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Aston Villa F.C.

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      24.01.2009 19:48
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      Great club who will surely win a trophy very soon

      Aston Villa, a club steeped in tradition and a huge club in context with the British game.

      Villa, basically down to poor management and an unambitious board in the past have not actually won a major trophy for a very, very long time.

      The team play at Villa Park in the city of Birmingham and are naturally bitter rivals with the blue half of the city, although they are currently in different divisions so will not clash this season. Villa Park is one of the biggest and best stadiums in the country and is regularly chosen to host FA Cup semi-finals due to its quality and proximity in the mainland.

      The current Aston Villa team is managed by Martin O'Neill and there can be no doubt in the direction he is taking the club. Villa currently sit in 4th place in the Premier League and actually still have an outside chance of winning the Premier League title.

      They are still in the UEFA Cup and, thanks to a thrilling draw with my team, Doncaster Rovers, today at the Keepmoat Stadium, they retain their place in this season's FA Cup too.

      Villa have just recruited Emile Heskey who will suit their counter attack style perfectly. He will work well with the established stars at Villa like Friedel and Barry and will also help to bring on their young English guns in Agbonlahor and Young.

      I fully expect this Villa team to bring silverwear to Villa Park very soon.

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      03.01.2009 23:46
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      On the rise to the top

      Aston Villa is one of the oldest established football clubs in the UK and they have a somewhat friendly rivalry with the city's other football club 'Birmingham City'.

      I have followed this club my entire life through good and bad (mostly bad mind) and have always been a season ticket holder. I don't know how you can review a football team as most people view their time with rose tinted glasses and well the football results table speaks for itself entirely. What i can say is that the footballers are overpaid drama queens..i jest.

      The club itself is located in Aston in Birmingham, which is not the nicest of areas but pretty much central in terms of locality of the city.

      There is the Holt end and Witton end. The Holt end is for the home fans and you can always garuentee a large turnout. The comradeship between the fans is what makes it such a great team to support because even when the football is dissapointing, attending the game itself was entertaining.

      The current team are doing very well, in fact this is the best they have done in many years, after recently pushing up to 4th in the Premier league, they seem to have a new found fire in their belly.

      The reason being i believe is that there are a lot of new younger players on the team such as Ashley Young and Gabriel Agbonlahor to name but a few. Another driving reason behind the recent improvement in quality of play is the new American Chairman Randy Lerner who took over from former long standing chairman Doug Ellis.

      As a fan of the club i have nothing but kind words to say about it, and given its current success, why wouldn't I?

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      24.09.2008 17:24
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      Aston Villa, where the Lion is beginning to roar again!

      And its Aston Villa...... Aston Villa FC.

      ~ Aston Villa in general ~

      Aston Villa Football Club is based in Aston, Birmingham and currently (2008/2009 season) plays in the English Premier League, which is the top division in the country.

      I've been an Aston Villa fan now for more years than I care to remember. Even though I spent my early years travelling around not only the country, but also Europe with my family moving, my spiritual home was always Shropshire. We eventually moved there and settled when I was 11, and from then on I took an interest in Aston Villa Football Club for a number of different reasons, not least it was the largest club - apart from Wolves - nearest to where we lived.
      My partner (born and raised just down the road from Villa Park) and I are currently season ticket holders.

      Aston Villa is also known as Villa, The Villa, Villans or Villains. The difference of spelling with Villains varies, because of the Chairman Doug Ellis in the 1980's who removed the 'i' from the wording because he didn't want the club to be associated with a word that could also be associated with football hooligans!

      Aston Villa play their home games at Villa Park and have done since 1897, and it has a seating capacity currently at 42,640. The stadium isn't far from the M6, and can be seen from the motorway in either direction as you travel along it.

      The clubs kit is Claret and Blue, which it has been for many years, and the club crest has a gold lion, with raised front feet - often referred to as being Rampant. The Crest background colour is currently light blue, but has changed a few times over the years. This crest came about from a stitched on Red Lion that was on some dark coloured shirts early in the Clubs history. From that, there have been many variants, the latest crest coming about in May 2007.
      Other football clubs subsequently adopted the colour of Claret and Blue kits; most noteworthy of these are West Ham United and Burnley.

      The origins of the Claret colouring isn't widely known, but we do know from documents at the time that William McGregor (Chairman - see later) had ordered the original shirts to be Chocolate and Sky Blue.
      The main belief is that the Chocolate colour began to either fade in the wash, or the colour simply ran, so it was decided to stick with the Claret colour it then produced.
      There was one well-known story that stated the colours were taken from Scotland's Rangers Football Club (the blue) and Hearts (the claret). However, this has been disproved as false for a number of reasons.

      ~ Aston Villa, the early years ~

      Aston Villa came into being in March 1874, by four members of the local Wesleyan Chapel. The four men were members of the Cricket Team associated with the Chapel, and were looking for a sport that could keep them playing through the winter. The first game ever played was between Aston Villa FC and the local Aston Brook St Mary's Rugby team. The conditions the game was played under were unusual in that the first half was played under Rugby rules, and the second half under football rules. My understanding is there was no score in the first half, but Aston Villa scored one goal in the second, thereby winning the game.

      Despite the unusual beginnings of the club, Aston Villa were prominent in the founding of the Football League, and won the F.A. Cup in 1887. The F.A cup began in 1871 through 1872, and is the oldest competition in World Football.
      The Football Association itself formed in 1862, and it is from their formation that the rules of football were decided upon.

      Aston Villa though holds the unique position of having the Chairman William McGregor being the football league's founder. He was a Scotsman who had opened a Drapers business in Birmingham and in 1888 was so frustrated at the chaotic nature of the football games, and sensing if something wasn't done football could die out altogether, brought 12 teams together for the first season, which was won by Preston North End.

      Aston Villa first won the league in the 1893-94 season. From there the popularity of the club grew, to such an extent they began to have crowds of around 25,000. This might not appear much, but in comparison the FA Cup was only attracting crowds of 20,000.
      Aston Villa held on to their dominance of the league and other cup finals right through until the early 1900's.

      Through the Second World War, Aston Villa, like many other clubs was badly affected and didn't play for many seasons. However, another notable event in Villa's history came in May 1938 while on tour in Germany. Unlike the English team the day before, Aston Villa refused to give the nazi salute before kick off.

      ~ The later years ~

      Aston Villa, after the Second World War, went through a number of different positions within football. There was a sustained period of Mid-Table finishes, and eventually they won the FA cup in 1957, beating Manchester United. It was Villa's first trophy for 37 years. The club though was relegated from the top tier of football only a year or so later, but only spent one season in the second division, and came back up to the first division as champions in 1960.

