Michael Bradley’s New Home?

Michael Bradley is a physical away from playing at Aston Villa.  Say what you want about Landon Donovan, in my eyes, Bradley is the United States Men’s National Team’s best player.  Bradley had been at Borussia Mönchengladbach (and technically he is still there because this is just a loan), but after the World Cup, he should have moved to a better club.  Gladbach, once Bayern Munich’s sole competition in the Bundesliga, is getting relegated this season; there is no question about that.  While Bradley does not have the skill set to play at a Manchester United or a Chelsea (or a Bayern), he deserves to play at a mid-table team in one of the top leagues–England or Germany definitely, Spain and Italy perhaps not so much.  England is probably the ideal place for Bradley because the physicality of the game suits his brash, in-your-face (dare I say American?) style.

Aston Villa is a decent side, despite its thus far annus horribilis.  The club has shown some improvement in the past few weeks, and most likely will escape relegation.  Next season Villa should (hopefully) be able to challenge for a spot in Europe, although when I say Europe, I mean second-tier Europe and not the Champions League.  The resignation of Martin O’Neill at the beginning of the season put Villa in a really bad situation, and the understandable chaos and poor form following that drama and the appointment of Gérard Houllier has not helped in the instant-gratification culture of the EPL.  Villa and Houllier need time to rebuild (otherwise you have problems like Liverpool, Newcastle, and Saudi Arabia), but time is not an abundant commodity in football these days.

But this begs another question.  Villa is in Birmingham, the United Kingdom’s second largest city.  Villa was a founding member of the original Football League way back in 1888.  There is a significant fan base, and the club has a proud history of success.  So why has Villa been so mediocre with no relief in sight?  Sure it won the European Cup in the early 80’s and has not been relegated since the founding of the EPL, but it also hasn’t even come in second in the EPL since the 1992-93 season (i.e. the first season.)  I understand that the EPL has been dominated by a certain club from Manchester, but even with the dominance of United, why is Villa not even competitive anymore?  If someone can explain, please tell me.  I am very curious about this.

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