Just a quick post today to acknowledge the great news that Kevin Macdonald has been promoted to a new role as first team coach. Macdonald has a bit of experience of working with the first team, after taking control of the side in a caretaker capacity after Martin O’Neill’s abrupt departure at the start of last season. After Houllier was brought in, K-Mac resumed his position as coach of the reserves, a role he had worked wonders in for many a season.
I’m delighted to see him given the chance to work at a higher level, and he thoroughly deserves it for all the hard work he has done for Aston Villa Football Club. He will of course know a number of our younger stars extremely well, and this can only bode well. The club have announced that they will be promoting from the academy with regards to the reserve team role and again this is the right thing to do. A few names have been suggested over at our Facebook page (Tony McAndrew and Mark Delaney) and either of these would be a great choice.
Alex McLeish has had this to say on the promotion:
“I’ve changed the coaching staff round a little bit. We’ve enhanced it.
“We’ve got Sid there and Peter obviously, my assistant, and I’ve promoted Kevin to help with the first team as well.
“At a club like this we need all the best coaches we can get.
“Kevin is great and so is Sid, who is quietly effective in terms of saying the right things to the young ones. They’ve got a lot of respect for him.
“A lot of them have grown up with Kevin too and he’s definitely got something to add to the team in terms of the information and his knowledge.
“We’ll now promote someone from within for the reserves”.
Villa have also announced that they have appointed Terry Gennoe as their new goalkeeper coach until the end of the season at least. Given previously worked with Gennoe at Blackburn and Newcastle and apparently sees him as a bit of a mentor. Again this is another positive move by the club, and anything that can help Given keep up his tremendous performances to date sounds good to me. He comes highly rated so well done to the club for being proactive and making a number of moves that will hopefully keep us challenging at the right end of the table.
Under 21 roundup, star would have quit had Houllier stayed, more links to an old boy and Bent update….busy day!
The encouraging start to the season continued last night as some of Villa’s young stars impressed while on under 21 duty with their respective countries.
Nathan Baker started for England U’21′s but his night was cruelly cut short as he suffered a knee injury just before half time. During the game he look composed on the ball, and spread it around nicely from his centre-back role. Could do nothing about the goal as Israel broke from a corner with Baker out of position after pushing forward for the set piece. No news yet on the extent of his injury but we wish him well.
Nathan Delfouneso and Gary Gardner both made appearances during the second half, coming on side by side with around twenty five minutes to play. Gardner was making his debut at this level and while he didn’t get many chances to show what he can do, he did spray a number of cracking balls out wide, and it is only a matter of time before he makes an impact at first team level. I thought the Fonz looked really sharp, and deserved his goal for his lively cameo. It came via the penalty spot, and despite a rather awkward stop, start, step back, run forward run-up, he still finished with aplomb, slotting the ball into the bottom corner. The game finished 4 – 1 to England and our young Villans should be proud at their performances.
Another young striker, Andreas Weimann, currently on loan at Watford scored a goal in Austria’s under 21 victory against their Greek counterparts as they won 3 2. This was in addition to the two he grabbed last Friday against Luxembourg. Not a bad few days! He’s very highly rated at the Villa and I would like to see him given a chance this season. The Championship is a very good league so the loan should stand him in good stead. Good luck for the rest of it!
As I write this Richard Dunne has just finished performing heroics in Russia, and has made a quite incredible goal-line stop which you need to see. Given was also sensational behind him and this can only bode well for the Villa, well in boys! In other Dunne news though, the defender has admitted that he would have ‘probably left had Houllier had stayed’. Now we all know about the infamous fall out last season, and his form was inconsistent at best last campaign. I don’t think it’s worthwhile talking about the past, and you can see from his performances already that Dunne, along with Collins are enjoying playing under the new manager. We’ve only conceded the one goal in three games, and I hope that this impressive form continues as the season progresses. A Richard Dunne playing at his best, can only be a good thing for the Villa. You can see the difference having Given behind him makes, and I hope we can get back to being the defensive force we were a few seasons ago.
