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American Born Villan

Aston Villa, From Chicago to the Holte End of the World

Month

April 2014

Swansea City 4 – Aston Villa 1: On Being an Athletic Supporter

Sometimes It’s Hard to Be a Villan

Down, down, we go - where we stop, nobody knows
Down, down, we go – where we stop, nobody knows

So, last weekend, a nil-nil draw at home against the Saints left some of us feeling like we’d stopped the bleeding. Optimists among us hoped for another precious point, or even three, away to Swans. And, when Gabby showed nice touch to bring us back to level at 1-1, even the pessimists might have felt a moment of optimism. I believe there’s some long-running streak showing that, when Gabby scores, Villa wins.

Well, that streak is over. And, in the West v West derby, West Brom’s win over West Ham lifted them to 15th place, dropping us to 16th. And Sunderland—Sunderland!—picked up three points over Cardiff, moving them out of the relegation zone, and one win away from being level with us. I would have called Cardiff the only team worse than us, but a look at the form table shows Villa are absolute rock bottom with one draw in the last six games. That’s one point out of eighteen possible.

Aston Villa: In poor form
Aston Villa: In poor form

But you don’t need me to tell you how bad things are. And I’ll spare you reliving the blow-by-blow. I haven’t even been on Facebook or Twitter since the loss. As painful as it is, listening to the supporters gnash their teeth and beat their breasts is even worse. Or should I say, “supporters”?

Yes, I’m an Athletic Supporter

I’ve been thinking about that word a lot lately. As some of you will recall, I recently wrote a post in which I explained why I use the word soccer instead of football. I’d be happy if you read the whole thing, but the short version is that, as an American living in the United States, I think it makes the most sense to use the word recognized by the greatest number of my compatriots, even if I don’t get to sound as cool down at the pub.

But, because I spend so much time talking soccer with football fans, much of their vocabulary has crept into my own speech. I’m no purist: sometimes I’ll say pitch instead of field, or touchline instead of sideline, or Grant Holt instead of Tim Tebow. I can’t help it, I’m only human.

I also use the words support and supporter, which aren’t part of American sports argot. And I do so utterly unthinkingly. A few weeks ago, when we had some friends over for dinner, I uttered a sentence that included the phrase, “Aston Villa, the team I support . . . ” when my friend James interrupted.

“Wait, wait, wait—the team you support?

“Yes, in England, there’s—”

“You support them financially?”

“No, I mean—”

“I’m picturing a team of poor English children who can’t afford soccer shoes. Is it something like that?”

Eventually, I was able to clarify my position by using a word he recognized—fan—although James’ misapprehension was clearly the explanation everyone preferred. (Frankly, even I enjoyed imagining myself as a wealthy patron of the sporting arts.) And, though I didn’t have the time to expound any further on my feelings about the difference between the two words, I have lately realized why I really prefer the word supporter to fan.

To me, a fan is someone who idolizes someone or something, who basks in the glow of another’s achievement. The fan may spend a great deal of time following these achievements, may spend money on tickets and make scrapbooks and all the rest, but something about the word implies passivity, a one-way relationship between the adored and the adorer.

Supporter, however, is a noun derived from a verb. It’s muscular. It implies doing something. The supporter supports his team. You might argue that a supporter supports his team in the same way that a fan is a fan of a pop star, but I disagree. Lady Gaga will play her show and collect her revenue regardless of how well she engages the fans in the stadium. She may book fewer stadiums in the future if she doesn’t engage them, but, on the night, the mood won’t affect the outcome in a meaningful way.

It’s awfully hard for a sports team to win when the people in the seats are silent or booing. Supporters in the Holte End can help the team through cheering, chanting, and singing: there’s a reason that the fans in the stadium are known as the Twelfth Man. When they leave early, the players are bound to notice that, too. I think anyone in the sport would agree that match-day atmosphere (yes, I said match instead of game, didn’t I?) is a definite factor on players’ spirits.

This could have been the beginning of a beautiful symbiotic relationship
This could have been the beginning of a beautiful symbiotic relationship

Are those of us who watch from afar worthy of the name supporter? And does watching a game on TV help the team win? Well, yes and no. In the literal sense, obviously not. In a more material sense, well, yes, indirectly. The more supporters a team has, the more shirts they sell and the more money they make through merchandising, licensing, and so on. The more supporters they have, the more money they have, and, at least in theory, the better able they are to compete with other teams. So going to the pub, telling friends about the team, recruiting friends to follow the team, starting Lions Clubs—all those things help raise the team’s profile. And casual fans who become staunch supporters will one day go to Villa Park, where they can lend their voices on game day.

