After yesterday’s announcement, like most everyone else I was shocked. My first reaction was to come to the blog and see if anyone had made any sense of it. When I got here at about 6.30 pm, there were close to three hundred posts, so it seems to have been everyone else’s first instinct as well.
I was pleased to see that certain posters’ minds had started to see through the mist and discern the way ahead. Of particular note at post no. 268 was salty, and Aero-4-Villa at 277. Kohoutek was his usual rock of common sense and many more too numerous to mention made excellent contributions. Frem was banging on about Luxemburg ... or was it Ireland ... I forget, but he seemed agitated about something.
It’s a matter of record that I was an O’Neill supporter, but was becoming increasingly aware that he’d spent a shed-load of money and the wage bill was stratospheric. I wasn’t as concerned as some at the lack of rotation and I thought, on balance, Cuéllar was the best RB at the club. Many will disagree and maybe I’m wrong – we don’t need to fall out over this.
Several made a point that, maybe, O’Neill had taken us as far as he was able and I can’t, in all conscience, disagree with that. I think that O’Neill had sensed it too. If he had, and this had played a part in his decision, then, in truth, he’d bottled it. Fight or flight, and he’d taken the easy option.
The important thing to realise is that, at this point, we do not know what has been going on and we can only speculate. Before we rush to judgement we need to take a deep breath, hold our counsel, and wait for the facts to emerge.
Like Simeon, I have a preferred scenario, and, as it happens, it’s much like his. I hope the Lerner was proactive in this and, if you like, shuffled O’Neill into a corner and made him leave. Constructive dismissal. I prefer this, not because I wanted O’Neill to leave, but I’d prefer it if my chairman was decisive in action and made his mind up to be in control and not dangling at the end of a rope, at the mercy of O’Neill’s stubbornness. Lerner is not a self-made man – it’s his Dad’s dough – so the jury’s still out on his strength of character in these situations.
I’m under a definite impression that there was trouble at mill. In these situations, it’s important for the boss to try to make the right decision, but not as important as making SOME decision. Make your bed and then be prepared to lie on it.
The other thing about this scenario is that Lerner will have expected it and would have made some provision for O’Neill’s replacement. Hopefully, it’s not going to be a mad scramble.
What’s done is done. If people were unhappy, then this is a good outcome. All will be well. If certain players are unhappy with O’Neill’s exit, show them the door – and that includes Ashley Young. Take the money and run. Thank goodness that we’ve got some good youngsters coming through.
I’ll leave you with Aero-4-Villa – “just roll with it”. Heads up lads, the game’s afoot.