Tag Archives: bodymoor

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Paul Lambert thinks Aston Villa can be in Europe in three years

Lambert believes Villa can be challenging for Europe if they follow his three year plan

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UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 14 December 2012

Paul Lambert believes Aston Villa will be challenging the top six again in two years’ time.

Villa’s boss has echoed the thoughts of managerial colleague Brendan Rodgers by saying that he needs three full seasons to re-build the Birmingham club.

The Scot, whose side are at Liverpool today, has certainly given Villa a huge lift by reaching the semi-finals of the Capital One Cup.

Big plans: Paul Lambert believes Villa can reach Europe in three years

Big plans: Paul Lambert believes Villa can reach Europe in three years

But in the Premier League he has yet to orchestrate a similar upturn. Villa remain outside the relegation zone on goal difference and are the lowest scorers in the competition so far.

And while he sees the green shoots of recovery, he says that just like the Reds’ chief he is working to a three-year plan.

Asked whether that was a realistic turnaround time, Lambert said: ‘Yes, I think so. You have to progress, you can’t stand still. You have to keep going.

‘If you looked at Villa’s fans the other night, then they are desperate for us to move forward.

‘They created some atmosphere the other night. They are hungry for it, I want to do my best, but you can’t do it overnight.’

A sickness bug has swept through Bodymoor Heath this week. Stephen Ireland, Darren Bent and Enda Stevens have all been laid low by the virus.

Lambert confirmed that Bent will miss Villa’s Premier League programme over Christmas.

The England striker has received the results from a scan on his hamstring tear and Villa’s boss confirmed he will be missing for up to a month.

Out: Darren Bent has suffered a hamstring injury that puts him out of action

Out: Darren Bent has suffered a hamstring injury that puts him out of action

Lambert said: ‘He went for a scan on Wednesday and he has got a problem with his hamstring which will keep him out for a few weeks.

‘Is he out of the Christmas games Yes, probably, the way it is looking.

‘I think a few weeks. Maybe four weeks, I’d say, before we see him back.’

Bent will miss the clash at Anfield along with Enda Stevens, Ron Vlaar and Richard Dunne.

Stephen Ireland was also absent from training earlier this week but returned on Thursday and will be fit to travel to Merseyside.

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Paul Lambert wants Darren Bent to show desire

Show your worth! Lambert wants Bent prove desire in training if he is to get back into Villa team

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UPDATED:

23:21 GMT, 20 November 2012

Paul Lambert says Darren Bent needs to show desire and commitment on the training pitch if he wants to play for Aston Villa.

The exiled England international is recovering from an ankle problem and has been left out of Villa’s last two matches.

But prior to that he had been squeezed out by the former Scotland international who had dropped the club’s leading goalscorer for the past two seasons to the bench.

Passion Paul Lambert wants Darren Bent to show some desire in training

Passion Paul Lambert wants Darren Bent to show some desire in training

Lambert insists relations between the two are amicable but with Villa dropping into the bottom three, there is mounting pressure on the ex-Celtic man to win the club’s next two matches against Arsenal and Reading.

Bent was close to returning at Manchester City but is expected to be fit for the Gunners’ trip to Villa Park this weekend.

Lambert said: 'There isn’t an issue — at least not at my end there isn’t. I have twenty-odd lads to look after.

'Goalscorers are the same, they thrive on scoring. The team is playing well and talking about Darren is deflecting from other guys who have come in and done really well.'

Asked directly whether Bent had to prove his point at Bodymoor Heath, Lambert responded: 'Everyone has to show their worth. I have no favourites. I judge them as equals. I’m trying to get the best out of them and I’ve got to do what it takes to get the best out of them.'

Meanwhile, Villa’s boss has rejected a move by Hull City boss Steve Bruce to take Shay Given on loan.

Competition: Christian Benteke has been in good form since joining the club

Competition: Christian Benteke has been in good form since joining the club

The Tigers' chief is on the look-out for a new keeper and was hoping to strike a deal with the out-of-favour Ireland international.

Bruce had offered Given the chance to play on a regular basis but was unable to cover the whole of the veteran’s 3m-a-year salary.

