I’m Sorry, Ron…


I feel I have an apology to make to our captain, Ron Vlaar.

Towards the start of the season I wrote an article questioning Vlaar’s ability and asked whether he was in fact a liability. To say I have been proven wrong would be an understatement.

In general, this season Ron Vlaar has been nothing short of superb. Imagine what might happen if he had a semi-competent defence around him!

Following a slow start against Arsenal, Vlaar has gone on to be a real rock and leader in the back four. It is testament to how good he has been that his absence was so noticeable when he was injured over the past few weeks.

Amid fears that Lambert was rushing the captain back from a calf injury in a bid to quell growing unrest, Vlaar returned to the side to ring in 2014 at the Stadium of Light on New Year’s Day. I believe it’s no coincidence that on that day the players managed to keep their first clean sheet in several weeks, although Vlaar did go off injured after seventy minutes.

‘Captain Concrete’ made his latest return at Villa Park against Arsenal on Monday evening and despite the defeat he turned in another excellent performance, making several superbly timed last ditch tackles.

On the whole, this season we’ve been a lot better defensively (although I would have to say it would have been difficult to be any worse) and I think this is largely down to Vlaar’s vast improvement, as we saw the ghosts of last season’s defensive frailties return when he was injured, and the influence he has on his defensive team-mates.

I don’t have any statistics to back up what I’m saying here, partially because I’ve become sick to death of stats this season but also because I don’t think I need any. Vlaar has been immense.

So, Ron, I’m  sorry I doubted you and I’m extremely pleased to have been proven wrong. Please forgive me and keep up the good work.

In my book, Vlaar is on course for player of the season: Delph was a clear leader but his form has dropped off recently.

Oo Ah, Ron Vlaar!


  1. Unfortunately, you like many fans these days are too quick to write people off. Instant gratification is all today’s society wants and people fail to realise players are human so will all take different amounts of time to settle. Fans win the league on Football Manager and believe they’re experts!

  2. I think centre back is the hardest position to play in the PL because postitioning, and positioning in relation to the other three defenders, is critical as well as being able to play football. Young CBs and incoming foreigners need to play alongside an experienced CB for at least a season so they can focus purely on getting their game together for the challenges of the PL rather than trying to co-ordinate the defensive unit. Ron didn’t have that luxury last season and was thrown into a back 4 where he was the only player over 23 – absolutely stupid!!

    I think Lambert has made a similar mistake this season with Vlaar remaining the only experienced player in the back line. When he plays we look reasonably good as he has found his feet. However, a back line with Clark and Baker at its heart does not look good. I feel sorry for these two as I think they are both decent CBs but Lambert’s insistence on not buying experience is hindering their development. When Okore was signed (and I do think he will be a player – although will also look better alongside Vlaar) Lambert should have sold/loaned out one of Baker or Clark (or moved the latter into CM?) and bought in experienced cover for Vlaar – maybe a Clint Hill from QPR or someone like that.

    Lambert’s ineptitude at recognising the need for PL experience in this position was detrimental to Vlaar last season and is proving similar to the rest of our young back 4 as they try to develop.

  3. Agree 100 % about Vlaar now he has sussed the Premier League he is an important player for us. I disagree with other posts about our lack of experience in centre defensive areas’ Baker and Clark especially have experience and it is their ability that should be questioned. Once Okore is fit and settled in I think he will be a big player for us.

  4. For all the Lambert criticism, you would be a fool to think Lambert in anyway wanted our defence to ever return to Baker/Clark combo. I like both players individually but as a unit they are lambs to the slaughter. Clearly the intention was Vlaar with a years experience (which all fans should give a foreign signing yet continually forget) and Okore. Okore will be something really special. I’ve seen enough of him for Denmark and in the Champions League to know he is very, very special. He passes like a centre-mid, even gaining assists from CB, he is quick, strong and leaps like a salmon. With them two at centre-back and Luna bedded in/a new left-back we will look good next year defensively. Just please sort out the midfield this January so we can push on before Lambert loses the faith of more idiotic boo-boys who couldn’t spot a plan because they are too busy howling and flinging their faeces like monkeys at every little incident.


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