So that’s it then, not a single player signed in a window that has to rank as the worst ever for Aston Villa FC.
And while most of us knew we wouldn’t be pushing the boat out because it doesn’t make financial sense, I doubt anyone thought we wouldn’t sign anybody.
Least of all the manager Remi Garde.
I’ve seen people commenting that they thought Garde was complicit with Lerner and the board keeping the purse tightly shut, with words such as “puppet” being used, but that’s a viewpoint I can’t subscribe to.
I’m confident that even though he knows the true situation better than any of us fans, he must surely have thought he would get some money to play with.
Not serious money, but at least enough to get a couple of players in; enough to try and convince the players he’s called out that they have competition.
Enough to at least let him be able to do his job and show the current players that they might not necessarily get a game.
And it’s not just that.
What message is this sending out to everybody?
I can’t see any other than we’ve 100% accepted defeat and
Which we all know is happening anyway, but that’s not the point.
A club of our stature should not be holding it’s hands up and surrendering meekly the way we have and as much as certain ex assistant managers might call us fans deluded, it’s simply true.
No, we don’t have a divine right to be in the Prem, but we do have a right to expect the club to at least try and remain in it.
Which is where the finances comes back into it.
The simple comparison is this;
The club spent around £7 million in the summer.
Yes, I accept Lerner has actually laid out more (Benteke staged payments etc), but he’ll get it back, so it doesn’t count as a net spend.
Whereas Middlesboro have just laid out around £11-12 million for Jordan Rhodes. I don’t have a clue what Boro spent in the summer, but that one player alone has easily beaten our spend for this season. And he’ll be on realistic wages.
Which all makes me feel embarrassed, as a fan of one of the richest clubs in the world.
And then there’s our new chairman.
Anybody who knows anything about the game would know that you need signings to inject some hope into the club and it’s fans.
And while it might not exactly be prudent, sometimes it’s more than just about the pound notes, hence you’d have thought he might want us to at least sign someone too.
But no, he’s now proven what we all thought, in that he’s come in with a pure remit, which is to maximise the shareholder’s return.
There’s a very valid argument that says you have to pay inflated fees and more importantly, the inflated wages that goes with them, in the winter window. Hence, any money spent might be wasted if we were to get relegated, especially where we’re already trying to cut costs.
And it’s an argument that I can’t disagree with.
But one thing I do know.
Two other clubs who go down with us, will have tried.
Even the next lowest spenders at the bottom of the league spent £5 million.
Christ, even Bournemouth have spent £17 million from what I’m seeing!
Are we really saying we can’t compete with the likes of them?
It would seem so.
Whichever way you look at it, that’s simply not good enough and I don’t believe it’s something Garde signed up for.
So while I’m not Garde’s biggest fan, I have a lot of sympathy for him at the moment and it really wouldn’t surprise me if he walks, as it seems to me he’s been totally mis-led.
But at the same time, I have a lot of respect for the man in the way he’s handled himself whilst slating the board as much as he reasonably can.
So I’d expect it to happen at the end of the season.
Eric Black as the next manager, anyone?
At least he’ll be cheap, won’t he?