You know when it's club released PR because it hits all the news sites over the same day and then the next day the papers. This time, the club have rolled out Gabby, again, to talk about Benteke after his agent was reported as saying something about him possibly moving in the summer.

Now, I don't know for sure that Benteke is off, but I'd place a bet he is. I wouldn't bet a testicle on it, but I'd put my mortgage on it, but you know what, so what if he is?

But if he is going or not isn't the point of this post. The point is club PR to spin a story. It's a bit like when the club told us that it wasn't Downing in the photo with the Liverpool scarf and his future Liverpool team mate Andy Carroll and then a few days later Downing signs for Liverpool.

But after Gabby has given it the Benteke this, Benteke that, he comes out and says Benteke is too good for Arsenal. Will he still be too good for Arsenal if they spank us at the weekend? It's almost as if he is fuelling the fire and giving Arsenal a reason to show us how to play football.

Benteke is good, but I've no allegiance to a transient figure at the club and I don't mind saying that Benteke should be grateful if he got the opportunity to play for Arsenal. One season does not make a Premier League striker, much like it doesn't make a manager. Think Roque Santa Cruz or Mark Hughes.

If the return is good, sell him

But as long as we make money, we should sell him. It would be a fantastic bit of business for the top and bottom line and that's the way we have to think now. The game has changed.

And don't be angry at that statement, that's the club we are now. We can't be expected to hold on to a player that does well. We're the club that goes and takes a gamble on a player that the likes of Manchester United or Arsenal wont take the gamble on, in the hope that they do well and we can sell on at a tidy profit, to a Manchester United or an Arsenal.

Arsenal on Saturday

Enough about that, it's off my chest now. We play at Arsenal on Saturday, which is also good for business as there is a greater chance that overseas TV channels will want to pick up an Arsenal match, so that means even more cash for us. It's all good and when the sun shines ... you know the rest. We've got to be happy.

And that's my preview of that match. I mean, what do you want me to write; you're an intelligent bunch and you don't need me to talk down to you as we all know how important this game is. This is FA Cup final number two.

My map

Right before I go, have you seen the map I created the other night while a little bored and because I was playing with a spreadsheet and looking at services that use the Google Maps API?

It lists every player since the start of the 1992/93 season to have made a first team appearance for the club and it includes all competitions. Any comments on how we can develop this are welcome below.

Damian
Author: Damian
Damian started The Villa Blog as a passion project quite a few years ago while he was living in South Africa. Now living in Sweden, it continues. He's originally from Chasetown and grew up when supporting Villa meant there was a real chance of silverware at the start of every season.
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  • On Twitter 15 mins ago.

    Timothy Abraham ‏@TimothyAbraham
    "Charles N'Zogbia definitely fit for #AVFC trip to #AFC - came off with a slight knock against West Ham. Chris Herd has resumed training."

  • bobvillian - It's all well and good saying 'Villa are a selling club, get used to it' if you not too bothered about achieving anything. I for one want more for the club I support and fighting to avoid relegation or being in the lower half of the table isn't a part of what I want. Fans just accepting this dire state, won't help change it nor will blindly going to the games and coughing up your hard earned cash. If and when I see an improvement, I'll go back to Villa Park, until then I'll stay away.

  • Guest - jaf

    Well there was a time here in Sweden, when nearly every Villa game was shown on tv..but since that woman in england won the court case about showing foreign football channels in her pub its 2 games on a saturday and the rest on a ppv website.!

    Not sure if we get any extra cash, dont we just get a lump sum in the summer.?

  • jaf,

    If we stay in the Premier League we automatically receive 60m from BskyB.

    All depends on how much of that 60m Lerner will take for himself (if he does take any of that money), bearing in mind that from Lerner's previous lavish spending we're still approximately 75m in debt to him.

    The problem as I see it, is that if we stay up next season and Lerner does take some or most of that money that is owed to him from BskyB deal, Villa will be say, for example sake, some 40m worse off than some of the so called lesser clubs in the League if Lerner decides to take the money from Sky.

    These so called lesser clubs I would determine as Norwich, West Brom and Southampton, in terms of buying players. Ok some of this money is used for players wages, but what we may find is that it puts us in a difficult position for the start of next season, with others clubs using much of that money to enhance their respective squads. Our money from the BskyB deal may well have gone into Lerner's pocket to reduce the debt.

    It will be the first time that some of these so called lesser clubs will have received such a large amount of money.
    If we look at how much money Lambert spent pre-season, it was the 5th highest spend in the Premier League. These so called lesser clubs will be able to spend what we spent pre-season and more, based on the forthcoming BskyB funding. Which means the competition next season will even more fierce due to even more money being invested in the Premier League.

    It all depends on what Lerner's plans are for this 60m?

