Unpredictability The Key To Success

Terrace Talk

This season is going to be a rollercoaster, to say the very least. We’ve already had numerous ups and downs, more or less par for the course for an Aston Villa supporter.

After a frankly surprising, yet positive, performance against Swansea, the claret-and blue community swelled with pride and a feeling of optimism that has long been absent on the terraces. There were those suggesting that Paul Lambert had cracked the code only four games into his first campaign at the Villa helm.

Those who were fervently anti-McLeish were preparing to lap up a season of vindication soup, with almost everything going right on the day, Benteke’s goal adding gloss to an outstanding display. Added to a well-deserved point at Newcastle the week before, it seemed we were on the right track. But nothing is ever that straightforward.

The current crop of young, energetic players that line up for Villa each week have proved something of an enigmatic outfit, capable of beating anyone, but inherently fragile as well, underlined by our first two games and the forgettable Southampton clash on Saturday.

As a Villa fan, it’s almost within our DNA to develop a fickle coating. I am certainly proof, my outlook on the season changing almost every minute while watching certain matches.

The fluctuating form is a cause for concern for our fans, of course. Significantly, though, the unpredictable nature of the team could prove to be the main threat to our opponents this season, as was proved against Manchester City on Tuesday night.

A superb, spirited 4-2 victory at the Etihad Stadium, albeit in the perhaps undervalued League Cup, is a signal of just how capable Lambert’s Lions are when they are diligent and forthcoming.

Following a crushing 4-1 defeat away at Southampton, it was exactly what was needed. To concede four goals in the second half was frightening, and, broadly speaking, unacceptable for a team that has ambitions of staying in the top flight, particularly against a side that had lost 6-1 to Arsenal in their previous fixture.

The belief drained away faster than it had arrived, with some wise and hardened supporters very aware of the leaky base of enthusiasm upon which we stood after the Swansea game. The defence, though excellent against the Welsh team, is still an area of concern, which was a fundamental reason for our marginal survival last time around.

Question Time

At this stage, I’m a little lost on a number of questions, the club clouded in an air of unpredictability not strictly limited to the pitch.

There is a distinct impossibility in the task of estimating where we will finish this season. Lambert still has a lot of work to do with the players, and the team undoubtedly needs time to properly gel before an accurate assessment can be made.

Even so, the signs are confusing, as we are capable of beating anybody, but losing to anybody as well. This has famously been said of Arsenal recently; though I get the impression the Gunners will pick up a few more wins than we shall. That said, the performance against Swansea has to be the benchmark that we aim for every week.

Having lost key players over the last three years, either through sales, dips in form, or prolonged injuries, it is hardly surprising that we’ve had a rough time. Gabby Agbonlahor is perhaps the most apt example of a player that has been absent for too long, largely due to injury, but also subpar performances. If we can get players like Gabby firing on all cylinders, as he did on Tuesday night, perhaps the high-energy atmosphere and tempo with which we played against the Swans will become something of a more regular feature.

The off-the-pitch element is something I’ve been pondering for a short while now, and I am referring to the question of chairmanship. Indeed, my interest in such matters was aroused by the news that Randy Lerner had sold his beloved Cleveland Browns in July.

Does this sale represent a shift in Lerner’s interests, in that he will now invest more in Aston Villa? Or is Lerner looking to sell Villa as well, following a few seasons of fairly stagnant business in comparison to the Martin O’Neill tenure?

Lerner enjoyed a period of considerable popularity during the O’Neill years and understandably so, having injected much-needed cash into the club, with which O’Neill bought and got results. Whether O’Neill’s spending was beneficial to the club in the long-term is another debate altogether, but I am starting to believe that perhaps it wasn’t.

Unfortunately, at this juncture all that can be done is ask questions on this subject. This is food for thought, perhaps, but there is little doubt regarding Lerner’s passion for the club. Whether he remains willing to invest is another query, and in this day and age, money is a pre-requisite for success. I’d certainly be keen to hear what the AVL community thinks of our American owner.