      The early 1960's brought about a small period of stability to the club, but another period of poor performances saw Aston Villa relegated once again in 1967. Things worsened in the 1969-70 season, when Aston Villa was regulated to the then third division.
      It was during this time that Doug Ellis, a name that eventually was to plague some Villa Fans for years became involved in the club as Chairman.

      In the early 1970's, Villa eventually clawed their way back up the divisions and by 1977, not only were the team back into the top flight of English Football, but were also playing in Europe. The manager at that time was Ron Saunders.

      ~ The rise and fall ~

      The late 1970's and early 1980's are without a doubt some of the best times seen at the club, certainly during the modern era.
      Ron Saunders managed to bring success to the pitch, and the team won the League Title in the 1980-81 season. But turmoil wasn't far behind, and unexpectedly Ron Saunders quit his position as manager in mid season, with Aston Villa already in the quarter final of the European Cup.
      There is some debate about the reason why Ron Saunders quit, but many fans blame the imminent return of Doug Ellis to the club, after a brief hiatus away.

      Tony Barton replaced Ron Saunders and managed to guide the team to the final of the European Cup, and in what was to become the club's biggest achievement to date - a win 1-0 against Bayern Munich. This puts Aston Villa in amongst only four English Clubs to have won this trophy.

      Unfortunately the turmoil behind the scenes at the club took its toll, and the following season the winning squad was basically broken up. The fortunes continued to decline and in 1986-87 seasons, Aston Villa were once again relegated. Fortunately the relegation was short lived, and the following season they returned to the first division, and even managed to then get to second place in the 1988-89 season.

      ~ The modern era ~

      In 1992, the game changed again with the formation of the English Premier League. Aston Villa were founder members again of this league, and went on to be runners up to the eventual winners Manchester United in that opening season.
      The 1990's and in to the mid 2000's were another unpredictable period in the Clubs history. We fluctuated badly in the league, and yet managed to win two League Cups. There was also the last FA Cup final at the 'old' Wembley to be played in 2000, where they later lost 1-0 to Chelsea.

      Discontent amongst supporters in the way the then owner and Chairman, Doug Ellis ran the club was becoming more vocal. Often accused of not giving the monetary support just when it could have helped push the club one step up in to a better winning side, Doug Ellis withstood the pressure piled on him to stand down for many years.
      It wouldn't be too far from the truth to say that Doug Ellis through the latter stages of his ownership was the most hated of Chairman in the leagues, and there were often demonstrations held at Villa Park, and even the formation of a supporters group whose main concern was to remove the Chairman.

      However, in August 2006, after a summer of complete turmoil, suddenly this all changed!

      ~ Today's club ~

      In the early summer of 2006, there was complete turmoil at Aston Villa football club. The then manager, David O'Leary was at loggerheads with sections of the supporting fans, and Doug Ellis while saying he was looking for a buyer for the club seemed reluctant or unable to find someone to take control.
      Many supporters feared the worst, expecting to begin the new season without a good manager, and were among the early favourites to be relegated.

      But, August 2006 saw Randy Lerner, the US Owner of the American Football Team, The Cleveland Browns, come riding into town.
      Despite the negative press and feelings many Manchester United Supporters had with their new American Owners, the feelings couldn't be more different at Villa Park.
      From the very beginning, Randy Lerner and his team began talking to supporters, including those who had formed the supporters club to oust Doug Ellis.
      This communication was in stark contrast to the lack of communication that the previous board and Chairman had provided, and this still continues today - with General Charles Krulak.

      The General has already become a firm favourite amongst the Online fans of the club, because he visits a number of different fan site forums and communicates directly with fans on a number of issues. Some have been serious, others light-hearted - but all for the greater good of the club. Already, several suggestions made to the General on these forums have resulted in positive actions by the club.

      I can't think of any other club who has such a direct and approachable level of communication with its fans, and we most certainly do appreciate it! I personally have met the General (A Vietnam Veteran and still an advisor on some political panels in the States) and he is a fantastic person who really does have a passion, as does Randy Lerner, for the club.
      If anything, compared to the way a number of new owners are being received by their fans in the game at the moment, Randy Lerner's ownership is often touted as being a prime example on how best to run a Football Club!

      ~ So what about the playing side of things today? ~

      This year, Aston Villa did something that no other league club in England has done. Rather than have a main shirt sponsor, they have developed a partnership with the charity Acorns, to have their name shown on the shirts.
      The only other club to have a charities name on their shirt rather than a sponsor is Barcelona who have the Unicef logo.
      The gesture to replace the sponsorship with the Acorns Charity, while experimental and might not last, is typical of Randy Lerner and the way he believes in going about business.

      With the Randy Lerner revolution, there was also a new Manager installed at Villa Park. Although brought in just ahead of Randy Lerner's takeover at the club, there is little doubt that he was a manager wanted by the new management.

      Martin O'Neill. Love or hate the guy, there is no doubting his passion for the game, and his commitment to Aston Villa. When the England Managers job came up in 2007, despite Randy Lerner stating he wouldn't stand in his way should he chose to take the position - Martin O'Neill continued at Aston Villa.

      There is a brand new training ground at Bodymoor Heath. The initial planning was done by Doug Ellis, but it was then improved beyond recognition when Randy Lerner completed the project, using equipment and techniques only seen in the top facilities in American Football, and certainly not used previously by other Football Clubs over here.
      The new facilities also includes an exact replica of Aston Villa's home pitch, as well as other pitches of various grades to practice on, depending on where Villa might be playing - to allow practice to be on a surface as close to the playing pitches as possible.
      There is no doubt that this is now currently the best in Europe, if not worldwide because of some of the equipment used.

      The basis on the squad is English talent, and if needed we could easily field a complete English team. This also brings up another fact - that Aston Villa has supplied more players to play for the English team than any other club.
      However, Martin O'Neill will also buy players from other countries, as the purchase of people like John Carew (Norway) in January 2007 and, in the last transfer window (2008) of Carlos Cuellar a Spanish defender shows.

      Martin O'Neill's work ethic means his squads tend to be made up of players willing to work, and work hard and he certainly doesn't tolerate Prima Donnas. This is also very apparent in our current squad at Villa Park. Undoubtedly, Martin O'Neill manages to get the best out of players, even those often considered ordinary previously.

      Right now, Aston Villa are back in Europe, albeit the UEFA cup, and are looking to consolidate their 6th place finish from the 2007-08 campaign. There is no doubt that Randy Lerner and Martin O'Neill are unusual in today's game, with both content to build up the team and squad over time, to try and make it sustainable rather than the boom and bust approach other clubs have adopted.

      The main "supporters" stand is called the Holte End. This is where you are amongst The Holte Army, and today we have our very own General leading the charge.

      And just to finish, here are some basic facts. I've kept it for last to allow you to skip if you aren't too bothered by this sort of information.

