What’s Villa’s Missing Ingredient?

Terrace Talk

Over the last while it has been mentioned several times that some players wouldn’t want to come to Aston Villa. What is it that makes a team from London more attractive? Or any cosmopolitan place in England. Could it be the address? I hardly think so. Weather can’t be the problem as all of England is rainy in the winter. If it was weather alone, then Italy, Portugal, and Spain would be overrun with footballers.

The stadium has a perfect pitch, there is a strong core of fans (disgruntled at the moment with a few rays of light shining through), and the training facilities are, to use a worn expression, world class. Not to mention a young forward thinking manager.

Are the wages holding Villa back? Not really. Most bring their pay level with them. Is it the prospect of relegation, the lack of European football, or are they just shallow and will only back a winner with a Manchester or a Chelsea address the only outlet for their supposed talent?

Now I’m not talking about the players who by their talent alone demand the likes of the top 6 but the likes of a Clint Dempsey, or Milner, or Downing from Villa’s recent past. Is it something in the water that prevents a player bleeding claret and blue? Agbonlahor loves Villa, Bent professes to but I doubt it. Benteke thought he was going to London and Arsenal is the team of his boyhood. Why tell everyone that? That leaves me a little cold. Are they that mercenary? Can it be their agents looking after themselves over their clients’ well being? Looking for more money?

So what needs to be done for Villa to obtain that mystique to become a desired address in the minds of footballers? I would think Villa’s history would entice players but they seem to read from a script when new additions talk about “playing for a huge club like Villa.” In the back of your mind you feel they are just using Villa as a stepping stone for some perceived future glory somewhere else.

Well, freedom from relegation would be important, one would want to play in the Premier League. But also wouldn’t one want to be part of the re-building of the team?

Could it though, be the teams around Villa who are in the doldrums, treading water or slowly sinking through the leagues? West Brom excluded right now as their flame is burning bright. Would a healthy Birmingham or Wolverhampton bring players to Aston Villa due to a higher level of competition or rivalry in the city? Or to look a little further afield to Coventry or Leicester? Hard to tell.

In my opinion, given the current state of affairs, the tack that Aston Villa has taken with youth and academy graduates is the best way to go right now. Developing a love of the team along with their skills as footballers. Giving youth from abroad a go in a Premier League team and instilling some kind of loyalty in them. Astute scouting being a given, I see the team spirit growing and an all-for-one, one-for-all environment building. It is fun to watch the team grow.

Although some experience is needed right now, buying players like Martin O’Neill did, past their prime, high wage, and a can’t-teach-an-old-dog-new-tricks mentality, has been proven to be counter productive. As Villa improve, I would hope Trinity Road will become a desired address for players. It would create a situation where Villa have a pick of several players instead of players with the upper hand in negotiations.

I hope the team treats these players well (I think they are) and gives them reasons to stay at Villa. It would be quite depressing to see them leave after developing here. There has to be a way to make them claret and blue to the core. Is Aston Villa on that right track?

A bright future awaits Villa if an exciting atmosphere and good coaching can be offered along with a strong feeling of belonging to the team.

About the Author

Avatar of Ian Gibson

Ian GibsonI'm an Aston Villa fan who lives in Magna Bay BC CanadaView all posts by Ian Gibson →

  1. The DroydThe Droyd13-12-2012

    Yes Ian – Youth is definitely the way to go. I read recently that the average age of our team is 24. That’s pretty young as an average but I am happy with Lambert’s approach. The missing ingredient is quality. Do these youngsters have the raw talent to make it as proper Premiership players? A few maybe but not the majority. Lambert will no doubt sell on the ones that clearly aren’t going to make it whilst continually investing in quality younger players.

    Unfortunately Birmingham is perceived by most as a total shithole. Which, largely speaking is true if we are being honest. You have to know the place to realise its strengths. Some of the suburbs of Birmingham are fantastic. Edgbaston has some of the finest Georgian houses in the country. Moseley, Solihull and Sutton offer a good standard of living to a wealthy footballer. Birmingham’s restaurants are the finest outside of London. It is surprisingly one of the greenest cities around. There are more trees in Birmingham than any other city in Europe. It has its strengths.