    If he swipes the carpet from underneath our feet and takes most of that BskyB money for himself we may find that come August the 15th, kick-off for the new season, and up to the end of the August window, we're starting the season with the likes of these so called lesser teams such as Norwich, West Brom and Southampton all out spending us which would be previously un-heard of.

    Looking and quantifying our recent season's, bouncing around in the lower half of the league means that if Lerner did take most of this money, we would find it even more difficult based on other clubs spending more than what they have previously done and historically, which makes the situation of bordering on nigh on impossible to stay in the Premier League next season.

    Lerner takes the money to remove some or most of the debt and we have problems, even if Lerner gave the manager 20m-30m next season it would not guarantee us staying in the League due to fact that the so called lesser clubs will be spending more, and quite probably the so called lesser clubs will spend each, a lot more than 30m next season.

  • Guest - expat007

    bobvillian

    But whatever state we are in i will always support my team whatever divison we end up in.
    Bloody hell 65 years supporting the Villa, 1946/7 was the first season after the War, how old are you? I was reportedly the oldest poster at 76, 77 in May so you obviously were a born and bred boyhood Villa fan or you are very ancient!
    I originate from Devon and the first pro team I saw was Plymouth Argyle and so they were the first team I supported, Argyle always being in the lower Divisions meant you look at teams in the 1st Division and possible followed one of them. My first was the Arsenal as they were then like Man U of today and had followers all over the UK.
    In 1956 when in the RAF I had a Brummie friend who took me to Villa Park to see Villa play Wolves, then a top side. I think it finished nil nil as I cant remember anyone scoring, but I was hooked as Villa Park was full and the crowd was fantastic and we had a great day in Brum, apart from the pubs closing at 10 o’clock where everywhere else in England they shut at 10.30!
    Over the years I grew closer to The Villa seeing them whenever I could and when I had the chance to move to either Nottingham or Brum in the sixties it was not difficult to chose as it had to be Brum and I lived in Erdington, so it was easy to get to Villa Park.
    Finished up marrying a Brummie and have been based there ever since apart from the time I now spend in France.
    Never had any regrets, Brum and The Villa have been very good to me and soon I will be back

  • Guest - Vital_Loans

    jonnah

    I can't see a spending spree on players next season due to the increased increase from Sky. Last season Villa received 42m for competing in the Premiership. With the increased revenue next year Villa may receive circa 60m which is an increase of 18m, hardly the budget to go mad with. Most clubs in the Premiership are in serious debt and are desperate to get some money to reduce their debt which in many occasions is owed to a financial institution. And as with all of these type of loans 'your home is at risk if you do not keep up your repayments'. We are in a very fortunate position that our owner loaned the club money rather than borrowing fromt he market. Villa Park is NOT as risk the same way Leeds and Portsmouth were and Everton is! Furthmore Premiership clubs have massive opperational costs, not only for the funding of cars in the players car park but also in maintaining the ground and paying the bills. The quality of the pitch at VP is one of the best in the Premiership, although I dont know the cost of this I am guessing it does not come cheap.

    In summary, although the tabloids and agents may like to create some hysteria of a spending spree by all of the clubs I just can't see it coming to fruition :)

  • Guest - expat007

    As usual there is nothing to report re The Villa. We will just have to see Lambet's today interview about the Arsenal game throws up, but I doubt it will tell us anything!
    Even though the Arsenal are doing badly at the moment I still can't see us getting out of the game as they must win to have any chance of Champions League next season.
    Goodbye for now, back on if anything turns up.

  • dont expect to see Arsenal anywhere near as poor as they were against Bayern.Home win.

  • Guest - astonman

    If Arsenal score early it could turn out to be another Chelsea. We need to score first to have any chance.

  • Guest - Rocco

    Astonman, Sjh

    Arsenal are by far the worst of the so called top 4, it won't be a chelsea mauling for sure, they are slightly better at defending set pieces than we are but don't expect a bombardment that we have had to endure of late,

    1-1 draw tomorrow

  • Guest - astonman

    Rocco
    I hope you are right but this is Villa and I feel even this average Arsenal will be far too strong for a poor Villa. That just shows how far we have sunk due to the idiots running the club.

  • Guest - nollaigmac

    Personally, I don't care whether or not CB has come to England to put himself in the shop window. As long as he keeps us up, who cares? Next season is another and who knows?

  • Guest - B6 villa

    Think we will give arsenal a good game tommorow and I'm going for a 1-1 or a sneaky 1 goal win, don't think they will handle our front players if on form

  • Guest - nollaigmac

    Kind of agree with you B6 but Arsenal may be smarting a bit after mid week. Need to be wary of Walcott. Sagna has played better at times this season so I think for once we might get some joy out of him.

