September 1, 2011
Not exactly a flurry of transfer activity for Villa on deadline day, but in the context of what has been a largely frustrating and deflating summer, three deals finalised in a matter of hours can be deemed busy.
The question is – were they the right deals, and is Villa’s squad actually better off following the additions of Jermaine Jenas, Alan Hutton and Enda Stevens?
February 1, 2011
There is only one way to measure a club’s success in the winter transfer window. It has nothing to do with fees paid, wages off the books or net spending. It has nothing to with money at all, actually.
January 17, 2011
Darren Bent arrived at Villa Park for a medical on Monday afternoon, just a day after tabling a transfer request at Sunderland. The £18 million spent on the 27-year-old striker, and the £6 million paid for Lyon midfielder Jean Makoun, brings Aston Villa’s January spending to £24 million, in addition to the loan acquisition of Kyle Walker. Oh, to know what Martin O’Neill is thinking right about now.
January 16, 2011
Jean Makoun leapt into the arms of Sydney Govou, the two toppling to the ground. A few seconds later the two were covered in a pile of blue shirts as the stadium rocked around them.
November 22, 2010
This won’t come as news to anyone, but Aston Villa have a problem scoring goals. A big problem. And how that problem is addressed will determine whether they make a push for Europe or wind up just above the relegation places.
August 4, 2010
I grew up on a farm. My father liked to be on the land as soon as the snow melted, and he’d harvest the moment the crops were ripe. Surprisingly, not all our neighbors were like that. I specifically recall one family that waited, cautious and tentative, to begin their fieldwork. And sure enough, come winter their grain was left out in the cold. It happened year after year. Martin O’Neill is like that family.
July 21, 2010
It’s the third week of July. Aston Villa are warming up for the new season by facing the likes of Bohemians and Walsall. They have yet to make a summer signing. I feel like I’ve been here before.
January 26, 2010
Birmingham City have welcomed Craig Gardner to St Andrew's after confirming that the midfielder has completed a £3 million move from local rivals Aston Villa.
Gardner, 23, has signed a four-and-a-half year deal with Birmingham and becomes Alex McLeish's second signing of the January transfer window after the arrival of fellow midfielder Michel from Sporting Gijon.
October 21, 2009
I happen to know a guy whose nephew’s babysitter’s younger brother was hiding under the table at the Dnipropetrovsk restaurant when Emile Heskey caught the ire of England manager Fabio Capello for sending text messages during dinner. Here’s what the little guy saw.
August 4, 2009
Peace Cup, transfers and rumors of transfers. August promises to be a much more productive month than July at Villa Park.
July 17, 2009
Martin O’Neill didn’t need very long to convince Stewart Downing to commit his future to Aston Villa. But he may have his work cut out for him if he hopes to reposition the left-winger to the centre of the park.
July 7, 2009
After David O’Leary left Villa Park in 2006, Martin O’Neill rode into town like a knight on a stallion, ready to lead the beleaguered Premier League side out of the darkness and into the light. Three years on, it’s O’Neill that’s beleaguered, and the club’s frustrated supporters aren’t doing much better. With Aston Villa’s first preseason game barely a week away, the manager has done nothing to convince supporters that the side which finished in sixth place last season will finish in the top half this time around, nevermind improve on the 62 points.
June 9, 2009
Don’t sweat the loss of Gareth Barry. Don’t shed a tear and don’t get all emotional and toss around words such as betrayal and abandonment. Sure, he’s guilty of both. But so what? What, exactly, did he do this season to provoke such a furious reaction?
April 28, 2009
Martin O’Neill and his scouts were “up and down the country” this week, searching high and low for players to bolster Aston Villa’s squad. With the club in the midst of a 12-match tailspin and midfielder Gareth Barry likely to leave Villa Park in the summer, the manager has tagged squad depth as his top priority as he prepares for the reopening of the transfer window.
Here’s hoping he has eyes and ears in Spain, Belgium and Russia as well. For while his domestic search will surely turn up one or two decent prospects, O’Neill’s best options are currently plying their trades on distant shores.
April 3, 2009
On April 15, Steven Defour will turn 21. Most footballers his age would just be breaking into the first team. Not Defour.
Despite his slight frame—he’s 5-foot-8—Defour has played professional football since 2004. He broke into Rene Vandereycken’s Genk side as a 16-year-old and made his international debut for Belgium just two years later. Vandereycken is now the head coach of the national team, and Defour has claimed more than 20 caps.
He’s also the captain of Standard Liege. Last season, he took his club to the Jupiler League title and received the Golden Shoe as the most valuable footballer in the country.
January 23, 2009
Call it the O'Neill effect. Until late Thursday, Emile Heskey had planned on returning to Liverpool at the end of the season. With his contract set to expire in June, the 31-year-old Wigan Athletic striker was poised to maximize his earning potential by signing at Anfield on a free transfer. Until Martin O'Neill hijacked the transaction.
By Friday morning, Wigan and Aston Villa had agreed a fee of £3.5 million. The player arrived at Villa Park for a medical just a few hours later. It's expected he'll sign a three-and-a-half-year contract at the club.
January 13, 2009
Let's assume that Michael Owen is going nowhere in January. It might be a stretch, but let's begin with that assumption nonetheless.
Firstly, it's highly unlikely that he would play Champions' League football wherever he went, if he chose to make tracks in the winter transfer period. None of Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United are keen on him, especially when they can get him for nothing in July. And he's obviously not leaving the Premier League again.
Secondly, he clearly feels a certain degree of loyalty to Newcastle. At least he should. Either way, he's scoring goals for the club again. And if he continues in doing so, he'll leave the Magpies in a respectable position at the end of the season. Loyalty repaid.