Nick Rogers has sent the following post and whilst I disagree with the summary I agree with large parts of it
I recall back in August 2006, Ellis had just appointed Martin O’Neill to the helm at Aston Villa and was coming to the end of the process of selling Aston Villa to a man few had heard of, however like myself, a multitude of Villa fans Googleing Randolph Lerners name, and the results were good, an American Billionaire, with an excellent history in business through MBNA and clearly a fan of sport as the owner of the Cleveland Browns. A marriage it would seem as perfect, Martin O’Neill a respected manager in the game, with bags of experience and an excellent businessman.
And for the first 2 years this worked amazingly well, Martin O’Neill leading the way in climbing up the league table, starting to win against the bigboys, rebuilding and reshaping the squad, scoring a glut of goals, signing some excellent youngsters, while Randy rebuilding and investing in the Aston Villa infrastructure, the mosaic, completing Bodymoor Heath with world class services, The Holte Hotel, etc. A match made in heaven it would seem.
However cracks started to appear, expensive players being left to rot on the bench, a lack of rotation and tactic’s, yep that old chestnut, where was the plan B? Did Martin O’Neill seriously think replacing Carew with Heskey on the 60 minute mark, would change the game, EVERY game? The fighting with players, the slagging off of the fans after losing to Wigan, the frankly bizarre press interviews, the Europa disaster. However Randy’s faith in his manager didn’t falter, he continued to invest in the team, through transfer fees and expensive wages, even though our revenue didn’t equate to such extravagance, and our wages bill started to exceed that of the likes of Spurs, and to top it all off, most of these extremely well paid players couldn’t get on the pitch for love nor money. Something had to give, regardless of the excellent cup runs and fantastic finish in the league.
So Randy, with all his years in business acumen, tightened the reigns, to control the wages that were spiralling out of control, he enforced a sell to buy policy, now in that I don’t believe that money is not available, I believe that it was a motion to remove some of the high non-playing earners as to not increase the wage bill further by signing further player and not being able to get rid of some of the deadwood.
This I believe is when O’Neill was planning his exit, he didn’t get his own way around the Milner affair so he threw his toys, waited a while for maximum impact and left the Villa in the lurch. The marriage that had so much potential was over. Randy was right and O’Neill was a petulant child about the situation.
O’Neill deserves no respect in my opinion, and we will be better off without him, in Randy we trust!