I’ll Help Villa & Will Retire From Broadcasting If I Fail
Villa v Leicester.
East v West.
One team is full of men, one boys.
One team knows the value of unity and trust, one team don’t trust themselves.
One team has Vardy, a latchkey who’s played in the mud and the crap, been kicked by old school centre halves, one team has Gabby Agbonlahor, a player who’s been cosseted in a Premier League club bubble on too much money for too long, and indulged in his excess by every one of the last four Villa managers, leading to a Premier League striker, in April, yes April, being ordered to have a personal training programme.
Why? Because Gabby, you are fat.
One team will win the title, the other relegated.
One backroom staff eat, sleep and drink together with smiles and support, the other closes its doors, doesn’t talk, won’t accept help.
If ever there was a comparison of two clubs, two teams and two seasons for youngsters, analysts, pundits and fans to use in the future model of footballing success or failure, then compare two clubs separated by a few M6 and M69 junctions.
Villa has been rotten for years, and believe me, the way Leicester were meandering before Nigel Pearson came in and added direction, passion and spirit to the club, the Foxes could have gone on to be rotten too, but the former Sheffield Wednesday and Boro skipper is an old school football man, no nonsense, doesn’t accept fools or frauds and was the founder of this incredible Leicester success.
Take the central defenders.
Wes Morgan and Robert Huth. Two men’s men, two guys who I know as an ex pro I would listen to, follow and be inspired by.
Then take Joleon Lescott and Micah Richards, two players who should be miles ahead – even at this late stage of their careers – of the Leicester pair but who’ve been protected by the hype, the money and the sheer excess of a league which over 38 games finds frauds out.
The car tweet which was bullshit, the “weight off our shoulders” post-match comments, Micah’s trip to Dubai , rubbing Villa fans noses in it at a time he should have been somewhere quiet, recharge and out of the way, but no, two former Premier League winners no less decided that their way, the excessive way was best, while Huth and Morgan were probably at home, with family, getting on with preparing properly.
I had a coffee with Brian Little at my house last Friday, a man I let down when I played for Villa, and whom I owe a lot, firstly for giving me the opportunity to live a childhood dream, but secondly someone who’s listened to my thoughts about the club I love and desperately want to right the poor time I had there as a player.
Many Villa fans say I was the same as Lescott, Gabby and Richards. Not anywhere near.
At my poorest I came on against Champions Arsenal at 2-0 down and helped us to a 3-2 win. At my poorest I played in every game of a club record unbeaten streak. At my poorest I helped raise the roof at Villa Park v Atletico in a UEFA Cup QF, playing the likes of Vieri and co. I was crap, unproductive and it was a horror spell of my career for many reasons but please never think I’d be cocky enough to goad Villa fans with my latest car picture or quite happily insult Villa fans by playing two stones overweight.
How about the comparison between two of our own, Marc Albrighton and Jack Grealish. I love both, have chatted to both, but where Marc moved on, grafted his way into the Leicester team and will win a winners medal, rumours persist of Jack the lad on the town in Brum, surrounded by the hangers ons. That should worry every Villa fan as this lad has genuine quality, is twice the talent of Albrighton, yet may have so been infected by the ‘couldn’t give a shit’ attitude of the seniors that it’s only going to be a very strong manager that gets him back on track.
How about the lovely picture of Leandro the hover boy at Old Trafford? Crouching, hands on thighs, not sweating and straining with desire or passion, no, not Champions League bound Bacuna, a big smile, barely a bead of sweat, lad looked as though he’d hit the jackpot and won the league all in one go, rather than have the shame of helping relegate one of Britain’s great football clubs.
There are lots of frauds in football, data analysts whose work still can’t prove a player is good or not, too many layers of jobs for the boys (Fox/Almstadt/Reilly), too many people trying to feather their own nest and cash in on the gravy train and excess. Yet little Leicester, like the little Leicester of Elliot, Taggart, Izzet, Lennon and co prove that basics, real men rather than boys, camaraderie rather than selfishness can still bring rewards, and in spades.
I’ve offered my help to Villa many times, its tangible and would guarantee success otherwise I wouldn’t offer it but alas Mr Lerner in his stateside bunker would rather frauds like Fox than a man desperate to make amends for a poor spell back in the 90’s at the club he loves, and who lives 15 miles from the training ground.
So here is an offer for Mr Lerner and the Villa board.
Give me 12 months to report on players and find the gems and the characters to take Villa forward.
Give me 12 months at Bodymoor to be a player liaison, to get into them, to cuddle, bollock and help them settle and understand our great club.
Give me 12 months to meet the parents and guardians of the local kid that’s wavering between Villa or Albion, and I’ll persuade them B6 is for them.
Let me use my profile and contacts to get players first for our club, rather than gambles and journeymen.
If I fail , I’ll retire from broadcasting, I’ll shut down my social media feed, and you’ll never hear any criticism of Villa or its staff again.
When I succeed, you’ll have a Premier League club, you’ll have players you can rely on, and you’ll have a scouting and football admin department that will be the envy of the league.
Nothing to lose. I’ll put my money where my mouth is, Mr Lerner, time you did the same.
Up The Villa.