I was lucky enough to be on holiday this week. As with many tourist destinations in Europe, the grand resorts are never far away from the remnants of misguided ambition, evidenced by the foundations of hotels never built, or worse still, abandoned.
As the Villa signings were confirmed throughout the week it caused me some pause for thought.
We enjoyed the Champagne lifestyle circa 2006/10, bought frivolously, without regard for price or wage. We believed our own hype; the top 6 team that would break into the Champions League. We continued to plow funds into the notion that the money was limitless and that it would ultimately lead to greater fortunes.
Then came our crash. Post O’Neill we were the resort almost reduced to ruin. Our silver was pawned, the best china replaced with Ikea’s finest. The maid no longer changed the sheets every day. Aspiration was redefined as desperation.
It has been a long, barren road that we have sat, waiting, overlooked by our owner for over 5 years.
Now though, Randy Lerner, armed with a diligent advisor in Tom Fox, appears to have found the taste for Aston Villa again. The wallet has loosened both in terms of fees & salaries – and there is a long overdue overhaul of playing staff at Aston Villa in full flow. (*we can discuss net spends at a later date)
It could, should, have come much sooner. Indeed, it astonishes me that it has taken so long for Lerner to awaken to the fact that he is as culpable in our recent decline as the wasteful managers he entrusted with funds.
In the end, that is all history. And we at Aston Villa love our history. We can reflect on it all we want, but what truly matters, is the here and now.
Finally, with the signings of Micah Richards, Jordan Amavi, Scott Sinclair, Idrissa Guaye, Jose Angel Crespo & Jordan Ayew we are trying to freshen things up.
We can discuss the risks, these unknown names, the fees, etc etc – it is at the very least an attempt to lay the foundations for something. For so many seasons we have either done nothing or merely patched up the holes.
Will these “promising” players come good? Nobody knows – but again – at the very least we are being pro-active towards identifying and crucially securing ‘talent’ across the continent. I cannot recall the last time we did this as a football club. Indeed, even under O’Neill the recruitment was heavily focused upon domestic players.
It is a welcome shift to be conducting the business in the manner which we have done. We appear to have not only done our homework on potential targets, but also wasted no time in getting their signatures on the dotted line.
No protracted rubbish played out via the media – no embarrassing public quibbling over wages or a minor difference in fee. We are getting the job done. It will hopefully make for a very dull transfer deadline day.
As the season closed in May, we were all both surprised and relieved in equal measure that we even managed to stay in the division. At Christmas, I honestly couldn’t see how Villa could secure the points required…and I’m generally an optimist that there will be three teams worse than us. A sad state of affairs in many respects to be thinking whilst following any football team.
Now, I am renewed, reinvigorated. Yes, I am worried about the new faces gelling – but I’m no longer concerned about the same old faces letting us down. That, whilst tempered with risk, is progress.
We are giving ourselves a fighting chance, finally. #utv
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