Date: 4th May 2009 at 3:27pm
Written by:

Season 2008-2009- Excitement, Elation and Disappointment:

Villa started their season back in July 2008 kicking off Intertoto campaign vs Odense of Denmark. The aim was to reach the UEFA cup. Villa progressed through the Intertoto comfortably and was on their way to qualifying for the UEFA Cup Group Stages. A remarkable transformation some might say. From 16th when Martin O’Neill took over to qualifying for Europe after only his second season. The manager brought in Brad Friedel, Brad Guzan, Nicky Shorey, Luke Young, Carlos Cuellar, James Milner and Steve Sidwell during the summer. The Gareth Barry saga left us all fed up throughout the whole summer but that was concluded and Barry stayed at Villa Park.

The season started brightly with a win over Manchester City but was followed by a poor defeat away at Stoke the following week. The Stoke game seemed to be an early turning point. We went and drew with Liverpool and beat Spurs, West Brom and Sunderland within the first month of the season. October saw a great night of European Football at Villa Park as we dispatched Ajax 2-1. That was the night when we all felt could this be our year in Europe? We were superb that night and I think everyone could feel a bit excited following that match. More wins followed over Wigan and Blackburn. An impressive win in Prague followed after Martin O’Neill fielded a somewhat weakened side. It did the trick though as Villa impressively saw off the challenge of Prague to book their place in the knockout stages.

Villa then had disappointing defeats vs Newcastle and Middlesbrough but we soon bounced back and recorded a terrific win at the Emirates in November. We also somehow managed to avoid defeat vs Man Utd as we drew at Villa Park. The Christmas period was where everyone finally started taking notice of Villa. Villa recorded impressive wins at Everton, West Ham, Hull, Sunderland and Portsmouth before January was out whilst drawing with Arsenal at home and beating West Brom at Villa Park.

February started brightly also with Villa progressing through the FA Cup after beating Doncaster. On February 7th, after Villa beat Blackburn Villa fans were dreaming of a top four finish and it looked a very very realistic goal for the Villa.

Something went wrong after that unfortunately, we lost to Everton in the FA Cup, and lost at home to Chelsea and in a huge controversial way and Villa went out to CSKA Moscow in the Uefa Cup knockout stages. The Russians came to Villa Park and the two sides played out a draw. A decent enough result for Villa to go to Russia and get a result with. But that wasn’t the case. Martin O’Neill decided to put all his eggs into one basket to focus on the Champions League push and left many first teamers back in B6. Up until the 87th minute of the Stoke game, that looked like a good decision. Three points over Stoke would have taken us 8 points ahead of Arsenal in 4th place. Those three minutes messed up our season big time. Stoke pulled it back to 2-2 which in turn knocked the stuffing out of all the supporters and all of the players.

A horrendous run of form started with defeats against Man City, Spurs, Liverpool, Man Utd and then three draws have been produced vs Everton, West Ham and Bolton. We still have Hull City to play at home along with Fulham and Middlesbrough away and we round off with a home game against Newcastle Utd. There will be mixed feelings towards this season all in all. I am not sure any of us expected to put in a challenge for the top four this season. We had a terrific first half to the season and that is why everyone feels a bit deflated at our demise this second half. In my opinion the Moscow decision was a major factor in our bad run. Any defeat knocks your confidence and I’m sure this one did. The young boys did us proud in Moscow that night but I am confident with a full side Villa would have triumphed.

It’s been a rollercoaster season with highs and lows. Overall, Villa have had their best season ever in the Premier League which shouldn’t be forgotten. Yes, it would have been such a big boost if we finished fourth but are we really good enough? We would have been slaughtered in the Champions League. With a few more players and fully fit Martin Laursen this season I’m sure we would have qualified for next season’s champions league but it just wasn’t to be. We haven’t been good enough for it overall and where you finish in the league is where you deserve to finish. I am expecting changes at Villa Park this summer. I’m sure Barry will be leaving, Laursen looks finished and a few other players I suspect may leave. I also think O’Neill will bring in many players but whether they are the type to take us to the next level that remains to be seen. The club is still moving in the right direction and I wouldn’t bet against seeing Aston Villa in the Champions League within the next few years.

Have a great summer…..see you next season……Up the Villa.