Not to get carried away, but, in this digital age, we could even make the argument that our online chatter is somehow a new kind of fan chant.

At some point I’ll need to refine this argument—this blog is where I share my first drafts—but I’d rather be a supporter than a fan any day. And why deprive my wife of the pleasure she gets from calling me an athletic supporter?

If there’s anyone who needs our support right now, it’s Aston Villa. So, as we sit three points above the relegation zone, with three games to play, I’m sending all positive thoughts to Villa Park.

Villan of the Week: David Dervit Lockwood

David Dervit LockwoodThis blog’s focus on North American Villans means that we meet a lot of newer fans who chose to follow the team as adults. I don’t think there’s a single thing wrong with that (after all, I am one of those newer fans). But it’s important to me to hear from supporters with a lifetime’s perspective, too—those who, if not born in claret and blue, were certainly swaddled in it from an early age. David Dervit Lockwood, born in Brum and living in Louisiana, has a lifetime of memories to draw on, starting with a rescue, by his sneaky grandpa, from a household of Birmingham City supporters. He’s seen the biggest ups, and the biggest downs, and has never wavered in his support of the Villa.

The Starting Eleven

Where were you born, where do you live now, and what do you do for a living?

I was born at the old St. Chad’s hospital in Edgbaston in 1957. I now live in Louisiana, north of New Orleans, where I work as a senior HVAC technician.

How and when did you choose Villa?

I chose Villa because my late grandfather took me to my first game (against Burnley, I think) when I was three. He loved Villa and wanted to raise his first grandson the right way. He was the only Villa fan in the family. The rest were all Bluenoses and he took great delight in my joining him, much to the annoyance of my parents. I continued to attend Villa games with my grandfather until he passed away. By then, I was old enough to attend games myself. My fondest memory of him was a Boxing Day derby at the Sty: all the rest of family in with the Bluenoses, me and Grandad in with the Villa fans. We won 3-1.

What was your happiest moment as a Villa supporter?

My happiest moment is a choice of two: either winning in Rotterdam or beating Manchester United 3-1 in the League Cup final. Both times we weren’t given a chance, and both times we proved them all wrong.

Champions of Europe!

What was your most painful moment?

Relegation to the old Division Three at the end of the 1969–70 season. I remember crying all the way home. We had beaten Sheffield United, but results had gone against us. I couldn’t even eat my chips on the bus home. (The 74 to Dudley then the 125/126 to Coseley.)

As the season is nearly over, which team did you most enjoy beating this year—or which team do you most wish we had beaten?

Aston Villa 1 - Chelsea 0The team I most enjoyed beating this season was Chelsea. I don’t know why, but I love seeing them lose.

Who is your favorite player on the current squad?

At the moment it’s Brad Guzan. He gave us a second chance and has shown he is Villa through and through.

Who is your favorite player of all time?

Charlie AitkenThere are so many to choose from, but I have to go with Charlie Aitken. He could tackle, organize the defense, and, in my opinion, was the best left back we ever had. He was claret and blue through and through—561 games speaks for itself! That’s loyalty you don’t get these days. Why he was never capped for Scotland more than once remains a mystery. He was an ever-present with an impeccable conduct record, excellent distribution, and a cooler head than I’ve seen on any defender since.

What are your favorite sources for Villa news?

The AVFC official site and social-media Villa sites.

Rate yourself as a fan. What are your best and worst qualities?

Best quality is that I’ve followed them all my life, through thick and thin, and never jumped on the Man United, Arsenal, etc. bandwagon. Worst quality is that I’m sometimes too critical without giving the boys a chance.

Where do you usually watch games?

I currently watch every game on NBC Sports, much to my wife’s dismay.

What are you usually drinking?

Normally drinking coffee or tea . . . its 9 a.m. here!

Extra Time

Gaze into your crystal ball . . . where do you think the team will finish this year, and what do you think next year holds?

Crystal ballI actually think we will finish 16th or 17th. For next season I don’t know, it’s hard to say. A lot depends on who is in charge and whether the purse strings are relaxed.

