Without mentioning one thing: Spinning out of control

For supporters and executives of other Premier League clubs, it must be hilarious to watch what is going on in the carpeted bits of Villa Park at the moment. Whilst I accept that we cannot know for sure what's happening, we can judge outcomes. And the outcome we are seeing is pure farce.

Who can blame Ashley Young for making such a quick move to Manchester United? Who could blame Stewart Downing if he left for Liverpool, a club slowly but surely restoring itself to good health, determinedly adding youth and quality to its ranks under the managerial stewardship of one of its deities? Nobody. If I were Downing, whatever I owed to the faith shown in me by Martin O'Neill, the patience of the Holte End and the form I developed under Houllier, I would seriously consider a move. No decent player should want to play for an embarrassment.


General Charles Krulak can sit on his high horse all he likes and talk about "not doing business in the media". But if his job isn't to direct and control Villa's PR - then what is it? His achievements over the past few weeks, then, are lamentable: depending on where you stand, either heartbreaking or side-splitting.

Firstly, he presides over a muddle regarding the departure of Gerard Houllier. "By mutual consent", we are told - when it seems perfectly obvious that he has been ordered out quickly to make way for Mark Hughes.

Then, with a "holier than thou" tone which now looks derisory, we learn from him and his press office that Villa will not continue talks with Hughes as the latter has resigned.

Thirdly, a new candidate is approached in Roberto Martinez, whose rejection of the Villa job in favour of staying as Wigan sees gleeful Bluenoses around every corner, Dave Whelan completely outsmarting Krulak at his own PR game and the press buzzing with a shock story at Villa's expense.

As if that wasn't enough, our PR general allows rumours to circulate that Rafa Benitez was scared off by Randy Lerner's unwillingness to spend any more money and then, presumably, agrees with Faulkner and Lerner to abandon talks with Steve McLaren because we fans were getting a trifle uppity.

The icing on the cake, of course, is that now - in a display of quite astounding hypocrisy - we are pushing for talks with a prospective manager who has just mysteriously resigned (how is that any different from the Hughes scenario?) and Krulak is quoted by sources as saying that the club can't be run by the fans (so why weren't Lerner and Faulkner still talking to McLaren?).

I don't mind the fact that Randy Lerner prefers to keep his counsel, and plays his cards close to his chest. I don't mind his assertions that he will not do his business in the media and that he and his board, together with his advisors, must run Villa, and not the fans.

But what I do object to is a man who is neither a football expert, nor a PR expert - and who is paid to manage the club's appearance to its fans and the media - turning us into a complete laughing stock. And I mind supporting a club in a shambolic tailspin. I think we've all had enough spin, don't you?

General Krulak was very welcoming and friendly to my young sons when we visited Bodymoor Heath just after the regime change. Perhaps he's missed his vocation...