The links to Villa old boy Steven Davis first came up towards the end of the transfer window, and now it appears as we were genuinely interested in the midfielder as McLeish has revealed the following:
“Steven Davis is a Rangers player. We asked about him, but we know how much he means to Rangers”
“We never pursued it because they made it clear he wasn’t for sale.”
I was a fan of Davis during his initial tenure at the Villa, and thought he performed well albeit in a very poor Villa side. Despite links to Man Utd he went on to Fulham where he did very little before shining in Scotland with Rangers. He does have talent, but for me we have too many similar players here, and I’d prefer to see the likes of Bannan/Ireland given a go before we wasted money and wages on a player we don’t really need. We’ve been burnt before on signing players from Scotland, and I fear we would again if we were to bring Davis back to our club.
Lastly today and a quick update from AMC who has said Bent is ‘touch and go’ to face Everton this weekend. Now this doesn’t sound too promising, and while I hope he makes it, if there is any doubt we’d be better letting him sit this one out, rather than run the risk of losing him for a longer period. If he is out then we have to find a way of creating, and taking our chances. I would like to see the aforementioned Delfouneso given a run-out, but I expect that Gabby would move up, with perhaps Jenas or Bannan taking his place on the left. Time will tell but we hope it’s nothing too serious!
As always, feel free to share your views on here, or via our Facebook and Twitter pages.
It was a struggle, but we got there in the end and the most important thing is that we find ourselves in the draw for the next round. We’ve all seen Villa fall victim to upsets previously, and there’s no denying it sucks. I was therefore pleased to see McLeish take the cup seriously and despite making eight changes, we put out a strong side. It appears that we’re placing more emphasis on the cups this season and that’s the way it should be. Only a few seasons ago we reached the final of this very competition and despite the tournament having plenty of detractors, there’s no doubt that winning it would be a huge boost to the fans and the club itself.
Focusing on the match and ultimately we did enough to see off the challenge of a spirited Hereford team. There were plenty of positives we can take from the match and the most important thing in my eyes, is that we kept the momentum rolling to continue our very encouraging start to the season. Habib Beye also earned his wages for once, and we kept another clean sheet. Eric Lichaj also grabbed his first goal for the Villa, and boy did he celebrate in style! It’s also refreshing to see how much it meant to him, and soon after the match he ‘tweeted’ the following:
‘Think I’m deaf now… Never heard my mom scream so loud and for so long after her son scored. Happy man ’
Now that’s what it’s all about and I love knowing that Lichaj, and the rest of the youngsters seem to have a genuine affinity for our football club. This is the best group we’ve had coming up in a long long time, and I’m so excited to see how they progress. Barry Bannan again ran the show yesterday (sorry Blackpool he’s not going anywhere) and looks like he’s going to play a big part this season, and Weimann and the Fonz also impressed when coming on. I would much rather give these players a go, than spend money on a player who may not necessarily be needed. Which brings me nicely on to my next point!
A number of sources have linked us with a move for Manchester United midfielder Darron Gibson with a fee of £3.5 million mentioned. Now he’s only 23, and anyone coming up through the Old Trafford ranks must have something about them. For me though, I wouldn’t be too keen on bringing him in. I don’t think we need him and while the squad could do with one or two new faces, surely other areas are more of a priority? I think we could do with a defensive midfielder, not someone like Gibson who is more of an attacking option. Yes he has a great shot, but that is not reason enough to bring him in. The fact a lot of Man Utd fans don’t rate him says it all, and I would much rather us use our existing players than waste unnecessary money and wages on a player we don’t really need. The aforementioned Bannan is a much better option, and we still have players like Ireland and Makoun sitting on the bench.
So to finish, well done Villa for negotiating your way to the third round. On a night where a number of other Premiership sides were ‘upset’, it was important for us to progress, and to keep the positivity around the club before the top of the table clash against Wolves this Saturday!
