Date: 2nd March 2009 at 10:59am
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O’Neill Can’t Polish a Villa Turd.

By Michael Bakewell

Over the past week Martin O’Neill has crossed the line with the travelling masses, and respective fans alike into the realms of personal accountability, not a good place to be, with any fan. However, on the face of it, ‘the meal’ gesture is very generous one, however, once depicted it has a certain irony to it.

The 300 or so that will be in attendance must have initially wondered where would they be dining, initially their pent up rage and anger being pacified by such a warm, fuzzy gesture, and then it became crystal clear. The PR machine at Villa Park had sparked into life, and tried to combat the fans initial knee jerk reaction with another knee jerk reaction, fighting fire with fire so to speak. I personally would have viewed this as an insult, the club almost treating them with contempt, that the invite extended to them is for the Holte Suite at Villa Park, and enjoying food in an establishment that is already heavily subsidised by them, and every other fan for that matter.

The Moscow gamble was followed closely with a tasteless serving of Stoke at home, and a full strength, fully rested Villa team incapable of holding onto a 2 – 0 home lead. I personally feel for Carlos Cuellar after his 2nd half performance yesterday, simply put, he lost his head yesterday after the first 20 minutes of the 2nd half. Any of the 40,000 in attendance would find that hard to disagree with. What is particularly difficult to understand is at the risk of his confidence suffering even further, and being played out of position week in week out O’Neill should have done the responsible thing and substituted him, protected whatever remained of his shattered confidence. With a substitutes bench packed with Shorey (switch L Young back to right back), Coker, and Gardener (like for like); more than enough choice to replace Cuellar with, and balance up and tighten up the defence. Also to stabilize the passing play up the right flank to allow Agbonlahor & Milner easier penetration into the channels instead of Cuellar panicking and looking inside at every opportunity, and losing possession time after time. Also, as always we relied too heavily on the wide play and dead ball delivery of Ashley Young. Our overall game is becoming too predictable.

Moreover, Zat Knight (AKA Franz Beckenbauer) couldn’t be expected to do the work of two of his defensive partners yesterday, as Davies was shaky aswell, especially after the introduction of Fuller. It almost looked yesterday that Davies is still suffering with a knock and reoccurrence of his shoulder problem. Credit to him for battling on as best he could. Moreover, the Gardener and Reo-Coker gave enough choice to tighten up the midfield with and bring off a remarkably useless and widely ineffective Agbonlahor, whose performances in recent weeks have been seriously indifferent. Some opinions suggesting he has became lazy, a premadona suffering with the dreaded ‘Lamborghini Syndrome’. Back to Franz Becke….. I mean Zat Knight; his form and game has been superb since getting his chance in the absence of our Captain Martin Laursen – long may it continue. Moreover, long may Stilian Petrov’s form continue, he was awesome yesterday, and MOTM by a long way. Overall, a very commanding display from Stan – again.

The manager is equally as responsible as the players, and he should have done more to protect them yesterday, as this show was very much the Managers gamble. If not for his completely baffling inability to make effective substitutions, it is his own stubbornness and belief in his players, Ala Arsene Wenger. A guy who sits behind me joked that Carew was coming onto play right back! Enough said.

I love O’Neill but this week has been the worst in his reign for 3 years, we sacrificed a completely win able tie in the UEFA Cup for what? To draw at home to Stoke with a fully rested first team squad? NOT GOOD ENOUGH. I thought football was about winning trophies? And however the club, The General, or the manager tart up the Moscow farce, it will never sit well with me, EVER, and many would find that hard to disagree with. Like I said, it is down to personal accountability, and if we fail in our attempt to secure 4th and a Champions League birth, what then? The price of O’Neill’s gamble is just too high, and the cost? Even Randy couldn’t afford that.

On Wednesday night we need a knee jerk reaction from the Manager and the team, because ‘the meal’ aside, on goings at Villa Park and in Moscow over the past week have left a very, very sour taste in everyone’s mouth – pun intended, of course.


42 Replies to “O’Neill Can’t Polish a Villa Turd”

  • A little harsh I think, just because we rested players it doesn’t mean they’ve had extra rest. They had the same rest as the Stoke boys after player far more matches than them. I didn’t watch the game yesterday so I can’t comment on the players but I still don’t think Martin can be blamed and I’m sure Randy will be with him on his decision to keep players for the Prem. The systems to blame not the Villa, CL is too big a prize, it makes football clubs.

  • Ironically this article is a bit of a nkee jerk reaction, you wouldnt of wrote it if we did beat stoke. It’s not a sprint, its a marathon, we are gonna have days like saturday. Moscow was a decision took by Mon as you say he’s stubborn, that stubborness wins football matches, as well as lose them. We can’t win every game, its a prem season, credit to stoke for changing things round, still inexplicable to let a two goal lead slip, bit of time wasting practice on the training pitch me thinks. Do agree about petrov and Knight they both been playing well.

