Our journey to the top!

Last week I wrote a piece on the unexpectedness at Villa (Link) with Lambert’s new transfer policy and the new club direction. This week I want to focus on something a little different. I want to start with a reference to a year ago:

Paul Lambert had just arrived, there was a sense of optimism surrounding Villa Park. However, there were a minority who were not happy with some of the signings Lambert was making. Lower league and unproven; not usually the attributes that have been associated with success and certainly not with the players coming into Aston Villa in the past. After a few months, those doubters started to raise their eyebrows. Around the time Villa beat Liverpool 1-3 in some style at Anfield people starting to think: “maybe PL has done something special here”. BUT…and there has always seemed to be a but at Aston Villa, it would all change come a trip to Stanford Bridge in December. Villa were beaten 8-0, followed by 4-0, followed by 3-0 to Wigan and then our impressive cup run was ended by league 2 team Bradford City. Those in the minority that criticised the inexperience of Lambert’s signings in the summer started to rear their heads again, joined by some of the majority that once had faith in our new “messiah”. Things looked bleak, admittedly I too had doubts that we would stay up. If Lambert were to pull off the unthinkable and stay in the premier league WITH his new philosophy intact then it would certainly be a masterstroke to behold. On the other hand, if we were to get relegated, then we would make history; the day Aston Villa football club got relegated from the Premier League. Low and behold, a few months later, when it looked as if we would have to achieve more points than we had achieved for most of the season merely to survive, we started to pick up points. We not only started to achieve a better run in the league, but our young players started to come together, to fight as a team and to look something quite special. Suddenly it was the doubting minority that were starting to join the hopeful majority, people started to see Lambert’s philosophy, but not only that, they started to buy into it.

This summer has started with a great sense of optimism, we are waiting to have the last laugh over fans of many other teams who made a joke of us, many who had already written us off and condemned us to the Championship. It is June and we look to have almost completed our 4th and 5th signing of the summer, unknown cheap players from leagues a lot worse than the Premier League, only this summer…we believe. We have looked at signings such as Christian Benteke, Yacouba Sylla, Matt Lowton and Ashley Westwood and now we believe that Lambert really does have an eye for a player. There are now many who believe we will see a totally different Aston Villa in the Premier League next season, perhaps an Aston Villa who can rocket themselves back into the top half of the table, and in style. I don’t know about you but my mind for the last 2 weeks has been absorbed with Aston Villa, I believe too, but I have also had to keep myself in check, why? because of what happened last season and too much optimism and expectation can quickly lead to the other extreme.

It wasn’t until the end of the season and a spell before christmas that we saw the real potential of our new side. Im certainly not trying to burst anyone’s bubble, mine is still intact, I merely want to heed warning. This is a young side with bags of potential, but it is by no means the finished article. The likeliness is that we will probably have a bad spell at some stage in the season, we may even start poorly, but don’t be so quick to judge like we all were at some points last season. These players are new to the Premier League and will take some time to settle in, some of them may not even make it, but we are taking low cost risks nowadays, so it doesn’t matter so much. We have a fantastic manager and I’m sure most of you are with me in thinking it. What this squad needs is support and patience, we need to encourage our players on Twitter and in games, not bemoan them when they play poorly. Paul Lambert has made it his business to sign players who want to play for Aston Villa and work hard for us. Gone are the days of players who are with us to merely pick up their pay checks, we now have a squad of ambitious players with potential, they just need patience. We are entering into a long term project, and even regarding Christian Benteke, I suspect he will stay for another season but if he doesn’t and we get at least 30mil for him, lets not be quick to criticise the club, there is now a bigger picture, and a few years down the line there may be a stage where we can reject huge bids for our best players, but it will take time to get there.

We are officially a club under refurbishment. There will be ups and downs, hopefully mainly ups, but there WILL be downs, and in those times we need to remember the bigger picture and remember how PL proved the doubters wrong once before. Now all that is left to say is: Sit back and enjoy the ride! In the season to come I believe other clubs are going to sit up and take note, because Aston Villa are on their way back! UTV


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  1. Your article shows a niave blinkered view. You and Kerners dominating support continue to back a man who has failed to deliver. He is a buisness man he stopped funding Villa years ago. He now appears to have turned us into a team who can no longer compete with the lines of Wigan when it Gomes to transfers . One question where has all the player sales tv and prem money game receipts sponsorship gone

    Lerner out

  2. Brilliant article,Refreshing and spot on.Havent been so excited about a new season lumeing for years.We must give the management and Owner our support for the way are lovely club is going.my name is Dave and i have supported Villa for over 40 years and once again im so so very excited .

  3. Randy Lerner said when he was appointed that he would make £20M each season available for transfers – he hasn’t failed to do that once! So your statement about funding the club is quite simply wrong.

    He had to curb the wages and get them under control – and he admitted he got things wrong during the MON era.

  4. On the contrary Ted, I believe the blinkers belong to those who continue to accuse our owner of driving this club downwards. He tried to give us instant success, but with fear of causing the club to plummet (look at Portsmouth, Leeds etc.) he is now taking a more sustainable approach, and one that I believe will slowly but surely put us back up where we belong, so long as we maintain the right management that is. I am not saying you are wrong, I believe that you are, but like everything, the proof of the pudding will be in the eating. Perhaps it would be beneficial to give the new philosophy a chance?

