An Open Letter to Aston Villa Chairman Randy Lerner
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Dear Randy (I can call you that, can I?),
Hope that you are well and had an enjoyable Christmas and new year in Amagansett, and we at Villa are looking forward to seeing you at some point soon on this side of the Pond, perhaps for our upcoming relegation six-pointer with Newcastle United at Villa Park on Tuesday. It was a shame to have missed each other for last Tuesday’s Capital One Cup semifinal second leg, although I understand that you had other commitments.
As you may have noticed, even from New York, the team have been struggling a little of late. In fact, our last Premier League win was way back in December, while we have not won at home in the top flight since November (were you there for that match, our brilliant 1-0 win over high-flying Reading?). We’ve also lost a few close contests along the way to the likes of Tottenham Hotspur, Wigan Athletic and Chelsea, although luck was very much against us in all three of those games. I am sure you will agree.
Will Aston Villa avoid relegation?
However, I can assure you that the much-loved phrase which we so often hear in football, that “the table does not lie,” is in actual fact not true in our case. When we get our full complement of players back out on the field of play, and especially speedy centre-back Richard Dunne, then the club will only be moving in the one direction.
That is up by the way, just to be clear.
Now, I understand that at present you may be feeling just a touch jittery, having splashed out £250 million on the team these past seven years (wow, has it been that long…? Gosh, time flies when you are having fun hey!). That includes £23 million on new signings last summer.
I did actually double-check that figure by the way, in case you thought that was a typo, or perhaps I had missed out a dot between the 2 and the 3—but no, it is correct. That is how much you invested to be able to take part in a good old-fashioned English dogfight this season. Falling through the Premier League trapdoor would cost you the small price of £60 million under the terms of the recently negotiated new TV rights deal with Sky.
However, I am writing to tell you that this is absolutely no time to start panicking. Rather, you need to hold your nerve and keep patience with the man you brought to Villa Park last summer, a man who if he was the right person to bring the good times back to Villa then (when exactly were they, by the way? Were they the Ian Ormondroyd-Graham Taylor years in the late '80s and early '90s? I am never quite sure), must surely still be the man for the job now.
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He needs time though to mould this group of youngsters into players in his image, i.e. dour, hard-working, Scottish water carriers. Jettisoning him now at the first sign of trouble will only mean having to start all over again, plus it will bring absolutely no guarantees of safety either.
Instead, trust your instincts and remember why it was that you fought so hard in the first place with that nasty cook Delia Smith to get him. Oh, hang on a minute—was it not because Wigan Athletic’s Roberto Martinez initially turned you down for the job? I think I am getting confused a bit.
Do not forget either that this is a coach who brought the likes of Sheffield United’s Matt Lowton, Chesterfield’s Jordan Bowery, Middlesbrough’s Joe Bennett, Feyenoord’s Karim El Ahmadi and Crewe’s Ashley Westwood to the Midlands last summer—the latter three all for undisclosed fees in case you were wondering, Randy. This could either be a good thing or a bad thing; it just depends what those fees were…So that actually goes a long way in explaining the club’s current predicament.
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And, should we lose to Newcastle next week and slip further into the mire, that will at least still leave you with time to bring in more reinforcements before the January transfer window closes at midnight on Thursday, similar to what you did when Gerard was here back in 2011. Back then, we bought that nice chap who we hardly see around the club these days. What was his name…? Damn, it has escaped me for now. You’ll probably remember—you spent £24 million on him. Darren someone?
Anyway, that’s not important for now. He was only a goalscorer I think. As I was saying, one or two new additions—along the lines of a Habib Beye perhaps—should do the trick, although try not to fork out £8 million this time on a non-playing full-back.
OK, got to run now Randy. I have the highlights of last night’s FA Cup classic at Millwall to catch (do not spoil it by telling me the score, okay?!), but good talking to you and hopefully see you over for the Capital One Cup final against Swansea City at Wembley next month. Should be a great occasion.
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