Villan of the Week: Blake McVey

Blake McVey with sons Wil (in the back) and Lochlan (in his first Villa shirt)
Blake McVey with sons Wil (in the back) and Lochlan (in his first Villa shirt)

An American fan who’s never been to Villa Park, spreading the gospel of the Holte End? That may sound like a contradiction in terms, but, as I’ve learned this season, it’s certainly not an anomaly. In fact, the more American Villans I meet, the more amazed I am that a team from Birmingham can sink its hooks so deeply into us, even though we didn’t grow up watching them play. (And this guy isn’t even a Browns fan, either!) At any rate, let me introduce you to Blake McVey, who grew up as a “soccer-starved fan getting by on scraps,” and is now a claret-and-blue supporter who gorges himself on all the soccer the internet has to offer. (Funny, he doesn’t look morbidly obese . . . . )

The Starting Eleven

Where were you born, where do you live now, and what do you do for a living?

I was born in Garden City, Kansas. I mostly grew up in Edmond, Oklahoma, where I gained a love for soccer and played as a fullback for nine seasons. Now I live in Memphis, Tennessee, where I’ve been for the past 19 years. I am a therapist working with teenagers in a residential facility.

How and when did you choose Villa?

Growing up in the 1980s, I didn’t have many options for following the sport: the Tulsa Roughnecks played in the NASL, but I was never able to go to or even see a game. I would sometimes watch Soccer Made in Germany or USMNT qualifiers. I did pay rapt attention to the World Cup in 1994. There was also the MISL but, hopefully, indoor soccer will never be spoken of again. Basically I was a soccer-starved fan getting by on scraps and memories. Through school and work I’d occasionally be fortunate enough to meet a foreign national with whom I could discuss the game with a high level of ignorance on my part. I eventually resigned myself to not being a fan at all—until the internet came along and changed everything. That luscious WWW has allowed me to become morbidly obese with all the football options out there!

Celebrity supporters: Tom Hanks, Bob Stephenson, British Consul Priya Guha, Colin Hanks, and Geezer Butler with Matt Lowton (July 2012)
Celebrity supporters: Tom Hanks, Bob Stephenson, British Consul Priya Guha, Colin Hanks, and Geezer Butler with Matt Lowton (July 2012)

But you asked how I got started with Villa. I’m a sports fan, and I played American football (both pro and college) and other sports to various degrees. (Mostly basketball, NEVER baseball. How anyone can watch baseball and then call soccer boring thoroughly puzzles me.) After the 2006 World Cup, I came across a Bill Simmons article in which he detailed his plan to choose an EPL team, follow them for a year, and evaluate whether or not he wanted to stick with it. He provided his reasoning for choosing Spurs and, along with it, had at least a brief blurb on every team in the Prem that year (included were Bolton, Charlton, and others that have not been in the top flight since).

Like him, I didn’t want to choose the obvious teams, such as Man United. I liked his reasoning: ” . . . can you imagine knowing a foreigner in their mid-30s who was looking for a baseball team and announced, ‘I’m going with the Yankees!’ Wouldn’t you hate that person? I don’t want to be that guy.” I also can’t even specifically say why I chose Villa—Lerner was just about to buy the team, so it wasn’t the American-owner thing, and I don’t even know if Martin O’Neill had been hired yet. I know I love the colors, I love the working-class attitude and the celebrity fans aren’t too shabby (Sabbath members, the ever-touted Tom Hanks). I also like that they are a sort of sleeping giant: they’ve had the ultimate success in my lifetime (’82) and they remain one of seven ever-presents in the Prem, but they are NOT supported by bandwagon jumpers. Whatever other reasons I cannot recall I do know that I am with them forever—I am a loyal fan and Villa will always be my team.

What was your happiest moment as a Villa supporter?

Blake and middle son Lochlan
Blake and middle son Lochlan

This is difficult to say—there have been many good times. I always love it when we make Liverpool look bad, so last term when Benteke destroyed them I was thrilled. I loved Ashley Young giving us the last-second win against Everton a few years ago right after they thought they had managed a draw just seconds before. I also loved the first game this season against Arsenal. I was in a pub with my middle son (also a Villan!) and as we cheered the mighty Villa on to victory the one Spurs fan and a pack of Liverpool fans cheered us—the Spurs fan for obvious reasons, but the Liverpool fans I think felt that Arsenal was in their way for Champions League football. Both team’s supporters supported us (the old “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” argument) and after the win was secured the Liverpool fans sent two whiskey shots over to our table. We laughed that my middle son (only 14 at the time) was physically of a size that they thought he could legally drink and I gracefully accepted both shots. (I think the alcohol in the whiskey killed any Scouse germs that may have been on the shot glasses).

