What happens next?

9

This season has been another disappointing one for Villa fans. It has been a season which has seen us get good results against the top teams then some poor ones against the teams around us in the table, with Stoke, Crystal Palace and Fulham all doing the double over us this season. The home form hasn’t seen any real improvement, with the victory against Hull being only our sixth home victory. Fans at Villa Park also witnessed a club record ten home defeats in the Premier League.

Our away form earned Lambert and his players many plaudits last season, with Villa picking up twenty-one points on the road last season, which is four points better than this season’s current tally of seventeen. The Villans started the season well away from home, putting in positive performances against Arsenal, Chelsea and Norwich, but since then our away form has stuttered and we haven’t won away from home since New Year’s Day when we beat Sunderland 1-0 at the Stadium of Light. Despite a positive performance against Liverpool at Anfield, our away form has been poor since the turn of the year.

Randy Lerner

Villa chairman Randy Lerner is expected to try to sell the club this summer. Lerner is rarely seen in Birmingham but according to Lambert in February he has been to Villa Park in disguise to watch his team play.

Since Martin O’Neill left in 2010, Randy Lerner has cut costs at Aston Villa and has not invested as much in the transfer market as he did in the past. He recently offered a rare statement, in which he refused to rule out a potential sale of the club in the summer, stating that he will address these rumours at the end of the season. According to ‘The Birmingham Mail’, it is understood that negotiations with a potential buyer have already taken place and the sale hinged on Premier League survival. With the Villans now mathematically safe, the rumoured sale of the club may go ahead. In any case, Aston Villa Football Club will earn at least £40 million in television revenue for staying in the Premier League.

Back in 2006, Randy Lerner purchased Aston Villa Football Club for £63 million and has since invested around £250 million in players and facilities such as Bodymoor Heath and the Holte Pub. He hasn’t given Paul Lambert similar funding to previous managers and the team has suffered because of this.

Paul Lambert

On 13th May 2012 at Carrow Road, the away fans sang Paul Lambert’s name, calling for him to be the next Aston Villa manager. Two years on, it seems that most Villa fans have now changed their minds and want him and the chairman out.

Lambert talks about a three year plan but we have seen no real progress. Towards the end of last season we showed real promise and looked as if we could build on the results and performances. However, this season has really been a step backwards in terms of the way we have played: last season we played some nice football but there has been too much ‘hoofing’ the ball up to our strikers, who have not had enough service, during the current campaign.

Lambert has broken a few unwanted records while in charge of Aston Villa, one of them being Villa losing ten times at home for the first ever time in the history of the club, and has also overseen disappointing results in cup competitions, getting knocked out in the semi-final of the Capital One Cup by Bradford and being beaten in the FA Cup by Milwall early in 2013 and this season losing to Sheffield United.

Paul Lambert recently said that he wants to bring in more experienced players, with Javier Hernández, Lewis Holtby, and Joleon Lescott all being linked. If Lambert is still in charge this summer, would you trust him with a larger transfer budget? Some of Lambert’s signings were real bargains while others haven’t really worked out.

The team

The players must also take some of the blame for their part in what has been an extremely poor season. Whoever is in charge next season will need to evaluate the squad and get rid of certain players. With players like Sylla, Helenius, Tonev and Bowery getting limited match action, it might be time for them to move on.

We could replace these players with players from our academy. Aston Villa won the Next-Gen Series last season, with players like Grealish, Robinson, and Carruthers all participating. Grealish has just been named Notts County’s ‘Player of the Month’ and his impact while he has been on loan helped the club to beat the drop.

Since Benteke and Kozak suffered serious injuries, summer signing Nicklas Helenius may have hoped he’d see more of the action but he has had to sit on the bench and will only be remembered for getting his shorts pulled down by Jan Vertonghan if he does leave this summer. Despite scoring in the game against Sheffield United, Helenius hasn’t featured since, which has disappointed some Villa fans.

Now that we are approaching the end of the season, we will see the return of Darren Bent and could see the departure of our once highly rated midfielder Gary Gardner.

As much as I would have liked Paul Lambert to have been successful at Aston Villa, he hasn’t really lived up to fans’ hopes. Last month he seemingly told unhappy fans to take a reality check and insisted that Aston Villa Football Club has made “major progress”. Fans were not hoping for a Champions’ League push this season but for a comfortable mid-table position. This would have been seen as progress but instead we had to toil once again to preserve our Premier League status.

Hopefully, next season will be an improvement on this one. With the right investment, we could show Paul Lambert what “major progress” looks like.

9 COMMENTS

  1. Well what a terrible Season we have had! Let us hope that Randy Lerner sells the Club! The next thing is to sack Lambert and get in a good manager who knows all about buying good players.

