What Villa Can Learn From Everton

Terrace Talk

After the Chelsea thumping 10 days ago I wasn’t feeling overly despondent, especially seeing as it was on the back of a decent little run where we’d seen ourselves go six unbeaten in the league and cup, accruing nine points in our battle to beat the drop and push closer towards the teams above.

In my article last week I – rather nonchalantly – happened to write, “my concerns lay more with matches post-Spurs – the games that we ought to be winning.” That was until I witnessed the manner in which we were beaten. It really was a case of men versus boys. But again – I chose to sweep this under the carpet; surely the same wouldn’t happen to us at home to Wigan. Oh, how wrong could I be?

This is the moment in which I would usually analyse and talk about the goings on of those two performances but I really do think that it has all been said over the past few days among us Villans. I for one don’t wish to dwell on self-pity and make this a truly depressing read. What I do wish to talk about though is responsibility and what Aston Villa Football Club should aspire to be.

After the home defeat to Wigan on Saturday a section of supporters questioned whether Paul Lambert is the right man both for the here-and-now and going forward. One fan who I was interacting with on Twitter described Lambert as ‘being out of his depth.’ For those supporters who are calling for his head you have to ask yourselves three principal questions:-

1)      Are there currently any big name managers available who’d be willing to take on the job?

2)      If the answer is yes to the above question: with the squad at his disposal and limited funding available, could this said new manager make an immediate impact and get more out of this group of players?

3)      Would you rather see funding being spent on improving the squad – or see it squandered paying off a manager who is just seven months into a three-year deal?

The conclusion I arrive at is that we have no other alternative than to stick with Paul Lambert and get fully behind him and the team during this very tough and testing period.

Lessons we have learnt
January 17th 2009 and Aston Villa sit in fourth spot, just three points off of top of the league, and three points clear of Arsenal in fifth—a massive nine points ahead of Everton, who are in sixth place.

At that particular moment in time things couldn’t get much better, we we’re on the verge of something great, and with just 16 Premier League matches to play Villa were on the cusp of landing a Champions League spot.

Although I was slightly concerned with Martin O’Neill’s spending on certain players at this time and the open willingness of Randy Lerner who just kept on giving, I can honestly raise my hand and admit that I could not foresee that should it all go belly up (as it did), that Villa would now be in a situation that we are currently faced with. And no matter how big of a club you may perceive Aston Villa to be, the harsh reality is that we are a club having to rebuild and that the current crop of players lack the necessary quality and experience to compete higher up the league table.

Without meaning to dwell on the past too much, when Lerner came into the club he really ought to have brought with him a long-term strategy rather than succumbing to the wants of a man who spent cash as if it were growing on trees.

Everton is a fine example of how a football club should be run, and in my view is a club from which we can learn many a thing and aspire to emulate.

I know many of their supporters like to have a pop at Bill Kenwright for his lack of spending and reluctance to hand David Moyes a large pool of money, but I would much rather have that set-up than do as we did and put all of our eggs into one basket. What also helps the Toffees is that Moyes has this knack of bringing in players who are not only great value for money but have genuine quality, a longevity about them and for whatever reason, more often than not, he is able to keep his players away from the clutches of the bigger clubs.

Although Everton were missing two big players in Marouane Fellaini and Kevin Mirallas, the XI that took to the field for their game against Chelsea on Sunday cost just £33 million, and at an average age of 29 they had between them racked up an astonishing 1361 appearances for the club.

As we look to rebuild we really should look more into how Everton go about their business, drip feeding relevant amount of funds to the man in charge, whilst also maintaining a sustainable wage bill. There are no quick fixes and all this is going to take time. Our main priority is to stay up and kick-off the 2013/14 season as a Premier League club, but regardless of whether we stay up or not Lerner, Faulkner & Co. have to sit down with the manager and put together a workable five-year plan. I’d also encourage them to be more open with the fans, and tell us where they see the club heading and back that up by telling us how.

Swansea 2 v 2 Aston Villa
How Villa weren’t 4-0 down within half-an-hour, God only knows. Swansea were opening us up at will. Routledge gave the Swans a 9th-minute lead, whilst Michu hit the woodwork twice for the hosts. I’m sure Paul Lambert would have been relieved to see Villa going in at the break just one-nil down until – totally against the run of play – Weimann slotted in an equaliser right before the interval.

Villa improved much more after the break, we were in fact very solid and in periods took the game to Michael Laudrup’s men. Chances were few and far between at both ends of the pitch.

As the clock tick towards the end of the game, Nathan Dyer made a clumsy looking challenge on Weimann, a spot kick was given and Benteke duly converted.

The drama was not yet complete and as we entered the fourth of five additional minutes and with the Villa defence sitting deeper and deeper, Danny Graham popped up to break Villa’s hearts.

Cup competitions
Next up we are at home to Ipswich Town on Saturday in the FA Cup third round, followed by our trip to League Two Bradford for the first leg of our Carling Cup semi-final tie on Tuesday evening.

These cup matches couldn’t have come at a better time for us in all honesty, seeing as we have the quality to beat both convincingly and should we go out there and do that then that may instil some belief in the lads and we may just start to pick up some much-needed points in the league.

Until next week, Up the Villa.

About the Author

Avatar of Ryan Pitcher

Ryan PitcherAn aspiring writer and newbie columnist for Aston Villa Life - my articles appear every Wednesday. I really do eat, sleep and breath the beautiful game. I have a personal blog too: www.officialrpitcher.comView all posts by Ryan Pitcher →

  1. IanIan02-01-2013

    Good piece Ryan,

    I think Everton are a good example to what kind of club we should be rather than aspiring to be a Man Utd or Chelsea which is just unrealistic (in terms if spend and wages etc). I’ve liked Everton for along time and there never say die attitude to games whilst still effectively controlling games and being able to kill off teams.

    The problems we face aren’t that we want to do it on the cheap etc but we are 4-5 seasons behind teams like that now. The gap in terms of quality seems to also still be widening season after season, window after window.

    I’m not saying we need to spend £20m on individual players but we do need to outlay say £60m over the next 3 transfer windows to give us more a complete squad rather than the constant plugging of gaps we seem to always do.

    A frugal approach is good and the long term plan is wise but short term spend needs to also happen to guarantee survival and stop the gap widening even further. If we don’t we will either always be mediocre lower table or even worse… Championship!!

  2. southwestvillansouthwestvillan02-01-2013

    Ryan, nice article and just shows how far Everton are ahead of us but we must remember it has taken Moyes a lot of years to get them to this standard.
    You mentioned Lerner and his lack of a plan, well it has been talked about on here too many times and we all know where he went wrong, his initial mistake was not appointing a Director of Football who knew English football but more importantly the Premier division or even just a man on the board who could offer advice when it was badly needed, but he chose to do it his own way and made errors that the club would be paying for years to come.
    We have two games away from the League to try to get our confidence back, unfortunately the semi against Bradford comes a few days before a crucial game against Saints, how do you roll those dice, do you go all out in the cup and save players for the league or vice versa, due to our squad size we may not have a choice.
    We now have the opportunity in Jan to add to/ improve the squad, we all know we will need some experienced heads to help out the young players, i like Hangeland of Fulham but can we now attract these type of players in our current position, we are about to find out.

    UTV

  3. Finland VillandFinland Villand02-01-2013

    You said it Rayn! Easy to agree. Let’s try to be long-term now and back PL in re-building. Don’t see any sense to change manager right now. PL has surely also learnt a lot during his time at VP. It has been said a lot of times that our squard lacks quality. That’s partially true, but just now it’s confirence and leadership they are laking IMO.
    With right kind of new plyers during Jan will make difference. Also hope desperately that our injured players will be back soon. I believe we are gonna get things right and get out of relegation this year. Coming Next years upper mid table will be more than realistic.

  4. Professor WoodProfessor Wood02-01-2013

    Hey Ryan,
    As fantastic a job as Moyes has done with Everton, he has only threatened to win one major trophy in his managerial career (FA Cup runner up), meaning that his managerial record in terms of major trophies is actually worse than PL’s imbecilic predecessor. He has however quickened the Everton supporters pulses with a few upper middle table finishes, meaning he has a slightly better record than Tony Pulis (who also has an FA cup runners up to his name). Personally I don’t want to be Everton, I want to have some excitement with my football, something which has been in short supply since the Premier league started.

  5. SuperBoxSuperBox02-01-2013

    Ryan – Whilst I agree with the sentiment that aspiring to do an ‘Everton’ in footballing terms means building a squad wisely, frugally and over time is the right thing to do. However from a noon footballing POV, the cracks at Everton behind the scenes are far greater than Bill Kenwright being a bit tight.

    To my knowledge, Everton have a very small corporate income, which is much larger for Villa. Boring I know, but it’s revenue that keeps the club going. Also, BK cannot appear to sell the club.

    This link shows what the Everton fans think.

    http://www.toffeeweb.com/season/12-13/comment/fan/23327.html

  6. FremFrem02-01-2013

    A guy on Twitter seems sure Danny welback is coming in on loan. As we only have 2 good strikers we do need another one. Bent and Gabby aren’t any use to us now, both should go

    A few rumours about Stephens from chalton, we also need another to CM, our midfield is shocking and someone like Ince would be nice with zoggy

  7. southwestvillansouthwestvillan02-01-2013

    I think the point that Ryan was alluding to is that from a footballing perspective the Everton model is well structured, Moyes has steadily built a team that is experienced and competetive and introduces the younger players carefully, they will not hurt the big boys but will make sure they give the Sky4 a run for their money.
    We all know deep in our hearts that it will be a very long time before we can make a concerted challenge again, would i swap places with Everton at this moment in time you bet your sweet life i would.

    UTV

  8. southwestvillansouthwestvillan02-01-2013

    Frem,

    I cannot see Utd letting Wellbeck go anywhere not only is Rooney injured but they have always kept four strikers in the first team squad so don”t get too excited, anyway if he goes anywhere it will be QPR.

    UTV

  9. steamersteamer02-01-2013

    Even if we stay up this season think we’re a couple of years off being classed as stable, i would expect, at the very least, one or two more seasons of relegation battles, that would give PL time to inject the squad with fresh academy players and, hopefully, talented signings. When this has been achieved PL will probably move on and Lerner will appoint someone with a completely different football philosophy to undo the good work.
    Very unfortunate about Westwood, our only decent MF, we must explore the loan market more.

  10. IanIan02-01-2013

    Professor Wood – on the flip side McShamble also oversaw 2 relegations in 3 years and nearly took a team down that had finished 9th the season before. That’s the problem with stats they can be cut many different ways.

    I know who I would prefer between Moyes, Pulis and McShambles…

    He’ll in fact I could name the managers in one hand I would have before Moyes…

  11. FremFrem02-01-2013

    steamer- your right, we are 2 or 3 seasons away from even thinking about mid table. we are years behind, swanses, stoke, full etc. i cant see us finishing higher than 16th for at least a couple more seasons

    if PL keeps us up he should be manager of the season

  12. FremFrem02-01-2013

    and another heavy link to Bradley Pritchard. 27, 6ft1. not the most promising rumours ever. we need top prem proven players. our defence and midfield is the worst in this league and if we dont add quality to it we are gone

  13. B62 VillaB62 Villa02-01-2013

    I agree about as a footballing team Everton are way ahead of us, however Moyes business model doesn’t follow that of Lamberts, by this I mean Moyes rarely buys youth, he does blend in the odd youngster, but he usually buys good players with experience that others are unwilling to take a chance on. Don’t forget under Moyes Everton have been just as bigger retirement home as Villa, they just pay less. The model they have used is not too dis similar than that of MoN, they be have just been more prudent. What they do have is a genius in Moyes who makes average players into very good ones and can mould a decent team despite the sum of the individuals. It works and I would def swap places with them and swap managers .
    We were rightly lambasted on MOTD for our first half performance when 4-0 would have flattered us. Papering over the cracks doesn’t cover it and a win could have possibly given thought to a we have turned the corner mentality, which we most certainly have not.
    Reinforcements are needed ASAP, and as posted by Ian at least £60m over the next 3 windows. Here’s a thought tho just to play Devils advocate, if Lambert gets and spends the same again in this window, and were still cr*p, that’s over £40m spent on a team that actually makes it worse than Mcleish’s. Lambert needs to purchas well and improve this team fast, the pressure is mounting and every day were linked with championship and below players without any signs of real quality, the Natives will become more restless

  14. Finland VillandFinland Villand02-01-2013

    Top six is maybe too much but mid table is not mission impossible next season. Of course a lot of hard work is needed on and off the pitch as well as a few new players who can help our young and unexperienced squad to get out the potential they surely have.

