Date: 1st August 2007 at 8:28am
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O’Neill recently suggested that apart from the difficulty he was having finding and competing for players, that with Liverpool spending how they had when they had what they had, it was getting even harder for him to catch up.

Its been ignored by most but its a very relevant supposition for a club with a 5 year plan, which culminates, I thought, in us achieving a top 4 place consistently.

When the plan was proposed, agreed, released, publicised and became the basis of fans hope, things weren’t what they are now.

Liverpool weren’t expected to sign 8 players, Spurs 7 now, and spend so much to do so, I’m sure, neither for that matter were most others.

On day one, the plan was built around a combination of components Its not just about spending millions on players its about rebuilding Villa into a viable club able to cope with and maintain a top 4 or
thereabouts position, to put us up with Arsenal, Manchester Utd, Liverpool and Chelsea.

Thing is ultimately, one factor alone has to be achieved before the 5 years plan can be said to have succeeded and that’s success on the pitch.

So whilst all the other components are important in their own right, essential even, finishing with enough points to put Villa in one of the European Qualification positions is the deciding factor.

To achieve that Villa need players of the quality throughout the side like those teams I’ve mentioned. We could be lucky they could come from within the youth system, but we’d have to be very lucky.
So we need to purchase them.

Not a problem ?

Well those who have, already get the best and to get to them it means big spending not once, twice but every transfer window and when the best of those there, already spend greater, the need to beat that spend becomes greater.

There is of course a chance one of those there will falter, Arsenal they say, but Villa aren’t the only one with these ambitions Newcastle, Spurs are closer than most, having invested heavily, I’d dare to suggest Man City have a dream ticket perhaps, they certainly have one of the if not the best manager able to do it.

The increase in billionaire owners has added to the problem too, when the plan came forth there weren’t anything like the quantity we have now, and its increasing as is the level of spend. Villa’s problem, O’Neill’s problem is that the need to spend more as prices inflate, to stay still has increased, spending small means you either have to be very lucky or very good, better in fact than managers who have already consistently shown with in some cases several clubs.

A manager might be able to produce a team capable of finishing 5th, 6th, with make do signings, which might mean a European qualification. To be certain though there’s a need for the big spend, and now, because the possibility that prices and demand will decrease is I’d suggest as likely as Blues winning a trophy.


51 Replies to “Tough Competition For Villa”

  • seems like Money is killing the Premiership if only it could go back to being about football instead of money and being a celebrity

  • and your point is? – We must spend big I suppose is what you are suggesting. Well I think spending wisely is more to the point. Only time will tell and that is something this club hasn’t given a manager for 25 years. SAF spent wisely when he became Utd’s amager and their fans were calling for his head when he hadn’t won anything in his first three years – Look what happenned next – prudent transfer activity (occasional clanger) and a talented youth system. I will go out on a limb here and compare Villa to those early Utd days – Prudent transfer activity fused with a talented youth network – THIS IS THE RECIPE FOR SUSTANED GROWTH – I challenge anyone to disagree. So you see there is more than one way to skin a cat. We’ll see who has the better method.

  • I’ve been racking my brains for ages trying to figure MON out and the only explanation I can find is that he is convinced he has the basis of a side capable of getting in to Europe and is gambling big time by keeping his money for now in the hope that when we are in Europe he’ll have even more cash to splash out on a better quality of player. Either that or he doesn’t know his arse from his elbow. You decide.

  • There is nothing new going on here. the big clubs have always spent the big money. Yes players are getting more expensive every season, but again, there is nothing new there. However, not all these expensive players will be successful, the history of the game is littered with expensive failures. Good managers can still pick up bargains, those with an eye for young talent. MON surely falls into that category, everybody did a double-take when he paid what he did for Ashley Young, but he is already looking like a bargain.

  • I agree with the comments of myleftfoot, but at the moment ,we have a number of problems that need to be addressed. We have only one RB, who is injury prone and out of contract, no second LB, apart from Barry who is much better used in the midfield, we have a want away CB(Ridgewell) because he can’t play every game and questions about the GK. While the policy of prudent transfers is correct and right for the long term we have a problem NOW. If these issues are not addressed and money spent doing it, no matter how good MON and the present squad are they will not succeed. As a successful business manager I know that you cannot make progess by pretending problems don’t exist. They must be addressed and, in this case, it means buying players, even at a somewhat enhanced value.

  • Niall Quinn’s article on the BBC website last week is far more insightful into what is actually happening with agents & transfer fees. AVFC48 is quick to point out the issues, but I would really like to know which players he thinks we should be signing? Matthew Taylor (8.5m), Craig Gordon (9m), Peter Crouch (20m) and Leghton Baines (6m) are just four random names that could have cost us in excess of 40m!. MON is after players who want to wear claret and blue – that’s his top priority and you can’t put a price on that. As I fan that’s all I can ask for, I don’t care about the the big time charlies on big bucks.

  • Blah blah blah AVFC48…..enlightening us with the facts…I’m so glad you’re here to brighten things up. Without YOU Martin would be lost. p.s. It’s disrespectful to keep calling him O’Neill. We use MON around here.

