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Lock Up Your Stars. It's Big, Bad Manchester City

Lock Up Your Stars. It's Big, Bad Manchester City

Good grief. From liddle ciddy to the big bad wolf of English football inside a couple of years! In a bizarre outburst, Aston Villa's chairman accuses The Blues...

...of violating rules, no less. The rules we think Randy Lerner's gone into one about under shrieking Das Daily Mail headlines this Sunday appear to be to do with making a repeat bid for a club's player. Some kind of unwritten gentleman's agreement or does a hard and fast rule exist? The player in question being The Villans' England International James Milner.

'Big, bad Manchester City came along and asked for Milner and we said, 'No, he is not for sale.'...under the rules you have to respect that. And Manchester City respected that for two whole days. And then they violated the rules and came in for him again.'

Serious stuff.

Outside of comments made in previous weeks by Martin O'Neill and Roberto Mancini regarding Milner, a couple of facts are clear.

I'd 'wager' (sic) that the vast majority of football fans haven't got a clue what goes on amid agents, players, boardrooms, banks and lawyers in this stratospherically salaried era, but we've an idea it's all a far cry from being holier than thou.

Secondly, Randy has only been in English Football for four years. Roughly the time it took for the departed O'Neill to establish Villa as a top flight force for him. So there's a strong chance that when Lerner's players became famous under O'Neill's guidance, other football clubs would pursue them, so maybe Randy shouldn't be so shocked by repeat bids.

He does hint at a confused state of mind by then saying:

'Who knows if Milner is going to go? Kevin MacDonald just came up to me and said, 'Ask for more money.'

So does he want City's money or not? Blues know precisely what it is like to be a selling club. When offers come in that you cannot refuse. Stuart Pearce, for all his touchline jestering kept City in the Premier League a few seasons ago on an incredibly tight budget and thanks to the sale of the then livewire Shaun Wright-Phillips to Chelsea, our stay in the top flight since 2002 was just about preserved.

Randy Lerner is obviously intent on ensuring that Villa are not perceived in that light, even though everybody in the game knows that they operate on a different planet to the stoney broke City of 2006:

'We are not a selling club. A selling club is when you let it be known that you want to sell a player, through an agent or whatever. That didn't happen with Gareth Barry and it didn't happen with James Milner either. As for Ashley Young, he was never going.'

I suppose the answer is then, don't sell!

Milner looked happy enough at Villa Park against West Ham after a brutally jaded World Cup and if a recent VMC Forum poll is anything to go by City fans aren't that bothered if he signs for us or not:

Time to pull the plug on Milner?

Pull the plug: 75%
Wait and see: 25%
Do what it takes to sign him: 0%

So there you have it Randy. Kevin MacDonald, by your own admission thinks somewhat differently. Blackburn relished Mark Hughes' dementedly obsessive repeat bids for Roque Santa Cruz last year and now it's possible you'll be getting Stephen Ireland into the proposed Milner bargain.

That said, were City to 'Walk Away Renée,' I don't think too many City fans would be that arsed.

Yet above all else the Villa Chairman's words today serve to confirm that 'big, bad City' have rocked Premier League boardrooms to their foundations.

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

Writer:Johnny Baguette
Date:Sunday August 15 2010
Time: 10:22AM


Interesting comments, at an interesting time. I suspect this is rather more of an attempt by Lerner to deflect attention away from the curious fact that the manager of his team walked out on him 5 days before the start of the season. Blame City and the baying hounds of the media will return to their betes noir and thus Mr Lerner avoids any inconvenient questions as to why MoN left. And if Villa are not a selling club, why then did Mr Lerner publicly state that money from player sales would be required for any future incoming transfers? I also think it's rather interesting that Mr Lerner is criticising us for our transfer tactics at a point where the Ireland/Milner swap deal is virtually done amidst rumours that the caretaker manager has urged him to ask for more money. Negotiating tactic? Almost definitely, and the fact that Villa are choosing not to pursue the matter with the FA would indicate that their case is perhaps not as strong as the headlines about Evil Man City would indicate.
15/08/2010 10:39:00
I think its more to do with the way you have conducted yourselves throughout the whole saga. Not meeting Villa's valuation of £30m, and trying to dictate what you are going to pay for him, letting the transfer drag on for weeks and weeks, not settling with Ireland (if he is owed money, cough up), then Mancini suggesting it may take another two weeks to complete?!?!?!?!?!?!? Thats just rediculous, and convieniently gives us no time to reinvest in the transfer window. Do you lot not remember how it felt when Chelsea kicked down your front door and took SWP ???? Man City are fast becoming the most hated club in the league - a club I used to enjoy and have a soft spot for. Not to mention the fact that it is pretty clear Mancini doesnt really know what he is doing going on yesterdays performance, Tottenham and Redknapp proved whole Heartedly that you need alot more than just bags full of cash to create a winnin team. You have sold your soul City.
15/08/2010 10:44:00
... oh ant not to mention the fact that you will ruin Milner as a player. And before you suggest otherwise; he just isnt going to play the 50 games a season he can play at Villa, and Mancini hardly looks like a master tactician or coach. I give Mancini until Christmas - just cross your fingers you dont get Martin O'Neill !!!!
15/08/2010 10:51:00
It's called haggling Stig, and as the old adage goes, it takes two to tango. If Villa were genuinely not interested in selling to us they could and should have walked away - after all, they rebuffed all attempts by Liverpool to take Barry off their hands, why not do the same over Milner if they were not seeking to make a healthy profit on him? As to not agreeing on a fee, are you seriously suggesting City should just open the cheque-book and pay whatever anyone asks for a player? We've already been taken for a ride on several players merely because everyone knows we have virtually unlimited funds, so I for one am delighted that our owners are playing hardball over this one. After all, even most Villans will agree that Milner is not worth anywhere near £30million! Once again, any delays in the deal are to neither club's advantage, as we want Milner bedded into our squad, you want Ireland plus the cash to reinvest. So to suggest that it's all our fault for delays in the transfer is so wide of the mark it's laughable. Fast becoming the most hated club in football? Heard it all before mate.
15/08/2010 10:57:00
Stig,what a silly bitter post,you come across as a little dim.
15/08/2010 11:01:00
pull the plug guys, we'd be happy to keep him!
The Fear
15/08/2010 11:03:00
After yesterdays performance what about big bad crap Manchester city?
15/08/2010 11:11:00
rotten82 - your wit is dim. Guess that would make you a dimwit. Now go crawl back under your rock and wait until we have our first set-back, then you can come out and have a jolly good laugh at us along with all the other hyenas. Bet y'all can't wait! ;-)
15/08/2010 11:15:00
rotter if you think that was bad and we came away with a point something no done for years. you need to go on the Wigan and baggies pages, now they were bad.
Buzz Lightyear
15/08/2010 11:22:00
As for Randy, I bet he didn't get rich by taking no for an answer . Grow up Randy.
Buzz Lightyear
15/08/2010 11:23:00
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