  15. Ryan PitcherRyan Pitcher02-01-2013

    Moyes breeds in youth, I mean if you take his bench from the Chelsea match, there wasn’t much experience at all. When I speak of Everton I purely mean as a footballing model. It has been mentioned above that Moyes hasn’t been successful in terms of trophies, of course yes, but Everton have managed to challenge the top sides for a sustained period and are for my money very close to breaking that monopoly at the top. Moyes is a manager I rate very, very highly.

    Have to agree with B62 with regards to transfer activity. I open up the papers and all I see us being linked with is Championship > players, it’s not filling me with confidence here. Ok – so we ain’t gonna’ attract the big name players but we have to look at experienced players surplus to requirements at other Premier League clubs, or look across Europe. The next 29 days will be massive as to which division Villa will be playing their football next season, and certainly pivotal for the future of our football club.

  16. southwestvillansouthwestvillan02-01-2013

    B62, you are absolutely right if PL does spend £20m in this window and things do not improve he will take his place alongside ginger as one of our worst managers.
    He must show the fans that he has learnt from his mistakes and bring in recruits that will take us out of trouble, he says selling AVFC to new players is very easy but he must remember we have been anchored to the wrong half of the table for the best part of two seasons, yes you can get in young kids from the lower leagues who see Aston Villa has a major step up but can we attract the more experienced player with a couple of hundred premiership outings under their belt, we are about to find out, one thing is definite this is probably the most important transfer window for AVFC for many years.

    UTV

  17. runtingsruntings02-01-2013

    Good morning Ryan

    very interesting write up.

    There are good and bad things about the way everton are run.
    I think the up side is the fact they have moyes who can opperate on next to nothing but the down side is if he leaves they are likely to plumitt without him.
    If Moyes was at villa we would be in very good shape as dispite our poor showing of late we are spending more than any club outside champs lge so he would be likely to take us very far with such backing.
    Moyes is likely to leave Everton at the end of the season when his contract runs out and it just goes to show that the most important thing at any club is the manager

  18. runtingsruntings02-01-2013

    P.S

    mid table is actually achievable this season but we would need to bring the right player in this window to give our selves a chance of mid table

  19. IanIan02-01-2013

    Runtingz – I think you meant ‘right players’ lol :)

  20. southwestvillansouthwestvillan02-01-2013

    With Westwood injured and apparently out for weeks does anyone know when KEA goes the ANC with Morocco?

    UTV

  21. FremFrem02-01-2013

    forgot about KEA going, and now AW out for a while.

    we are desperate.

  22. FremFrem02-01-2013

    hopefully KEA will get some game time and confidence playing in ANC. i still think he will come good

  23. IanIan02-01-2013

    You’ve got to laugh at the mess we are in when it comes to our squad.

    If not I think you’d have to cry!!

    :)

  24. FremFrem02-01-2013

    PL has a hell a hell of a job to do, he must be pulling his hair out.

    there are so many players that need to go by next season, and very little that should stay. we have two really good strikers in benteke and AW, and someone like welback would complete us up front but its hard to build on when benteke will be gone in the summer, weather we survive not.

    midfield and defence though, from this month and the summer, you would say we need at least 8 players altogether and only 3 or 4 that are good enough to start at this level. baker, vlaar, lowton and westwood, maybe clark alongside someone better. lichaj, herd, bennet, stephens, bannan, delph, holman aren’t good enough, ireland and zoggy aren’t interested. thats 9 players getting a lot of football who just aren’t good enough or interested playing for villa or prem football, then there is dunne, bent, gabby, hutton, given and warnock that all need to go

    we are in a mess and really if we are to push on in the next two seasons after this we need those players

  25. FremFrem02-01-2013

    out and a hell of a lot in and it needs to start this month

  26. runtingsruntings02-01-2013

    ianthevillan
    yes indeed i am no shakespear but hopelly ppl know what i am getting at :)

  27. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey02-01-2013

    Hi Ryan,

    With regard to the piece, am I correct in thinking that the “lesson” we can learn from Everton is to spend less money, yet be more successful?

    Obviously one thing Villa must learn – and this is at every level from the board to the fan – is a need for stability. Quite frankly, nobody can be surprised when we are where we are after being on our fourth manager in four years – nobody in their right mind would want to come if Lambert was removed as you quite rightly imply.

    Of course, most sensible people would rather we have a more stable platform like Everton, but this is no different to the idea that I would rather we had great youth players rather than average ones – Rodwell & Rooney are two examples of talents we have never cultivated to that level, with perhaps Gary Cahill the closest to either player.

    We have spent money on developing the academy, and now we are spending time and effort in scouting good players at a young age in order to supplement that academy, something I suggested a long while back in an article.

    Of course, much of these plans are with a long term focus, and the short term must be dealt with too but, to be honest, we have done what we have done to date now and I imagine January will mean more expenditure, though along the lines of a Vlaar/Benteke as opposed to a Bent/Keane in my opinion.

    It will be challenging in the second half of the season, but then it was always going to be. A target of 12th this season was the aim I was going for, and thus this implied a bottom half finish even if it was achieved, so we aren’t that far off there and could still clamber up the table.

    Still, a point was one step forward for us after Swansea. Sure, some might suggest that it was two points lost after conceding late on, but the truth is that we were wholly dominated and lucky to not be far worse off than we really were – a point is more than fair in my eyes for that performance.

    Can we beat Ipswich? One would hope and, as you also state, it is an ideal time to have a break from the league to gain confidence and push on – here’s to things getting better and the weather not being too cold when attending the cup games.