Following the release or departure of 12 players this summer, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the Aston Villa squad barely has enough players left to form a competitive five-a-side team. That’s not the case and despite the need for one or two new faces, we still have a decent sized squad with a surprising amount of cover in some areas. With that in mind we here at ‘Up the Villa’ are going to profile everyone (well almost everyone) in our squad, discuss their values as Aston Villa players and what qualities they bring to our football team.
As we’ve had a bit of a love affair (totally justified by the way) with Shay Given recently, first up in our new feature is Mr Bradley Guzan. After a string of impressive performances for Juan Pablo Angel’s new team Chivas USA, Guzan went on to be named ‘MLS Goalkeeper of the Year’ in 2007. This was enough to convince Villa to make their move and after a deal fell through in January 2008, the transfer was finally completed in July of that year. The fee was a reported £600,000 and despite the keeper not getting the number of appearances he would have liked here, there is no doubt that the overall level of his performances has comfortably paid back the money spent on securing his services.
Guzan made his competitive Villa debut in a league cup defeat against Q.P.R. His European bow went a lot better though as Guzan kept a clean sheet and impressed as Villa beat Slavia Prague 1-0 in the Czech Republic. This display prompted Martin O’Neill (he of little hyperbole) to describe Guzan as a ‘Class goalkeeper in the making’. That particular European campaign ended in infamy with Mr O’Neill’s decision to field the reserves against CSKA Moscow. Guzan also made his first and only Premiership appearance to date in the same campaign coming on against Liverpool after the other Brad (Friedel) was sent off.
The start of the 2009-10 campaign and in particular our participation in the Peace Cup was arguably the moment fans became more aware of Guzan’s capabilities and especially his prowess for saving penalty kicks. After performing well throughout the tournament, Guzan saved his best for the final, producing a solid display before saving two penalties in the shoot-out. The second stop in particular was vital and also provided me with one of my favourite Guzan moments. Alessandro Del Piero (yes he of the amazing set-pieces) stepped up knowing that a successful penalty kick was all that stood between Juventus and a Peace Cup triumph. Guzan had other ideas. Del Piero tried…um to pass it into the net down the middle (as you do) and Guzan read him like a book, easily saving the weak effort. Villa went on to lift the Peace Cup, although there was nothing peaceful about the look Guzan gave Del Piero for what he just tried. Despite it being a preseason tournament, this remains one of my favourite Villa moments of recent years.
As the season kicked off, more glory would follow as Villa made it to the League Cup final. Guzan was instrumental in seeing Villa make the final, and his performance against Sunderland in the last 16 is one of the finer goalkeeping displays a Villan has made in recent seasons. Not only did he save a penalty in normal time, he also made an excellent save in extra time before going on to save three more penalties in the shoot out, ensuring Villa’s progression to the next round. The wild semi final second leg against Blackburn (people tend to forget he kept a clean sheet in the first leg) is perhaps where some people made their minds up that Guzan might not be good enough to ultimately be Villa’s number one. It’s interesting to wonder what would have happened with regards to the final if Guzan kept a clean sheet in the second leg.
Still O’Neill had a decision to make and ultimately plumped for experience as Brad Friedel was the man between the sticks at Wembley. As we all know we went on to lose and for me at least, Guzan should have kept his place in goals. He was a massive reason we made the final in the first place, and much like Stoke did last season when playing Sorensen (who played all the cup games previously) instead of Begovic, I think the manager should have kept faith with the keeper that performed heroics to get us there. I can only imagine how Guzan must have been feeling.
Last season saw Guzan loaned out to Hull City and by all accounts he did well. What the future holds for Brad with regards to Villa is hard to tell. Of course we’ve just signed Shay Given, so premiership opportunites at least, are likely to be limited. Whether he goes back out on loan, leaves permanently or stays at Villa, I think he has the potential to be a solid keeper in the future, and at 26 he still has many years ahead of him. Having a capable reserve goalkeeper is vital at the top level, and we definitely do at the Villa. Whether he will ever be our number one remains to be seen but considering the price we brought him for, we’ve done pretty well out of the deal.
