Guardian forced to apologise to O’Neill

OK the Guardian calls the column corrections and clarifications but is in essence pieces deemed libellous and changed.

So it MON has won quite a battle against the Guardian in relation THIS ARTICLE and the full retraction is below and one of the lengthiest you will see


• The Guardian published articles about Aston Villa which contained a number of inaccuracies that might have led some readers to believe that Martin O’Neill’s management of the football club cost “phenomenal” sums of money with very little by way of success and that as a result he was justifiably dismissed without compensation.

We accept that Martin O’Neill resigned from his position. He would like to make clear that he achieved a very satisfactory conclusion to his claim for constructive dismissal. Under his stewardship Aston Villa progressed from 16th place in the Premier League to three consecutive sixth-place finishes. In his final year the team also reached the final of the Carling Cup and the semi-final of the FA Cup.

Figures cited in the articles were for Reform Acquisitions Limited, the parent company for a number of companies connected with Aston Villa. The only company with which Mr O’Neill had any direct connection as an employee was that responsible for the professional football club. We accept that the group loss was not Mr O’Neill’s responsibility. The wage bill for Aston Villa FC was £69m, not £79m.

We stated that investments in player transfers alone amounted to £138m. That figure is for expenditure on players and does not include money raised from sales of players.

We are happy to put the record straight and apologise to Martin O’Neill (Aston Villa reveal cost of O’Neill’s time in charge, 1 March, page 2, Sport; Villa must rely on academy players to balance books, 1 March, page 3, Sport; In sickness and in wealth: a guide to the latest accounts at England’s top clubs, 19 May, page 4, Sport).

Now of course this is bound to spark a debate on MON that has been done time and time again. So I will leave people to play out the same old lines and just leave this here for the record as it does relate obviously directly to Villa.

46 comments on “Guardian forced to apologise to O’Neill

  1. ha i knew you loved MON but seriously printing a slight ammendment to valid, and (clearly where your interst arose) pop’s the MON myth. good pr machine he maybe/have but lets face it who has he been linked with since he left: Northern Ireland, Notts Forest, West Ham, and Leicester. Its not a coincidence Mr Buck and Abrhamovic didnt go knocking.

    Furthermore they were forced to appologise BECAUSE of the court settlement which was 3-4 months ago, giving him a legal basis to try and wipe clear his negative PR with court battles for brand o neil.

    To put it on the site is, well, a pathetic attempt at bolstering the biggest myth in football. I’m willing to bet my pension he wont go to united as people have said; im willing to bet he wont get a team in the CL no matter what. Lets face it his wemberly performance pales in comparison to John Gregory’s (yes he has been managing in that football haven of ISREAL); I realise part of my hate of him comes from the fact he was close to being a top manager with us; but his clough inspired 80s football and stubboness lost us millions and millions of pounds.

    Habib Beye has cost us over £1.25m per league appearance (wages and transfer fee only) tell me a sane man who thinks that a nuanced retraction makes that good bit of business? Pathetic

    • Agreed.

      MON’s always had a fondness [some might call it an obsession-] for expensive lawyers to defend any perceived slight as far as his ‘reputation’ is concerned. These guys can win as many fine points of law as he’ll pay them to fight – but the real judge of his reputation will be history itself, and the verdict seems pretty conclusive – MON’s finished at the top level, had his chances and the money, and blew it.

      A return to Leicester? Just a small step above Wycombe Wanderers…

      • Not going to debate the substance of this post on your last point but he has rejected any possible return to Leciester, my guess is if we hung on today a trip to Sunderland was inevitable

  2. Whos cares? MON wants to make it known that he didn’t spend as much as Aston Villa manager as the Guardian have made out, but the reality is he still spent more than he should when you look at who he signed.

    Beye – £2M
    Davies – £10M
    NRC – £8.5M
    Shorey – £5M
    Sidwell – £5M
    Harewood – £4M

    (Going on memory, I believe those transfer fee’s are correct).

    Those 6 players should not have cost £34.5M in fee’s alone, it’s disgusting!
    When you also consider the total cost for these player’s wages was/is thought to be around 270k a week, I think MON did one hell of a job of putting our great club in a HUGE financial mess.

