Can Villa Afford To Give Lambert Another Summer?


Paul Lambert is about to complete his second season in charge at Aston Villa. The fans at Villa Park seem to be turning on the Scottish manager and a section of them are now asking for a new man to be brought in and takeover.

The Birmingham based club are four points away from the relegation zone. They have a game in hand over Fulham and have a better run-in than Norwich, so you’d think that one more win would probably be enough to ease relegation fears. But I doubt Lambert can really call the season a success.

Yes, should they finish 14th (their current position), then Lambert’s men will have improved on last seasons 15th position. Under Alex McLeish, Lambert’s predecessor, Villa finished 16th, so Paul will argue that under his tenure Villa have continually improved. I would say that might be true in terms of league positions but only slightly and the fans crave more!

The former Champions League winner will also point to Villa’s injury record this term. But people will answer back that a lot of those injuries were from the training ground and that all teams suffer from bad luck with injuries.

The consistency in Villa’s results are confusing to say the least and very frustrating too. Wins against Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City were rewarded with glowing praise as was their pressing style they adopted in a 2-2 draw at Anfield. But look at some of their losses in 2014… Crystal Palace (1-0), Fulham (2-1), Stoke (4-1), Newcastle (1-0) and West Ham (2-0), those are games in which they should pick up points in. Plus three of those defeats were at Villa Park!

The home record will be a huge cause of concern for the Villa board as that usually dictates season ticket sales for the next campaign. Winning only five times on your own ground isn’t great when you charge between £350-£600 for the privilege.

Many point the finger at Randy Lerner and say that the American owner no longer spends enough on the side and that’s the reason why Aston Villa are now in the mediocre position they now find themselves in.

But last season, only six sides had a bigger wage budget than Villa (Man City, Chelsea, Man Utd, Arsenal, Liverpool and Spurs). Yet Villa still finished 15th. This term Newcastle and Stoke both spent less than Villa, yet are doing better in the league.

Crystal Palace and Hull are totally transformed sides since promotion, yet have looked far more equipped for life in the Premier League compared to mainstays Villa.

Lerner wants Aston Villa to be a self sufficient club and its hard to argue with that policy especially when you look at Everton and how they’ve done in the past five years.

Yes Lambert has had some successes in the transfer market in particular Christian Benteke. The re-signing of Brad Guzan was astute and the experience of Ron Vlaar was needed to shore up the inexperienced defence.

The other signings (mainly bargain deals) have been inconsistent, not ready for the Premier League or suffered from injuries.

Lambert inherited a rich squad of players that were certainly under performing. Instead of trying to reinvent or rejuvenate the set-up Paul came in and made Alan Hutton, Darren Bent, Stephen Ireland, Charles N’Zogbia, Stephen Warnock, Shay Given and Barry Bannan outcasts at the club. Hardly playing them and making them train with the reserves and youth sides. I hate this way of thinking. Can a player really change a managers mind if he isn’t training with the first team? I doubt it in this case.

Stephen Ireland has since left and done well at Stoke. Alan Hutton continued to star for Scotland and had a successful loan spell in La Liga last season. Barry Bannan has also had a few eye catching displays at Palace. Yet Lambert never gave them a proper chance with a side that were underachieving.

Now don’t get me wrong, Lambert should be allowed to select whomever he likes but surely he could have done it and still showed these players some respect. Why have them training away from the first team? Could Lambert’s new, unseasoned signings not learn from these experienced pros?

I think Lambert is now a sitting duck. His methods aren’t working. Villa may have improved but these slight improvements haven’t been enough, especially when they are eclipsed by promoted sides or by sides that paid less on their new recruits.

Villa’s style of play isn’t much better than that of the turgid era McLeish brought under his spell in charge. Paul Lambert doesn’t radiate confidence and he doesn’t seem to have the managerial nous to change and turn things around at Villa Park. The fans are looking at the current boss and see another dire summer ahead if he remains in charge.

