Wednesday, 31 March 2010

O'Neill quit rumours make Aston Villa fans groan!

If you've followed Villa for over thirty years like me, rumours that Martin O'Neill tendered his resignation after meeting owner Randy Lerner has more than a whiff of our long and extinguished history.
Just as we look like producing a winning team, competing for the big prizes, the owner b****cks it up by failing to back the manager, who then walks out - or gets the sack.
Villa fans have experienced this before: just the names have changed. For Randy Lerner, read Deadly Doug: for O'Neill, read Ron Saunders, Ron Atkinson and Brian Little.
O'Neill's talks with Randy are said to have revolved around the transfer budget for next season.

Although there are legitimate concerns about the relationship between owner and manager – Lerner's thought to want to cut the squad and wage bill this summer, countering O'Neill’s demands of a continued cash injection – Villa swiftly denied the Ulsterman had left the club.
The confusion came just days after Villa’s devastating 7-1 defeat at Chelsea, which has left our chances of a top four finish look slim. It was a result which O’Neill took full responsibility for.
He said: "The buck stops with me. It is my responsibility, it is as simple as that. Thankfully we don't have any midweek games now for a little while - but that would sound like the number of games we've played is an excuse. Please don't even go there - that was nothing to do with whether we had a midweek game or not.
"We've shown a lot more desire and a lot more character than we did against Chelsea and that is totally my responsibility. Whatever you say about performances and it is all very well talking about the players, that is down to me and that is my responsibility."
Villa must play Chelsea again in their FA Cup semi-final on April 10.
You might be a Villa fan, you might be a fan of the team we're playing. You might've "only come to see the Villa!". What's undeniable is the sheer passion and entertainment value of the Villa boss watching the game unfold on the touchline. Rarely has there been a manager watch with such intensity. Rather than kicking every ball like some rabid Dave Bassett or Barry Fry, O'Neill's accessing his sizeable intellect. A ticking timebomb, he scans the pitch judging the victor of individual player battles, assessing the tactical spread of players and where the threat is coming from in the opposition line-up - real or existential!
So when we score, he jumps with the eruption of a volcano. The larvae in his explosive body can't hold anymore.
He's a man who understands what's needed and if Villa are serious about becoming a force in Europe again, Randy needs to back the former Celtic chief. He's the best man for the job, no question.
Otherwise the Big Project is over - and Villa will be consigned to mid-table obscurity or worse!
For your Soccermongery delectation, here's a collage of O'Neill in action! Pictures expressing his many emotions.
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