    The really story here is MON was/is going out of his way multiple times with legal action and his comments in tribunals and media interviews to point out that he didn’t spend as much as people think he did, but in actual fact, he spent far more than he should have done.

    Martin O’Neill mostly signed average players on big contracts; he is the reason we have an absolute waste of space still at our club called Habib Beye just twiddling his thumbs on £50k a week!

    Martin O’Neill was an absolute disgrace! The day he returns to Villa Park I will boo him over and over again! Infact the majority of Villa Park will. Chants of “MARTIN, YOU’RE A TWAT! MARTIN, MARTIN, YOU’RE A TWAT!” will come from the Holte End.

    The man nearly ruined us so can we please stop talking about a man that is now hated by the majority of Aston Villa supporters? Anyone who still calls him the “messiah” after reading the released financial accounts from his time in charge is an absolute mug!


    • I agree sign expensive players by all means but for gods sake PLAY THEM this lot did not see the light of day.
      Beye – £2M
      Davies – £10M
      NRC – £8.5M
      Shorey – £5M
      Sidwell – £5M
      Harewood – £4M

      If they don’t work SELL THEM?

    • WELL SAID!!! It’s a shame the guardian didn’t copy and paste this as their reply and named it ‘Why scottish league managers should be banned from the premier league’.

    • Utter Tosh!!

      Villa fans chanting ‘Martin, your a twat’ aint going to happen.

      Let’s bring a couple of the last ‘major’ signings Villa have made since Martin left.

      Makoun – can’t handle the Premiership, out on loan.

      Hutton – Total liabilty – week in, week out. And we got rid of Luke Young for him?!!

      N’Zogbia – Not showing any of the qualities of a £10 Million pound player.

      So it would appear that other Managers make poor purchases as well? Why don’t you bitch about those?

      • i for one think o neil did a good job and if it was not for modern day player power he would of have more sucsess it is players like reo joker who went out if his way to turn the dressing room . we would still be in the top 6 .. all the blame lies with randy who again does his famous dissapearing act as he sold our best players

      • Luke Young moved his family to london in the summer after O’Neils last season due to the fact he thought O’Neil was going to sell him as he never played him, yes luke young our best right back who this so called good manager never played. So Luke Young was leaving us no matter who the manager was as obviously he wanted to be with his family, so don’t give out all the bullsh*t that we wanted to get rid of him as due to o’neils actions we had no choice.

  3. villaman42 THE FACT that u said u would boo an call mon twat if he ever came back 2 villa park as a manger of some other team just shows what kind of a twat u really are …. BECAUSE like u say he did spent at least {30} TO {50 } million of lerner s money needlessly but J MILLNER 12m s downing 12 m a young 10m {total} cost 34m then starting with j millner sold 18m plus ireland 7m s downing 20m a young 18 m{total} 63 tells me we made 30 million on the sale of them 3 players SO to be fair mon did spent some money needlessly ive allways said that but he allso had a eye for a good player aswell an good young players at that . . . . but at the end of the day mon was a top manger i dont care what u or anybody else might say he installed a sence of belief in the team that i have nt seen in the last 15 or 20 years i allways felt under mon that we could go to ANFIELD an win or old trafford an win go to the emirates an win AN ya no what UNDER MON WE DID JUST THAT an went an won at them 3 grounds he had us in an around the top 4 few a number of seasons id never slag randy off but at the end of the day hes ambition did not match mon so all i can say 2 you villaman 42 is this? if i was beside u when u would boo mon an call him twat i would go drag u by the neck an leave u outside villa park u little inmature TWAT UTV AN THE BEST OF LUCK 2 MON IN WHAT EVER HE DOES he made many a viila fan smile when he was the manger of or great club AVFC U T V

    • Are you having a laugh? Yes he made some money from the sale of 3 players, but he also sold Gary Cahill for £5M (God knows why?), he told Bannan he has no future at Villa, he played the same 11 every week, he made us boring to watch, his training methods were quite simply shit and on top of it all he made our wage bill one of the most expensive in the league! (Despite the fact we always had the league’s smallest squad).