      2008-2009 season.

      Taken from Aston Villa's official site - www.avfc.co.uk

      Board Members

      Chairman Randolph Lerner
      Non-Executive Director General Charles C. Krulak
      Non Executive Director Bob Kain
      Non Executive Director Michael Martin
      Director/Chief Financial Officer Robin Russell
      Director Paul Faulkner

      President Emeritus
      Doug Ellis OBE

      Behind the Team

      Manager Martin O'Neill
      First Team Coach Steve Walford
      First Team Coach John Robertson
      Chief Scout Ian Storey Moore
      Goalkeeping Coach Seamus McDonagh
      Reserve Team Coach Kevin MacDonald
      Physiotherapist Alan Smith
      Youth Team Coach Tony McAndrew
      Youth Team Coach Gordon Cowans
      Youth Team Goalkeeping Coach Rafa Gonzalez
      Football Academy Director Bryan Jones
      Assistant Academy Director Steve Burns
      Head of Education and Welfare Paul Brackwell
      Player Liaison Officer Lorna McClelland
      Club Doctor Roddy MacDonald

      First team Squad.

      1 Brad Friedel Goalkeeper
      2 Luke Young Defender
      3 Wilfred Bouma Defender
      4 Steve Sidwell Midfielder
      5 Martin Laursen Defender
      6 Gareth Barry Midfielder
      7 Ashley Young Midfielder
      8 James Milner Midfielder
      9 Marlon Harewood Striker
      10 John Carew Striker
      11 Gabriel Agbonlahor Striker
      13 Stuart Taylor Goalkeeper
      14 Nathan Delfouneso Striker
      15 Curtis Davies Defender
      16 Zat Knight Defender
      17 Moustapha Salifou Midfielder
      18 Wayne Routledge Midfielder
      19 Stiliyan Petrov Midfielder
      20 Nigel Reo-Coker Midfielder
      21 Nicky Shorey Defender
      22 Bradley Guzan Goalkeeper
      24 Carlos Cuellar Defender
      26 Craig Gardner Midfielder
      27 Isaiah Osbourne Midfielder
      29 Stephen O'Halloran Defender
      Chris Herd Midfielder
      Zoltan Stieber Midfielder

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        14.05.2008 10:24
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        On the Up!

        Full name Aston Villa Football Club
        Nickname(s)' The Villa', 'The Villans', 'Villa', 'The Lions'
        Founded 1874[2]
        Ground Villa Park
        Aston
        Birmingham B6 6HE
        England
        (Capacity 42,640)
        Chairman Randy Lerner
        Manager Martin O'Neill
        League Premier League
        2007-08 Premier League, 6th

        In 1982 Aston Villa won the European Cup. In fact English clubs won it six years in a row and dominated Europe, Forest and Liverpool winning 5 more, a couple of UEFA Cups thrown in for good measure. England will have the most winners in the competition when Manchester United beat Chelsea in the Moscow final with a totals of 12 victories. Football is coming home and those European glory days are returning for British football with an English club making the last four Champions League finals. Aston Villa could well be involved in winning the big trophies in the near future. Martin O'Neil has two European Cup winning medals with Forest and Clough and knows what is required.

        Now that the two winners have come together with Randy Learners megabucks I feel sure Martin O'Neil will bring back the glory days of unfashionable Forest to the sleeping Midland giant. He has all the abilities you need to make it as a top manger and has proved just that everywhere he has been. The FA were nuts not to beg him to take the job. For me Martin O'Neill should be England manager and I think he let the nation down when he didn't put his name forward. I also feel he let himself down when he thinks of the players he could have been working with- especially at the finals in South Africa.

        O'Neill is Clough hybrid, that there's no doubt, his mentor teaching him all the tricks of the trade to get the best out of the players you have and want. In Brian's books it was O'Neill that Cloughie could never tame. Just as Cloughie had the foresight to sign 22 goal striker Kenny Burns and immediately put him in central defense, O'Neil did something similar with Gabby Agbonlahor, turning the wing-back into a roving forward to great effect, the signs that O'Neill is a bold manger and can grow his own players from Brum. Not many mangers would do that. He has the Cloughie touch. It's that maverick side to the man to trust your ability and ideas that creates great managers and teams. The only difference between Clough and his protégé is the current Villa manger has a billionaire running the club, where as Cloughie hated all his directors and chairman and got tuppence, even more determined to buy well and create players. Newcastle United don't have that mindset anymore.

        Gareth Barry's impending departure is O'Neill's big test if he wants to build a European winning side, his team unlikely to bite the ass of the top four until Liverpool self-destruct. If he wants to build a team around the excellent Barry he has to persuade him that Villa will soon be snapping on Liverpool's heels in the near future. I believe that's possible. Villas sixth place finish this year is all the more special because O'Neill didn't go nuts and buy loads of expensive players when the money was there, just brining in guys that would fit in his systems and resonate on his unique wavelength. Arsen Wenger is the same as both men are superb man managers and players want to play for them on less money and so you don't have to buy in too much quality. O'Neill is a very intelligent chap and I don think many managers would get Villa, sixth spot after just two seasons in charge. We saw how Sven fell away when his new players didn't fancy the English winter and everything O'Neill does seems to be part of his master plan.

        -The Squad-

        1 GK Thomas Sørensen
        3 DF Wilfred Bouma
        5 DF Martin Laursen
        6 MF Gareth Barry (captain)
        7 MF Ashley Young
        9 FW Marlon Harewood
        10 FW John Carew
        11 FW Gabriel Agbonlahor
        13 GK Stuart Taylor
        14 FW Nathan Delfouneso
        15 DF Curtis Davies
        16 DF Zat Knight
        17 MF Moustapha Salifou
        18 MF Wayne Routledge
        19 MF Stiliyan Petrov
        20 MF Nigel Reo-Coker (vice-captain)
        22 GK Scott Carson (on loan from Liverpool F.C.)
        26 MF Craig Gardner
        27 MF Isaiah Osbourne
        28 FW Shaun Maloney
        29 DF Stephen O'Halloran
        33 MF Zoltan Stieber

        With all Learners billions the Villa squad is one of the smallest at the big clubs. There's a bucket load of young talent in there and at one point had five players in Capellos provisional England squad. I admire O'Neill sticking with Carson after his England woes, even though Villa went 17 games without a clean sheet just after the Croatia debacle.
        Villa have stylishly taken points off the big four this year, one of the reasons why the top three didn't get near 90 points. Their memorable 4-4 draw nearly broke Chelsea 4 year unbeaten home league record. O'Neill wanted to be the man to break that record, risking defeat in the process. You have to like that. He beat them 2-0 at Villa Park, Chelsea's last defeat in this years Premiership.
        Laursen from Milan was a really shrewd buy and I think they will also miss the reliant and retiring Olli Melborg. John Carew was also a smart move by O'Neill, an experienced forward alongside Young and Abgonlahor to hold the line and guide the two brilliant young strikers into the England team. Martin new Carew would be injured but he also knew he would help the kids.

        = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

        -Honors-

        European

        European Cup (now known as the UEFA Champions League) Winners 1:
        1982

        European Super Cup Winners 1:
        1982-83

        Intertoto Cup Winners 1:
        2001.

        -Domestic-

        League titles

        First Division Champions 7

        1893-94, 1895-96, 1896-97, 1898-99, 1899-1900, 1909-10, 1980-81

        Second Division Champions 2
        1937-38, 1959-60

        Third Division Champions 1[60]:
        1971-72[57]

        -Cups-

        FA Cup Winners 7:
        1887, 1895, 1897, 1905, 1913, 1920, 1957

        League Cup Winners 5:
        1961, 1975, 1977, 1994, 1996

        Charity Shield Winners 1:
        1981*(shared)

        Only Everton have played in the top league longer than Villas 98 seasons, the 'Villains', the big boys the middle of England. Everton v Villa is the most played top flight game in history. Villa also scored the most ever goals in a top league campaign at 126, although the team bus was a horse and carriage. Villa are the forth most successful club in English football with 20 major trophies. They haven't won the FA Cup for 51 years though.

        Having Nigel Kennedy and Prince William as celebrity pseudo fans losses all their kudos...

        -Links-

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Aston_Villa_managers
        http://www.avfc.premiumtv.co.uk/page/Welcome
        http://www.premierleague.com/page/aston-villa

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          03.09.2006 17:40
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          Overview of the situation at the Villa

          “Aston Villa have completed a £6.5m deal for Celtic midfielder Stilian Petrov. The 27-year-old Bulgaria captain has signed a four-year contract and is boss Martin O'Neill's first signing since taking over at Villa Park.” And so I pinched myself following a whirlwind few weeks where the shackles of the relentless Doug Ellis had finally been broken and the club was now owned by one Randy Lerner, the owner of the Cleveland Browns and billionaire from the US. Better still, the redoubtable Irishman, Martin O’Neill was now the manager having taken over from the hapless David O’Leary. It’s hard to put into words what a turnaround we’ve seen recently at Villa Park. I desperately didn’t want to include the usual “I’ve been a fan since…” as that would be sooooooo boring in a review like this but having consulted my magic 8-Ball for inspiration (it’s where I get most of the stuff for my ops….y’know, the thing you shake and it returns a phrase) then I am forced to head down that alley of cliché and say that I’ve been a fan since 1972 (shoot me now). Yes, I am sorry for being so obvious but I still remember my uncle taking me all those years ago when the club was lounging in Division 2 – a sleeping giant waiting to be woken.

          It’s been a rollercoaster 34 years since. I’ve seen the mighty Villa win the league championship, the European Cup in 1982 and a couple of League Cup triumphs at Wembley (I didn’t see the win in 1975 v Norwich when Ray Graydon scored from a penalty) but, for the last decade, wallow in the doldrums due to the lack of spark of an unimaginative Board. It got to the point where I finally decided not to renew my season ticket after over 20 years of unbroken purchases. So for the last couple of seasons, I’ve become an armchair supporter just hoping and praying that something would change one day and lo and behold it has! Of course, you wonder how much recent events have been down to the current chairman’s ill health and advancing age. With Mr Ellis into his early eighties and fighting against cancer, he’s finally sold his controlling interest to the American, Mr Lerner and it looks like funds are available to the club to spend in January (notwithstanding the Petrov purchase).

          Randy (only we could have a chairman called “Randy”) has a lot of tradition to look back on. Aston Villa was formed in 1874 and have won honours including: European Cup Winners: 1982, European Super Cup Winners: 1982-83, InterToto Cup Winners: 2001, First Division Champions: 1893-94, 1895-96, 1896-97, 1898-99, 1899-1900, 1909-10,1980-81, Second Division Champions: 1937-38, 1959-60, Third Division Champions: 1971-72, FA Cup Winners: 1887, 1895, 1897, 1905, 1913, 1920, 1957, League Cup Winners: 1961, 1975, 1977, 1994, 1996 and FA Youth Cup Winners: 1972, 1980, 2002. A proud tradition has made Villa the biggest club in the Birmingham area and a history that is the envy of its counterparts at St. Andrews (Birmingham City) and The Hawthorns (West Bromwich Albion). This has always given an extra spice in my household as I grew up with my dad being a Bluenose (Birmingham City fan) and both of my brothers supporting the Baggies at West Brom. In fact, the first game I ever went to was at St. Andrews which my dad took me to. Blues promptly conceded in the first minute and lost 0-1 to Ipswich Town and the only good thing about that day was the Bovril at half-time loik. A couple of weeks later, my uncle took me to see Villa play Fulham and it was a whole different experience as the game finished 1-1 but the atmosphere and passion at the ground was electric. I decided at the tender age of seven to support the Villa and have stayed loyal ever since (there are 3 things that people won’t change – their bank account provider, their religion and their football team). To be fair to my old man, he did take me to see Villa play Sunderland in the last game at Villa Park of the 1975 season. We finished second to ManU that year and beat Sunderland 2-0 in front of nearly 60,000 fans. The only problem was that my dad left it to late and so we got locked out and had to go home instead. I did get too Highbury for the final fixture of the 1981 season. We promptly lost 0-2 with the heavily permed Alan Sunderland scoring one of the goals and all sorts of aggro kicking off at the final whistle. Fortunately, Ipswich were losing 1-2 at Middlesborough on the same afternoon, handing us the league champeenship with nearly all of the game dominated by what was going on at Ayresome Park. Thousands of brummies had their ears glued to trannie radios that day and the result up north outweighed the poor performance in London and the really desperately, flat warm beer I’d had in Landon taaaaaaaaan.

          In 1994, I painted my face claret and blue and descended on Wembley to see us beat the mighty Manchester United 3-1 in the League Cup Final. United were on for the domestic treble that season and still went on to win the League and FA Cup double but we beat them with a Dalian Atkinson goal in the first half and a Dean Saunders goal in the second was followed by a last minute penalty as Andrei Kanchelskis was sent off for handling on the line. That was a wonderful day out and I still remember travelling back up the M1 with all the coaches with United fans as their passengers with the blinds pulled down avoiding any taunts from the Villa fans. Two years later, the day was repeated as we beat a poor Leeds United side 3-0 with Dwight Yorke scoring the third after a left-foot thunderbolt had opened the scoring by the perennial scapegoat, Savo Milosevic. Of course, things haven’t always been so joyous and the 2000 FA Cup Final defeat to Chelski is still a vivid memory with everything going so well up until we kicked off. We sucked that day with David James dropping the ball onto the scorer’s foot from a cross and we slumped to a 0-1 defeat. I’d waited all my life to see Villa finally make it into an FA Cup final only for the team to play like donkeys. Oh well, that’s footie for ya.