20 Replies to “Season 08/09 Excitement, Elation & Disappointment”

  • good read.I was sincerely hoping you guys would finish 4th ahead of the scum. i uderstand that you guys will be dissapointed and i know exactly how you guys feel missing out on 4th. but you guys have it easy. Imagine, how you would feel if you had been 4th till the last day of the season and required a win against west spam to seal 4th spot and your first team is involved in a food poisioning incident and you are forced to play some reserves and consequently get beat and loose out on 4th spot. Yes, i know that it was a couple of seasons ago but it still hurts. But you guys have had a great season and you will surely be up there again next season, you have the right manager incharge and your first team is fine and if you improve 1 or 2 areas of your squad i can see you finishing 4th next season.

  • Mixed feelings? Nope. Unmitigated disappointment and anger. Hope for the future? Nope. Under O’Neill we’re heading for 8th at best next season, and there’s no reason to think that will change in future seasons with him in charge. This season has really opened my eyes to O’Neill’s abilities, and more importantly his lack of ability, as a manager. His upside simply doesn’t come close to making up for his glaring deficiencies. Oh, and we need six points from our remaining games to beat last season’s tally. I’m not holding my breath. But thanks for the article.

  • Pleasures all mine.

    O’Neill’s made a few mistakes along the way but the seasons been a good season still mate. Anyone would think we are finishing in around 16th place. Wake up!

  • You’ve got to be disappointed after such a great start to the season up until the New Year. Even more so after having to sacrifice the UEFA Cup only to still lose out on a top four spot. Although I’m quite sure with Laursen you might have pushed this 4th spot race a little farther.

  • Anyone who kids themselves we have a better side than Arsenal and deserve to finish above them this season is surely deluded or smoking something they shouldn’t be. 5th is a great result if we get it, and frankly now 6th wouldn’t be a disaster – we’ve already qualified for Europe automatically, so we’re talking about a few hundred grand for 1 place different in the table. I am not a MON lover – I like the guy, but I also appreciate he has his shortfalls – most managers do. I’m sick of people whinging. He’s rebuilt a shockingly poor squad and turned us into a side capable of finishing in the top 6 for 2 seasons running. How isn’t that progress? I really don’t see how he can be lambasted so heartily by some individuals on this site given the improvement over the last few seasons. Maybe a more valid debate to have now would be “Has he taken us as far as we can go?” Jury’s probably out on that one, but surely we have to give him a crack given how far he’s taken us in the last couple of years? People need to reset expectations I think, and eat up some humble pie. When we were sitting in 4th the arrogance of some Villa fans on other fansites truly astounded me. We are nowhere near Arsenal, Chelsea, ManU or Liverpool yet – so how dare we presume to say we deserve to be in 4th? We don’t. We are where we deserve to be, and let’s hope we can continue to move forward and in future look to shake off the tag “best of the rest”.

  • I quite agree with YatesyVillain’s view. I have no idea why people keep on whinging. Although such decision might too conservative, I think it was still reasonable for MON to let go UEFA. What if we trimphed at Moscow or even made it at quarter final with the expense of Europa qualification next season (like man city did) ? We started earlier than most of the Premierleague teams with a thinner squad. We have to admit this. Or we could criticise his ability in bringing players before the start of the season.

    How many teams could still retain top 6 finish when they engaged in Intertoto cup? The poor result since February just revealed the fact of players’ tirediness and that’s is, especially, the absent of our captain is proved to be a critical factor.

    I thanks Aston Villa for giving me such an exciting season. Challenging top 4 place is always laudable regardless it is success or not.

  • I think any fan who thinks O’Neill hasn’t made mistakes this season needs a reality check, the fact is he HAS made mistakes, but the thing about making mistakes is whether or not you choose to learn from them, if O’Neill has a good summer and takes all the cups seriously next season I am sure he will get the fans back on side, because to be fair, I think its about 50/50 at the moment. Also to pick you up on a point Simon, best season in the Premiership? Nah I think finishing 2nd in 92 takes some beating and I also think 4th back in 95/96 with the League Cup win was a little better too. But I get your point, its been the best season in a long time!!

