All I want for Christmas is… The Midlander goes down the chimneys of eight clubs to spread some Christmas cheer
21:32 GMT, 13 December 2012
Just because it's the time of year and – quite frankly because I also really enjoy writing this type of piece – I'm handing out a few Christmas presents to our Midlands' teams.
It's meant to be light-hearted. It maybe a bit pointed, but if any offence is caused, I'm going to take the mickey out of myself too somewhere along the line….so what would we give to….
Gifts: Neil Moxley does his best Father Christmas impression and hands Villa manager Paul Lambert (left) a new creative midfielder and West Brom's Steve Clarke a dose of reality after a great start has become a blip
Carson Yeung (Birmingham City owner) I'm sure what Mr Yeung would value most this Yuletide is his liberty. Difficult to put a price on that, isn't it
What Birmingham City's supporters would value is clarity. It appears that the great sell-off continues to gather pace.
No-one is any the wiser as to how, why and when it will come to an end.
Until that situation is resolved, then Lee Clark is going to continue to have to make-do in the transfer market, I'm afraid, and frustrations will inevitably grow.
Funds: Nigel Clough (pictured) will be hoping that young starlet Will Hughes, who has attracted interest from Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool, brings much-needed funds
Nigel Clough (Derby County manager) After spending four seasons in charge of the Rams, the current manager's late father was mounting a First Division title tilt.
But then, Clough Snr operated in different times. I remain a fan of Clough Jnr – I think his squad is evolving – and the players he has signed have a desire to be successful.
It is a pity that won't be cut too much slack in the New Year. The word is that some funds will need to be generated.
I've not seen him yet – except on television – but if the rumours are right Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool are tracking Will Hughes, then he must be half-decent.
Therefore, I wish for Mr Clough a clean and healthy balance sheet that gives him an evens-chance of pushing Derby upwards.
Paul Lambert (Aston Villa manager) Having witnessed a car-crash of a performance in the first home fixture against Everton, I feared for Villa.
I fear no longer but I'd be happier still if they had a playmaker who could really make a difference in the final third of the field.
The Scot deserves credit for his policy. A few players have certainly done themselves no harm. I've always liked Ciaran Clark. Chris Herd is a battler and should have been given a chance to establish himself as a right-back under Alex McLeish.
More from Neil Moxley…
The Midlander: Darren's situation has Villa Bent out of shape
The Midlander: Cunning Clarke has West Brom punching above their weight
The Midlander: Football is a results business… but it's never that clear cut for Clark and Clough
The Midlander: Was O'Neill a good Villa boss Let's end this debate once and for all…
The Midlander: Coventry can begin to paint rosy future with morale-boosting Wembley run
The Midlander: Pearson deserves so much more as Leicester target the Premier League
The Midlander: Bent mystery at Villa making life under Lambert very interesting
The Midlander: Baggies crashed out, but at least they took the Capital One Cup seriously
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But the former Blues boss went out and bought Alan Hutton instead. Expensive mistake, that. Nathan Baker has been a revelation and, obviously, Christian Benteke has caught the eye.
I have to say I'm a huge Matthew Lowton fan. This boy goes about his business in a quiet, effective and understated fashion. Where Lambert is lacking is someone with a bit of guile to take games such as the one against Stoke City at the weekend and open up defences or fire one in from the edge of the box.
So, it's a number ten for Paul Lambert. And a Wembley appearance Another League Cup triumph Fingers crossed.
Nigel Pearson (Leicester City boss) The easiest present of the lot to source. No boardroom interference…please.
Leicester's boss can be a crotchety so-and-so on occasion but if the Foxes' hierarchy can leave him alone, I have a feeling he will end up delivering this season.
From what I've seen, Danny Drinkwater has come on leaps and bounds and by securing a defender of Wes Morgan's quality, Pearson was always going to reap rewards in the medium-term.
I've a sneaky feeling the Foxes will be adding – hurray – to our Midlands' contingent in the top-flight next season.
Steve Clarke (West Brom head coach) I'd just like a dash of reality to be sprinkled all over Clarke's Christmas pud.
