Martin O’Neil is of course one who should take some of the blame but Gerard Houllier’s handling of The Villans this season has been well below par. When a new manager takes over, the first thing they want to do is change things around, but why, when things on the pitch had looked so impressive before the managers arrival.
Aston Villa were somewhat sturdy last season with Carew up front, Ashley Young and Gabriel Agbonlahor running off him. Gerard Houllier turns up and immediately wants to “change” things around, and by that he means dabble in a transfer market that simply has no real value at this current time.
Since 2007 Houllier has not even been involved at a football managing level, his last job coming at French Champions Lyon, in hindsight, you would need to pass some blame on the owner Randy Lerner, for making a somewhat rushed decision and chosing someone that had not been on the scene for three years. Would you hire someone to fit your boiler if they had been working in a mobile phone warehouse for three years?
There is so much talk of transfers at the moment that you wonder if Houllier is trying to break a record or something. The likes of Richard Dunne, Stewart Downing and Steven Warnock have been linked with moves away from the club, players who, last season, would be first choice on the team sheet and keep the ship steady at Villa Park.
As for players joining the club, the signing of Robert Pires at 37 years old so he can play the last five to ten minutes in each game makes the sacking of Chris Hughton look shrewd. Other players that look to be heading out, such as Steve Sidwell and John Carew are going to be replaced by “un-tested” foreigners who will need to adapt, and fast, if they are to make Aston Villa a top six outfit again.
Why should a team have to adapt to what a manager wants when they first arrive, should the manager not think that if things are going well, then don’t change them, or maybe just tweak one or two things to see what happens.
Many will call this a “transitional” period for Aston Villa but to most, it is about one man joining the club and changes things so quickly that not even the players know what is going on. Change is good for some clubs, it has not been for Aston Villa.
These are worrying times for Aston Villa, and further defeats will edge them closer to the perils of relegation, something that has not happend since 1987.