Monkey on VT has written this open letter to Randy Lerner and I think it neatly expresses the now majority view.
Dear Mr Lerner and members of the board,
I am sure that you are fully aware of the fans feelings at present and I hope behind the scenes you are equally angry and frustrated at the way this season has panned out to date.
Looking at the season to date as a whole, there are clearly a number of factors in finding ourselves in a genuine relegation battle. There are a number of people who take a portion of the blame, and without being privy to the conversations and relationships behind the scenes it is guesswork to attempt to accurately apportion blame. All that said and acknowledged, we are where we are and while it may be admirable to stay loyal and urge supporters to stick with the team and manager, I believe you are taking a huge gamble with the future of the club in appearing to have blind faith in Gerard Houllier.
I know you would not come out and openly criticise the manager but the situation is serious and while behind the scenes this may be being acknowledged, the damage being done on a weekly basis by the managers flippant and rose tinted view of the situation is embarrassing.
I have supported the club since the mid seventies and seen several highs and lows, part of which makes this club the great sporting institution that it is, but in my memory I am struggling to recall another manager who has so badly misjudged the fans, shown so little passion, or sought to blame others so blatantly for his mistakes or inabilities. Gerard Houllier’s failure to even appear bothered in the slightest only adds to the frustration at the situation, yet he seems oblivious the impact his interviews and comments have. He is simply a public relations disaster. Liverpool, Man City(twice) and now his comments after the Wolves match show how out of touch this man now is. To say we played well and deserved an equaliser is not a true reflection.
To put it into context, with the squad we have, full of internationals, playing at home to a Wolves team who have only won one away game previously this season, and fighting relegation themselves, playing well and deserving an equaliser is way below what realistic expectations should be. If and it’s a big if, we had played well and lost to a better team then fair enough but despite it being a derby game this is a game we should have won. I can put up with losing, it happens, but to then have the manager try to defend it and himself by claiming again we were unlucky is just too much.
We were meant to be well rested and all working together and pulling in the same direction after waving the white flag in the FA Cup( a disgrace in it’s own right) and our team bonding session, but we weren’t.
On the whole we are playing in a negative fashion, yes we pass it about well in the middle but we have lost our cutting edge, quite how is beyond me given the attacking talent we have, and our defence has gone from being one of the most consistent and organised to the shambles it now appears to be. Certainly players have to take some responsibility for this change and some need to take a look at themselves more than others, but ultimately the manager is responsible. The manager sets the standards, expectations and culture at the club and right now that seems to be falling apart in front of our eyes, with no sign of it improving.
Given how much you and the fellow board members have done for this club, and I for one am delighted to have you at the club, I urge you to think long and hard about the future of this great club. I believe you have the best interests of the club at heart, I fear however that you will be left picking up the pieces of Mr. Houllier’s legacy while he saunters off into retirement without a care in the world.
Disillusioned, angry,frustrated and most of all a worried Villa fan.
Dave Woodhall on ‘The Birmingham Press‘ has called for Houllier to go
Houllier, as with all managers, bears the ultimate responsibility. Whether Villa stay up or not (and with the players we can call on, irrespective of our seemingly never-ending injury crisis, that shouldn’t even be a matter for debate) matters seem to have gone too far for his presence as Villa manager to be anything but a divisive influence on the club. Whether he should go now or later is a separate matter for debate, but the noble idea that he can lead us into an era of success built on promising youngsters and stylish football, is a flawed one. The experiment has failed; time for a re-think.