Counter Attack

Money discussions aside, it is important to hark back to the O’Neill era in terms of the style of football. Under O’Neill we thrived on a simple formula: a tight-knit, cohesive defensive unit that was aided by two combative, yet suitably attacking central midfielders, and laced with pace on the wings and up front. Lambert would do well to reinvent such a system.

One of the most impressive players so far this season has been Ron Vlaar, who leads with physical prowess but also in a fashion that inspires belief and aggression. Ciaran Clark has great potential, and could well be a future captain. Lambert should persist with this pairing as they will only get stronger. In the meantime, supporters will have to be patient and realistic.

With regard to central midfield, it’s perhaps the most pressing concern. Karim El-Ahmadi is a good addition, offering aggression and composure on the ball. But it is questionable whether Bannan is cut out for the Premiership. There is little doubt in his ability, but the defence needs cover, and the diminutive Scot is not going to be able to provide that sufficiently.

Stephen Ireland continues to act as a bone of contention. On his day, his conductive style is nigh-on unplayable, but, again, there are question marks over his defensive effort and competence. I would be keen to see Fabian Delph, a skilled and combative player, given a prolonged run in the side in the hope that he has finally made the leap that he’s been threatening for years.

Speed on the wings is available in N’Zogbia and Albrighton, the two making notable appearances against City. Martin O’Neill’s side boasted some of the finest counter-attacking football in the country and this is a legacy that Lambert ought to try and replicate. Netting on Tuesday, it is about time that Charles “Insomnia” woke up and started repaying the £10 million spent on him last summer.

Agbonlahor is fighting for a starting place once again, which is a huge positive. He is also a considerable threat and could complement either Bent or Benteke with his direct, physical style.

In spite of the youthful aspect, there is nothing rudimentary about the team we have. The potential just needs to be harnessed.

Where To Stand

I remain cautiously optimistic about the remainder of the season. Even so, this season will be up and down, and it will take time to get any sort of consistency.

Though it won’t be particularly reassuring or comfortable for the majority of Villans, perhaps we can take solace in the idea that our unpredictability just might make us the team we need to be this season.

About the Author

Avatar of Ollie Scrimgeour

Ollie ScrimgeourHello Villans, I am politics student, currently residing in the heart of Madrid, where I admire the great city, dream of playing in the Bernabeu and jot down my most pressing thoughts and observations about the Villa. Tweet me @olliescrim.View all posts by Ollie Scrimgeour →

  1. steamersteamer27-09-2012

    Hello Oliver,
    Marvelous leader, very accurate insight of where we’ve been, are and are going. Possibly the only thing i could criticise is the mention of vindication soup, after the last few days on here, i’m sure someone will ask for the recipe.
    Regarding Lerner, anyone who appoints a clownt like McCleish as Villa manager is out of touch with reality and is of no value to the club IMO, he can take his pet monkey and bugger off.

  2. Darran NicholasDarran Nicholas27-09-2012

    Good article Oliver, and plenty of points for discussion which I’m sure others will pick up on. I’m just going to add a couple of bits. First of all, I can’t believe that you are only just starting to think O’Neil’s spending wasn’t good, I thought that had become clear over the last 2/3 years! I suspect I may be not picking there though, so I won’t dwell.

    My second point follows on from what Trinity wrote in the wee hours on yesterday’s comments section, but relates to today’s article. A very valid point made by Trinity is that Gabby should not be viewed as the answer, not just yet anyway. His fitness and form over the last couple of years has deteriorated badly, and he has been known to play an outstanding game and then go missing on the pitch for two or three months. Let’s not heap too much pressure on him yet.

    Our attacking line up is very strong at the moment, we have loads of options and they offer a real variety of threats. If Gabby can find form and fitness it will be like having a marquee signing. On his day he is devastating and could be a great partner to Benteke, who has completely changed our attack by the way.

