There's been a load of comment on this site recently suggesting that Martin O'Neill may be a poor operator in the the transfer market. I share some of the views that he is sometimes a bit slow and sometimes a bit careful, but by and large I disagree.
I think O'Neill has issues to confront, but I don't necessarily think they are all about transfers.
First of all, we should congratulate O'Neill on one of the greatest transfer window "smash-and-grabs" ever seen in the Premier League. The swap of Baros for Carew was daylight robbery made legal: it was like swapping the Old Kent Road for Park Lane. A moment of genius, which I think transformed Villa's fortunes at a single stroke.
Secondly, and this shows a different side of O'Neill - let's look at the signing of Stan Petrov. Not exactly welcomed by the Holte End, and thereafter positively vilified after a couple of mediocre seasons, it looked as if Taglor and the cynics were right. But actually they weren't.
O'Neill was. And if I'm not mistaken, Stiliyan Petrov was voted fans', players' and club's Player of the Season last year. Maybe O'Neill does actually know a little bit more about football than us bloggers.
Thirdly, I want to talk about the signings of James Milner and Curtis Davies. These were players who O'Neill wanted to bring to the club for months and months. He didn't give up, he knew who he wanted and - even if he did pay a bit over the odds in the end - he got his men.
Many of you have questioned whether these were really top class signings. I have no doubt that both will prove to be key players in the England set-up over the next few years and, interestingly, Fabio Capello seems to be of the same opinion. Of course most of our teenage commenters know more about football than Fabio.
And as a fourth point, MON has been criticised by the Villa idiots for not being willing to pay out on a big signing. Two seasons ago, not only the blogs but also other Premier League managers were highly critical of Martin O'Neill for spending £10.65m on a player who had never proved himself in the Premiership. That player was Ashley Young. Need I say more?
Martin O'Neill is far from a mug in the transfer market, and over the past three seasons has pulled off some coups which have made Villa what they are today - a permanent top six side.
His only issue is in bringing top players like Sidwell, Reo-Coker and Luke Young to the club and then not giving them a chance in their best positions, if at all.
I have no problem with O'Neills transfer record. I only have a problem with the chances he gives for new recruits to prove themselves.