The Focus Increases on Lambert’s Start
While MOMS still isn’t overly concerned about Villa’s current plight, due to the extent of the restructuring job Paul Lambert has had to undertake, as we previously stated after the first five games (Villa’s worst start in 15 years), two more games on and the stats show it’s now the club’s worst start in 26 years. Lambert still has the trust of the majority of Villa fans, even if some are wondering if he’s nothing more than fool’s gold. Still, there’s no need to panic just yet, but it’s interesting to have a quick look at other bad starters in the club’s recent history to see that it doesn’t necessarily have to lead to doom and gloom.
26 Years Ago – Relegation
In the worst start before Lambert’s current plight was the one win and six losses of the 1986-87 season, that saw Graham Turner lose his job after six games, with Villa managerless for the seventh game, before Billy McNeil took over the reins and eventually relegated Villa.
Graham Taylor – Lost Championships
Graham Taylor was one for poor starts, but the worst that happened to his best two years with Villa, was it cost him two potential titles. In 1987-88, he managed only six points from the opening games when Villa needed to get promotion at the first attempt, after Turner and O’Neil had sent Villa down. Villa soon rallied once the team clicked into place, finishing second and gaining promotion back to the top-tier. Two seasons on after a shaky season of re-establishing themselves in the division, Villa started again with six points – one win and three draws – out of the first seven games. From the outside , it looked like another shaky season ahead for Villa, but then the team came together and went through the gears with Villa winning eight out of their next games, with both Platt and Olney regularly finding the net. Yet again, Villa finished second in the league.
Of course, second in the league is a tad unrealistic in Lambert’s first season, but the prospect of Villa rallying and putting together some points is not. Most would be happy to regard this season as Villa fans did Taylor’s second year, Villa’s first back in Division One after relegation; solidifying the rebuilding job and creating a platform to have a real go in the next season.
In the meantime, hopefully the next two games – Fulham (a) and Norwich (h) – will provide Villa with their first back-to-back wins since May 2011, rather than again increasing the ‘worst start since’ statistic. UTV.