The supporters also look at what has happened at Liverpool, Southampton and Everton. They see the philosophies that Brendan Rodgers, Mauricio Pochettino and Roberto Martinez brought to those sides and wonder what could have been.

Is there anyone out there for Lerner to select next and that can gain instant results?

Neil Lennon – The Celtic manager might not fancy replacing old teammate Lambert. The Northern Irishman will want to test himself in the EPL at some stage but may want a bigger budget than the one Lerner will offer.

Michael Laudrup – Had success at Swansea and could bring exciting football back to Villa Park. The fact he fails to keep momentum going at previous clubs may warn off potential suitors.

Malky Mackay – Did well at Cardiff and was very unfortunate to get the sack there but I doubt Villa fans would be too enthusiastic with seeing another Scot in charge after the Lambert and McLeish tenures.

Uwe Rosler – Has done extremely well at Wigan but will Aston Villa take a chance on a boss that hasn’t managed at the highest level? Could be the next Rodgers/Martinez but that’s never guaranteed.

Experienced pros like Harry Redknapp and Tony Pulis could turn things around given a chance and a decent wage/transfer budget. That said the Villa faithful would need to be convinced and sooner rather than later.

Don’t get me wrong, I hate to see anyone lose their job. But Lambert’s current regime just doesn’t look great for Villa. The once mighty club look lost and very ordinary. The club need a new boss to come in and capture the supporters and owners imagination.

I believe then and only then, will we see Aston Villa back in the Premier League’s top ten.

4 Responses to “Can Villa Afford To Give Lambert Another Summer?”

  1. No Avfc cannot afford to offer this failure anymore time.l
    Lambert should have gone long ago. And every day hes
    there brings relegation closer. The CEO is another disaster
    Who should sack him ,they should be already having a new
    Manager in waiting. If we survive, and its a big if,this lambert
    Era will go down as one of the major disasters of AVFC

  2. The bloke shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near Villa. He should have been sacked 14 months ago after the Bradford City Semi Final. Enough is enough!!!!

  3. You don’t *really* get Villa do you? The players that were cast aside were all paid far more than Villa can currently afford. Lambert’s main job (maybe only job) set by Lerner was to keep Villa in the Premier League whilst cutting our mind-bogglingly high wage bill until we were self sufficient as quickly as possible. That’s why they train with the reserves. Money. Nothing else. And that’s the reason why having a large wage bill cannot be used against Lambert. Because half of it is tied up in players he has been told not to play. If you only took the players Lambert uses, our wage bill would be right down the bottom of the league.

    Money is the reason we have had to gamble on really cheap transfer fees and wages for players – and all you can get at that price is unproven youngsters. Some have exceeded expectations like Westwood and Bacuna, but at that price range very few will ever be good enough for the premier league.

    The players that he has signed for £3 million or more have all done well – Benteke and Vlaar are our best players. Kozak scored some important goals and was improving before his injury. Okore also looked very good before his injury.

    Despite all this I don’t think Lambert should be in a job. And it’s not for his policies or transfers. It’s his inability to improve the players he buys, his poor coaching staff, his awful style of play, his tactical inflexibility, his terrible in game management, pathetic use of subs and inability to set up a team to create chances. It’s the defence that has been full of holes for 2 years. It’s his inability to get the best out of players. It’s the complete lack of confidence shown by most of the squad. It’s for the incredible lack of progress from the day he took over, the embarrassment Villa have been caused. That’s why he should be sacked.

    I don’t see any of the names you mentioned as strong choices, and honestly I think Harry Redknapp and Tony Pulis are just ridiculous suggestions that we could never get and would be the absolute opposite of what we need.

  4. Cheers for the comments guys.

    Phil – I am not a diehard Villa fan and I am only an outsider looking in. Just my assessment.

    In fairness I didn’t really have a go at his transfer record. I also don’t have a problem with him not playing certain over priced players but I don’t agree with making them outcasts and training with the youngsters. They signed those Villa deals with good faith and should be shown more respect.

    I actually looked at the named I put forward and didn’t think they were ideal for the post but they will be the ones that will be linked in the papers.

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