Paul Merson has been pretty quiet on the fortunes of Newcastle United and his beloved Aston Villa this season.
With Newcastle in third and Villa 17 places behind with only one win and one point above the relegation zone, as well as losing to League Two Luton in the League Cup – Paul Merson has been kept in his box.
Back in February as he looked forward to potentially both teams scrapping it out in the Championship, he had plenty to say, including this.
Paul Merson 7 February 2016:
“Aston Villa are going to be the biggest club of the Premier League era to go down.
“People say Newcastle are a big club and they went down. They’re not as big as Villa. They haven’t won the European Cup. They haven’t won anything in 50-odd years!”
As to who is the biggest club is something for others to argue about but off the pitch there has been only one winner, the fickle Villa fans deserting and gates dropping under thirty thousand with whole sections of Villa Park closed off for the season, whilst Newcastle average over fifty thousand.
Interesting to see how the Villa fans react to their latest messiah, with an attractive local derby grudge match with Wolves to kick things off later this afternoon.
Paul Merson is clinging to the belief that Aston Villa actually have a really good team and they can win six or seven in a row now that Steve Bruce is manager. Whilst the Championship is much of a muchness with the majority of teams, there looks to be a lot more wrong at Villa than di Matteo being rubbish – Newcastle should have hammered them and then invited Villa to attack in the final stages, finally paying the price.
As for Steve McClaren, even Paul Merson can’t work this one out.
The Villa fan and former player questioning whether the Derby bosses think that since they sacked him last May, McClaren has got much better after proving a disaster at Newcastle United.
To be honest, I wouldn’t be surprised if Derby ended up finishing higher than Aston Villa, the Rams were still poor when Newcastle beat them but arguably they look to have better players than Villa. Hopefully both Bruce and McClaren will be still though fighting it out at the bottom of the Championship come May, proving themselves the cream of English Managers once again.
Paul Merson talking to The Star:
“Aston Villa have pulled a blinder appointing Steve Bruce. But he needs to start well or he will find it very, very difficult there.
“When you’re a Birmingham man and you don’t start well, you’re in major trouble with the fans. Alex McLeish will tell you that.
“Alex once told me he couldn’t believe how hard it was going from being the Birmingham manager to managing Villa.
“Steve has got the team. He just needs to get them over the line a couple of times and I could see them winning six or seven.
“The really strange one is Steve McClaren going back to Derby. I wonder how the fans will take that one? It’s one of the weirdest appointments ever.
“They only sacked him a few months ago. Do they think he’s gone away and got much better since? He hasn’t done anything!
“Something is not quite right at Derby and the owner needs to sort it out otherwise it could be doomed to failure again.”