Possible Aston Villa Dressing Room Leak is Cause for Concern


On Friday evening both the Daily Telegraph and Daily Mail ran stories that both Ashley Westwood and Tom Cleverley had been dropped by Tim Sherwood for his first fixture as Aston Villa boss. It seemed odd that the manager would want that to be public knowledge.

Villa midfielders being dropped is hardly newsworthy given their responsibility for Villa’s demise in recent seasons, in fact you could drop any of them (including Delph) and MOMS wouldn’t bat an eyelid. But the thing is no manager would want to give the opposition any tactical advantage with insight into the team he was planning on playing.

In this case, if Stoke boss Mark Hughes knew Westwood and Cleverley would be out, it was a clear indication that Sherwood would be going for a more attacking formation with only Delph and Sanchez likely to start in the middle of the park with other players likely to be selected to give Villa width (Gil, Sinclair etc).

Villa Mole?

How did the press know?

Well, sometimes you can look at the training pictures and see who’s wearing those fluorescent bibs in any 11 vs 11 set ups. It can sometimes provide a clue, if the club staff member handling the sign-off on the pics has been naive in the shots they’ve released. But for a journalist this would be no more than a hunch to build a story around.



Another possibility is that the manager actually leaked the information to get a reaction from a player, i.e. to put a rocket up the player’s backside. But why would you do it in your first week in charge? It’s not exactly a great way to make friends and influence players, before you’ve really got to know what makes them tick. it could potentially ruin a player’s will to play for you, which isn’t ideal for the relegation battle ahead. Also, in the case of Cleverley, why would you do it? Sherwood had witnessed perhaps the midfielder’s best performance in a Villa shirt in the Leicester FA Cup game.

It’s more likely that a player leaked the information. A clue to information in the press being legit is when two newspapers release the story with minutes of each other as the Telegraph and Mail did. In normally means there’s a mutual agreement.

Could it be  Westwood? Unlikely. Maybe it was Cleverley, who is perhaps increasingly frustrated at his host club? Maybe Sherwood’s brash character has already rubbed some players up the wrong way?

Whatever the reason for the leak, it’s not a great sign that it happened for the first match of the new Villa manager’s reign.


If you don’t want to get relegated, you really need to be operating as a Premier League club from top to bottom. If it’s the new manager’s first match in charge, better not mess up the teamsheet to embarrass him…oh, hang on a minute…


tim sherwood first teamsheet


Talk about double-whammy. Not only was the Villa captain of the early 1990’s Kevin Richardson listed instead of Villa’s current utility player Kieran Richardson, but also there was some particularly fishy spelling of Carles Gil’s name.

In short, it’s not good enough.

Leaks and embarrassing presentation; it’s about time the club got their house in order and started acting like a professional Premier League club on and off the pitch, because if they don’t soon, in 12 games time, such a status will be a mere memory.


Follow MOMS on Twitter – @oldmansaid


  1. Strange comments on here about an alleged team leak, laughing it off, or calling it a negative attitude, seems to be bury your head in the sand and carry on as normal, because there is very often a Carry On situation at VP anyway.

    A leaking of the line up, is a big problem, as the blog says, the opposition have a real advantage, but hey, let’s hahaha and take no notice, eh.

    I also noticed Lerner’s quick trip into town, and and even quicker retreat out, seems he doesn’t realise we actually have relegation in our soccer leagues, unlike the NFL. Carry On Randy. UTV

  2. knowing the team sheet is not important, but leaking information is. Last season Cardiff accused Palace of having their team sheet day before the game. Pulis replied he chose his teams on the Monday then drilled them all week, and had the diary entries to show it.

    Dead right. It would be really worrying if Sherwood picked his teams on the morning on the match. Injuries apart, he should know his team before the week’s training starts. Is he really flying by the seat of his pants?

    However if there is disloyalty in the camp that is really bad news. Sherwood said after the game he was low, and the press said he looked bad. If we have only taken a week to make him from a confident guy to haunted man, that is really bad. Took a month or two with Lambert. We have to back him as others in the camp may not

    Including Lerner. Still staggered he is not there for the first game, flies in the Bodymoor then off on business. How much confidence does that give Sherwood he has the owner’s full backing? Only good sign, Andy Gray thinks Everton can be pulled into the relegation mire.

    trevor fisher.

