I'm sure this will come as a shock to many of you, given my previous staunch support of recent persona non grata Gérard Houllier, but it's time for Aston Villa to sack manager Gary McAllister.* Certainly, the Scot has only had a little more than 90 minutes to patrol the touchline at Villa Park, but we've seen all we need to in order to collectively call for his head on a pike. Allow me to explain:
Think back to April 17, 2011. Aston Villa had just defeated West Ham United on the strength of goals by Darren Bent and Gabriel Agbonlahor. The team showed the pluck, determination, and ability to finish that have made the First Team of the Second City one of the greats in English soccer. Additionally, the Lions had walloped the Hammers 5-1 on aggregate for the season, proving who the rightful owners of claret and blue were and earning a measure of revenge for what was surely a fixed race in the 19th Century.
After putting these ghosts to rest, it seemed a sure thing that Villa would beat the godless partisans of Stoke City this weekend at Villa Park. But with Gary McAllister at the helm, something went awry. Villa began the weekend in the upper half of the EPL, playing some of the most exciting soccer most of us had seen all season. Now, it's a surprise that I can even work up the anger to call for Gary's ouster considering how boring his team was on Saturday. I should still be asleep after watching that bore of a match.
But even worse than a game of bad soccer are the implications for Aston Villa's future. As noted above, the team began the weekend in the upper half of one of England's premier soccer league. Now? They find themselves in the bottom half of the table, a mere seven points from relegation. The team is playing their worst soccer of the season, they sit within spitting distance of the Championship, and they've made no moves to correct this. Sure, we got a point on Saturday. But is that really how you want your club to play? It's time to make the move, and fire Gary McAllister.
*As should be abundantly clear by this point, this is satire. I wouldn't call for McAllister's head until he's managed at least two matches.