Villa Paper Wrap: Fox off, Garde Future, Barton Analysis and Youth Opportunities

Almstadt and Fox Shown the Door

News was brought to us by the club on Tuesday that Hendrik Almstadt; Villa’s first ever Sporting Director had left the club by mutual consent. After being on holiday in Dubai whilst major breaking news about Villa’s £27m loss was released, he became the first to be shown the exit whilst the club is inspected closely by Sir Mervyn King and Steve Hollis.

Almstadt played a major part in Villa’s failures this season and many fans gave credit to Hollis for the timing of the action. He certainly looked to be the first of many to leave and we weren’t disappointed later in the week.


Two days later on Thursday, more news was brought to us of the resignation of Tom Fox bringing the Villa supporter’s ‘Fox hunt’ to a successful conclusion.

Fox was responsible for all kinds of decisions whilst at the Football Club and it seems as though the many failures that these decisions consequently brought led to his demise.

Fox must have looked at the way the new additions to the board were building and felt like he no longer had a role in that. Either way, if he hadn’t had resigned, I’m sure he would have been relieved from his services anyway. Positive progress.

Hollis No Poodle

Hollis did the press rounds to sound out that his revolution was in full-effect and he had full licence to create the change that would hopefully get the club heading in the right direction.

“If you want some poodle who’s just going to be your mouthpiece you’ve got the wrong bloke,” said Hollis, relaying what he told Lerner, before he took up his post at Aston Villa.

Also, on the club’s website, it was announced that the Villa Board of Directors had appointed a ‘Football Board’ to oversee all football matters at the Club.

This new Board will be Chaired by David Bernstein and Mervyn King and will include Brian Little and a new Head of Football Operations (HFO) when recruited.

The manager will report directly to David Bernstein. All other football functions will report to the HFO.

The club’s statement added:

‘This reorganisation will provide specialist and dedicated control at Bodymoor Heath with the aim of bringing stability, confidence and a platform for long term success to Aston Villa Football Club.’


Remi Return to Lyon?

Several comments from Lyon’s President Jean-Michel Aulas were floated about in the press this week, regarding Remi Garde’s future at Villa. The supporters are divided on whether the intelligent and articulate Frenchman is the correct person to lead the club back up from the Championship next season.

Last week there were rumours that Garde had a few options to move away from the club, if he were to choose to and now we’ve been brought some more solid reports that can confirm he’s a desirable option for Lyon. Even though he’s insisted that he’s fully committed to Villa and recently revealed that he’s planning for next season in order to fulfil the job role that’s required of him.

The Frenchman has been handed a battered set of cards to compete with, but many still think that another manager with Premier League experience could have competed in a stronger manner.


He was also disappointed by the previous Villa board in January, as they failed to make any of the signings he recommended and targets such as Wahbi Khazri, who got away are now thriving for the likes of Sunderland in their relegations scrap.

Would you keep Remi for next season? If not, who would you choose to replace him? He’s still going about his business in a quiet and patient manner so it’ll be interesting to see what the future holds for him.

Full Backs at Fault

After Sunday’s defeat, Joey Barton analysed our performance and where our deepest faults lay. He expanded on those points and even gave the Villa fans some positives for the future to think about.

Barton pinpointed the roles of both Villa’s full-backs Aly Cissokho and Alan Hutton. Many full-backs this season maraud forward with sprinting overlaps up the field to provide an option in the final third. However, the difference between our full-backs and most competent ones is their decision making skills. Villa’s pair run forward and then get caught out of position time and time again, due to the lack of midfield back up and the timing of their runs.

Our whole defensive positioning is crucially poor across the back line and it’s no wonder we concede so many goals when you look deeper into the sections of the pitch they fall into every game.

Although, it wasn’t all bad from Barton, as he also highlighted the opportunity for some positives to be celebrated.  “Positives from Villa, Really?” I hear you cry. Yes and those positives come in the form of our youngster Andre Green showing green shoots of recovery and the new acquisitions to the board.

Youth to Get a Chance?

After Finn posted a MOMS article about the decision to blood some of the younger academy graduates in the latter end of the season, it was almost as if Remi Garde was listening to him.

Andre Green got his call to be substituted on around the 60th minute and highlighted to many fans why the youth deserve to be given some valuable experience in a Premier League fixture. He looked well built for a 17-year-old lad and wasn’t afraid to run at Tottenham’s Danny Rose. Crucially, the one thing that personally caught my eye was his ability to cross the ball.

He took a corner for us and actually beat the first man, providing a golden opportunity that Joleon Lescott consequently missed by hitting the post. This is a positive sign as it’d be interesting to see the likes of Jerell Sellars, Jordan Lyden, Keinan Davis and Rushian Hepburn-Murphy all given a chance to stretch their legs on the Villa Park turf.


Even though all the hardcore Villa supporters still do, there’s no real reason to watch Villa’s games anymore as relegation has practically been confirmed. It’d be nice if these youngsters provided us with a reason to carry on watching and even better if one of them could mark their appearance with a goal as well.


Follow Chad on Twitter – @ChadBillyWrenn

Follow MOMS on Twitter – @oldmansaid


  1. I cannot for the life of me, see Remi Garde staying, he looks a beaten guy already. Sure, a decent man but not the manager to lead us out of the Championship.
    We need a guy who has wide experience and broad shoulders but more importantly, a British appointment.
    Bruce? Grayson?? Pearson???

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