No disrespect & all that to those included, but come on people, you can do better than this. Are you all sleeping? Is there really nothing you want to talk about? Please?
There's something of a void at Real Madrid - a void that is usually filled by a shiny new signing, but things are being held up at the Bernabeu, writes Tim Stannard...
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Lambert Out, Adkins In
Genuine congratulations to Bradford from a very p***ed off Villa fan.
Time for Lambert to get out. Most people will be rolling their eyes at this, thinking I'm just venting at us being completely schooled by a side three divisions below us. There is a bit of that - but look at the four goals we conceded!
Give a manager time, pundits are always saying. Lambert's had six months, does it take longer than that to teach a centre back to head a corner away? Villa need stability, pundits say. No we don't; stability is no more a guarantee of success than constant change. If your car is heading off a cliff, you don't want to keep the steering wheel stable do you?
Previously, I'd thought changing managers, even if we got relegated, would do us no good. Who could do a better job with no players and no money bar the squad's paper round wages?
But now, I'm thinking - how much worse could it get? Go and get Nigel Adkins please.
Neil Raines (please don't publish anything from people calling for the return of Ellis or McLeish. It's not that bad yet.)
...Where now for Villa, indeed. A terrible mess that is starting to remind me more and more of Newcastle being relegated in 2010. Thankfully, Alan Shearer didn't at any stage of his career play for Villa so he can't ride heroically in on his white horse to finish the job off. Dion Dublin, anyone? No? Oh well...
As far as the actual/current manager goes, I genuinely feel for him in one regard because he seems to be drowning in the situation and seems unclear to say the least, on what he should do to fix it. Some of it is his own doing. He has loaded the team with young players and very little experience and he is being constantly stung by this. BUT, if he is in a position where he has been told that there is no funds there to reinforce this window then that is fairly shameful on (a seemingly absent, again. Big night for the club, no??) Randy Lerner. If he needs help, he should be given it and backed. Simple as that. Were they to sack him in the morning and hire a new manager, you get the feeling that these funds would miraculously appear.
Lambert looked doomed on the sideline in the second half. He had the look of a man that could not fatham what he was seeing in terms of the contrast in the teams performance in the second half. What was his team talk at half time? What directions did he give to reverse the fantastic first half performances of Ireland and N'Zogbia who were at the centre of everything good Villa did or did the team just shrink and hide in the second half despite his team talk and not because of it? Is there just something chronically wrong with the team on the field at the moment that there's nothing he can do?
I just cannot help but think it would be a very different season with a fit Richard Dunne and a fit and healthy Stylian Petrov on the pitch. There is no lack of effort but no leaders, either. However, it is the biggest black mark against Lamberts reign that he did not at the very least directly replace Petrov's experience and leadership in the close season. It perhaps said an awful lot that he turned to Darren Bent to lead the team into this season as captain and that their relationship seems to have soured as a result of him (fairly predictably) failing to become the team leader in place of Dunne and Petrov.
I don't know if Lerner will stick with Lambert now. He either has to back him in the transfer market this month or sack him. I see Roberto Di Matteo is 2/1 favourite to replace Lambert but why would he take on a job where he would supposedly have no money to spend? I would put good money on Alan Curbishly finally getting his return to football should Lambert be sacked. Exciting, eh! He would be Gerard Houllier and McLeish all over again. An uninspiring but supposedly solid manager with plenty of experience to steady the ship. It would be textbook Lerner and Faulkner. An outside bet would be Gareth Southgate, I reckon. Ex-Villa man (our very own Shearer!!), speaks well on TV, could get Roy Keane as his trusty no. 2 to glare at all the youngfella's and had some fancy sounding job with the F.A. You'd just have to forget how sh*t he was as 'Boro manager to take him seriously as a proper candidate for the job. Whoever it is, or if Lambert remains, all I want is for Villa to not get relegated and for Lerner, whatever happens, to make his intentions and commitment for the club clear. If you want out Randy, get out. Just try and fulfill your responsibilities to the club, its fans and your staff in the meantime.
So, all in all, fun times as usual at The Villa. Maybe I should just pick a new team to support? That's how it work's now isn't it??