    Let’s hope for something good at the weekend. I think we can expect them to line up with a physically strong midfield, so we will need some bite in there and to play intelligently. As a result, BB would be nowhere near my starting XI, I’d have Delph in his place with Holman, Zog and KEA; Gabby dropping into midfield when we don’t have the ball, Benteke up top. I’d stick with the same defence as Tuesday, but with Guzan back in goal.

  3. Darran NicholasDarran Nicholas27-09-2012

    Steamer, did you say he can burger off? Use your loaf! I can see why Lerner’s interest is being questioned but I think he is still committed. As we’ve discussed over the summer, I wouldn’t relish the idea of another owner, you don’t know what you might end up with. As it is, we have a sweet n sour, there are a mixture of feelings. Change, and we could end up with a lovely apple pie, or with a glass of bitter lemon.

    Anyway, I’m starting to waffle now, let’s all just revels in the result from Tuesday, and hope we don’t find ourselves in a pickle on Sunday.

  4. SuperBoxSuperBox27-09-2012

    Oliver – Great article with much to discuss. The one thing I would say is that part of the unpredictability comes from actually having a squad all fighting for their place, taking the opportunities they are given and all bringing something different.

    For the first time in ages we have choices and PL has a selection headache every game, but for all the right reasons.

    PL starting 11 seems unpredictable from game to game, meaning the opposition can’t work us out and learn how to play against us.

    We won’t get it right every game, but I am enjoying this season more than the last two already!

  5. bibulusbibulus27-09-2012

    Can see the current recipe including Lerner as head chef is not to everyone’s taste. His use of Mcfool as an ingredient was always going to make it difficult for villa fans to dine out last season a bit like your favorite restaurant changing the menu from steak to flan.
    PL is working new flavors into the mix an untested menu with plenty of new dishes to savor.
    Simple dishes seem to work best in football – Lerner has shown he can change and PL to my mind is the first manager he has truly had the chance to appoint in the correct manner. Couple this with his work in the local community and rejuvenation of the area surrounding VP (he even throws in the odd free pie for gods sake) so i for one am prepared to forgive his dodgy use of cheap and nasty ingredients last season. ConMON insisted on expensive poncy ingredients but still left a nasty taste behind that is taking a long time to get rid of.
    Do we want to go back to an owner like Mr Ellis whose kitchen would not even pass as clean??
    Looking forward to a well prepared a la carte menu and not the set meal this Sunday!
    UTV!!!

  6. southwestvillansouthwestvillan27-09-2012

    Olly, great first article unless i missed one while i was away, first question who the bloody hell are you, coming on and hijacking AVL without so much as an introduction, have you no manners young man.
    You are right about us Villans being fickle but it is so easy to be that way when we have long periods of instability, we seem to build a team worth challenging the big boys and then the rug gets whipped from under our feet and players get sold on en masse.
    Oliver unfortunately you did not include many food references in your article which is not par for the course if you are an avid reader of AVL then you must realise you will have to pepper any further pieces with said reference, although if i am honest i am getting bloody fed up mainly because i can”t think of any.

    UTV.

  7. DeadlydougDeadlydoug27-09-2012

    Good morning fellow villains.

    10/10 Oliver absoloutely nailed on article ,your like a breath of fresh.

    Well done sir!

    or as tel boy would put it

    mae qui mae qui !!!

  8. B6toBrasilB6toBrasil27-09-2012

    Good Morning Monsieur Ollie

    As DelBoy would also exclaim..cordon bleu!!!!

    Well written piece,with a surname like that you ought to be a chef.

    Well as many a stadium chants…Who are ya,who are ya?
    I dunno, I have to tolerate the offerings of Turvey and his band of wordsmiths and you stroll up from Paris and storm the citadel of AVL.
    Anyway I hope you realise we need wingers and Kenwyne Jones,CharlieAdam,Jenas…………oh sorry, that was last month.

