Game #5213

2011-12

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Position:

16th

Premier League

Norwich City

Carrow Road

Attendance: 26,803

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Villa end a most difficult season with just seven wins in thirty eight Premier League games as Alex McLeish's tenure ends exactly as many predicted but no one wanted.

Norwich City

2-0

Aston Villa

Scorer(s) | None

Assist(s) | None

AT A GLANCE

Game #5213

Season | 2011-12 |
Matchday | #44 |
League Game | #38 |
Manager Game | #44 |
Sunday, 13 May 2012

MATCH SUMMARY

Manager | Alex McLeish |
KO | 3.00pm |
Referee | Martin Atkinson, West Yorkshire |
HT Score | 0-2 |
FT Score | 0-2 |
FT Result | Lost |
Last 5 Games | LLDDL |

MATCH OFFICIALS

Referee: Martin Atkinson
Assistants: Dave Bryan, Glenn Turner

MATCH INCIDENTS

Martin Atkinson

Villa

🟨 | 🟨 |

Norwich City

🟨 |

🟨 | Booking
🟥 | Sending off
💥+ | Incidents e.g. penalty awarded

💥- | Incidents e.g. penalty conceded, goal disallowed

💥 | Incidents e.g. refused clear pen

🆘 | Notably poor refereeing performance    

TEAM STATS

Team Cost:
| £43.79m |

Starting XI Average Age
| 28.52 |

Oldest Player |
GK Shay Given | 36.09 |

Youngest Player |
CB Ciaran Clark | 22.73 |

TEAM NEWS

James Collins and Gabby Agbonlahor replace Alan Hutton and Charles N'Zogbia.

UNAVAILABLE

Injury | 5 |
M Jermaine Jenas |
M Fabian Delph |
F Darren Bent |
RB Alan Hutton |
F Andreas Weimann |

Illness | 1 |
M Stiliyan Petrov |

Loan | 1 |
M Jean Makoun | Olympiacos Piraeus |
28 Aug 11 - 30 Jun 12 |

MATCH STATS

Possession F | 43%
Possession A | 57%
Shots F | 11
Shots A | 19
Shots on Target F | 7
Shots on Target A | 10
Corners F | 6
Corners A | 9
Fouls F | 10
Fouls A | 6

MANAGER

Alex McLeish

STAFF

Assistant Manager: Peter Grant
First Team Coach: Gordon Cowans
First Team Coach: Andy Watson
First Team Coach: Kevin MacDonald

STARTING LINE UP

GK Shay Given |
LB Stephen Warnock |
CB Richard Dunne |
CB James Collins |
CB Carlos Cuéllar |
CB Ciaran Clark |
RB Eric Lichaj |
M Chris Herd |
M Stephen Ireland |
F Gabriel Agbonlahor |
CF Emile Heskey |

SUBSTITUTES

M Barry Bannan for M Chris Herd | 46’ |
M Gary Gardner for CB Carlos Cuéllar | 66’ |
CB Nathan Baker for LB Stephen Warnock | 81’ |

UNUSED SUBSTITUTES

GK Brad Guzan
W Charles N’Zogbia
F Nathan Delfouneso
M Samir Carruthers

THE OPPOSITION

GK John Ruddy, CB Russell Martin, RB Kyle Naughton, CB Ryan Bennett, M Bradley Johnson, M Wes Hoolahan, M Elliott Bennett, M Simon Lappin, M Jonny Howson (M Andrew Crofts), CF Grant Holt (ex) (g) (CF Steve Morison), CF Simeon Jackson (g) (CF Aaron Wilbraham).

Manager: Paul Lambert.
Team Cost: £11.26m

ex: Also played for the Villa

g: Scored

s/o: Sent off

s-: Sub off; s+: Sub on

ON THIS DAY

Alex McLeish's Villa end the campaign without a win in ten, on their lowest points tally since another unpopular Scot, Billy McNeill, took Villa down in 1986-87.

In setting such an unwanted record, McLeish had masterminded 14 losses and 18 draws in a 38 game season.

The irony however was that up until April 2012 McLeish’s record was actually better than that of his predecessor however the last eight games of the campaign - having lost skipper Stiliyan Petrov - were simply torrid and a respectable 15th, in a more competitive League than 2010-11 and with the same points gained as under Gérard Houllier, became 16th, no win in eight and once again an escape from relegation on the penultimate game of the season.

Nobody would chose to be in a second successive relegation fight of course, however, from an objective point of view up until April the campaign had been an improvement.

