Conforming to just about every stereotype going, perfectly-named Aston Villa director U.S General Charles Krulak has delivered a rallying cry to his players, urging them to ‘kick the crap’ out of their opponents between now and the end of the season in order to avoid relegation.
Krulak, who is a vet of the Vietnam war (he’s seen things man), delivered his sermon on the club’s Villa Talk forum:
“When my Marines put on their uniforms and the emblem of the Corps and went into battle and things got tough, they did not fight for their Commander, they fought for their brothers-in-arms, the men wearing their uniform and emblem.
“When a player puts on a kit and wears the club badge, I would expect the same. We have very good lads who know how to play with passion. We have all seen them do it and have cheered them on. They are professionals who have given 110 per cent in many games.
“What we need now is to quit pointing fingers and everyone look at the Claret and Blue of our kit and the badge they are wearing and go out and kick the crap out of the next teams we play until the end of the season!”
Probably says more about the ethos of the American military than it does about Gerard Houllier’s mounting problems, but you can’t fault the logic!
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After yesterday’s Premier League results it would take a lucky man or a fool to bet on the next Premier League manager to lose his job.
Avram Grant, Carlo Ancelotti and Roy Hodgson’s days are surely numbered after Blackburn Rovers thrashed Liverpool 3-1, West Ham was humiliated by Newcastle United 5-0 and Chelsea were embarrassed at Wolves whose 1-0 victory lifts them out of the relegation zone.
I think Roy Hodgson’s time was already up before the kick-off but this latest defeat may have the Liverpool owners turning to Kenny Dalglish as a caretaker manager until they can get a big name to take up the reins at Anfield.
Carlo Ancelotti and Chelsea’s poor run continued last night at Molineux. It’s still amazing what has happened at Stamford Bridge since the sacking of Ray Wilkins. They started the season scoring for fun only to stumble and fall at the first serious challenge against Manchester City, and since then have never looked that confident. If ever an English Premiership team could be compared to David Haye at the beginning of the season, only to fall from grace and turn into Audley Harrison midway through the season, Carlo Ancelotti’s Chelsea are that team!
Of the three managers things were looking brightest for Avram Grant this time yesterday afternoon. I assume owners David Sullivan and David Gold may have been content with a draw against Newcastle at St. James Park until it was confirmed their first and second choice strikers, Andy Carroll and Shola Ameobi, were both injured. They must have expected West Ham to grab all three points, not get absolutely hammered 5-0 with some of the poorest defending I had seen on Match of the Day since the Liverpool game, thirty minutes earlier!
Chelsea, West Ham and Liverpool to sack their managers in January, what are the odds on that?
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How badly is Houllier doing at Aston Villa? That is, what should the expectations of the Villa fans be for this season? The club are hovering just above the relegation zone half way through the season after years of UEFA Cup football and just missing out on the Champions League under O’Neill which does constitute a fairly big fall from grace. But the situation that the Frenchman inherited is far less encouraging than his predecessor.
The loss of James Milner to City was a big blow, enhanced by the failure of Stephan Ireland to make any discernible impact while Lerner has tightened the purse-strings, the reason O’Neill walked in the first place. O’Neill did well on a good budget, Houllier has been less successful on a smaller budget. Now isn’t that astonishing?
So there are mitigating factors in the poor start Houllier has made to his Aston Villa career. There are also some positive points to pick out such as the renaissance of certain players, in particular Emile Heskey. Heskey scored against Chelsea today and was dominant in the air. Never what you’d call clinical (in fact it would be generous to say wasteful) Heskey nevertheless offers Villa an outlet up front that was cleverly utilised at Stamford Bridge. Secondly, some of the youngsters coming through at Villa Park look very promising indeed. Albrighton appears the pick of the bunch but Clark, Bannon and Hogg should all have top flight careers based on what we’ve seen so far this season, the highlight being a commanding display by Bannon and Hogg against Manchester United, spoilt only at the death because the crap invincibles will not accept defeat. Houllier has proved during his time in France that he is one of the best at helping young players achieve their potential. The thought of Young and Albrighton on the wings is a prospect to frighten full-backs everywhere.
According to word in this morning’s Currant Bun, the majority of the Chelsea squad are fearing for Carlo Ancelotti‘s future at the club after watching their manager become increasingly disillusioned with life at Stamford Bridge.
Ancelotti is rumoured to be in a state of flux ever since watching his erstwhile assistant Ray Wilkins getting shunted from his post, a callous move that has left the Italian despairing over the ruthless nature of Chelsea’s internal politics, the club’s knotted web of power and the various schisms that are opening up within the squad itself.
The rag have also been able to call upon one of their fleet of well-placed ‘insiders’ to shed a little light on the subject:
“The atmosphere isn’t good at the moment. Everyone is convinced Carlo has had enough, though absolutely everyone is desperate for him to stay.
“He’s very, very popular with the players, who believe that he is an excellent manager. But there’s no doubt the squad itself is unsettled and cliques are starting to form.
“I understand resentment is starting to surround the French-speaking players, who are allegedly blaming other team-mates for the club’s indifferent Premier League form.”
Weapons-grade tabloid bum rubbish? Or, given Chelsea’s doleful slump over the past month, a heady cocktail of rumour-juice and truth-nuggets?
Has Ancelotti lost-the-plotti?
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