We here at Up the Villa love seeing pictures of our beloved football team winning. With that in mind, we’re starting a new feature and will string together a collection of photos every time the Villa wins. We’re hoping we’re going to be busy this season. The first set of pictures features images from our first two victories of the season against Blackburn and Hereford.
You may have noticed the website has also been given a bit of a spruce-up and for that we’d like to thank Alex Currie (link on the right!) for all his hard work.
Please let us know what you think of our new feature, it was enjoyable putting it together, and we hope you like watching it!
“The fans have got to realise that managers are not fans of clubs. They are doing a job in a professional manner and move around the profession to improve themselves and try to achieve their ambitions” – George Graham.
I read this quote the other day in a blog piece on McLeish becoming the next Aston Villa manager and I think it’s a great point. Of course Graham himself is no stranger to controversial managerial appointments, having managed both Arsenal and Tottenham (albeit not directly) so his words carry a bit more clout. Even removing all Villa bias I may have, we are a bigger side than Birmingham, and no-one can blame Alex McLeish for wanting to be our new number one.
After watching his press conference earlier, I’m really impressed with how he conducted himself and as I wrote on our Facebook page, there is no doubt he is up for the challenge.
“Let me prove myself and I will win you over. It is not a case of proving the fans wrong, I want to go forward with them and prove I am the man for this job.”
When he was appointed manager, I thought it was vitally important that we as fans didn’t judge him on what he did at Birmingham, but rather judge him on what he accomplishes at the Villa. As one of our fans commented on our FB page ‘He has balls of steel’ and this has to be taken into consideration. He was aware of the protests and the vociferous manner in which some Villa fans voiced their opinions, and he is still willing to take the job. For that he deserves a lot of credit. He said the right things and I think he’ll do everything he can to prove that this decision is the right one for Aston Villa Football Club.
“I wouldn’t say it was a difficult decision in my career but it was a tough one, it is not every day you get offered a job like this. There is no way I couldn’t have been the manager of Villa”
He also went on to say that there will inevitably be added pressure if the team doesn’t start well, and this is one of my main worries for us moving forward. We have a good set of fixtures to start the season and I fear if we don’t do as well as we hope, the boo boys will be out in force. We’ve all seen the effect that negativity can have on the team and I hope he is given time. He wasn’t my first choice but now he is here we have to get behind the appointment and the side. The last thing we need is for the team to be scared to play at Villa Park, as seemed to be the case last season.
In what was a well received press conference, he also didn’t rule out raiding Birmingham for some of their players (sure it will go down great) and also hinted that King Carlos has a future at the Villa. One of the highlights came when he said that he emailed his resignation to Birmingham mainly in fear of getting hit by his wife with a rolling pin for cutting short their holiday!
He’d clearly done his homework and while actions will always speak louder than words, he came across very well and I’m looking forward to seeing what he has in store for our beloved football club.
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So Gerard Houllier has left us and once again we here at Up the Villa would like to wish him all the best in the future. We wrote it on our Facebook page but it’s important to point out that despite it being a tough season, Houllier was responsible for a lot of good things.
You brought up a number of our younger players and gave them plenty of game time, you let the previous favourites know that you are not guaranteed a spot in our starting eleven, you changed our whole fitness routine and instead of ending the season in disappointing style, we finished it with a number of hugely impressive wins and of course you brought Darren Bent to Villa Park. Not a bad legacy Mr Houllier, and I hope in the future you stay healthy, and return doing the job that you love.
Now on to our next number one and we thought we would take a look at the top candidates for what remains one of the top jobs in football.
First up is the bookies favourite Mark Hughes.
As I said he is the bookies favourite and odds on with the majority of them. Everything does seem to point to him and with his contract clause at Fulham it appears that we may be able to appoint him on the cheap, something that may appeal to the board after handing over millions to our two previous managers. A number of fans seem underwhelmed by Hughes but I tend to think he would be a good appointment. He has enjoyed relative success wherever he has managed, and has a win percentage of 42%, only one percent lower than fan favourite David Moyes. As a Welshman I can vouch that he completely turned our national side around, certainly no easy task! He had Wales playing great football, playing as a unit and with belief and beating some of the best sides in the world. Since heading to club management he has fared relatively well without ever doing something extraordinary. I think this would be a safe appointment, and with the players we have at the club he could create something special. He also got the very best out of Stephen Ireland, and he could be the attacking midfielder we’ve been crying out for. He is well liked, respected and quite young, although news of him potentially being our number one hasn’t really got the fans too excited.