A manager who, in total contrast to his predecessor, wanted to be there - however much a huge swathe of fans understandably didn’t, oversaw a partial rebuild and galvanisation of a squad recovering from the destruction of the previous manager.

That Villa had to deal with a huge injury list not only in numbers but also in influence and quality was just another reason to have cut some slack.

But equally the football was often poor and overtly negative even in the better days and the manager’s provenance was never forgiven.

It was right to part ways of course but the season itself deserves an objective re-evaluation away from the knee-jerk reaction to an unpopular appointment.

The final eight games were inexcusably bad, and a season of standing still became a season of unwanted broken records of failure. However, taken as a whole, what had come immediately before and what would soon be upon Villa was immeasurably worse.

Off the field an increasing culture of disconnection grew between the leadership of the club and the fan base and had led to two successive appointments of the wrong managers, at the wrong time, for the wrong club.

The Villa hierarchy then simply couldn’t get a third successive managerial appointment wrong and a significant chunk of Villa fans had already made clear their favoured candidate sat in the opposition dug-out.

Centre back Richard Dunne made his final appearance for Villa aged 32 before moving on to Queens Park Rangers on a free transfer in July 2013. Dunne would miss the entire 2012-13 season through injury having made 111 appearances and scored 5 goals for Villa.

Centre back James Collins made his final appearance for Villa aged 28 before returning to West Ham United for £2,880,000 in August 2012. Collins made 108 appearances and scored 6 goals during his 3 seasons with Villa but would be sold by Paul Lambert on his arrival as Villa’s new boss.

Centre back Carlos Cuéllar made his final appearance for Villa aged 30 before moving on to Sunderland on a free transfer in July 2012. Cuéllar made 121 appearances and scored 3 goals during his 4 seasons with Villa.

Centre forward Emile Heskey made his final appearance for Villa aged 34 before retiring from football. Heskey made 110 appearances and scored 14 goals during his 4 seasons with Villa.

Right back Stephen Warnock made his final appearance for Villa aged 30 before moving on to Leeds United on a free transfer in January 2013. Warnock was a solid player who served Villa well over his 3 seasons and 101 appearances during which he scored 3 goals, however he was treated abominably by Gérard Houllier and later by Paul Lambert both of whom ostracised Warnock from first team consideration and considerably weakened the defensive options of the team.

Emile Heskey can't help Villa to a first win in ten on his and Alex McLeish's final appearance as Villa end the season with just seven wins in thirty eight Premier League games, Sunday, 13 May 2012.

Source: avfc.co.uk/news/2012/05/13/match-report-norwich-2-0-villa/

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Source: avfc.co.uk/news/2012/05/13/match-report-norwich-2-0-villa/

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MATCH TIMELINE

8’ Goal, 0-1, (Norwich City), Grant Holt
21’ Goal, 0-2, (Norwich City)
HT Norwich City 0-2 Aston Villa
46’ Sub off, Chris Herd, Sub on, Barry Bannan
54’ Booking, Ciaran Clark
66’ Sub off, Carlos Cuéllar, Sub on, Gary Gardner
81’ Sub off, Stephen Warnock, Sub on, Nathan Baker
87’ Booking, Stephen Ireland
FT Norwich City 0-2 Aston Villa

MANAGER WATCH

POSITION

2021-22 Matchweek 38.jpg

MATCH PROGRAMME

MATCH PROGRAMME

Quotation Marks.png

QUOTES

“That was an unacceptable performance in Aston Villa colours and I have to change that, and there will be change,” said McLeish, a controversial appointment to replace Gérard Houllier, who left Birmingham City following their relegation last season.

“I cannot accept that because I have been used to winning trophies all of my career as a player and a manager. I might not have had the riches to spend of other managers but I believe I can turn Aston Villa round by adding quality and players who are going to work their socks off.

“I am not a quitter. I can totally understand the fans’ frustrations and I am the man who carries the can for the performances, but it is also frustrating for me to watch that kind of stuff. I am the guy who is responsible for results and am the one who is going to get hammered.

“I accept that and it happens to any manager. It is up to me to turn the opinion around and I will do my best. I have to get a team in that Villa jersey with winning mentality and I can change the fans’ opinion.”

Alex McLeish.

Villa Boy.png

Quotation Marks.png

*BBC Sport*
Sunday, 13 May 2012

"Norwich capped a superb season with an easy win over Aston Villa that heaps more pressure on manager Alex McLeish."

