Media Muppets: What? Villa Fans Should be Thanking Paul Lambert?

It doesn’t take long to re-write history nowadays. A manager can gain one win in his final nine games and finish on 38 points, be deserving of the sack, yet a week later can still apparently be seen as the club’s savior. Nobody would have batted an eyelid if Paul Lambert had been relieved of his job as Villa boss after a terrible end to the season, but when Randy Lerner announced Aston Villa were up for sale and didn’t have a buyer in place, it kept Lambert in a job. The club’s limbo deepens, which to some journalists seems a little confusing…

James Nursey @ The Daily Mirror


Aston Villa fans should be thanking manager Paul Lambert, not calling for his head


[Selected highlights]

Yet Aston Villa in reality actually desperately NEED Lambert right now.

And the Scot ’s refusal to walk after talks last week with Randy Lerner has actually done the club and its American owner a massive favour.

Because Lerner’s public announcement last week to put the club formally up for sale and engage a bank to sell Villa has changed everything and thrown them into chaos.

So quite frankly, thank goodness Lambert did not walk – as many in his position would surely have done. Because then Villa really would be in a right mess preparing for a season with no manager and an unsettled squad.

Credit to Lambert for sticking it out as we revealed first in the Mirror on Sunday night after talks with Lerner in New York.

Lambert this week unselfishly stressed to the press that his motivation is to do the best thing for the club – not himself – and he seemed quite genuine.

Villa desperately need his experienced hand on the tiller of a proven manager with leadership skills and clearly knowing the squad is a huge advantage as opposed to a stop-gap replacement coming in.

Lambert is continuing even though in effect he is on a hiding to nothing as he must try to sell well-paid players no-one wants (Alan Hutton) to raise cash and survive on loans and frees to bolster the squad.

It is an unenviable task but Lambert stressed this week he is no quitter and chief executive Paul Faulkner is sticking it out too despite also facing an uncertain future under any new owners.

Lambert told us locally-based journalists this week he will simply do as best as he can under the “tough” circumstances.

I get abuse on Twitter for being a supposed Lambert sycophant after discussing previous ‘progress’ under him such as lowering the wage bill and age of the playing squad.

From my objective neutral position, I would assess that occasional flashes of brilliance under Lambert, such as beating Man City and Chelsea this season , have not been translated into consistent upward progress in the League table.

And for every wonderful bargain signing like Christian Benteke, there have been as many gambles that have not worked out.

But Lerner’s recent statements have shown that under the financial “parameters” imposed on Lambert, survival was the main aim and necessity. Lambert’s successive 15th place finishes since joining from Norwich can now be put into this context.

And I, for one, admire Lambert for not walking this summer– especially after also losing his two assistants recently.

And when the manager speaks of everyone now needing to pull together he surely needs dissenting fans on board too.

He deserves that and Villa will need solidarity as Lambert’s main ‘thanks’ is more than likely going to be a P45 when the new owners eventually arrive.


1. Lets makes this perfectly clear – after getting 38 points, suffering a Villa record 10 home defeats and dropping points on even last year’s woeful season, Paul Lambert should have been sacked. He deserved it. He would have been axed at any other club and has only survived at Villa because Lerner has put the club up for sale and doesn’t have a buyer.

2 This article by Nursey is boarding on propaganda that would make even Dr  Joseph Goebbels blush due to its blatancy. Throughout the article Nursey paints Lambert as some kind of Villa martyr, repeatedly stating that Villa are lucky he didn’t walk. And when we say ‘repeatedly’, we counted  nine or so occasions in the full article. It’s as if Nursey has been told to send a message to the readers and it’s akin to trying to brainwash the reader by beating them into submission.

3. Nursey twice boasts in the article that the Mirror were first to break Villa news stories. If this was true, then maybe Nursey is on a contra deal with the club?  They tell him news a couple of hours ahead of officially announcing it, while he plays willing sycophant in return. Just a thought, as the ‘I’ll scratch your back, if you scratch mine’ approach is often common place in the increasingly unethical journalism profession. Either that, or Nursey is or wants to be a big buddy of Lambert’s.

4.  ‘The Scot ’s refusal to walk after talks last week with Randy Lerner has actually done the club and its American owner a massive favour.’  Lambert doing everyone a favour when he’s lucky not to have been sacked? Why on earth would Lambert walk? He’d be breaking his contract and also what other Premier League club would have him?  At the moment, the Villa job is the best possible job there is for Lambert. And before you say it…going to Celtic wouldn’t be much of a challenge and would be seen as a step backwards with potentially a lesser salary.

5. Lambert’s players. Lambert’s tactics. Lambert’s failure to cover defensive injuries like Dunne’s and Okore’s in January transfer windows. Lambert’s toxic backroom staff that got sacked. Lambert’s bomb squad that devalued key Villa player assets. Lambert equaled McLeish’s all-time record-low Premiership points haul of 38 points. Lambert has in consecutive seasons broke the all-time record of the highest number of Villa home defeats in the club’s history. Tell me again why the club are lucky he’s still boss?

6. The only generosity that can be afforded to Lambert is his current situation gives him a chance to pay supporters back. It’s a case of ‘he got us into this mess, so now it’s time to get us out of it’. Due to what has transpired with Villa being put up for sale, it is an unexpected opportunity for Lambert to make good. He may be in what is effectively a caretaker manager position at the moment, but he could have at least a few months in the job to prove his worth to any new owners to reboot his Villa career.  This should have been the gist of  Nursey’s article, not the pouring of unrealistic praise on Lambert.