Current odds: 5/4 (best price).
As mentioned I am Welsh, so don’t hold the same negative feelings towards this man that a lot of you guys will. From everything I have read, he would be a hugely unpopular appointment, and would create an air of negativity around the club before the season even started. One defeat and a number of fans would be on his back and heckling the board, something that would not be productive for anyone. He is currently second favourite, and there have been a few reports stating we are potentially interested in him. Looking at the positives he was number 2 at Manchester United during one of their most successful periods, and highly regarded by those who worked with him. He also did well at Middlesbrough winning the league cup, getting to the final of the UEFA cup and also took unfashionable Twente to a league title. He has also had a few failures though at Wolfsburg and of course while at England. I cannot see a situation where the board would appoint McClaren to be our new number one, and as mentioned there is no doubt it would an incredibly unpopular decision. Now is the time to unite the fans, and he’s not the man to do that.
Current odds: 9/2 (best price).
I just wrote that the next appointment has to unite the fans, and there is no doubt in my mind that this man would. One of the finest managers in Europe, it would be a watershed moment were AVFC to appoint a man of his stature. He has enjoyed success both in the U.K. and on the continent. He is of course without a club after his ridiculous sacking at Chelsea and while he wouldn’t come cheap, sometimes you have to shock the world and go for the best. His odds have shortened all day, and there are a few links that suggest that journalists in Italy think he may well be the next man in charge at our great club. If he could convince his old mate Wilkins to be his number two yet again, I don’t think any Villa fan would be too disappointed. There are those who may worry about his knowledge of our young players but I am sure that he wouldn’t let our talent go to waste. Would be a massive coup.
Current odds: 5/1 (best price).
I was going to list a few more, but the breaking news is that Mark Hughes has quit as Fulham boss, it has to be doesn’t it?!
Although there are reports that Ancelotti may be our new man, so confused!!!!!!!! At least we’re not messing around this summer.
I will leave you with this, last time we had a managerial vacancy the four final candidates were Sven Goran Eriksson, Kevin MacDonald (who I really rate by the way!), Alan Curbishley and Gerard Houllier. Look at the candidates this time around. Of course there will be those who are disgruntled whoever we bring in but this time around we have a real chance to secure a top manager.
Let’s make it happen and get firmly behind the new man in charge.
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Downing disappoints, Ex Villan to return and Pires mouths off. It’s never boring supporting the Villa.
Firstly apologies for the lack of posts recently, it has been a busy time!
Now on to today’s Villa news and once again it makes for interesting reading. We have to start with the massive U-turn by player of the year Stewart Downing who today has said that he won’t be signing a new contract at the present moment, despite stating he was happy to stay at the club a few weeks ago.
“I know the club are keen for me to extend my contract as I only have two years left on my deal and that my agent had a recent meeting with our chief executive Paul Faulkner.
“However, I am 26 and at a major crossroads in my career so I won’t be committing to a new deal at the moment.”
“I do want to play in the Champions League at some point.”
As mentioned what makes this all the more disappointing is that these comments come only a few weeks after saying the following:
“Yes, I am happy here, there is speculation that players are going to clubs all the time but I am happy here. A lot of faith went into me when I was injured, I want to do well because the club put a lot of faith in me”
When we reported the news that he was staying on here and our facebook page, the fans were understandably delighted. It has been a tough season, and the news that our player of the season loved it at the club and wanted to say was just what we needed.
Now it seems we may yet again lose another one of our best players. We brought him when he was injured and who knows what has forced this about turn. I still don’t think he will go this summer, but come 12 months time we may find ourselves in a familiar position. It seriously pains me that our club is treated in this way. I’m all for players wanting to play at the very highest level, yet hate seeing players use AVFC as a stepping stone, especially only a few weeks after saying how happy they are here.
Ah well, we will once again move on whatever happens. The club will always be the most important thing.
In our trio of stories today, here’s a bit of positive news for you. We’ve been linked with former favourite Thomas Hitzlsperger for a cut price fee of £500,000. I would love to see this materialise, if only to shout shooootttttttttttttttttttttttt every time he received the ball in the opposition half! Also his interviews in his bizarre German/Brummy accent are always a delight. In all seriousness though, it appears to me he has improved a great deal since returning to the premiership and his all around game is much better. If we can get him in at the price mentioned, I think it would be a great bit of business. He’s a fan favourite, loves the club and still has a peach of a left foot. Make it happen Mr Lerner.
