Newcastle, Aston Villa and that shrinking feeling

We had some lively banter here last week with Villa fans on the essentially unimportant matter of who supports the bigger club. See it here. At least Villans don’t live in a part of the West Midlands with such an alarmingly shrinking population as poor old Newcastle seems to have. But what on earth do they make of their club’s latest attempt to lure a world-class new manager? …

Having failed to secure the services of a manager who very nearly took his team down, Aston Villa are reported to be taking the process one logical step further.

The new Villa target is evidently Alex McLeish who got quite a lot right at Birmingham City – that great run in the 2009-2010 season, and winning the Carling Cup last season – but managed to get one rather important thing very wrong indeed.

I loved this quote from the acting City chairman Peter Pannu: “We spent £40million, supported him all the way, and what we get is a relegation and a snub when the owner gave him unwavering support and did not sack him, and declared his job secure and professed trust and confidence in him. We just bought him three players of his choice and I’ve been in Amsterdam securing him a fourth. Then I get an email while I’m on business and that speaks volumes.”

Come on Villa supporters. Is Alex, for all his qualities, really the man you felt would lead you to truly greater things now that Gérard Houllier has been deemed physically unfit to continue the job he’d started?

Surely ambition is not shrinking. Is it just another ploy, as some of you seemed to think last week about the approach to Roberto Martinez, to cover your tracks as you make a top-secret bid to attract Guus Hiddink, Josep Guardiola or José Mourinho to Villa Park?

Meanwhile Rob Hutchinson has been on holiday and could not resist the temptation to take the photo above to show how steeply the population of our near neighbours has declined.

Not quite the impression Jimmy Nail tried to conjure when he sang about the mighty town. Rob wondered whether the sign really needed the added phrase “Just a small town” (near Sunderland?)” but Salut! Sunderland knows where he went on holiday and would not dream of stooping to such pettiness.


29 thoughts on “Newcastle, Aston Villa and that shrinking feeling”

  1. My apologies NI Villan, and to dear Ron. I was sure that RS had passed away. My apologies to him as well. Ron Saunders was a proper football man.

    According to Sky Sports “McLeish talks were productive.” This could be bad news for the Pope and Big ‘Eck!

    Let’s hope they are both well braced Jinksy.

  2. Malcolm; the only problem with your theory holding water is that Ron Saunders is dead. Otherwise quite plausible, unless a ouiija board was involved at some point.

    Mind you I wonder if that’s how Randy Lerner is putting his shortlist together. The spirits were only joking when they suggested Martinez. Shame Randy doesn’t know anything about football.

    “Oooh Lee Clark spells the Ouiija.”

  3. Blimey, lots of hot under the collar handbags flying around here. It’s the summer, silly season, all a bit of fun folks. Don’t take stuff to heart!

    Next . . . . .

  4. And I met a man whose brother said he knew a man who knew the Oxford girl. And she knows Ron Saunders who doesn’t give a toss about moving between West Midlands clubs and she reckons that either Mick McCarthy or Dean Smith could be moving to Villa as this “Big Ron” needs Walsall and Wolves for the set. YHIHF.

    Seriously – I take it McCallister is not in the frame?

  5. Brendan; a friend whose best mate is married to the woman whose brothers cousin delivers bread to the shop where Randy Lerner calls in to buy his cobs and Warburtons Sliced White reckons that he has Terry Butcher and Mick Buxton lined up as well, with Howard Wilkinson as Chief Executive. Take my word for it, I’m ITK.
    But it does look like they approached McCleish. They are causing mayhem in this search aren’t they. Hughes resigns and doesn’t get it; Big Eck resigns and there appears to be a squabble over money. And all this after a distinctly underwhelming appointment in Houlier. Randy is finding out that owning a football club is not all beer and skittles. Hope Ellis doesn’t have the same experiences.
    Keep us posted re. the word on the Aston streets!!!

  6. Do managers really get interviewed?
    What do they get asked? The tired old questions?
    Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
    If I called your last boss what would he say your strengths and weaknesses are?
    I don’t believe there’s any interview beyond ‘we’re prepared to pay you this over the next x years and let you spend y million pounds. Can you live with that?’. Maybe a bit about the youth academy but nothing about style and formation – the interviewer just doesn’t have the acumen. Am I too cynical?

  7. nice try, Brendan! I reckon Billy Davies is on for the Brum job, but I’m not sure what McLeish was thinking in resigning – unless there had been a falling out with the owners that the press missed (unlikely, I admit – that they missed it, I mean). I doubt if he’s Villa bound, but at this quiet time of the football year, they’ll link anybody with anything. Apart from Bruce to Villa, that is

  8. Word on the Aston street (my streets anyway) is that it’s, er, Steve Bruce for the Villa job. Well, would you believe it? Peter Reid his assistant. Trust me, I’m a journalist.

  9. villa fan here i have been to sunderland a few times, and found your fans very hospitable, and enjoyed every visit i have made to your ground. On the subject of alex mcleish i really cant see him getting the villa job, he’s just not good enough, and the rumour that is floating around now is that frank rikyaard is being considered very seriously

  10. NIVillan: this is a football site that happens to support Sunderland but makes no apology for serious or , as here, light-hearted deviations from one-club issues
    Chiefy: the headline was commissioned from the Stupid Headlines Dept, which tends to work flat out in close season, so could hardly be other than stupid (while also achieving its purpose).

    When levity appears on these pages, it is to entertain or to be ignored. Lots of people purport to be above this kind of banter but find themselves drawn to it. It’s harmless, and again no one should stay up all night waiting for apologies.

