Date: 28th July 2010 at 3:21pm
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The Great Aston Villa Sale!

Roll up, roll up – it`s the great Aston Villa sale of 2010! No offer too low not considered (unless it`s for the family jewels).

It`s not quite that bad, but if you looked at how keen we are to flog off parts of our squad, the failure to sign anyone to strengthen whilst others do, and if you were slightly hysterical you`d be forgiven for thinking that we were Portsmouth.

Probably more than slightly hysterical, to be fair.

But we do have a slight problem at the moment. The club needs to sort out a replacement for Milner, just in case he leaves. We quite clearly need a goalscorer at the club and it`d be nice to have a few players on the bench that Martin O`Neill trusts enough to play.

The problem with that is that he`s already spent a fortune on players for the bench only to write them off. £10million on Curtis Davies, £6million on Luke Young, £8million on Nigel Reo-Coker, £5million on Steve Sidwell, £3.5million on Nicky Shorey. Whether you rate the players there or not, after spending so much money on the player and wages, no wonder Randy would want to see some money coming in before spending again.

It`d perhaps be easier to sell such players if they had been a success. But who will want to spend the sort of money that we`d be wanting in order to improve our squad on players who, for whatever reason, have been failed big money signings. Even Luke Young, perhaps the most successful out of those mentioned is only going for £2.5million. And to Liverpool – a bigger, more successful club who are more likely to be competing for any trophy than ourselves. That bizarre Roy Hodgson – wanting a right back to play in a right back position, huh?

O`Neill`s admission that a bid had been accepted last night was simply trying to sniff out any other interest in the player to try and get the price up. Just as the Milner talk was last weekend – the meeting before the World Cup had been described as ‘positive` previously – and now O`Neill was claiming Milner had said he wanted to leave Villa. I wouldn`t exactly call your best player wanting to leave particularly positive.

But the sudden burst of comments from the manager regarding the selling of Milner was, in my mind, just another way of trying to get Man City to hurry up and stump up the cash. We face yet another disrupted pre-season without the players we need in, and O`Neill clearly wants to get it sorted. Trouble is, with no money, it`s hard to get started. Especially when you prefer the expensive, English type of player rather than those cheap fancy foreigners.

Perhaps we should expect a few adverts in press for our players? Perhaps in the personals section;

“Right back, 31, seeks to club to play regularly with. Prefers the one position. GSOH.”

Next time we read in the motoring section;

“Nice run-a-round, great engine, a bit rough around the edges but with the right owner a great performance” it`s just the club trying to flog Reo-Coker.

‘Depressing` isn`t the right word for the club at the moment. That`s for those followers of Portsmouth. But the club is beginning to fall into a malaise for the first real time since the takeover and they are going to have to be clever because it`ll be very hard to arrest it.

We currently seem to have a squad where half the players aren`t wanted by the manager. That can`t be particularly great for the morale inside the camp. And outside? Well I can`t speak for anyone other than myself but I`m not particularly fussed towards the beginning of the season.

Why bother? It looks like once again our squad, our team, our manager won`t be prepared for the beginning of the season, and I wouldn`t rule out a Wiganesque start against West Ham. Once we`ll be up and running I`m sure we`ll all start to get excited – but what has changed to stop the annual Villa slump in March? Has pre-season changed? Not really. Has the numbers or quality in our squad changed? Not really.

It`s at this point it`s probably worth mentioning that after 15 years, I`ve given up my season ticket for the first time. I`ll still go to games, but I just don`t get the thrill I used to get. The great early season performances are somewhat soured by the feeling that we`ll slump again in March. The constant kick off times bouncing about and ending those precious weekend lie-ins. And then we have the Man City thing. Fair play to them – if it was us then we wouldn`t be worrying about the state of football. We`d be laughing out heads off. But it`s not. Football has always been about money since the Premier League was introduced. But it`s been ramped up a gear now.

I must admit I thought it`d be harder than this. But the lack of signings, the lack of movement for signings and the new ‘Sell to Buy` policy made the deadline for season ticket renewal sail by. And I`ve always bought the home and away shirts too. But with the ridiculous middle of September release date that made it easier for me not to purchase those either. What`s the point in buying it when there will be a new one in eight months time to purchase (though if anyone else has heard the rumours about next years home shirt, I`m sure they will agree that it won`t be a ‘seller`!)?

I don`t want to come across as a ‘moaning minnie`. I want to feel the excitement of going again. I want to get excited about a signing who isn`t just a failed England international. I want to go into a season knowing the team and squad is fully prepared for it.

Perhaps the ‘year out` will do me good. Who knows? I better get the armchair comfyÂ….


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