Enjoy the Guzan save from Del Piero below (and enjoy the commentary!)
In yet another twist to the Carlos Cuellar saga (it seems that transfers both in and out at Villa seem to take an age) it now appears that he may yet be staying at the club after comments from both parties seem to suggest that for the time being at least, the move is dead.
Rangers apparently expressed a bit of concern about his latest injury, and were also struggling to come to an agreement over wages with Carlos picking up around £35,000 a week at Villa, a task not helped by the Scottish clubs elimination from the Champions League qualifiers. Alex McLeish has also said the following, and still refuses to rule out his exit:
“Carlos is a very good experienced player. I think Rangers have gone cold on the idea so, as far as we are concerned, he is a Villa player.
“He is a solid defender and did a tremendous job for Rangers when he was up there in his first spell. He is a terrific defender and is very experienced cover.
“He is not far away from running, so he is maybe a week or two away from joining the group. Will he still be here in a fortnight? I can’t predict that.
“We just have to get on with things and keep plugging away to get results.”
It’s an interesting one with King Carlos. A lot of the fans (myself included) hold him in high regard, and I actually think he’s one of the better centre-backs at the club. McLeish is the latest in a line of managers though to not really give him a chance and while we all fancy we could do a better job as the gaffer, surely they can’t all be wrong about the player? Personally I’d like to see him stay but if he’s not going to play and isn’t part of the long term plans, then we’d be better to at least get some money in for him, and get his wages off the books. The last thing I want to see is another O’Neill signing leave for nothing or a fraction of their true worth, we’ve been down that road too many times before.
Now on to more positive news and it really is significant as it has been reported that Shay Given should be fit to make his home debut this weekend against Blackburn. Alarms were raised when James Collins began taking goal kicks towards the end of the Fulham match, and in the aftermath it was revealed he had a slight groin strain. The good news is though he should be back in training tomorrow and with no setbacks free to play on the weekend. Now please join me in a collective sigh of relief.
Looking past the first team and our youngsters play their first match of the NextGen tournament tonight, taking on European giants Ajax in Amsterdam. Make no mistake this is a huge deal for the club, and can only benefit the young stars taking part. Mark Warburton, the creator of NextGen has revealed why Villa were worthy candidates to take a place in the inaugural competition:
“You can go to Bodymoor Heath and see you have got world class facilities there.
“I know [Villa's academy director] Bryan Jones very well and have seen the excellent work that has been done in the academy.
“You can also look at the FA Youth Cup over the past couple of seasons and see the quality teams that Villa have put out there.
“Even back when I was a young player for Leicester in the 1980s, Villa always brought through young players.”
We’ve taken a strong squad over to Holland, with some well known names such as Daniel Johnson, Samir Carruthers, Graham Burke and Benjamin Siegrist all involved. The best of luck to the Villa and let’s show the rest of Europe we have one of the very best youth set-up’s in football. Just no-one get any ideas about stealing any of our young stars.
Finishing today and a rather fanciful link to Nicolas Anelka. This popped up late last night with talk of a loan move and before long was all over twitter, Facebook and the like. The source is highly dubious with it looking like it has been picked up from a users comment on the Sky Sports transfer window watch site. Sky then decided to publish it in the main section and like that, a new transfer rumour was born! Will it happen, probably not. Would it be nice, well yes! He’s still a great striker and if he joined Bolton (no offence intended) I’d like to think he would come to us….even taking off my Villa hat we’re still a bigger and more attractive club. Still I can’t see it happening but it’s still good to be linked to players of this quality. After the news of enquiries for Milner and Johnson, it still suggests we’re looking to strengthen, and strengthen with players who can make a difference. I have faith we can have a good season, but numbers are undeniably low in the squad and a couple of new faces could make a massive difference to our fortunes this campaign. Over to you Villa.
First things first, let us take a moment to celebrate the fact that football is back. Feels good right?! Despite a pretty uninspiring weekend all around the Premier League there are few more exciting feelings than seeing your team kick off the new season, and all things considered, we have to be happy with a solid point at Craven Cottage.
