Buy low and sell high - The nature of the selling club?

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Another year and another transfer window. Throughout the month of January clubs all over Europe frantically try to conduct business, and whilst some gain significant firepower, others lose crucial cogs in their machine. It’s a brutal month for managers and fans alike, but there is a certain type of club that it usually spells doom for: The selling club.

Like a baton that nobody wants, the notion of being a selling club is usually placed on small to midsize provincial sides, which after a short period of sustainability in their domestic league have been deemed ripe for the harvest as larger sides cherry pick the highest performers (it’s also worth noting that any team can be classed as a selling club, but for the sake of continuity we will go with this definition).

There’s an old adage in football that there is no time for sentimentality, and for fans of selling clubs this couldn’t be truer. No sooner has the club shop run out of a player’s name for the back of the replica shirts, the player is subject of a big money move to another club. It’s a harsh reality, but for a term that is usually considered an insult, is it really so bad?

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The Aston Villa of Alex McLeish: Down Amongst the Dead?

By Andrew McGowan

As Fernando Torres streaked implausibly through, tiptoed around Victor Valdes and rolled home to plunge a fervid Camp Nou into agonising self-doubt last night, a very different footballing psychodrama was playing out in the West Midlands.

The Aston Villa of Alex McLeish - a man whose football is so nihilistic, his programme notes could be ghosted by Ayn Rand - were constructing their last attacks of a desperate night, an exhausted heavyweight’s sweat-blinded haymakers when he’s down on all the scorecards. But Bolton held firm - in as much as Bolton, who typically display the tensile strength of loose blancmange, ever hold firm - and as Barry Bannan’s last-ditch southpaw swing ran wide, Villa found themselves thigh-deep in the relegation quicksand. The exotic, garlicky otherness of a European campaign had been within the Villans’ reach as recently as two years ago.

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Stan’s Standing Ovation.

The 19th minute today at Villa Park was special. There were no goals scored, nor were there any red cards given. No, the 19th minute comprised of 60 raw seconds commemorating an excellent career, and an urge to keep fighting. You see, on Friday Aston Villa’s captain and #19, Stylian “Stan” Petrov, was diagnosed with acute leukemia, and will retire from the game he loves in an effort to defeat this to defeat this cancer. If it’s any consolation, the Bulgarian’s leukemia was caught in its early stages.

Petrov was in attendance at the match between Villa and Chelsea, and said afterwards:

"With the help and love of my family, my team-mates, all of my friends in football, Aston Villa and all of the fans, I am sure I will beat this illness and I am determined to do this.I saw the picture released yesterday by Fabrice Muamba, my fellow player, and it has inspired me as has all of the support in the past 24 hours. For me, football will have to take a back seat for a while, but I’m here to support my team-mates today and I will continue to support them as I know they will support me. Thank you to everyone."

Counting Aston Villa’s Losses

By Jason Davis

Today, Aston Villa reported a record loss of $85 million (£54m) for the last financial year, because finishing ninth just isn’t as lucrative as finishing sixth.

I kid. Three places in the table doesn’t fully explain Villa’s losses any more than Randy Lerner’s passport determines his ability to be a good owner. Villa lost money because Villa spent money; if Lerner hadn’t signed off on spending to strengthen the club, he would suffer criticism, while tightening the belt brings its own set of risks and condemnations. Unless you have more money than you can spend, owning a soccer club is a no-win proposition. 

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Aston Villa’s change of strategy

By Paul Wilkes, editor of LaLigaUK

The philosophy of a football club will determine the immediate goals and long-term vision of the club. Within England, this has often been dictated at most sides by the manager. However in recent times as a more continental approach has been inserted by some; others have remained old-fashioned. 

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Aston Villa Begin The Rebuilding Process Under McLeish

By Andrew McCarten

For many, the exit of Martin O’Neill as Aston Villa manager at the beginning of the previous season was the prime reason for their decline. When O’Neill took over for the 2006/07 campaign, Villa had finished a lowly 16th the year before under David O’Leary, managing only 42 points. In his first season in charge, O’Neill took his new club up to 11th, before three straight seasons of 6th placed finishes, bringing European football and a renewed sense of optimism to Villa Park.

At the time, many saw Villa as a side that could potentially break into the top four and potentially earn a Champions League spot, finishing successively closer each season, despite being behind Everton. The emergence of a strong core of English stars like James Milner, Ashley Young, Gareth Barry, Gabriel Agbonlahor, Luke Young, Stewart Downing, and Stephen Warnock, along with important contributions from Martin Laursen, Brad Friedel, Stiliyan Petrov, and others. But the worrying trend has been their tendency to sell their best players, rather than try and fight off interest- Barry, Milner, Young, Friedel, and most recently Downing have all exited for bigger paychecks and declared higher ambitions.

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Ashley Young at United – Slippery Snip or Expensive Bench Warmer?

By Oliver Sparrow, writing from London

Ashley Young’s arrival at Old Trafford has been met with mixed reaction amongst Manchester United fans. At around £15m some say he’s good value English talent when compared to the £20m Liverpool paid to bring in Jordan Henderson from Sunderland, but could he end up being a £15m bench warmer?

The major bone of contention seems to be the conundrum of where he will fit in at United. In Nani and Valencia, Ferguson already has two of the Premier League’s best wingers and it’s hard to see how Young will go about displacing either of the pair. Young was utilized predominantly on the left wing for Villa, but this is the wing that Nani plays on when Valencia is fit.

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Welcome back, Robert!

1998 World Cup winner Robert Pires completed his surprise return to the Premier League 2 days ago and set to make his debut for Aston Villa against Blackburn tomorrow. After playing the last 4 seasons in Spain, Villarreal released the highly experienced midfielder in July who has recently been training with the Arsenal squad before completing the move. The 37 year old is delighted to have signed a 6 month contract with the Birmingham-based side and stated: “I am very happy to join Aston Villa because it’s a big club in England.” Welcome back, Robert Pires!

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“Good Ol’ Emile Heskey.” By Jon Horner. Apologies and eternal love to Schulz.

Good Ol’ Emile Heskey.By Jon Horner. Apologies and eternal love to Schulz.

(Source: cheekychip)

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