Forum Thread of the Week: Villa fans debunk Martin O’Neill myth

Martin O'Neill
O’Neill… Hello! (Img: Jonesy702)

Martin O’Neill was widely praised for guiding Aston Villa to three consecutive 6th place finishes, but his sudden resignation – leaving behind an expensive and disjointed squad – has seen the Midland giants struggle in his wake. As such, the denizens of Villa forum Heroes & Villains felt vindicated to see the following clip of the Life’s a Pitch panel questioning the current Sunderland boss’s glowing reputation…


Blimey, vindication! Inflexible tactically, unimaginative transfer-wise, spends a lot to little effect, plays dull football and will only take you so far. The naysayers were 3 years ahead of their time.


This is almost the first time I’ve ever seen him discussed like this. The revelation that, after a Sunday match, we’d not get together until Thursday I find shocking.

Mister E…

Yes, not something that RL would have been used to seeing at the Browns I suspect.
Smacks of complacency and arrogance by MON, and it probably partly explains why we would run out of steam by March.

Astral Weeks…

Not surprising is it, that some of the players reportedly resented Houllier’s more rigorous and professional approach to training when he arrived? If I’d been used to having three days off every week in exchange for my massive pay cheque, I’d probably be slightly put out too.


Was this an episode of Myth Busters? And I wonder if he’s called his lawyers yet.


The amount of times I have to explain to non Villa fans (or even Villa fans who are not as emotionally involved with the club) that O’Neil left us in the crap, he overspent and he was behind times, are numerous.

brian green…

On our way back from Swindon in the League Cup my son related the story to a young very dedicated Villa fan of the relationship O’Neill has built up over the years with media commentators and journalists. It even got me thinking and I have heard the story many times.


In retrospect he was an unmittigated disaster for which we will still be suffering for a long time yet, still think that Randy has to carry blame for not having football people on the board to keep him in check.We would have been dismayed if we had got Pardew but he would have done a better job.


I’ve said all along that a large part of the O’Neill myth came when he was at Leicester and turning down bigger jobs, implying that he was waiting for one more worthy of his talent.

brian green…

Perceptive that you should comment on the Leicester years Dave, without me naming names which I am not at liberty to do, the one extremely well known commentator who asked my son “why do Villa fans hate O’Neill so much?” related that his friendship had been formed in those Leicester years.

My own opinion is that O’Neill has had his career planned right down to the finest detail and the wheels came off when he was not offered the Liverpool job. Just my opinion.

The Laughing Policeman…

Martin Ridley from the Mail On Sunday nails Mon in the first few seconds of that clip…….”Martin has always carefully guarded his image……”
And he’s right,, it’s always about Martin, as in Martin O’Neils whichever club he rocks up at. You rarely see Man U described as Fergies Man U, or David Moyes Everton.
A lot of the other stuff in that clip I think began to dawn on a good few us towards the end of year two.


I have to admit that I bought into the MON thing full tilt at the time. There was a different feeling, a sense that under him we had become relevant again. I criticised some of the tactics at the time but thought the good outweighed the bad. As time goes by, though, the amount of bad grows and becomes overwhelming. That he was appointed at the exact moment we finally got decent financial backing is a very sad piece of timing in our history, as Randy’s money spent more wisely by a better, more up-to-date manager, I believe, would have got us into something like the position Spurs are in now, if not better.


They made some excellent points there, overpay for British players, hike the wages, doesn’t look abroad for players, plays boring football to watch and then pisses off when he can’t take it any further.

And yes we are still suffering from his era.


Whatever you think of MON, it is hard not to see the scattergun, wastefulness of his transfer policy.

Take his defensive purchases, for example:


Davies £9m
Shorey £4m
Luke Young £5m
Cuellar £8m

Then, the very next year, he has another go at a defence:

Beye £3m
Warnock £7m
Collins £5m
Dunne £5m

So, one season, £26m on defenders, then the very next season, another £20m on the same defence.

He also bought decent players, yes, Milner, Young, Downing, who we made a profit on, but stop for a moment and think of the folly of almost 50m on defenders in two years, and the impact that will have had on the wage bill.


MON was a good manager, you don’t achieve what he did with Wycombe, Leicester, Celtic and ourselves by accident. He’s just vastly overrated.

The football was often disjointed and shapeless, which could be forgiven in the earlier years. But not so after four.

At the time we acquired him though he was hot property, linked with many of the top jobs (he’d turned down Leeds, Newcastle and Tottenham) and made us feel good about ourselves. He chose us. Let’s not pretend it was all bad either, for all our limitations at times, we went into big games knowing we could win. Expecting it, sometimes.

In the final analysis, I wish he’d been better. But then he probably does as well. He can’t help being what he is, a meat and potatoes 4-4-2 merchant.

john e…

MON is not a bad manager, after all he gave us some of the more memorable days in the last 5 years,

but he is incredibly limited, with the way he’s sees the game being played, team selections, substitutions and of coarse his dealings in the transfer market,

his biggest problem in my opinion is he has to have total control,
he is a control freak, he probably listenes to very few people, does not invest an awful lot of time in anybody elses opinion, and any one not towing the line or questioning his better judgment are seen as threats, a combination of these faults is why i feel he left so abruptly in the end at VP,

if he was to just concentrate on what he does well, bring a few trusted others into the ‘team’ he could have a good balance of motivation and technical knowhow,

however its all to late for him now, he is to old fashioned set in his ways, and stubborn, he will never change, yet he does have some outstanding qualities, but the Sunderland fans and even the media are now seeing that his day is up


There’s a perfect storm abrewing at Sunderland…..MON saying the squads too numerically challenged…I would be afraid , very afraid if I were a Mackem

How do you view Martin O’Neill’s legacy in retrospect, Villa fans? Have your say in the comments section below…