To finish today we have some ridiculous quotes from Robert Pires. Now for all his detractors, I did think it was a worthwhile act to bring him in when we did this season. We had about two midfielders fit, and from what I understand he has been great with the youngsters. What I don’t agree with though is him constantly running his mouth, listen to your mate Thierry Henry and just shut up!
Here are the latest and hopefully last ramblings of Mr Pires:
‘I was very happy to be able to sign a new contract with an English club, even more so at Aston Villa with Gerard Houllier, but when I look back at it now, I am extremely disappointed. I had asked for nothing in particular, I knew I wasn’t going to be a guaranteed starter, but I would have ilked to have been used more. During the penultimate match we were winning 2-0 and I thought that McAllister was going to put me on. It was at that moment that I said to myself there was a lack of respect.’
I think the majority of people were probably glad you didn’t come on Robert, yes it was against your old club, and we know what they mean to you, but please understand the club and the three points are the most important thing. You’ve kept genuine young talent out of the squad, have contributed in a few games this season, and as mentioned been a positive influence behind the scenes so surely just be thankful that a club as big as ours gave you one last horrah in the best league in the world.
It’s all a bit depressing today but we’ll move on as always. Let’s hope our managerial situation is finally sorted out soon, and this summer is a positive one.
If you haven’t check out our Facebook page, we’re getting so close to a 1000 fans!
Guillem Balague tweets about our next manager, Luke Young’s thoughts on celebrating and Goodbye Carew.
Twitter seems to be everywhere these days, and normally I don’t pay attention to it. When one of these tweets involves Aston Villa and our next manager though, I can’t wait to read those 140 characters!
Sky Spanish football pundit Guillem Balague is the man in question and has tweeted the following:
‘if Gerard Houllier decides 2 leave AV (the club want him to stay and reduce his workload) David Moyes is top of a shortlist to replace him’
It is interesting/random for him to tweet about this subject, and having worked for Sky Sports previously, I know he has a mahoossivveeee list of contacts. This rumour is out there though, and any random person could write/blog/tweet about the subject and no-one would pay attention. It is interesting how he comments that the club want him to stay and reduce his workload though. Now this could mean any number of things, but I am getting more of a feeling that we will see Houllier in some capacity at Villa Park next season. Houllier is apparently hugely dedicated to the position, and puts in a ridiculous amount of hours, so it could be a case of him working less and focusing on certain things as our previous manager used to. Alternatively it could be what many people suspect, that Houllier will move ‘upstairs’ and a new manager will come in. It remains to be seen whether Balague’s tweet will come true, you have to think that after the Liverpool match things will become a lot clearer.
On to Luke Young now and a really interesting piece about what was going through his mind after DB39 scored his second of the day to put us 2-0 up against Arsenal.
“If you look at me after we score I don’t celebrate. I just simply walk straight back into my position because I know at that point there are 70 minutes to go and a long, hard-fought game to come.”
“I think we saw that second half. They threw everything at us. I am just glad they got their goal so late. If they’d have got it a little bit earlier it would have been a bit nervier for us.”
“It was an all-round team defensive display. I thought the two centre-halves as well as Kyle and Brad were especially good”
Now I’m all for celebrating and I would love to see Villa bust out a pre planned celeb one day but I actually quite like what Young has done here. I think he has been a rock for us since coming back into the defence and has to be commended for his displays at left back. He’s your classic unsung hero and has a terrific attitude and I hope he’s part of the Villa squad for a few years yet. You can never have enough ‘Luke Young’s’ in your squad.
Lastly today, it appears that John Carew’s Villa career is coming to an end.
“Aston Villa was a fantastic period of my life”
“I have a fantastic relationship with the fans and there will always be a place in my heart for them. I love the club immensely, but my time there is finished. I will go and watch Aston Villa as a fan, as a supporter, but not as a player any more.”
Now this should be no surprise to anyone, and it is probably better for all parties that he’s leaving. I will still look back at his time with us fondly, despite his rather rubbish final season at the Villa. He gave us a great chant, provided some brilliant memories (his many goals, his interactions with fans/ballboys, his visits to lap-dancing clubs) and I wish him well in the future (except against us naturally).
As mentioned I would love to see the Villa bust out a pre planned celeb. Not only is it pretty funny, it provides a talking point and brings the club free publicity. Win win! Check out these Icelandic geniuses for tips on how it should be done!
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