until the end of January, Harry Redknapp (or maybe this time, Mark Hughes) has wound up his window, and we can get on and see where this all leaves us for the next few months.

The majority of Villa fans feel we've had a decent transfer window - balance of the squad slightly better, more experience in key positions - and with the impending return of Benteke and Kozak, things look a whole lot brighter now than they did at the end of last season.

That being said, I can certainly sympathise with those fans who think we are running to stand still, while Randy Lerner is doing the bare minimum (or maybe less than) to keep us going ahead of his intended sale. £200m is an awful lot of money to ask for a struggling football club, but every time the TV deal floods even greater riches into the 'Premier' League, the more dollar signs light up in the eyes of owners and potential owners.

He is a businessman, and as such would want to recover most of what he has paid out, and you can bet he won't sell until he gets what he wants. Sure, he's spent more this summer than we might have expected for a club up for sale. But it is the absolute minimum, and having missed the boat financially when we failed to reach the Champions League under O'Neill, the days where we would spend £10 million on a player in the gamble of reaching the promised land (© Sky TV) are a distant memory.

As long as the European 'elite' are paid more money for UCL participation (together with the very nice safety net of failure being rewarded with a second bite at the cherry in the Europa League), and as long as the FA in this country make the prize money for a top-four finish greater each time the TV contracts are re-negotiated, clubs like Everton, Tottenham, Newcastle, and yes, even the 'mighty' Villa, have virtually no chance at all of competing for the title, much less the European Cup.

Barring a freak season from the top four/five (Chelsea, City, Arsenal, Liverpool and United), there is almost zero chance the hegemony will be broken. Liverpool had the leg-up they required with FSG coming in (and their appointment of Rodgers, to be fair), and so their qualification for the UCL has helped them into the last lifeboat - United can stand a year or two out of the Champions League due to their other revenue streams, Arsenal are perennial qualifiers and have huge income and reserves anyway, while Chelsea and City have their cash-rich owners to go out and buy a Costa or an Aguero when the going gets a bit tricky. Make no mistake; there is little prospect of this changing. Spurs & Everton had a look, but the door well and truly slammed in their face. As long as the top four take up the Champions League places, nothing can change. Europe's G20 (or whatever they are called) are all looking out for each other, and it will always be that way as long as the rewards on offer remain.

Until UEFA amend the entry criteria for the Champions League (i.e., the top 2, 3 or 4 teams depending on the co-efficient and national association's ranking) and allow individual associations to determine how to award qualification (for example, the top two in the League, plus the FA & Capital Cup winners in our case), it will always be the same teams 'competing'.

Even if Randy sells to an Abramovich or a Mansour billionaire type, we would struggle to get the leg up we need due to the preposterous Financial Fair Play - our revenue will never come close to that of a Man United or an Arsenal, so throwing millions at the team (even if we could persuade Messi or Ronaldo to move to Sutton Coldfield!) is simply not an option. Barring a freak occurrence where one of the established top five has some kind of meltdown, the best we can hope for would be year-after-year purgatory in the Europa League.

It's a depressing thought that things will never really get better.

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

Date:Friday September 5 2014
Time: 9:02AM


Wish the top few would p*ss off to a Euro Galactico league and they can wink themsleves silly whilst 'real' English football is re-born. Sky. Killing football since '92
05/09/2014 09:33:00
well put cropped!
The Fear
05/09/2014 10:35:00
oh and well put juanpablo as well obviously! lol
The Fear
05/09/2014 10:35:00
cropped .... I think real English football is alive and well in the Championship and below just everyone creams themsleves at being in the Premiership which is odd because most teams have no chance.
05/09/2014 11:25:00
The bubble will burst,soon. It cannot Continue. Already the falling attendances Are the early warning signs
Flo Moses
05/09/2014 12:04:00
Win the Europa League (not impossible), sneak into the Champions League, get all up in dat ass and spray 'Villa woz here' all over the place
Stephen Jay Hawkings
05/09/2014 17:02:00
A good summary by JPA and comment by cropped. To a degree I also agree with Ranger, but you must consider that a good percentage of teams in the Championship are running at a loss. It is therefore, important to stay in the Premiership to get the best of the bread crumbs we can after the Sky 4... or is it 6 these days have had their fill.
Pride of Lions
05/09/2014 17:56:00
I agreed with Cropped. I mean, all the oil-rich Arab teams can afford travelling around Europe on a weekly basis and still come home with double the profit. Those teams are nothing more than businesses so why shouldn't they be treated like it? Well, they are, but you get my point!
Avfc94 we do
05/09/2014 18:22:00
Wtf? I agree with both the article and most of the comments, but don't forget that Aston Villa is a pretty big brand in it's own right. The potential is huge. There may have been many enquiries from potential buyers, rebuffed because they don't meet RL's requirements. Things are bleak, just not quite as bleak as we think. Anyway, it's better to dine at the bottom of the tip table than the top of the bottom table. (Unless it's righ next to the kitchen for seconds).
05/09/2014 21:56:00
Conspiracy theory. Welcome to life the elite rule. Ffp killed any real chance, they really have to male some changes to that. I have said before. If an owner wants to spend his cash he should be allowed. Debt is the problem not cash. Financial fair play has made it really unfair lol. It's a contradiction in itself
Ali Arab
05/09/2014 22:10:00
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