What was your most painful moment?

That one is also difficult. There have been too many recently. I hated it when Milner left a few years ago. Strangely I hold almost no grudge against him for leaving, probably because of the way he handled the whole process. He just seemed a class act throughout. Also, the way he played up until the transfer and even scored a goal, and a mighty good one at that, just keeps a warm spot in my heart for him.

Also, every time an ex-Villan scores against us I hate it. Especially Downing (a triple traitor—not only did he leave us after we saved him from injury oblivion, but he also stayed for too short of time, and, this is the kicker, he went to LIVERPOOL! I HATE that guy!) and Ashley Young. Young has no class whatsoever. The only thing that makes him better than Suarez in my book is that Suarez plays for Scouse scum. Also, at least Suarez is a very good player and Young has been exposed at Man United. I have toyed with the idea of sending him a tube of Neosporin to help treat all those splinters that must be all over his ass.

Which team would you most like to see Villa beat, or beat again, or have beaten this year?

I always want us to beat Liverpool. I don’t quite know why I despise them so much, but I do. Birmingham City have never been too good since I became a Villan so it’s been hard to properly hate them, so Liverpool functions the same as City for me.

Who is your favorite player on the current squad?

Fabian Delph

Man, that is actually hard. I love my fellow Yankee Guzan, and I like Westwood, Vlaar, Benteke, and Bacuna, and I do have hope that these young pups will make good and show the doubters how wrong they are. Of course it’s hard not to like Gabby, Weimann, Albrighton, etc. I guess that really leaves Delph. I think he’s my current favorite, because he’s just classy, on and off the pitch, he has a lot of skill, heart and he has actually scored some awesome goals this term.

Who is your favorite player of all time?

Bosko Balaban - just kidding!
Bosko Balaban – just kidding!

Wow—again, tough. I wasn’t around for McGrath, der Hammer (though I have to give him props for recently coming out), or Balaban (just kidding) or any of the other Villa greats such as Withe, etc., so my pool of players from which to choose is more limited than many fans. I looooved Mellberg and Carew and I formerly loved the traitors: Barry and Young, and I even liked Downing OK. I know football is a business and I’ve had favorites leave from other of my teams but there was just something especially galling about the Barry/Young transfers and especially the Downing thing, but I was much less attached to that guy.

What are your favorite sources for Villa news?

I often start simple, with Aston Villa News. That often brings up the basics. I also frequent My Old Man Said, 7500 to Holte, the ESPN blog for Villa, and the Birmingham papers, the Express & Star and the Birmingham Mail. I keep track of several fan pages on Facebook as well—too many to list. I also used to frequent the boards at Avillafan as soonerfan61, but a change in jobs left it difficult to log in with any regularity, so I haven’t been on there in a very long time. That is far and away the best blog that I’ve seen, though.

Rate yourself as a fan. What are your best and worst qualities?

I am a rabid fan—I spend almost every day catching up on something Villa-related and I hate those slow news days. I have not yet been able to visit Villa Park but one day that will be remedied. My best quality is my loyalty and objectivity (yes, those two can co-exist) and my worst is that I can’t spend enough time spreading the gospel of the Holte End.

Where do you usually watch games?

Hmm . . . there’s not really a “usually.” Sometimes I get to go to the pub (there are almost NO Villans in Memphis!), sometimes I can watch from home, sometimes I pick up a feed on a laptop or a desktop—it really depends. I scour footytube for highlights whether I’ve seen the match or not, and unfortunately at times that’s all I get.

Guinness . . . is good for you!What are you usually drinking?

It depends on where I am. If I’m at the pub I get some sort of dark brew (Guinness is the likely culprit). If I’m at home I just drink dark, sludgy black coffee and if I’m elsewhere I may not be drinking anything.

Extra Time

You’re a former football player. What is the best way to answer an ignorant person who says “soccer is for sissies”?