    Lets’ face it though – it’s not a patch on the amenities of London. What has Birmingham got to offer that you can’t get better in London? I am struggling with that one. Any suggestions?

  2. steamersteamer13-12-2012

    Hello Ian,
    That is a fantastic article. Iv’e often wondered the same thing, only Big Ron has been able to attract the calibre of player that the so – called top clubs would chase. As you say, we have everything here to offer, except as Droyd mentioned, the image of our city. The people who slate Birmingham are usually the ones who have never visited it and know f**k all about it. We have more Michelin rated restaurants than Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle and Leeds combined, within half an hour we have some of the most beautiful countryside in England, the media ignore all our positives.
    Pre – war, ANY player would have given his right arm to play for Villa, unfortunately we went into decline and under Herbert showed no ambition for our potential, our only chance of joining the elite on a permanent basis was employing BR and Herbert f**ked that one up.
    We have real people in Birmingham, Its amazing how many ex players return to live here when they retire.

  3. The DroydThe Droyd13-12-2012

    I was born in Brum but have only been living here since 2006. I am a big fan. Yes it can be ugly but I continue to find gems. I only recently discovered Bournville. I’d obviously heard of it but had no idea how lovely it is until I visited friends last weekend. Brummie surburbia should not be underestimated just because much of the town centre is unplanned and ugly.

    When New Street is complete it will be less ugly and have more of a 2nd city feel. The biggest John Lewis store in the country will be opening right there. It’s good news.

  4. Graham O'GaraGraham O'Gara13-12-2012

    Think our whole philosophy under MoN was a turn off to most players.

    Money, Location, Style of football, Success, Manager, History, Direction or the club and the media perception all play a part in this.

    I’m afraid Villa are not media darlings and I’m afraid footballers are not the brightest people in the world. (Generalisations of course there are exceptions, Joey Barton not being one of them)

    The type of player we want to attract under Lambert is the young potential… What brings in young potential? Money? If you name is Sturridge then yes…. but if you sign people who are only coming to you because you offered the most you are in trouble. I do feel when you’re talking about Westwood, Benteke (who are definatly the type we want to keep attracting) i feels it more about the style of player, the chance to play and the chance to develop… Sure we may be seen as a stepping stone… at the moment if you look at it from out side the Villa box it is only pragmatic for someone like Benteke to see us as that… but if we raise our game there is no reason we can’t keep him. If we offer players the chance to improve and showcase their skills on the EPL stage and they can see the this is not just something we say but something we do (take a look at the team now for example… very young) then this goes a long way to attracting this type of player.

    They want to improve and play, we get the benefits of that if they stay or leave for an inflated fee…

    Established pro’s may see the lights of London as an attraction, but again really if all they are interested in is living in London is it someone who really has their priorities right?

    I am happy where we are at, we are not paying out silly wages and the young players we seem to be attracting are coming to Villa for the right reasons… if they see us as a stepping stone… it’s good for us… they will want to do well… thus the team does well… I don;t want to see the Sturridges of the world coming in or the Downings of the world coming back… They’ve had their chance are had their heads turned by the apparent greener grass of the bench at Chelsea and Liverpool…

  5. FremFrem13-12-2012

    i really think the likes of lowton and westwood joined because they were very proud to be wanted by villa. benteke i think will use us as a stepping stone

    there will be plenty of youngsters around europe who would be more than happy to move from there club and play for villa if they new we were interested. not guys from madrid or barca but youngsters from holland or mid table french sides. as long as the guys have ability its fine. we desperately need some creativity

  6. FremFrem13-12-2012

    doesn’t even matter if we get someone from a side bottom of the league, as long as the player we are getting has something about him

