Paul Lambert…two games into the season and a section of Villa fans were already doubting him. It’s funny with the event of social media and the internet, how impatient and reactionary football supporters can become.
After the nightmare of the club’s McLeish appointment, night turned to day, when Paul Lambert took over. A new dawn was promised. A lime kit gave us some smiles. The club’s PR machine purred contentedly – Lambert’s Lions, Lambert’s Limes. Optimism returned to fans. The feel good factor was back.
After two games though, the clouds gathered. Moan. Moan. Doom. Gloom. Some Villa fans even started following the tune of the pied piper of relegation, Robbie Savage. “Don’t give me this crap about Rome not being built-in a day,” cried some Villa fans to others that were advising patience.
In the age before the internet, when we weren’t force-fed pointless celebrity gossip, nude pictures of royals weren’t readily available and in our sport wasn’t bombarded with meaningless statistics and opta stats, there used to be a very casual approach to checking out how the start of the season was going. Some newspapers didn’t even bother printing the league table until six or seven games in. The understanding was a team takes a few games to find their groove, so results weren’t necessarily too representative of what was to come.
Now, even after two games, people were leaving pearls of wisdom messages on MOMS facebook page such as ‘one team who is bottom after two games normally gets relegated’. Oh really. Another victim of the pied piper of relegation, Mr Savage.
One game later, an enterprising draw and solid performance against Newcastle, and within the space of 90 minutes, the clouds of doom had dissipated. Villa were out of the relegation zone. The tune totally changed.
The truth is Villa are still in the same position as they were three games ago, Lambert is studiously rebuilding a team, its ethos, it desire, its tactics. All pretty much from scratch. It will take him time. Game-to-game pressure and judgement from fans is pretty pointless.
The transfer window showed that Paul Lambert really does have an astute plan. A little long-term for some, but its freshness also hints at success in the short-term too.
The likes of Benteke, Westwood, Bowery and Bennett, like Vlaar, El Ahmadi and and Lowton, before them, were names that were outside of a lot of fan’s football knowledge and comfort zone.
‘He’s building a team for the championship’ cried some moaners. What Lambert is actually doing is rebuilding the very foundations of a team for a better quality of life in the Premiership.
To be continued…
(This is actually the intro of a longer piece where we highlight the last time a similar revolution to Lambert’s happened at Villa…it got too long, so the rest will appear tomorrow morning).
Follow MOMS on Twitter – @oldmansaid