Symbolic Transfer of the Season So Far for Villa Fans?

A move in the right direction

On the pitch, Brighton signing Joe Bennett on loan is a clear indication that Paul Lambert is moving away from using players who essentially had to ‘learn on the job’.

Bennett joins the list of other Lambert signings that have been shipped out for this season and beyond – Helenius, Sylla, Tonev, Steer, Luna and Bowery.

With the prospect of Lambert potentially playing with three centre-backs more often this season, Bennett might have been an ok option at left wing-back, as he’s not bad going forward. However, ‘not bad’ shouldn’t be a standard associated with the Villa first team, and it’s good to see Lambert has finally seen the light.

Bye-bye Bennett

At 24-year-old, Bennett’s loan isn’t a case of being loaned out to come back stronger, his days as a Villa player are effectively over (but after the return of the Bomb Squad, anything is possible).

At £2.75 million, he was actually the most expensive of Villa’s left-back acquisitions under Lambert, but when your manager drafts in three other left-backs (four if you count Kieran Richardson) within two years of signing, you know that your manager doesn’t fancy you anymore.

It didn’t help Bennett that he was having to get to grips with life in the Premiership in a team that had an inexperienced and unsettled backline, and a midfield that was as brittle as sugar glass when it came to covering the back four. Still, Bennett didn’t exactly help the overall situation.

Brighton hope

If Sami Hyypia continues Brighton’s possession-based style of recent seasons (if they had a proper striker a couple of seasons ago, they would have probably got promoted to the Premier League), Bennett might flourish on the south coast.

Still, it is always fun to see how optimistic buying managers are when describing their new signings to fans despite what the selling fans think…

Hyypia said: “He [Bennett] is a dynamic left-back who’s very comfortable on the ball. He’s very mobile and will suit the way we want to play.

“He is a good footballer, who knows how to use the ball and I hope he will be a very good player for us.”

Well, good luck with that.

Bennett made 37 appearances for Villa and we wish him the best for the future. We’ll always remember #askBennett




  1. I have to agree with c.gale, Bennet, Lawton and the rest of the “young and hungry” crowd were never going to develop or flourish in a side that was battling for its life from the off. A lot of people thought they had the potential, I hope we haven’t discouraged it

  2. and lowton too an England Hopeful. There is a real problem with kids not getting time in the prem and the idea they should go abroad, which Roy Hodgson put into the air today, is the way forward. Sadly playing in the championship does not develop top talent nor does polishing the bench. We have to keep the back tight and this means experience. But if players likeLowton, Clark, Baker, Okore, Gardner and co don’t get Prem time how can they develop?

    Grealish too worries me. The other side of the coin is too much too young. Great to see him, but at 18? The Notts County manager said he would be a good player,….. when he was 21. Somehow we as a country need to develop our talent better.,

    Only Southampton seem to have found that formula

    Trevor Fisher.

    • I’m not sure if age is that much of a barrier , as long as the youth are introduced progressively . Problem is that too many footie fans have the idea that if they are good enough to play they should be played untill they drop. and if they are not capable of doing so they aint good enough . Perhaps that’s over stating the situation , but it does seem that a lot do not understand the need for them to develop physically as at 17-18 their bodies are just not ready for the physical effort required to play in the Prem . Conversely allowing the youth to rot in the reserves from 17-21 is also not the way forward as there is a huge gulf as to what is required of players in the Prem to that in the U21’s
      As for the difference betwen Villa & Saints that may be down to expectations with Villa triumphing at U21 yet not progressing the youth beyond that . Although it does seem that there is now an effort being made to correct that as the backlog of players waiting to progress seems to have been reduced one way or another

  3. One thing we have learned about Paul Lambert is to never say never. Class is permanent – form is temporary. If young Joe can find some form (and defensive nous) to go with his undoubted ability on the ball, then who knows?

    What is clear is that Lambert is sick (like the rest of us) of watching eager but inexperienced kids chase lost causes, get pulled out of position, and concede stupidly soft goals. His transfer policy has changed and on the evidence of the mighty performance against Stoke – it seems to be working.

    The addition of Carlos Sanchez is the main symbol of where we are going. Villa are going to be hard to beat first and foremost – which makes sense to me. I can’t forsee where this will take us but I don’t think we will see any 8 – 0 tonkings this season – and hopefully this will mean we won’t be scraping around the bottom of the league.


  4. Surely 24 is young for a defender so a season on loan might not be a bad thing . What is inport for Villa is to get into winning ways , and then to review how the players loaned out have faired especially as there was a time when Bennet was an England hopefull . But like the whole of the England/ youth set up there seems to be a problem with players graduating to the senior level , and maybe he just needs more time in a team that is not struggling for succes in the Prem

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