The Doc's Diagnosis: Let's all say the "T" word

Brian May wrote it, Freddie sung it: I Want It All

Damian's said it many times. He's banged the drum - and it's beat hasn't always thumped out a rhythm that many of us wanted to hear. A transitional season, he's said. Give the manager time, he said. The football is getting better, and it's all about transition. So he said.

Transition is a tough ask for the increasingly impatient football fan. Wasn't it Freddie Mercury who sang: {rokbox title=|Queen :: I Want It All| text=|"I want it all, and I want it now!"?|size=|640 510| album=|demo|}{/rokbox} Perhaps we're all a bit guilty of wanting everything fast.

But, despite my early misgivings about Gerard Houllier (though I was never one of those who called for his head) - you have to say that we see some signs of real leadership. The man is displaying genuine courage: those players who are not in his plans have left or are leaving, instead of rotting on the bench or in the reserves, whilst at the same time costing us a fortune in wages.

Whether or not you agree that Darren Bent is the right choice, an aggressive and bold move has been made to fix Villa's goalscoring problem with his signing. The squad is being rotated, to the extent that you imagine every player feels they have the chance of a start if they train well. Youth is being blooded - and we finally see the confirmation of what we felt all along: our youngsters are pure class.

I'm not sure Damian will be able to link to it, as I think it's even pre Ole Ole, but many moons ago I wrote a piece questioning Villa's vision and strategy. Was there any? For all Krulak spun and spun, we were basically a side set up to be faster and stronger than our opponents. It brought some success. It warmed us with a couple of Wembley appearances. But Damian was right: for the long term, we were going to be sixth or thereabouts, and we were going to stay there.

What I find interesting is that we're no longer arguing on these threads about the relative merits of 4-4-2 or 4-5-1. And actually - we all know the reason why. It's because formation carries a perch's pecker of importance if the instructions to the players on the field are wise and canny. Good footballers, who are well organised and "up for it", will win matches. There have been some eyebrow-raising selections on Houllier's part, and some players deployed in positions we might not expect. But fair game: the lads have been playing for each other and the results are in black and white.

I hold my hand up to Gerard Houllier. I applaud his courage, and I look forward to seeing his Villa side play with increasing confidence, assuredness and - who knows - style.

Perhaps it isn't a Transitional season at all. Perhaps it's a Transformational season - and that's a T-word I could get used to saying.