I don’t know—I haven’t met Jim Rome in person. I’m kidding, but I just really don’t engage those troglodytes anymore. If the game doesn’t suit them that’s fine—but I’ll sure remind them of that ignorant opinion if/when they want to talk to me about baseball, NASCAR, professional wrestling, etc. I think our sport is head and shoulders above any of those offerings and if someone wants to dismiss my love of the game by distilling it down to an ignorant, short-sighted, brainless opinion then they have the right to do so. I just don’t bother myself by arguing with the small-minded.

Red or Dead, by David Peace: Not for Everybody, but Great Art Seldom Is

Red or Dead, by David PeaceFinally, sports fiction has its own Ulysses, its own Moby-Dick—thankfully, the genre still awaits its Finnegan’s Wake. David Peace, who gave us the remarkable The Damned Utd, has again drawn on his obsession with soccer managers to create a stupendous, jaw-dropping novel about Bill Shankly, the obsessive soccer manager who ushered in the modern era at Liverpool. I’m not a Liverpool fan, but I am a fan of great literature and Red or Dead qualifies. It takes awhile to work its magic, but . . . well, read my Booklist review and you’ll see what I’m talking about. It’s not for everybody, but great art seldom is.

A 700-page, experimental novel about the coach of an English soccer team? A limited audience pretty much guarantees this won’t be a best-seller, which is a bloody shame—it’s a magnificent literary achievement.

(Click the link above to read the whole thing.)

Crystal Palace 1 – Aston Villa 0: The Lord Mayor Says Relax

Yes, it was a bleak performance on the field. Yes, we have fallen to 14th place in the table, a mere 4 points above the drop zone. Yes, our form has become utterly unpredictable: where once we played better away, now it seems as though it doesn’t matter whether the opponent is on their home ground or ours, whether they’re near us in the standings or not.

Scratch that: having lost four games in a row, I guess you could say we have become completely predictable. (Surprising that’s only bad enough for 15th in the form table. Arsenal is 16th!)

I would probably have a few choice thoughts to offer about the way the team played and the manner in which we lost, had my attention not been diverted by a very special guest who joined the Chicago Villans at the Globe. The Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Michael Leddy, was in town helping to promote the sister-city relationship of two Second Cities, Chicago and Birmingham, and fancied watching a game at the pub.

From left: Cat, Kevin, Peter, the Lord Mayor Mike Leddy, me, and Tom (my dad). Mike is giving some stick to the Stoke supporters.
From left: Cat, Kevin, Peter, the Lord Mayor Mike Leddy, me, and Tom (my dad). Mike is giving some stick to the Stoke supporters.

Yes, you read that right: THE LORD MAYOR OF BIRMINGHAM. No entourage, no security, just an engaging young minder named Erik (who, incongruously, had a slight Swedish accent and was reluctantly outed by the mayor as a Chelsea supporter). The Lord Mayor seemed pleasantly baffled to find himself surrounded by Americans wearing Villa gear: Cat, Kevin, me, my dad (visiting from Montana), Tyler from Nebraska (not our usual Tyler, who is from Cleveland), and Greg. Although, partway along, we did pick up a Brummie, Peter (“You’re our mayor! Pleased to meet you, sir.” “No, sir, call me Mike.”)

The Lord Mayor Mike Leddy in the finery and vestments of his office
The Lord Mayor Mike Leddy in the finery and vestments of his office

It was a pleasure and a privilege to be able to chat so informally with such an august guest, and, as you might expect, we talked sports, not politics. (After all, we’re not the mayor’s constituents.) Mike told me he’s been a supporter since 1967, and the years have given him great perspective.

He is a supporter of Lambert, and believes he’s a better manager than even Martin O’Neill, and feels that Lerner has done the sensible thing by reining in the budget to steady the team’s finances. (Although he noted that Premier League teams rarely make money, regardless.)

And, as for those hysterics who feel as though we’re in the end times for Villa, consider this: the Lord Mayor has seen much worse. He’s seen dark, dark days, and years in the second division, only for the time to rise again. And, when it came to Saturday’s result, he said this: “It would have been nice to win, but we’re not going down.”

So there you have it, from the Lord Mayor’s lips!

