The Bells Are Ringing


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Howard's Way: The Options For Our Future

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Howard's Way: The Options For Our Future Empty Howard's Way: The Options For Our Future

Post by Trotters on Sat Apr 26, 2014 2:36 pm

Howard Hodgson wrote:Aston Villa- Options For Our Future

In a follow up to my recent report on the state of Aston Villa I have now had a look into our future options and come up with 5 scenarios that will shape our future:

1. Mr Lerner regains his appetite for wanting Aston Villa to compete again.
Now the hard work of repairing much of the damage of previously poor, expensive signings is complete we should now be in a position to sign at least 4 quality players this summer. I would like to see us continue to sign young players but of a higher quality with maybe 2 additional experienced players coming in on Bosman’s to supplement and grow the know how and mental strength required to compete in this extremely competitive division.
This would be carried out by the current manager Paul Lambert, despite, 2 years of struggle and poor points tallies + the current CEO Paul Faulkner, despite 4 years of struggle with him at the helm. Obviously If Christian Benteke has a big World Cup he will be in high demand and could well be sold. If this happens all the additional money received should be reinvested in the team primarily on his replacement but also to aid the manager in targeting an even higher quality of player.

2. The same strategy as above but with a different Manager.

3.   The same strategy as above but with a different Manager and CEO plus an EX Aston Villa personality with the correct skills to also be appointed to the board as a non executive Director.

4. The current owner/board/manager stick to the strategy of buying relatively, cheap, unproven players and hope they prove to be good enough.

5.   The  current owner remembers he made the following statement when he bought the club : “I am what you call the custodian. There has been plenty of custodians of Aston Villa since 1874 and if I can’t make it work, I will do what the others did, move on and let someone else try”.

So there are the five options, as I see it, that Aston Villa have to move forward with. If Mr Lerner genuinely still harbours ambition to make the club a success then this summer is the time to prove that which makes option 4 a totally unacceptable option in my opinion.

If we are to take this option and continue as we have been, despite meandering for far too long in the lower reaches of the league and not achieving 50 points for the fourth straight season, then its clear in my mind we have given up and have no intention of trying to compete at the top again. We can’t allow that to happen.

However if any of option 1, 2 or 3 are taken then it at least points to a progressive strategy and indicates the bitter pill of rebuilding the finance is complete and we are now looking to push on.

My personal preference, if Mr Lerner is staying, is option 3 as the club can’t solve all problems with simply buying better players and spending more money. We need people on the board that understand football intensely and also have a burning desire to make Aston Villa strong and fiercely competitive again. We also need a manager who is going to be willing to work with a football director and who is willing to develop a progressive way of playing that is not just based around counter attacking football.  We should be aiming for a top manager and if the project is now exciting again then there would be many willing to come and manage a famous club like Aston Villa. It’s all about what is on offer though and that is ultimately down to Mr Lerner. Good managers have turned us down before because we were clearly in a position where top players could not be targeted.  Now the wage bill issues have largely been resolved then there is no reason for us not to be able to entice a top manager that is going to play the sort of football we all want to see on a regular basis from our Aston Villa team.

Personally I still think option 4 or 5 are the most likely scenarios. I have already let my feelings known re option 4 which I don ‘t see as viable so that leaves option 5. My gut feeling still tells me a sale could well be imminent. The recent accounts and his involvement in luxury hotels in The Hamptons USA plus his refusal to still attend matches at Villa Park fuels these feelings.  

I am confident if Mr Lerner is selling, that he will ensure the club is sold to an individual or company that is extremely cash rich, has integrity and the necessary acumen to start putting Aston Villa back where it belongs. You may ask why, having been so critical of him recently? My answer would be that despite the errors I have never questioned Mr Lerner’s integrity and believe he would never saddle us with an owner or custodian as he calls it, who wouldn’t be suitable like some recent owners of football clubs.

Whichever one of the 5 options happens, providing it is not option 4, or from my personal point of view option 1 then we can have happier times ahead. It’s a huge crossroads summer and personally I will be waiting to see what happens before committing my cash again. I have supported and attended the club for 36 straight years but experience has taught me that blind support can be ultimately worse than no support if it gives the impression what is happening is acceptable.

2014/15 must be the season when Aston Villa wakes up from its slumber and starts to challenge for trophies, a strong league position again and never returns to these mediocre days.

Villa Park is a magical place and I still get goose bumps when I drive down the Aston Expressway and see it in all its glory even after all these years. It’s an iconic stadium full of memories. Now is the time for the famous venue to start having the brand of football again, from its team to match and have new, fresh memories created for the future generations of Aston Villa supporters as well as the current suffering generation!

Lets stop with the apathy, stop with the excuse management, stop with the inferiority complex and start acting and behaving like a big club again. Get the passion and ambition back. No way should a club like Everton be 17 points ahead of us and will probably finish well over 20 points ahead. This has gone on too long and must stop.

Up The Villa

Howard Hodgson

Follow me @HodgsonHoward


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