Unless things turn around as quickly as they fell apart after the Chelsea win Paul Lambert is out on his feet. In every conceivable way this is a club and a team that has completely lost the plot. After the last few days I don’t even know where to begin.
I can’t recall a manager’s top two assistants getting the sack in the middle of the season. A manager and his assistants are usually tied at the hip. When Martin O’Neil walked, so to did his entire team. This move that was either made or sanctioned by our American owner is the type of move you might see at a baseball club where coaches are more interchangeable. If a team is struggling and not hitting, the hitting coach might get canned. If the results don’t improve, the manager is usually not far behind.
Whatever the reason really is for the move, it reflects poorly on the manager. Culverhouse and Karsa were his guys. They had worked under him at multiple clubs. If Lambert can’t manage his right and left hand, how can he manage the rest of the club? If he can’t command the respect of his own staff, how is he supposed to maintain the respect of his players?
Evidently the mood around the club improved immediately when these guys were shown the door. It’s one thing to be demanding as a coach or as a leader; to be tough, to hold others accountable, to set and demand high standards. Being tough doesn’t mean treating others without respect and dignity. Whether it’s losing all respect from the players, being insubordinate after a pathetic defeat, or most distressingly bullying club employees.
If that last allegation is true that’s the most aggravating of all. Treating others with dignity and respect is the easiest thing we as human beings can do. As coaches these clowns obviously thought they were more important than the physios, kitchen help, and/or analysts employed by the club. The people you disrespect on the way up are the same ones you’ll pass on the way down. As a club that does as much right off the pitch in the community helping others this is antithetical to everything the club stands for.
On the pitch the team has no clue. After two minutes against Palace when they let us keep the ball the result was always inevitable. The quality of play last year was like Brazil compared to the timid displays of late. I can take losing if we try to win. The game was slipping away and the manager sat on his hands hoping for a draw. A draw that would have been completely undeserved. Even if we had nicked it, would anybody have felt one iota better about where we are?
The prospect of Lambert going into next year as a lame duck has always been a non-starter. It’s hard enough for a manager to command respect of millionaire footballers. It’s impossible with no job security. Attracting players would be problematic if the players didn’t know the man signing them would be around. When his potential extension was first reported the results were better and the club was looking up and not down. If the team even had a moderately respectable finish to the season extending the manager made more sense than sacking him and starting all over again.
Now that the club have fallen flat on their face the situation is untenable. The manager has no staff, no job security, and has lost the fan base.
It was always going to be a difficult job. A fish rots from the head down. The problems at the club extend far beyond the manager. Somebody on Twitter said that if you put three different lightbulbs in a lamp, and none of the light up, it’s probably not the lightbulbs that are the problem.
I’m not beating the drum to sack the manager. I have no idea who else I want in the hot seat or who would actually want the job. I can’t see this manager continuing under these circumstances beyond this season. The handwriting is on the wall. Randy Lerner and Paul Faulkner’s statements are eerily similar to what they said two years ago as the wheels fell off the wagon for Alex McLeish.
With Gordon Cowans getting his old job back as a first team coach, and Shay Given becoming the highest paid assistant in world football it can’t get worse in the short term. Like two years ago we will stay up because the teams below us are more terrible than us.
The way things are going Villa are the new Wigan. We flirt with the drop every year and unless something changes one of these years we will go down. If that happens I won’t be the least bit bothered. We are where we are because this is where we deserve to be.