          The last couple of seasons have been awful. With stories of Doug Ellis’s parsimony a regular occurrence and the gulf between clubs like Villa and the elite of Manchester, Chelski, Arsenal and Liverpool ever widening, it’s been difficult not to get depressed. It was a big thing to stop renewing my season ticket and I’m not entirely sure that all the foreign take-overs in the game are completely healthy. Abramovic’s billions have turned the Prem into a cakewalk for Chelsea whist both Hearts and now West Ham seem to be benefiting from substantial investments from foreign owners. You can’t help but question the motives of these high rollers from Russia and the like although both the Villa and Man United now have American owners who appear to be business men with possible alternative agendas. Still, I can only hope that Mr Lerner continues to invest in the club and that we can start to think in terms of Europe again. Gareth Barry has signed a new contract, Steve Davis has his best years ahead of him and Luke Moore looks like he’s finally adapting to the big league. Gabriel Agbonlahor looks like a speed merchant in the Tony Daley mould while Juan Pablo Angel looks like he’s exorcising a few demons with the start he’s made to the Premiership this season. Seven points from the first three games including a draw at the new home of the Arse (sorry, couldn’t resist it) and third place is nosebleed territory compared to what we’ve become used to in Brumland. I honestly believe that happier days are ahead and I am making enquiries to renew my season ticket again. As I gaze at my framed photograph of Villa Park perched above my PC in our spare room (yes, I am that sad), I still dare to dream that we may one day win the FA Cup final and I will be there to see it. One day...


          Thanks to the few hardy souls that have bothered to read this footie opinion.

          Mara

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            07.01.2002 03:58
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            Aston Villa are one of those annoying under achievers that have everything in place for success and riches bar leadership. Chairman Ellis blocks any real serious team building with the checkbook whilst Gregory does every thing he can to contain the players attacking instincts. All due respect to Vassal and Taylor but local boys are not nesscarily the best to be playing for trophies Hadji isn’t getting enough field time for his talent and Merson looks older. Angel is impressive though, but needs more quality ball.They should get what they can for Dublin as he’s lost his bottle since the crunching neck tackle and damage. Sunday’s night’s classic shows just how negative John Gregory’s Aston Villa are. Putting nine behind the ball at home against a team that love to pass and break down such an obstruction like Villa. Schmichael shooting at them early on seemed to the trick, but he bellowed so hard when they were under massive pressure they seem to run away from the over the top bawling keeper allowing United back in. The first half was a typical stoic block job as expected with the front two rarely getting forward. Uniteds formation was fluid but non-penatrive. Again Ferguson disrespected the cup and the more than competent opposition by not picking his best eleven. This was vindicated later with sub Van Nistelroys demolition. Uniteds 4-4-1-1 was deployed with Soslkjar the lone raider which was annulled by Villas sitting back tactics. Veron is such a wuzz in their where it matters though and just doesn’t tackle. As soon as Butts crunching competitive nature was substituted United gave Villa the little freedom they needed. Local Holt End boy Taylor got on the end of the first decent pass from the Villa midfield through Hendrie to poke one home. This wasn’t really a worthy lead for the home side and wouldn’t really prove a problem for United to retrieve. But Phillip Neville
            headed a long ball from Merson neatly into the corner to what looked like a shock Villa win. Maybe he was trying to get a better price at the bookies on the half time Tote. Manchester United were definitely not two goals worse then Villa at this point and quickly set about a correction like they have in The Premiership. The incredibly unattractive horse face in Luke Chadwick who really did fall out of the ugly tree and hit every branch, and then by the snooker table from the other joke. With Van and Solskjar on in the much more effective 4-4-2 formation that has powered United to most of the nineties domination it was come back time. Alex has had to play one striker to accommodate his lavish non-tackling midfielder in Veron. By now Gregory who really does think he’s Robert Deniro was strutting around posing from different positions on the ground. Im sure he’s an attention seeker deep down you know. In five frantic minutes Van Nistelroy had added two more goals from a trademark chest trap and blast and rounding the Old Trafford legend Schimchael on slotting the winner. Not many people would have gambled on the Danish brick wall letting in three in five !. The whistle blew with the obligatory five minutes injury time usually sketched in to TV contracts with a crowd invasion to boot. This really was an old-fashioned cup-tie in the best tradition with goals and drama. Becks was chaired off the pitch by invading but harmless fans, hoping perhaps the next signature he writes is for the club and not Poshs credit card bill. United were rewarded with a possibly away trip to another Old Trafford old boy beano with Middlesborogh and Maclaren.Bryan Robson even drew the tie out of the hat!.Manchester United are very much in love with the FA Cup once again. Aston Villa haven’t won it since the Lonsdale belt rules black n white cup final days of the fifties and its time for change. I hope for Villa fans sake
            that Gregory is sacked tomorrow to give them enough chance for some momentum from a new man at the helm. Theres no way Deadly Doug will go so expect a sacking on page 311 on the Ceefax. Else where with Leeds being uncerimonisley dumped out by Cardiff and Arsenal meeting Liverpool its once again opening up for the Red Machine to give Sir Alex a parting trophy or tow.The league has probably gone and a domestic cup final for Ferguson if he doesn’t make that Hampden Park big day may well be enough for the king.

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              23.11.2001 03:32

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              Aston Villa have had an excellent start to the new season and lie in the top half of the table after some superb results. They have a revitalised squad of players, a very good manager and seem as though they're a far more 'complete' side than last year's team. Villa are on the up and they know it - their two strikers have done very well - Angel and and Vassel, they have a world class player in David Ginola, and they're the proud squad to present good old, and extremely impressive in goal Peter Schmeical - top player, top squad!! Villa - I think they'll finish 6th this season, a very good position I feel for the Birmingham team. 4 stars!

