Tag: Aston Villa

Bye ‘Eck – McLeish Out At Aston Villa

There is something rather appropriate about the fact that the first post-season managerial casualty in the Premier League should have turned out to be Aston Villa’s Alex McLeish. It was, after all, McLeish’s arrival at Villa Park last summer that was one of the most perplexing seen anywhere in recent times, and has been one of the most bitterly opposed by supporters of the club at which the appointment was made. But what was decried by many – including some in the media – as mindless tribalism turned out to be a case of the supporters of a football club understanding perfectly well how badly thus appointment might play out. Those supporters may well be raising a glass this evening, but they may also have pause to reflect upon what might yet come to be known as “Aston Villa’s lost year.” The decision to hire him in the first place was perplexing, to say the least. Under Gerard Houllier the previous season Villa had begun to give off a distinct whiff of decay, and with Houllier’s departure at the end of the season came a golden opportunity for rebirth, to engage players and supporters and to arrest the decline that the club had found itself drifting into since Martin O’Neill resigned a few days before the start of the 2010/11 season. Bringing in Alex McLeish, however, seemed to give...

Read More

Aston Villa: Stalking Horses For Relegation?

The gloves came off at Villa Park last night. Leading by a goal and having dominated the match at half-time against Bolton Wanderers, Alex McLeish’s team threw their lead away and now sit just three points above the relegation places with three matches of the Premier League season left to play. And with this defeat, the sullen cloud of dissatisfaction that has sat over Villa Park this season lifted, but what replaced it was a thunderstorm of noise and abuse. Aston Villa, their supporters will tell you, have been in a desperate state for months and months now, but this is something that had, perhaps, slipped under the radar of the press in many respects until last night. With the precariousness of the club’s position now starkly obvious to anybody that glances at the league table for more than five seconds, the obituaries for their time in the Premier League are already being written. That Alex McLeish should be the target of the ire of Villa supporters is no great surprise. After all, as a former manager of Villa’s arch-rivals and the man that had taken them through the trap-door out of the Premier League at the end of last season, the well of goodwill afforded to him was always going to sparse, with some never accepting a former Birmingham City manager at the club in this ultra-partisan day...

Read More

Aston Villa’s Financial Performance Reflects An Inert Season

The haste with which football clubs dispose of their managers has been discussed in depth on here before. It has long been a peculiarity of this particular sport that managerial positions have been treated so frivolously by clubs, and the folly of doing so has been shown up in fairly strong terms over the last couple of days with the release of Aston Villa’s disastrous financial results for last year. Aston Villa has been, by tradition, a reasonably well-run club and is a club with the potential to challenge near the top end of the table. Over the last two seasons, however, a sense of torpor has come to hang over Villa Park and the feeling is starting to grow that this is a club that is in decline at the moment, both on the pitch and off. There was little cause for optimism on the part of the club from the figures released yesterday.  Aston Villa lost £54m in the year from the first of June 2010 to the thirty-first of May 2011, a worsening in performance of 42% when compared with the year before while the club’s owner, Randy Lerner, has himself put £25m into the club over the last two years. What crumbs of comfort that Villa supporters could take from it all was a small increase in turnover – to £92m – a reduction in bank debt to £8.3m and a...

Read More

Match Of The Week 3: Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 Aston Villa

With seven wins from eight games and twenty-two points from a possible twenty-four, the sun is rising over the white and navy blue corner of North London at the moment. This evening’s match against Aston Villa was one at which Tottenham Hotspur might, in other years, have chosen to fluff their lines, and Spurs supporters are rather over-familiar with their club’s predilection for getting to the point of achievement before contriving to find a way to allow it to slip through their hands. Tonight, though, they ambled through a weak Aston Villa performance with two first half goals from Emmanuel Adebayor, a player who has rapidly becoming an essential on Harry Redknapp’s team-sheet, but the final score-line was one which barely reflected the home side’s dominance. In some respects, White Hart Lane was built for evenings like this, with its high, gaunt stands almost visibly moving to the noise of the crowd as the players pick each other through a thin sheen of mist below. The home crowd didn’t have to wait very long for something to lift their mood. After just over eleven minutes, Aaron Lennon, an impish presence on the wing, skipped to the byline and crossed from the right for Adebayor, but the striker headed narrowly wide. If Adebayor was still adjusting his sights, he didn’t have to wait very long for a second chance. Three...

Read More

The Twohundredpercent Premier League Previews: Aston Villa

They are amongst the pillars of the English game. They were amongst the first bastions of professionalism in the game, were founder members of the Football League in 1888, and their name immediately conjures up something almost unfathomably romantic about the history of football in this country. That said, though, Aston Villa can occasionally give the impression of being a club that is plain damn contrary. For example, their sole First Division championship since 1910 of 1981 was followed by becoming the champions of Europe, yet five years after the greatest triumph in their history they were relegated, in bottom place in the First Division. This turned out to be but a minor blip, but Villa remains an enigmatic club, unburdened by the weightier aspirations of some of their peers, but still with a sense of place and history which carries with it a level of a minimum level of expectations which the team on the field only sporadically manages to meet, and this summer has again seen the club rather stuck between two stools. Last season saw Aston Villa, West Bromwich Albion, Birmingham City and Wolverhampton Wanderers all back in the top division for the first time since 1984, and for all four clubs it was a season of mixed emotions. Birmingham City won a major trophy and a place in Europe, but were relegated at the end...

Read More