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*Norwich capped a superb season with an easy win over Aston Villa that heaps more pressure on manager Alex McLeish.*

Canaries striker Grant Holt bolstered his unlikely claim for a Euro 2012 place, bundling home a free-kick at the far post for his 17th of the season.

Simeon Jackson pounced on Carlos Cuellar’s mistake to tuck away from close range and double the hosts’ lead.

Villa were then indebted to goalkeeper Shay Given, who made several saves to keep the score respectable.

McLeish was relentlessly booed by the visiting fans throughout a defeat that rounded off a miserable first season in charge at Villa Park for the Scot.
It was also a fitting end to Norwich’s triumphant campaign, as the dominant hosts sealed a 12th place finish in the table.

Villa ended up 16th on 38 points - their lowest tally since 1987 under Billy McNeill.

Although they mathematically secured their survival in this match, it was not a day for celebration and Villa’s final position just two points above the relegation zone makes grim reading.
Injured England striker Darren Bent was conspicuous by his absence, failing to the make the bench amid reports he is set to be fit for Euro 2012.

It meant the spotlight fell more sharply on Holt, who remains unfancied to win an international cap despite being the Premier League’s second highest-scoring Englishman this season.

The striker notched his 15th league goal of the campaign after eight minutes, diverting home Bradley Johnson’s free-kick at the far post with an unorthodox combination of chest and shoulder.

The Canaries soon scored again when Cuellar marked his final appearance for Villa with a defensive howler.

The Spanish defender unwittingly headed Ryan Bennett’s pass straight to Jackson, who was denied by Given from six yards but then tucked away the rebound.

Given had to be alert to thrwart Jonny Howson, Simon Lappin and Elliott Bennett as Norwich repeatedly cut through Villa’s midfield and backline at will.

The only noteworthy Villa attack of the first half was Eric Lichaj’s 20-yard strike tipped wide by John Ruddy.
They started the second half in much brighter fashion, as Ruddy was called upon to deny Emile Heskey and Stephen Ireland.

But Norwich soon reasserted their superiority and Jackson was unlucky not to grab his second goal when his rasping 20-yard drive was palmed away by Given.

There was more trouble for McLeish when Cuellar appeared to be unhappy at being substituted in his farewell game.

The beleaguered manager’s luck was summed up when Gabby Agbonlahor’s strike was expertly tipped on to the post by Ruddy, another Canary who has staked a claim for an England place after an outstanding season.

There was a celebratory mood inside Carrow Road at the final whistle as the home fans hailed Paul Lambert - and keeping hold of their manager will be the Canaries’ most important task of the summer.

Meanwhile, McLeish is set to meet Villa owner Randy Lerner this week with even greater uncertainty over his future.

---

*The Guardian*
Monday, 14 May 2012
By Stuart James

Alex McLeish’s sacking is at least one decision Aston Villa got right

Aston Villa’s owner, Randy Lerner, has made two disastrous management appointments. He cannot afford another

There is a sense of deja vu at Aston Villa. A little less than 12 months after Gérard Houllier’s brief and thoroughly underwhelming reign as manager came to end, Alex McLeish drove out of the club’s Bodymoor Heath training ground for the last time on Monday, sacked on the back of a season that proved to be even more disastrous than the one that had gone before.

Villa, in other words, have got two managerial appointments wrong in quick succession. They can ill afford to make it a hat-trick.

In the case of Houllier, there were mitigating circumstances, with Martin O’Neill’s decision to walk out on Villa five days before the start of the 2010‑11 season leaving the club high and dry when it came to scouring the market for a replacement. Houllier, however, still felt like a left‑field choice. He had not managed in the Premier League for six years and had suffered serious health problems in the past which would resurface later in the season and contribute to his early departure in June last year.

What followed was a mess. Villa invited Steve McClaren for an interview but then cancelled on him after an angry backlash from supporters on message boards. Next they tried and failed to lure Roberto Martínez from Wigan Athletic. And then they made the decision which is still hard to fathom to this day, not because McLeish was with Birmingham City, Villa’s arch rivals, but because he had just suffered his second relegation in three Premier League seasons and was synonymous with a negative brand of football that leads to draws and a lack of goals.

Villa, in short, got what it said on the tin when they gave McLeish a three-year contract last summer. Although McLeish is an amiable man and has handled the abuse he has received this season in a dignified manner, the brutal truth is that his teams are boring to watch. Villa won only seven Premier League matches all season, managed just 37 goals in 38 matches and finished with 38 points, only two more than relegated Bolton Wanderers.

