Lerner and Faulkner meeting this week and time gentlemen please

If you were to look at a table that showed what a club paid out in salaries each year to the players, it would read something like how the league finished. I say something, because you'd have Manchester City up near the top, if not at the top.

I write this, because it is obvious. Better players demand more money and to compete, you have to pay it, year in year out. If you are not near the top and you want to get near the top, then you have to pay even more each year, to get to the top and when you are at the top, you can then start to manage it more effectively.


This isn't new. Blackburn did it in the early 90's, Chelsea did it in the early 00's and Manchester City are doing it now. In fact, it isn't just in football that it happens and you don't need to be a rocket scientist to figure it out.

Transfer talks planned

Which is why I can tell you what is going to happen, if the so called meeting that I've just read about on one website, between Paul Faulkner and Randy Lerner, arranged to 'plot the club's future', turns out to be true.

You see, you don't have to be a rocket scientist to work this out either. In fact, you just have to look at our history to see what is going to happen. Look back five years, ten, twenty and it is there for you to see.

The sad truth is that Randy Lerner isn't going to put in the type of money he needs to to make it happen and he isn't going to do it, because he isn't stupid. Basically he isn't going to throw any more cash at the club than he already has, not yet anyway and not in the direction of Gerard Houllier.

He will make funds available, of that there is no doubt, but the level is going to stay at pretty much what it is now. The important thing for Lerner is that the business can afford to pay the salaries, either in terms of cash from the business or loans from him.

It's all about the numbers

Everything comes down to numbers, it always does and it always will. I like to believe that if Randy Lerner had as much money as Roman Abramovich we'd have won the league by now, but he doesn't, so we haven't.

You see, if he had more, I reckon he'd have put in more and he'd be willing to wait longer to get his percentage return and he'd have given Martin O'Neill a lot more rope to play with. Might not be true, but like I said, I like to believe it, because when you take all the PR away, Lerner has done okay and maybe, just maybe, he does feel something for our club.

Had the previous manager only managed to get sixth three seasons on the bounce after all that cash though, he would still be gone and for all we know, he could be gone because Lerner wanted him gone after giving him just what he has. Lerner might have had someone tell him that things were not progressing as they should have after four years.

Again, we just don't know but I like to believe that is what happened. Call it constructive dismissal.

But we now have a manager that is more successful than the previous manager, older too (this is where the numbers come in), but he is already getting stick and some are already questioning if he is up to the job.

The truth is, none of us know if he is yet and none of us will know until a fair chunk into next season, after he has had two transfer windows, time to develop the football and time to bring in qualities that he thinks are missing from the current squad.

And money will be made available to him and the meeting that is supposedly happening this week will create the framework for him to work within. But I've touched on something that is extremely important.

Age matters

Gerard Houllier is 63 years old and this is another reason why Lerner is not going to push the boat out any further than he already has. He knows that Houllier will not be managing Aston Villa in five years time and chances are he wont be managing Aston Villa in three.

Now, you might think that is a flippant comment and it is only guesswork, so take it away if you want and instead think about this; what are the realistic chances that Gerard Houllier will be with us in ten years?

That is the point. I wouldn't expect Randy Lerner to push the boat out with any manager, regardless of age, until he has proven himself and that in itself is going to take three season at a minimum.

The chances that Houllier is with us in five years time are slim and Randy Lerner will work his numbers and he will already know this and that is where we find ourselves today.

What can Houllier offer Aston Villa?

Gerard Houllier has no connection to our club whatsoever. A cynical man could say he came for the money and the cynical man might be right. A football man will say he came for the love of the game and that is possibly right too, but the smart man knows he didn't come for the love of our football club and the smart man also knows that Houllier is not a long term option for Aston Villa.

The thing is, Houllier can change things for us. He can bring in new ways of doing things and he can, just like Lerner and Faulkner are supposedly doing this week, create a framework for Aston Villa Football Club, to help us get on the right road footballing road.

But that isn't going to happen if he doesn't get support. It is clear as day the football has changed and some of us might not like it, but personally, I'd rather win a match 1-0 after having only one shot on target week in week out than lose 2-1 after having fifteen shots on target.

I know it isn't entertaining, but when did football become about entertainment? Football is about winning and may I draw your attention to how Arsenal started; boring 1-0 football under George Graham is how and look at them now; the footballing blueprint.

I'm not saying Houllier is the next George Graham or Arsene Wenger, or that it will come right with him, all I'm saying is he has to be given a chance and in some quarters, he isn't getting that.

Yes, we know he isn't the long-term manager we were all hoping for, but for all we know this supposed meeting in New York between owner and CEO might not be about how much money the manager is going to get to spend.

This meeting might actually be about forming a twenty year plan or figuring out how to copy the Arsene Wenger blueprint, because it seems an awful long way to go to have a face to face to come up with something that the smart man has already figured out.

Good things come to those that wait

I was watching TV the other night and someone quoted someone saying that if you have an idea that isn't insanely ridiculous to begin with, throw it away as there is no hope for it. I'm not sure how true the quote is, but it makes sense to me.

Don't expect miracles this season and hope for something in the League Cup, but you knew this when Martin O'Neill was here and when he walked out. Give this manager time though, he is more proven that the last and things could happen.

Right. Said my piece for the day, now I'm off to put next months mortgage payment on Manchester United, Shalke 04, Barcelona and Valencia for tonight. I have a good feeling and I have hope.

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