Houllier needs more time and January, Ashley Young, Barry Bannan and Heskey

These two men haven't had enough time at Aston Villa

When David O'Leary was the manager of Aston Villa I had someone tell me that he wasn't a good people person, was only ever interested in himself and that he had lost the dressing room at Leeds a long time before he left the club.

In his first season at Aston Villa, someone that used to be at the club also told me that one or two players had fallen out with him. In his second season, that same person told me that there was growing unrest throughout the club and by the end of his second season I was convinced that the football wasn't going to develop the way it had to develop for us to move forward.

It was nice back then as people at the club would talk to you and I don't mind mentioning what I've mentioned now, because the person that told me is no longer at the club and it wasn't exactly trade secrets or secret recipes, just snippets and opinion.


However, it was more interesting back then and it also helped confirm what I was thinking after watching the football.

When it came to Martin O'Neill, I came to the conclusion in his third season that the football really wasn't going to move forward, but there was only a few of us back then that interpreted it in that way. I covered it up by saying the manager had to have more money to move the club forward, mostly because I didn't think the owner was going to provide the funds necessary.

The truth is, had Lerner given the manager £100mn last summer and he spent it all on three world class players, chances are we wouldn't have finished in the top three, but momentum might have carried us over the line and it could have happened, but I wouldn't have been confident.

But I didn't think Lerner was ever going to provide the money, mostly because he is a smart man and before parting with that much more, he was going to speak to people and it turns out, he probably did.

I mention O'Leary and O'Neill, because when I posted my opinions about them when I did, I was in the minority and judging by what I'm about to write, I'm in the minority again.

Houllier needs more time

The manager has had less than three months at the club and when you consider where we are coming from, the one dimension kick and rush football, things are not going to change overnight.

Where did people expect us to be after sixteen games this season? Nobody could really expect us to be doing better than we did last season, but people could have hoped to see changes in how the football is played and guess what, that is happening.

We also shouldn't forget we've got players brought in by the last manager to play a certain way, all of a sudden getting asked to play another way, a more cultured and intelligent football. It takes more than three months for things to get better.

So, I'm mentioning this, because I'm seeing suggestions the manager has to go and it baffles me. If baffles me because the only thing we could truly expect to happen, is happening and he is doing it without any of his own players.

Houllier might not be the man

My opinion on Houllier is clear as day; it was a mistake in appointing him. It was a mistake because we are just going to have to go through all this change again when Houllier decides to leave or it doesn't work out and he leaves my mutual consent.

You see, it might not work out. Just because he has a fantastic track record and has won silverware all over the place, it doesn't mean it is going to work for him at Aston Villa. But before he is hounded out, he needs to be given a real chance. Remember, actions speak louder than words.

Let's see how much our owner supports his new man in January and lets see if it makes a difference. I believe it will but I also accept that to change from the football we were playing to the football we should be playing is going to take a lot longer than three months.

News and speculation

I'm leaving Houllier now as I've said what I wanted to say but rest assured, as soon as we reach breaking point, I'll be banging the drum louder than anyone, but now isn't the time. Now is the time to trust and to put your belief in something that actually, right in front of your eyes, is changing.

So I'm turning to the news. First up is that Bannan and Heskey are available for West Brom on Saturday and Nigel Reo-Coker is back in training. Don't expect him to play on Saturday, but he will be playing soon - it is a good sign.

In other news, Jonathan Hogg has signed a new deal to keep him at the club until 2013. This is nice for the player and nice for Aston Villa fans to see so many of our Academy players getting new deals and opportunities to impress in the first team.

Lastly, we have the monthly Ashley Young rumour and today it is that Liverpool are willing to pay £15mn for him. This figure is too low and actually, if Webcam wants a chance of playing Champions League football and more regularly for England, he has to do the business more often for us first, otherwise it is only going to be the likes of Liverpool coming in for him and due respect, I can't see them playing Champions League football again for some time.

On the other hand, if Webcam doesn't want to sign a new contract this summer, he has to be offloaded, if only because it will be clear as day his heart isn't at Aston Villa.

question of the day

Just for fun, I'm only asking because I thought the way Newcastle have acted these last few days is quite poor.