The other day, I noticed a parallel between Martin O'Neill and Paul Lambert: Both spent a fair amount of time talking about how they needed more money for transfers from Randy Lerner. I noted that O'Neill seemed to have earned it through successful managing but Lambert was more justified in asking for it.
But the current manager has taken another step to distance himself from one of the most reviled names amongst Villa fans. He has assured us that, given the choice, he won't leave Villa even if he doesn't receive the transfer funds that he's looking for. When he was asked if he had given any thought to leaving the club if he isn't given the money, he answered, “No, that’s never crossed my mind."
To many fans, I'm sure this will be an almost laughable sentiment. They won't want him to stay, so this attitude will be seen as Lambert offering to do what no one asked. But there is a very real chance that Lambert will be asked to stick on for another year, and if that happens it's good to know that he won't leave the club in the lurch like MON did.
And it's worth remembering that Lambert has a very good reason to want more money. For two years he has run Villa under very tight budgetary limitations and has, by most accounts from the club, achieved exactly what was asked of him: survival. In his answers to questions from Cartilage Free Captain, Aaron said something that really resonated with me. He was asked if he thought Villa should replace Lambert and responded:
He was given the near-impossible task of completely rebuilding the squad from the ground up with a very strict wage budget and pretty meager transfer funds. He's slashed the wage budget, brought in some decent young players that will likely have decent Premier League careers, and hit the lottery with Benteke (and perhaps Okore.) That he's managed to keep Villa in the top flight is genuinely impressive. He's made mistakes and it's hard to see him being the man to restore Villa to its former glory respectability, but he's done pretty much all he's been asked. If Lerner's sticking around and prepared to spend again, it would be a pretty classless move to sack Lambert
The emphasis was added by me. Lambert has done what was asked of him and it would be pretty reprehensible if Lerner fired him for following orders. He's earned the right to ask for more money, and if he doesn't get it and still sticks around that would be a pretty incredible show of loyalty.
I'm still not convinced that Lambert is the best thing for the club, and I'm not going to be heartbroken if he gets the sack. But it's nice to know that, despite some difficult times, we can at least count on him not to MON us.