      Yes Martin O’Neill achieved more than any recent Aston Villa manager, but when you look at the total cost, it really isn’t that “impressive.” Martin O’Neill is a twat! He was well on his way to turning us into the next Leeds United. He’s a prick and I will boo him the day he returns to Villa Park until the minute he leaves; I hate the man for what he did to our club financially!

      • at the time we had melberg n laursen do u think he was better than them ,no neither do i

        • odly you have to have more than 2 cb’s. AND HE FORCED MELLBERG OUT by playing him RB. Selective memory

        • by the way im sick of hearing about all the money mon spent id be the first one 2 say that yes mon spent a truck loud of money on bad players but to be fair to the man look at this >>>>>>>>>> s davies 5 m a hughes 2 m l ridgewell 3m g gardener 4m L moore 3.5 m g mccann 1 m cahill 5m z knight 4m G BARRY 15 m plus MILLNER A YOUNG S DOWNING SOLD FOR a profit of 30 million ad it all up an what u get is between {70} TO {75} MILLION TAKEING in to the club from the sale of those players TRUST ME i think every villa fan would love 2 still see young millner downing cahill an the club ? but at the end of the day my point is 2 be fair 2 mon we did take in a lot of cash aswell for players PLUS we got a donkey out of the club BAROS an swapped him for carew now while carew was no messi he was much better then BAROS so all in all mon did not as as some people say CLEAN OUT THE CLUB in terms of money BUT he did spent some needleesly thats for sure but 2 those of u who say he was a bad manger yee have not got a clue we played the best football i seen in the last 20 years under mon as a matter of fact we were the talk of the PL everybody loved 2 watch us play AN THATS A FACT AVFC UTV

      • Boring to watch?? Seroiusly?

        You been down the Villa lately?

        MON made us look like Barcelona compared to Houlier or Big Feck.

      • first of all villaman 42 about the whole booing thing just make sure u or not next 2 me when an if u ever start calling names or booing MON at villa park ? . . . . i have said it before an ill say it again mon has no doubt in my mind spent at least 40 or 50 million of randys money needlessly there was a lot of mon signings that left me rageing just pointless really…… but we finished above liverpool when mon was in charge a liverpool team who them selfs had spent well over a 100 million on players around the same time mon was manger of villa ? we hung out with the top 4 for two or 3 years in a row under mon we were still a fair bit behind utd an chelsea when mon was the manger but we were just as good as arsenal or liverpool yes mon spent over 100 million dont forget we sold a lot of players aswell an made around 30 million from the sale of millner young downing who mon paid just over 30 million for an sold for over 60 million plus barry 15 million so get your facts right ? when chelsea won the PL they must of spent 150 million to 200 million now city or the new chelesa they have spent over 200 million there wage bill is 3 or 4 times higher then villa s ever was an for crying out loud what did 2 want mon 2 do we had waited 10 15 years for a man like lerner 2 come to villa with money an when he did we was all over the moon about it so mon spent the money because he was told 2 do so by randy because between the 2 of them they wanted 2 make us great again an we came very very close to becomeing a great club again thats what is sad about all this mon spent a lot of money on bad players lerner got fed up the money dry ed up an villa came crashing back down 2 earth with a bang …… but id never say that mon was a bad manger we player lovely football beating arsenal 2_0 away liverpool 3-1 away utd 1-0 away fighting for CL everyyear i for one loved every second of or time under MON an have noting but respect for the man an lerner as a matter of fact i have more respect for lerner then i have for mon BECAUSE that man has but hes heart an soul into villa ever sence hes been here so i take my hat of 2 u R LERNER at least u try ed your best the only thing about mon i would say was this the way he left villa in the end just 5 days before the season started was disrespectful to THE fans the club an to or wonderfull owner R LERNER who had been a rock to mon that left a bad taste in my mouth BUT ITS ALL OVER AN DONE NOw AN for me mon was a very very good manger who all the players loved an would die for so all the best mon an I understand lerner aswell the man is not a bank hopefully in time he will invest again we shall see but either way villa with or without the mon s of this world will go on thats for sure it was just a bit sad how the whole thing ended but hey thats life AVFC UTV

    • villaman42 talks sense, mon was no better than o’dreary was at leeds infact o’dreary did better!!!!
      apart from the money mon spent, did you ever go down to VP and watch the attacking flair we played under mon? to the wing cross it in to the wing cross it in to the wing cross it in, 90% of the time with noone in the bloody middle!

