I hope this isn't too much inside knowledge, but we writers here email and chat with one another all day to keep up with the latest Aston Villa news. This morning I woke up and saw the Gary Gardner loan announcement, and asked Kirsten if she was getting it. She said that she was (you can click on that link and see her take) but that I could grab the news about Aston Villa heading to Portugal.
Well, I thought it was interesting that Villa would announce their summer training plans so early, but yeah, that is interesting news. Imagine my surprise when I found out that Aston Villa are actually headed to Portugal between now and their next match on February 23. With the coming weekend devoted to the FA Cup around England, Aston Villa found themselves with time on their hands. You may remember the FA Cup as the competition in which the club lost 1-2 at Villa Park to Sheffield United, who currently sit in 22nd in League One and are beginning to wonder what League Two is like.
So, with the weekend off due to an appalling performance in early January, Paul Lambert decided that it was time for the team to take a nice working-vacation to the sunny climes of the Iberian peninsula. They will be training as if it were any normal week at Bodymoor Heath, but they'll be doing so while having the chance to kick back and sip on a glass of Vinho Verde in the evening. When asked why he thought the trip was necessary, Lambert said, "We've decided to give them a break. They deserve it for all the work they've put in. We'll go and work hard."
Now look, the tone of my writing may suggest that I'm infuriated by this particular move. I'm not. There may be something to be said for getting out of the country a bit, changing things up, and possibly working on chemistry by traveling together. In the grand scheme of things, it would be almost impossible for this to have any negative impact, and there is the potential for something to be gained. So sure, why not?
The problem here is that the trip is a bit tone-deaf. Villa have been playing like rubbish lately, with the exception of the Liverpool and West Bromwich Albion matches. Fans are getting antsy, as fans are wont to do when dealing with the fourth relegation battle in as many seasons. And while there is enough buffer for the club to think that relegation is only a slim possibility, things look pretty down right now. So taking the lads off on a sunny vacation just misses the mark a bit on putting forward a good public face.
But again, there is no reason to get worked up over this. It's not a dumb thing to do and it could be a good thing for the team. It's just hard not to be a little irked. Or maybe that's just the view of a guy sitting in a city waiting to get 5-10 inches of snow who would really love a trip to Portugal right about now.
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