As I was travelling back from my holiday, I was unable to catch the match, instead finding myself standing in fields and the like in a desperate attempt to find signal. After a couple of hours of constantly pressing refresh, the game finished 0-0 and by all accounts our new keeper had played a blinder.
After seeing the highlights this was confirmed and already it looks as if Alex McLeish has pulled off a master-stroke by saving Shay Given from the plush leather seats that form the Man City bench. I’ve said it before, and why I choose to bring it up again I’m not quite sure but Shay Given wasn’t my first choice to be our new number one. His shoulder didn’t really bother me, as I’m sure our medical staff know more about these type of things than myself, I was simply of the thinking that we’d be better suited bringing in a younger keeper who could be our number one for a longer period. There are times when I’m happy to admit I was wrong, and this is one of them. Of course we have to remember that he’s only played a handful of games for the Villa, but the early signs are darn promising.
At Fulham he pulled of a number of very impressive stops, and more than that his communication and sheer enthusiasm were great to witness. A player like Shay Given (take note James Milner) doesn’t deserve to be sitting on a bench, and it’s already apparent in the interviews he’s conducted that he’s beyond happy to be playing regular football again.
Reading around and seeing a few pieces on TV, it’s apparent that it’s not just us Villa fans infatuated with our new number one. I don’t think I’ve ever heard the phrase ‘signing of the season’ used so much during the opening weekend of the season (Aguero played on a monday, so in our Villa favoured view that doesn’t count!)! Here are a few press snippets and as I’m sure you’ll agree, they make for pretty positive reading.
Sunday Express: Buying Shay Given could turn out to be one of the best bits of business Alex McLeish has done in quite a while.
Sunday Mercury: Alex McLeish saluted Aston Villa’s ‘Shay-viour’ after the super stopper ensured his and the manager’s competitive debuts were in safe hands in the draw at Fulham
Daily Star on Sunday: The Republic of Ireland No.1 pulled off a series of fine saves to deny Fulham a deserved victory and left you wondering why City boss Mancini showed him the door. Given, 35, proved that he is still top-drawer and has many years left in the top flight.
Mail on Sunday: Shay Given was the star of the show on his Barclays Premier League debut for Aston Villa. The Irishman was always going to be a snip at £3.5m and he proved the point at the first opportunity.
Sunday Telegraph: Well, at least Aston Villa have no worries about replacing Brad Friedel. New goalkeeper Shay Given was the decisive figure on an afternoon which initially promised much for the away side but ultimately left Fulham frustrated.
I love Mr Given already. As a result of our goalkeepers heroics, we also managed to keep a clean sheet away from home, managing the feat for the first time since we beat Hull in April 2010. For all his detractors (and lord knows there were many), it’s great to see our new manager has already got our defence looking more solid than we did last season, and this can only bode well for the upcoming season. A couple of seasons ago, we had one of the better defensive units in the league, and if we can get back anywhere near that level, we’ll be in a position to do well.
We wouldn’t be Villa fans if we didn’t have something to moan about, and while the lack of chances created is a bit of a worry, I’m pretty confident things will turn around soon on that front. Darren Bent scores goals for fun, and when N’Zogbia is fully up and running, we’ll offer more of a threat than we did Saturday. I was pleased to see Delph given a start, and I’m hoping for a big season from him this season. We are in desperate need of a goalscoring midfielder, and he could be the man to chip in with 7 or 8 this season.
Still let’s keep it positive and take things into context. Fulham finished above us last season, have a lot more match fitness than ourselves and were at home. A point and a clean sheet is not to be sniffed at.
Apologies to everyone for the lack of posts recently, as mentioned I was away on Holiday with limited internet access. Thanks to everyone for getting involved on our Facebook and Twitter pages (links above by clicking on the relevant logos) and to everyone who has joined our Fantasy Football leagues. You people rock. Also we’re in the process of making a few changes to the website so apologies for that.
