Well, I don't think the jury can still be said to be out. Whatever happens this season, we can be sure that we have a team and a group of players full of pace, power and technique, fighting for us a lot harder than some fans have been fighting for them. A team with the ability to thrill us in a way we haven't really experienced since the eighties. Clearly, we could still go down - seems like we're going to be very dependent on Mahon, the central defenders and strikers always being fit. But I don't think anyone can now doubt the fact that Aidy can back up his brave words with actions. Cardiff are in trouble but it didn't stop them beating Leeds and it doesn't change the fact that we only need three teams to be worse than us to stay up. On the current evidence, I think we can be much more hopeful than at the beginning of last season and the big plus is that unlike last year's team this one will be better in a year's time.
Aidy told us that he wanted a revolution, that he wanted a different type of player: technique over experience and a different style of play. He told us it would work - that he could take our kids and a few free transfers plus the odd cash buy and mould an exciting side. Most fans doubted him, many disbelieved him and there was a lot of anger at the risk he was taking with our club. Many thought it was a risk to ditch our good ol' boy journeyman pros.
I believe that what we've seen so far this season proves Aidy was right. He can create something special here and if he does, we are very, very lucky to have this opportunity. There were times during the Cardiff game when it was like watching a Championship version of Valencia under Benitez. For me, there were moments of genuine euphoria in the way we played. I mentioned previously Aidy's man management skills in equipping Al Bangura with the correct coaching, tactics and psychology to handle a central midfield role in our crunch game agianst Stoke last year, but what about what he's done to Marlon King. Marlon worked with him for four weeks at Leeds and that was enough for him to join a club hotly tipped for relegation just to play for Aidy. Most fans, myself included, didn't expect much from Marlon; we thought he was just another talented kid who'd lost it. But at the same time, we knew if he rediscovered his form, HH could become a distant memory. Aidy has clearly given Marlon what he needs to get back to what he was before. The man is playing as if his life depends on it...and in many ways, it does. This is the season that will make or break King as a footballer; he knows it and he's come out fighting. I think Aidy deserves a lot of credit for that and the fact that he cost (so far) £1.3m less than HH. Aidy said last year we were too dependent on one striker and he was right. Now we have a seriously mean strike force, plus spare cash in the bank. It's also great to see the criminally under-used Ashley Young being equipped to fulfil his potential - it's like watching Barnes, Blissett and Jenkins all over again.
Yes, we have weaknesses; yes, they will be exposed and yes, we might go down but I love this team, not just the club but the guys out on the pitch representing our hopes and fears right now. I love this white knuckle ride, I love watching our young guns rip apart journeyman Championship defences. I want to be part of it. So thank you, Aidy, for taking this club, shaking it up and giving us some quite marvellous football, the likes of which we have been starved of for too long. Thanks for taking me back to the eighties and making my pulse race like it did when i was fourteen. And good luck, mate, a lot of us are right behind you!