  28. runtingsruntings02-01-2013

    Frem i really like bennet, stephens, bannan and i think delph could end up being a good prem holding midfielder , stephens is decent for someone playing in a weak team at this level for the 1st time.
    Really cant see bentekers being sold anytime soon – maybe in 2 or 3 years when he develops into a world class striker real , barca or a money bags club may come in with major cash but he is ours for now imo
    Agreed about the rest thou as long as we are replacing them with the right quality

  29. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey02-01-2013

    B62,

    “if Lambert gets and spends the same again in this window, and were still cr*p, that’s over £40m spent on a team that actually makes it worse than Mcleish’s”

    How does that make sense? Yes, if Lambert spends badly and we are rubbish still, it will be £40m invested and we could still be in a similar position to last season.

    However, a) why would you generally tend towards the idea that we would not be any better after another £20m spent and b) wouldn’t you agree that we have more depth now than last season, even if things aren’t going to plan.

    In the abstract, what you say is right, but I am just puzzled as to why you have jumped to a point where we are spending money and not improving when we haven’t even seen one target publicly linked yet?

    Is your faith in the club that low at present mate? :(

  30. steamersteamer02-01-2013

    Villa never learn from anyone, its impossible to believe that we are a professional football club run by, being polite, amateurs, unqualified novices, is it any wonder that we blunder from one crisis to another or was this Randy’s idea of long term planning ? This club has been a bad joke since Big Ron left and it won’t get any better with Cheech and Chong running the show.

  31. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey02-01-2013

    For those thinking we are definitely going down, have a think about this.

    It is an oversimplistic way of looking at things, but lets assume that the every team in the bottom six continues to accrue points at the same average per game as they have to date – ie they get no better or no worse than they are now.

    Assuming that we have money to spend (ergo we should get better) and that other clubs also have money to spend (ergo they should get better), then if we balance those two out, we will still not be going down.

    In order for us to do so, we would have to get worse whilst those below us get better. Now I know that it is hard to have faith in the team at times but, in very simple terms, we are still out of the bottom three.

    I know it isn’t much, and some could argue that clubs below us will improve, but our club also has to get worse as well as not improving in the January transfer window for them to pass us.

    If we really are at the stage of believing that will happen, we must ask ourselves why, no? Are Reading and Southampton going to start getting better suddenly? Are QPR going to double their average points per game just to possibly usurp one of the teams above them (never mind every team)?

    We can get through this season and, if we do, we must stick with Lambert. Sure, we could get rid of him but, as Ryan says in his article, surely the money is better spent buying players than (yet again) paying off another manager for their contract?

    Things will get better lads. I may sound like a broken record here, but keep the faith, if only to save yourself from more unnecessary heartache.

  32. FremFrem02-01-2013

    now there are rumours lambert has got the sack

    know one else would want to manage our squad, we may as well stick with him.

    being linked with a 6ft 4 cm, just what we need, we are so light weight

  33. FremFrem02-01-2013

    runtingz- stephens i think could be ok, but bennet has been a disaster. bannan is to hit and miss, delph i thought would be great but he hasn’t made it

  34. IanIan02-01-2013

    My Ins and Outs for the current Villa squad:

    Guzan – Keep
    Given – Keep
    Hutton – Go
    Warnock – Go
    Vlaar -Keep
    Dunne – Go
    Clarke – Keep
    Bennett – Keep
    Lichaj – Go
    Stevens – Keep
    Baker – Keep
    Lowton – Keep
    Williams – Keep
    Ireland – Go
    KEA – Undecided
    Zoggy – Keep
    Albri – Go
    Westwood – Keep
    Delph – Go
    Herd – Go
    (Petrov – unfortunately already gone :( )
    Johnson – Keep
    Gardner – Keep
    Carruthers- Keep
    Holman – Go
    Gabby – Go
    Bent – Go
    Benteke – Keep
    Weimann – Keep
    Bowery – Keep
    Delfounseo – Go

    So out of 31 i’d keep 16, let 14 go and am undecided on 1

    The problem is within my keeps there are 5 ‘kids’ (hate that phrase) who shouldnt be starting anyway and 2 keepers meaning i would have only 9 senior outfield starters available without injuries. Currently 3/4 of them are injured…

    Who agrees with this? Who would you keep or go out of the above that you either dont agree with on my list or I might have missed out? Im really keen in hearing other peoples thoughts please :)

  35. IanIan02-01-2013

    ps Bannan – Go

  36. FremFrem02-01-2013

    matt- it will only get better if we add the right types of player this month, but its worrying PL hasn’t said we will get players but he has said the squad is good enough to keep us up

    if we dont add, it wont get any better. we will just keep picking up the odd point and then which wont be enough

  37. FremFrem02-01-2013

    ian- agree on everyone but zoggy, he will be gone by next season unless he plays brilliant the next few months

  38. FremFrem02-01-2013

    i think we do miss zoggy though, we have no quality in midfield out wide, we need a new creative player as well like him, tom ince. those two out wide with AW and benteke up top, with the 6ft 4 bloke in cm, Bradley Pritchard is 6ft 1 as well.

    we would be more solid and better going forward

  39. B6toBrasilB6toBrasil02-01-2013

    Ian

    Your keep/go list?Mine is identical to yours almost. Holman is in the undecided list for me though.Zoggy I have lost patience with too,so IMO he should go too.Delph I have defended and had high hopes for but I`ve run out of patience.In an ideal world these could be gone at the touch of a button and all their salaries freed up,and fees banked,but it will be gradual and we`ve only lost Collins really,others on your list are out on loan.As we all know there are several huge earners still milking the club.

  40. IanIan02-01-2013

    Frem – agreed, I’d only keep Zoggy if he finds his best form but if he does then it would be like a new signing.

  41. B62 VillaB62 Villa02-01-2013

    Matt ,
    Yes mate my confidence in this club is at an all time low, even worse than when we were relegated in 87, but I was only a teenager then and had the exuberance of youth ;).
    The reason I posted the question was I was playing devils advocate, and opening all the papers and websites all I can find is disheartening links to yet more untested lower league youngsters, which is the polar opposite of what we need. If Lambert turns out to be stubborn and inflexible and we finish worse off than last year despite have twice the money, does that make him worse than the ginger vermin currently working his own brand of black magic in Nottingham?

