Date: 22nd August 2012 at 3:25pm
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Wednesday, 15th August

We`re drawn against Tranmere in the League Cup. Yeah, you heard. League Cup. I`m old enough to remember it being the Milk Cup, and I thought it sounded silly. I was a kid, I liked milk, but did teams really want to play for a cup of it? Seemed weird. Then, it got pointed out to me that it was just the sponsor. This was most disappointing! Anyway , Littlewoods, Rumbelows, Coca-Cola, Worthington, Carling, Capital bloomin` One, whatever… it`s the League Cup!

Tranmere instantly bring up memories of `94. Great drama, first time I cried tears of joy at a football game; I had cried tears of sadness 4 years before when Germany beat England at Italia `90.

Well, back to today. Some positive news that will hopefully lead to some foreign gems is Michael Henke has arrived as head of European Scouting. Bit late for this window I suspect, but he has an impressive CV and we may start to see some action come January if needed. Lambert had never signed a player from abroad before arriving, and people instantly took this that he would be another MON but Vlaar and KAE suggest to me that he is more than happy to go abroad. Or, you know, at least to Feyenoord!

Unfortunately we lost the NextGen game, 3-1 at home to Sporting Lisbon. By all accounts we played well, just didn`t take our chances. There are still plenty of games to rescue the situation though.
Finally, Makoun appears to be off to Rennes on loan. See ya!

Thursday, 16th August

The club have decided that the fans will pick what song the team runs out to. Well, that`s one way of trying to stop people moaning about it.

Shay Given says Brad Guzan is pushing him hard for the number one spot. I still expect Given will play on Saturday, though.

Friday, 17th August

There have been lots of comments today about what Paul Lambert said about Jermaine Defoe and Kenwyne Jones. People suggest he didn`t say anything direct but he did definitely say these words: “If we can get them in…” which suggests maybe he is interested. Now, I did not hear the question, so he may have been talking about players as a whole but there does seem to be a little more in than there should be for the instant dismissal that many have given it.

Season starts tomorrow, how exciting!

Saturday, 18th August

Well, that excitement wore off quickly. I won`t lie, I felt massively deflated afterwards. I felt that the performance was a tad disturbing if I am being honest, but more in a ‘wake-up call` kind of way than a ‘PANIC` kind of way. The problems are less than last year but there are definitely still problems. Mostly that we have too many people doing the same thing. We pass it around nicely but there is no penetration. The much maligned pair of Agbonlahor and Albrighton could add some much needed pace and directness to that side when they return.

Essentially, here is my problem; Ireland and N`Zogbia. Last season, BETWEEN THEM, they made seven assists and scored three goals. BETWEEN THEM!

Yes, McLeish can – and rightly should – be blamed for a lot of last season but that pair need to take a good long look at themselves. Lambert, like any manager, will have an ego and believe that he can get the best out of both of them. The problem is that despite both having quality, there is an alarming ineffectiveness and lack of end product about both that frankly, leaves me cold. At least N`Zogbia has moments in matches where you think, “If he can just…” and yes it usually ends up painfully disappointing but there is a bit of a directness about him that can make defenders think. Ireland, on the other hand, whilst he seldom gives the ball away, what does he ever actually do with it beyond knock passes around the middle third that are nice on the eye but cause the opposition no concern. No, seriously, someone tell me!

Blimey, I even saw a few comments about how well Ireland played on Saturday. I would love to know what those opinions were based on, because I am fairly certain it could not have been anything to do with football.

Sadly, I expect we are stuck with both until their contracts run out. I would be delighted – absolutely delighted – for one or both to prove me wrong, and I will be willing them on with all my being to do just that against Everton and every other game they play for us. I retain my complete and utter lack of faith in both until further notice, though.

Like I said, I am far more calm than I was a year ago and I have faith in Lambert, but if no significant signings are made by September 1st, there may be a bit more concern about me.

Sunday, 19th August

David Villa scored for Barcelona. No of course you are correct, that is nothing to do with Aston Villa but that is all I can see on NewsNow.

A quick scroll to earlier today shows nothing other than standard post-match comments and reports along with a few re-hashed Defoe/Jones stories scattered in-between. Blah.

Monday, 20th August

The OS reports that Villa ladies lost 2-1 at home to Watford, not sure when it was though! I presume yesterday. I live quite close to where they play the home games, I should pop along to watch. It`s got to be better than watching Sky Hyperbole Sunday.

Towards the end of the day we have speculation that we`re after Martin Olsson in a cash (around £2.5m is being quoted) plus Warnock deal. That`s actually not a bad shout but it`s in the Mirror, so…

Tuesday, 21st August

Last season`s loan` star` Jermaine Jenas is linked with a move to Sunderland, as is Danny Rose, a player we have been linked with. I am quite happy for MON to take both!

In the defence of Jermaine Jenas, I have no qualms whatsoever about his ability as a footballer, he is just injured constantly and as such should never have been brought in on the type of daft deal that left us wide open to paying his wages whilst injured for a season, which is what we did. It was very silly indeed.

Paul Lambert says he won`t be rushed on signings. Fair enough, and if by 1st September we have a healthier looking squad, I will not be complaining. On the other hand, things could be a little scary come September 1st but we will wait and see.

A pretty disappointing week really, here`s hoping to a win on Saturday…