Date: 15th May 2007 at 9:47am
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With many a Villa fan already convinced next season’s qualification for Europe is a foregone conclusion, I thought it of interest to consider a brief as possible evaluation of the competition.

First off though, I don’t think many fans have realised the huge sums of cash that will be on offer to each club in the close season under the new deal. This was definitely the season to get promotion and certainly not relegated, 50 million Sheffield were likely to be losing and imagine Charlton all that investment by Dowie and nothing to show for it, ooops.

Villa survived in 11th, discussions will follow on who, why and what is needed and then who, why and whether they are any use when O’Neill does his spending, so I’ll assume we will improve the squad, and hopefully the players coming in won’t take a season or two to adjust, so that come late August we fans are all looking optimistically at European qualification and some success.

So who will stop us?

The top 4.

Man Utd
are a young exciting squad whose only limitation is they need some decent fill ins, they now are willing to spend to get them and Sir Alex will, their position will be strengthened.

Chelsea, ditto with knobs really.

Liverpool, again a force to be reckoned with and they now have real money, a decent backbone and a superb tactician as manager, even if he has a thing about Spanish players, expect them to improve too.

Arsenal. Hmmm, young, hugely talented squad with financial restrictions compared to the others and no real strikers if Henri is injured, in my view they have the man though in Wenger, they’ll be there too.

Next tier and this is supposedly where we will be fighting it out.

Spurs, making huge noises, but inconsistent and no reason to suspect any change for me plus the added inconvenience of Europe, no major improvement despite the recent rhetoric, a capacity of 36k their main limitation.

Everton, broke, hugely in debt, but with the best manager out of the top 4, to achieve Europe twice with his resources makes me wonder what would happen if they get taken over, they will too but in time for next season ? Hopefully one of their down seasons.

Bolton, without Allardyce, I doubt many will hold out much for their chances, I don’t.

Reading, one of the best managers in the Prem at one of the worst clubs, wonder if he’ll still be there come season start, can see them maintaining their position if Coppell stays but otherwise, too limited
on resources.

Portsmouth and Harry, the wily old fox, already active in the transfer market but again financially challenged.

Blackburn, another good manager, another financially challenged club, another mid table finish.

Villa, the dream team, best manager in the Prem, best owner in the Prem, best players in the Prem, and a legend at centre forward, able, to spend billions what could go wrong ? Watch this space…….

Boro, at best another season of promise, of injury after injury and if lucky another midtable finish.

Newcastle. They have nearly everything, even a nutter of an owner for now, who along with a continuing propensity to buy injury prone players, ensures their mid table obscurity. If they ever get a manager who knows what he’s about they’ll be a real force. If ever they get real finance behind them and a good manager they will break the top 4.

Man City. Villa without the manager or the owner we have, always in Utd’s shadow, but it could soon change and then we would have another contender

West Ham avoided relegation, thanks to the odd cheat who for once have a manager who might repeat past glories and an owner who might finance him well enough to really show if he is as good as he’s always promised he would be. My surprise bet if they stay up for a top 6 spot next season.

The rest and those coming up I discount, they’ll all be lucky to avoid the drop, Sunderland excluded of course, because they like Newcastle have everything but the right financial backing and they do have the man. If he can repeat this seasons turnaround again, he could even win the Premiership, now wouldn’t that be a story for the movies. I can’t see it, not until the season after maybe, he doesn’t have enough quality players and although he’ll give many a run for their money he will ultimately fall foul of the quality that rules the Prem.

Well that’s it for now, come late August when the money has nearly been spent, the manager merry go around is over and optimism is at its height, I’ll have a rethink and suggest along with all you others how good our challenge will be.

For now suffice it to say, we can only improve as all the other clubs will hope to do.