    I think we all agree that we will have an up and down season.I think we will have little batches of good results,2 draws and 2 wins,followed by a couple of defeats and a draw.I feel our VP form will be key to this and I hope to hit the 42 point mark aroun. end of March.
    We still need a bit more beef in the midfield area though.One thing worries me about Gabby`s shooting though…..how do you like your bacon?LEAN BACK unfortunately,if he can correct this then more goals will surely follow.

  9. southwestvillansouthwestvillan27-09-2012

    Oliver, a languages student from Paris, trez bon, we really are attracting a cross section of supporters from all over the world, facebook beware Turvey has big plans.
    B62B, you just could not resist it could you, any opportunity to shoehorn another food jape, perist sir are you tikka the p*ss.
    I”ll get my coat!!!!!!!!!

    UTV

  10. B6toBrasilB6toBrasil27-09-2012

    OLLIE

    I must echo Darran`s thoughts in that you are only now realising that MON`s spending left us in the merde.
    He was paying top dollar(or euro in your case)for utter tripe.Paying for filet mignon and only receiving a baguette in return.However we will be better and stronger for it./RL pulled us back from the brink just in time,some clubs(Sunderland for example)have yet to realise that spending high on average UK dross-or average dross in general with no resale value- is the road to ruin.

  11. Ollie ScrimgeourOllie Scrimgeour27-09-2012

    First and foremost, apologies for not properly introducing myself. I was fearful of writing too much and therefore felt pleasantries would have to take a seat at the back of the restaurant for now.

    I am Ollie Scrimgeour (you weren’t to know, but please call me Ollie from now on), a languages student who’s brain is football shaped and who loves to write about the beautiful game, using a specific claret and blue ink.

    All of the comments on my first piece have been very nice indeed (so far), so thank you. I look forward to being a part of this Villa (and apparently food) loving community.

    Now for some individual responses:

    Steamer – Thanks very much. The vindication soup recipe will hopefully be available on the Premier League table by the end of the season. Keep an eye out. Regarding Lerner, it’s interesting to see the extent to which his appointment of McLeish has impacted people’s views of him as a chairman. It was a horrendous decision and one we’re still reeling from as a result, which is perhaps an indication of Lerner’s short-sightedness, or just apparent lack of knowledge when it comes to football.

    Darran: Thanks for your comments. Perhaps it was not properly portrayed in the article, but I have indeed seen the signs that O’Neill’s spending was detrimental in the long-term for quite some time, as the rest of the Villa fans seem to have. My point is that not until I saw the drudgery of some of the performances towards the end of last season and the weakness of the team in our opening games this campaign that I really clocked just how titanic his spending had been, leaving us with a chairman who seems unwilling to make much-sought after investment now. Our attack gives us reason to be positive, and while you’re right to say Gabby is not the answer, perhaps he is at least a considerable option, given his frightening pace and certainly against West Brom, his tendency to score against local rivals. Was good to see him play well against City and I still think he has a lot to offer the club.

    Superbox – very kind, thanks. You make a very good point about the unpredictability of our lineup every week. It occurred to me while writing that for the first time in a while, we have some reasonable depth and competition for places. We never really had this even under O’Neill who was a fan of a thin squad, causing us to run out of steam towards the end of seasons. Hopefully Lambert will switch things around a lot, and while it is important to get some consistency in certain areas of the pitch, the unpredictability of selection could well be a headache for opponents.

    bibulus – A quaint analysis of Randy Lerner, and you cleaned your plate well. I for one believe that Lerner is a decent chairman and am pleased with his appointment of Lambert. In the meantime, with the players, the manager and the players, we need to give time to see how things develop. I think Lerner has good intentions and will do his best to help us propel back to where Aston Villa Football Club should be.

    southwestvillan – Thank you. As stated earlier, I apologise for the lack of self-introduction but I’m glad you like the first article. The fickle nature is what makes us football fans, and Villa fans in particular. That said, instability is inherent in this team and has been since the start of the Premier League as an entity. It’s been a delicious start to my writing career for AVL and I hope to spice up the website for many meals to come but I’ll try equally hard not to overcook it.