  • I don’t get paid O’Neill’s salary, I don’t have the facilities of scouts agents or the insider knowledge any manager has so what point is there in me suggesting what players to bring in?
    Its not down to me, its down to the Villa manager. I’m assured money isn’t the problem, I believe money isn’t the problem but in the second season, the 3rd transfer window in which the club is trying to increase the quality of the squad to cope with a sustained Premiership season we have limited signings, when all but the enlightened with their advanced hindsight, expected better.
    I’ve already said the squad has improved in quality and the first 11 are better than for some years, but the backup squad is far poorer than at any time in recent years,as Sorensens, a player most enlightened want replaced anyway, injury has shown.
    We don’t necessarily need to spend big, we don’t necessarily need to spend the 20 to 30 millions yet, but we needed several more 10-15 millions well before we fell back on the make do, 3-5 millions and loan players, that now look, because of increased demand and prices and a seeming unwillingness to spend such, all we may get.
    As of now we haven’t gained an inch on those above us, no matter how God like you think O’Neill’s attributes are, he’s going to be hard pushed should any of his 6 main players get injured in the first 3 games even if he brings in quality before the Liverpool game, simply because they will not have time to bring their bags with them let alone settle in.

  • Money has to be spent, we need goalkeeping cover, we don’t have a fit right back, etc etc. It is all well and good having blind faith, but there is a lot to prove and as the current squad lies, I don’t believe we would be able to sustain a top six campaign unless luck really is on our side with injuries etc. IF we were going to go into the season as we are, then I’d question why we let Hughes and McCann go (I’d also have kept Jlloyd but that is a different argument, some rated him, some didn’t and the only one that mattered was MON obviously didn’t as he didn’t give him a chance!)

    Tarzan, I would point out that avfc48 isn’t the manager on £1million a year, so not sure it is his job to target or suggest players.

    Not a kool post, this site is run for fans, opinions and discussions, without it we’d be lost, or you lot would have to put up with just my crap, which would be even worse! lol

  • It is interesting to see the split of fans. Some do seem to have blind faith, others are fairly optimistic, others are looking scratching their heads and wondering why Spurs, Pompey, West Ham, Man City etc seem able to get in there and spend and we are getting quotes about value for money and expensive prices. At the end of the day, you pay the market value – no matter how expensive – or you remain mid table. Be interesting to see which MON chooses because one thing is for sure, THE MONEY IS THERE!

  • I’d like to see us all in 6 or 9 months time if we are in mid table because am sure we will have a lot of moaning to do

  • It is a bad thing to change a whole team in one go. Spuds have bought 7, we tend to buy 2 or 3 at a time so they have time to intergrate with the other players. It also seems that when we can we buy 2 players who are linked, ie; petrov maloney. nigel roc and marlon. Since when was avfc48 not the manager?

  • Fear, OK fair enough you’ve indicated here that we should have got in there and signed some of the players Spurs, Pompey, West Ham, Man City have.

  • We have enough forwards and midfielders, of very good quality may I point out, to sustain a decent season. We WILL have a CB, RB and LB, yes LB coming in, plus a goalkeeper before the transfer window closes. It doesn’t take as long for a defender to settle as it does midfielders or forward players…… lets remember Bouma is a CB, Melberg can play RB, Gardener can play RB, so a couple more defenders will do. To the McCann, Samuel and Ridgewell blah blah blah…..they obviously don’t want to fight for their places, they just wanted a job, as did Davis, if you want to win things you have to train harder everyday, work for your right to start, they obviously thought they just needed to turn up and do a bit……good riddance and good luck in their new clubs…..hunger and the desire to compete is what we need……….so lets look forward to the season shall we…….if players come available and they want to play for our club first and not a big salary, fine. No more wasters please.

  • Astonmilan, can I ask on what information are you making the comment that ‘We WILL have a CB, RB and LB, yes LB coming in, plus a goalkeeper before the transfer window closes.’ The only indication we have from MON that we will be signing more players is the comment regarding a RB. I still believe we missed the boat with Luke Young. He would have been a good signing in a position that undoubtedly needs to be strengthened and at £2.5m was a bargain. I believe that if we DON’T sign at least 4 players before the transfer window closes then we will be in BIG TROUBLE again in November and December. Now before you all come on here and say MON knows this. Yes he does, I agree but can we all honestly say that it looks like he knows what he is doing because I’m beginning to think that maybe he doesn’t. We all know that transfer fees have risen from the previous few seasons but we knew this in January when we paid nearly £10m for a player with just 6 months Premiership experience. The board and MON must have also realised this, if they didn’t they were gravely under-prepared. I do believe that the money is at the disposal of MON but he is trying to sign players on the cheap. That is all well and good when you don’t need those players but every club now knows that we need not just a RB (MON has told them so) but also a GK. I honestly hope I am proven wrong when the season starts and transfer window ends because I want nothing more than Villa to be a top 6 side again.

  • good point not the doug, however 2.5 is what luke young is worth and not a bargain. He would have been a stop gap. I dont think we missed out, we didnt want him. there is enough experience at the back, we need a younger right back with pace. Smiler is the best comparison in terms of price and length of service. With villas much talked about 5 year plan luke young would not have lasted that long. Hangeland is better value at 3.5.

  • People keep talking about Hangeland but he is a CB. So unless you are proposing on playing Mellberg at RB (not good enough going forward), this would not solve the problem. Luke Young is 28 and would have been here for four years of that five year plan at which time hopefully we would be in position to sign a bigger and better player. Anyway doesn’t matter now as he is at the Boro.

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