Aston Villa bust-up: Does O'Neill have a choice?

Whether there is any truth in the ‘training ground bust up’ rumour is up for debate, but I don’t see why the club haven’t come out and nipped it in the bud if it’s not true.

The look on Nigel’s face was there for all to see as he trudged off the pitch at The Circus last Sunday and to be honest this doesn’t surprise me.


Interesting that in Sidwell’s appearance on Soccer AM last Saturday morning he named Reo-Coker as ‘biggest moaner’ and said that he loves an excuse to have a whinge, but this was quite rightly justified on Sunday as I felt he did enough to stay on and Sidwell should have made way.

Whether Reo-Coker is aware of O’Neill's possible plans for the weekend and has taken offence or he is just running out of patience.

My opinion on this whole fiasco is this; I believe that Reo-Coker has put O’Neill in a very difficult position. How is Nigel’s position at the club not now untenable? Remember the backlash after Gareth Barry spoke to The News of the World, it was severe, being dropped and stripped of the captaincy was certainly a signal of intent from O'Neill and if he is to keep the dressing room harmony then the guy needs to be made an example of.

If this was Alex Ferguson we were talking about, what do you think would happen?

In Reo-Coker’s defence you can kind of appreciate where he is coming from, played out of position for long periods if at all and I imagine he sees this season as his big chance only to be subbed off when playing pretty well.

Basically he needs to grow up, pull his finger out and show why he should be the first name on the team sheet every single week. This player is captain material and he also has the quality to play international football.

Why not take a leaf out of David Beckham’s book or even better Stan Petrov’s and knuckle down and do your talking on the pitch rather than taking a swipe at the manager. The lad is 25 which is still relatively young in football so there is room for improvement in his game and he needs to wise up.

Can anyone remember this happening before with a player and manager? Obviously we remember Sir Alex volleying a boot at David Beckham’s face and that this eventually led to him leaving the club and I would be very sorry to see Nigel go. His application, determination and passion on the field are a huge plus for us as a team and I think we need him at the moment; however no player is bigger than this club.

If Reo-Coker is now subsequently dropped for the Pompey game who should play in his stead? Would you replace him with Delph who I personally see more of a replacement for Sidwell’s position? Would Gardner be a tenacious option in the middle to replace or will we simply switch to 4-4-2?

I would be very surprised if no disciplinary action is taken as what sort of example does that say to rest of the squad? O’Neill could be in danger of losing the dressing room if this isn’t handled absolutely correctly.

We all know Nigel is passionate and outspoken and I felt a huge amount of pride when he threw his shirt in the crowd at Anfield after the game. I was adamant then that this was a big moment for him and an indication of his intentions for the season. I even went as far as saying this lad could be a future captain and would probably bleed claret and blue.

We may know for sure sooner rather than later if O'Neill were to catch him with a sweet left hook.

I hope this is a passionate gesture and he doesn’t leave, but I think this could be a very, very important week for Villa and our chances of success this season.