Date: 15th July 2013 at 12:45pm
Written by:

So, as regular readers will know, I`m usually a fairly sparky, sprightly (a what?) and positive kind or person, but I just don`t understand how fans, boards or our manager can think that last season was a good one.

So why write now? Well, I`ve had to sit on the quotes for a while and ponder. I`ve wanted to really wrack my brains on why people are talking up our new direction and why there is so much excitement around.

I think the interview I published today Vital Villa Interviews 2013 – Terrystats where in the ‘ask yourself a question` Terry asks:

Why am i so negative about this regime, a- because i can’t see what everybody else seems to be happy with, which is kids trying to compete in an adult league.

So it isn`t just me and a few other posters. There is genuine worry!

Just spoke with my Villa mate (yes, difficult to believe I have mates in the real world I know) who agreed and said: “It was a very poor season and it bored on catastrophe` … (there you go AC, quoted for truth!)

So, for me, it doesn`t tally with Paul Lambert on www.avfc.co.uk who said of last season there is a long way to go (fair enough) but then …

‘But the one foot what we took last season was an incredible achievement. I think everybody is excited because of what has happened. But we know we have to win games. That is the most important thing.’

I`m not in the slightest bit excited. I`m worried and in fact, gutted at how we`ve, season on season, become so downgraded. I don`t buy the vision of ‘young and hungry and want to be in the shirt` … sorry, just look at Benteke. Currently 1/2 to move to Spurs at William Hill, one of UK’s top online bookies, albeit he is also 4/1 to stay!)

I don`t buy that we have to be a stepping stone Club. I don`t buy that you can possibly get anywhere without the right blend (and that is all I`m talking about, not a team full or oldies, or ‘mercenaries` or whatever you want to call them, just a blend or youth and experience) and last season bore out that it doesn`t work.

Do we really think this season all will be so very different doing the same thing?

You might, I don`t. And I know 100% that I want YOU to be right not me. Last season I didn`t want to be an ‘I told you so` I wanted to be a ‘how wrong could I be?`

Maybe we did need the kick up the backside (as if two previous relegation battles weren`t enough) but…… Well. Now we have 6 in and 6 out and a few older players/experienced players that Paul Lambert doesn`t fancy (and that is the managers choice, not a criticism) in exile. So we`ve not improved. We`ve also seen the exit of one of our youth products (Eric Lichaj) who was replaced by Joe Bennett. I don`t see that as a net gain, but again, I hope in his second season he improves 100%, got nothing but support for the players when on the pitch as per usual.

I`m not sure how we`ll do this season yet because I still cling on to the hope that our best signings are yet to be made and that they will bring in what many of the footballing experts and former Villans (Martin Laursen, Big Ron Atkinson, Gareth Southgate, Paul Merson, Alan Wright, Dwight Yorke etc etc) have called for. A bit of experience to help.

I find it difficult to judge the players bought, because I`ve never heard of them, my ignorance that, I only, mainly, follow British football. However, the ages and their lack of experience suggest to me they will have to have time to settle in. The one thing that the Premiership doesn`t afford you is time. For one or two fine, experienced players help. But a team full?

Lambert goes on rightly, within that article, to thank and praise the fans but I don`t think fans will be as patient this season as they were last season if we start to have the same results/lower league. Mid table and fine, fans will buy that this is something that is building.

And just to be clear, this doesn`t make me anti the manager, anti the board, or anti the owner. I just find myself struggling to buy into this, in my opinion naive, vision.

I hope they prove me wrong, I hope we are trailblazers and that in years to come people look at Villa as the leading lights. I also still hold out hopes that Cheryl Cole will see sense and get in touch with me.

So, my worries remain, I take no excuses from anyone when Villa don`t finish in the top ten. It is the very bare minimum I expect. Sorry, but it is the bare minimum any of you should expect. This is Aston Villa, a proud and historic club.

A reminder in my Vital Villa interview I answered on the manager The Fear:

4) Paul Lambert? Your opinion please?

He could be a great manager for us. I thought he (and/or the board) pushed through the youth policy far too quickly last season and the gamble didn`t pay off, a season long relegation fight IS NOT the way to treat Aston Villa. BUT over time, and he has to have at least 3 seasons to see what he is doing take shape, he could be a great asset for the Club. I really hope so, after the last two choices we need a manager the fans have faith in and who can build a team and bring back the spirit to the field.

I have everything crossed but I do get fed up that we seem to be not able to question a thing he does without people thinking you are anti the boss! It is ok to question these people, they have thick skins and swollen wallets to compensate for the odd doubt here and there.

I like the direction, I like the youth coming through (that said, not sure how many of ‘our` youth will come through and how many will be the purchased ones. However, I do not believe without the right balance, we`ll get anywhere. I am therefore hoping that the blend is better when the 2013/14 season kicks off. Villa must learn from their mistakes.


Slate away.