Media Muppet Score: 8/10

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  1. Sacking Lambert would create more problems they they solve . As for atmosphere why do some fans have to be so bitter, as the past can not be undone & all that matters is the future !

  2. Lambert, best manager villa have had in 15 years. Don’t care what any one says. Bomb squad not his idea it was forced apon him by learner as was selling Milner, Young, Downing, Barry and all the others that have left since MON left. Learner wanted to reduce the wage bill but keep us in the Prem to make AVFC the most attractive blank canvas possible. Lambert has succeded and should be commended. Brining Bent, Hutton and the Zog back is like 3 new signing albeit 3 I don’t like. He can’t be blamed for his backroom staff’s behaviour they are adults and I would hope he was not directly involved. Also having Okora and Kozak fit will be like another 2 signings and if we have better luck with injurys we should be abe to finish mid table like we would have this season if Okora, Kozak and Benteke were all fit for the last 10 games. And yes I know Milner and co left before he started but that shows the talent that has left since we were actually a good team. I thisnk 1 signing is all we need to push for ta 6-8th place next season and that is in the creative attacking midfield. Milner coming back would be a dream come true but not going to happen. Lescott and Barry would be great as well. Barry could easily do another 3 years never been quick so learnt to be better at his positional play to compensate. Manuel Fernandes on a free possibly? to offer more going forward.

  3. I am grateful to Paul Lambert, for without him the sun wouldn’t shine, the birds wouldn’t sing and let’s be honest, he invented oxygen, we all should be thankful!!

  4. Sorry to say but, given we are up for sale, there is no point calling for PL to go. The only new manager we will get till we are sold is going to be much, much worse. And if we finally get a new owner with no more money than Learner they may well stick with that new manager until it’s too late!

  5. “Lambert equaled McLeish’s all-time Premiership points haul of 38 points.” You missed “record-low” out of this sentence.

    “He maybe in what is effectively a caretaker manager position at the moment…” You mean “may be”, not “maybe”.

  6. Until we get a new owner Villa NEED Paul Lambert…end of. We need him to be professional and do the best job possible in very difficult circumstances. Keep the club afloat with someone who knows the current playing squad,their strengths and more important the massive deficiencies (a lot down to low budget signings that didn’t work). We all expect new owners to appoint new managers, but unti they do (and it could be a long time away) , we have to hope that Lambert can, and is allowed, it bring in the players we need to give us better results and a more entertaining style of play.

  7. It’s a very sad state of affairs that we now compete with the likes of Palace in the transfer market… hopefully there’s only one way to go from here!

  8. This article is ridiculous. If you watch Villa week in week out, you know just how we bad we are. Nursery is talking complete nonsense. There were no flashes of brilliance this season. Man City took their foot off the gas against us and we took advantage. We managed to sit back against Chelsea and catch them out…same away at Southampton. Benteke was a great signing, but Lambert wanted to sign Dempsey originally, so that goes down as somewhat lucky. The fact his assistants have been fired goes down as another embarassment for his reign at VP.

    The only reason that I can see that he hasnt gone is that Lerner does not want to have to pay him off and have the headache of finding someone else. He is just waiting for the new owner to come in and do…well exactly that.

    • I agree. I also think Villa fans have judged Lambert in the cold light of day, which is essentially his record and style of play. At the same time, most realise that he was going to stay on as Villa boss when Lerner came clean about his intentions to sell the club. These are potentially very dangerous times for the club. It was in limbo anyway, but now it’s lost until a new owner comes in. It’s all about damage limitation for the foreseeable future.

  9. I don’t agree. I think Nursey has an opinion that, while it may be different to yours, it may also represent a good number of Villa fans. As a Villa fan who saw his first game on March 1st 1965 and has followed the team through thick and thin (including a season ticket in the 3rd division) I am also entitled to my opinion.

    Given that Lerner is selling (which many have been calling for) and that no buyer is in place yet then we would be a lot worse off if we had to bring in a new manager in the meantime. I hope Lambert gets the chance to manage the club without the restrictions of the last couple of years. It wasn’t too long since he was a Norwich manager who was widely wanted by many at VP. He hasn’t become a bad manager overnight.

    Nursey’s talking some sense.


    • Everyone is entitled to their opinion. Being a journalist or watching every Villa game ever doesn’t necessarily mean an opinion is right or wrong though.

      It’s obvious and logical that Lerner would keep Lambert on during this interim period. What we’re getting at here is Villa supporters don’t have to be thankful for Lambert keeping his job. He’s not going to walk off any where in his current situation. As for managing Villa without any restrictions, he’s not going to be able to do that under Lerner – especially now. He’s best bet is to do a decent enough job to impress any incoming owner to keep his job and then take it from there. Lambert can still make the most of a bad situation. My main concern is what Lerner is actually doing to the club.

      • I agree with your sentiment and concern about Lerner but I must admit that I am thankful that Lambert has stayed for now as I think it would be much worse were he to bail during the interregnum.

        • Spike if Lambert was sacked Lerner would have removed the reason we are in this mess and hence created a million % better atmosphere going into the new season. Put it this way if we lose our 1st game at home next season with him in charge there will be carnage where if Sid Cowans was in charge the fans would accept the situation and perhaps actually get behind it. No sorry with Lambert we are just waiting to tear into him at the 1st opportunity having him around doesn’t help and there is no going back his time is over! And for the record i’m not saying Sid Cowans is the answer just a better option a far better option.

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