While the preseason has been under-way for a few weeks now, it has seemed that Villa are just a step behind the majority of other teams. We were one of the last to return from the summer hols and one of the last to play a preseason friendly. It all kicks off tonight though with the obligatory trip to Walsall and I can’t wait, it’s been a long two months.
A very young side made the short trip to play Boldmere yesterday and despite losing 3-2, games like this are always beneficial in terms of fitness and experience. A few of the more familiar reserve stars were in action including Burke, Siegrist and Gardner before mass changes at half time. Graham Burke and Janoi Donacien were our goalscorers putting us 2-1 in front before Boldmere struck back in the second half. Unlucky boys and as I said the result in these circumstances do not matter too much. Hopefully it’s another step in the development for a number of these players, with Villa fans holding very high hopes for a couple of our young stars.
Perhaps Gary ‘the better’ Gardner is the young player that Villa fans are most excited about, and he went close yesterday with a screaming effort that cannoned back off the woodwork. One interesting development with regards to Gary, is that he was pulled out of the England U’20 squad for the world cup, supposedly by the club. Hopefully this means that the powers to be have earmarked him for a more prominent role in the first team squad and the fact he has been given a squad number seems to suggest as much. While there are obvious benefits to him staying here, I’m sure going away to a world cup, at whatever level can only be a good thing. Still I’m not going to complain too much, from a selfish Aston Villa viewpoint, it’s absolutely the best decision to keep him at the club for the important preseason period, and I can’t wait to see him in action.
Now on to the first team squad and as mentioned it’s that time of year when we make the short journey to Walsall for what is usually a fun evening out. The first friendly before the start of a new season is always a good occasion, and I hope the travelling fans get firmly behind the players and especially our new manager. I’m sure they will and I’m sure the Villa faithful will be out in their thousands.
We don’t have too many new signings to look forward too, but Given should start the game and I’m really excited to see him between the sticks for our great club. Hopefully a few of the youngsters are given a game and I’m intrigued to see what formation AMC goes for, especially with no recognised left winger at the club. Perhaps Bannan might fill in, or even Warnock if the need arises. I’m just hoping it’s not Gabby. McLeish has already said that he wants to use him as a striker and I hope he is, he needs to start this season knowing he is going to play in his preferred position and I think he could have a good season in a central role.
Tonight though I’m most excited/intrigued to see where Stephen Ireland plays. AMC has reportedly been hugely impressed with his performances in training and while I’m loathe to use clichés such as ‘he’s like a new signing for us’ the fact is a motivated Ireland is, and can be a massive asset for us. I was a huge fan of his before he signed and was delighted when he was part of the Milner deal. It all went a bit wrong for him last season but I have a feeling he’s going to turn it around this season. We desperately need goals from midfield, especially in light of the two recent departures and I think he can provide these. McLeish could be perfect for Ireland and I hope he realises how lucky he is to be at the Villa and gives it everything he has. Time will tell.
Good luck to the boys tonight and for all those attending I hope you have a cracking night out with the added bonus of a convincing Villa victory!
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I don’t know if it’s the euphoria that we’ve actually made a signing, but the more I look and think about the Shay Given move, the more it feels like we’ve done something pretty special bringing him to Villa Park.
I’m not going to say he was my first choice, I was in the camp that wanted to bring in a younger goalkeeper and not have to worry about the position for the next 10 or so years. Still if you look at the options out there, we’ve arguably got the best available keeper on the market. Ali Al-Habsi was always likely to return to Wigan and after the tiny matter of stealing their manager from them, any negotiations with the Blues for the signing of Ben Foster would have been fraught with difficulties. I would have liked to have had a look at Kieren Westwood, but he’s an unproven quality in the premiership and after the departure of Mr Reliable Brad Friedel, we really needed someone to come in who’s done it consistently at this level. Make no mistake, Shay Given has, and before a tainted few years at Man City (sound familiar?), he was without doubt one of the very best goalkeepers in the league and possibly Europe.
