Date: 9th August 2007 at 5:49pm
Written by:

I have remained steadfast in my belief all summer that Martin O’Neill would deliver but I’ve got to hold my hands up. Something has gone terribly awry in the last 4 weeks that has given me grave doubts about the future. Our already small squad is decimated and we are totally unprepared for a long, hard season. We had the spotlight on us this summer – a lot of players and a lot of other clubs were watching us closely to see exactly what kind of muscle we have under the new regime. Not just financially but also an increased ability to be able to lure the top players to come and play for us.

The simple truth is we haven’t punched our weight.

I agree with one of the posts above that states there are very few players who have moved this summer that I envy other clubs of signing, and if they are weren’t Mon’s targets then it’s irrelevant anyway. However, what I find totally unacceptable, if not drastically negligent, is selling before replacing on the scale we have. If players like Aaron Hughes and Steven Davis were allowed to leave and players were lined up that have fallen through (which I believe could well have been the case), that’s forgivable up to a point. That’s the way it goes some times and life isn’t always fair. But we don’t appear to have learned from these instances because last week we’ve sold another player (Liam Ridgewell) before replacing him. Now if we can bring in Curtis Davies, that would be very good news as he would be improving us in that position. But until his services are secured, why have we agreed to let a player who can still step in and do a very competent job for us go?

I find it absolutely mystifying and I’m at a total loss as to explain our strategy in the transfer market now. It’s not just the lack of the kind of signings we all hoped for – it’s as much about our suicidal willingness to keep selling off our assets with no apparent sign of replacements in sight. MON has dug an almighty hole for himself over the course of this summer, and it gives me absolutely no pleasure to say this because I love the man and believe he was the best choice to take over the team last year, but at the moment he seems intent on only digging that hole deeper.

The honeymoon period is over.

Last season was one of transition – this year it’s about results. We’re not going to win the league and we’re probably not going to break the top four. But anything less than UEFA Cup qualification this year (and that means as low as 7th place) has to be considered failure. At the end of last season, there was nobody outside of the top five that was not within catching distance. Everton, Bolton, Blackburn, Portsmouth, Reading – solid sides with a couple of particularly good players. With the right additions, there’s no reason we couldn’t be going into this season confident of overtaking these clubs. The opportunity has been there. The resources are there. We have every right to ask why we haven’t made those necessary additions but either way, failure to catch these teams cannot be seen as an acceptable return for this season. That is a realistic ambition and its high time we start holding our club accountable to results.

If we finish 10th this season, some will say that’s progress over our 11th place finish last year. Well, technically it will be. But it won’t be good enough. We have got to compete. We say we’re a big club and we have to start acting like one. Everything’s coming together off the field but it means nothing if you don’t get it right on the pitch. Last season, it wasn’t Mon’s team. He didn’t have a summer to prepare the squad. He had to work with what he had. He’s now had plenty of time to make this HIS squad and whatever money he spends between now and the end of the transfer window, MON has to deliver this season. There are no more reasons or excuses why we can’t be going into this season to compete. It’s as simple as that.


31 Replies to “The Villa Honeymoon Is Over”

  • there is a simple but very painful explantion. MON doesn’t have the money – if he says he does he is only doing this to protect his relationship with the chairman

  • I don’t believe that for a second qking, the money is there, I’ve looked these people straight in the eye and been told that, I would back their integrity and honesty and would personally be totally shocked if it proved to be otherwise, in fact that would the end of my association with Villa. Like I say, I don’t believe that to be the case, Randy is not here to just be an also ran, there would be no point or if he was, they would have been far clearer as to the ambitions. MON is notorious amongst Celtic fans for his transfer window activities!

  • dannygav, the point is its Villa, they might break our hearts, but they are still ‘ours’ !!!! Lets just cling to the hope that we do bring in some quality signings, if not it will be a long hard season, or a tough run up to the next transfer window at least!

  • God article alec. I think we are all as mystified as you at MON allowing so many players to leave before he signed replacements.

  • ok – thefear – but just suppose for a minute he doesn’t have the money…………wouldn’t that explain EVERYTHING’ ?

  • Can anyone explain,if he has the money to buy players,what his plan was? Because all i`ve seen is players leave/not replaced which leaves us unprepared for this season.Plus his inane ramblings lately have confused the **** out of me!

  • MON wants the players he wants and we just have to trust him. Is there another option? I can live with the selling before buying thing but I’m really surprised we only have two signings just two days before the season starts. Any new signings will have to bed in and that takes time. AND NO RIGHT BACK!!! We’ve all known about that for SO long now… Very frustrating.

  • It’s the RB situation that bugs me most. Today it’s rumoured that we’ve put in a £3mill bid for Liam Rosenior, the England U21 RB at Fulham. Why’s it taken so long to make an approach? I just don’t understand not had a permanent RB since Bardsley took over from Hughes last January. There must be more than one RB he could have gone for, surely.

  • Frustrating is the understatement of the summer but now is the time to dig in. Yep he got it wrong and we will have to pay for this over the season if we get injuries etc, but come on guys lets build up for Saturday

  • Christo, you may have hit the nail on the head, maybe the lack of european football has been our undoing, but the fact is none of us know what has gone on, perhaps we never will, frustrating indeed but I still have faith in what our team can accomplish this season.

  • ive seen us linked to certain players and if they were on his shortlist those players have go to teams like Real Madrid and Liverpool and if we were after them am happy Martin is going after those sorts but maybe he might have to just lower the types because those guys will only go to world class teams and were not a world class team yet.

  • Not really qking, because why build Bodymoor (it was on hold, this was paid for by randy I believe) why pay for Petrov and Young (again, out of his own pocket I believe) and why say the money is there. Also, is MON a liar? I don’t think for a minute he is and he has said repeatedly that the money is there. If it wasn’t I would assume he would walk out due to the fact there would be / is untold pressure on him and for many he is getting the blame for not spending (if that makes sense!)

  • Can’t really see why Hughes was sold, he wasn’t a world beater but he was a right back until we got a world beater! Ho hum, it is the manager who will be judged and keep/lose his job for his actions, so it is up to him I guess.

  • Yes fear, but ellis built things like new stands, aston villa leisure centre, stumps, – but that doesn’t mean he was investing in the playing side. We have a refurbed pub (other recent taken over clubs are submitting multi million staduim plans)

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