    Thanks, everyone.

  12. Ollie ScrimgeourOllie Scrimgeour27-09-2012

    DeadlyDoug – Much appreciated, thanks. Del Boy’s French is probably better than mine!

    fromB6toBrasil – Merci, Monsieur. If this writing stuff goes down the pan then perhaps I’ll have a bite at the restaurant industry. Hopefully I’ve now explained who I am, apologies for not having done so previously. Gabby does indeed need to get his shooting boots on regularly if he is going to even compete for a position up front, given that we now have Bent and Benteke, both of whom have scored in recent weeks. At this stage, the squad is looking good and has sufficient depth so in reiteration of a comment above, I hope Lambert makes the most of such a situation.

    southwestvillan – I was born and raised in Solihull so I’m a local Villan at heart, though I moved to Paris as a kid and have been known to enjoy the toiling nature of PSG since then as well. Villa forever and always my true home team.

  13. steamersteamer27-09-2012

    SWV,
    Villa fans are pickle not fickle.

  14. TrinityTrinity27-09-2012

    Hello Ollie.

    I agree that unpredictability will make Villa harder to figure out. I’d like the Villa to be more consistent winners, but yep, the team we have now is less predictable than last year. There’s a few unknown quantities. If Benteke, for example, hits a purple patch, it’ll take the opposition a while to figure him out because they don’t know him. That can be said for a few of the new lads. Anyway, we need to keep the opposition guessing by hitting them with a few unwelcome surprises.

    Up the Claret and Cordon Bleus

  15. southwestvillansouthwestvillan27-09-2012

    Ollie, a Solihull boy ah yes brought up proper like my good self although Balsall Heath was a tad different, but it is very nice to have more intellectual types on the site to make up for those like Steamer who just cannot help himself and persists on coming out with a constant spree of food jokes.
    It feels like the weightwatchers site but for fat b*****ds.

    UTV.

  16. DeadlydougDeadlydoug27-09-2012

    Mark Bosnich;

    Has tweeted that Emile Heskey shirts have sold out for his new Australian Club Newcastle Jets!!

    They have ordered another 5,000.00?

  17. Ollie ScrimgeourOllie Scrimgeour27-09-2012

    Talk about unpredictability, eh?

  18. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey27-09-2012

    Nice debut Ollie and welcome on board to the team.

    I would agree with all you say in the piece – The team’s performances are inherently like a roller coaster this season.

    Quite where we will end up is anyone’s guess, but I still think we are capable of finishing around 12th place, assuming of course that Lambert can continue to make his team fight for their places, and retain competitiveness.

  19. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey27-09-2012

    Bibulus,

    Free pies? I know – that has me convinced already but I’ve already spent my vouchers :(

  20. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey27-09-2012

    Southwest,

    To be fair to Ollie, he did pop on to the comments while you were away – did you not read every article and comment you missed in your absence? :O

    Tut, tut monsieur…

  21. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey27-09-2012

    Ha ha B6,

    You cheeky mare though, to be fair, that Turvey bloke only writes on a few days – I keep it that way to stop everything from descending into anarchy ;)

  22. bibulusbibulus27-09-2012

    Have to agree about gabbys shooting boots – if he could shoot imagine how much we would’ve already sold him to Manxchester for!

  23. Ollie ScrimgeourOllie Scrimgeour27-09-2012

    Thanks very much, Matt. Delighted to be on board.

  24. runtingsruntings27-09-2012

    Ollie nice one
    lots of food for thought there

    i was still optimistic after the 4 -1 loss simply because i believe we have an absoloutly fantastic manager , one of the best in the lge imo
    his football philosophy is taken from the German style of play which is a proven winning formular on any stage.
    i think like most it will be up and down for now but believe we will be a very good side come next season if not before.

    on Ireland i dont think his salary is inline with his skillset even though he is a good player i dont think he is the type of player PL would buy for villa if he was elsewhere and elsewhere is where i think he will end up come next season.

    consistancy is a little way off as we are now a young side with many buys yet to make there debut’s .. we must remember apart from ooh arr ron Vlaar we are playing baby’s along the back who are no where near there peak .. same could be said for most postions in the side.
    so a long way to go but we know where we are going and that is onwards and upwards .