I think we only have to look at the reaction of fellow football fans and people in the wider football world to know we’ve done well signing Given. I’m still getting used to Twitter but I’d say 99% of the people making comments on the move were leaving 140 positive characters. Arsenal fans in particular couldn’t believe our luck, and were equally as angry at Mr Wenger for not making a move. Man City and Newcastle fans were equally kind with what they had to say and you know something, it feels great. It’s nice that other fans are jealous of a move that the Villa make and it’s just as good to see hundreds of people say how well he’ll do for us and how well we’ve done bringing him here. Of course he has to produce now he’s made the move, but I think he’ll more than payback the £3.5 million spent on him.
Here are a few ‘tweet’s’ from those not directly linked with the Villa and as I said, they make for very pleasing reading:
Henry Winter (Telegraph journalist): Congratulations to avfc. Just signed one of best gks around in Shay Given. Upbeat dressing-room presence & fantastic club ambassador too.
Phil McNulty (BBC Sport journalist): Shay Given signs a five-year deal with Aston Villa. Excellent, experienced goalkeeper with plenty left to give.
Matt Holland (former footballer): Great business by AVFC. Replaced a 40 year old top keeper with a 35 year old better one IMO.
Yes he is 35 but to use one of football’s finer clichés, goalkeepers tend to get better as they get older and he has five years on our previous number one Friedel, a man who very rarely let us down.
It really is amazing the difference one signing can make, and it’s a great first purchase for our new manager Alex McLeish. I have faith he’s going to continue to make shrewd purchases and I honestly believe we may surprise a lot of people this season, the majority of whom are too quick to write us off.
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Link to a footballer of the year, more links to the same players and David Cameron rocking a Villa shirt.
In what I’m hoping is your classic case of some calm before the storm, it’s been a very, very, very quiet few days. I said a few weeks ago that I imagine things will kick off early July and I still think that is the case. McLeish wants to assess the squad which makes sense, and let’s not forget that we have a good group of players at the Villa, even taking into account the hefty number of departures to date this summer. If he’s able to sort out players like Ireland and Warnock, that’s like two new signings right there, when taking into account how little they were used last season. There is no doubt we need to strengthen, with goalkeeper an obvious priority. These signings will come though, and I have faith McLeish will buy well.
There are not many new links around today with more stories appearing regarding supposed targets Shay Given and Charles N’Zogbia. Apparently Man City want £5 million for Given and Villa are only prepared to offer £3 million. Sure they could make everyone’s lives easier and meet in the middle but common sense doesn’t seem to apply to football too often. I’ve voiced my reservations on Given before, and would much rather us look elsewhere than pay the quoted price of £5 million. You have to imagine he is on a very good wage at Man City and it could turn out to be a very expensive acquisition if he does make the move.
Yet more stories about N’Zogbia and apparently we’re getting closer to signing the winger who was such a success at Wigan last season. This potential move has been debated enough and the majority of us think it would be a great signing….Get it done Villa!
There is an interesting link to Scott Parker that appeared late last night which states we may make a £5 million move for the player with Tottenham’s interest on the wane. We were linked previously but for double the price and at that point I wasn’t too keen. At £5 million though I think it would be an inspired purchase. He’s precisely the kind of all around midfielder we need, and would be a great influence on the side. He does turn 31 soon but he’s clearly a fit player, and I think he could shine for at least a few more seasons. He can pass, tackle, lead a team and score goals. Come join the better Claret and Blue team Scott!
Lastly today and as we reported yesterday, David Cameron was spotted jogging wearing the Acorns Villa shirt around London yesterday. I’m not going to lie, politics doesn’t really excite me, and I have no real affinity to any of the main parties. Still though I have to say I am loving your work Mr Prime Minister. Here’s one of the most powerful men in the country, wearing our colours with ‘Cameron 10′ on the back, what’s not to like?! It generates more free publicity for the club, and adds to what may be one of the finer groups of celebrity fans. Keep on jogging Mr P.M, I will even lend you my classic green Muller away top from the early 90′s if you like?!
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