  7. B6toBrasilB6toBrasil13-12-2012

    Morning Lifers

    Ian a very good selection of topic,and well written.I don`t think it is Brum itself,because with their salaries players have their pick of some lovely villages and market towns all around the city.It is the football 1st and foremost.Yes young lads between 23/27 want to live in London,especiallly foreign players,this is where Fulham,West Ham have an advantage over us.Sorry Steamer,stop reading now-London is a fantastic city,I lived there for many years.Like anywhere it`s not everyone`s cup of tea though.
    Graham,above has covered most of what I wanted to say.Yes we may be a stepping stone for some,but then most clubs are.Players are just employees chasing the dollar.All clubs are like bus stops,players get on and off continually.That`s the nature of the beast,it`s the club I love,not the players,don`t get attached to them.
    Sturridge?I can`t think of a more “unPL” type player if I tried.Plays for himself,selfish,thinks he`s world class.Plus we`d need to widen the changing room doors to get his head in.No,I like the way the club is developing.Good young players,do well? A contract extension and better money.Want out?Ok you are young we`ll get more than our money back,close the door on your way out.
    CB`s agent will be in the papers around March giving the press the “he`s unhappy in Brum/missing his family/dislikes the food line”CB will deny it and say he`s happy,in the summer he gets a good pay rise and stays for another 16 months or so.Come on lads we`ve all seen this routine before haven`t we?
    Over the years Ajax have sold their best players,Berkamp,Cruff,De Boers,Rijkaard,Overmars and dozens more.Thta`s football,it`s a business,are Ajax not a great club?.The difference between PL and previous managers is that he will sell when it suits the club at the right price.It `s one thing to be a buyer of good players but you have to be a good seller too.PL has only had one window so far.I wager that AVFC will be unrecognisable in 2014,from the Villa we used to know,on AND off the pitch.Loving what PL is doing at the club.COYVB.

  8. gordonsidneygordonsidney13-12-2012

    I don’t think its just the attractions on London. Players are quite happy to go to Manchester and several French players are at Newcastle. Some are happy to play in Russia in one of the most violent regions on the planet. The problem is with the way the game has developed thanks to the money pumped in by Murdoch and co.
    Football is no longer a level playing field. For the past ten years Arsenal have been one of the so-called Top Four. They cannot keep their players, four have gone to Man City (almost certainly for the money) and Van Persie has gone to Man U (glory and money). Spurs too are having problems keeping any “superstars” (Modric off to Real, Van der Vaart to Germany, Bale off somewhere soon). So if Arsenal are a “feeder” club, so is everyone else except the Mancs and Chelski.
    We are doing the right thing in reducing wages and promoting youth but unless the game changes dramatically and is no longer dominated by mammon we will continue to see our best players (Young, Milner, Barry, who we ourselves signed from other clubs) go to “bigger” (ie wealthier) clubs.

  9. B62 VillaB62 Villa13-12-2012

    Ian, I am born and bred in Brum, the wife is from the black country(sedgley) and I unfortunately have to work there, in West-Bromwich and that really is a shithole. I love brum, and have been all over the world, I always end up back here, having been to alot of britains cities, Brum IMHO is better than , Newcastle, Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield, Bristol etc etc. All cities have shitholes in them , but it’s the other stuff that makes them . London if you have the kind of money these players have is another world. They can blend in with all the other millionaires, and due to its size it does have more to offer, throughout history footballers especially foreigners have been drawn to it likes flies round s**t.
    Unless Manure or Liverpool came knocking or the likes of Man city or in the past Newcastle/Leeds and Villa paid up huge wages, they really didn’t like to go anywhere else.
    To get this club back at the top table will cost an awful lot of money, more than we have or are willing to spend. Will we ever get into the CL? Prob not, not unless we are bought out by an Abramovic style owner. We should aim for top 6 though, but again we will need to spend alot of money. I agree with Droyd we are missing quality in every area. We need another quality centre half, 2 midfielders/creative player and another striker. This is the bare minimum, we won’t get all this in jan, I think we may only bring in 2 players and they will be gambles like altidore. This is why we can’t get up to the top levels of English football, we don’t have the money, and money rules the roost up there in the top 4. We struggle to attract players because we are in another relegation battle(3rd year running), and are only out of the bottom 3 on GD. Players won’t come if they think they will drop out of this league. We have to scout smart and get what we can, but it has to be of a higher standard than what we already have.
    We cannot afford to be in this position next season, alot of fans are just not buying into the ethos of doing it on the cheap and scrapping for survival, as success.

