Friday, 6th March
As we prepare for a match-less week (which is no bad thing, all things considered) Gareth Barry says all the right things about where we go for the remainder of the season, and that we are still looking upwards rather than at Arsenal.
Interestingly, he also says:
‘I’m just taking things one season at a time and I’m sure at the end of the season, wherever we may be, we will hold talks then.‘
Hopefully he will be staying next season. I believe he will if we finish in the top 4 but if not then it could be another nervous summer.
In other news, MON says he believes that Freddie Bouma will be able to play a part in the final quarter of the season, a few news sources report on a loose link that we`re going to sign Joe Hart from Man Citeh, and the club released a statement denying that the players went sight-seeing in Manchester on the day of our defeat at Eastlands. Slightly bizarre, that!
Finally, more sad news arrives. Harry Parkes, who was aged 89, played 345 games (in 8 positions) and would undoubtedly have played more had it not been for the war. In addition he sat on the Villa board of directors in the 60`s and 70`s. He also run a sports shop in the city centre, which I used to love going around when I was a kid. My Dad used to take me, and interestingly enough my Dad also used to go there when he was a child himself. He told me a story the other day that when him and his best mate Noel went there to buy their first football kit, they got the shirt, shorts and boots but didn`t have enough for the socks, so Mr Parkes threw them in for free. He also once threw in a couple free Subbuteo teams when Dad and Noel bought a load of Subbuteo gear. It is safe to say, Harry Parkes was an absolute legend of a bloke. I am sure everyone joins me in wishing all the very best to his family and friends.
Saturday, 7th March
Martin Laursen talks about how frustrated he has been during his time away from playing, and how desperate he is to get back involved. I think I am safe to speak for every Villa fan when I say we all share those feelings!
In his Sun column, Terry Venables names James Milner as his young player of the season (strange thing to do in March) and Ashley Young came in 3rd. Martin O`Neill also got an honourable mention in his manager of the year award which he gave to David Moyes. If we qualify for the Champions League then there is an argument for MON to be manager of the year, however David Moyes has done brilliantly to do what he has done on a shoe-string budget at Everton. Of course, if Man U manage to win everything in sight, I think it is safe to say that Fergie will win all the awards too!
Sunday, 8th March
We are linked with David Bentley in quite a few sources. I had a very credible source tell me we were making a bid a couple of days before Paul Ince announced it in the summer. At the time I felt he had ability but wasn`t sure about his attitude; my opinion remains the same. As always, with Sunday rumours, the credibility remains in question anyway.
Monday, 9th March
MON talks about boosting the squad in the summer, and how he believes quality players are more likely to come to us now, particularly attacking players as they know they will have a ‘licence to thrill`. Coincidentally, we are again linked with Michael Owen too.
James Collins scored yet another two goals for the academy side as they beat Cardiff 3-2. Harry Forrester got the other.
Sam Williams joins Brentford on loan. He`s not without ability, and after his injury I hope he plays as much football as he can, but I`ll be honest and say I have my doubts that he`ll make the grade with us. I`d be DELIGHTED if he proved me wrong though, obviously.
Finally, the club announced this evening that Eddie Lowe, another former Villa player, has passed away. Born in Halesowen, he played over 100 times for the club and 3 times for England before moving to Fulham in 1950. It makes me very sad that once again I have to say, I sure you all join me in wishing all the very best to his family and friends. It has been a horrible run, and while it puts football into perspective, it would be brilliant if we could honour the memory of all these players by finishing in the top four. I`m sure they are all looking down and cheering the lads on anyway.
Tuesday, 10th March
The reserves batter Pompey reserves 6-1. Jonathan Hogg scored twice, and Shane Lowry, Andreas Weimann, Eric Lichaj and Gary Gardner got the others.
You know how we were linked with Michel Owen once again yesterday and David Bentley once again the day before? Well today we are once again linked with Aiden McGeady. Honestly, the rumour mongers aren`t even cming up with anything new!
Nicky Shorey is also – once – again – linked with a move out of the club.
Wednesday, 11th March
Martin Laursen suffers a setback in his injury recovery, although it is not as bad as it could be; it looks like it is just a few extra days. Knowing Martin Laursen the way we do, he is probably trying to do too much in order to come back as quickly as possible.
In better injury news, Steve Sidwell and Freddie Bouma are should both be ready to be involved soon.
We are linked with a move for Southampton`s Andrew Surman (which I suppose is a new rumour at least) and Everton are also believed to be interested.
Thursday, 12th March
MON says our fans are key to our success. I think that away from home our away support is absolutely fantastic, but at home we are fairly quiet – but that is true of virtually all Premiership clubs.
The Sun says that Man Citeh are hoping that we sell John Carew to Valencia in order for them to sign David Villa. Yeah, right!
A week without football for the first-team has probably come at the right hopefully. Hopefully the break, some of which was spent in Dubai, will lead to a revived Villa that can push on and get that last Champions League spot. Let us not forget – it is still in our hands.
The Week In Villa #29 (6/3/09 – 12/3/09)
Friday, 6th March