To name just a few: Albrighton, Bannan, Clark, Hogg, Weimann, The Fonz, Gardner and Lichaj

There is a Catch 22 at our level. If you get some success the bigger clubs want your players. If you haven't got enough success your players want to go. The players go and you have less chance of gaining the sort of success that would make them stay. You then get a snowball of despair. You loose your best player and your 2nd best will be less likely to stay, you loose your 2nd best player then the 3rd best is even less likely to want to stay.

Villaonthegreen makes a persuasive point. It sounds right so it attains the status of a truism. But history tells us that there’s a way out. Other clubs have done it and we are in the process.

The key is not the ability to buy success. Only a Croesus-like owner can do that and we don’t have one. Man City does have one and it’s taken them several seasons and success is still not certain. Moreover, if they do succeed – what then?


Working hard to achieve something is rewarding. Going into Argos and buying it because you won’t miss the money is, ultimately, a pointless exercise if the thing you’re buying has no utilitarian value. The thing Mansour craves so much – respect – will be denied him even if Man City win the Premier League and the Champions League.

Fans want success today not tomorrow, and it takes years. Years and years. Owners and managers have to live with this even if the fans won’t. This means that the ones who eventually succeed are resolute in the face of disaster, are patient with the fainthearted and calm under pressure. They must have bedrock principles on which they will not turn their backs.

These characteristics come from experience. You cannot go to college to acquire them and your coaching qualification will be useless. Most managers are mediocrities yet they all have one.

If you cannot buy it, even if you have the money, how will it come? What you cannot buy, you must breed.

Find the best players while they still very young and nurture them. For Villa, Albrighton, Bannan, Clark, Hogg, Weimann, The Fonz, Gardner and Lichaj are priceless assets. Mansour’s consortium is the richest owner in sport, yet in two years time their wealth will not enable them to buy these players as a job lot. And they cost Villa nothing beyond the money it took to find, train and nurture them.

They’ve spent their formative years together so they’ve bonded and will want to play their football together. As long as Villa don’t have a manager who picks and plays his favourites, or holds grudges and doesn’t let them play cultured football, they’ll stick around for the fun.

Our manager must convince them that, together, they can achieve success and the owner must demonstrate that he will provide the resources in which they can flourish.

Heads up, lads. It’s all good.