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              24.10.2001 08:34

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              Aston Villa have got a few decent players in their squad but they need quite a few more to try and start finishing higher in the premiership every season. Below is my opinion of their best 11: Goalkeeper – Peter Schmeichel Schmeichel is one of the world’s favourite goalkeepers. When he was at Man United, so many people loved him and when he left, everyone thought that there wasn’t another keeper to replace him. He has made 128 appearances for Denmark, scoring 1 goal. He is a great goalkeeper and Aston Villa are privileged to have him. Right Back – Mark Delaney The Welsh International has become a regular in the Aston Villa team over the past couple of years and he has shown what he can do. He is quite fast and a good tackler. Centre Back – Alpay Alpay signed for Aston Villa last season in a 5.6 million pound deal. He is a strong defender who occasionally makes mistakes. Centre Back – Olof Mellberg The Swedish International signed for Aston Villa in the summer, for 5 million pounds, from Racing Santander. From what I have seen of him so far this season, he seems to be the type of player who will put all his effort in to getting his job done. He has already been man-of-the-match in one of Aston Villa’s games. Left Back – Alan Wright Alan Wright has shown his dedication to the club as he has played more than 500 games for them. This is an amazing amount of games for a player most wouldn’t consider that good. He has a good left foot on him, and can hit a ball quite hard. Right Midfielder – Paul Merson Paul Merson is probably Aston Villa’s best player. He is in his 30’s, but when he is playing, he plays like a 20 year old who is full of energy. He is a plyer that leads by example at Villa and he will always give his best. Centre Midfielder – George Boatang Aston Villa si
              gned him from rivals Coventry about 2 seasons ago. He is a good player who can score goals, as well as create them. Centre Midfielder – Lee Hendrie The young midfielder is always full of energy and he could become and England regular in the future. He is skilful, but he is a player who often tackles too heavily and receives cards. He is a young, talented player who has scored quite a few times for Villa. Left Midfielder – David Ginola David Ginola is a very skilful player and I am amazed at the fact that he isn’t a first team regular in the Aston Villa team. He is better than the majority at the club and he should be given his chance with a run in the first team. He can also score some spectacular goals. Striker – Hassan Kachloul Hassan Kachloul signed for Villa in the summer, on a free transfer, after rejecting an offer from Ipswich. He is a talented player who was linked with quite a few clubs in the summer after his contract had expired at Southampton. Striker – Darius Vassell The young striker recently scored in an English U21 International and he has been a regular in the side for quite a while now. He is a good finisher and is pretty fast too.

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              20.09.2001 06:24

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              Aston Villa have got a few decent players in their squad but they need quite a few more to try and start finishing higher in the premiership every season. Below is my opinion of their best 11: Goalkeeper – Peter Schmeichel Schmeichel is one of the world’s favourite goalkeepers. When he was at Man United, so many people loved him and when he left, everyone thought that there wasn’t another keeper to replace him. He has made 128 appearances for Denmark, scoring 1 goal. He is a great goalkeeper and Aston Villa are privileged to have him. Right Back – Mark Delaney The Welsh International has become a regular in the Aston Villa team over the past couple of years and he has shown what he can do. He is quite fast and a good tackler. Centre Back – Alpay Alpay signed for Aston Villa last season in a 5.6 million pound deal. He is a strong defender who occasionally makes mistakes. Centre Back – Olof Mellberg The Swedish International signed for Aston Villa in the summer, for 5 million pounds, from Racing Santander. From what I have seen of him so far this season, he seems to be the type of player who will put all his effort in to getting his job done. He has already been man-of-the-match in one of Aston Villa’s games. Left Back – Alan Wright Alan Wright has shown his dedication to the club as he has played more than 500 games for them. This is an amazing amount of games for a player most wouldn’t consider that good. He has a good left foot on him, and can hit a ball quite hard. Right Midfielder – Paul Merson Paul Merson is probably Aston Villa’s best player. He is in his 30’s, but when he is playing, he plays like a 20 year old who is full of energy. He is a plyer that leads by example at Villa and he will always give his best. Centre Midfielder – George Boatang Aston Villa si
              gned him from rivals Coventry about 2 seasons ago. He is a good player who can score goals, as well as create them. Centre Midfielder – Lee Hendrie The young midfielder is always full of energy and he could become and England regular in the future. He is skilful, but he is a player who often tackles too heavily and receives cards. He is a young, talented player who has scored quite a few times for Villa. Left Midfielder – David Ginola David Ginola is a very skilful player and I am amazed at the fact that he isn’t a first team regular in the Aston Villa team. He is better than the majority at the club and he should be given his chance with a run in the first team. He can also score some spectacular goals. Striker – Hassan Kachloul Hassan Kachloul signed for Villa in the summer, on a free transfer, after rejecting an offer from Ipswich. He is a talented player who was linked with quite a few clubs in the summer after his contract had expired at Southampton. Striker – Darius Vassell The young striker recently scored in an English U21 International and he has been a regular in the side for quite a while now. He is a good finisher and is pretty fast too.

