Category Archives: Aston Villa

SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY: THE GOOD WORK CARRIED OUT WITHIN FOOTBALL CLUBS

Professional football clubs have an immense following within their local community with increasing influence on a global scale. With their top-tier status in society, this must used to the advantage for the people.

In the last decade, the relationships between football and charities has rapidly grown, and rightfully so. Perhaps the most famous partnership with La Liga highfliers Barcelona who wore the Unicef logo on the front and back of their famous burgundy and navy stripes for over ten years. The connection of the two organisations saw the Spanish club contribute £2 million per year from 2016, in aid of improvement of education through sport and play in countries where the United Nations charity operated. The perennial champions of La Liga successfully support this wonderful charity, but should management of football clubs begin to focus upon taking advantage of their platform to provide social responsibility?

Looking most recently at the disastrous situation down under, the destruction of homes and wildfire life has caused a sad scene for all. With premise of the Australian open being held in Melbourne on the 20th January, elites of the game have subscribed to play in an exhibition match to raise money for those affected by the bush fires in Australia. A simplistic idea but an event which will not only bring enjoyment for spectators to give break from their hardships, with participation of Rodger Federer, Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal confirmed, but is also an effective money maker for the economic help the country needs.

Looking specifically at professional footballers, their social media platforms could be used as a gateway for good causes. An impeccable example is of Aston Villa man Tyrone Mings. On top of establishing a football academy which targeted those who had been affected by homelessness, just as he had as a youngster, he opened up his executive box for the Christmas game against Southampton. The regular starter at Villa Park used Twitter to announce his opening and his followers may send nominations of inspirational people who perhaps could not make the game in normal circumstances. Social media was full of praise for the kind gesture but most importantly those who spent the day in Aston Villa’s hospitality, courtesy of Ming’s, had a once in a life time experience.

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Growing up in a homeless shelter, Tyrone Ming’s uses his status to help those who descend from a similar background has he did.

Aston Villa as a club, along with many others, have a close relationship with their local hospice. Acorn Children’s Hospice have been the official charity partners of Villa sine 2006 and have quoted on their website the players regularly visit the hospice to show support and awareness for those who use the hospice and those working there. It can be a very humbling experience for the players, but with the stature of their football player title, you can imagine what it will bring to those they are visiting.

Footballers have the status and ability to make these simplistic gestures which has potential to be a once in a life-time experience. It is clear to see many clubs and individual players are aware of the positive effect they can have on wider society and do show social responsibility. There is always room for further improvements and clubs and players should be encouraged to increase and maintain their interaction within society to the upmost.

Aston villa beat Liverpool kids 5-0, but is this a step forward for youth football?

Despite a heavy defeat for the Liverpool youngsters, coach John Crithley is adamant it was a positive learning experience for the prosperous footballers. He reported Aston Villa management Dean Smith and John Terry also gave recognition of the efforts for the team who’s age averaged at 19 years.

So with what seemed like a positive event for all, should this be something we see more regularly?

It is possible to argue that this type of event will have mixed impact on the players, potentially it is the personality and mindset of the youngsters which could make or break this experience. With any big game, especially a cup knockout, any player would be nervous in the run up. Whilst entering the latter stages of the game, a handful of the boys were going down under cramp and evidently at peak of fatigue. The expectations and nerves in the build up of the game would have been exhausting in itself, on top of the boys playing an intense 90 minutes on a big Villa Park pitch which would likely be a size they would not be used to. With this is mind, playing youth team footballers on a big stage against a first team may potentially have negative effect on the players. Wether this be crumbling under pressure, or reflecting negatively on their performance following the game. A risk managers would have to take to see which players would be strong enough to take defeat on such a scale.

Opposed to this risk, there is also huge potential for the young players in games such as this. Not only do the players gain intense exposure to other clubs who may be recruiting, but it gives opportunity to the coaching staff to understand improvements which can be made for their players. To think of it in ‘real world’ terms, it almost comparable to the apprentice against the professional. It can be suggested this sort of game could be very good way to give young footballers a taste of the big time.

In the Leasing.Com League cup, it has already been seen to have the Premier League youth teams play against lower tier sides in knockout games. This has appeared to have been successful to test the younger players against teams with less quality, but teams which have more experienced players. Lower leagues tend to flourish with physicality of the game which can teach the younger players to do so. With prospect to become professional footballers, this is an attribute which will reinforce their footballing identity. We could be seeing a new generation of young footballers breaking through if they come through the ranks whilst playing against professional league competition.

Do you think we should be seeing more younger players getting playing time in Cup competitions?

4 Potential Replacement for Sarri

With Maurizio Sarri, now well and truly back in Italy, along with his almost famous ‘cigarette’ butt, which was permanently between his lips during Chelsea’s matches, who is in line to replace him.

