Fabian Delph’s recent departure to Manchester City confirmed the end of Martin O’Neill’s era. Delph was the last player that was signed by Martin O’Neill to leave the club. Delph arrived to Aston Villa from Leeds United for the 2009-10 season for an undisclosed fee. In the same transfer window, Aston Villa brought in Stewart Downing, Beye, Richard Dunne, Stephen Warnock and James Collins. Other transfer highlights from MON era included the arrival of Stiliyan Petrov, James Carew, Ashley Young, Reo-Coker and James Milner. MON was known for splashing the cash with Aston Villa frequently being high spenders in the Premier League. Unfortunately that did not necessarily translate into success.
Villa finished in 11th place, and 6th three times. MON era also included a trip to Wembley for the League Cup final and a very close top 4 finish in 2009-10 where Villa just ran of steam towards the end of March where consecutive poor results saw Villa fall to 6th place. Despite these disappointments, this was the time period in which I became a Villa fan and in hindsight, had been the most exciting.
MON signed some really exciting players, most were British and some were given ridiculous contracts and wages, but it did bring some degree of success. Because since then, Villa have mostly been fighting relegation and expectations have also changed for many Villa fans. Regardless, MON’s win ratio was 42.11%. This is far better than Gerard Houllier’s (35.29%), McLeish (21.43%) and Paul Lambert (29.57%). Perhaps it is finally time for Tim Sherwood to emerge as our next best manager.
Delph has now departed Aston Villa and with his departure also comes to departure of Martin O’Neill’s influence. There are still a few players who have worked with the former Villa manager, Clark and Agbonlahor come to mind. But MON’s spending and players brought in, no longer affect the club.