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              18.09.2001 00:15
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              They don't call him the Great Dane for nothing. He's 6'4" tall and perhaps one of the most talented goalkeepers ever to have played the beautiful game. Schmeichel.one plots the career of Denmark's finest goal keeping talent: Peter Schmeichel. Peter Boleslaw Schmeichel was born in Gladsaxe, Denmark in 1963. He played amateur football in Gladsaxe in a variety of positions. He used to love playing up front but his real talent was in goal keeping. Schmeichel was so good that he was soon playing as a professional for Hvidøvre. After 3 years of playing, he was snapped up by Brøndby I.F who saw the potential that Peter Schmeichel held. At this point, he became a regular for Denmark’s national team where he established a reputation as one of the best. Unfortunately for Brøndby, Peter's reputation reached England where Manchester United made an offer that could not be refused. £550,000 was handed over to take Peter Schmeichel to Old Trafford and the rest, as they say, is history. Peter Schmeichel has got himself a reputation of being arrogant off the pitch. People who have met him have found him less than friendly. However, Peter is someone who values his private life and would prefer to go unrecognized when he's not working. The fame that comes with playing for Manchester United and Denmark means that time to himself in the public is limited. It's fair that he should wish to preserve this time. Peter is a big music fan and is a true piano master who can play anything from Bach to Beethoven and beyond. His musical talents don't end there, he's familiar with a variety of instruments. He doesn't have any problems grasping a guitar and is a whizz on the drums. His musical ability led him to release a CD in Denmark for the European Championships of 1996. He played most of the instruments and even sang as an accompaniment to Gry Luka. Peter is married to Bente and has two children,
              Kasper and Cecille. Kasper is a keen footballer and has been known to hurl abuse at other players on the pitch at times (just like his dad!) He walked onto the pitch with Peter during the Euro '96 competition as a mascot for Denmark. 1987 ==== Danish Division one champion's medal (Brøndby) 1988 ==== Danish Division one champion's medal (Brøndby) 1989 ==== Danish Division one champion's medal (Brøndby) Danish FA cup winners medal (Brøndby) 1990 ==== Danish player of the year award 1991 ==== European super cup winner (Manchester United) 1992 ==== English league cup winner's medal (Manchester United) European championship winner's medal (Denmark) 1993 ==== English premier league champion's medal (Manchester United) 1994 ==== English premier league champion's medal (Manchester United) English FA cup winner's medal (Manchester United) 1995 ==== European goalkeeper of the year award 1996 ==== English premier league champion's medal (Manchester United) English FA cup winner's medal 1997 ==== English premier league champion's medal (Manchester United) Season:1991/92 Average goals conceded per game: 0.8 Peter joins Manchester United, proving to be an Ideal replacement for Jim leighton. He helps them to win the league cup. Season:1992/93 Average goals conceded per game: 0.73 Peter reserves his place in footballing history by helping Manchester United to become the first team to win the newly created Premier League. Season:1993/94 Average goals conceded per game: 0.95 Manchester United nearly become the only team in English history to win a trophy treble. However, Peter misses the League Cup final due to suspension and United loose against Aston Villa. Peter d
              oes play in the FA cup final and Manchester United succeed in winning the double. Season:1994/95 Average goals conceded per game: 0.42 Manchester United came runners up in both the English Premiership and the FA cup, loosing both titles in their final two games. Peter Schmeichel's mid-season injury has been pointed out by some as a major contributing factor to United loosing out the league title. Season:1995/96 Average goals conceded per game: 0.88 Peter keeps Manchester united's unbeaten home record in European competition alive against Rotor Volgograd in the UEFA cup. He does this by showing the strikers what to do by running upfield and scoring a goal himself! United then go on to win their second double in three years. Season:1996/97 Average goals conceded per game: 1.16 Manchester United take yet another Premiership title with Peter Schmeichel guarding the net for them. Season:1997/98 Average goals conceded per game: 0.75 Manchester United fail to win a trophy, partly due to a huge injury toll throughout the season. When Roy Keane became Injured, Peter Schmeichel took the captain's armband for the rest of the season. Season:1998/99 Average goals conceded per game: 0.88 Peter Schmeichel becomes the first player in England to keep 100 clean sheets after a 2-0 win at Derby. Later that season, Peter announces that he will quit United at the end of the season, but vows to win another title at least before he leaves. Peter has recieved the following awards whilst playing for Manchester United: 4 League titles. 2 FA cup trophies. 1 League cup. 1 European super cup. 4 Charity shields. If you thought that all Peter could do was catch footballs then you'd be proven completely wrong. Amongst his talents he is a musical master. In his spare time, he likes to bash away at his drum kit and twi
              ddle with his piano. So when his Euro '96 championship appearence was pending, Peter Schmeichel wrote his very own hit single in order to cheer on his team mates and get the nation behind them. The song was called "We can do it" (Yes, Sådam, Såmænd!), and it went flying up the Danish charts. The single was sung by a popular Danish singer called Gry Luka. Peter, not wanting to be left out, sang the rap and he played almost all of the instruments as well. Unfortunately, despite the song, the cup holders Denmark went out in the early stages of the competition! There you go A run down of perhaps the best goalkeeper the world has ever seen.

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                16.09.2001 19:18
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                Aston Villa are in my opinion, a good team with some good players in the squad, but what they have achieved over the past decade is basically, not a lot. They have not won many trophies at all and they never seem to be up there year after year, in the top lot of the premiership. In my opinion, Aston Villa's best players are Paul Merson and David Ginola. Both these players can win matches for the club and they can turn things around. They are both midfielders and their skills are very good. Both players are also in their 30's, but I think they still have quite a few seasons left. The manager, other players and supporters have recently criticized David Ginola, although the manager seems to be starting to get on Ginola's side as he was telling fans to lay off him. I honestly don't know why he isn't in their first team but that is me. Paul Merson is probably their best player and he showed that last year with an outstanding season. John Gregory is not the right man for the managerial role at Villa but that is something I believe and that is something people will just have to deal with. I don't rate him as a manager and the way he treats Ginola is disgraceful. Overall, I think Villa will finish around mid table this season (10th place), but that’s about it.

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                  05.09.2001 22:05
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                  Aston Villa are, undoubtedly, the Premiership’s underachievers. They consistently finish in the top half of the table, but without ever threatening any of the bigger clubs. Could the 2001-2002 season be the one where Villa finally make the breakthrough. MANAGER John Gregory – Outspoken, especially in his attacks on various referees, Gregory has to prove his credentials as a top class Premiership manager. After a successful spell at Wycombe Doug Ellis was quick to sign Gregory, whose main job this season has to keep his discontented squad happy – it is probably not far out to say that more want to leave than want to stay. The question is, how long will ‘Deadly’ Doug give Gregory before looking for a replacement. GOALKEEPERS The signing of Peter Schmeichel may prove to be the signing of the summer. After several successful seasons with Man Utd the Dane has returned to England. Despite criticism at Sporting Lisbon last season, Schmeichel should prove that he is still one of the best goalkeepers in the world. Along with his solid defence, Peter Schmeichel will concede few goals this year. DEFENDERS After losing Ugo Ehiogu and Gareth Southgate, both to Middlesborough, the solid defence that Villa have always had looked in danger of falling apart. But youngster Gareth Barry, highly rated Olof Mellberg and Alpay will help to ensure that the Midlands club are difficult to break down. Full/wing backs Steve Stone, Alan Wright and Mark Delaney are a constant threat on the attack, as well as helping out at the back. MIDFIELDERS On paper Aston Villa’s midfield is very strong indeed. They have 7 quality midfielders who are likely to be competing for 3 places if Gregory insists on playing his preferred 5-3-2 formation. Paul Merson is the best of these and should be an automatic choice if he can reproduce his form over the last cou
                  ple of seasons. The out of favour David Ginola is still a brilliant player on his day, and should be able to win several points for Villa with his trademark solo efforts. Ian Taylor has been at Villa Park for ever and, although he will not be a first choice player, Taylor will be an important part of the squad and should provide good cover. Lee Hendrie has promised for a long time now, but is yet to produce any consistency, while George Boateng failed to play as well as he did at Coventry. Two Moroccans complete the seven with Hassan Kachloul and Mustapha Hadji both capable goalscoring midfielders. STRIKERS Last season this was a real problem area for John Gregory’s team. However this season things could change for the better. Juan Pablo Angel was arguably the Premiership flop of last season – a big money arrival from Argentina, Angel was paraded as a natural goalscorer – his tally was 0. However he seems to have regained some confidence and now looks like the player Villa hoped they were getting. Darius Vassel looks, at the moment, like one of England’s best young strikers – he seems to have everything and will be looking to force his way into the England senior squad in the next couple of years. Dion Dublin couldn’t stop scoring when he first joined the Birmingham club but after suffering a broken neck, Dublin has not even looked half the player he was. Last season he was woeful in front of goal and will surely start the season as 3rd choice striker behind Angel and Vassell. Possible line up (5-3-2) P Schmeichel S Stone A Wright O Mellberg Alpay G Barry H Kachloul G Boateng P Merson JP Angel D Vassell If Juan Pablo Angel and Darius Vassell can score goals then Aston Villa should be looking at a possible 6th place finish behind the big five of Man Utd, Liverpool, Arsenal, Leeds and Chelsea. They don’t c
                  oncede many, but they don’t score many either – everything hinges on Aston Villa’s strikers.

