Lambert, Lerner and Faulkner. Most importantly, the football has to change

I started to write a post the other day, after the defeat to Sheffield United and it got to way over 6,000 words and I still had loads to write. But that is too much for one blog post, so I've had a think and instead, I'm going to summarise my points around the key points and key people at the club.

And the core of the post remains pretty much what I wrote right after the match and that is, that something needs to change.


And there is a lot from my original post that I'm not going to write, because then I fall into that trap of nearly hitting what I had originally wrote, so these are summaries and I'm also leaving a lot out, like why I wrote that General Krulak was just here for PR or why Lerner is only here for the money and actually, we had it better under Ellis.

I'm also not going into details on why Lambert was not near the top of any list I had in my head when thinking about a new manager. It's done. Just like his comments about the FA Cup and our performances this season; they're all done. So now I'll begin.

Randy Lerner

First up, it's clear he's not that interested. Sure, we might get the odd bit of news or a mention from Lambert, but if he truly was interested, we'd all know. He isn't interested but he does own the club 100% so there is little we can do.

There is talk that he is willing to sell though. There is nothing official, as in there isn't a book going around that I know of, but there are whispers that if an offer came in, he'd listen. Now, accept that he's here for the money but I'm also not so sure I'd like him to sell. We could end up with someone that we really don't want. At least with Lerner his heart seems to be in the right place.

He still needs to learn and despite all the talk when he took over, very little has actually changed. But to really change things takes a lot of money and I don't mean in playing staff, but in culture. We're no different today than we were in 2005.

Paul Faulkner

I don't know what to write here. I have been told he was very pro Alex McLeish and as good as green lit the deal. If that is true, and it is an if, then for me he's not an Aston Villa man and to be the CEO, it must be club first.

He's also not a football man nor is he close to the supporters. And I don't know if he was the one behind the Krulak PR machine (although I doubt it), but since he has been the CEO, very little has happened to make me think he is doing anything of long term value. Culturally, again, there has been no change since 2005 and the impression and I have to write again, that it's just an impression, is that he's a yes man to Lerner and that everything goes through Lerner, apart from maybe his administrative duties.

Paul Lambert

This is where it could get long again, but let me start by saying, I don't think he needs to go. In fact, I'll even write that we're not going to get relegated and if we get the likes of Defour in this window, that he could be one of the two players we are missing.

I wrote last season we were only missing two players and despite signing almost a new side in the summer, we didn't get either of the two players we needed, despite spending the equivalent of what it would have cost for those two players.

Shouting fears of relegation is easy. Some did it under Houllier and towards the end there were quite literally just a few of us still backing him to come good. Had he not had the heart problems, I'm convinced we'd still have him as our manager and we'd be doing a lot better than we are today.

But the same happened under McLeish and for a time, I actually thought it could happen. But he should never have been appointed, because that was what he was good at. It wasn't just just because of who he managed before.

So you might not agree with me that we'll not get relegated, but just until you've read the rest of this post, please accept that that isn't going to happen. Then you will also have to agree that since Lambert took over, we've seen some quite radical changes.

And he's only had 18 months. The simple truth is that after such radical changes, a manager needs more than 18 months. This manager needs the rest of this season and next. And we'll finish this season better than last, of that I'm fairly sure.

I'll be a lot more confident of it if we got the likes of Defour and the other player we need, but we've got a few weeks to see if that happens and truth is, if it is going to happen, it has to happen very soon.

But the reason why he needs more time comes down to what could happen if we change things at a managerial level now, after such radical change. We'd be going back on ourselves and also actually risking where we are. Again, you have to accept for the duration of this post that we're not going down and things are going to get better.

Lambert and the football

But there is one thing we will all agree on and that is the quality of football is poor. We are quite possibly playing the worst football I can remember as an Aston Villa fan. You can't fault the effort, but I'm getting fed up hearing that and even more fed up with some of the stuff that is said after a defeat. But that is also a culture thing and the club are not helping Lambert in this regard and they so easily could.

But after 18 months the football isn't getting better. Work rate is good, but the football is a mess. It could be helped by signing the likes of Defour and that other player, but is that going to be enough?

I'm not sure it will. I think that might just paper over the cracks because we're not even doing the basics right. Sometimes I watch and I shake my head at these so called Premier League players because it just baffles me that they seem to be lost.

Possibly the best goal we've scored all season was against Swansea when Weimann picked up the ball and played Gabby in. It wasn't a spectacular goal, it was just a simple goal that you teach kids playing U10 football.

It was just the basics and I wrote before that match that that was what we actually needed to do, play the ball into the channels that our players were going to run into. It was the best goal for me, because it wasn't complicated and football isn't a complicated game. It's often made complicated though.

But at the exact same time, that goal and how we built up to it, isn't something we see that often so I put it down as luck. I don't for a moment think the coaches are working on that in training, much like I'm convinced they don't work on corners.

And watching Derby yesterday, you could actually see what they worked on in training and you could see their philosophy of football, in so much that whenever there was a goal kick, you saw defenders coming to have the ball played to feet. We don't want to play that way, we want to hit long and counter and that isn't the right way.

It's why we're so bad at home and better away. You don't need to be a rocket scientist to figure out why. I wont go into it, as I can tell that this post is getting long again.

But Lambert has to change the coaching style. Lambert has to maybe bring in new people and he has to get more of a control on the players. There were rumours that two players were out at a strip club until 4am after the Crystal Palace game and I believe the person that started the rumour and things like this can not be allowed to happen.

They cant be allowed to happen because Christmas is the busiest period and after Christmas you have the FA Cup. If players were resting properly, maybe they'd be prepared for the FA Cup and maybe it would be something that the manager could do with and be ready for.

And here is the kicker; Lambert has to man up and start making these changes himself. If he doesn't and he thinks all is good and just keeps doing what he's doing, it isn't going to work out for him and changes will be made without him and that can only mean him losing his job.

This is an opportunity for him to take control of this project he's talking about because when you bring in so many players from lower leagues and expect them to play Premier League football and develop, so much rests on the coaching. In fact, you could go so far as to say it's the most important thing.

And on that, I'm off

Right, turned out longer than I thought again. There is a real need to strengthen with quality this window and not just experience. Hulahoop isn't the right player, but I don't think Lambert is in for him.

And as long as we get the two right players, we'll be more than safe this season although I also accept that if we don't it could get a bit squeaky bum time again, but there are three worse sides than us in the league right now and there has been for most of the season.

But the core of this post is that this is what Aston Villa is now and the only real hope we have is that we appoint a manager that can really change the footballing philosophy and to do that, it takes more than just 18 months.

We're not seeing it at the moment, but we have to hope it comes. Changing the manager after such radical change now isn't going to help. It's likely to take us further back. But we do need the two players this window and we do need to start seeing the change soon because I'm just one person and if it doesn't get better soon, there is little anyone can write or say to stop the inevitable.

And if we see the changes (in the club and the football) and that almost typical Doug Ellis signing this window, I think he'll be given the time.