Aston Villa Big In Stature But Short Of Ambition?


So Aston Villa have sacked Tim Sherwood.

I’m not really surprised, last term he seemed to think he was the club’s new messiah after guiding them away from the relegation zone (just) and got the team to an FA Cup final (that they lost 4-0).

Now no manager should sit back and revel in adulation, especially when the tough times are just around the corner. I always felt that Sherwood’s self belief always ran that thin line of arrogance rather than confidence.

It’s true that he helped reignite Christian Benteke’s career at Villa Park and he also secured some strong results towards the end of the 2014/15 season but alas he couldn’t get enough out of his squad this term and looked a bit out of his depth tactically.

Basically the Sherwood appointment worked out for Villa short-term as he helped save their Premier League status but it has predictably ended due to a lack of ideas on the park.

But the club, as a whole, has to take a proportion of the blame for the side being bottom of the table.

Owner Randy Lerner clearly has lost his affection he had for the sport. But unfortunately he can’t find a suitable buyer for the club and it looks like their is no real ambition in the boardroom.

That has been reflected in the transfer market.

They lost a chunk of their spine when they sold Christian Benteke and Fabian Delph for a combined £40m fee, while veteran defender Ron Vlaar left on free transfer.

In return the recruitment policy seems to be based on a ‘money-ball’ philosophy, where they have bought decent foreign players from average middle of the road clubs. Some of these new recruits have the potential to go on a do well for the ‘Villans’ but they’ll need time to settle in.

They also added players with Premier League experience in Joleon Lescott, Scott Sinclair and Micah Richards. But none of these three have impressed greatly in the last two seasons.

The transfer policy is all a bit hopeful rather than assured. It lacks excitement that the fans can buy into. One really proven talent could have made a big difference to the squad and given them a focal point.

But Lerner and his board members just didn’t want to take the risk.

Now we have the media speculating that Villa could go after the likes of Brendan Rodgers or David Moyes in their bid to replace Sherwood.

But names like that will need to be convinced that Aston Villa is the right club for them.

Now in terms of stature and fanbase, Villa are without doubt an elite club in England.

But where is the ambition?

For too many years the side have been mismanaged both on and off the field. Managers of good quality will want guarantees that there will be money to spend so that they can improve the squad come January. They won’t be won over if they are told that recruitment will be based on players that have decent stats and come from cheap markets.

You will need to go to someone like Rodgers or Moyes and offer them both short-term and long-term goals. The short-term one has to be very realistic, while the longer term one has to be ambitious and backed with a detailed plan.

The football at Villa Park has been very stale over the past few years. It won’t change overnight but it won’t change at all if the ambition at the top is just to remain in the top flight each and every season!

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