Villan of the Week: Mike Smoak

Mike & Leigh Smoak (Chicago 2012)Another native Clevelander who supports Aston Villa because of the Randy Lerner connection? Pure coincidence that this is the second such Villan of the Week in a row. Or … is it? (Cue creepy theme music.) At any rate, Mike Smoak is proof positive that American fans are just as capable of having their Saturdays ruined by a bad result as fans who were born into it. As the new chairman of the North Carolina Lions Club, he’s a great example of how many American fans are willing to spread the word—and, speaking of “born into it,” he and his wife are, quite literally, helping to birth a new generation of fans. After you read about his plans to provide a gathering place for Charlotte supporters, I think you’ll agree he’s a leader with vision. (In fact, is it too early to suggest Mike’s house as the destination for the next North American meet-up?)

The Starting Eleven

Where were you born, where do you live now, and what do you do for a living?

I was born in Cleveland, Ohio, but moved to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, during fourth grade. I have lived in Charlotte, North Carolina, for about 10 years. I am a regional sales manager for a sports doping/clinical drug testing laboratory.

How and when did you choose Villa?

Cleveland BrownsIt was right around the 2006-07 season. I had played soccer and been a fan of the game for years, and, with it becoming more available to watch in the U.S., I knew it was time to choose a club. Being originally from Cleveland, and a huge Browns fan, Lerner’s recent purchase made it a very easy choice. Sadly, Villa fits right in there with the Browns/Indians/Cavs.

What was your happiest moment as a Villa supporter?

Two summers ago when my wife and I flew up to Chicago to watch Villa play. It was the first time I had watched them in person and it was awesome. Meeting great guys like Simon Leach, Ben Mitchell, Chris Fetters, etc., just added to an already fantastic time.

What was your most painful moment?

Losing 8-0 to Chelsea was bad. But in 2012, when we were beating United 2-0 and then lost 3-2 on a second-half Chicharito hat-trick was the most painful.

Which team would you most like to see Villa beat (or beat again) this year?

Every year the answer is the same: Chelsea and United. I have too many friends that are supporters of these two teams, so beating either or both is the best.

Marc AlbrightonWho is your favorite player on the current squad?

Marc Albrighton. He plays the game with heart and busts his ass until the whistle blows. He may not be the most skilled guy, but sometimes I’d rather see someone with passion.

Who is your favorite player of all time?

Kai Smoak, born into it
Kai Smoak, born into it

Even though I never saw him play, reading about and then meeting Ian Taylor in Chicago was a thrill. I remember being in the Halsted Harp, looking around, spotting him and telling my wife, “Oh shit, that’s Ian Taylor.” Her reply was “who is that?” “He is a Villa legend.” “How do you know?” “I’m not sure, but I know that’s him.”Kai Haaskivi

But my favorite soccer player of all time, on any team, was Kai Haaskivi who played for the Cleveland Force and Finland’s national team. I named my son after him.

What are your favorite sources for Villa news?

Mat Kendrick on Twitter and My Old Man Said. If either of these two sources say something, I feel like it’s true.

Rate yourself as a fan. What are your best and worst qualities?

Father and son watching the game
Father and son watching the game

I’d give myself an 8, and that’s only because I have never been to Villa Park. Once I get there, it will be a 10. Best qualities are that I have been loyal since day 1; my days revolve around the game, regardless of where I am. Worst quality, is that I haven’t been to Villa Park, and any loss depresses me for the day.

Where do you usually watch games?

I usually watch in my living room, but I am currently making my three-car garage into my brewery/sports bar. I will have eight beers on tap, a few TVs and a bunch of Villa/Clemson/Browns/Indians stuff on the wall. I hope to make this the place to watch Villa for everyone in Charlotte.

What are you usually drinking?

If at home, it’s usually one of my homebrews. If I make it to a bar, it’s always a porter or stout…unless it turns into an all-day-drink-a-thon then I have to go with Miller Lite.

Extra Time

Rightly or wrongly, Paul Lambert has gotten a lot of stick for his performance as Villa’s manager the last two seasons. Were he to step down or be sacked, who would you like to see replace him?

Michael Laudrup
Well, he’s available…

I am neither for nor against Lambert. I don’t know how much better another manager would do with the limited funds Lerner has given. He has made some good buys and some other bad ones, but when you are on that kind of budget, some aren’t going to pan out. At least he didn’t spend a ton of money on dead weight.

I don’t know many of the available managers, so if Lambert were sacked, I guess Laudrup or Redknapp would be my best choices.

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