  • Is this the same Petrov and Knight that the massed ranks of terrace managers were slagging off in similar fashion to this post a few short weeks ago? Does anyone else remember the vicious posts against both Stan and Zat? Dear oh dear – DO’L was right, DO’L was right …

  • I’ve had Chelsea fans winding me up today about the fickleness of Villa supporters. 10 minutes to go signing ‘by far the greatest team’, 10 minutes later booing…I guess they have a point.

  • DOL was not right, fans are and always have been / will be entitled to their opinion. Last week split the fans but it doesn’t make any of us lesser fans. Didn’t take kindly to the booign yesterday though, that was bad.

  • MON has become a victim of his own success. The guy has totally transformed this club. Yes we achieved nothing yet but we have come a long way in a short time. People need to remember the ODreary days. For 85 mins our performance was excellent. Yes we ****** up but lets look at the bigger picture. MON probably didn’t believe himself that with 11 games remaining we would be 4th (3 points of 2nd place) and 6 points clear of Arsenal in 5th. Need some PMA for the rest of the season here and get behind the lads and the Martin O’Neil as one. I don’t think some realise how lucky we are to have O’Neil. UTV

  • I think it must be written into Cuellar’s contract that he plays a certain number of games this season…otherwise I can’t for the life of me figure out why Mart picks him at RB…agree that Petrov was superb yesterday…Gabby looked very lethargic…next time we’re 2-0 to the good, Mart, please – bring off Agbonlahor and just shut up shop!

  • Does anyone know what fickle means? I think some of you need to look it up boys. It doesnt mean having a negative opinion FFS

  • Its funny, I only said to Randy.Stand during the game yesterday how much Zat played like Franz Beckenbauer. I am glad I am not the only one to notice.

  • Villa will achieve what they deserve at the end of the season. If the fact that we can’t hold off stoke when 2-0 up means that we miss out on the champions league placing , then no one with Villa can moan. I too was so angry yesterday that we sacrificed a good atempt on winning a UEFA cup game for a point against Stoke. If we do not achieve CL spot, MON should apologise to all supporters that he has gambled with our dreams and failed with his decisions in this past week. Love MON as our manager, just feel well a truley let down in the last 2 games.

  • What’s been ignored here is that our players wanted and vocally supported this strategy. All they are bothered about is Champions League football, you only have to look at our Captain’s behaviour last summer and the quotes from last week. Last week is just symptomatic of the modern game unfortunately and a lot loyal fans (myself included) are falling out of love with it. The only solution is to break the top 2 (not 4) monopoly, but I can’t see it happening – just the media’s obsession with Man U getting the quintuple. The interesting thing about MON’s reign; is what an appalling cup side we’ve become. I think or priorities would be different if we were now 7-9th in the league. Would we swap places with Boro or Spurs?

  • I think you need to drop the big donkeys Carew and Heskey, play Gabby upfront on his own and play an extra midfielder. You look a much better team tht way.

  • The target this year was to qualify for Europe and do well in the cups. That we are fourth with a substantial gap has “moved the goalposts” so to speak. CALM DOWN. There are 20 clubs competing for the same thing. We are better than 80% of them. Last five minutes yesterday was a disaster – two goals that should have been prevented by centre-backs that were in Moscow (the first coming from a cross that should have been blocked by a left-back who played in Moscow). But don’t rest the players….

  • What an ungrateful bunch some of you are. If I were MON I would be tempted to just walk out now. Do you remember where we were? Do you remember what it felt like? Everybody just needs to take a step back and stop being so greedy. Nobody said it would all be perfect, but surely most people will have to admit that we are better off than we were 3 years ago? Your expectations are too high based on the investment we’ve made to date. Even 5th this year will be an improvement. Name me one other side that has improved 3 seasons in a row?

  • Good one Mr Bakewell not the sort of article to please the Happy Clappers as can be seen, but decent thoughts.

    I thought the way Knight backed off and his attempt at defending Whelan’s shot was pathetic, but over all he was the better of the two cb’s and against a defensive side so poor as Stoke were, is that saying anything. Petrov has always been a top class player, thing is he hasn’t been the Petrov seen at Villa Park for 3 seasons, until recently, why do people forget that ?
    Its interesting that the same man who decided Moscow was the time to show a white flag is the same decision maker who took us into the Intertoto, played a near full side the week before Chelsea and played nearly the same defence as in Moscow.
    Sorry I forgot, Agbonlahor was to blame for the defeat, silly me, and he was one of those rested.
    We have now played more games than last season and most of those out Sunday have played in nearly all of them and there is still 11 to go,

  • I started the £ sign protest with my own money so come on AVFC48 – put your money where your mouth is – pay for and start an MON out campaign – see how far that gets you. Give it a rest for Mcgraths sake – he’s made mistakes (even SAF does) but come on we have come so far – we are all dissapointed but a dig at MON at every opportunity is pathetic. At the same time why not campaign to get Ellis back in charge.

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