Date: 30th March 2008 at 11:09am
Written by:

As Tom Ross often says in his football phone ins when looney tunes ring up ‘there are more out than in’.

I noticed this yesterday, supposedly set up by me:

Yup, apparently I have started a petition to get Randy Lerner to sell the club back to Doug.

I was going to contact the people who run the petitions to remove it as obviously it wasn’t done by me but has used my email etc, however what the hell, it was (hopefully) done as a laugh and with good intentions (unlike some of the crank calls and emails I’ve had over the last few years including one freak who apparently was going to kill me!)

However I’ve also noticed, now we’ve lost a few games (shock horror) some people questioning the intentions and actions of the new regime. Surely, given that they’ve only been in situ a couple of years and things are moving forward, they deserve the time and respect to show us what they can do?

Some seem to pour scorn on the talk of a five year plan. What would we rather, the policy of the last regime – especially in the latter years – to continually jump out of the frying pan and into the fire? They were no pre-active, just re-active responses, with the new guys they seem to be building something special.

Fine, some talk about the Holte Pub and the training ground as not bringing success on the pitch. I agree, the Holte will never score a goal or win the European Cup. So what should Randy have done? He saw that fans weren’t happy that the pub was falling down (and wasn’t far off having to be demolished) and he responded VERY quickly to correct that. I know I was amongst many I’m sure who pointed out that this used to be a great first view of Villa from that end and was now a sad, crumbling embarrassment. So I applaud Randy for restoring that with the pride and obvious expense that he has.

And Bodymoor? Some have said, albeit only a few, that the money would have been better spent on players OR that it was Doug who was doing it. Well, you try to attract players of a top quality to the old Bodymoor. Seriously, the place was a joke, the groundsman even had to beg to have sprinklers on the pitches, whereas Randy is having a full size replica of the Villa Park pitch for the players to train on. The old Bodymoor had portacabins and old equipment, enough to put off any top quality players. We now have a state of the art training ground that any club in Europe would be proud of.

OK, again that won’t score goals but it will help the players we bring in to score goals. And so to the players. The suggestion by some seems to be that the lack of players is down to the new regime not the manager. Those who are suggesting that, I assume, haven’t read the comments by Martin O’Neill who has repeatedly said the money is there and that Randy Lerner is willing to back him to bring the right players to put Villa back on the map.

And so to the manager. So far the spending has been scarce despite the constant talk of imminent signings, patchy and not that successful. There are a couple of gems like Curtis Davies (sadly now out until Oct) and Ashley Young. The rest? Hmmm, time will tell but none seem to be looking like they can take us to the next level.

Hopefully this summer the spending will finally be done as it should be ie not getting average players hoping to make a silk purse out of a sows ear but going for established quality. Our squad is threadbare and if we don’t bring in top quality, the quality that we do have will surely look to leave to go to a club who can match their European and domestic ambitions?

I am convinced – and hope never to be proved wrong – that the owner and board share those ambitions and have the wherewithal to achieve them. I’m yet to be fully convinced the manager has the same but hope and pray he is now up to speed (his words not mine) and ready to spend as we need to in order to build a squad capable of really challenging. If he does that, he’ll be a Villa legend no doubt. He needs the time and patience and I think by and large, he’ll get it. It is a job I’d hate to do, the pressure must be intense.

Over to you Mr O’Neill.

(Oh, and Shaun O’Reilly, nice spoof!)