  10. The DroydThe Droyd13-12-2012

    B62 – I also have to work in West Bromwich. And you’re right – it’s a total hellhole.

    I am here right now. I can’t think of anything going for it, other than a pub called The Vine.

  11. B62 VillaB62 Villa13-12-2012

    Whilst on the works chrimbo bash last night, I ended up having a Bet with a Tesco bag. £20 on us finishing 12th or higher. Now I don’t know if we can get that high, alot depends on jan, but you just can’t back down to the great unwashed. I feel realistically we will flit between 15-18 all season, unless we get some real quality in. Should have given the £20 to acorns instead ;).

  12. B62 VillaB62 Villa13-12-2012

    The Vine has great food and isn’t too bad for an Albion pub. But in a town where Tescos is seen as a miracle and that has a giant pink turd of an art gallery, it is a shinning beacon.
    Where abouts do you work in WB, Droyd?

  13. The DroydThe Droyd13-12-2012

    I am inbetween Oldbury and West Brom. Right by Sandwell and Dudley train station. You?

  14. B62 VillaB62 Villa13-12-2012

    The Ling, by the tram stop, not far from the new college. I do love laughing at the natives, there’s some proper freaks wondering around in B70

  15. The DroydThe Droyd13-12-2012

    I am always completely freaked out when I go into Sainsburys Oldbury. I look around and think to myself. “They are all mongs. Every single one of them. I must get out of here. I must stick to internet shopping”.

  16. B6toBrasilB6toBrasil13-12-2012


    I get what you say about quality,but PL has only had 1 window so far,and after 3 windows we will have a better idea of what PL is all about.We do need quality all over the park,but with this window lark(,which is restraint of trade can`t believe no one has challenged it in the courts)it`s a case of getting buy until the window opens.
    I don`t think we need that much money to progrees,but as you allude to,to make that jump to the top 4,that is when you need your top draw players,that change games.The players that turn your 1-1 s into 2-1s.The game is constantly changing.Did we ethink Liverscum would be outside the top 7?Never I had them rammed down my throught by the BBC et al for 2 decades.Arsenal too look mere mortals now,so ther is always hope that we can do it,the CL,I meanI am quietly optimistic about the club,more so now than any time in the last few years..That`s the one thing I have under PL …..hope,I was devoid of any such thing for the last 2 years.COYVB.

  17. The DroydThe Droyd13-12-2012

    We are a million miles away from the Champions League. We are in a relegation fight.

    Everton, Spurs or Arsenal could get that 4th spot.

    I’ll take staying up and a trip to Wembley for this season and next year perhaps we can aim at the top half.

    A trip to Wembley would be awesome. Please let it be Bradford in the semis!

  18. B62 VillaB62 Villa13-12-2012

    12th and Wembley would be a massive success. When is the semi draw?
    I understand Lambo has only had 1 window, but this next one could decide our future. We could be back in the bottom 3 sat, if Benteke picks a knock up we are right up s**t street. We are only 1 or 2 injuries away from being a real poor side, however a couple of signings could see us become decent.

