Finally a game with a bunch of decent performances from Villa players
If you listened carefully at 5pm after the Hull City game, you would have heard the synchronised exhale of relief pour out of Villa Park as the final whistle was blown to signal a rare Villa home win and the end to any relegation fears. It was great to hear our famous old ground bouncing again and lifting the players to a priceless victory. To be perfectly honest, I think Villa fans can take most the credit for that victory and for staying with the team like we have. Fans of most teams would not have stuck with their team like ours (small heath averaged 15,457 this season!). The Holte End was especially buoyant and did the 20th Anniversary of the old Holte being knocked down justice. The lower Holte stood throughout the game in fitting tribute.
The mid-week thumping at City and the season’s final game at Spurs brought to light again the huge problems that still mount at our great club. However, news of Lerner stating he has put the club up for sale comes as great relief for all of us. All we can hope for is a multi-billionaire willing to invest huge amounts of money and maybe we can finally see progress and get back to where we belong.
Aston Villa’s Proper Man of the Week
As far as the Proper Man of the Week award goes this week, there are a few candidates (mostly coming from the Hull game, I have to admit) that could have claimed this accolade. The tenacious Austrian Andi Weimann’s flying return to form and sudden improvement in aerial ability, definitely deserves huge credit. Although, it has took him till the end of the season to start looking threatening, which frankly is not good enough.
Moreover, Jordan Bowery deserves huge credit this week after impressing against Hull. I agreed with a lot of Villa fans that took to twitter with discontent when Bowery was bought on in the first half for Gabby instead of Robinson. However, you have to give it to the big feller, who bullied and battled the Hull defenders and looked dangerous throughout the game, testing the keeper with every opportunity. He also showed great composure and skill in putting the ball in the perfect place for Weimann to nod home. He did struggle when given his chance against tougher teams in the final two games, which was probably one step too far for him. He does possess the right physique to become a threat with more guidance and development, so let’s not rule him out just yet.
The award this week though, has to go to Callum Robinson. The youngster finally got a decent chunk of time on the field after weeks of pleas for his inclusion from Villa fans. He looked composed whenever he played, especially on the ball, more so than some of the first team regulars. He has all the raw talent to become a top player with the right nurturing and guidance. So the young man needs more game time to be able to flourish, as do the likes of Grealish, Burke, Carruthers and the rest of the NextGen winners do.
Robinson is reportedly in talks over a new contract and hasn’t committed so far with a growing number of other clubs flocking for his services. Does he perhaps feel held back at Villa?
Robinson and co have to be better than some of Lambert’s failed buys? Hopefully what the manager next season, whether it’s Lambert or someone else, does more of is blood our academy prospects into the first team more frequently. Couple this with new investment and it will ignite life back into the club which is currently stagnant in the lower levels of the Premier League.
The Villa Man Who Has to Pick Themselves Up and Go Again
The final man to be given this award this season has to go to a somewhat regular recipient of the achievement he gave the name for – Paul Lambert. As highlighted in this article, his decision to restrain from playing the ‘home schooled’ youngsters this season till the last few games and sending a few on loan (Grealish, Carruthers, Burke etc.) is surprising and frustrating. When the under-21’s won the NextGen series, the excitement of having bright home-grown talents coming through to the first team grabbed the imagination of the Villa fans. However Lambert refused to give them the chances they and we desired.
Lambert claimed that it was because he needed experience in a relegation fight, which went against his original philosophy and plan for the club when he was appointed. With the prospect of new owners and hopefully new investment, can we really trust Lambert with the task of spending new money wisely? I for one wouldn’t mind giving him till Christmas to show improvement and give him money to spend in the summer because some of his signings have been good: Benteke, Westwood, Kozák and Lowton especially. However, I believe that would be an unpopular choice among fans and new, big spending owners may want a bigger name to take the team forward.
Whatever the future holds, it is going to be an exciting summer at Villa Park. So rest while you can Villa fans and pray for an oil tycoon!
Follow Ashley on Twitter – @bannyboy95