The final whistle blew at White Hart Lane on the 11th May to a chorus of Villa fans singing ‘We want Lambert out’ and ‘You don’t know what you’re doing’. Fans spammed the hotlines of 606 and BBC WM criticising Paul Lambert. It was a familiar tale at the back end of last season when Paul Lambert was public enemy number one in many Villa fans’ eyes. Even before Villa’s fixtures were revealed for this season, fans were sniping at Lambert once again. It was over the top due to the circumstances the manager was faced with.
A few experienced signings later, fans were still heavily critical, saying that the likes of Cissokho, Senderos, Richardson and Cole were past it. The first four games have suggested otherwise for three of those four players. All four were looking to resurrect their careers when they turned up at Villa Park and things are going well for Cissokho, Senderos and Richardson.
Fans were still on Lambert’s back after the 1-0 win over Stoke, which was a fantastic defensive and attacking display. A draw against Newcastle and a win yesterday against Hull followed. The Villans were superb defensively again in both games. This season, with the addition of Roy Keane and more experienced defenders, Aston Villa are conceding far fewer goals. The statistics did not lie against Newcastle: we did not create enough shots that were goal bound. In fact, nothing was created but that was not a problem yesterday. From the opening minute, the Villans dominated and also had four shots on target.
What has changed this season is the transfer policy. Where Lambert would once have spent £2 million on a Championship player, he has now gone in search of experience and seems prepared to pay affordable transfer fees for players who may command higher wages. It is a formula that seems to be paying off. With the rumours regarding the imminent arrival of Tom Cleverley gathering pace, it looks more likely that Roy Keane and Lambert are going to be resurrecting another broken man’s career. If successful, it will be a massive coup for Lambert and the club as gaining a reputation for resurrecting careers can only be attractive to investors and players alike.
The sun is shining more brightly over Villa Park right now. The fans actually attending are in fine voice and the support they have offered has been first rate. Times are changing at Villa Park. Paul Lambert has a wise assistant in Roy Keane and a squad filled with players with many points to prove. Sitting pretty in third place and being only one of four teams still unbeaten is an indication of how things have changed this summer. The Villa fans’ opinions on Paul Lambert are sure to change too if after the players can pick up where they left off after the international break when they face four of last season’s top five teams.