While the hangover of having no World Cup to watch begins to fade, matters of an Aston Villa variety begin to come sharply into focus. The latest act in the on-going circus at the club is the club’s CEO Paul Faulkner leaving despite no new owner being in site. The club’s staff shrinks even more, due to Faulkner’s increasingly omnipresent role at Villa, he’ll leave a gap. It’s not going to help the existing organisation problem at Villa Park in the recent years.
With seemingly poor delegation and people covering roles that they are ill-qualified to (to be fair, sometimes they aren’t part of their job description). At times there doesn’t seem to be clear lines of responsibility. Maybe staff cuts in the past couple of years haven’t helped. For example, the last financial report highlighted there was a 17% drop in ”Commercial, merchandising and operations’ staff – dropping from 292 staff in 2012 to 244 in 2013.
It’s something for the new owners to certainly address. Casting an eye to what’s actually been happening on the pitch though, Villa supporters have seen the surprising sight of players in a Villa shirt, they never expected to see again. The Bomb Squad has been resurrected and the likes of Darren Bent, Shay Given, Alan Hutton, Enda Stevens and Charles N’Zogbia are now very much part of Villa’s pre-season. Even Chris Herd is back in action. The new three low-end of the market signings though haven’t exactly fired up season ticket sales, which are down, but are still welcome additions to the squad.
1. It’s of little indication for the season ahead but Villa are 100% in preseason after three games. Throw in two clean sheets against both FC Dallas and FC Houston and things are even solid at the back. Last preseason began with a series of draws, so in terms of results there’s an improvement there. There’s little sign of what Lambert has in store though in terms of formation with all the frequent substitutes so far.
2. Jack Grealish after being introduced into the first-team preseason fray last season, has impressed so far this time round. The season on loan with Notts County would have strengthen the 18-year-old and surely it’s time for Lambert to be bold in showing some faith in him in the new season. I can’t see that many better options in the current Villa squad to prevent him from at least having a role as an impact sub and a first-teamer for cup fixtures.
3. With already discussed the logic of Roy Keane joining Villa and he should help sharpen the focus of the player’s minds. Another bonus that comes with Keane being at Villa is any picture of him with Lambert or Villa players is just seems ripe for photo caption competitions. Endless fun ahead in the forthcoming season.
4. The sight of Christian Benteke and Libor Kozák doing light training in Texas will bring hope for all Aston Villa fans. The return of either or both for the month of September could be crucial when it comes to getting any change out of a very tough run of games in that month. Lets hope current knocks to Delph, Okore and Joe Cole aren’t serious.
5. Less than three weeks to go to what could be the maddest, craziest, most painful, surprising or joyful Villa season in recent years. It could go any which way. MOMS is gearing up to be bigger and better for the new season and to be prepared for whatever happens. We hope you’ll join us and also get involved more in supporter issues. Sign-up below, if you haven’t already, and soon we’ll start dropping you the odd email with useful info to keep you in the loop and knowledgeable on all Villa supporter issues. UTV