  19. TrinityTrinity13-12-2012

    Hello all.
    Good subject, Ian.
    The only thing I don’t like about Brum is BNS and some of their lousy staff. That will improve after the renovations, hopefully. That aside, Birmingham has a lot going for it. I’m speaking from an outsider’s point of view. Birmingham is a major transport hub. It has good accommodation options, great food and I’ve found the people to be friendly and down to earth. It also has a small city feel to it. I like that, doesn’t take too long to get to gems like Warwick and Stratford.
    London isn’t far away and is one of the world’s great cities. It’s just a lot richer, which is why many footballers prefer it there. Brum’s just too small for them. And the money…
    There’s many a good comment here tonight.

  20. RobRob13-12-2012

    Ian, the fact is that very few players bleed the colours of the club they play for. Gabby is a Villa fan, so is Albrighton and I get the distinct impression that Weimann and Bannan have a very strong connection too.

    Why would any player from outside of these shores feel any particular affection for AVFC, or any other club. They may well have a connection to a club that has been successful in their formative years. Too many, encouraged by their agents, want an easy path to success, and if that means playing for a Manure, Real Madrid, Barc etc. then that’s the route they’ll take. Even Liverpool struggle to attar ct the really top players, and Arsenal will find themselves in that same bracket if they can’t ensure Champions League qualification again this season – they will struggle to get them in January too because of where they sit in the league right now too. So they are going to have to do it with what they’ve got and themn try and recruit in the summer.

    Yes, there are players who will come to Villa from abroad as either a stepping stone to a ‘bigger’ club – clubs that have been successful over the past 10 years or so. It would be easier for us if we had a shout of a top 6 place every season, but right now we aren’t there. It is a long road back, and Lambert and the club will have fight on their hands holding on to some of the players they have bought and are developing, but let’s worry about that when the time arrives. Right now most of the players will be on 4 year contracts and so we have at least a couple of years to push on, and I’m sure that the club will monitor those contracts and improve them as they feel they need to, meaning that any clubs that come calling for Benteke (for example) in the near future are going to have to pay silly money for him. Can you imagine the club letting him go for less than £20m in the summer if his rate of progress continues? I can’t, not for a second.

    I also think that the likes of him probably realise that for the next few years at least he is best served by getting regular 1st team action and further exposure at VP. If Lambert can get us int the top 10 by the seasons end (and I stil don’t think that this is an impossibility) then there will be players who will see what’s happening and what’s possible.

    Are we concerned about winning trophies year after year, or do we take satisfaction from being competitve and good to watch with honest to goodness lads in the side? I’d hate to be a Man City fan right now, and I say that without a hint of irony at all. Imagine how disappointed the likes of them must feel when they don’t get a trophy or two when it is expected. Would any of them have got the same joy that most of us felt at the win over Norwich? That feeling will happen to us more often o ver the next few years than the joy they will get from winning a Trophy once a year.

  21. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey13-12-2012


    Semi draw next week.

  22. B62 VillaB62 Villa13-12-2012

    Cheers matt.
    Let’s hope we get a favourable draw :)

  23. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey13-12-2012

    Agree with Rob about the satisfaction of winning too – like he said, would we have been as happy winning against Norwich if our entire team was full of £50m players? Or would we just have expected to smash them?

    There is a lot of enjoyment to be had in the experience of seeing a new project being built, and this is why I was so glad to see Lambert appointed.

  24. steamersteamer13-12-2012

    London ought to be a great city with the sums of money the government throw at it. Birmingham subsidises Walthamstow Council rents, WTF ? The Labour mob gave them the Millenium Dome and Wembley against all opinion, don’t like the place or the smarmy gobshites who infest it. Liverpool, city of culture ? city of denim more like, Cherie Blairs decision, Newcastle, slag heap in more ways than one, Manchester copies everything that Birmingham does except the government pay for their version, Leeds is OK.
    Must say though i always enjoy a day out in West Brom, enjoy the culture.

  25. churchillchurchill13-12-2012

    Morning Ian,

    I was born and bred in Great Barr – on the Beeches Estate, to be exact – and remember my childhood with great affection. It was a world apart from how kids grow up now and I don’t envy them.