But Lambert said that he was unwilling to allow the 36-year-old out on a temporary basis at the moment.

Paul Lambert at Aston Villa: No laptops and phones at training

Life under Lambert: Strict times for Villa players with no laptops and no phones at training

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UPDATED:

21:30 GMT, 23 August 2012

Fantasy football 2012

There are reminders of former Aston Villa boss Ron Saunders in Paul Lambert’s actions. The hard-line Merseysider, who won the First Division title 31 years ago, revelled in the role of tough guy. His chosen sport was boxing and he instilled a barrack-room mentality into the club.

But times have changed. Players have become all powerful. Managers have to fear where they tread.

However, Lambert has clearly defined his own territory. And that, basically, means the club’s luxurious 9million training base.

My rules: Paul Lambert has defined his territory at Aston Villa

My rules: Paul Lambert has defined his territory at Aston Villa

The latest intelligence from Villa’s Bodymoor Heath training base is that the Scot has banned his players from taking their mobile phones and laptops into work.

‘If you are a professional footballer, then it’s not your hobby, it’s your job,’ he told a fans’ meeting this week. ‘I think it’s important. You are at the training ground to work.

‘If you train the way you play, then I don’t have a problem with it. But iPhones and iPads are a distraction.

‘I’m here to win football matches not to play on a phone or computer.’

It is not as if those who have found themselves surplus to Villa — or Lambert — have little idea of his focus.

Emile Heskey and Carlos Cuellar were out of contract and due to leave as Randy Lerner chopped a wage bill that was close to spiralling out of control.

But James Collins has quit for West Ham and others are under no illusions as to their future roles.

Left back Stephen Warnock was taken to one side on Monday and told by the manager that he would have to train with Villa’s development squad. Alan Hutton has not been used at all since the first pre-season friendly at Burton Albion.

It appears harsh, but such is the current financial climate that such decisions have to be taken.

Of course, this should come as no surprise to many who have been involved with the Glaswegian before.

Strict: Lambert says training is the footballer's work-place and as such there should be no distractions

Strict: Lambert says training is the footballer's work-place and as such there should be no distractions

The erstwhile Champions League winner has marked himself down as a one-off from the days when he was one of the first to take advantage of the Bosman rule and win himself a contract at Borussia Dortmund, playing under legendary coach Ottmar Hitzfeld.

Lambert kept a pad at his side during those training sessions and made notes.

Indeed, he was so impressed by the Teutonic approach that he eventually snubbed the opportunity to take his coaching badges in this country and returned to Germany.

But there can be no doubt also of the influence of another former Villa boss, Martin O’Neill, upon Lambert’s thinking.

The Northern Irishman comes to life on match days. He is still referred to as ‘the gaffer’ by his successor at Villa Park and similarly courts a strong team ethic in all of his sides.

That trait runs through O’Neill’s teams and it was almost like stepping back in time for seasoned observers of the club when Lambert said: ‘Team spirit is absolutely vital.

No talking: Lambert has banned players from speaking to the media too close to a game

No talking: Lambert has banned players from speaking to the media too close to a game

‘It’s about 90 per cent of your game because, if you know the guy next to you is going for it for you, then you will do exactly the same and it will transmit to everyone else in the dressing room.’

But it is the idea of stamping his own identity on the club which has been a hallmark of his reign so far.

At Norwich City, the training ground was out of bounds to outsiders. Those not directly involved with the players were actively discouraged from entering the manager’s place of work.

It is similar here. He has banned any player interviews taking place within 48 hours of a match.

At Villa Park, the most outward sign of his authority has been moving the dug-out over the halfway line to be nearer the club’s core support in the Holte End.

And it was noticeable before kick-off at Upton Park last week that Lambert has also cherry-picked another idea from one of his former clubs. The pre-match ‘huddle’ was used at Celtic Park while Villa’s boss was a player under O’Neill and Darren Bent performed his captaincy duties by addressing his charges prior to kick off.

Not, in the end, that it made much difference. But the point is that Lambert is providing his players with the focus and environment in which to perform.

Whether they are up to the job in hand is another matter.