  42. IanIan02-01-2013

    B6 – I lost patience with Delph a while ago. He just has never seemed to fulfil the potentially he showed early on. I dint hold it against him, he’s a trier at least but the Premier League is a step to far for him. As for Holman again a trier but my Nan is a better footballer than him…

    As I just said to Frem, if Zoggy comes back to his best then he could be good. If not we might as well sell as quick as possible…

  43. SuperBoxSuperBox02-01-2013

    Frem – I know you love the “window” but some no mark on twitter is not a source to claim PL has been sacked. Take moment before posting for all our sakes.

    Ian – Zoggy can’t/won’t be bothered. I’d sell him as fast as I could while people still remember him and we get someone on that doesn’t flounce around looking sulky. He needs to be a big fish in a small pond.

    B62 – Yeah but don’t forget that AM is a top manager, SAF and Jamie Redkanppp said so, so it must be true. He has never lost a opening match as a new manager, appears his magic is fading. I know a Forest fan, but as he is already in hospital, taking the mick about AM being your manager hardly seems fair, I am sure he suffering enough.

  44. Ian GibsonIan Gibson02-01-2013

    Hello Ryan, I chucked my thoughts for an article after I read your piece. I agree completely to what you have said. There are two other teams IMO who do the same type of business as Everton and what Villa is starting to do and that is Arsenal and Wigan. Two teams at opposite ends of the league. Arsenal do sell and buy but in a much higher $$$ bracket. Having a giant stadium helps too. Wigan, with a smaller income do the same and as the money suggests at a lower level of success. But success it is. They have created a team that manages to stay up by the skin of their teeth evey year. The league has become segmented into top six, bottom six and the middle eight. The teams in these groupings are quite competitive amongst themselves and to some degree there is occational change in the groupings. It has become the objective to improve within your group and if possible to jump to the next group. It is nigh impossible for a team to make a march up the table. Within the three groups’ talent and quality level very tight movement is very limited. Resources will, over the long haul will designate position in the league. Resources are what gives a team a certain depth to deal with injury, the ability to buy a needed player (at that clubs’ level of spending) with the x factor being the manager. What the manager brings to the table will be the good or bad fortune for the team. Villa has proved that unchallenged spending won’t work when you in reality have a spending cap. They have also proved that revolving managers have messed the players up. And they have proved that short term is poison to a more limited resource team. QPR are learning a big lesson at the moment, Newcastle are settling into their rightful position, and Liverpool are suffering much like Villa did and is still doing.
    Let’s see what Lambert and his staff have in store for us this January before we really dig into the club. The downward trend that Villa were on is a tough one to turn around. Don’t you think there is a light at the end of the tunnel with some of the performances? Or is that light engine # 9 barrelling towards you in the night?

    I agree with your list ian. But would that large a bite all at once create some upheaval in the club even though they are considered dead wood?

    And Steamer, another dig at a famous Canadian. Tommy Chong is an Albertan who used to front a band in Calgary in the early sixties. He was in the city a few years back and literally got a hero’s welcome. :-)

  45. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey02-01-2013

    B62,

    It all depends on what you quantify in terms of calculation if comparing McLeish vs Lambert.

    Lambert has had more money, yes, but also appears to be getting no value from McLeish’s signings either. Arguably, Lambert would have got better value from the money spent by AM.

    I’m sure most would believe what Lambert is trying to build is a sound idea, it just requires some patience. However, as we all know, many fans are far from patient and want fixes now.

    McLeish wasn’t as bad as some made him out to be, but his footballing philosophy was poor to watch. Was he right to close up shop and not get hammered? I guess we’ll find out at the end of the season in terms of whether attacking football have been the right solution for us under Lambert.

  46. SuperBoxSuperBox02-01-2013

    Matt – The true test of a great manager is when to shut up shop and when to exploit your winning position. AM default position after going a goal up seemed to be shut up shop, where as fans wanted to see more attacking intent. Lambert appears to be of the other mindset, a touch of the Keegans, if you will.

    It is/was the great trick of Jose Mourinho, knew when to shut up shop, and knew when to tell them to keep playing.

    If PL and the team can learn this, like from the 85th minute of the Swansea game, this is the time to pull down the shutters, turn over the closed sign, cash up and turn off the lights.

  47. IanIan02-01-2013

    I think for PL we can’t just look at just his signing now but also what they’ll be like in the future. Even if you compare the signings PL comes out better:
    McLoser – Given (reserve), Hutton (not wanted), Holman (pretty much not wanted) and Zoggy (god knows to be honest, most don’t want him, so do)
    Lambo – Lowton (good, will get better), Bennett (not sure about), Vlaar (good, already miss him), KEA (decent), Benteke ( brilliant an will get better, bought for £7m probably sel for £25m+), Bowery (yet to be seen properly)

    All in all his signings have been decent to good unlike McLosers and Houlliers who have acted as weights around our necks. Personally I’m all for Lambo’s policy in the main, I still think he needs experience but that could come from the continent and his mixing of our youth and lower leagues has been good.

    The problem we have faced is a mounting injury list and some of our academy players, who lets face it people were screaming for them to play last season, not being good enough for this league.

    Lets give Lambo and Henke the benefit of the doubt as they seem ti have already got a few decent players in and get behind this team. Yes we all know there is some deadwood in there, Christ we have talked about it enough on here, but this is the hand we are dealt and we need to see it through.

    UTV

  48. FremFrem02-01-2013

    Supperbox we did Shut up shop, our defence is just shocking. We had a few chances to clear it but wr didnt and we had about eight or nine guys in the area and they still scored

  49. IanIan02-01-2013

    Ian (good name that :) ),

    Granted didn’t mean straight away, it’s just the dead wood that needs addressing in the next couple of windows… Fingers crossed McLeish and O’Neill come back for some of their old boys… :)

  50. Graham O'GaraGraham O'Gara02-01-2013

    I haven’t had the time to read through the points other have made… but I have big sticking point here and it’s to do with Lerner. There are many people on here who do not like the man… I doubt many of them had the same problem back at the time he came and allowed MoN his every wish… But this notion he came in without a plan and just started splashing cash is frankly pathetic. It was quite clearly pblicised at the time the MoN and Lerner had a 5 year plan unfortunately we can’t control factors out side our football club and when the The Arabs came along with their deep pockets it made Lerners funds look like peanuts… This was a factor we can not control… The players wanted to leave the club, their heads where turned and even the though club offered far higher wages the players wanted to go… Lerner was not actively wanting to sell… I do get quite fed up with the benefit of hindsight s**te… He got us damn close to the CL… he provided the funds to a manager and got blown out the water by bigger boys with more pocket money and then found the manager was buying without foresight… buying for the then as stop gaps…

    Has it been ideal the way things have gone since then? No. Have mistakes been made? Yes… Do I blame Lerner completely for it? No, and nor should anyone.

