Date: 7th April 2009 at 11:21am
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Martin O’Neill has refused to apologise for sending out a weakened squad to Moscow and throwing any chance of a cup this season but is holding a party for those who went to the game. That’s ok then. What about all of us mugs who wasted (yes WASTED) our money going to other ties?

The meal, costing £15 000 of MON’s own money (doesn’t feel at all to blame or wrong but is splashing out £15 000? Yup, ok), takes place tonight for the disgruntled Moscow travelers (the ones who went through the official packages only I believe, I could be wrong) and some first team players are also said to be turning up… shame the same didn’t happen in Moscow then this situation would never have arisen!

In an article in The Mirror Dion Dublin said: ‘We plainly know now that it was the wrong decision to go about it as he did. I would have gone for the trophy. When you get so close to something why would you fob it off and then go for the league? The league is very important but if you can get a bit of silverware or get into a final, that’s got to be good.’

Hopefully they don’t turn up to the 3 course meal tonight only to find that the main meal has been replaced and only a starter and pudding are on offer! :o)

O’Neill says in the same article by James Nursery: ‘With a couple more wins we are going to have qualified for Europe again, and by this time next year hopefully we will be able to cope with all the fixtures you have.’

So hang on, this year despite MON deciding to enter the competition, we weren’t prepared (despite how many transfer windows and how much financial backing from Randy Lerner?) but next season all will be well and we’ll be expected to take the manager serious when he says they are all out to win the Interflora or whatever they are going to call it next season? Didn’t we hear the same at the start of this season? Wasn’t the aim all last season to qualify for Europe? Wasn’t that what all the players were dying to play in?

Frankly if I was UEFA I’d have banned both Villa and Spurs (and any other team who treated the competition with such disdain) from the next years competition – and yes, I’d do the same to clubs who don’t field at least 75% of their regular team in domestic competitions as well. Harsh words I know and I’ll be flamed by some for saying it but I really don’t care. The actions of MON made me question why I am a season ticket holder this year and has made me wonder if I’ll renew the automatic cup voucher scheme part next season. If he doesn’t take cups seriously, how are we supposed to?

Meanwhile Graham Taylor has told The Times Online :

‘They brought the players back early last summer for the Intertoto Cup in order to try to qualify for the Uefa Cup. There is a feeling among supporters, who are not anti-Martin, that the team had a great chance to finish fourth and go all the way in the Uefa Cup. What they are finding hard to understand is that the players who were brought back early for pre-season were not given the opportunity to go and win in Moscow. Then the players who were brought back into the side went 2-0 up against Stoke but drew 2-2 after the Uefa Cup exit.’

Adding, ‘That created, for the first time in Martin’s time here, some quite fierce criticism. The club did quite well to invite those 300 supporters who travelled to Moscow to dinner to compensate them. But it was almost like an admission of guilt.’

He goes on to say that when fit and playing well Villa are good enough for the top four but adds the squad isn’t big enough despite Villa spending nearly £50m last summer. The report also says that Randy will again back the manager in the transfer window this summer adding that it looks likely Barry will be on the way out.

‘I always believe any manager should have at least three years and we can see what he’s achieved so far. While we’re all a bit disappointed, having come so close to finishing fourth, I think we’ll see Villa enjoy a significant season next season. If it doesn’t go the way we all hope it will, there might be a bit of justification to the criticism. But not now.’

Article correction. MON has since told the official site that he has not paid for the meal.

O’Neill said: “It was an idea I had on the way back from Russia and, after it was cleared by the chairman, we both decided to go ahead with it.”


20 Replies to “Moscow Meal An Admission Of Guilt?”

  • personally i feel this was a mistake which wenger used to make in the past, prioritising one competition over the other when it wasnt certain we were going to win the higher priority competitions… u guys were looking good until martin bungled it…. maybe the pressure got to him. we will never know

  • I’ll be at the meal tonight and will be telling MON exactly what I think of his decision – it was pathetic and he and the squad owe every single Villa fan who attended any UEFA / Intertoto game this season, not just those of us in Moscow. FYI I wasn’t on an official trip but still got my invitation to the meal.

  • I was livid at MON’s decision to wave the white flag at the Uefa Cup. So livid in fact, that I am refusing to renew my season ticket. I have been given plenty of stick about this (“not a proper fan”, “go and support the scum” etc.), but it’s the only thing I can do to show how disgusted I was at the club for allowing this to happen. I will renew when MON admits he was wrong, resigns, or is sacked! Top 4 my arse!

  • The decision was never justifiable in my eyes, i think the players were as disappointed as the fans. Morale has been low since, evidence being the fact we haven’t won a game since, and earnt one whole point from the last six games. If O’Neill doesn’t learn from this then he is a mug and doesn’t deserve the honour to manage our great club.

  • Agree with everything written. It seems to me that there is a serious lack of planning at Villa, which explains so many of the bizarre decisions MoN has made – many of which were taken months (and in some instances, years) before Moscow. Moscow just looks like it was the tipping point. GT’s comments are equally bizarre. We won’t be good enough to compete in the CL next season, but we’ll be good enough to usurp one of the top 4?? That makes NO sense. In fact, it makes as much sense as us starting our season early to qualify for Europe, then going on holiday rather than to Moscow. Surely you take your holidays in the summer???

  • Yet so many members on here were saying that we had to rest players in european and domestic knock-out competitions to concentrate on finishing top four in the premiership. I was almost a lone voice on the forum saying that that wasn’t the way to go, that you won nothing, trophies or guarantee’s, for finishing top four. Enjoy the meal, although I think it sets a dangerous precedent.