There are 3 good, candidates, which include one outstanding one and no that does not mean Jose Mourinho, returning back for an impossible 3rd time. I think from a Chelsea fans point of view, that would be almost as bearable as

Rafa Benitez, returning for a second spell… when he was universally unpopular in his first term

So lets look at the first candidate, which is the man Sarri has replaced at Juventus

Max Allegri

There is no denying he is a very good contender for the job, a serial winner, like his predecessor at Juventus Antonio Conte, and would be a very good fit for Chelsea, however, as is the way with bosses at Europes top flight clubs, the very pressure of keeping the club at the top of their game and league, nearly always takes its toll

As is the case with Allegri, who after a good few years in the Juve Hotseat, has declared his intention to take a year out of the game, in much the same way that Pep Guardiola did, before he pitched up at Bayern Munich

Darren Moore

Yes the Ex West Brom manager / head coach, a surprise outsiders choice, but still none the less a very good coach, who did a brilliant job at West Brom under difficult circumstances and was very unfortunate to be sacked

John Terry

Chelsea, through and through and currently the assistant manager at Aston Villa to Dean Smith, who got Villa promoted back to the premier ship. Terry has been closely watching the methods of Smith and has stated his intention to return to the Bridge one day as manager, though he has yet to manage a club at any level, unlike …

Yes, you guessed it…

Frank Lampard

Like Terry, he stated his ambition to return one day to manage ‘his’ club, yet opted for the less glamourous surroundings of Pride Park with Derby County in EFL Championship and… against the odds, go them to the Play Off Final, where they lost to

Aston Villa!!

 

That said though, he has a years experience of club football under his belt and go the Derby Job, through his uncle Harry (Redknapp) who knows Mel Morris, the Derby chairman

In that time Lampard has shown himself to be an oustanding managerial candiate for A top job, though wether that is Chelsea at this time remains to be seen

Given the fact that he is a Chelsea Legend, in a different way to John Terry, he would certainly bring the Solksjaer effect to the Bridge and gives Chelsea a chance to bring through some of their outstanding Youth

Will he get the nod… Well he hasn’t said No!!

Aston Villa | Agbonlahor Retires!

Aston Villa’s long serving player Gabby Agbonlahor, has announced his retirement from Professional Football at the age of 32

Agbonlahor, lived out every schoolboys dream, by playing for the club he watched as a child growing up in Birmingham, before going on to captain the club as well.

The former Villians striker played in 341 games over his 13 year stint with 3 England caps coming during his time at Villa Park. Ultimately, Agbonlahor finished with 75 goals and ended as their 2nd highest goal scorer in the top flight division- Premier League & Division One.

Injuries blighted his career slightly and he found himself out of the first team picture, before being released by the club around 18 months ago, so he could find himself another club. Sadly that didn’t materialise, leading to this announcement from him

In this era of players moving round quite a lot, Agbonlahor is a shining example of that rare thing called one club loyalty (excluding loan moves to Watford & Sheffield Wednesday earlier in his career), older readers might recall how John Trollope famously served Swindon Town his only club, for over 700 appearances

Reflecting on his retirement from the game Agbonlahor, said

I have been fortunate to live out my dream, of playing for and then captaining my home town club, now it is time to move on and find new adventures, while still being able to be a fan and watch the team at home

On his day, Agbonlahor was a world-class talent but due to injuries hampering his potential, no one will know what his true potential could have been.

Jack Grealish lands final blow as Aston Villa claim bragging rights in local derby

Jack Grealish has wrote his name in Second City derby history as the local lad scored the winner as Villa triumphed 1-0 over city rivals Birmingham. But it was an incident in the 8th minute that stole all the headlines, as a Birmingham fan stormed the pitch and struck Grealish in the face from behind.

The fan managed to break free of watching stewards and police to enter the pitch, make a beeline for Grealish, and punch him from behind leading to the Villa star dropping to the floor. The fan was then removed from the pitch, being dragged from the pitch to a heroes applause from the Birmingham fans and has since been arrested.

Already facing a hostile atmosphere from the first whistle due to his strong Villa connections, and with his every touch being met with a chorus of boos and jeers, it would have been very easy for Grealish to shrink and go missing under such circumstances.

But the young man took the game by the scruff of the neck and was the best player on the pitch all afternoon. Picking up the ball on the edge of the box and faced with no pressure from the opposing Blues defenders, Grealish simply took his time and fired a lovely left footed shot across the keeper into the bottom corner.

Right in front of the Villa fans the local hero couldn’t contain his joy as he leapt straight into the away end, facing more abuse as he was seemingly kicked by a steward on his way out.

Post-match Grealish proclaimed it the best day of his life, as a lifelong villa fan scoring the winner away at St Andrews in their first ever appearance there, you can see why. In a time where loyalty in football is at premium, there is something brilliant about Jack Grealish’s love and loyalty to his boyhood club. But if he keeps turning in performances like this, Grealish must be on his way to a top club in the not too distant future.