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Alex McLeish sacked by Aston Villa

McLeish pays the price as Aston Villa sack manager after miserable campaign

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UPDATED:

14:50 GMT, 14 May 2012

Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish has been sacked following a meeting with chief executive Paul Faulkner.

McLeish said goodbye to his backroom staff at the club's Bodymoor Heath training complex on Monday morning.

And Villa confirmed McLeish's departure via a club statement on Monday afternoon.

End of the road: Alex McLeish leaves Aston Villa's Bodymoor Heath training ground after his contract was terminated

End of the road: Alex McLeish leaves Aston Villa's Bodymoor Heath training ground after his contract was terminated

The statement read: 'Aston Villa can confirm that Alex McLeish's contract has been terminated with immediate effect.

'The club has been disappointed with this season's results, performances and the general message these have sent to our fans.

'The board wishes to assure supporters that we are conscious in every sense that Villa expects and deserves more and we will strive to deliver this.'

Paul Lambert and Roberto Martinez are the early frontrunners for the job at Villa Park.

Owner Randy Lerner said: 'We need to be clear and candid with ourselves and with supporters about what we have lacked in recent years.

'Compelling play and results that instil a sense of confidence that Villa is on the right track have been plainly absent.

Axed: Villa boss Alex McLeish (pointing) has gone following a disappointing campaign

Axed: Villa boss Alex McLeish (pointing) has gone following a disappointing campaign

Selected odds on Villa's next boss

5-4 Paul Lambert
9-4 Roberto Martinez
11-1 Rafa Benitez
12-1 Neil Lennon
20-1 Steve Bruce

Odds supplied by Paddy Power

'The most immediate action that we can take is to look carefully at our options in terms of bringing in a new manager who sees the club's potential and embraces our collective expectations.'

Monday's meeting took place as the dust settled on a 2-0 defeat in the final game of the season as Villa finished in 16th place in the Premier League table.

Faulkner said: 'We'd like to thank Alex for his hard work and efforts throughout this tough season.

'We are mindful of the club's need to
prepare thoroughly for the new campaign and for the new manager to be
able to begin working with the board so that he is quickly immersed in
these preparations and also in the long-term objectives of the club.

'Our focus now will be driven by these imperatives and we will update when appropriate.'

Fan-fare: Villa supporters let McLeish know what they think at Carrow Road

Fan-fare: Villa supporters let McLeish know what they think at Carrow Road

Fans called for McLeish to be shown
the door and for Paul Lambert to replace his fellow Scot during Sunday's match.

Throughout
a one-sided game, when the home crowd saluted their manager with chants
of 'There's only one Paul Lambert', the away section wasted no time in
echoing the sentiment.

On Sunday, Lambert, asked if he'd still be at Carrow Road next season, took an age to answer, and did not quash the speculation.

He said: 'It's a hard question to answer – let's wait and see.'

First-half goals by Grant Holt, taking his season's tally to 17, and Simeon Jackson earned an easy win for the Canaries.

Holt end: Grant Holt hit Norwich's first goal in a victory that ended a poor season for Villa

Holt end: Grant Holt hit Norwich's first goal in a victory that ended a poor season for Villa

Holt bundled in at the far post from a Bradley Johnson free-kick before Jackson intercepted Carlos Cuellar's back-header.

McLeish
said after the match: 'That was unacceptable but I still believe I can turn this club
around. It is frustrating to watch that sort of stuff and not easy. It's been torture.'

McLeish has had to contend with
slashing the wage bill, which he described as astronomical, and has been
deprived of several key players through injury or illness.

The likes of record signing Darren
Bent, key defender Richard Dunne and skipper Stiliyan Petrov have been
sidelined for lengthy spells and McLeish has had to put the accent on
youth.

McLeish always stressed it would be a
season of transition after replacing Gerard Houllier last summer, but it
was still a surprise that Villa only made sure of survival last
weekend.

Going close: Emile Heskey fires in a shot but Villa were to leave empty-handed

Going close: Emile Heskey fires in a shot but Villa were to leave empty-handed

Their tally of 38 points is actually one less than when McLeish was relegated with Birmingham last campaign.

