Dave Woodhall starts wondering how long before there’s a vacancy at Villa Park.
Another game, another milestone.
It seems forever since Villa had that solid defensive start to the season, but Monday night’s debacle at Loftus Road meant another record has gone – the first time the team have ever failed to score in five consecutive league games.
I don’t know what’s gone wrong since the end of August, in the same way that I’ll never fathom how the bright and promising passing side that got out of trouble towards the end of Lambert’s first season has spent so much time since then clueless, lacking invention and with no idea of how to change a game.
Probably the biggest attraction of appointing Paul Lambert was that he appeared to be at the forefront of a bright new breed of coaches, tactically flexible and with a breadth of vision that would run through the entire club, from scouting to the 90 minutes of matchday. For that brief period from March to May 2013 it looked as though he might be the answer to a prayer, the man who finally ran affairs at Villa Park with a sense of purpose missing for most of this century. On Monday he was out-thought by Harry Redknapp, the ultimate in old-style English managers.
If I wanted to clutch at straws I’d say that at least we had the majority of possession, that Carlos Sanchez looked a decent player until unsurprisingly running out of steam after an hour and that the team have probably got the number of points that would have been expected at this stage of the season. However, they should also have been running into form now, not on the crest of a slump that shows no sign of ending.
The next game is at home to Spurs, the most inconsistent team in the Premier League. Go at them and there’s every chance you’ll get a result, as Newcastle proved last Sunday. It says everything about Paul Lambert that even at this stage, with supporters screaming for a glimmer of hope, he will almost certainly pick a side based around hoping to nick a goal from somewhere.
Lambert should be in grave danger of losing his job, but that’s been the case on many occasions during the past two and a bit years. It’s ironic that Randy Lerner spent so long apparently trying to tempt David Moyes away from Goodison, but now he’s available the Villa owner seems reluctant to make the manager’s office open to him.
I rarely want a manager to be sacked, particularly not during a season. In fact, the last time was when Ron Atkinson was on his way almost twenty years to the day, and that was more because I wanted Brian Little to hurry up and fulfil his destiny. Now, though, I can’t but be reminded of something I said during the tail-end of David O’Leary’s reign of terror and Doug Ellis’s period of domination.
This isn’t a top six squad, and for that you can blame the chairman. But it certainly isn’t a bottom six squad either, and for that you can only blame the manager.