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Philip most recently made a post about his Premier League predictions which were right on the money! Big props to you Phil for sharing your knowledge and don’t feel too bad about striking out with Spurs, disappointment is a common thread running through the Lillywhite tapestry at the moment.

Bone-picking time. Martin O’Neill and my Villa are gonna work their claret and blue socks off to keep Barry, the greatest and most versatile Villa player of the last decade. MON has said about 732 times (mostly to Rafa Benitez) that he’s not at all interested in letting Gareth go because the only way forward for a club like Villa is to keep the best players and bring in more of the same. Barry’s contribution to Villa is ultimately unquantifiable and immense. His leadership skills are tangible by the way the rest of the team plays around him and it’s my belief that those of us on the outside of the Villa dressing room can only make wild guesses as to how influential he really is off the pitch. The chemistry with him in the team is only manifested for us fans in brief 90 minute glimpses from week to week. 

Martin O’Neill will be the person most furious with himself if he and the board have no new signings to field around Barry at the end of the upcoming transfer window. He is a very intelligent and savvy manager who knows exactly what needs to be done and how to go about it and I have the utmost confidence that he’s the right man for the job. It’s clear that pushing Aston Villa to the next level will come from the signing of European caliber, eyebrow-raising players to surround Barry and strangely, replace him. What a wonderful problem Mr. O’Neill would have if he didn’t have the luxury of starting the Villa lineup card with GB the only choice in the middle. 

There are many positive things flying around Villa Park these days. Like the rest of the Villa faithful, I am starting to expect great things at Villa park: the front office is incredible, clubhouse morale is sky-high, and the skill level of the smallest Premiership squad is rising by the week through good training. The manager has the full backing of everyone in the Villa universe including the only person who actually matters, Randy Lerner, the man attached to the purse-strings. All the conditions are ripe for great things to happen.

One other curious and sometimes frustrating feather O’Neill puts in his own cap is his reluctance to sign somebody just for the sake of signing more players. He is truly a man out to get the right men and will not be persuaded, even by the vociferous Claret and Blue army, into buying someone simply to boost squad numbers. It’s obvious that Barry is one of the men he’s out to get and O’Neill has made it clear that Barry must be a part of the picture if forward progress is going to continue.

The Villa ship is picking up steam in the right direction and losing Barry during the transfer window would be a shot across the fragile bow.


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