  25. runtingsruntings27-09-2012

    p.s

    Stan would be amazing in this side

    get well soon Stan your club needs you

  26. Ian GibsonIan Gibson27-09-2012

    Oh dear, a fellow living in Paris and I mention brown pants as the defacto wardrobe for the French. My apologies. Also your prose is wonderful. I feel like Ally Oop scratching in the dirt. Looking forward to more Ollie–loaded with poutine of course, a Quebec food staple.

    The change in the starting 11 every week has to be a headache for any opposing manager sorting out his team. That is a big advantage for Villa. The mention of Arsenal with their philosophy is something I see happening at Villa. I think this is the way to go. When you think about it, Lerner is on a learning curve and still finding his way. When he took over, didn’t Mon’s spending take them away from danger although for a short time?

    The attacks on Mancini from MC fans are brutal. McLiesh must be looking forward to having company in the bad dog box.

    Again looking forward to more Ollie and please tell me you are wearing jeans.

  27. B6toBrasilB6toBrasil27-09-2012

    Runtingz
    A point about Stan in the middle,sadly I don`t think we`ll see him play again-although I hope to be wrong.
    Agree too about Ireland,everyone keeps telling me he`s marvellous.Can we see some evidence plaese Stephen,on the pitch and NOW?We should be talking about potentail with a seasoned pro.

    Ollie I dunno where you stand with with fromage
    and mustard sandwich debate.Droyd called me an animal for eating it.From a nation that consumes i`escargot I would imagine cheese and mustard combo is pretty bland fare.

    Looking forward to match on sunday.Live on Fox over here,I think.Wonderful to be excited about games again,rather than dreading them.I hope to see Gabby and Benteke up front to start with.I was hoping Albion would be taken to extra time last night,but we`ve had an additional rest day,so we should be fine.

  28. B6toBrasilB6toBrasil27-09-2012

    Old Biker

    Sorry mate I can`t seem to shake of your previous moniker.Like calling a snickers bar a marathon,it`ll never be a snickers to me,always a marathon. Even after naming you Gibbo the other day,it don`t fit for me.
    Funny you should mention Arsenal I was just reading about them via Wenger quotes.So refreshing when he talks about their transfer policy,very sensible.Basically buy into it in it`s entirety.
    MC fans have become (some of `em)everything they hated about Man U.Complaining,belittling their opponents(Villa)and adopting a sense of entitlement re winning a al Fergie and ref decisions.

    Mancini would not appreciate being mentioned in the same breath or sentence as McShambles,who would,whatever the context?

  29. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey27-09-2012

    B6,

    I can confirm that the cheese and mustard sandwich (I had it on a roll yesterday) was delicious.

    Take it was supposed to be English mustard, right?

  30. B6toBrasilB6toBrasil27-09-2012

    Matt

    Thank you,yes indeed.Although I feel a bit of a tut tut coming on with a roll…but I think I`ll allow it.
    A bread roll though I take it,not a Swiss roll?

    Blimey I just saw Pardew has signed a new deal until 2020 with Newc.YES 2020!!!!!!!
    I am always preaching long term long term,but that is extreme.What if they want to get rid?That is some pay off.Obviously they are happy with the job he`s doing ,and I`m all for stability but it just seems a bit extreme.Maybe he might become DOF in years to come.

  31. Ollie ScrimgeourOllie Scrimgeour27-09-2012

    Thank you, Ian, kind of you to say. I think Lerner is still very much on a learning curve in a number of ways. I hope the sale of Cleveland Browns, rather selfishly, to be a signal of his intent to improve money invested in Aston Villa, and think that he has now appointed a manager who can continue to do well by us for seasons to come.

