First up, I'm really sorry for the trouble accessing the site the last few days. I've upgraded the script the site uses to the absolute latest and it meant a few browser issues with conflicting scripts. Not everyone was effected but I was on a few occasions and when I thought I got it fixed, it turned out it was just me thinking I had it fixed.
Anyway, this happens when you host your own site and instead of testing an upgrade you're too confident and just do it. But on the other hand, it's done, so I'm happy and it would have taken a lot longer had I put it in a development space and played until I was happy.
But this isn't a post about the site, it's about October. I started writing about how important this month was going to be for the manager in April I think and we're right in the middle of it now and it's proving to be more important that I thought it would be.
In fairness, nobody would have predicted that we'd have got the top four from last season in a row but on the other hand, nobody would have predicted that after a couple of good results, Randy Lerner would be giving Lambert a new contract. The game is mad, but at the end of the day, you finish where you're supposed to finish. And the last two seasons have not been great.
The numbers were fine for survival
And I'm not going to let myself write myself out of how I think in this post because when many were calling for Lambert to be sacked last season and there were a lot of people, on here, on other sites and on social media, I absolutely understood why. But based on the numbers, I didn't see us getting relegated, so I thought he deserved another chance.
That mostly came from the place where I find myself sometimes about wanting the best and for people to get a fair chance, but it also came from his back room team getting the sack and news slowly filtering in that the former CEO was going to get the sack. It was almost as if Lambert was going to get a clean slate. So I said October, because October is usually when you get to ten games and after ten games you can see if things are heading in the right direction or not.
And I've been pleasantly surprised so far this season. We're not hitting long and when I mean we're not doing it, I don't mean that we're doing it less or it just looks better, we are clearly trying to keep hold of the ball as much as possible while still trying to attack. Sure, we're still sitting back and hoping to get through on our defensive capabilities, but I didn't expect everything to change overnight.
I do think it says a lot about the man, that he'd rather try and defend his castle than go out and take another. But that is why I think Roy Keane is a good influence and why I hope Tom Fox turns out to be a good person too. The CEO has a role to play here and it's bigger than many think.
I think he brought in too many players in the summer again but I think they strengthened the side. I'm not sure why Joe Cole was brought in now and I just have a feeling that Sanchez is going to be another one of those players that doesn't make it. Or maybe he will in January, if Delph leaves, I don't know. I hope he does and I think it's fair to say that he has what is needed to do well in the Premier League.
Massive games for Lambert
And this next part I've written for a few weeks now, but Everton and QPR are massive games for Lambert. Everton are currently 17th and QPR are as good as relegated and I don't mind writing that so early into the season, it's just the way I see it playing out.
And because we've started relatively well, we have to show in these games that we can go out and score and win. And it's easy to write how and about the importance of keeping the ball and not giving it away too easily and creating space and creating opportunities that become chances, but that's obvious. It's football for beginners. We have to go out there knowing we can win, in the right frame of mind and we have to make it happen.
I read a quote from Robin van Persie the other day, talking about the difference between Arsenal and Manchester United. He said something about how at Arsenal, they knew they could win, whereas at Manchester United, under Sir Alex I guess, they had to win. We have to beat Everton and QPR and it's not the end of the season if we don't, but how many times are we supposed to pretend to ourselves that under Lambert it might get better?
And I might change my mind. Bu t I've said October for six months now and while things have gotten better this season, they looked okay last season for a few games too and towards the end of his first season, they looked very promising. But both turned into false dawns and as Aston Villa fans we've had a few of those.
These next two games are massive and I really do hope that it comes good for Lambert and by the end of the month we've got six extra points. But in truth, I'll also take nothing if it turns out we had 30 shots on target in the two games and were just unfortunate. But there has to come a time when you stop pretending.
I want better numbers
And before I go, it really does come down to the numbers. You have to have more on the board after 90 minutes and you also need more than 1 point a game on average as a manager. That number will keep you up and for me, it's not about staying up and if the numbers show that this is all we're going to get from this manager, then that is where I draw the line.
I'd rather have blind optimism in a new manager for a season or two, knowing nothing about what is going to happen, but hoping for the best than knowing, based on the numbers, that all we've got to look forward to is mid-table mediocrity. We're bigger than that and we deserve more. And that really is the core of it.