    • Since Randy moved back to the States one day visits on training days are not uncommon & although recently they have become less frequent in the early days of PL’s reign he used to fly in about once a month .
      Given the changes in his social status he probably finds that watching the matches via a video link suits his lifestyle better

  3. And now for something completely different ……….FOOTBALL! If we’d won the game who’d give a flying Fxxk about spelling mistakes and team selection leaks. We simply need to play better FOOTBALL! And on the subject of football, I wonder how long it’ll take Tim to know his strongest side. Looks like he wants to give everyone the opportunity to prove themselves. I can understand it, but I hope there’s enough time left. I’m behind the team, I’m behind Tim, but we really do need more than two bodies in midfield. We need a grafter in there chasing lost causes. I don’t care what the detractors say, Cleverly’s good for that role, and more creativity, so Bacuna. Newcastle aren’t much better than us, let’s have a go, bring it on!

    • ‘If’. Unfortunately we lost. Everyone is behind the team and Tim, the concern here is if team news gets out, it puts the team in a weaker position come match day.

  4. I don’t think this type of shit-stirring is helpful when we are trying to preserve our Premier League status. Let’s keep things positive and supportive until season’s end. Thanks.

    • If team news is getting out the day before the game, it’s a big concern to Villa’s Premier League status. That. Is. The. Point. You’d prefer to turn a blind eye?

  5. ..and Cleverly typed out the team sheet too no doubt Simon? If ever proof were needed that AVFC is currently staffed by halfwits and morons, this is it. If you don’t believe me, try listening to Jack Woodward doing his Jim Rosenthal impression. Truly moronic.

  6. The depths that we will sink to promote a negative situation is ASTONishing! This is not really a priority for me as a fan. It’s a nothing story. We are one place off being in the most negative position the league allows. The team has proved beyond a doubt that it needed more than a change of Manager to turn our form around. Villa needs a cultural shift amongst it’s fan base. Blog after blog, post after post, from so many fans/supporters all I read is moaning, whiny, whinging, weak and energy sapping articles. I support the team as much for the wit and amazing support I experienced from the fans in the 1980’s-90’s as I do for the teams form. In fact, it is probably more to do with the fans than the team, as the team is ever changing. From the amazing Dwight Yorke song to the New York New York tune, through to Big Fat Rons Claret and Blue Army chant, I loved every match I was ever able to get to. There was a great video of a guy singing a Benteke song to the Lion King theme recently, but I’ve not heard that it was picked up at any games. I just think we could cajole and lift ourselves a bit more, get some humour and lift of energy about the Internet, then the stands at Villa Park, then maybe the squad could lift themselves too! I’d love to hear a jokey song about the fact our record scoring player has had to hang around for 10 years to achieve the honour! Tease them all a bit, stop taking the whole thing sng so seriously, lighten the mood, undo the leashes around their necks, lift the weights that hang upon their shoulders, we are meant to be in this together, get behind Angry Tim’s Claret and Blue Gillet, and stop this devided cultur of us, them, him and the man, and just be united in all our roles to see us over the line this season. And perhaps even have a trip to Wembley to lift our weary souls at the end of it all!

    • ‘Tease them all a bit, stop taking the whole thing sng so seriously, lighten the mood’ – I think you’ll find that’s been a focus of my Old Man Said for three years now. It’s what gets us through this.

      But team info getting out the day before match days isn’t a good ingredient to winning games, if your opponent knows your coming! It should be a bloody priority to you! UTV

  7. its not the manager’s fault if players try to undermine him. As Simon Knight says, Cleverley has had accusations before. And since the player who is constantly rumoured to want away is the same man – he had a good season under Martinez, and Everton is the team said to want him, I would look no further. The players who leak are those who see no future at the club. Why would anyone who wants to stay at Villa leak to the press?

    The other mistakes are not important. Given the fact Sherwood was signing up back room staff, not suprising he did not get all the names right.

    The real work starts now he has his team in place. But on leaks, the manager can do nothing if players who want out work their passage talking to the press. Incidentally, a Man U friend I spoke to yesterday, who has no time for Cleverley, cites him as always talking to the press at Old Trafford and p****ing off the locals.

    Just a rumour of course.

    Trevor Fisher.

  8. It’s slightly ironic that in the paragraph about mistakes on the team sheet, Kieran Richardson’s first name is spelt wrong. interesting article nonetheless.

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