Thoughts and issues regarding the past and present of a great football club by "The Chronicler".

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Hooray for Houllier!

I have to say that I am very, very happy for Houllier. Although this is only a small step in terms of getting out of the mire, it is (I believe) a big step in indicating that his critics have got it wrong, albeit that it's early days yet.

You could only see by the glow on his face how fired up he was by this Villa performance and the team - those that he wants - are clearly playing for him. The icing on the cake was for the debutant over-priced striker to show that his signing may well be a masterpiece. Though, still, overpriced.

Three points on Tuesday would be nice to add to this feeling of well-being.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Villa: Now Really Back In The Big Time?

After two years of players (Barry and Milner) leaving Villa ostensibly because they wanted to win things, the message has begun to be clear that it is important to demonstrate to the remaining stars that Villa does intend to win things, and that serious action is being taken to get to that exalted position.

By going out and staking such a whopping sum on a player (as well as the other signings that have taken place of apparent quality) it tells Ash & Downing, "look, there's the reason for you to stay". It's expenditure that's been necessary just for that reason, if for nothing else.

For that line of thinking to take effect, and for the actual purchase recommendations, the primary person to be given credit is M. Houlllier ... in doing the persuading, but also the owner, of course, for stumping up the cash.

On face value, brave and important executive action has been taken, and the kind of action that Villa has not really seen for more than 80 years - perhaps since the arrival of Gibson, Brown, Beresford and Waring.

Yes, it's taken 80+ years for the Villa to re-assert itself in expenditures of mammoth proportions according to the time.

BTW, it may take a lot of believing, but from my researches it's come to light that in the last 60 years, Villa could quite easily have obtained (when young) John Charles, Jackie Sewell, Alex Jeffrey and Allan Clarke, but the Villa board wouldn't take the risk of purchasing young talent that had not been fully proven. We saw that scenario repeated in the case of Keane a decade ago. And George Graham was let go for a snip in '64, and Gerry Hitchens could have been bought from Kidderminster for £1,000.

Imagine; John Charles - a Villan! How things would have been so different - probably.

So, perhaps this is the first real indicator that Villa is back in the big time ... All that's required now is for it all to come together and do the business.

I still am not sure that that 18m or 24m has gone on the right player, though. It's tempting to think it's the right one, but ...

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Houllier's a Devil Whatever He Does!

Villa won today. Straight away, the so-called fans that would have been snarling for Houllier's dismissal had Villa lost are seething about the win! "Oh!", they shout, "it's only against an average Championship side!"

O'Leary once called Villa's fans fickle. Well, there are good many that are not (fickle), but clearly there's a fair number that are (fickle). Nothing will please them once they've decided they don't like someone, regardless of what good transpires.

These 'fans' (I call them such as I suppose they pay an entrance fee) seem to want the agony of negativism ... perhaps they do not know what something 'pleasant' is. A win is a win ... it should raise the spirits ... the fact that the net has been found three times proves the players have re-found their technique for scoring goals ... there's hope for the next match ... there's a week ahead when the Villa fan will get no taunts from his non-Villa friends.

Some of us vaguely remember those dire days of 1966, '67, '68 ... They were terrible. It had been years since Villa had been anywhere near the top-6 of the League. The claret and blue lion looked as though it was about to die ... but we kept on hoping, and justifiably so, too.

It seems that too many 'fans' now can't accept there's a life outside the top-6. That's the only sphere they know of, regardless of the lack of real quality in the football that we saw week-in, week-out, apart from the occasional sparkle.

Still, it has to be said that without suffering you cannot properly know elation. Perhaps a bit of suffering for a few weeks won't do any harm at all!

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Well, I think I'll take up knitting for a couple of weeks...!

I suppose it's no good me saying, "Hey! All four West Midlands' sides are lining up for relegation"?

No, that's avoiding the seriousness of Aston Villa's position; our own team has broken into the bottom three. Some fans were thinking more about the top 3 before the season began, but I think where we are says it all for now.

The positives? Not much, except to say there's 17 matches to go and a possibility of another 51 points. And the January window has only just opened, so something very good can (and must!) materialise.

We can only be patient and go round with a sellotape smile. The matter is still only sortable by the current manager, and he will have earned his salt if he can produce a mid-table finish at season's end.

Oh, and the players must decide that they really have to put a double shift into earning their pay.

Go Houllier!!


Sunday, 2 January 2011

Checkmate by the White Knight !

It is early days ... Villa are not yet safe, but if there were any doubts amongst the supporters that there is any spirit in the team then those doubts surely should have been removed by this performance.

Yes, it was very nearly defeat after a last 10 minutes when Villa again let in the opposition, but there was still the fire in the Villa belly to come back in injury time to notch a worthy draw against a team that is still one of the country's six best.

We still need to see how it all goes over the next month, but we go into the next home game against Sunderland with a fair measure of confidence.


Saturday, 1 January 2011

Shock and Awe!

I am staggered at the amount of harangue - much of it spiteful - being directed at Houllier. It is not worthy of the great name of Aston Villa and makes Villa fans look like hooligans.

The fans don't like being at the current league position, of course, but to denigrate a highly-qualified and accomplished manager after only 3 months in the post, and dealing with matters that he has largely inherited, is beyond the pale.

Perhaps Houllier is not perfect in some ways, but tell me the name of a manager who is perfect? I am sure there is not an alternative currently available, so what is the point of this senseless ranting that's going on in the internet forums? And would another change of manager help at this juncture? Of course not.

In fact, someone has pointed out that other 'new' managers appointed this season are also going through the same (or similar) anti experience, but in their case they had the advantage of pre-season entry to their clubs and being able to buy players.

I call on all sensible fans everywhere to help in bringing peace to this situation by chanting Houllier's name at matches - to counteract any opposite chanting that may arise. But, you never know - Villa's performance at Chelsea might help to dispel the cloud, even if they lose.

I pray that they play well.