It is fair to say that our great club has been in a state of transition for the last three years now. We have seen a succession of managers come and go and all of them have been faced with the same issue. How do you modernise the club? For me Houllier’s time at Villa was similar to that of Venglos. Both of them were ahead of their time. With Venglos he tried to bring in a lot of practices which are now common place in Europe, and at the time Villa weren’t ready to make that change. With Houllier I think he tried again changes things from bottom up and the Villa team weren’t prepared for that. With AMC he always was a stop gap so lets gloss over that period and move over to PL.
I was genuinely delighted when he became manager. He had a good pedigree in that he had training methods that were gleaned from outside of the UK and he had successfully applied them to the teams he managed, but again are Villa ready to embrace a sense of change.
A common theme for me is that the club is very UK centric and a quintessential English club. However they haven’t moved with the times. MON took the British approach like John Gregory and with both we saw some limited success. However when we try to move away from that we have a very mixed time.
The Past is in moving away from this sort of mentality and embracing true change within the mentality of the club. (A lot harder said than done). With PL I see someone who is facing that same challenge. Trying to change the way the club is run, but we have had the old guard there, and for me a lot of them have simply under performed. We have had a limited budget and so it is no surprise we are in the state we are. PL is trying to push through change but the club has dragged its feet.
IF we survive this season in EPL then I do fully expect the purse strings to be loosened. I think Lerner has been caught in 2 minds. He knew he had to give some cash to the club to appease the fans, but he also didn’t want to over commit just in case we do go down. So maybe Lerner DOES realise what needs to be done and has been a bit smarter than we gave him credit for. Although he will be just as dissapointed at the results as us. The club literally had to be dragged from the MON era and it has taken 3 years to pull the club back to a more sustainable model.
The future for me is the current crop of youngsters and the likes of Drennan and Burke coming through the ranks. It has been a very very painful experience this year, but I think we will stay up. I think potentially a draw against Arsenal, a stuffing from Man City and then two close games against Reading and QPR will be a great building block to keep us up.
At times as a fan it is very frustrating and lets face it sometimes damn right embarrassing, but as a club we couldn’t carry on as we were. I think PL needs to be given a second season and lets see what can be really done at the club. We have plenty to be positive about but we are having to look at the longer term plan. Lets get through this season and I think we will see a different club.