Aston Villa as resilient as wet toilet paper.
It's become chronic, we expect to concede every time we take a lead. We need to change that in this transfer window or we will be relegated.
Two players will make the world of difference to results. Find Makelele and pay him a big fee for 4 months work to come out of retirement and he'd sort out this fragility.
The one thing that is consistent about the mailbox is its continual ability to print comments from contributors, and to subsequently bite said contributors on the ar*e. God knows I've been bitten more than a fat guy in mosquito season. So from Monday afternoons mailbox I winced at the following comment from one Conor Bynre.
'Thankfully our next two games are not premier league matches and are to lower league opposition. We can use these as a way to get some confidence back'
Following on from Snelly asking for a new club to support because his club isn't winning things anymore, (which has clearly ruined watching football for him), the above comment got me wondering if clubs could send some fans out on loan?, the ones who unfortunately and unintentionally only open their mouths to change foot. Not get rid of them, just give them some perspective of other teams plights, and encourage them not to be too presumptuous.
Bradford though, just wow, and massive congratulations. I just hope they get Swansea in the final.
Chris ITFC, Liverpool
What's the difference between Paul Lambert and the snow?
Lambert will be gone by tomorrow.
To Bradford players,
Enjoy your victory lads, and watch as the 'revenue' gained for your struggles is invested in your replacements.
Ben (still a huge achievement), SFC and LFC, Southport
I'm a villa fan and have been for 26 years now and I thought I would offer my (depressing) views on last night:
Firstly comes the obligatory (if it sounds patronising I apologise, it shouldn't) congratulations to bradford-knew our weaknesses and ruthlessly exploited them across two legs.
Fabian Delph is the worst player I have seen in a villa shirt. Decision making is non-existent, the amount of pointless shots he took was criminal. The foul in the last two minutes occupied 30s. I don't know why he played ahead of Holman. I don't know why he plays ahead of the groundsman.
Substitutions left us devoid of shape. I know you need to get strikers on, chase the game etc, but the team didn't know how to go about creating chances. Ron Vlaar and Joe Bennett are entirely at fault for that goal. As it stood we needed one goal to level up. Bennett should have given the throw, vlaar should have marked better. The result was the complete loss of direction of the team, and the loss of the tie.
The most worrying thing was the lack of mental resolve. Although unsurprising for a young team with little confidence, the reaction to conceding was nonetheless appalling. All heads went down and the tie was almost given up. doesn't fill you with hope for the next few months.
Lambert must take blame for this. He has spent money. These young recruits are his and they don't look capable of winning a game at any level.
I genuinely think we will go down this season. In my memory, I have never seen us play so poorly and look so out of place in the premier league,though it is a toss up with last season. This is an awful team.
Lerner should take a hefty share of responsibility for the overall decline in the last 4/5 years. He bottled it, pure and simple. We were in touching distance of champs league football, and he backed down, cashed in his chips, sold Milner,downing and young, lost o'neill and now look where we are.
I hate football.
Blaming the Ref
From the moment I woke up ( 6am Australia time ) and saw Phil Dowd named as referee, I knew that there was no chance Villa was going to win. He is a truly awful referee who cannot handle big occasions. Sure Bradford had a fantastic first leg, but the goal Bradford got today was dubious at best. Failure to see that our defender was dragged out of the way out the header by a Bradford player is not surprising at all from the 'referee' who ruined the 2010/11 League Cup final (not sending Vidic off as it would have ruined the spectacle of the game). Enough about him though, the utterly appalling part was Villa's ineptitude.
After dominating the first half, they not only took their foot off the accelerator, but actually applied the brakes. It was as if they just expected the goals should come, and that just reflects the mentality of a team made up of such young players. Villa deserved to lose the tie this evening and much praise must go to the team unit that is Bradford. This result will either kickstart Villa's league recovery, or absolutely shatter these young guys and condemn them to the Championship. I believe it will be the latter.
Villa till I die, which may be soon as results like these make me want to die.
A Crowing West Brom Fan
I'm sure there will be a lot of bile, abuse, and humour at Aston Villas expense today, and rightly so. There will also be praise for Bradford, and they really do deserve it.
