Thursday, September 9, 2010

On Houllier

I've been mulling this over and I'm stumped. Obviously if I say, "Gerard Houllier is a proven Premier League failure," that leaves me open to some enormous broadsides about Bob Bradley. "Betcha wish you could have had Bradley now, doncha?" Well, no.

This is a very convenient season for me for Gerard to take over, what with my nose all up in La Liga's business. Houllier doesn't really bother me that much. This is Aston Villa, we don't have bajillionaire backers, we have an enthusiastic American owner, some great supporters, good young players, Stephen Ireland. You know, sixth place finishers. Who go out to Rapid Vienna in the Europa League pre-group stage qualifiers for some reason. In the time span that we had to find a new manager, and with the interest that was shown, all I can say is at least it weren't Sven that come over, although I doubt SVG would be the nightmare that fickle English supporters sometimes reckon he would be.

Neither will Houllier. No, he doesn't bother me. What bothers me is General Krulak going on message boards and writing things like, "Whatever anyone thinks of [Houllier], he deserves respect from the fans of this club. He has a fine record with multiple clubs and deserves better for the amount of effort he has put into his chosen career than to be ridiculed by AVFC."

He hasn't even had his first game there, Charles. No one is getting ridiculed yet, and if he is, AVFC is not the one doing it. AVFC, like any football club, doesn't "do" things uniformly when it comes to their supporters. I hated the idea of Bradley for example; many Villans did not. Just as many Villans would rather not host Houllier's return to the English top flight, even though I happen to be an agnostic on that subject. And no manager "deserves" anything, especially in England. This is, after all, a country that took to the phone lines in droves after a lacklustre top of the season a couple of years ago to call the 606 and demand that the most successful manager in Manchester United's history resign with immediate effect. You deserve respect the night of a Champions League final win, and not a moment after until you've weathered your umpteenth transfer market.

Football people are natural amnesiacs (perhaps underlying the importance of sport in distracting us from the inevitability of death?), else the underlying reality of this spoof would dawn on us collectively and we'd just stop going to games. But let's at least have a few games first Krulak, before you go around demanding respect and condemning ridicule.

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