    The club desperately need stability and togetherness… Lambert should go nowhere even with relegation looming.

    Everton? We should copy Everton? Nah. We should copy Spurs… Dortmund… Shalke… And i’ve been saying it for years… Ohhh hang on that’s what we are doing… I hope… development of a young squad… but the difference is they had players of a quality and experience already with the squad… Lambert inherited what?

    If Lerner was dictating the players we bought and not allowing the manager to select their own he’d be getting slated… No win situation.

    We are on the right course, we need to stick together and continue on it… perhaps with a slight diversion on the way… but the direction we are heading is most definately the right one for the club.

    As for the “rose” tinted idea Everton have spent nothing… take a long hard look at their transfer spending… it’s one of these myths like Paul Scholes doesn’t know what he’s doing when he’s tripping people… Moyes greatest trick was convincing people he hasn;t spent much money… erm… He’s spent quite a lot infact. Also Everton “sustainable wage bill” Really? Have a look… it’s less than ours but not sustainable for them…

    Any praise for the commercial performance of Villa compared to Everton of late? Any praise for the facility management at Villa rather than the crumbling wreck that is Goodison? Minor facts but do have some influence on the pitch down the line…

    Everton are running them selves slowly in to a corner and soon will implode… without the sale of Baines and Fellaini… then what? Another 5 years of similar and then a panick to sell again… This is not the model I want to work to…

    I might just be in a bad mood because I’m back at work but seriously!

    Send someone back with Lerners money and with hindsight and anyone could do better… you’d know who to buy, when to buy… it’d be easy…

  51. steamersteamer02-01-2013

    Hello Ian,
    Cheech & Chong used to crack me up years ago, got a couple of DVD’s i drag out occasionally.
    Amusing Neil Young anecdote’s on YouTube from Rusty Young of Poco, a very good band, listen to Nothin’ to Hide and Magnolia. I think NY is doing a UK tour this year.

  52. SuperBoxSuperBox02-01-2013

    Graham – I alluded to the to the commercial aspect of Villa v Everton earlier. And if I am not mistaken, didn’t Goodison fail a safety inspection?

    Frem – SupperBox, I like it. I may have to chnage my name – ha ha! Loving it! When I say shut up shop, I am not sure it is the mentality of the squad just yet, do they know how to? As you say Swansea suggests not, but if 6 of the 11 are trying it and 5 want to try and score a break away goal, it won’t work.

  53. steamersteamer02-01-2013

    Graham, those aren’t mistakes they’re blunders that could have sunk this club, 4,200 season tickets sold before ginger was booted, and don’t forget Lerners appointment Chubby wanted to keep him on, The OGS fiasco, Houllier, a sick man and the lack of anyone at admin level who actually knows anything about the game after SIX years, Lerner allowed MON to sign players on ridiculous wages, who’s fault ? no-one else’s but Lerner, any defence of him is obviously and factually wrong. Don’t forget we had no debt before he came and had a better team and admin, its a long way back to where we were and that was no-where.

  54. Ian GibsonIan Gibson02-01-2013

    Steamer, Neil Young on your mind? Everyone knows this is nowhere. :-)

  55. B6toBrasilB6toBrasil02-01-2013

    Graham o`G and Ian G.

    outstanding pieces from you both.

  56. Josh CattierJosh Cattier02-01-2013

    A good read up on SSN if anyone is interested. Talks about the possibility of Lerner selling us.

    http://www1.skysports.com/football/news/12799/8376409/Lost-cause-

    In relation to the article, “doing an Everton” is definitely what this club should be looking at now, we’re almost a newly-promoted team anyway with the amount of Championship and lower players that have come in, so we can be looking to achieve the goals usually set up by similar teams such as Stoke, Wolves and Sunderland after their promotions. We need to stay up, stabilise our position as a Premier League team for 2-3 seasons, and slowly push on. With a transfer focus on young up-and-coming players, if they work out, this should be easily achievable as they will naturally progress into better quality players. This is still a very risky strategy though and there’s a reason Man City, Chelsea, Spurs rarely use academy players and instead splurge huge sums on developed talent. In Lambert I think we have the right guy for this kind of strategy however, but it may not be a gradual progression it may result in very up-and-down seasons or similar positioning to Newcastle who just about stayed up, then finished 6th and now find themselves back amongst the bottom teams. Either way, as long as we can stabilise ourselves as an EPL team rather than looking over our shoulder, we can have the freedom to tinker with the squad without immense pressure and scrutiny, and our fans should be a lot more on-board.

  57. FremFrem02-01-2013

    apparently we want sinclair on loan ??

    hes already played for 2 prem teams this season but can we still get him on loan ??

    hed be perfect with zoggy, get milner as well PL

  58. FremFrem02-01-2013

    and it sounds like Kelvin Leerdam and dale stephens are targets for CM. neither solve our problems of being light weigh though

  59. FremFrem02-01-2013

    he can play for us.

    get him in

  60. J.P. WilsonJ.P. Wilson02-01-2013

    frem- u honestly believe zoggy will save us?
    the guy has never played 5 games strait for us, he’s injured more than micheal owen,

    and i believe has only scored 2 goals for us!

    u are delusional. hope ur watching ur shitty qpr!

  61. Andrew PAndrew P02-01-2013

    Steamer, Old Biker – Neil Young is touring this year. I’ve got tickets to see him in Brum and London. He’s touring with Crazy Horse – should be brilliant.

    Speaking of brilliant, there is some fairly grudging praise of Paul Lambert above – not from everyone but the tone of a few posters has been ‘if we get rid of him we might not get anyone better’. I think we’re lucky to have him. The injuries, the lack of experience in the squad, the absence of any depth. Lambert could be offering these as excuses all day long. To his credit, he isn’t – he’s making the best of a fairly indifferent hand. He’s ditched the old guard who have failed us before and he’s juggling the youngest squad we’ve ever had.

