The 200% Pre-Season Previews: Aston Villa


Ian began writing Twohundredpercent in May 2006. He lives in Brighton. He has also written for, amongst others, Pitch Invasion, FC Business Magazine, The Score, When Saturday Comes, Stand Against Modern Football and The Football Supporter. Ian was the first winner of the Socrates Award For Not Being Dead Yet at the 2010 NOPA awards for football bloggers.

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4 Responses

  1. Alex says:

    You must be a Villa fan to have captured the mood (both past and present) of the average Villan so well. Excellent article.

  2. Alex says:

    First time reader, first time I’ve consulted a dictionary for words found in a football blog (‘elan’). Always nice to read above-sun-level punditry :)

    This season: I think most Villa fans will be happy taking 12th off of Norwich. Hopefully we’ll be back to failing in the intertoto within three. Even if it is a shaky start/season again, if we show creative intent this time around then I won’t begrudge Lambert if it all goes arse up (a la Wigan’s last three seasons).

  3. Jon Law says:

    Decent article but some attention to detail would make it a better read, please edit more thoroughly in the future…… Sorry

    I think you underestimate the size of the sigh of relief after the purgatory of Alex McLeish – you got that spot on! The relief is tangible, there’s a buzz back at Villa. Lambert without doing anything other than get appointed achieved that.

    Parallels to the appointment of MON are interesting
    – bringing back HOPE of better things
    – taking over when performances are rock bottom
    – shaking up the current players who had underachieved
    – the chance to improve upon dire performances

    All these things mean Lambert will be given time, a commodity not readily available to PL managers in this day and age, as you point out.

    In contrast to MON, Lambert will have to budget correctly. The financial fallout from the MON era is highlighted by you but not apportioned to MON, he was the one who decided to overpay very average players – £40k a week for Marlon Harewood?

    Our Fair Play figures will be better this year not just because of the Young and Downing transfers but also because of the releasing of MON bought overpaid players – Sidwell, Beye et al. The lack of return on expensive players is staggering.

    This MON legacy is not mentioned in the press, MON is put forward as a brilliant manager. To me part of the managers job is to work with a budget MON was incapable of doing so and when asked to, resigned and took almost the entire playing staff with him with just five days til the season started. Adding insult to injury, objectionable little man.

    He disillusioned many squad members by sticking to about 15 players and refusing to use others. This certainly cost us league places under his guidance. But when McLeish arrived many of these got a new lease of life or were shipped out.

    McLeish claims he was successful at Villa because he kept us up despite having to drastically cut the wage bill. He successfully cut the wage bill but the cost to club morale was a depressing season.

    Lambert like MON comes in at a very, very low point BUT given the MON legacy we fans are more realistic about expectations. As such we’re happy with his transfer policy which seems far more suited to the Fifa Fair Play regulations and common sense.

    So long as Lambert keeps the sense of hope going he’ll be given plenty of time. Some decent football will do that and if accompanied by a decent mid-table finish we’ll be happy.

  4. maliniok says:

    Enjoyable read as always! Are you foing to do your usual lower leagues previews too?

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