    Just to clarify, I’m wearing blue chinos (outrageous, I know) and I prefer my mustard with a cut of rare entrecôte steak, as opposed to fromage. Sorry if these are disappointing revelations.

  32. Andrew PAndrew P27-09-2012

    B6, I’ve eaten snails in Paris. They taste just like chewy garlic bread. Nice enough but give me proper English food like whelks anyday.

    Runtingz, were you always a Stan fan? His reputation as a player seems to have improved since he became ill. I hope he makes a full recovery of course, but I don’t think a fit Stan Petrov would benefit us hugely from a football point view. I imagine it’s unlikely he’ll play again anyway.

    Regarding Stephen Ireland, as John Clark said this week to the unconverted – let’s see how we get on without him. Remind me people, how did we do at Man City the other night? That was first blood to the doubters.

    By the way, I did enjoy today’s article – much better than the usual tat on here.

  33. Andrew PAndrew P27-09-2012

    4 match ban for John Terry. The FA have grown a pair.

  34. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey27-09-2012

    B6,

    Indeed it was a bread roll, not a Swiss roll, or one of the forward rolls we all seemed to have to do as part of PE when we were at primary school.

    I blame the need for using it on the other bread being in the freezer – it was akin to a hot dog style roll for those who are obviously interested :P

  35. B6toBrasilB6toBrasil27-09-2012

    I may be in a minority of 1,but I don`t really want Villa to become big spending,although that is a relative term.I would rather see the JB`s of this world be a sucess at Villa than us buy an Ibrahimovich on £250 grand a week.Maybe it`s just me,being old fashioned.
    So no I wouldn`want Man City PSG type spending even if we had all the Cleveland money.

  36. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey27-09-2012

    Andrew P,

    A whole four matches… Oooh!

    After the whole bloomin fracas that seems like the equivalent of a damp squib after expected fireworks.

    PS thanks for your kind words on Ollie’s debut – I will be sure to cull all the other authors immediately, sir :P

  37. Ian GibsonIan Gibson27-09-2012

    Ollie, I’m guessing you eat with a knife and fork too.

    You can call me whatever you like. But don’t call me late for dinner. As far as the moniker Matt tried to stick on me, there were a few bloody noses for peoples’ efforts with that one.

  38. Andrew PAndrew P27-09-2012

    Matt, the FA could have hidden behind the court’s decision and took no action whatsoever. Given the normal gutless nature of their rulings I diodn’t even expect 4 games.

    As for the other authors, obviously I meant Clarkie. I don’t mind your stuff except when you’ve had your crayons out.

  39. B6toBrasilB6toBrasil27-09-2012

    OK Matt I ll give you a pass then.
    Andrew,
    Yes Stan seems to have become better player since he was ill.I always thought he kept it simple and was a 6.5 out of ten,very cosistent and top stats for interceptions.The most common complaint was the he passed sideways,which is true to an extent,but that,although not thrilling,does help with ball retention

    Jay Tee?Another player about to embrace victimhood.L`pool”our pain is worse than your pain Suarez got an 8 match ban”
    Chelsea”no our pain is worse,it cost him his England career”
    JT “I`m the victim here”.
    Are you ready for the Chelsea players t shirts under the kit,the JAYTee is Innocent bibs on sale at the club shop.Pass me the sick bucket…oh yeah,then I can be a victim too.

  40. B6toBrasilB6toBrasil27-09-2012

    Matt

    Glad that you have gone down the Continental route with a new writer.
    I was tiring of the UK dross you`ve been utilising,very much a MON type writers policy,with the odd North American contributor thrown in too.
    Have you got any others on the bench you haven`t used yet?I hear Holland is a good market.

  41. Ian GibsonIan Gibson27-09-2012

    I think you are right Brazil. Building your team is much more satisfying for everyone involved. And it can be at a high rate of form as Arsenal show. I just don’t rate the big spenders. I remember playing as a youngster and all we had were t-shirts given to us. Other teams had full kits and we would think who the eff do they think they are? Same thing today in the PL IMO.