  • Guest - ftkv

    Arsenal are by far the worst of the so called top 4,

    & we are by far the worst of the bottom 4
    also we have the worst owner in the league

  • Guest - ftkv

    Well lets hope Christian puts on a real show
    He wants to be a gooner so let him show them what they are missing and help us too boot

  • why is it that when the papers mentioned about the speculation that Bentekes agent started that there were loads of comments on here about him leaving but since Lambert came out and said he is the one who will be deciding not one comment?

  • keithj,

    Lambert can say what he likes, but if Lerner wants to sell Benteke then he will be sold.

    jcv,

    Arsenal have not lost 3 home games on the spin for well over 30 years, can you see us ending that run:):)

  • Guest - B6 villa

    NOllaigmac

    think if we can keep them quite for the first hour or even better take the lead, the crowd will turn on the players and the manager and we must take advantage. The first goal will be important

  • jcv

    Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert says he will decide on the future of Christian Benteke after insisting the striker will stay at the club.

    Thing is mate there were posts saying that if the club were ambitious or give a **** about the fans they would make a statement saying that he isnt for sale. Well theres the statement but I guarantee the posts will be this is just bull****/pr when the money is offered he will be off.

  • Guest - B6 villa

    Meant to say - first half hour

  • muz

    Lambert made a statement months ago about Benteke saying whats the point trying to build a team when you keep selling your players. If Lerner/Faulkner sell Benteke then I am sure Lambert will resign.

  • jcv

    Its a definite win so go get the big odds:):):):)

  • jcv mate,

    I'm with you on the result of the game, hope we are both wrong though.

  • 22/2/2013

    Lambert said: "As far as I'm concerned the guy's here and he isn't going anywhere until I say so - that's the bottom line."

  • Guest - B6 villa

    No point speculating about benteke's future because nothing will be decided until the summer. We will hear alot of he will he won't rumours, but hope it don't affect the player himself because we really need him for the final 12 games

  • jcv

    Linked by the papers not the club;)

  • jcv

    You still worrying about relegation, I keep telling you we'll be nearer top 4 than bottom 4 by the end of the season, maybe after we beat arsenal and citeh you will start to believe.:):):)

  • Guest - B6 villa

    Think PL has found a settled formation and players and we have played well in the last two games, just hope we have learnt to close out games in the last few minutes, I'd take a draw at the start of the game and anything else will be a bonus and a really good for us villa fans

  • Guest - B6 villa

    Really good weekend for us villa fans

  • jcv,

    I wish keithj would stop being so negative, a few weeks ago he was saying we would finish in the top 4, now its nearer the top 4.
    Do you think his faith is on the wane? :):):)

  • jcv,

    Dont forget if we win tomorrow us over 50's have still got to come on here, otherwise we will get told off.:):):)

  • jcv,

    mate i think it is old mac, he hasn't been on for a while has he? is he still ill?

  • these next 2 games are freebies imo.Im expecting zero points so anything else is a bonus,im targeting the QPR and REading games and they have to bring 6 points!!!!

  • Guest - B6 villa

    Jcv

    We have to look at the positives rather than the negatives because we are running out of games and being negative doesn't help our situation

  • muz

    Old mac only appears to offer words of wisdom, his posts are rare but are golden nuggets

  • keithj,

    Yes his comments always seem well thought out, not like the crap some of us spout.:D:D

  • jcv

    I am surprised you let it get to you because like me you have been there, done it, got the t shirt etc so is it that you just got more cynical in your old age. By the way I am not nearly 60 years old I'm nearly 60 years young,:):):)

  • keithj,

    I think it can be harder for some that have been there and done it and have the tshirt, as we've seen it all before and dont want to see the same thing happen again

  • muz

    I think a good way of putting how I feel is how would we as young lads/men liked to have been told that our club was **** and had no ambition and when we went to the 3rd division the next step was oblivion when in reality we were having the time of our lives following the club we love without a care in the world. Well you know what, maybe todays young lads/men feel the same so lets not take it away from them.

  • jcv

    Have a good night mate and be ready to party :):):):)

  • Guest - B6 villa

    It's been hard for all of us, nobody wants thier team doing bad or getting relegated. It's hard to take from being a top six team we have fallen so far, it's hard to take we lost to a league two team when being one game away from the final, but we are still here talking villa because we all care and can't get away no matter what we do or try

  • jcv,

    goodnight mate.

    keithj,

    I understand what your saying, and yes we did have some great times back then,but it was easier then being a big club and bouncing back. In those days if you were a brummie it was Villa or the noses, nowdays many are utd, chelsea etc.
    While not trying to be negative if we went down now many youngsters would follow suit as they want to be associated with a premier club so many new fans could be lost.Also many seem to think if we go down it will be a formality in coming straght back up.
    So while i hope the younger fans have a great time, todays game is very different to the seventies.