Randy Lerner, the club’s owner, has not been able to visit Villa Park on many occasions this season but he watches matches on a live feed from the United States and has sat in frustration at the depressing events unfolding in front of him. Last month, however, Lerner had first-hand experience of just how bleak things had become on and off the pitch at the club, when he dropped in to Villa Park for the game against Bolton. Villa lost 2-1 and the supporters directed ferocious abuse at McLeish. It was the tipping point for Lerner.

He made the decision to stick with McLeish for the final three games of the season but it was never going to be any longer. McLeish’s position had become untenable. Attendances had plummeted, the fans protests were loud and clear and results were calamitous. Two points were collected in the games against West Bromwich Albion and Tottenham Hotspur to drag Villa over the line before the season finished with an abject display against Norwich City which sealed McLeish’s fate. “Brutal” is how one club insider described the performance at Carrow Road.

Villa had to act and they did so swiftly, cutting McLeish loose less than 24 hours after the season ended. Lerner and Paul Faulkner, the club’s chief executive, got that decision right and now they must follow it up with an appointment that will galvanise and revive the club and give the supporters something to cling to after two miserable seasons. Lerner admitted as much in the statement that accompanied confirmation of McLeish’s dismissal yesterday afternoon.

“We need to be clear and candid with ourselves and with supporters about what we have lacked in recent years,” Lerner said. “Compelling play and results that instil a sense of confidence that Villa is on the right track have been plainly absent. The most immediate action that we can take is to look carefully at our options in terms of bringing in a new manager who sees the club’s potential and embraces our collective expectations.”

Villa are still putting together their shortlist but they want a young and hungry manager who will reinvigorate the club, which should be music to the ears of the club’s fans. Martínez, who is the early favourite, Brendan Rodgers at Swansea City and Norwich City’s Paul Lambert would all appear to fit the bill, and it is possible an appointment could be made as early as next week.

Hiring and firing managers has become an expensive business for Villa, who revealed in their last set of accounts that they spent £12m in “exceptional charges” in 2010-11 relating to changing the club’s “management personnel”. McLeish’s sacking will come at a cost and it looks likely that more compensation will have to be paid to another club for their manager. It has never been in doubt that Lerner is willing to put his hand in his pocket for Villa. What he now needs to do, though, is recruit a decent football manager.

*Norwich capped a superb season with an easy win over Aston Villa that heaps more pressure on manager Alex McLeish.*

Canaries striker Grant Holt bolstered his unlikely claim for a Euro 2012 place, bundling home a free-kick at the far post for his 17th of the season.

Simeon Jackson pounced on Carlos Cuellar’s mistake to tuck away from close range and double the hosts’ lead.

Villa were then indebted to goalkeeper Shay Given, who made several saves to keep the score respectable.

McLeish was relentlessly booed by the visiting fans throughout a defeat that rounded off a miserable first season in charge at Villa Park for the Scot.
It was also a fitting end to Norwich’s triumphant campaign, as the dominant hosts sealed a 12th place finish in the table.

Villa ended up 16th on 38 points - their lowest tally since 1987 under Billy McNeill.

Although they mathematically secured their survival in this match, it was not a day for celebration and Villa’s final position just two points above the relegation zone makes grim reading.
Injured England striker Darren Bent was conspicuous by his absence, failing to the make the bench amid reports he is set to be fit for Euro 2012.

It meant the spotlight fell more sharply on Holt, who remains unfancied to win an international cap despite being the Premier League’s second highest-scoring Englishman this season.

The striker notched his 15th league goal of the campaign after eight minutes, diverting home Bradley Johnson’s free-kick at the far post with an unorthodox combination of chest and shoulder.

The Canaries soon scored again when Cuellar marked his final appearance for Villa with a defensive howler.

The Spanish defender unwittingly headed Ryan Bennett’s pass straight to Jackson, who was denied by Given from six yards but then tucked away the rebound.

Given had to be alert to thrwart Jonny Howson, Simon Lappin and Elliott Bennett as Norwich repeatedly cut through Villa’s midfield and backline at will.

The only noteworthy Villa attack of the first half was Eric Lichaj’s 20-yard strike tipped wide by John Ruddy.
They started the second half in much brighter fashion, as Ruddy was called upon to deny Emile Heskey and Stephen Ireland.

But Norwich soon reasserted their superiority and Jackson was unlucky not to grab his second goal when his rasping 20-yard drive was palmed away by Given.

There was more trouble for McLeish when Cuellar appeared to be unhappy at being substituted in his farewell game.