  42. Ian GibsonIan Gibson27-09-2012

    With Pardew getting a contract to 2020 (God, I will be 70 we he is done) it puts all the cards in the teams hand. They can call the shots regarding length of service, not the other way around. At least they will have some recourse if he walks.

  43. southwestvillansouthwestvillan27-09-2012

    B62B, you forgot to mention that they fined him a weeks wages, thats outrageous how will he pay his mortgage this month, why is everybody picking on JT poor lad.

    Matt, yes i logged on while i was away but to be fair there was nothing interesting to read about until you employed a new young vibrant writer who will bring in the punters, lets get rid of the old gaurd, you know Clarky and the like, out with old in with new.
    Still can”t think of a food based joke thats relative, fekin bugger.

    UTV

  44. Andrew PAndrew P27-09-2012

    Clarky’s had his chips.

  45. B6toBrasilB6toBrasil27-09-2012

    SWV

    I sympathise with JT,poor soul.How he will make ends meet I can not comprehend.
    He will play the victim card.as Rooney and others had controversy but his shenanigans were on the pitch-for once.
    Anyway he can purchase his victim card from
    LFC,Anfield rd Lpool..

  46. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey27-09-2012

    B6,

    I am constantly scouring the globe for the best people I can find – Holland may well be on the horizon after I finish my other areas of scouting :)

  47. B6toBrasilB6toBrasil27-09-2012

    Andrew don`t be saucy.

  48. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey27-09-2012

    Southwest,

    Are you comparing John to James Collins? :O

    He isn’t anywhere near as Ginger…

  49. John ClarkJohn Clark27-09-2012

    Dear oh dear. The liberties people take.

  50. Ian GibsonIan Gibson27-09-2012

    Where do all these Charlie Browns come from. It’s like listening to all the woe that goes on with the players in basketball and football.
    Ollie, in case you missed it, Bovril was invented by a transplanted Scot in Canada to feed Napoleon’s armies. A secret French delicacy?

  51. steamersteamer27-09-2012

    Ah Napoleon, the second greatest Frenchman after Rene from ‘allo ‘allo. i wonder if Olly greets people with a ‘Good Moaning’.

  52. Ian GibsonIan Gibson27-09-2012

    hahahahaha

  53. Darran NicholasDarran Nicholas27-09-2012

    Ollie,

    Have to echo the sentiments already made today, very good first article, look forward to more of the same. On the Gabby note, I don’t mean he’s no good, I’m just not putting all my eggs into one brandy-snap basket, there’s a long way to go.

    The main crux of the article is very much true though, we are not a team that other managers will look forward to playing anymore. Last year people must have been chuffed to see Villa on the fixture list, they could have guessed how many defenders we would field (usually about 8) and how to play through us (normally just by passing and moving).

    James Nursey (I know…) reckons there will be further spending in January. What he is basing this on I have no idea, but it would suggest that there will be added competition for places, meaning players will still need to be on their toes. This is a vital ingredient in the new plan, as one spend of £20 million would be useless with nothing to follow it up. Otherwise, there may have been an attitude of ‘I made the cut, now I’m safe’.

    As you rightly point out, this spending and turnover has been needed badly for 2 years, but was almost impossible due to the ruin MON (note, the capitalisation, I am not taking the blame by using my expansive knowledge of the French lingo) left us in. I wrote an article a while back saying that I think Lerner’s quick cuts have benefited us in the long run, and now we are seeing the fruits of that. Just my opinion of course.

  54. B6toBrasilB6toBrasil27-09-2012

    Darran

    RL`s Quick Cuts?I didn`t know he had opened a barbers.

  55. Darran NicholasDarran Nicholas27-09-2012

    B6,

    It came with its own barbershop quartet. The Be 6 Sharps. I assumed you were in them?