  • Guest - B6 villa

    Goodnight jcv, hoping for a positive result tommorow so we can enjoy the rest of the weekend;)

  • Guest - nollaigmac

    any good stream source for game? Broadband sloooooooooow here in Ireland!

  • Guest - belfastvilla

    If Wenger could handpick a team to play now then it would be Villa he,d go for. Seen it so many times before. If we turn over Arsenal i,ll eat my bowler hat.

  • Being positive, I think Villa could get a 2-1 or 3-1 win.

    If we can get amongst them early and also score an early goal, the level of gesticulation and enmity towards Arsen Wenger will reverberate around the Emirates which could only be likened to the British winter of discontent.

    Villa need to strike seize and grasp the opportunity, when it presents itself.

    Here's an interesting match stat for today's game.

    Arsenal have created fewer goalscoring opportunities from corners (24) this season than any other side in the Premier League.

    Happy days, they won't score against us from a corner !!

  • Seems that Stephen Ireland may well not feature again this season for the first team.

    Thursday night Ireland was spotted at a concert in Manchester with family. Again has been told by Culverhouse that he is surplus to requirements, persona non grata for today's game at Arsenal. According to the papers he's been told that he still has to train with the reserves.

    8m quid from Man City on a reported between 55k - 70k / week. We won't sell him either in the summer, it's going to be another white elephant such as Warnock and Hutton sitting it out in the reserves.
    These high earning players who get left out are normally senior pro's who realise that they can take their time in choosing their next opportunity. Still getting paid a Kings salary, they can afford to sit and look at all options.

  • "Villa top empty seats revenue table"

    "Premier League clubs are scoring an ‘own goal’ by losing millions of pounds on seat revenue each season with empty seats estimated to be costing them up to £7 million per year in lost revenue, reports fcbusiness.

    Analysis from BDRC Continental’s Sports and Sponsorship Insight team has revealed that Premier League football clubs are losing out on valuable home game revenue by failing to maximise match day sales, resulting in empty seats and lost cross-selling opportunities from food, beverages and programmes.

    At the top of the league are Aston Villa, with a missed home game opportunity just shy of £7 million each season. Hot on their heels are Sunderland, scoring a missed revenue opportunity of £6.5 million plus.

    Wigan Athletic and Everton say goodbye to a potential £4.2 million and £3.1 million per season respectively. Newcastle, Southampton and West Bromwich Albion are also guilty of missing out on valuable revenues to the tune of £2.3 million, £2 million and £1.8 million respectively.

    While the top seven register significant lost revenue opportunities, three further clubs still notch up more than £1million per season: QPR (£1,368,000), West Ham (£1,143,000) and Manchester City (£1,082,000). The rest restrict their lost revenue to less than £1 million.

    Swansea have the best performance in avoiding missed revenue, losing just £5,264 per match – or a shade over £100,000 per year – thanks to a 99% seat utilisation.

    Mark Long, Director of Sports & Sponsorship at BDRC Continental, said: “Since the Premier League announced its new financial controls, top-flight teams need to address how they can turn this lost opportunity into valuable income.

    Under the new regime kicking off with the 2013/2014 season, any increase in match day revenue can help fund players so empty seats in the ground will have a direct impact on the quality of a club’s squad on the pitch.

    “But it’s not just about slashing ticket prices to get supporters into the stadium; there is a balance to be achieved between attracting new fans and keeping loyal season ticket holders happy. And don’t forget the need to maximise on-site sales in the various retail outlets once fans are through the turnstiles.

    “No two clubs are the same, however, so it’s never a ‘one size fits all’ solution. But through careful research and data analysis clubs can still move forward and optimise their fanbase to fill seats and impact the bottom line.”

    (Sources: Football365.com and BBC ‘Cost of Football’ survey)

  • The empty seats is just another in a long line of unwanted record breaking achievements this season. What was Lambert explaining when he first joined the club. 'Villa should be playing in front of full houses ever week!'

    Apart from the obvious we're top of the league for empty seats. At a loss of 7m / season. (That could have been another Benteke) if we'd have had the right owner showing intent to drive the club forward...

    This quote caught my eye. 'Under the new regime kicking off with the 2013/2014 season, any increase in match day revenue can help fund players so empty seats in the ground will have a direct impact on the quality of a club’s squad on the pitch.'

    First of all I would like to say that small heath are buggered then under this new scheme.
    Reminds me of that joke Jasper Carrott said. ' I was down the blues the other week and I said the the bloke next to me... Oi !!' (Shouting as loud as he coud because the bloke next to him was the other side of the pitch) ;)

    Still.... Villa are top of the charts again for all the wrong reasons. The Villa fans have voted with their feet, and Lerner must be seeing and starting to feel the pinch.

    'Don't put out on the pitch, the fans won't put out on the terraces.'

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