    I wouldn’t take anyone – not even David Moyes – ahead of him. Stick with him Villans. It will all come right.

  62. J.P. WilsonJ.P. Wilson02-01-2013

    ps frem- this sunderland with so much quality… they are losing 2-0 to liverpool already.

  63. FremFrem02-01-2013

    fastback- we will stand more chance with zoggy then without him, its better than playing holman and bennet out wide, two s**te players

    liverpool are a getting better, as will sunderland

  64. FremFrem02-01-2013

    i suppose the world class gabby will save us…….

    oh s**t, hes already scored his one goal a season

  65. FremFrem02-01-2013

    would you like sinclair ??

  66. J.P. WilsonJ.P. Wilson02-01-2013

    sinclair yea, sure, zoggy will never save us, why, does he doesnt like us, just like makoun he wants to go to france.

    zoggy would be the same as playing holman!

  67. FremFrem02-01-2013

    and QPR doing better than we did against chelsea. not bad for guys who dont play as a team

  68. FremFrem02-01-2013

    zoggy is so much a better player than holman even when he ain’t playing well.

    i think PL will get something out of him. him, sinclair, benteke and AW in the final 3rd is pretty good, get another striker as well and happy days there.

    its in CM and defence we really need something doing

  69. AndrewAndrew02-01-2013

    Bloody chelsea have dropped hazzard, mata and cole.

    Good work with the transfer gossip frem, i want lescott, nzonzi and aguemong. Please.

  70. AndrewAndrew02-01-2013

    Frem we need shot of wasters like nzog and ireland asap.

  71. FremFrem02-01-2013

    andrew – ireland yes but we have know one else like zoggy, our midfield is awful apart from westwood and zoggy can travel with ball and be a danger man, we have know one else who can do that

    those 3 would be great. aguemong has been linked a lot, we do need another striker

  72. FremFrem02-01-2013

    its better to have zoggy then bennet or holman anywhere near our first team.

  73. J.P. WilsonJ.P. Wilson02-01-2013

    frem- yea, zoggy CAN be, but is he?

    NO!!!! HE HASNT BEEN A DANGER PLAYER AT ALL FOR US,

    AND f**k U! ZOGGY HAS DONE MORE FOR US NOT PLAYING THAN HOLMAN WHILE PLAYING?

    r u shitting me? zoggys sitting the bench, doing f**k all, making more than holeman who works his socks off.
    u cried for us to get hutton, u cried for us to get zoggy, and they have done f**k all!
    they havent even looked like players at all while wearing a villa jersey! get off of those favorite people glasses u wear and smell the f**king roses u one sided t**t!

  74. Ian GibsonIan Gibson02-01-2013

    Andrew,
    NY was in Calgary last November and put on an astounding show. Imissed buying tickets as they sold out almost instantly. Lucky you. I expect you to record the whole thing on your i-phone and send it to me. :-)

  75. Andrew PAndrew P02-01-2013

    OB there’s a bloke over here who sells CDs of most Neil Young and Dylan gigs. I’ll see if I can get hold of a copy of the Calgary gig for you. Got tickets for 2 NY gigs and for Bradford home and away – so yay for me!

  76. FremFrem02-01-2013

    fastback- holman is one of the worst players ive ever seen

    QPR winning by the way

  77. FremFrem02-01-2013

    i never wanted hutton, i really liked luke young

  78. Andrew PAndrew P02-01-2013

    Frem, Holman’s really not that bad. Remember his goal at Norwich? I’ve seen hundreds of worse players playing for us.

  79. IanIan02-01-2013

    Frem / Andrew P – step forward one Bosko Balaban…

  80. IanIan02-01-2013

    To be fair to Frem though, he may not be the worst but he’s certainly terrible is Holman. I would prefer Mittens / My Nan playing instead of him…

  81. IanIan02-01-2013

    CALLING ALL AMERICANS

    I’m in Orlando for work on Saturday for a couple of days and was wondering if anyone knew where was good to either watch the 2 cup games coming up or what channel (if any) they will be shown on?

    Your help would be much appreciated :)

  82. Ian GibsonIan Gibson02-01-2013

    Bosko Balaban? Must be related to Borat. You can’t make names like that up.

  83. IanIan02-01-2013

    Does anyone know if Gary Richards and Alan Wright are still around for a game?

  84. IanIan02-01-2013

    Sorry meant Gary Charles there :)

  85. FremFrem02-01-2013

    great win for QPR. not a chance in hell they are going down. there only 6 points behind us.

    we need series investment if we are going stay up

  86. FremFrem02-01-2013

    andrew – he really is that bad. hes more us to the opposition then us

    even against swansea for there second goal he was at fault

  87. IanIan02-01-2013

    Ian – I think also Savo was related to Slobodan. Explains his temper after all… :)

  88. FremFrem02-01-2013

    use to the opposition then us

  89. B62 VillaB62 Villa02-01-2013

    Holman is awful, cant pass, cant tackle cant take people on his only attribute is his energy level and the odd shot. However Zoggy has been a complete waste of oxygen since his arrival and has been a complete waste of money and talent. Both these players would be on my list to be sold or moved on (Its a big list ). Well as bad as QPR have been this season, that is the result of the season, it really puts our 8-0 into some perspective, we were/are awful and showing little sign of improvement, the same cant be said of those below us, i think this relegation will be a lot tighter than some think. If Harry does pull off a miracle (and its still a long shot) will fastback apologise to Frem and eat a massive slice of humble pie, or will they just get a room ;)

  90. FremFrem02-01-2013

    QPR will also buy some really fine players this month.

    very worried for us. wigan batter us, saints improving and QPR not far behind us

  91. AndrewAndrew02-01-2013

    Frem, qpr has signed a fine player……tel ben haim……#anothergreedyoldplayer

  92. Ian GibsonIan Gibson02-01-2013

    I don’t believe it! The Premier League poobahs in their great wisdom have decided that due to the quality of the players, manager, fans, and owner that QPR will move up to the top six as their first 20 f**king games were an anonmaly. Both Manchesters welcome the move and Arsenal are apoplectic over the decision as it affects them directly. Harry was heard to say f**k them. Queen Elisabeth was happy with the move and gave her corgis an extra helping of shepards pie for dinner. Not only that but every African nation have declared a national holiday for the win over Chelsea. Abramovich has resorted to cheap Alberta vodka. Finally the world is as it should be–QPR in the champions league by proclamation. And they got the new Olympic Stadium over West Ham. God himself has come down and given them winged boots. Happy Frem? 2 wins in 21 and the beer is flowing in London town.

