Aston Villa have experienced a forgettable season this Premiership campaign and the supporters won’t look back fondly on the 2010-11 season. Villa currently find themselves sitting in 13th place, a far cry from the previous three seasons where the club have achieved top six finishes. A month ago there was a very real danger of relegation for the Villians, however some key victories look to have ended any fears of the club going down. If there is one positive to come out of this season it is the capture of England International Darren Bent. Bent is one of the most gifted natural finishers in the country and his seven goals have proved his worth. Randy Lerner splashed out 24 million to bring Bent to the club at a time when the fans were on his back. After a poor start under Gerard Houiller, large sections of the Villa faithful were questioning Lerner’s decision to appoint the Frenchman and they were calling for Houiller’s sacking.
However, Randy Lerner’s second in command, non executive Director, Charles C Krulak, has revealed some honest home truths on how the board have to take a share of the blame for this season’s failure. An article in the Guardian has picked up on Krulak’s suggestions on a supporter message forum, where Krulak lays the blame at the feet of the board. While he doesn’t go as far as blaming Martin O’Neill’s departure for the clubs failure, it’s clear he feels that O’Neill’s departure should shoulder some of the blame. I tend to agree with Krulak as any club that loses a manager of O’Neill’s pedigree is going to suffer initially. O’Neill is blessed with great man management skills, and he brought a large amount of the current squad to the club. When a new manager comes in and has different philosophies and training methods it can affect the players. This was evident in the case of Richard Dunne who had a public bust up with Gerard Houiller.
Villa’s form against their local rivals has been a major point of concern for the fans and Krulak takes this on board. “All of us are well aware of the disappointment of the fans and the heat that they take when we lose to our rivals, and lose in the manner we saw.” Villa have lost to all of their local rivals this season and to make things worse, not only did they crash out of the Carling Cup at the hands of Birmingham, but they also had to watch their arch rivals lift the trophy.
The first step to getting the supporters on side will be keeping hold of their popular winger Ashley Young. If Young is to leave in the summer there is sure to be outrage among the supporters who won’t see any positive signs in selling, arguably, their best player. I’m sure Randy Lerner will do all he can to keep hold of Aston Villa’s prized asset this summer and I think the Villa are in good hands under Lerner.
Lerner has shown he is willing to support his managers financially and he seems a very humble man who undoubtedly has the club’s best interests at heart. Lerner and Krulak are well aware that the club are in a predicament. They know that whilst they are willing to take the praise when things are going right, they need to accept the criticism when things are going wrong. This candid admission from the American owners may go some way to endearing them to the fans, but the only way for them to fully regain the admiration of the fans is for them to see progression next season.