  • Albarnista (AKA Doug Ellis) we are now just 2 points less than we finished on last season. We are likely to finish on more than last season and a place higher in the league. This despite playing 14 more games, having a disgruntled Gareth Barry at the the start of the season, losing Carew and Laursen for long periods and Bouma for all of it. We have regained stability and have qualified for Europe with 3 games spare. We have had the best away winning run in the clubs history (no manager including my favourite Saunders) has ever achieved 8 consecutive victories on the road in the top flight. Yet the season has been a disaster and made you angry???? Home crowds are at higher levels than under any previous Mgr despite the economic troubles of many. I think we have missed a chance this season, yes. There have been several disappointments, (Moscow, the home form in general, the 3 late goals home and away against Stoke, losing to QPR in the League Cup). But we said at the start of M’ON and Randys reign there would be as many highs as there would be lows in the first few years. And this is the case. As a football club we now have solidity, infrastructure and can look forward with optimism. For you to spout off that this season is a disaster puts you completly out of sync with the vast majority of Villa supporters and users of this site (apart from old man 48 maybe). Your comments strike me as those of the internet, must have it all now, generation. It would be interesting to know what area of the ground your season ticket is in. I would put money on you being a ‘trinity Roader’ that is if you go at all, or one of those who turns up every now and again and claims to be a regular if they go to 3 or 4 games on the trot. You certainly do not come across as somebody who goes week in week out??? I am happy to stand corrected if I am wrong!.

  • I`m not dissapointed,When o`neill and lerner took charge i wanted them to get us back into europe,They have done it twice in three seasons.

  • I’m going to ignore the ridiculous anti MON garbage other than to say he’s not god and has made mistakes, but he’s a damn site better than a lot of others we could have in charge.
    The interesting point in the article which I’ve believed for some time, is that the season really turned before the moscow game. The Everton defeat in the FA cup removed the feeling of invincibility, teh draw at home to Moscow raised the spectre of doubt and the home defeat to Chelsea made that one week the turning point of our season and after that we’ve not really got back on track (although some of our football has been better since than before!).
    here’s hoping we go on a run now till the end of the season, get back the winning habit and send the barcodes down once and for all.

  • Does this season remind anyone of Mr Gregory’s Reign a few years ago – when we were top for a good while – then a certain Mr Shearer tried to kick Ugo’s head off and put him out for the rest of the season – at which point our defence and title hopes went to pot ?
    This time its Laursen that got injured that made our back four religious (holey) ……..Maybe we can get some payback on the last day ?

  • gordonsleftboot – my critisism of the Trinity Road is that you only ever hear them when they moan. I sit regularly in the Centre of the stand and am happy to stand on my lonesome and give some vocal encouragement. I probably annoy those around because I am the only one that sings. So I do tar everybody with the same brush. Not one person gives any vocal support for the team. But many are happy to dish the stick out. The support from that stand does more harm than good. What sort of support is that??

  • So the ‘voice of the holte’ is in actual fact, the voice of the Trinity…….

  • lol young jonah. Actually I buy 3 season tickets in the Holte for the wife, my daughter and I. But on occasion I lord it in the Trinity when I am feeling flush to spend works cash. And I have got to say the matchday experience for the prawn Sandwich brigade is good in that stand. But watching a game in the regular Trinity seats is dull in the extreme. As I have said, the only time you hear anybody is when they are complaining. It is a disgrace. I could stomach pepole moaning (just!) if they even bothered to give support in the first place. But all they do is moan. Without exception, not a single fan in the Trinity Road gives any voacal support. It is embarrassing. A typical Trinty Roaders matchday experience goes something like this. Arrive in seat 1 minute before kick off. Pretend you are invisible to the players by keeping your gob shut. Clap if there is a goal. Hurl abuse at every stray pass or missed chance. Moan about everything. Go home. I think a campaign to rename it from the Trinity Road to the Trinity Moan, should be launched.

  • Oh and please make sure you get some insurance, if you fall off that high horse you could do some serious damage mate! :o)))))

  • Not at all 444. I just want Villa Park rocking, intimidating for oposition fans and players but unfortunately 3 quarters of VP want to watch there footy in a library environment. And fear if I want to use my posts to constantly to say that the vocal support and fickleness of a considerable number of fans actually harms the team, then I will. You may not like it but I am not slagging off any individual. And things never change unless somebody is prepared to make regular comments about the quality of our support. Just because you do not like it doesn’t mean it is not correct. Or maybe I should be happy and keep quiet on what is wrong at VP. When you were unhappy with Ellis, did you constantly complain or did you just except it??

Comments are closed.