While everyone outside of the club appears to be getting carried away by a storming start to the season, it was always likely that the Baggies would suffer a slight blip somewhere along the way.
It seems that blip is now. The overall quality of Clarke's squad will see them finish well clear of trouble, but all this nonsense about Europe needs to be nipped in the bud early on.
The time to talk about that is April. The only other point is that Youssouf Mulumbu's form so far this season has been sensational. I do hope his presence is not missed during the African Cup of Nations.
Clarke won't get carried away, he's too experienced for that. But it will be interesting to see how he handles this, given that he's now number one in his own right.
Dispute: Coventry City need an end to the dispute over their stadium, the Ricoh Arena
Coventry City – the whole club – the board of directors, manager Mark Robins and his players and the long-suffering support – need an end to the situation with the stadium which, quite frankly, must be resolved to the benefit of the club.
I understand why the holding company was formed and the reasons for it. But it is a nonsense that the decision-makers at the Sky Blues do not have access to matchday revenues.
I have no axe to grind with ACL whatsoever. But I fear that before the end of the year this could all end horribly. I don't think ACL will offer the kind of rent reduction the club is seeking.
I'm not sure they can. They have a mortgage to pay themselves. So, it could get worse before it gets better. It's just such a sad situation.
But it's one the football club has to address, or else it will continue to chase its' tail, I'm afraid.
I just wish the fans some good cheer on the pitch. I have a feeling Mark Robins is going to get the Sky Blues going again.
Wolverhampton Wanderers – I could be glib, here. I could say, a tin of paint-remover for boss Stale Solbakken following that incident with his beamer the other week.
But I'm not going to. I wish him all the best as, from my admittedly limited dealings with him, he has been absolutely honest and truthful when fronting up Wolves' recent failings.
I loved his comment about fearing the sack. ('I was dead, why should that bother me') I also believe owner Steve Morgan is one of the game's good guys.
Despite the flak he continues to receive chief executive Jez Moxey most certainly is one of the good guys. Under his stewardship Wolves have always tried to act in a proper manner.
They may come up short on occasion – as they did with Mick McCarthy's sacking. But there were phone calls made to the press afterwards to dissect why the club had such a hard time of it.
They wanted to learn from their mistakes. Believe me, if only a few more were like that. I wish top six for Solbakken – and Morgan and Moxey too for that matter.
A signing or two in the New Year to add fresh impetus would be nice, too.
Fresh faces: Wolves manager Stale Solbakken (pictured) could do with some new signings to help their bid for an instant return to the Premier League
Nottingham Forest – see Leicester City. Leave Sean O'Driscoll alone. Let him manage the club. It will come right.
The financial bonanza that accompanies promotion to the Premier League distorts the thinking at some clubs.
And the word is that the Kuwaitis are getting frustrated – as the Thai owners at Leicester did last season.
Forest have improved markedly from last season when I thought they were going down.
But O'Driscoll – and Steve Cotterill – moved them away to safety. Let's just see where we are in February and if the manager wants to strengthen then, it might be an idea to let him.
As for yours truly, I need three things.
The first is a treadmill. After asking Mr Solbakken whether he was fit to do the job at Molineux following his heart scare, (and with the hindsight of what happened to Gerard Houllier, I thought it was a relevant topic) he challenged me to a race around the Molineux pitch. Ten times. Clearly I need to get fit.
Secondly, I'd like a pair of sunglasses. That way I could have hidden when, during an exchange involving Steve Clarke and a colleague who asked what Roy Hodgson had said after the Scot confirmed that the England coach had been in touch, I dropped myself in it.
I piped up: 'He just asked how his team was getting on.' I got a few laughs from the floor and none from Mr Clarke. I apologised and he was gracious. But that stare…
Lastly, I need a good book. My Albion-loving pal Chris Lepkowski has chartered West Brom's rise during the past decade in his tome: 'In pastures green.'
No-one has been closer to the events at the Hawthorns during the past ten years than Chris. And he's a good writer. So I'll settle for an afternoon reading that.
Until next week…
Interference: Both Nottingham Forest manager Sean O'Driscoll (left) and Leicester City manager Nigel Pearson would benefit from a lack of interference by members of their respective boards