      • Villaman42 is a little weener. Lerner wrote all the cheques. MON made us great again – he wasn’t perfect – but it was great under him. We won lots, Randy just didn’t have the nerve to see it though. What did MON spend Net? £80M over 4 years? Cahill could have been as successful as J Lloyd, but it turned out differently. Remind me is he still at Bolton???? All managers make duff signings. Sidwell could have been great. Davies held our defence together with a bad shoulder. Shorey, Beye and a few others didn’t work out. So what. We HAD to pay over the odds on the wages front to attract players to the club. Lerner didn’t want to commit to sustained investment. We were great. Now we’re a joke. MON wasn’t perfect, infuriating at times, but compare that to GH and McLown…

  4. Wasteful of money or very wasteful money is the debate. The fact he resigned 5 days before the start of last season is in a word. “shameful” leaving avfc in the learch literally. Like the church cancelling on a couple the day before the big event, villa were reacting to events all last season, adding to cost and confusion. Then the church asking for componsation then suing the couple for more money. Only in football.

  5. bad signings or no bad signings, left us 5 days before season, i know i enjoyed my football down villa when he was in charge, every game whether it was man utd or wigan, i had confidence we would come away with something, every manager makes a bad decision, fergie has done, cloughy has done, i feared the worst when MON left, and my fear’s have come true, i thought the days of GT and DOL was over, them days we turned up already beaten v top 4 sides, under MON like i say confident we could get something, got us to europe first time since 98/99??? was it, first cup final in how many yrs, consistently preforming well in the league etc etc, yes bad signings but there was some cracking one’s, i wish i could turn back the clock to MON 2nd season in charge, wow worth every penny

  6. Youre damned if you do and youre damned if you dont.

  7. Litigious self-centred little git and of all our managers by far the nastiest bit of work. Shit player, shit manager, worse person.

    • but enough of Alec McLeish, what’s your thoughts on MON?

    • one of the best descriptions of O’Neill I’ve ever seen.
      add in as he proved at Celtic and Villa when it suits he quits ship like the rat he is

      • Like when his wife fell ill with cancer?

      • Rat? Are you sure?

        The real issue here is the owners who told tales of Champions League football within 5 years and failed to continue to back MON. It is my belief will would have been a lot closer to the Champions League with MON in charge.

        Instead we have the clown who took the Small Heath Alliance down (twice) all because the so called ‘Saviour’ owners are now trying to do it on the cheap.

        Football is a hard business to make profit quickly, I’m sure if you could ask Abramovic he would confirm this.

        The only thing MON did wrong in the 4 years he was with us was to stand by his principals when the owners changed their tune.

      • Bloody hell Malcolm, as said, it’s well known he left Celtic to care for his wife.
        And fair play to him for it, imo.

    • Shit player?
      That has to be harsh, given that he played in a league and European cup winning side.
      That’s just pure bias against the bloke, imo.

  8. lets not forget that oneill got us playing great football unlike this scottish twat the problem we had was that oneill wanted total control and the powers that be couldnt handle this as for wasting money on high wages on squad players someone higher than oneill said ok to these salarys so lets not blame oneill lets look at lerner and ******* faulkner or is it fuck me randy these are the ***** that have cost us big time and are dragging the once mighty villa down and i mean DOWN

    • selective memory again. after 2 seasons and plenty of money spent Mon had us playing adequately. McLeish has had 11 games or so, what a twat comparison

      • Adequate? Please define Adequate?

        Wembley appearences, top 6 finishes and wins against the Arsenal, Man United, Chelsea……… Is that how you define adequate?