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                    03.09.2001 02:06
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                    As the Premiership season opens, Aston Villa fans can prepare for another season of mid-table obscurity, another season of frustration with neither relegation or a Champions League place a likely scenario. They are widely seen as the most boring team in the English Premiership, quite content to just plod on at their own steady speed, with no genuine ambition to take big strides forward on the park. But it shouldn't be this way for Villa and the fans are right not to settle for that. Aston Villa are a big club. Their fans demand change and they have been quick to get on chairman Doug Ellis' back. Justifiably so. It is the fans who bring revenue into the club, they are the ones who go to Villa Park every second Saturday and support the club by paying vastly inflated prices. They aren't being rewarded by their club because the product on the park does not improve and season after season, Villa are guarnteed a mid-table place. They are a strange team - I grew up not particularly fond of them because they didn't have the flair about them of a Tottenham or a Liverpool. Much has been made of Doug Ellis' reluctance to put his hands in his pocket, and while he has made a bit more of an effort recently, Villa can still not compete with their rivals in terms of big money signings both in wages and transfer fees. Ellis is a traditionalist and while his views are somewhat admirable, if Villa are to progress he will have to move with the times and start splashing the cash. But can John Gregory be trusted with the cash? Towards the end of last season, he was given a club record £12.6 million to purchase Colombian striker Juan Pablo Angel. Whilst the South American's past record is admirable, he has hardly shone at Villa Park and serious doubts must be raised over Gregory's ability in the transfer market. He has recently signed Croat Bosko Balaban and this could be a make or break signing for Gregory's Villa career. <
                    br>To go back to the concept of Villa being a boring club, just look at their treatment of David Ginola. The Frenchman finds himself out of favour at Villa Park because he is more a flamboyant player than a hard worker. It seems their is no room for flair in the Villa side as Ginola's treatment testifies. While Paul Merson is a key player, his legs are tiring and he doesn't have much longer left at the top. Villa's lack of ambition was highlighted when defensive duo Gareth Southgate and Ugo Eghiou left to join Middlesborough and goalkeeper David James signed for West Ham, all three citing Villa's lack of ambition as the key reason for their move. The summer signings bring some hope, Mustapha Hadji and Hassan Kachoul are quality players while Peter Schmeichel brings a wealth of experience. Despite this, Villa fans don't hold too much hope and another season of mid-table obscurity seems likely.

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                      31.08.2001 07:08

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                      Aston Villa have got a few decent players in their squad but they need quite a few more to try and start finishing higher in the premiership every season. Below is my opinion of their best 11: Goalkeeper – Peter Schmeichel Schmeichel is one of the world’s favourite goalkeepers. When he was at Man United, so many people loved him and when he left, everyone thought that there wasn’t another keeper to replace him. He has made 128 appearances for Denmark, scoring 1 goal. He is a great goalkeeper and Aston Villa are privileged to have him. Right Back – Mark Delaney The Welsh International has become a regular in the Aston Villa team over the past couple of years and he has shown what he can do. He is quite fast and a good tackler. Centre Back – Alpay Alpay signed for Aston Villa last season in a 5.6 million pound deal. He is a strong defender who occasionally makes mistakes. Centre Back – Olof Mellberg The Swedish International signed for Aston Villa in the summer, for 5 million pounds, from Racing Santander. From what I have seen of him so far this season, he seems to be the type of player who will put all his effort in to getting his job done. He has already been man-of-the-match in one of Aston Villa’s games. Left Back – Alan Wright Alan Wright has shown his dedication to the club as he has played more than 500 games for them. This is an amazing amount of games for a player most wouldn’t consider that good. He has a good left foot on him, and can hit a ball quite hard. Right Midfielder – Paul Merson Paul Merson is probably Aston Villa’s best player. He is in his 30’s, but when he is playing, he plays like a 20 year old who is full of energy. He is a plyer that leads by example at Villa and he will always give his best. Centre Midfielder – George Boatang Aston Villa si
                      gned him from rivals Coventry about 2 seasons ago. He is a good player who can score goals, as well as create them. Centre Midfielder – Lee Hendrie The young midfielder is always full of energy and he could become and England regular in the future. He is skilful, but he is a player who often tackles too heavily and receives cards. He is a young, talented player who has scored quite a few times for Villa. Left Midfielder – David Ginola David Ginola is a very skilful player and I am amazed at the fact that he isn’t a first team regular in the Aston Villa team. He is better than the majority at the club and he should be given his chance with a run in the first team. He can also score some spectacular goals. Striker – Hassan Kachloul Hassan Kachloul signed for Villa in the summer, on a free transfer, after rejecting an offer from Ipswich. He is a talented player who was linked with quite a few clubs in the summer after his contract had expired at Southampton. Striker – Darius Vassell The young striker recently scored in an English U21 International and he has been a regular in the side for quite a while now. He is a good finisher and is pretty fast too.

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                      30.08.2001 20:00

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                      Villa manager John Gregory has sold some of his top players in pre season (SouthGate, James) and not replaced them with house hold names although he has said him self that he beliefs he currently has the best team he has had since he arrived at Villa Park. Gregory has brought in, Mellberg and Balaban who are supposed to be two hot, players with bright careers ahead of them and then you have what was probably the biggest surprise in the transfer market Peter Schmeichel who every one thought they had seen the end off has he still got something to offer? We look forward to seeing him in action. You also have Jaun Pablo Angel who has yet to prove what he is really capable of and why Villa paid so much for him what can he really do? Aston Villa have been known as under achievers over the past decade but are these signings the sign of a turn around at the club? Well John Gregory will hope so because I reckon this is his last season to prove he can do something with the club. Villa have made it into the UEFA Cup this season which will be very interesting to see how they progress, Where the league is concerned I’m going to predict a top 6 finish this season for the claret and blue of Aston Villa! Feel free to comment on this and how you think they will fair in the premiership this season!

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                  • Product Details

                    Aston Villa Football Club are an English football (soccer) club. The club's home ground is Villa Park in Aston, Birmingham. They currently play in the Premier League. Aston Villa were founding members of Football League in 1888 and of the Premier League in 1992. It is one of the oldest and most successful football clubs in England. Villa had the longest unbeaten start to the 2006-07 Premiership campaign, not losing until 28 October 2006. But they found it increasingly hard to win games as the season progressed, and as of 7 March 2007 they have still only attained seven Premiership victories all season. As a result, they now occupy 13th place in the league.