I was sorry to see Rémi Garde leave us. He certainly didn’t make us any better but, in my opinion, he definitely didn’t make us any worse. A manager has once again carried the can for the club’s collective failures and we have been destined for the Championship for the last three or four seasons. Sooner or later, someone has to take a look at all these failed managers, who were by no means perfect, and see that a simple lack of desire and ability on the pitch has hurt us just as much as any managerial failing.
This season in particular is a prime example. Two differing permanent managers, whose characters differ radically, have taken charge and both failed to get anything out of these players. Guzan, Hutton, Richards, Lescott et al have let both managers down. Sherwood and Garde had their faults but I believe both are better managers than their stints at B6 suggest. Garde in particular will go on to be a stellar manager.
The Frenchman has been working with his hands tied behind his back and saw the goal posts moved by the now ushered out board members. Furthermore, he was working with what was, in the main, a disrespectful, disinterested and disgustingly ill equipped squad. I was one of those who was excited by some aspects of our transfer policy last summer. I was wrong.
Although I don’t believe the likes of Amavi, Gana and Ayew have been the problems, not replacing Vlaar, Delph, Cleverley and Benteke with Premier League players filled with desire was naïve at best. Unfortunately, the Premier League players such as Lescott who did arrive appear to have poisoned the dressing room. Public relations wise, the senior professionals have been disastrous on and off the pitch.
A cull is undoubtedly needed at player level yet I fear it won’t materialise as most won’t get better contracts elsewhere as Premier League teams won’t be interested in the players we need to ship out. It’ll be the likes of Gana and Ayew who get snapped up, the ones who have put in the work and shown commitment throughout a poor season. There has been far too much shadow boxing in the squad. Unfortunately, that has ultimately meant we are being knocked out of the top tier for the first time in the Premier League era and for the first time in my lifetime.
As another managerial search begins, I genuinely think Garde was the kind of logical appointment that should have followed Houllier. However, the powers that be have not acted logically since O’Neill left Aston Villa Football Club .
Moyes’ stock has fallen over the last few years and he would probably be the sensible appointment and one that would cajole the fans. He has lower division experience and, vitally, the experience of building something. We have been crying out for a long term plan for years. Aston Villa hasn’t had an identity for too long. Something tells me that Moyes won’t come to us but I imagine he will be the board’s first pick. Under the old board structure there would have been no chance of him arriving so the fact that he is now favourite speaks volumes for the restructuring Hollis has already done.
The next two names probably on the board’s list are Pearson and Dyche. I believe Dyche will be a no go, as Burnley look likely to be promoted. He’s a good manager with a great character, who will want to remain with Burnley in the Premier League.
The thought of Pearson as manager frightens me. Quite frankly, I see him as a nutcase and he is not the right kind of character to create harmony. He got Leicester City up and miraculously helped the Foxes to survive but his personality coupled with the fact that he won’t have his preferred coaching staff with him means I don’t want him anywhere near the Villa job.
My personal preference is Warburton. I would be delighted with Moyes but I just have a feeling that at the right club Mark Warburton could be a very special manager. I think he would stay loyal to Rangers but he should be at the top of the list.
His background and how he got into coaching fascinates me and his work at both Brentford and Rangers has been more than noteworthy. A fifty-one per cent win ratio at Brentford, followed by an eighty per cent win ratio at Rangers shows that he knows how to win. He is a firm, meticulous and savvy manager whose teams play proper football. Warburton has the knowbhow and attitude to build something and I think a stint at Aston Villa would be mutually beneficial. He is my pick, which probably means it won’t happen!
This will be the most important appointment in my lifetime. I suspect things will get worse before they get better, although the right managerial appointment will at least expedite a return to the Premier League. The new board hasn’t been in place long, but its members face a monumental decision at an early juncture. I wish them all the best.