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Déjà Vu, anyone?

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There was once a football manager, highly respected by many in the game who brought untold joy to his Club and not a little surprise to the rest of us by winning a major Cup competition. This ended a long drought of success for that Club, which was viewed by many as being one of the 'unfashionable' establishments, struggling for both crowds and any sort of kudos in the game as a whole. The Cup win was a little bit of a fairy tale as they overcame much more glamorous and expensively assembled opposition in the final.

Unfortunately, this Club couldn't defend to save its life and after a valiant but ultimately unsuccessful battle against the odds, a short while after conquering in the Cup, the same Club was relegated from the Premier League and faced the next season with huge uncertainty regarding its status and the very real possibility of bigger clubs cherry-picking its best players.

The manager who had overseen the relegation of the Club was still highly regarded by many and instead of being castigated for this event, he was openly courted by other clubs and met regularly with his chairman, who was desperate for him to stay. After considering carefully, he decided his future lay elsewhere and moved to a much bigger club just down the road, geographically (a sleeping giant, I believe they called it).

The manager's name? Alex McLeish... and the club he went to was Aston Villa.

I hate to be the proverbial prophet of doom but does this tale not ring any alarm bells with anyone else? I know a number of Villa supporters and whilst they aren't exactly losing sleep over our situation, they are quietly chuckling into their pints. Please, please may I be proved wrong.

Andy McNabb, Melbourne, Australia     Posted 23/06/2013 at 03:10:20

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Eric Myles
609 Posted 23/06/2013 at 06:54:59
Ah but Villa had financial problems and their owners refused to put their money into the club to buy new players having sold their best players and then had to rely on untried youth.

Oh, I see what you mean, deja vue all over again.

Joe McMahon
612 Posted 23/06/2013 at 07:14:06
Christ Andy - Are you somehow trying to compare Alex McLeish to Roberto Martinez, for crying out loud. Arsene wenger also relegated his first club (I think Nancy), and they were also cutting the wage bill.
If we are comparing, lets wait and see what Roberto can do after 11 years in the job
Derek Thomas
614 Posted 23/06/2013 at 07:28:49
Andy, all you've got is the football equivalent of girlie pre-wedding nerves.

Nobody knows for sure until some time has gone by.

We're not exactly marrying in haste, but we may repent at our leisure.

But the penny-pinching influence of the Mother in Law, Old Ma Kenwright is the biggest worry.

Paul Andrews
631 Posted 23/06/2013 at 09:17:28
I had a touch of déjà vu there.

Another Evertonian who's panicking and imagining we could be fighting relegation because we have lost the only manager in the world who could take this club into 6th (SIXTH) place in the league.

Danny Broderick
633 Posted 23/06/2013 at 09:19:16
McLeish was never going to work at Villa. It would be like us appointing Dalgleish – a dour Scot, from our biggest rivals.

That would be a more accurate comparison. I don't see any comparison with Martinez at all.

John Gee
637 Posted 23/06/2013 at 09:53:22
Dog-face Redknapp holds the world record for relegating clubs then takes Spurs to the CL.

Past managerial record is a factor but it's just one of many variables. McLeish was on a loser because he didn't have the support of anyone. His move was footballing idiocy.

Dave Charles
648 Posted 23/06/2013 at 10:59:08
Can we at least kick the season off please.
Colin Glassar
654 Posted 23/06/2013 at 11:17:50
What are you inferring? That Roberto Martinez is really McLeish in disguise? Are you Andy really David Icke in disguise?
Eugene Ruane
657 Posted 23/06/2013 at 11:26:50
Colin (654) - "Are you Andy really David Icke in disguise?"

Hope not, the leaked pics of the new strip looked bad enough but fucking turquoise and I'm off.

(Are you sure you're not thinking of shape-shifter Dan?)

Barry Rathbone
658 Posted 23/06/2013 at 11:28:12
Andy, check out how Wigan destroyed City and compare that to Birmingham's fluke victory over Arsenal to win the League Cup.

If you want to compare McLeish to anyone it's the new Man Utd manager – tenuous 2 + 2 equals 5 stuff this thesis.

I'm the same age and height as George Clooney — I assure you that doesn't mean I'll be starring in a Hollywood movie anytime soon.

Peter Truin
659 Posted 23/06/2013 at 11:37:11
Birmingham were drawn at home in every round of their Carling Cup run, playing the mighty Rochdale, Brentford (I know they knocked us out), Milton Keynes on the way and only playing Aston Villa and the Hammers from the top flight.

Big achievement? Not on the same par as Wigan's run in the 2013 FA Cup... Bit of a difference for me there.

Jon Withey
662 Posted 23/06/2013 at 11:49:56
Fair point but I don't remember McCleish being highly regarded once he'd moved from Scotland and had some time in the premiership. I thought he gained his good will at Rangers and lost it within a season here.

I'm certainly nervous about the appointment for the obvious reasons.

I'm more nervous today because we've been linked with Stephen Ireland. Now THAT sort of signing would bring Mcleish comparisons. Especially after talk of 'the right characters'.

Jamie Barlow
663 Posted 23/06/2013 at 11:57:58
Hardly destroyed City did they?
Matt Traynor
665 Posted 23/06/2013 at 11:58:57
Jesus wept Jon I hope that there's nothing in that rumour about Ireland - classic case of too much money too soon, good player on his day but thought he'd made it. Too many players like that now. Millionaires before they've kicked a ball for the 1st team.
Kevin Tully
668 Posted 23/06/2013 at 12:01:50
Birmingham were relegated because they were shite, and the fans did not want McLeish from the start.

We will finish top 8 or better this season - FACT!!

Jon Withey
673 Posted 23/06/2013 at 12:10:18
That Stephen Ireland thing :

and probably more importantly :

David Stewart
674 Posted 23/06/2013 at 12:06:20
Andy, is it because you live in Melbourne that you're depressing? Jump on a flight over here to sunny Perth, it'll cheer you up no end. We've got a few weeks to go before the season starts, so how about we enjoy it instead of looking for worst-case scenarios, it's like some people want Martinez to fail to prove some weird point.

Me, I think I'll enjoy our cooler weather and I hope our northern cousins get a spot of sunshine. Maybe when the season starts we can discuss Martinez's progress... at least we'll have something to judge him by.

Kunal Desai
694 Posted 23/06/2013 at 13:35:28
How many of those teams that finished from 8th and below last season are really gonna finish above us? Newcastle look like their woes are going to continue with the appointment of Joke Kinnear and Villa will probably lose their best player in Benteke, yet again they will start the season with kids. The rest of the teams dirge. I would be very very surprised if we don't finish 7th at the very least!
Peter Truin
700 Posted 23/06/2013 at 14:16:11
Great 7th!!!!

How the mighty have fallen

Eugene Ruane
703 Posted 23/06/2013 at 14:24:58
Jon (673) Funny thinking of the money Ireland will make in his career.

Well funny by comparison to someone like Alan Hudson..

Hudson sounds incredibly bitter and (from some of the comments below the article) possibly was a nasty bastard to his wife and a shit father (there's certainly more than a hint of the Tom Pepper about some of his tale).

However he was a great player had he been playing today, he'd have easily been a £100,000 a week player (which I'm sure he tells anyone who gets too close to him during one of his 18 hour bevvying stints in the snug of Ye Bitter Old Pro).

Mark Frere
707 Posted 23/06/2013 at 14:36:43
Are we forgetting the difference in the size and expectations of both Wigan and Birmingham? Wigan are a tiny Rugby town in comparison to Birmingham.

Birmingham had a much bigger budget then Wigan, its like comparing Blackpool to Newcastle.

Kevin Tully- How can you actually say its fact that we will finish top 8?

Kevin Tully
712 Posted 23/06/2013 at 15:05:38
Mark - it was more of a Rafa type 'fact' but I will take any wagers we don't finish below 8th.

I just don't think the division is very strong this year, especially when you look at the promoted teams.

Paul Andrews
721 Posted 23/06/2013 at 15:32:12

I will go halves with you.

A lot of nonsense being spoken about our imminent collapse because the previous manager has left.

Mark Frere
725 Posted 23/06/2013 at 15:40:37
Kevin Tully,

I would also be very disappointed if we didn't finish top 8 and I think serious questions would be asked of Martinez. Don't get me wrong: I'm very optimistic for next season, I see good times ahead as far as RM is concerned.

Kevin, it might be worth a trip down to the bookies if you're that confident, not sure on the odds for us finishing top 8, but you could double your money.

Ross Edwards
767 Posted 23/06/2013 at 18:28:20
Comparing McLeish to Martinez is like comparing Dunstable to Barcelona. Totally different. There are so many differences you'll be there all afternoon if you list them all.
Dick Fearon
820 Posted 23/06/2013 at 23:11:16
Deja vu or not I would like to see less talk from Martinez and more action.
Phil Gardner
835 Posted 24/06/2013 at 00:17:51
Not sure about the McLeish link, but the more I hear RM's Leicester Square soundbites and the less I read about our success (or intent) in the transfer market, the more I fear that old Grey-Jowl's has pulled another flanker....
Patrick Murphy
843 Posted 24/06/2013 at 00:58:19
At least it isn't Dour Dave Ja Vu. What else can RM do at the moment apart from give interviews and try to get his positive message across, I'm pretty sure he's aware that not all Blues wanted or want him. But come on give the man a chance if he's crap he'll be gone by the end of next season. I happen to think he will actually do a good job, but we'll all just have to wait and see.
Dick Fearon
880 Posted 24/06/2013 at 10:44:51
Across the Park, Brenda's incessant gabfest is already grating on many RS fans. I hope RM takes heed.

ps: Whatever happened to Brenda's envelope?

Jamie Crowley
109 Posted 24/06/2013 at 21:55:43
Dick -

That's a fabulous question!

Who were the 3 players who were surely doomed to be offloaded? Where'd that envelope go? Who the hell were those 3 players?

The infamous envelope...

What a knob Brenda is.

Jimmy Sørheim
200 Posted 25/06/2013 at 14:23:45
Problem is we are stuck with RM for at least 2 seasons, because he has a 4 year contract and Bill will not can him based on one season only.

We will do well to finish in the top 10 with the current squad, and the players linked so far has not impressed me.

Negredo and Fer were our last bids with Moyes. How about we go for Negredo.

I do not want Kone and I do not want Alcarez.

It is high time for RM to aim higher then that.

Mike Allison
525 Posted 26/06/2013 at 17:57:42
A genuinely crazy OP. Hope you feel better now Andy, that must've been a tough day for you when that all spilt out.

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