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

Monday, 26 October 2015

Tim's Out - Is It Time For Thinking Out The Real Solution?

I've today seen a blogger write: ”It would be nice if the club were run better.” 
That statement (in relation to Aston Villa FC) is possibly the greatest euphemism ever uttered.

This is the key issue – it’s not really about anything else. Its the ownership that have been directing things in such a way that none of the managers have been able to do what they wanted to do. You can’t have 3 managers in 4 years all not totally fit for the job, surely?

The scenario now is not that different from how it was in the 60s. Then we got relegated and spent 8 years getting back to the top.

Haven’t we learnt?

But as far as this owner is concerned, I have utter disrespect having now seen what disaster upon disaster he’s been inflicting on the club.

I’m afraid I must again recall the spin that appeared shortly after Lerner’s arrival. The slogan was “Great history … Bright Future!” – or words to that effect.

Whatever the misdemeanours MON perpetrated in his spending pattern, a new owner coming into Aston Villa FC should have realised that his word had to be his bond to keep the fans of this great club on his side – particularly in view of his promise.

With no “Bright Future” he’s turned out the lights, and it’s difficult to see how they can be switched back on again.

And while we keep on talking about team managers and their merits or demerits, we are mis-using our energy and missing the plot. We’ve been taken in hook line and sinker; we claim to be fans of a great club, but choose to ignore the real problem.

“It would be nice if the club were run better.” My goodness: the club has to be run better – otherwise we’ll never see another cup final win nor even a 6th place in the Premier League.

A new - and proper - owner for the club is an a priori requirement. Anything else is secondary in my view. I dream of a fans' ownership, but maybe that's just star-gazing. But what I am most worried about is that just as Doug found the current owner, we may find that Randy finds the person he likes. That could just mean further disaster.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Match Reports on Interesting Fixtures Since The Start of the League (1888)

I am pleased to state that I have further extended my webpage on Villa's league results (link here) to include match reports for significant and interesting matches going back to 1888.

I have finished providing selected reports for the period 1888 to 1939, but a fair number of later reports are also installed. I will be adding to the period since 1945 over the coming weeks. Later on I will review the matter again to decide whether to add further reports for the time since 1888.

Thank you for your interest.


Friday, 2 October 2015

The Time of Year For Grey Clouds - But Surely Not At Villa Park!

Jeremy Corbyn speaks of his desire for a kinder world, but he’s clearly not been to Villa Park very recently. Frustration is afoot and the knives are beginning to be drawn against Tim Sherwood, whose re-hashed squad have still to hit the high spots.

I’d like to think that if it was Tim that had been brought in during the summer of 2011, and that we’d never experienced the two Scots, we’d be a lot kinder towards him (Tim). But the experience of those five years of drudgery will take a lot of erasing from the fans’ collective memory.

So, can we see glimmers of hope percolating through the autumnal clouds?

I’d say yes. When Villa were 2-down at Anfield on Saturday, Villa’s game suddenly became alive. There was Hutton forcing his way to the byline and pushing across a deadly and inviting pass. No-one seemed to be awake to the possibility except our Rudy, who manfully shrugged off his marker’s attentions and strove to get there and force the ball home. “Wow!”, I muttered to myself. I doubt that Rudy’s predecessor, our formerly beloved Christian Benteke, would have been alive to that. He’d have been standing on the penalty spot and demanding to know why the ball had not been placed on his toe!

Villa then reverted to type and let Pool acquire a third goal before the other Villa full-back, Amavi, swung across a teasingly delicious centre for our Rudy again to seize on the possibility, again making himself the man to throw himself forward to power the ball home – this time with his head. “Wow!”, I (again) muttered to myself.

With 20 minutes to go, all it needed now was Traore to nip down the wing, beat three players and slip the ball past their keeper. But it was not to be, though you could see that the feller had that in mind. Yet having scored two goals like that, I felt that Villa should have found something in reserve to come back and level the match.

So, of the squad, who can claim to have done enough to secure virtually automatic selection? Who are the players we can say could be the core of a revival?

Guzan – yes. We know he has one or two foibles, but he still stops a few.
Richards – yes. Not quite as strong as when he started the season, but he’s hardly one you’d leave out.
Amavi – yes. Again, defensively he has some foibles, but he’s learning, and can’t he centre a good ball?
Sanchez – yes. Though appearing to be slow (and, yes, a foible or two), for me he oozes class.
Gueye – yes. His come back against Pool was not at all great, but he showed enough to suggest that he’s been missed.
Gil – yes. I can’t quite understand how he was left out against Pool. Has Tim got a personal dislike of him?
Traore – yes. He’s not seen much time on the pitch yet, but what he has shown is potentially explosive.
Gestede – yes. At Anfield, he proved to me he’s got what it takes as our new striker. And the fans love him.
I will also add Veretout, who is quietly getting his game together in my view. Potentially very good.
Of those nine players, six were signed by Tim. And they’re not bad, are they?

If we were to add to that list:

A more disciplined Grealish;
Okore or Clark instead of Lescott;
Gabby (I still think he adds more to the team than Sinclair in the way Sinclair is being used),

– then that’s 11 positions pretty well covered, with players like Ayew, Westwood (and Gardner?) usefully in reserve. Except it’s not, as the right-back slot is still weak. Sinclair? Unless you play him at the centre of the attack, I don’t see him as a first-choice.

The somewhat frail Grealish has been found out in my opinion. Pool were determined not to give him the chance to shine as they did at Wembley and other teams that are better than Small Heath will also manage him well. It’s up to Jack.

All-in-all, though, there are signs of a team that is developing and one that should give us optimism. We have already lost 5 matches, but they’ve all been lost by just one goal, and those defeats are mostly down to defensive failures. And, yes, a substitution error or two.

October is upon us. Now is the time, Tim, for your team to prove what they’re made of. As forcefully demonstrated by Rudy last Saturday.