It's one of the biggest cliches in sports: the moment a coach gets the "vote of confidence" from a club's owner, you can begin the countdown on the end of their career. Today Paul Lambert got just that from Randy Lerner, and the immediate question becomes: just how sincere was the statement?
In the statement released today, which you can read in trumped-up PR form on the official website, Lerner said:
Our manager has been faced with some unexpected issues that could have very easily set the Club back. In watching him handle matters, along with our Chief Exec, I've seen total loyalty and commitment to Aston Villa...
Yet in the past couple of days, Lambert has seen his tenure come under the strongest protest by fans yet and had his two most stalwart allies in the back room suspended for reasons that we have yet to hear. There have also been rumours of infighting at the club, as well as rumblings that Gabby Agbonlahor and Fabian Delph did not miss the Fulham match due to medical, but rather disciplinary issues.
Lerner, who doesn't often speak about the club, may be trying to calm everyone down. He may also be entirely sincere in expressing what appears to be a "Lambert will stay" sentiment. But there's a reason that the vote of confidence is so often associated with a quick downfall: it usually doesn't end too well for the coaches.
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- Villa suspend Lambert's lieutenants after alleged row
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- Thoughts from a "Lambert Out" skeptic