Four days that shook the world

Dave Woodhall expands his vocabulary while talking about goings-on at Villa Park.

Aston Villa Football ClubI was once told that I didn’t have a good word for the Villa. Well I’ve got lots of good words for them this week. Shameful, that’s one. Embarrassing is another. Gutless, spineless, disgraceful, appalling, humiliating, inexcusable, disgusting, I could continue but you’ve probably got a thesaurus so there’s no need.

Tuesday night against Bradford was the perfect opportunity to put the last few weeks and in particular the embarrassment of the first leg behind us. Two goals against a fourth division team shouldn’t have been too hard – after all, if we’d been drawn against them in a one-off tie we’d have expected to win by that margin without much difficulty. For 45 minutes things were fine, The team were playing well, gone a goal up and had Christian Benteke put in a straightforward chance just before half-time the game would have been as good as over.  Ten minutes after the re-start it was.

A Bradford corner and you know the rest. It should have been a setback but not a fatal one. After all, the team had 35 minutes left to put matters right, against a side they’d already dominated and who should have been less fit than their Premier League  foes.  A bit of motivation, inspiration, call it what you like, and all would be well. Instead we had what can only be described as panic. Lump the ball up – that’ll work against a team from the fourth division won’t it? They only have to deal with those sort of tactics twice a week. Four forwards stuck together – how about leaving someone on who can give them the ball? It’s the sort of stuff you do in the last, desperate seconds when you’ve run out of other options. I don’t expect it for 35 minutes plus stoppages.

Team and management had a quick chance to show what effect the abuse and general derision they’d endured since Tuesday’s debacle had had on them, courtesy of an FA Cup tie at Millwall on Friday night. They went a goal up, the lead lasted for as long as it took their opponents to put over a decent corner and they needn’t have bothered coming out for the second half. Last two minutes, a replay on the cards but we don’t want the bother of another midweek game do we? Here you go lower division team, have a free shot. Hit the bar? Never mind, try again.

Paul Lambert then decided to do his bit for club/press relations by churlishly ignoring Mail reporter Mat Kendrick at the post-match press conference.  This followed on from a couple of Mail stories, the first of which appeared on Wednesday in the aftermath of the semi-final, when they devoted five pages (more than when we won the European Cup) to the result. This was followed by the sort of open letter-type piece that usually helps the writer more than their target. They put six questions to Randy Lerner that won’t be answered, the Mail know it, but they also know that such a line will sell papers.

And so we move into the last days of the transfer window. Even after the tribulations of the last few weeks there still isn’t a massive amount that needs to be spent to give the team a good chance of Premier League survival. Whether it will be spent is a moot point and whose fault it will be if it isn’t, is another. I can’t believe that the manager wouldn’t want to buy someone if the money was available. Neither can I believe that the club wouldn’t make the money available bearing in mind the riches that all Premier League clubs will receive next season. Argue out who should take the blame amongst yourselves

We’ve got that other potential crisis club Newcastle at home on Tuesday then Everton away on Saturday. I wonder what words we’ll be using after these two.

2 thoughts on “Four days that shook the world

  1. I’m still gobsmacked that we don’t seem to be doing a fat lot in the transfer market. It’s time for Randy to prove his backing by giving Lambert the tools he needs to do the job. It’s clear what we need, whether it’s out there or not is another matter, but the lack of activity seems like we’re accepting relegation. Surely it’s worth borrowing a few million from next years premier league TV deal to keep us in the league?

    The problems at Villa start at the very top and are now evident everytime a cross comes into the box. Not many clubs yo-yo any more, if we go down, I have a feeling we’ll stay down. Bad times.

  2. Having been a Villa fan for the last 26 years (I am 32) I have seen them all come and go. Were we better off under Ellis (no debt yet moribund), O’ Neill (skint but top 6 plus decent cup runs)?? Surely after Lerner’s big sell on he has a few (hundred) million quid to throw at his ‘beloved’ Premier League club. If we do go down, which I expect we will after hanging on for most of the last 5/6 seasons give or take 1, this is the downfall, it can either be a ‘good thing’ ie Newcastle where they chop off all the dead wood, or a ‘bad thing’ ie Leeds, Sheffield United / Wednesday, Brad***d, Swindon Town dare I say, where we shall never be heard of again.
    I am really REALLY embarrassed to be a Villa fan at the moment, despite all the ‘stand by your club’ the commitment I shall never dessert, yet we shall have some good away days next season at Peterborough, Leeds, Leicester, Derby and the like. See the connection…

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