Villa have also encountered their worst season in their history in terms of their home record in registering just four wins.

Lerner is now searching for a fourth manager in less than
two years.

Martin O'Neill quit in the summer of
2010 and Houllier had to leave Villa last summer on health grounds,
which led to McLeish's controversial appointment after leaving Blues.

Early bird: The Canaries scored quickly thanks to Holt and never looked back

Early bird: The Canaries scored quickly thanks to Holt and never looked back

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Garry Thompson: Graham Taylor sorted us and this Aston Villa team need the same

Graham Taylor sorted us and this Villa lot need the same, says Thompson

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UPDATED:

22:00 GMT, 25 April 2012

If I had looked at the trend before I joined, I would have seen the club was on a downward slide.

After Graham Turner signed me in 1986, I walked through the door at the Bodymoor Heath training ground and Gary Shaw said: ‘Gaz, you’re two years too late.’

I’d come from Sheffield Wednesday under Howard Wilkinson where it was regimented and I immediately thought Villa was too laid back. Too many players just doing enough.

Pressure is on: Alex McLeish knows he and Aston Villa are in serious relegation danger

Pressure is on: Alex McLeish knows he and Aston Villa are in serious relegation danger

Feeling the strain: Barry Bannan

Fear: Stephen Warnock

In need of a shake up: The Aston Villa players, including Barry Bannan and Stephen Warnock, know they are in a relegation battle

The writing was on the wall in pre-season. Mark Chamberlain and Lee Chapman, pals of mine at Hillsborough, came down to watch one of our warm-up matches and said: ‘Is that how you are setting up You’re going to struggle.’

And we paid the price. For that season we weren’t good enough. We were a bad group of professionals. I include myself in that. I didn’t score enough goals. Standards had been allowed to slip.

Warning: Former Villa striker Garry Thompson says the current squad need a shake up

Warning: Former Villa striker Garry Thompson says the current squad need a shake up

Villa are going down the same road now. The standard of players and performance has dropped lower and lower and that’s exactly what happened in my day. You need to change the mindset of the whole club.

After that season, the then chairman, Doug Ellis, called a meeting with the first-team squad and walked into the canteen with a big smile on his face. He introduced Graham Taylor, who began his reign by slaughtering the entire playing staff.

He hadn’t got around to me and I sat smirking in the corner as I watched others writhe.

He looked over and said: ‘I can’t believe I thought about buying you. You don’t score enough goals and you’re always injured.’ That wiped the smile off my face.

The next day when I went in, I could see Taylor and his assistant Steve Harrison waiting outside the building for me. Just as I reached the door the manager said: ‘I bet you live in a nice house. I bet it’s a big detached house on a new estate. Well done.

But what do your neighbours think when they see you drive to work’

I replied: ‘They think, “There’s Thommo, going training”.’ Taylor shot back: ‘No, they don’t. They think: “There’s that scruffy excuse of a footballer”. Go home and put your tracksuit on. Or trousers and a shirt. You are coming here to work.’

Making their views clear: Villa fans hold a banner in the stands in protest against manager Alex McLeish

Making their views clear: Villa fans hold a banner in the stands in protest against manager Alex McLeish

I replied: ‘This leather jacket costs more than the entire set of clothes you are standing up in.’

And Taylor replied: ‘That may be so, but if you turn up here in that jacket again, I’m fining you two weeks’ wages. It’s up to you.’ He went through that club like a whirlwind.

To be honest, it’s what Villa need now because if the worst happens they will have to deal with the expectation of being the club everyone wants to shoot down in the Championship — and I’m not sure they have the players who can cope with that.

The fans have been good. Very supportive. But even if we stay up, what happens if we lose the opening two matches next season

Alex McLeish is never going to get them onside. I keep hearing Villa are going to stick with the plan. What plan Tell us.

I think we’ll nick it. We’ll stay up. But it will be by default. There are serious issues that need to be resolved, otherwise this situation will deteriorate. And, believe me, you don’t want that to happen in the Championship.

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Darren Bent won"t give up on Euro 2012

Bent on course for full recovery as Villa star refuses to give up on Euro 2012 dream

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UPDATED:

07:54 GMT, 20 April 2012

Aston Villa striker Darren Bent has taken the first step on his road to recovery after ankle surgery by doing some light running, manager Alex McLeish has confirmed.