Can we improve more than them I think so, can we improve enough to tackle the top 4 to find those 20 points extra required, some way to go yet, methinks, unless O’Neill really is the Messiah 🙂



9 Replies to “Who Are Villa Up Against?”

  • thats why i was so desperate for west ham to go down because i know they’ll compete with us. however, i believe they are a season behind us in terms of buying players. they still haved carlton cole!?! if reading and blackburn get close to europe without spending much at all, we spend 30 mil im sure we’ll do it

  • As avfc48 is one of the most pessimistic users of this site, I find it refreshing to see a good post from him/her(?). My only quibble (great word that shows the Blackadder in me) is that we are not expecting Europe as a foregone conclusion. However we do believe that it is where we can genuinely aspire. The reality may be different but only time will tell. Personally I think we are more than capable of putting 10 extra points on the table. This would have us challenging for fith place. Ar the start of this season (and consistently throughout) I have said that anything above half way was a bonus. Next season we will challenging for Europe but M’ON’s third season will be the one that determines how far he can take us. So next season I will predict anything above 7th should be seen as a bonus. 10th – 7 th is an improvement. Should we stay in the bottom half that would be a dissappointment (unless of course there is a trophy in the cabinet).

  • It doesn’t matter how much we spend it doesn’t mean nothing,The likes of Spurs,Everton,WHU,are all good sides.WHU have the same amount as us to spend and will probably attract the likes of Bent before us because their located in London.Newcastle should improve now aswell.Man City should also improve now.It seems having big transfer funds now means you wont be guarenteed a relegation fight,thats all.

  • I dont get the London thing!!! Brum is a vibrant up and coming city and is also an hour and a half away from London if they are that bothered, i really dont see that it will hinder us as much as people think with English players anyway, maybe players from abroad.

  • I tend to agree with Pking in that money in itself doesn’t necessarily answer everyone’s problems. Middlesborough for example spent an absolute fortune under McLaren (dufus) and didn’t really progress much as a force. Tottenham have recently been one of the bigger spenders also, and have fared better, but school report would still say “should have done better”. The thing we’ve got now going for us at Villa is a solid foundation, and the ability to challenge and compete for players that MON thinks will do the business – for both obviously talented players and hopefully one or two smarter buys (under the radar so to speak) as well. In the past we always missed out on the first category, and aften failed dismally in pulling rabbits out of hats in the latter category. We can reel off many names where we almost took the plunge but failed, and some that have come back to haunt us with their subsequent success have been the likes of Robbie Keane, Benny McCarthy, Gamst Pedersen, etc. I think given all of the recent noise (particularly from OneAaronLemmon) on how brilliant Berbatov is, we need to remember that he was not high on everyone’s radar when signed for Spurs, so Jol definitely scored well on the “smart buys” in this instance – give the fat man some credit. I think now we won’t have many excuses for missing out on the likes of these quality players unless we simply get priced out of the market by the uber big-guns (and let’s face it we’re only really talking ManU and Chelsea here domestically in terms of financial clout), or the players simply don’t want to come to Villa Park. Hopefully we can do more about the latter than the former – i.e. the awesome training ground, etc all helps, but we really need to demonstrate some conistency on the pitch, play attractive football that players want to be associated with, and obviously for real quality we need to offer the carrot of European football….for the life of me I can’t agree with people that say UEFA cup isn’t important – IT IS!! I have every part of my body crossed awaiting the Fair Play draw later today, as I think if we get in by some quirk of chance, then it could really put us a year or so ahead of where we think we can be next year. We all want to see real quality on the pitch, and like it or not, a huge piece of that will be dependent on qualification for Europe – however it happens! Good luck Randy & MON….fingers crossed – UTV.

  • oh I am in no way saying that brum will ever compete with the metropolis that is London, I just dont think it would be as big a problem as people think

  • I think that its fair to say that it will be a very competitive premiership next season, at least certainly outside of the so called ‘Top 4’. With money now flowing into the premiership at an unprecented rate, several clubs will fancy their chances of making a determined and sustained push for a European placing, by making key big name signings this summer. I see our major competition coming from the likes of Tottenham, Everton, Newcastle, and Manchester City, the latter if they can ever get their act together.

  • 5 places gained this season on last season. Same again next year will put us 6th. Same again the season after? Champione! Simple. It’s basic arithmetic.

  • Highlight Newcastle United now, particularly with Big Sam on board, and a potential new owner on the verge of taking over. Like it or not, if the latter actually comes to pass, and Fat Freddie is ousted, then Newcastle really will have a great opportunity to really hit the big time.

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