O'Leary Fan No More
By Gary Gleeson
I've been DOL's biggest fan on this list and other for a for a long time. I stuck by him when he was being mooted for the Newcastle vacancy, I stuck by him after Burnley, after Sheffield Utd, after Blues (twice), after West Ham and, reluctantly, after Manchester City. But tonight I broke. Standing on the terrace at Belle Vue (there was nothing Belle about the Vue, mind) I lost my patience. The 2 hour drive home hasn't calmed me down, and for the first time I am saying that a Villa manager needs to be handed his P45. In the morning. And I think DOL should be man enough to go to the Chairman in the morning and save him the trouble of firing him.
Tonight was sickening. All the players showed up thinking they would stroll it. None of them cared. Gareth Barry was the only one who wanted to run. But he had that enthusiasm sapped from him fairly quickly. And, lets give Doncaster some credit, they could have had 5 or 6 to show for their effort tonight. They were loving it, passing the ball around with ease, soaking up a little Villa pressure and attacking again with gusto. All the while, the men in yellow just sat back,observed, and waited for their alleged 'class' to tell. It didn't. And they didn't care.
David, I've known your family for many years and I've loved you since that penalty against Romania in 1990. I was thrilled when you were appointed to the job at Villa but I'm sorry, tonight I chanted for you to go. I wish it wasn't necessary but that wasn't the performance of a side that wants to fight and win things. And the lack of ANYTHING from you on the touchline wasn't the performance of a manager who was trying to find ways to turn it around. I don't want you to jump around like a man posessed, but when tactics are clearly not working, it's your job to change them or to change personnel. Emerging once from your dug out to argue with the referee doesn't count.
I think I was the only Villa fan outside the players entrance when they were boarding the Villa coach. I tried to get an explanation from any of them. To his credit, Olof Mellberg apologised to me saying he'd let the fans down and as captain he should have been able to inspire the other 10 to play better. Tommy Sorensen was gutted. I tried to tell him he could only be as good as the players in front of him but he said something along the lines of picking the ball out of the net 3 times and that it hurts every time. The others couldn't give a toss. And I'm looking at you Roy Aitken when I say that. O'Leary told me that he felt Saturday was his last chance to turn it around, said everything was at stake. I think it's too late for you David, 20 minutes beforehand Doug Ellis told me you were out of a job in the morning. Not sure if he was serious or not. But I don't think you should wait around to find out David.