Date: 4th April 2010 at 5:48pm
Written by:

What a refreshing change to see the Sky Sports Sunday football show ‘Sunday Supplement’ choose to discuss a team other than Manchester United and Chelsea. Seriously guys, look a little further down the table and you will see 18 other teams. Ok, sometimes they’ll discuss Liverpool and Arsenal and the odd mention of the money spent at Manchester City but other than that, you just sit there waiting with baited breath (or in my case if I’ve had a curry the night before, sit there waiting with bad breath) for the mention of another club or manager!

Today I got my wish. They discussed none other than Martin O’Neill … yeah, they spoke about Aston Villa. WOW!

The guests of journo host Brian Woolnough today were Ian Ridley (who I did a little doo dah link for in the forum as he’s done an interesting article on Villa today. And hey, with the wonders of modern science, here is the link! Click Here ) Shaun Custis and Andy Dunne.

I’ll paraphrase as it was an interesting chat to be fair.

Brian Woolnough (BL) said: ‘Martin has been going upside down, round and round, and upside down this week with the things he’s been saying’ Explaining that his original quotes were just that he would sit down with the chairman at the end of the season and see where they all stand and that his clarifications since have sort of confused rather than clearing things up.

He then read out some quotes from his press conference which to be fair were slightly contradictory and handed it over to the press guys.

Shaun Custis (SC) said that if you want to have a 12 month rolling contract – which MON does – that you will keep asking for this sort of speculation.

Seems a fair point to me, surely MON if he wants players to commit long term could make up his mind one way or the other this summer and maybe show the same commitment?

He also said that you get the feeling that MON is wondering if the fans and chairman still love him, as he is the sort of man who needs to be loved!

Ian Ridley (IR) interjected and said ‘there is a mischief about Martin, a lot of Brian Clough style, he knows what he is saying and doing and is canny in building teams (etc) and also canny in what he says and he likes to cause a bit of mischief and stirs things up. ‘ Adding ‘He wants to be loved and wants everyone to tell him how wonderful he is and that is another part of the Brian Clough element.’

He also said that there is no problem with MON assessing and also he’d expect Randy Lerner to be thinking and reviewing how the season has gone (when ended, so why the press speculation at the moment I just don’t get, we have a semi next week and plenty left to play for in the league) and especially looking at why we have faded in the last three seasons and that we might well be doing the same thing this season.

IR added that MON needs to look at himself for the late season fading problem saying there must be something wrong with the programme explaining that if you look at Arsenal, Chelsea etc their training and fitness regimes get them primed for the final charge in March and look to have them at their peak, not fading out. He suggested that Villa need to look at their own sports science to see what is happening at the end of each season.

All fairly sensible and unbiased I think? Certainly can’t blame the facilities that Randy has funded, Bodymoor Heath is second to none in that respect.

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Andy Dunne (AD) then had a few words (not easy when IR is about to be fair!) asking why Villa have played the fewest (20) players in the Premier League this season, especially as we’ve been on two good cup runs, says this is another Brian Clough type trait and one that stretches the players.

Then there seemed some agreement that MON is over sensitive.

AD ‘Mon is over sensitive’ … IR ‘Martin is a very sensitive soul’

AD also said the quotes from MON ‘not in my nature to down tools’ is a sort of ‘so what’ type of statement, no one said that he did and it isn’t really something to congratulate a manager on saying.

IR ‘Brummie footie fans are downbeat (must admit, I think that is so wrong, just look at the Spurs site for example after their defeat to Sunderland, they react no differently to a loss than we do, that is just one example, it isn’t just Midland football team fans) and that MON should tolerate fans opinions, they pay their money and have a right to their views about who is the best, Heskey or Carew etc and have a right to discuss such things plus underneath he should realise most of the fans love him.

BW said there is probably no one at the club or around him to tell him that and IR answered ‘well someone at the club should say for goodness sake loosen up Martin’.

This really goes to the boo talk which a couple of times has been really blown up by MON and also the post Moscow reactions which were mixed and something he has obviously still not forgotten.

SC then got back into the chat saying that players like Gabby Agbonlahor and Ashley Young need to step up, they should be on the plane to the World Cup but will probably miss out. They are in their comfort zone and because of that aren’t pushing.

BW then suggested maybe Martin O’Neill is the same, he’ll miss out on the top jobs as he would rather be comfortable in the second tier to which IR replied, we’ll possibly soon find out. MON might well be thinking there are some big jobs about like Liverpool and Man Utd and questions whether MON would step up to the plate for these bigger jobs.

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Finally BW asked if they expected MON to still be at Villa next season.

SC … no. He later explained that he might go into the meeting with Randy expecting to stay but Randy might ask a few questions and talk over concerns and that might lead to MON walking.

IR … he thought about it, said he had his doubts but then said ‘the next six weeks will decide’ thinks again and says ‘yes, just’ adding ‘but maybe not by Christmas’ (if Villa don’t make a good start to next season).

AD … It would be madness for Randy to get rid of MON and it would be madness for MON to walk away from Villa.

They also questioned whether Villa had hit their glass ceiling? OUCH!

Also said this summer could be an interesting summer of managers moving. Once one moves then it will all have a domino effect. There was also a discussion about Mark Hughes link but hey, lets face it, we have a manager, what is the point of talking about a replacement when there is no one at the moment to replace?

Interesting, sorry if this is a bit fragmented, ideally I’d have a life and wouldn’t have jotted down the notes to do this article but I don’t so there you go. Make of it what you will.

For me, and again just to annoy those who had a dig last week when we lost to Chelsea because of the statement, I’m just going to enjoy the ride. The season isn’t over and I can’t wait for Wembley next Saturday.

And no, not one f*****g Easter Egg. :o( lol


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