    In those days, if you grew up north of the Bull Ring you were a Villan, south of it you were a nose. generally speaking. They tell me it’s different now; less territorial. Football was played at three o’clock on a Saturday afternoon, Christmas day and Boxing Day. I watched my football on the Witton terrace with the away fans and there was never any trouble. There were plenty of wags (and I don’t mean Wives and Girlfriends) in the crowd and all you ever wanted to do was go to Villa Park on match-day and watch the Villa win. Happy days.Rose-tinted specs? Maybe, but that’s how I remember it.

    But, in football, as in life, things change, and we have to adapt.. If we don’t adapt we die. That’s what history teaches us.

    The first piece of good news is that Randy Lerner has decided to adapt – he’s learning from his mistakes. To all young Villans out there I offer this counsel: don’t be afraid to make mistakes, simply be sorely afraid of not learning from them. Martin O’Neill, for example, is a manager who believes he does not make mistakes, therefore he cannot learn anything; he’s in the process of becoming pre-historic.

    That’s the tricky part: sticking to you principles yet being able to adapt. Ron Saunders was the first, perhaps only, great Villa manager I’ve known. Would he be successful today? I’d like to think so. Lambert operates in a similar fashion to Saunders and that’s why I think he will be successful. You build from a secure base with a team that gives 110% (that was in the match-day programme every week – a Saunder’s principle), no “Big Names”, just players with talent who gave everything for the team. He tolerated no cr*p in the dressing room, which is why I’m so pleased to see Bent handled this way.

    I believe in Lambert, and, because he’s the owner who appointed him, I’m beginning to believe in Lerner. Do not believe that Villa cannot achieve greatness – any team can – because it’s about more than money. It;s about character and resolve.

    Think on.

  26. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey13-12-2012


    I imagine that is how we got to be Villa fans as a family generations ago as up until my Dad left home (and his 15 siblings), we were all from Lozells/Newtown on the north side of the Expressway.

  27. churchillchurchill13-12-2012

    Fifteen Aunts and Uncles!! What a Viking your paternal grandmother must have been. Plus your granddad must have had some lead in his pencil

    Great Christmas and birthdays I would guess.

  28. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey13-12-2012

    Indeed, sir.

    As for my Nan – diminutive, yes, but one hell of a ruler of the family. At 4’10″ or so, she was still probably one of the most ferocious women you’d ever meet.

    I imagine that was the reason why my Dad’s Dad was tired in the end – someone should have invented TV earlier!

    We are a massive family though to be fair in terms of that level – I often go to gatherings and have no idea who certain people are till Dad points out that is my cousin’s kids or whatever who I’ve never met before.

  29. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey13-12-2012

    Quite the opposite of my maternal grandmother who, being Irish, had been a lot more soft spoken and was a lot more like my Dad’s Dad – very laid back despite having a fairly horrendous standard of living before she came to England.

    Anyway, enough of my family history – I’m sure that isn’t the most exciting thing we can talk about.

  30. churchillchurchill13-12-2012

    My parents were from Lozells too. I remember the bombed-out houses in Burbury St. after the war when I visited my gran. Seven kids she had in a two up-two down back-to-back terrace house, shared kharzi, a boozer on most corners and every one had someone who could play the piano.

    Kids today don’t know they’re born. Ten to a bed we were, bread and drip’ for lunch and hand-me-downs from the elder brothers and sisters. Outside loo shared with half of Brum and no bathroom. Kids today don’t…. Ah, who cares?

  31. Ian GibsonIan Gibson13-12-2012

    Thanks for the replies fellas. It’s nice to see we are all like minded today. It’s how I feel too. It`s funny how we can`t see the forest for the trees regarding our own home town. I have been guilty of dismissing Calgary for other more hospitable climates only to realize that there are hundreds if not thousands of people living here for the ice, snow, and cold. Especially Aussies. I worked with an ice climber and he hated summer until he bought a harley.
    Top four for us, at least in the near future won`t happen. Unless a minor miracle like WBA that is happening this season. As you have posted, this is the most enjoyable way of watching the club improve. I have no doubt that Villa will reach the top six but how long it takes depends on how quickly our young players progress. Just don`t blow everything up and start over.