But I want to talk about the dynamic here in the midlands. In a huge construction office, brimming with West Brom, Wolves, Birmingham, Stoke and Villa fans. For so long Villa have been the bigger brother. Rubbing everyone's noses in it with an air of invincibility about them. Laughing at you every time you suffered the humiliation of a defeat to what should be an inferior rival, or a relegation. Today we get our own back. Today you know how it feels to actually deserve the title of losers. I'm sure you'll point to the fact West Brom are a small club, Wolves are inbred, Stoke play hoofball, and Birmingham are in total meltdown.
But today is your day. Take it like men. Defeats like this give your team character. They make you feel pain. For far too long your club has been numb, bumbling along in a morphine filled existence. You've just got to accept that today, and perhaps the rest of this season you are going to get your noses bloodied. Fact is that you might come back all the better for it. The difference is the rest of us know, because we've been there.......and back.
Russell (He's come from Stamford Bridge, He's bigger than my fridge!) Gray, WBA
Cheering For Bradford
At the final whistle I cheered and went mental as much as if my own team had won. And how I would have loved to have been able to go straight to Bradford to see the city go mad. Hope the police turned their backs and allowed a few lock-ins!
Well done Bradford, you have been absolutely magnificent and surely, with no disrespect to their opposition, this will be one of those finals when 99.9% of people will be cheering one team. Let us hope Swansea can complete their part and the bookies will have a final that no-one could ever have predicted.
Mike 'How the hell did Villa win at Anfield' Woolrich, LFC, Angola
At 19 Pogba has made 4 appearances in the UCL for Juventus (1 start and 3 off the bench). He's also started 10 games in all competitions and made 18 appearances overall in a midfield that includes Kwadwo Asamoah, Claudio Marchisio, Arturo Vidal, and some fellow named Pirlo whom you may have heard of.
Brilliant? That's a matter of opinion, but even apart from his goals he's looked totally at home on the number one team in Italy. Something tells me he's good enough to get a start or two over the likes of Tom Cleverley.
P.S. Really, Bradley's your example to prove Italy isn't that good? Bradley was a damned good player at Gladbach too. Maybe 4 games wasn't enough time to showcase his talents, or maybe playing for Alex McLeish just drained his will to live.
The Excellent Nastasic
A few stats that have created caught my interest.
Tackle success: 81%
Pass success: 90%
Tackle success: 96% (!)
Pass success: 87%
The best defensive partnership in the Premier League? Nastasic must be considered for the Young Player of the Year award. He's ousted a very experienced England international, who said about him recently: "Surely a contender for player of the season. If he was English people wouldn't stop raving about him."
Then again, maybe my view of young centre backs is somewhat skewed after Stevan Savic.
We Don't Want Snelly
To Thom Vickers who suggested that Snelly from Nelson join the ranks of much beloved Sydney FC. We don't want his sort around here either. Also he probably will want to jump ship after 'the mighty' FC gave his local club, the Wellington Phoenix, one hell of a beating at the weekend.
And this is after we've lost half the fan base to those cheeky upstarts of Western Sydney Wanderers. Bunch of band-wagon jumpers.
Give Snelly a break guys, seriously. If Snelly wants to change club, who cares? God, people get so sniffy.
Lazarus wrote, "..for most fans their club is part of their very being". Well not me. I have been a Chelsea fan for 30+ years, and though I can't see me ever changing allegiance, I do have a life in the real world, which I can affect and isn't reliant on people who don't know I exist, performing to a certain standard. I know which is far more important to me.
But who's right? Lazurus, Snelly or me?
Predictable answer is none of us/all of us. Why on earth would people get so worked up? What do you care who Snelly supports/doesn't support/will change his mind about tomorrow? And the level of hatred from Arsenal fans was, well quite funny really. I suspect it's because deep down, in their sub-conscious, right now, they really, really wish they could change clubs, but then their "proper fan" mates would not talk to them anymore.
Just a thought
Michael, Chelsea, London
In reply to Rowan, Red Devil Dub
I'm a Sunderland fan. We once had Jonny Evans. Now we have Titus Bramble. Just be quiet.