  • not me though glen of the sider, it left me wondering if I could be bothered going for the rest of the season, felt gutted that week!

    Lee9679, let us know how it went, hope it is a good night, the least you folks deserve. Glad it wasn’t just official trip ones as well.

  • From the OS:

    MON On Moscow Dinner

    Martin O’Neill has hit back at newspaper claims he has funded this evening’s UEFA Cup ‘thank-you’ dinner from his own pocket.

    The Daily Mirror claimed MON has splashed out £15,000 of his own money on tonight’s Holte Suite event.

    But the Villa boss was keen to stress the dinner was simply a “club function” to reward loyal supporters who made the journey to the UEFA Cup clash with CSKA Moscow.

    O’Neill said: “It was an idea I had on the way back from Russia and, after it was cleared by the chairman, we both decided to go ahead with it.”

  • I understand the thoughts over why M’ON did what he did. But I think he was wrong. And it has bit him on the backside. However he made the decision in what he thought was the best interest of the club. He hasn’t made many mistakes since arriving at the club (although as fans we will always question formations, tactics etc). The mistake has been made. As a club we are trying to do something as a show of support for the fans. Many clubs have prioritised certain competitions and have been knocked out due to fielding weaker teams. Get over it. All of this ‘I am not renewing my season ticket nah nah nah nah nah’ is childish in the extreme IMHO. If fans of clubs who fielded weaker teams had the same attitude Manure, The Arse and Murderpool would be empty every week. The manager has made a mistake in many peoples eyes. So what?? People make mistakes. Get over it? And no I didn’t travel to any of the away games but as always, have done all the home legs including the intertoto. And as for some fans getting on their high horse, if they thought it was such an important competition, why was there between 5000 and 17000 empty seats for every home game we played in the competition?

  • Martin O’Neill has hit back at newspaper claims he has funded this evening’s UEFA Cup ‘thank-you’ dinner from his own pocket.

    The Daily Mirror claimed MON has splashed out £15,000 of his own money on tonight’s Holte Suite event.

    But the Villa boss was keen to stress the dinner was simply a “club function” to reward loyal supporters who made the journey to the UEFA Cup clash with CSKA Moscow.

    O’Neill said: “It was an idea I had on the way back from Russia and, after it was cleared by the chairman, we both decided to go ahead with it.”

  • I don’t go for all this rubbish about small squads either. Our squad size is fine, apart from a lack of a second right back. What then matters is the quality of the squad. A high quality squad of 20 would do me, bring real togetherness. Villa aren’t big enogh to have more than 20 high quality players who might be hapy as part of a Man Utd squad firing on all fronts, but would just be trouble at Villa. We need to up the quality again, not the quantity.

    Otherwise on the main issue of this thread it has all been said and well said. I agree, and I wish our truly great manager would become greater still in my eyes by admitting a mistake and promising it will never happen again under his stewardship.

    Up the Villa. Now lets stuff Everton and get back to winning ways

  • Did Spuds hold a dinner for their fans? Why does Mon have to feel ‘guilty’? Guilty of what? We all make mistakes and he made one here – in hindsight. If it is an honest mistake then there is no need for guilt at all. We’re not fickle. Oh really?

  • Maybe it is just me, but I was under the impression that the job of a supporter was to support the club? Good supporters do it come rain or shine, through good times and bad. Fairweather supporters tend to come out when the weather is ok, the team are doing well or there is a supposedly big game on. Fickle supporters turn on their team, throw their toys out of the pram and make typical fickle fan comments such as ” he never played his strongeat team, I am never going again’. The fickle fans are actually saying I am not going to support the club because the manager made a supposed mistake (we may come 4th still, and who is then to say M’ON got it wrong?). If anybody reading this thinks I am having a pop at them, then they are probably right. I am sick to death of moaning, fickle, supposed called fans, who embarrass us, drive players away and make good players think twice about joining Villa. Players come and go. Managers come and go. Supporters, real supporters, spend a lifetime supporting the club, not looking for excuses not to support them. We are moving forward as a club but have had a few poor results. Off the pitch we are in great shape. On the pitch we are closing the gap on the top 4 and may well still break in to it yet this season. The top scoring English player in the league is a Villa supporter from Erdington. We promote local childrens charities. We have a board that listen and act upon the comments of the fans. We have a squad with a nucleus of young English talent and despite the recent run of results, a manager that 95% of clubs in Britain would like to have as their boss. Yeah times are tough!!!?? Pathetic. If you don’t want to be a Villa supporter, then don’t be a Villa supporter. It is your choice to support who you want. But don’t come on here boring those of us who do support the club, with your excuses of why you are as fickle as you are. This site is called Vital Villa, 100% by the fans, for the fans. It is not called Vital Villa, for the fans of clubs whose manager doesn’t make mistakes.

  • Voiceoftheholte – 100% in agreement with what you say. Funny how fans of other teams (I get them at work) praising Villa and MON and RL regardless of where we finish.

  • spot on voth , when you look at the club as a whole , what is goingon behind the scenes, the fact that for 7 months of the season the rest of the prem and the press are saying good things about this great club of ours, shows we are moving/ taking massive strides forward , whatever happens for the rest of this season , next year will be massive , mon is the right man , back him because we might just live to regret it , yes he has made a mistake/ mistakes this year who has not? , i really think this club is going to take off big time , and to get success year after year we will have to take set backs like the last month , we are not good enough just yet , but we will be , so to the knockers of our club have a little more faith utv

  • Not an admission of guilt I dont think, but I do believe that it sets a dangerous precedent. Where do you draw the line at appeasing fans for poor performances or unpopular club decisions?

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