Bent went under the knife at the start of March and has made it clear he is still hoping to be fit for England's Euro 2012 campaign.

Road to recovery: Villa's Bent hasn't ruled out starring for England at Euro 2012

Road to recovery: Villa's Bent hasn't ruled out starring for England at Euro 2012

His progress was assessed this week by England's medical team at Villa's Bodymoor Heath training complex.

McLeish said: 'Darren is bang on course for a full recovery and we are all very pleased about this.

Three Lions: Bent is facing a battle to be fit

Three Lions: Bent is facing a battle to be fit

'The player himself is obviously delighted and he has began to do light running which is good news.

'He will continue to work under the guidance of (Villa doctor) Dr Ian McGuinness and the medical team.'

Bent had looked certain to be a part of England's summer campaign in Poland and Ukraine after establishing himself as a member of Fabio Capello's first-choice side over the past 12 months.

He has stressed his desire to play in a first major tournament after not being selected for the 2006 and 2010 World Cups and England failing to qualify for Euro 2008.

Villa's 18 million record-signing had netted 10 goals this season before the ankle setback.

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Randy Lerner gives Aston Villa players a pep talk

Lerner follows Morgan and Abramovich in talking to players as Villa look to end winless run

Aston Villa's Randy Lerner has become the latest club owner to give his players a personal pep talk.

Steve Morgan started the trend, entering the Wolves dressing room to warn Mick McCarthy’s under-achieving players.

Roman Abramovich was next, spelling out the price of failure to Andre Villas-Boas and Chelsea’s players at the training ground.

Pep talk: Lerner

Pep talk: Lerner

Now American Lerner has talked to Alex McLeish’s squad at the club’s Bodymoor Heath training base, giving Villa’s players what he hopes will be a morale booster ahead of back-to-back home matches.

Villa have not won at home since November 5, when two Darren Bent goals earned them a 3-2 victory over Norwich.

The club have dropped to 15th and are in danger of being sucked into the relegation dogfight.

And, as captain Stiliyan Petrov revealed, it seems as though the sound of McLeish’s voice is not enough for billionaire Lerner, who is nursing a 54million loss in the last financial year.

The midfielder said: ‘The chairman has been to the training ground quite a few times and he has been in a good mood.

‘He has tried to give positives to all at the club. We hope that this year we’ll be comfortable and next year we hope that we will kick off with a better start.

‘At the end of the day we have a chairman who is trying to run his books. He knows what’s right and wrong.’

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Darren Bent could feature against Arsenal – Alex McLeish

McLeish hopeful Bent will be firing on all cylinders for Gunners clash

Waiting in the wings: Bent could be fit to face Arsenal

Waiting in the wings: Bent could be fit to face Arsenal

Aston Villa are hoping Darren Bent will be fit for Wednesday”s home game with Arsenal after playing down his shopping excursion during Sunday”s defeat to Liverpool.

Bent missed the 2-0 loss at Villa Park with a thigh problem and some supporters voiced their displeasure at a picture posted online of the record signing buying Christmas presents during the game.

However, Sportsmail understands Villa are completely relaxed about the situation and are keeping their fingers crossed Bent has recovered in time to face the Gunners.

Villa manager Alex McLeish said: “We can”t gamble with Darren. He has to tell me he”s not feeling it (the injury) and say “I”m okay to start.”

“Then he”ll be back in the reckoning without question. He has got a thigh-cum-groin kicking strain. He came off the training pitch on Tuesday after having a shot at goal.

“When it”s not a clash between two players and they pull up, it means something else has happened and it can be quite serious.

“But the doctor seems to think he should be quite close to being ready for Wednesday. We”ll keep our fingers crossed that he is okay.”

Bent reported to the club”s Bodymoor Heath training ground on Sunday morning and underwent two hours of treatment.

He was told by the club”s doctors to go home, where he watched the majority of the Barclays Premier League clash with Liverpool on television. It was then that Bent decided to go shopping, which led to consternation from some supporters.