The Doc's Diagnosis; Lead, follow, or get out of the way

Everything that needed to be said about the thumping defeat on Sunday has been said. Everyone's had their say. I agree with some, and I disagree with many.

A team doesn't collapse on tactics, trust me. You don't boss a game for 20 minutes, and then end up losing 6-0 because the manager has got it wrong. That doesn't happen.


And I'm not interested in adding to the hundreds of comments about formation, tactics and blah blah blah, Villa's problem is a problem of leadership - at every level. Every level.

And as the Japanese say: the fish stinks from the head.

Mr. Lerner - tell us please your vision for our club. Are we to challenge for the Champions League? Or, is our vision to be the best financially-managed club in the country? Do we want to be the best team in the Midlands? Are we happy with the Europa League providing we get it every season?

I have no idea because you haven't told us. Perhaps the fans - and there are very many of us - would get behind you if you would only let us in in your vision for our club. Our club.

No leadership at the top

And in the dug-out?

You'd think that at a World Cup where 4-4-2 was finally put to bed with the dinosaurs, Kevin Mac may just have been a bit less naive than to play it at St James' Park, against a side who were always going to be up for it. Albrighton rested, Young on the right, Reo-Coker sitting with Petrov, Ireland in the hole, and maybe disaster averted.

But the big point is this: where was the leadership from the bench? When the game turned Newcastle's way, I saw nothing. No response. And I'm on record as being a K-Mac supporter.

No leadership at all

And leadership from the captain? I'm a Petrov fan - everyone knows that. But he was as anonymous and absent in midfield as he has ever been on Sunday, and - once the Toon went ahead - surrendered to Barton. It's easy to say he was outnumbered as a result of our 4-4-2 set-up, but Stan is the club captain and our most senior pro ... he should have seen that and worked with the bench to correct it. Club captain ... what would Gerrard have done?

Leadership's also vital from senior players when "kids" are on the field. What's your assessment of the example set by our "senior players" on Sunday? John Carew looked disgracefully casual and disinterested to me (again, in my view); Ashley Young (who must now see himself as a senior player) put more energy into arguing with officials than into taking up dangerous positions (and was offside at least 437 times, which means he's also thick); Warnock looked as if he couldn't care less, and Richard Dunne seemed to be auditioning for The Keystone Cops.

Great examples. Eh?

Back to my main point. Leadership. None on the board. None in the dug-out. And none on the field. Unless that's corrected, you can argue all you like about transfers and tactics. It ain't gonna happen.