It’s not been a brilliant festive period for Aston Villa. It’s hard to argue with the last three results, all heavy defeats. However, I am already starting to get tired of the usual negativity from the Villa fans when things start to go a bit wrong. Whilst I’m not excusing the level of performances in conceding 15 goals in 3 games we still need to view the season so far in perspective.
The Villa side named by Paul Lambert for the game against Liverpool was, I understand, the youngest average aged in Premiership history. Following a slow start our young lions produced a cracking performance, worthy of praise from football writers across the media. Several games later and the fans are now deeming these players not good enough. This is utter rubbish. Some Villa fans seem to think that we should still be competing for a top 6 place as we were under Martin O’Neil. Others seem to think that Randy Lerner should be throwing his entire fortune around like an oil Sheik.
After two poor seasons, the reasons for which is a combination of poor luck as well as poor management, the arrival of Paul Lambert has brought with it a cautious optimism for the future. Those who expected an instant return to pushing for the top 6 need to wake up. The word “transition” has been used repeatedly in reference to Villa but for this season in particular it is proving true. We need to remember that. The players that aren’t deemed good enough have actually been playing some decent football in general over the first half of the season. They are a very young team still learning about each other. Performances including the Liverpool win, the first hour against Man Utd, the cup game against Norwich and others show what the boys can do. They will learn from being hammered by Chelsea & Spurs and will become stronger. Getting on their backs is not the answer. I remember a young England Rugby team being hammered by Australia a number of years ago. They went on to do quite well! As Alex Ferguson knows you don’t win anything with kids! Before you start jumping up and down, I’m not comparing Barry Bannan to David Beckham or Paul Scholes.
The media is suggesting that Lambert will have some funds for the January transfer window. I’m not expecting panic buys. In fact I’m not expecting many new faces at all. An influx of new players is often unsettling (See QPR!). I would not be surprised to see Darren Bent leaving however. It would be disappointing to see him go, partly because we are not likely to recoup anywhere near the money we paid for him but also because he is a proven goal scorer and they are hard to come by. I have no idea why he does not fit into Lamberts plans but he clearly doesn’t. His apparent attitude on the pitch when he has come on has not been the display of a player wanting to play for the club or try to regain his place in the team.
My New Year wish is for our fans to let Lambert on the kids to get on with playing football. They have shown they can do it and do it well. They just need to keep believing and show a bit more consistency.
To the Portsmouth fan that messaged me after our 8-0 loss to Chelsea, I’m glad our result gave you so much enjoyment. I just wonder who you will be supporting when Portsmouth go out of business? J
HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYBODY.