What does the chase for Martinez say about Aston Villa?

There’s a large body of Villa supporters who are just up M Salut’s street: proper fans of a proper football club. In questioning what the interest in Roberto Martinez tells us about AVFC, our shady Birflatt Boy does not have them in mind, but the humourless, Houllier-than-thou self-delusionists who can express their allegiance only in terms of braying about what a big club they follow (and how much bigger they are than us) …

I wonder how Darren Bent is feeling now.

He left Sunderland for Aston Villa because according to him he was going to get the chance to play for a “top manager” with chances a plenty being created by their talented wide players Ashley Young and Stuart Downing. The Villa Park of mid June is looking a completely different place to the one that so bedazzled Bent in the cold January transfer window.

Downing and Young seem hell bent on leaving in the wake of †he health scare which has seen Gerard Houllier’s spell in Birmingham brought to a premature end.

Not all football followers of the SAFC variety will have M Houllier at the top of their Christmas card list (I quite like him – ed) but we certainly don’t wish him ill.

We just regret his unfortunate handling of the Bent transfer and subsequent moaning, from which he should arguably have abstaine.

But now he has gone. And even Brad Freidel a goalkeeper on the wrong side of 40 has decided it is time to seek pastures new for his vintage talents.

I really rather doubt whether the prospect of Roberto Martinez taking over in the Villans dug out will be raising the pulse of the Bentster.

Where, I wonder, will your supply will be coming from next season, Darren? Downing won’t be of much use to you in Liverpool which Young’s talents seem destined to grace Old Trafford very soon.

Martinez appears a man of pleasant disposition, with a track record of promoting Swansea to the Championship, but little else. I was rather surprised when Wigan took him on after Bruce’s departure.

He has sailed closer than Dave Whelan would have liked to the relegation breeze, and it is probably no great surprise that Whelan has told the media that Martinez goes into talks with Villa with his blessing.

Had Wigan lost at Stoke on the final day and been relegated, would Martinez have been topping their list of preferred managerial candidates?

Barely six months have lapsed since Whelan told Latics fans who wanted rid of Martinez; “Call for his head and you’ll get mine!”

This is hardly the prelude to a successful stint as manager of Aston Villa.

Certainly Villa’s interest in Roberto will have taken many others by surprise, as it did with me. The imaginations of the Villa faithful will hardly be running riot, but I suspect several other senior players will be running riot heading for the sign marked “EXIT.” I wonder if it’s time for a change Benty? Big club Villa? One time maybe, and that was a while ago.

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33 thoughts on “What does the chase for Martinez say about Aston Villa?”

  1. It’s tough for these Villans to face the grim reality, but face it they must.

    Holloway must be next on their list as they clearly want someone familiar with relegation or just avoiding it. The way things are, that experience will be invaluable next season.

  2. They now want Big Heck from Brum, talk about adding insult to injury. Oh how the mighty have fallen. Actually they were never mighty and had one season of any significance. So McLeish might also want more than they are prepared to pay.

  3. VillaBrian if you think Villa Park is a great stadium then you are trapped in a time warp and if you think Villa have a richer history than Sunderland you don’t know your history. The SoL was the first of many stadia to be built with any size and was entirely necassary to bring Sunderland in to the new era. You can insult our team but the facts given to you are current facts and despite what you say undeniable. No manager wants to go there because they phone up O’Neil and he puts them wise.

  4. Things is BirflattBoy that the earth approximates to a sphere. It may appear flat to you in Birflattland but that’s really an illusion. We’ve all moved on from that and have a better understanding of reality

  5. Whoops Geoff. Been at the hooch mate. What a load of old cobblers you’re spouting there friend.

    Are you looking for the Whigs on your next ballot paper mate?

    Villa were Third Division rubbish back in the 70s. That lot seem to forget that. Big club; Give it a rest mate. Your lads from Sunderland are way bigger than that lot. Bank of England club when I was a nipper! Shine a light for Gawd’s sake. Martinez has just given them the elbow. We wouldn’t have had him ahead of Sam at our gaff. Bleeding funny you are me old pal. Gave me a right old hat ‘n scarf!

  6. Oh dear Mr Bethell, I am shocked sir, in fact stunned by your impertinence, nay dismayed at the proposterousness of your wild and inaccurate assertion. Do the Corinthians spell woe for our defences my dear fellow? Such a keen student you appear.

    Spare us further ponderings Mr Bethell as you spend unwise over time standing on your head whilst we stand on our feet in Birflattland. The gravity transormed must have addled your bonce like fine mead. Do not dally here with your transgressions. Let them remain Antipodean reflections.

  7. If I may bring a tinge of realism here. Our League title win count is inflated by the Scottish players that comprised “The Team of all the Talents” around the turn of the century. So too Aston Villa. Our two clubs were the best of the Victorian era. We won the title 4 times during this period and Villa won 5 (1890-1901). We probably had the edge on them up to the time of our first relegation in 1958. After that they’ve had the edge. There’s not a lot to choose between us in “bigness” or indeed in “potential” – and certainly not as much as folk think – but I would still tilt towards Villa.

  8. Even Martinez isn’t tempted. It’s now confirmed that he’s staying with Wigan. When a club like Villa can’t tempt the Wigan manager there’s something seriously wrong.

    Even Sunderland could manage that feat Villans! 🙂

  9. No Martinez for the Villa. Who next we ponder?

    Ancellotti? They may end up with Benitez yet. It’s about time he got himself another big pay day for doing precisely nothing.

    Hughes must now surely be in the frame. A far better candidate than any of the others I’d think. Possibly not the “big job” that he really wants though.

  10. Simple truth is that the PL was set up to maintain the status quo. From that point of view it works just fine as a mechanism for the richest clubs to maintain their grip. For the rest of us, it’s a battle against an unremitting tide. The consequences of falling from the top table are easily forgotten until you look at the likes of Bradford, Swindon, Southampton and both Sheffield clubs. Who would argue that several of those weren’t “big clubs?”

    That’s the real sadness of the PL rather than bickering over who which club’s the biggest, even though Sunderland are clearly bigger than Villa could ever dream!

  11. Interesting and mixed bag of responses from the Villa fans. Those who prove denial is the first refuge of the wounded fan, and more sensible responses garnered from the intelligent and rational part of the Villa faithful.

    I’ve always liked the Villa and had a soft spot for them. I have a soft spot for M. Houllier too but that’s at the bottom of a garden in Moreton-in the Whins.

    Both Sunderland and Villa are chasing in the wake of the PL cartel’s finances. As for those who accuse us Mackems of being bitter about Bent. Of course we are! Put yourselves in our shoes in January. He saved you and his treachery largely sunk us. If there is a better cause about which to be bitter then please show us where!

    The reality is that your star players are looking to improve their profile at what they consider to be bigger clubs, so all the lording it over us that we had in January is starting to look rather empty. Apparently Martinez is staying at Wigan. You Villans can be your own judge of that decision.

    It’s all rather amusing in Birflattland! 🙂

  12. Great last paragraph VB; I suppose the bickering passes the time while our better players are cherry picked by the so-called big clubs.
    The destruction of the Trinity Road stand did very little for Villa Park though. I remember gasping at it on my first visit there in 1965.
    Good banter from a good set of fans. Love it!!!

  13. Keith Hutton Africa – Better stadium??!! An identiket bowl that could belong to one of a dozen clubs! A ground that looks like a big mechano set! A stadium without any tradition and heritage! Have you been to Villa Park?

    Well done for the double last season. You played us at our worst since the Prem started so well done for beating a shit team. I’ll ignore the fact that we have consistently done the double over you in the last 5 seasons as you seem to have done. How many times have you been relegated from the Prem?

    And at what point did Sunderland lose ’14 games in a row’? I must have missed that one.

    At the end of the day I think both teams can get used to being also-rans. The press wet themselves silly over the London/North West cartel and this transmits to the players, who see playing for any other club as unfashionable. Football used to be fun in the 70s and 80s when other clubs had a chance at the league and Europe, i.e. Forest and Villa. It depresses me to think that great traditional clubs like ours have been reduced to non-entities as a result of not being in the right place at the right time. For example, Villa finished 4th two seasons before the Chumps League extended it to 4th in the Prem. We also finished 2nd when only the champions qualified. And as a result, we are doomed to arguing about who used to be big and who has a better stadium.

  14. Martinz has opted to stay at Wigan. That is a real blow to Villa; after all, we managed to recruit a manager from the Latics.
    Roy Keane is still without a club – or what about Terry Butcher d from Inverness CT? Mick Buxton anyone?

  15. Sunderland did the double over Villa last season so on head to headwho was better? We had bigger gates and have a better stadium who is the bigger club?. Bent was sold at an outrageous price and we will get better for the money but we all accept that there are few better goalscorers than Darren and he was great for Sunderland. He got his England recognition before he left and we all know why he left and in all honesty it seems petty. Is Bent regretting his move to Villa well probably not ,but I’m pretty sure he is having doubts. Would Villa have finished above Sunderland without Bent no, would they have been relegated without Bent yes. We lost 14 games in a row after he left and still finished in the top ten did we miss Bent yes. One of the 3 amigo’s why not the other two I wish Villa well but honestly pity them because they are just like they set up and Doug Ellis caught in a time warp and apparently pay peanuts.

  16. nice to see that at least a couple of Villans have got a bit of perspective left – the rest seem intent on churning out the same stuff that followed the initial posting about Bent.
    “So basically, clubs like Sunderland and Villa will strive on looking for the magic link that propells them into a top 4 side but until that day players and managers will come and go” sounds about right. Both clubs need patience

  17. Mark; you bit, so it wasn’t lazy journalism at all but thought-provoking enough to produce a stream of comments, some of them more thoughtful than yours.
    Without opinions, football discussion would be deadly dull.
    I made it clear I disagreed with part of Birflatt Boy’s argument, but have no apology to make for allowing him space (and 2,000 reasons so far today to vindicate my willingness to do so).

  18. Just want to echo what Chris B said. Quite embarassing on Sunderland fans part, if we’re not a ‘big club’ then why do you care about Villa? Because I’ll tell you for sure, no Villa fans care about Sunderland.

    Martinez will probably not even be Villa manager and Downing will 100% stay, for sure. And I say good riddance to Friedel, he wasn’t even that good, just that the media made him out to be something he wasn’t because of his age.

  19. As a Villa fan, I feel I should respond to your article lol. To be fair, I can’t disagree with what you are saying. What it does scream at me is just yet more proof of the loyalty (or the lack of) of the modern day footballer. Ashley Young had promise when he was at Watford but Villa paid a huge sum of money for what was really a gamble. Fair play to Young, he has improved significantly to the point he’s a regular in the England squad and sought after by big clubs. Of course his head will be turned when 1 of the biggest clubs in the World want your services and although I’m sorry to see him go, I wish him the best of luck.

    Jordan Henderson is similar in the fact that a huge club want his services and the lure is enormous.

    However Bent and Downing are slightly different. When Villa approached your team for his services, we were seriously staring relegation in the face and you had hald an eye on a European place. Houllier wasn’t exactly fans favourite so always had the possibility of ending in tears (prior to his health scare) and the rumours Young would be leaving were already rife. Surely only money could have been the motive for the transfer to go through. Call me cynical but its how I see footballers these days. Obviously I’m delighted Bent signed for Villa and probably the biggest single reason we stopped up. You got good money for him and we lived to fight another day. Good deal all round even if you weren’t happy with the player.

    Downing was plucked from Middlesbrough (whilst he had a broken leg) at a time when many people were unsure of him. He was always a decent player but not quite the finished article or simply not good enough. After a rough 1st season (mainly due to his injury), he produced some wonderful football this last season that saw he rightly crowned player of the season. Now, most people would be grateful to be given an oppurtunity to silence their critics and prove they have what it takes and therefore be grateful to their employers of the chance. So how does he repay the club? By saying he’s at a crossroads in his career. Loosely translated “Are there any BIG clubs out there that what to pay me lots of money”.

    Yes a footballers career is relatively short and they do need to earn whilst the opportunity allows but PL players become millionaires in a matter of months. Do they really need to chase every pound regardless of the circumstances or will we ever see the days again, like Matt Le Tissier, where they return something back to the club.

    If they are purely chasing winners medals then sit with your current club, discuss your concerns, draw up a plan of 2 or 3 years and if the club hasn’t delivered silverware, move on then. But in my hearts of hearts, its not about silverware. Would Ashley Young go to Man U for 10k a week. I doubt it.

    So basically, clubs like Sunderland and Villa will strive on looking for the magic link that propells them into a top 4 side but until that day players and managers will come and go.

    As for Martinez. I’m quite happy that we’re going for him. He’s young and inventive and clearly can get teams playing a good style of football whilst working within a financial budget. Everton took a gamble on Moyes from Preston a few years ago and its working for them. By hiring a big name manager is not a gurantee of instant success. I like the idea of planned strucuture of development and long term plans. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will a football club

  20. You’re not wrong. We’ve become a ****ing joke. From M O’Neil turning heads and making people sit up and take note, we’re rudderless at the top and scraping the barrel apparently for a new Manager. Martinez? McClaren? FFS! Barry, Milner not Young and Downling possibly? Even as you say Big Brad has pissed off and every Villa fans no. 1 defender Carlos Cuellar is being linked with a move back to Rangers. Randy Lerner has made a BIG mistake in letting MON leave even though he frustrated the hell out of us at time.

  21. Okay I bite.
    Are you just a wee bitter cause we took a player off you in Jan.

    When was the last Time won anything? When was the last time Sunderland finished above Villa?

    Your own manager old Potato Head – His resume is great isnt it. Couldnt hold down a job for long time and then turned our illustrous neighbours Brum City into a boring yo yo club and unlike Martinez has been in charge of a relegated team.

    Should you not be more worried about your form since Jan and if you might need to replace a manager than worrying about Villa?

    I was suprised as anyone when Bent arrived but he did and he will leanr to survive without young and maybe downing. He was okay playing without them before.

  22. Its a bit fickle to say that all Villa fans deem us to be a big club these days, more in context we have a big club feeling due to our history, founder members of league, european cup winners etc etc

    So on this i agree we are not a massive club but we have certainly been a better prospect for Bent at the time, who was to know that this summer would have been the departure of houllier and possibly Young.

    But we do not fear the loss of young we have the best youth system in the premiership currently and I think our owners will start using it. marc albrighton is possibly the best crosser of the ball I have seen since Beckham so the supply will still be there.

    All is also not lost on the manager front, one thing I do know is that our owner Mr.Randy Lerner is a very bright and astute owner, many feel that the Martinez story is all a cover hype for other options.

    I personally do not care who it is within reason as no man is bigger than the club and 90% of fans will support the manager, even if it was the Wall with the Brolly!!

    But in summary lets wait for the next season and let the football do the talking…wanna take a bet on:

    a) Villa beating sunderland home and away
    b) bent scoring the goals
    c) Villa finishing above sunderland again next season.

    Really I would be more concerned as to where the goals come from for Sunderland next season than be commenting on Bents options or Villa’s manager…

  23. No biting here Pete, but Young was always on his way and Albrighton will come in, Downing will be going no where, Friedel great sevant but hardly a devastating blow. Good effort lads to make yourselves feel better though-Implosion ? we heard that in January and then we signed Darren Bent.

    Surely you should be more concerned about the R word next season not least because you’ve lost boy wonder. Worry about your own lads, you need to!

  24. I’m a Villa Fan and thought I would respond to your post

    Currently there are six teams chasing 4 CL places. Without a massive £100m+) injection of cash no-one else can gatecrash that party.

    Villa are looking for a manager who can work with our young talent and build a team capable of challenging in two or three years time – in the meantime we will have to settle for finishing 7th or 8th. Not ideal but realistic. Martinez fits that bill.

    You might not like it but Villa are a bigger team than Sunderland. We’re not bigger than MU, Arsenal, MC, Liverpool, Chelsea or even Spurs but we are currently the 7th biggest team in the Premiership. Over the last four seasons we’ve finished 6th, 6th, 6th and 9th.

    If we lose players to the top clubs (United, City, Liverpool) I’m not too worried – if we started to lose players to Everton or Newcastle or similar I would be worried.

    Friedel is 40 and wanted a long contract – he’s gone elsewhere for the money. No problem. Young was always going to leave and too be fair i can’t blame him if he joins United. Downing is not as good as some beleive and if he does go I won’t be too sad!

    We have a raft of good young players coming through – Albrighton, Clark, Bannan, etc and they will get there chance.

    I know you’re bitter about losing Bent but face it – Villa are a bigger club than Sunderland. Martinez is one of three being interviewed for the job – now if Steve Bruce was one of those three I would be worried!!

    Good luck for next season

  25. Yeah, you’d have to be really desperate to get your manager from Wigan!

    I wouldnt worry to much about Villa, if I were you. Here’s two words that should strike fear into any Sunderland fan.

    David Ngog!

  26. Don’t want to sound smug (well go on then I do) but when we were discussing Aston Massive it was pointed out that Downing and Young were likely to leave and then where would Darren Bent’s reasons for transferring be? This was before the now expected implosion of the club.It’s going to be an interesting summer.

  27. Do I detect a fishing trip from BB? Will the Brummies bite? Watch this space……………………..

  28. Without getting to much into the why’s and wherefores it is clear from your views that you know very little about Roberto Martinez, typical distant ‘other club’ fan casting an eye over and commenting on something you know, well, nothing about. Proper fans, proper clubs? Get down off your high horse before you fall and dent your ego please

  29. Not that you’re bitter at all….. Just face facts, bent is at a bigger club where he has more chance of success

  30. Also take a look at your own club pal, first Bent and now Henderson, don’t say a lot about your club. What cracks me up we were really **** last year and we still finished higher than you. Says something doesn’t it.

  31. It’s an enquiry and thats all to see if he was interested. If not we move on but he’ll still have a better manager than Potatoface to report too.

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