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Paul Lambert continues to pick very strange battles

Roughly one week after declaring what amounted to a brief cold war on local media, Paul Lambert has now decided to mount an offensive against popular former players. This is a very bad idea.

Michael Regan

Round about this time last week, Paul Lambert was at war with the local media. That chill seems to have thawed a bit (at least publicly) but the Villa gaffer seemingly hasn't tired of making very poor public relations decisions and has now decided to take on some of the club's most beloved ex-players.

Much like the situation last week, whether or not Lambert is technically correct is somewhat irrelevant. When you're the manager of a football club as high-profile as Aston Villa you have to play politics to some degree, at least until you've earned the right to do otherwise. And while I remain, to a certain extent, a Paul Lambert supporter, I think it's quite reasonable to point out that he's quite some distance from having earned the benefit of the doubt.

For the record, I don't agree with much of what those criticizing Lambert are saying. I don't think Villa's struggles are primarily down to a lack of experience or leadership, nor do I think that it's reasonable to write off his signings prematurely. Quite frankly, I agree with Paul Lambert that it's rather shitty of former players to turn public opinion against his signings and to come to some rather dramatic conclusions about the course of the season at a rather premature date.

But I'm also not the manager of Aston Villa. I have the luxury of being able to say pretty much anything I damned well please, and hoping that people agree with me. Paul Lambert doesn't have that luxury, and I don't know if he's quite realized that just yet. Despite the current state of things, Aston Villa is a huge club with a lot of fans, and they're not the least bit shy to tell the world how they're feeling. And at the moment, former players that have shown themselves to be very much committed to the cause are a whole lot more popular than Paul Lambert. It might not be fair, or rational, or even all that productive, but it's reality. These just aren't battles Paul Lambert can win, and given his current standing it's baffling that he'd choose to pick them.