        You could give McLeish 10 years and we would still play shit! Only problem is that we might be scrapping around in league 1 and the Championship by then.

  9. About time O’Neill gave us an apology for ruining our club.
    Wastes millions on rubbish, wins nothing & then skittles off like a rat down a sewer the moment someone questions him.
    Gutless moron.

  10. Given a simple choice of MON or what we have now, it’s a no-brainer.
    To think many people complained about MON’s style of football, when we are playing so poorly under McLeish is quite ironic.
    At least when MON was in charge you felt we had a chance of beating any team in the league, even if it was at their ground.
    I was sat at a bar in Tenerife with loads of Arse fans when we beat them 3-1 on their turf and the sense of pride was immense.
    You know what capped it for me?
    An Arse fan said to me “you well deserved it”.
    Now, I feel we can lose to anyone, even if it’s at VP.

    And yes he wasted a lot of money, but it was required at the time.
    Comparisons to the likes of Spurs don’t count imo, as they’d spent a fortune in previous seasons, hence we were starting from a much worse position.
    Selective memory springs to mind there also.

    Was Harewood (he’s quoted as a major example most of the time) at £4M really such a bad buy?
    When there were no strikers to be had at the time and we were desperate?
    I’m not so sure, myself.

    And although some of us like to think MON walked out, it should be remembered that the “litigious twat” actually won his case for unfair dismissal.
    So something must have went on that we don’t know about, which to me means he was basically forced out.
    You quite simply don’t win that sort of case if you walk.

    Summing up, yes, he was a twat in certain ways, but I’ll tell you something.
    I’ll bet we will come nowhere near as close to challenging in the rest of my lifetime (hopefully 30 years) as we did under him.

    I really don’t think some of us know how good we had it.

    But then it’s gone and we should be putting it behind us as fans.
    The trouble is MON is the benchmark in the way the game works now, so I think we’ll always be debating this until someone does better.

  11. sounds like malcolm is a fan of this scottsh twat weve now got incharge in the minority malcolm or can i call you malc either way you sound like an armchair twat

  12. I can’t understand some of the hatred on here for MON. No one knows what happened behind closed doors with MON and the owners of the club. One things for sure is that MON won a case for constructive / unfair dismissal or whatever. That says a lot……. that says that maybe your anger with where the club is going should be directed elsewhere.

  13. The reason for starting this thread relates the Guardian being forced to put the record straight is beacuase of spurious aqcusations made by the newspaper. I think some people on here still believe that he is the reason that we are in the mess that we are in today.

    The reason is down to how the club is being run from the top. MON was manager of the team and nothing else.

  14. Great years with MON. I will never forgive him for quitting the way he did!!!

    • But did he have a choice? After all, he has won a court case for constructive dismissal. We need to look past MON for the real reason that we are in the mess we are in.

      I have nothing against the owners, I just feel they underestimated the task of making Villa a succesful team when they bought us off Deadly Doug.

  15. For the money spent I would say that we under achieved with MON.

    The football was not glorious, though we did get some good results in isolation. We also had a lot of draws or defeats to lesser sides that we were more than capable of beating with the squad we had, though we knew the XI MON would put out, and knew it wouldn’t get a result.

    When most of the crowd can call better substitutions than the manager, there is a problem.

    The cup record was very poor until the final season, losing to lower league opposition in the first rounds at home regularly (QPR, Leicester, etc).

    Tottenham & Citeh were skirting the bottom half of the league until the final season of his reign, and in reality we couldn’t quite pip Everton to fifth.

    Those are the facts.

    Add in that he must have know he was going by February or March as was heavily speculated and decided to spitefully quit when the club would suffer most, and that will be his legacy.

    The average Joe’s on immense wages due to his complete lack of ability in the transfer market will be forgotten over time. Every Summer, we thought something special would happen, then in the last 12 hours of the window, three or four blokes would be signed on £20k per week more than they’re worth as it was all in a rush.

    There were good times, it certainly wasn’t great. He was no Atkinson, Taylor or Little. Gregory achieved more with far less.

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