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Dave’s Villa Blog

REDKNAPP’S RETURN

15-03-2009

Harry Redknapp, previously the subject of abuse from Villa fans in his days as Pompey boss, returns to take more stick from the Trinity Road faithful – this time in the Spurs dugout. But Dave Woodhall only has eyes on his own manager.

Sunday afternoon sees Villa, fresh from an 11 day break that included a trip to Dubai, coming up against Spurs at Villa Park.

‘Appy ‘Arry’s team haven’t had the best of seasons and are still in danger of slipping back into the relegation mire. Villa on the other hand have exceeded all but the wildest of expectations, and despite a recent slip in form are still three points ahead of Arsenal in the battle for fourth place.

The furore over the CSKA Moscow team selection is done and dusted now. It’s over, Villa lost and Martin O’Neill will stand or fall by his decision. He did what he did because the squad’s not big enough, for which he’s the only man who can take whatever blame might need to be apportioned.

Money’s been available since he arrived, yet Martin has seemed reluctant to spend it. As a result Villa aren’t able to rest players when they’re off form – Gabriel Agbonlahor being a recent case in point – and have decided to sacrifice the chance of trophy wins in an all-or-nothing attempt to qualify for the Champions League.

This latter point is probably the right logical and commercial decision for modern football, in which case please may we have a return to the good old days as soon as possible? Nothing makes me feel I’m completely out of touch with the game nowadays as listening to supporters agreeing that finishing fourth is better than winning the FA Cup.

If Villa beat Spurs the bad form of the past few weeks will be forgotten. If Martin can carry the team over the finishing line and into fourth place come the end of the season he’ll be rightly hailed as a genius for a performance that bears comparison with anything a Villa manager has achieved since the golden days of Ron Saunders.

If we don’t get into the Champions League this year it won’t be the end of the world but there will be a feeling that it’s one that got away.

But that won’t happen, because Sunday will mark Villa’s return to form amidst a renewed furore over the stick ‘Arry is bound to get from the crowd. Three points and all our recent worries will be forgotten.

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