  5. Great Article. Looking at the drubbings we got last season I think we all feared the worse…for me that changed when godzilla (Sylla) came into the midfield and ‘added that wee bit of steel’ that Lambert mentioned. I do believe we need another midfielder with similar attributes and for healthy competition too but from the signings so far this summer and the standard of attacking play we saw over the past 3 months of the season, it all looks very promising for the future. In Lambert we trust. UTV

  6. Ted ive no particular axe to grind just want whats best for Villa
    Most evidence to date would suggest that Randy Lerner just has the same interest as me and the majority of fans in the club
    He gave the big spending on mercenaries a try no doubt on the advice of so called top managers
    I cant blame him for feeling that was the wrong road with big money wages going to wasters with dubious attitudes not to mention the millions lost on resale potential of these so called stars
    Now we seem to be building something exciting with young players with something to prove, its so good to see
    Im well past my own sell by date (60 plus years a fan) but the future now seems brighter to me
    Cheer up Ted and give Randy Lerner the credit he truly deserves for sticking with us under very difficult circumstances in the last couple of seasons
    Would it not have been easier for him to bale out when the going got tough
    He stuck around despite the cynics like Ted
    I guess he always realised that being a club owner would mean that he will always remain in the crosshairs of the terrace snipers
    Fortunately this does not seem to have dented his enthusiasm for the club
    Hoping for a much better 2013/14 season – UP THE VILLA

  7. Ted – unbelievable. Just unbelievable. Do you actually think about what you are typing? Do you understand the concept of reducing the vastly inflated wage bill?

    Simple economics – if you are consistently spending too much you have to cut back. I.e. if your wage bill is too high you have to cut wages. To cut wages you have to get rid of high-earners and replace them with low-earners. This is particularly important when the high-earners don’t even play.

    Who would you rather have – Curtis Davies at £8m or Matty Lowton at £1m? Benteke at £7m or Reo-Coker at £8m? Westwood for £1m or N’Zogbia at £10m? Transfer fees are largely irrelivent. Obviously if we’d paid £20m for Benteke he’d have scored 40 goals, because the higher transfer fee makes you a better player doesn’t it…

    I am sure that once the books are made better then we’ll start looking at higher value players, but to criticise them after the last few weeks is ridiculous. I’d love us to sign some top class players to take us to the next level but at the moment it’s not feasible, mainly because of MON’s excessive spending and ridiculous wages that he gave out to squad players. Even if we could afford it, it doesn’t necessarily mean we’d get a better player. It’s not like we could sign Neymar is it!

  8. All this Randy hasn’t/doesn’t invest in the club is mis-guided to say the least. There’s been investment & development in the club not just for players but fans facilities, interesting initiatives (On going Acorns support is one eg). Yes there was the Mcleish debacle, but there are going to be some mistakes.
    The comments of ‘Ted’ and others seems a lazy conclusion. I.e. we get bought out by a billionaire & if he doesn’t do a Mansur or Abramovich then he’s a fraud!
    If the ‘Ted’s’ gave it more than half a seconds thought they might realise that with all the billionaire buy outs, there has been only two instances where near unlimited funds have been made available. Not only that, the outcome of a fair amount of the others clubs bought out have been mixed at best.

  9. I think Ted knew what he was typing to provoke a reaction. Guess what Ted it worked !!!

    I am pleased to read the backing RL and PL have received from the other comments, yes the MON era was great for a while but it flattered to deceive, he wasted millions on Players/Wages.

    Looking at the big picture we are moving in the right direction, yes we have to be patient however I believe in what we are building for the future of our club, which I think other clubs will try emulate but will end up playing catch up.

  10. It’s really disapponting to read how so many have accepted the decline of our club under Lerner. I totally agree some awful signings made for big money. Itotally agree with the need to reduce wages BUT we still need to compete. I also like the opportunities given to untested youth. But they are untested a balance I’d needed . There are exciting committed experienced players out there that would enhance our team. Alais we will never find out due to Lerner. Ok what happened to Lerners 5 year plan he stopped spending 2 and 1/2 years into it. Went cheap with appointment of McDonald some may say deliberately waited until transfer window over before appointment. Then employed GH yep spent to prevent relegation. What happened next Lerner listened to ALL Villa fans and employed MCleish, can anyone really tell me Lerner is a Villa fan? Surely you all remember the reaction. Lerner then employs Lambert and dispute previous season threat of relegation and this seasons no support in January. We are now buying cheap untested players our club in for another season of struggle. I asked before what is Letner doing with the TV prem sponsorship and Gaye money? Before I go remember under Lerner we are selling club he has created a buisness where cheap players who make it are sold on for a profit we the fans continue to watch a team struggling for prem survival while Lerner sells off the assets. Lerner out

  11. you carnt pleas some people. i unfortunetly sit in front of 3 people who never stop moning one time we scord. one of them was still mutering ‘about blody time’ i sore nik helenius going into the belfry last night so i think its a done deal

  12. My guess is Teds a blue nose! Thank you Mr Lerner for doing what you have for us in some really tough economic times.Best decision made is the appointment of Paul Lambert. Made some BIG mistakes with managerial appointments but I think he has got it right this time. I can feel it in my water. Some of the football we saw 2nd half of last season was great to watch and at long last EXCITING down at B6. Roll on Lamberts revolution.

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