    I spent 34 years of my life in Yorkshire and there is a saying up there: “If you pay Peanuts you get Monkeys!”

    Well we have had Monkeys at Villa for far too long! So let us go out a get a real Manager and some good players, starting with Gareth Barry! Bring back Milner too! But not selfish Ashley Young or the very overrated Downing! We only want UPS and no more DOWNS!

    Let us make a FRESH START and wipe all memories of the last 4 seasons away for ever!

    Up the Villa, still the greatest Club and let us go out and WIN SOME THING AGAIN!

    Malcolm D WAtts

  2. Yeah! Well we are safe ,after months of worrying and dreading each game I personally will be glad to hear the final whistle on sunday! Whatever happens over the summer we just cannot keep buying on the cheap, not if we want to have a credible chance of avoiding relegation battles !randy learner has been disrespectful and insulting to the beautiful game! I do not think there will be any tears shed or fond farewells if he decides to sell by anyone! However I think lambert should stay till january to prove his worth at the club if no progress is made then its the chop for him! Thanks andi for your two goals and matt to keep us safe pity you did not do it sooner though but still villa till I die

  3. Until Randy Lerner up’s and off’s we are in limbo.

    While the club continues to be run as a cheap-jack operation with minimum expenditure, no leadership and/or direction, and completely devoid of ambition, then we shall continue to swim against the tide.

    We can change the manager all we want, but while they continue to work minus the tools required, and with one hand tied behind their back, then the Villa Park hot seat will remain a poisoned chalice.

  4. Laudrup, Klinsman, even Guardiola. If one of these three is appointed by a new board then renew those season tickets, do not until then. There are too many false dawns from the past, and too many clowns still at AVFC. Until a statement of CLASS is shown, beware the smoke and mirrors of Lambert, Lerner and Faulkner. They combined are the reason for two seasons of decline.

  5. Why will Randy sell?

    He is a speculator, He buys things that are broke and fixes them to sell at a huge profit.

    Regardless of what you may personally think of the man Villa ain’t broke any more. We are in fact an excellent buy for an Investor. I sincerely hope Faulkner stays. He knows the value of a pound, and unless we get Arab “whats money” owners, we need a calm hand at the helm.

    What of the Manager? Take out “of the” and that sums it up.
    If we get new owners we need a Manager who lives the game with his head on his shoulders, not blowing smoke up his …. ,

  6. We have another season in the EPL. 7 games back, most of us thought we would be where Stoke or Palace are now but we clearly aren’t and unless we beat Citeh and Spurs away (fairly unlikely) we won’t be!

    I would like to see Lambert out. I do think he has an eye for a player – Tekkers, Guzan, Vlaar and Lowton and Westwood to a lesser extent prove that. Although he does seem, at least until Bertrand’s arrival, to have a blind spot for left footed players!

    However, I do not see a plan or squad strategy. He has a collection of no. 9’s – Tekkers, Kozak, Bowery and Helenius (although he doesn’t appear to want to use the latter two) and still brings in Holt – but has no cover for Gabby or Andi, although admittedly Mark has now come back on to the scene. We have gone two seasons under him with no advanced CM’er and even he recognised that we needed this in January but didn’t find a solution. We have the requisite four CB’s BUT only one is over 25 – I do feel sorry for Baker and Clark as I think they would have progressed much better playing alongside a Martin Laursen (or even Vlaar if fit) week in week out and not each other!

    Tactically, he has stumbled across formations that work – Andi in the no. 10 role against Liverpool away – but then changed them the week after. He went back to this for the Norwich game and we got a win (although even there I thought the RM and LM were too wide and the FB’s were too defensive). It is often hard to understand what Lambert is trying to achieve with his team selections and he really struggles to bring variety into a game when things are not working.

    He is also dull! I watch him on TV and think how on god’s earth does that man motivate anybody?? (same with McLeish before!).

    As for the administration, Randy has a good heart, I believe, but does not want to be challenged. He has appointed inexperienced and potentially incompetent individuals that he knows will not challenge (Faulkner and Russell are both previous employees from MBNA) rather than a skilled board that will take the club forward commercially and from a footballing perspective. How both have survived recent events – Faulkner on the shocking PR that has come out of the club since his involvement and Russell the calamitous financial position (it doesn’t take a genius with an excel spreadsheet to work out that wages at 90% of turnover is probably not sustainable!) – is beyond me. Unless Lerner can address this – which I highly doubt – I would love him to pass the management of our club on to someone that is prepared to run it as a proper business and not a personal plaything to be dropped and picked up as and when suits!

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