If Aston Villa sack Paul Lambert, I can genuinely say I would not care.
I've hung on to being pro-Lambert for way longer than a vast majority of Villa fans. I do not feel that way anymore, but I sit here writing this and still feel skeptical about whether sacking Lambert would do anything. Not because Lambert is any sort of incredible manager that needs to stay, more so because of the alternatives.
After the Crystal Palace match ended, my Twitter timeline flooded with tweets of "Lambert Out". Okay, sure, let's sack Lambert. Who do we bring in now? The general consensus was that "(Lambert) just needs to go". Before, I'm personally willing to call for someone's head, I need a viable name to set my sights on. And the key word in that sentence is "viable". I'd love for Villa to get Rising Star Bundesliga Manager X or someone like that, but to me that isn't viable. It's possible the club could lure a hot name, but it's unlikely. Would you take this job right now?
If Lambert was let go at this point in the season, the alternatives would be 1.) taking a flyer on someone with no experience at this level or 2.) a retread. While I'm not opposed to trying someone from the first option, is it really the best idea to try that with five games left in the season? Maybe it is, but if that backfired, it's gonna backfire in a big way. And if Villa hire a retread, then essentially you would be sacking Lambert just for the sake of sacking someone. And in my eyes, that's not, nor will it ever be, a good strategy.
Maybe there is someone out there that I'm not considering that would be a massive improvement. I can't think of anyone. Any actual name I've seen suggested would, in my opinion, be a minimal improvement, if an improvement at all.
There are Villa fans out there who want Lambert gone whose opinion I respect greatly. I have no doubt that those people understand that this season is probably a lost cause. Villa could get relegated, but it would take a lot for that to happen. At the same time, they're very unlikely to move up much in the table.
I also think there are a big group of people out there who think sacking Lambert is going to magically improve things. With Christian Benteke out, I'm not sure how well you can expect this team to play. I won't deny that the team can play better than they have, but Benteke is a key cog and a major loss.
If Lambert is out at the end of the year, I won't complain. It's probably the right move. (Again, provided the right person comes in, but I'll stop with that.) But right now, I'm just not convinced. Sacking Lambert now would be a panic move, and the last time Villa made a panic move, we ended up with an Alex McCleish. No matter how bad you think things are right now, they're not worse than when McCleish was here.
I do not expect to convince anyone with this piece. Just want to remind everyone to be careful what you wish for.