Guest writer Iain Anderson, of Why Say Anything fame, gives his take on Aston Villa’s latest managerial appointment.
As the Equalizers both have prior engagements, Aston Villa have sent for the French equivalent of John Steed. A dashing, smooth and sophisticated operator, Remi Garde has previous Premier League experience with Arsenal. Admittedly, this experience was as a player, but it was under Arsene Wenger, so maybe he learned something.
At worst he should know how to buy cheap French players. The problem here is that Villa have already gone down that route and, as yet, it hasn’t worked. So much so that Kevin MacDonald, possibly as a parting shot to the Villa hierarchy, didn’t select one of them in the Monday night game against Tottenham.
He may have learned how to start a season terribly and still manage to finish in the top four. That would be an achievement almost worthy of canonisation if he could manage it with Villa, but he won’t. Arsene, though, has been very good at that of late. He may also have learned how to win trophies as he was part of the double winning side of 1997/98.
He didn’t amass massive amounts of experience whilst at Arsenal as he only played 43 games over three seasons having been bought as cover for Patrick Vieira and Emmanuel Petit, neither of whom had that many injuries.
One thing I will guarantee is that he never learned how to save a club from relegation. Not from Arsene Wenger anyway.
While in France, as a coach, he won the Ligue 1 title twice with Lyon back in 2003/04 and 2004/05. So, all in all, he doesn’t have much experience in winning trophies which, for Aston Villa, is a nice fit because neither do they.
So, the problem as I see, it is this. He doesn’t have any real experience of managing big clubs and winning. He doesn’t have any real experience of managing big clubs and losing. Villa are a big club and they are losing.
He doesn’t have any experience AT ALL of managing in the Premier League. This could be his biggest challenge. If he takes a couple of months to settle in, then Villa could be virtually down by then. It is no good coming to a club who are struggling if he can’t hit the ground running. There is no time to experiment with different players, tactics or moves, other than on the training pitch and that is no substitute for real match time.
Of course, Villa are not the only “sleeping giant” at the wrong end of the Premier League table. There are other big clubs struggling down there as well.
Newcastle should be fine. Sunderland have one of the Equalizers so they should be OK. Chelsea may just about avoid the drop if the players can remember how to play in the style of a whole six months ago when they won the title, but that may be asking too much. The main point here, though, is that these three clubs all have very experienced managers. Villa don’t. That could be their downfall.
I can’t help but think that maybe Aston Villa have made the wrong choice. There is another manager available. He has Premier League experience. He has kept a club in the Premier League when relegation looked a certainty. He wouldn’t have had to move house, never mind country and, finally, he would have hit the ground running.
Nigel Pearson must be looking at the situation and wondering how he has been overlooked, if indeed it was ever a job he wanted.