  93. FremFrem02-01-2013

    no im not happy cus QPR just beat a side who humiliated us and are now only 6 points behind us which is absolutely nothing baring in mind we cant win a game for s**t.

    and saints are getting better and better and have some good players and wigan always survive

    do you not realise how much trouble we are in ??

    if we buy the right players this month we should be fine but its two guys from chalton’s midfield it sounds like we are looking to to keep us up. mmmmm

  94. Gav MerrimanGav Merriman02-01-2013

    Nice article Ryan, however I’d argue the reason behind Everton’s success is continuity. Moyes has shown what is possible if you keep a manager and group of players together and instil a good mentality and work ethic. This is what Lambert is trying to do, he needs time and support to do it.

    Ian, agree with most the list but I’d keep Delph, Herd, Lichja, and Bannan. Granted they can all be frustrating but all will improve. They give us depth on low wages.

  95. Gav MerrimanGav Merriman02-01-2013

    Frem I feel sorry for you. You’d be far better off if you supported QPR. You’d be in your element following a team that was forever signing overpriced, over-rated mercenary’s.

  96. FremFrem02-01-2013

    gav- so if you had the choice, you would rather have delph, BB, holman etc over hoiliet, tarrat, grenaro, mbia, SWP, park etc

    who’s midfield will stay up out of those two ?? our or there’s

  97. Ian GibsonIan Gibson02-01-2013

    If there is a team to watch out for it’s the Saints

  98. FremFrem02-01-2013

    we have to watch out for everyone

    as our squad is, we wont stay up. we desperately need to use january and not on the last day. get them in before the saints game

  99. Gav MerrimanGav Merriman02-01-2013

    Agree Ian, saints look great at the moment, Totally outplayed Arsenal and were very unlucky.

    Frem, I’d would rather have our midfield than theirs. Not only do ours care about the club, they work harder and will improve with time. The time for big names and established talent has gone along with MON and Randy’s millions. We need to embrace unknown euro boys and lower league brits.

  100. Gav MerrimanGav Merriman02-01-2013

    I know panic seems to be primary driver Frem but we’ll get out of this. Our players aren’t as bad as everyone seems to think. On our day we can play some great football we just need more consistency which will come as players & confidence return.

    The 15-0 embarrassment has rightly scared the hell out of all us, but we are only a few points from mid table and stand a good chance of reaching Wembley.

  101. SuperBoxSuperBox02-01-2013

    I’ve just read a Saints blog and they are really worried about us, QPR, Reading and Wigan strengthening and leaving them in the bottom 3.

    I’ve just read a Reading blog and they are very worried about us, QPR,Wigan and Saints strengthenin and improving and leaving them in the bottom 3.

    I’ve just read a Wigan blog….

    You get the idea

  102. FremFrem03-01-2013

    gav- yes there improve but will it be quick enough to keep us up ??

    superbox- i think saints could stay up without buying anyone, same with QPR. i couldn’t say that with wigan, reading and villa though, we all need to buy 4 to 6 players to stand a real chance

  103. FremFrem03-01-2013

    gav- and as you say, it could still turn out to be a brilliant season. win the cup, get europe because of it and survive

    that would be lovely but we need vast improvement for all that to happen

  104. FremFrem03-01-2013

    AVFC ‏@VILLA_SOURCE
    Paul Lambert lodged a bid this evening, which was accepted for Dale Stephens. Undisclosed fee right now. It may stay that way.

    mmm. wonder if its true. get a ball winning CM as well

  105. Gav MerrimanGav Merriman03-01-2013

    It’s horrible being at this end of the table and getting bummed senseless by Wigan was soul destroying. But for the first time in ages I can see real hope for us and i’m not worried at all about QPR, Reading, Wigan, and Saints.

    Am I alone in thinking we’ll end up having a alright season? Perhaps finishing 14th, improving loads, and maybe having a trip to Wembley. All without needing to sign the kind of bellends that take salaries from QPR.

  106. Gav MerrimanGav Merriman03-01-2013

    I hope we have signed him, sounds like a decent little signing, Not a ball winner though, more of an all rounder and play maker.

    Interesting read http://www.sabotagetimes.com/football/football-sport/dale-stephens-why-charlton-must-build-their-team-around-the-aston-villa-target/

    Irelands days look numbered. Shame but he hasn’t lived up to his potential.

  107. Ian GibsonIan Gibson03-01-2013

    Gav, I’m with you rregarding future play. Villa’s potential is high IMO.

  108. Ian GibsonIan Gibson03-01-2013

    Sell Given and give Siegrist a spot on the bench. How good is Marshall?

  109. Gav MerrimanGav Merriman03-01-2013

    I hope Lambert sticks to his guns and signs good young players and doesn’t panic bringing in experience because the pundits and media are calling for it. We had experience last year with muppets like hutton, collins, warnock and nearly went down. The massive amount of experience at QPR doesn’t seem to be helping them much.

    What we need is belief, a well organised team, and a few more signings to help improve the team. Bonus if we can find some experienced old sages but IMO the core of the transfer activity should stay the same.

  110. FremFrem03-01-2013

    gav- experience will help organise the team, something we have nothing of. no organisation, no experience and no calm

    hutton etc experienced but cr*p, parker, milner, dawson etc experienced but good.

    we will stick with buying younger players for sure but a couple of wise heads will go along away to keep us up and to teach the younger guys

    stephens fair enough give him a go but also get a parker/ palacius in, a CB, a winger and striker

  111. Gav MerrimanGav Merriman03-01-2013

    If we could find someone to do for us what Gary McAllister did for Liverpool I’d be over the moon. But they can’t just be coming here for a pay day otherwise we’ll get no passion and commitment from them.

    I like Parker, I’d welcome that move. Milner is never going to happen, Dawson’s a sick note, and Palacious has no character. I think there is more chance we’ll bring in an older player from the continent than premiership dross. Someone like a Mathieu Flamini would be good.