    No one is forced at gunpoint to visit Salut! Sunderland and no one is asked to pay an entrance is, however, open to supporters of all clubs. We will be serious, tongue-in-cheek or downright frivolous as the mood takes us.

  11. Love Sid Cowans copy.
    What I want is for Villa to finish 17th and its bye bye 5under1and.HWTL

  12. Pete i thought you had more sense than to believe the press that have no clue as to who Villa’s next manager is!!! This is the same press that is saying Downing is going to Liverpool for 10m eeerrr we paid 12m for him with a broken foot & he’s just had a fantastic season & Liverpool paid 20m for Henderson from you lot (i bet you couldn’t believe it). Like i said above we have approached 1 manager that we know about and that was for an interview not offer him the job. That is all we know so why anyone would call it an hilarious soap opera is beyond me & why would Bent want to leave? you stop believing all you read and like me wait and see what happens.

  13. I have to say, a lot of what Jinksy has said there, I believe to be true. Villa haven’t come out and said who they are after, it is all just press speculation. For instance, we only wanted to interview Martinez, which he obviously declined. And that only came out because Whelan blabbed about it. I really can’t see what all the fuss is about.

    Also, it’s been just over a week since the last manager left. Chelsea have been looking longer than we have! So why the over reaction and readiness to shoot down Villa in the press? Made me think.

    If we *do* end up hiring McLeish, by all means have a laugh at our expense, but if we hire someone half decent, spare a moment and think about how little the papers and Sky actually know.

    Lastly, I have a great deal of respect for Sunderland. You seem to be common sense, knowledgeable fans on the whole, so fair play.

  14. Hi guys, Villa fan here but married to a big Sunderland fan so you are my 2nd team

    Jinksy has even more of a go at us on the Villa sites so don’t feel special!

    No way is Big Eck coming our way, not sure who is – your welcome to your ex blue nose of a manger – we don’t want one

    Any way good luck, hoping you finish just one place below Villa next season

  15. without wishing to descend into the child-like. I have admired and had a soft spot for sunderland, good (i thought) traditional working-class club with good fans, all my life (until steve bruce); but i cannot understandhow the simple facts are ignored. 2001 was the last time sunderland finished above us and i bet it was a further 10 years at least before that, and yet Darren Bent is a money grabber? he was PROVED to have made thge right choice and yet not once have i seen contrition(remorse) for the vitriolic and false statments made about our club.

    equally so i also suggest you know full well our club will not comment publically until anything is signed (consequently ALL the speculation is just that) and i will bet any of you my pension’s the new manager will be someone who nobody has mentioned; or one of the ‘ruled’ out.

    And yet still i wish sunderland the best for the next season, and hope you don’t continue this dangerous delusion of granduer slope that you north east neigbours have longe since followed

  16. I’m not aware Villa have interviewed or offered the job to anyone so I don’t see how they could have been rejected by anyone. Villa have said absolutely zero and that is why the papers are filling their pages with complete nonsense and the punters are lapping it up as news. There is no news. When there is some news Villa will make a statement. I can think of lots of reasons why someone would resign from Birmingham. It doesn’t mean Eck has been offered anything at Villa or anywhere else. It’s crap club with little money and going down the pan. Who wouldn’t want to resign.

  17. Nice to have you back, Jinksy. Keep on clutching at those straws. Who’s the next one on your list? Paul Ince? Dave Jones? Nigel Kennedy? David Cameron?
    We look forward to the next instalment of this hilarious soap opera. Bent must be drafting a transfer request as we speak. Fulham for Darren, I think!!

  18. What a stupid stupid headline

    Keep an eye on your on S**t hole of a club, everyone eants to leave. Until Villa have a manager, and even then, you will only be able to assume you know what will happen based on your knowledge. As you support Sunderland your knowledge is obviously flawed, did you no there was a bigger club in Newcastle?

    You worry about your little tin pot team playing second fiddle up there in Newcastle and we will worry about ours leading the way for the midlands

  19. Villa and sunderland are selling all big players nufc only one what is trying to recruit so dont care get of nufc site

  20. I’ve not read this because i can tell it’s garbage press type waffle. Lets get the facts right. Aston Villa FC have not announced they want Alex McLeish as our next Manager or anyone else. They admitted they wanted to interview Martinez but thats all interview. They only did this because Dave Whelan told the world about it.
    So in a nut shell Alex Mcleish has more chance of getting a blow job off the pope than his has of getting the Villa Job. Martinez most likely would have failed the interview. I’ve got a feeling mark Hughes will be our next manager (not my choice). The reason is he’s not allowed to talk to anyone until 1st July and that in my opinion is why it’s gone quite. The rubbish about Villa not liking the way he lefy Fulham is rubbish. He had a choice sign a new contract or leave ..he left whats wrong with that?

    Any way nuff said we are doing the right thing. Randy Learner will not appoint a 3rd rate failure like your Chairman did.

    PS…Why did Darren Bent leave Champions League bound Sunderland for relegation fodder Villa? PMSL remember that one boys hahahaha where did you finish? Hahahahaha

  21. Isnt this a Sunderland site?
    Why discuss Newcastle and Villa?

    Just wondering?

    Couldnt give a rats ass about newcastle and their set of nut jobs (I sit next to one at work) but When Villa finally appoint a manager then it will be time to discuss.

    Anyway as this is a Sunderland site – Whats happening with your club? Why does everyone want to leave as I thought you had a rich American like Villa, who also seems to let the club manage itself instead of interferring?

  22. No question in anybodys mind who is bigger club and that newcastle without any contest 3rd or 4th biggest club in country so dont be so stupid about thinking villa or sunderland is bigger if you think this havent got a clue

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