The beleaguered manager’s luck was summed up when Gabby Agbonlahor’s strike was expertly tipped on to the post by Ruddy, another Canary who has staked a claim for an England place after an outstanding season.

There was a celebratory mood inside Carrow Road at the final whistle as the home fans hailed Paul Lambert - and keeping hold of their manager will be the Canaries’ most important task of the summer.

Meanwhile, McLeish is set to meet Villa owner Randy Lerner this week with even greater uncertainty over his future.

---

*The Guardian*
Monday, 14 May 2012
By Stuart James

Alex McLeish’s sacking is at least one decision Aston Villa got right

Aston Villa’s owner, Randy Lerner, has made two disastrous management appointments. He cannot afford another

There is a sense of deja vu at Aston Villa. A little less than 12 months after Gérard Houllier’s brief and thoroughly underwhelming reign as manager came to end, Alex McLeish drove out of the club’s Bodymoor Heath training ground for the last time on Monday, sacked on the back of a season that proved to be even more disastrous than the one that had gone before.

Villa, in other words, have got two managerial appointments wrong in quick succession. They can ill afford to make it a hat-trick.

In the case of Houllier, there were mitigating circumstances, with Martin O’Neill’s decision to walk out on Villa five days before the start of the 2010‑11 season leaving the club high and dry when it came to scouring the market for a replacement. Houllier, however, still felt like a left‑field choice. He had not managed in the Premier League for six years and had suffered serious health problems in the past which would resurface later in the season and contribute to his early departure in June last year.

What followed was a mess. Villa invited Steve McClaren for an interview but then cancelled on him after an angry backlash from supporters on message boards. Next they tried and failed to lure Roberto Martínez from Wigan Athletic. And then they made the decision which is still hard to fathom to this day, not because McLeish was with Birmingham City, Villa’s arch rivals, but because he had just suffered his second relegation in three Premier League seasons and was synonymous with a negative brand of football that leads to draws and a lack of goals.

Villa, in short, got what it said on the tin when they gave McLeish a three-year contract last summer. Although McLeish is an amiable man and has handled the abuse he has received this season in a dignified manner, the brutal truth is that his teams are boring to watch. Villa won only seven Premier League matches all season, managed just 37 goals in 38 matches and finished with 38 points, only two more than relegated Bolton Wanderers.

Randy Lerner, the club’s owner, has not been able to visit Villa Park on many occasions this season but he watches matches on a live feed from the United States and has sat in frustration at the depressing events unfolding in front of him. Last month, however, Lerner had first-hand experience of just how bleak things had become on and off the pitch at the club, when he dropped in to Villa Park for the game against Bolton. Villa lost 2-1 and the supporters directed ferocious abuse at McLeish. It was the tipping point for Lerner.

He made the decision to stick with McLeish for the final three games of the season but it was never going to be any longer. McLeish’s position had become untenable. Attendances had plummeted, the fans protests were loud and clear and results were calamitous. Two points were collected in the games against West Bromwich Albion and Tottenham Hotspur to drag Villa over the line before the season finished with an abject display against Norwich City which sealed McLeish’s fate. “Brutal” is how one club insider described the performance at Carrow Road.

Villa had to act and they did so swiftly, cutting McLeish loose less than 24 hours after the season ended. Lerner and Paul Faulkner, the club’s chief executive, got that decision right and now they must follow it up with an appointment that will galvanise and revive the club and give the supporters something to cling to after two miserable seasons. Lerner admitted as much in the statement that accompanied confirmation of McLeish’s dismissal yesterday afternoon.

“We need to be clear and candid with ourselves and with supporters about what we have lacked in recent years,” Lerner said. “Compelling play and results that instil a sense of confidence that Villa is on the right track have been plainly absent. The most immediate action that we can take is to look carefully at our options in terms of bringing in a new manager who sees the club’s potential and embraces our collective expectations.”

Villa are still putting together their shortlist but they want a young and hungry manager who will reinvigorate the club, which should be music to the ears of the club’s fans. Martínez, who is the early favourite, Brendan Rodgers at Swansea City and Norwich City’s Paul Lambert would all appear to fit the bill, and it is possible an appointment could be made as early as next week.

Hiring and firing managers has become an expensive business for Villa, who revealed in their last set of accounts that they spent £12m in “exceptional charges” in 2010-11 relating to changing the club’s “management personnel”. McLeish’s sacking will come at a cost and it looks likely that more compensation will have to be paid to another club for their manager. It has never been in doubt that Lerner is willing to put his hand in his pocket for Villa. What he now needs to do, though, is recruit a decent football manager.