  32. Ian GibsonIan Gibson13-12-2012

    My Mom`s mum lived on Marsh Lane just down from Streetly. My grandfather built a bomb shelter in the back yard and Mom remembers the theatre being bombed up the street. I remember outside biffies at some of my Dad`s friends. This was the house I first lived in. Then Metlin Grove in Alcocks Green. 1957 saw us move to Canada. The human aspect of AVL is interesting. Sharing your backgrounds is nice.
    I was thinking, with such a big family and a grandmother at 4`10“, and not recognizing half your relatives, any chance Barry Bannon was in the mix.

  33. churchillchurchill13-12-2012

    I suspected as much, Ian. Turvey has always had a soft spot for Bannon. It’s one of his cousins. My great-grandmother was Irish – County Cork – I always think it’s not possible to be a Brummie and not have Irish blood in you. I once had a bar in St. Ives in Cornwall and I had an Irish customer who used to refer to B’ham as “one of the colonies”. Vast numbers came over and they all seemed to work on the building sites, of which there were many. Ansells and M&B were built on Irish fondness for a sherbet or two.

  34. Tim O'HanlonTim O'Hanlon13-12-2012

    Lift the league cup and climb the table after Christmas and you will see players wanting to play for Villa! If not, I’d expect more of the same which thus far has been very decent to be fair to PL!

    I actually consider us very lucky at the moment. We are doing pretty much exactly as Newcastle did..only we managed to escape relegation and therefore will have an easier rebuilding process! Next summer will see the back of Dunne, Warnock, surely Hutton and probably one or two other high earners who don’t do anything to justify their wages. This will allow Lambert hit the drawing board and really have his side on the pitch…I think only then will we really see where we are going.

    In Lambert I think we have done really well and I can see him at Villa for quite a long time, he is going to have cash, facilities, a massive club, his own team, pretty much the run of everything so if it works out for him why would he move on? I can’t see Chelski, City, Arsenal, Liverpool, Utd coming in for him so where is he going to go??

    It’s a long road ahead but a good one and I’m looking forward to the journey!


  35. churchillchurchill13-12-2012

    “Villa backs campaign calling for return of football stadium terracing”

    This a headline from the B;am Mail. Interesting idea. Waddaya think?

  36. Ian GibsonIan Gibson13-12-2012

    I stood at a game in 1969. It was a different feeling than sitting. Can`t really put my finger on it. As long as they don`t bring darts, why not.

  37. steamersteamer13-12-2012

    Hello Tim, hope you enjoy your stay on here, have you heard of Frem ? he’s our antidote for happiness.
    Its only the scousers that are against standing, as long as they bring the pricing down its a must.

  38. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey13-12-2012

    Yes, welcome to the site Tim – enjoy your stay, sir!

  39. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey13-12-2012


    They are trying to get it trialled in the Holte so it won’t affect me as I don’t sit there.

    Each to their own – I personally prefer it how it is as I can stand if I like. I know the “safe” sitting idea has rail seats so they could be down but from what I understand they are generally locked in an up position when used as a “terrace” setting.

  40. NicoNico13-12-2012

    Interesting, reading about peoples family backgrounds and where they were brought up. My ancestors family name was Aston, they were all from the area, and I presume that is where the name comes from. My Granddad was on the board at Villa a very long time ago, hence my Dad was a Villa fan, and so am I, and so is my son. Although I was born in the area, my parents moved away, down to Cornwall, when I was just 2 years old, and whilst I still have some affection for the area I only go back to visit family or go to Villa Park.

    I do think that our clubs whereabouts does have a negative aspect in terms of attracting the best players. The North West has the Cheshire belt where loads of top players live, and London is definitely the biggest attraction for young guys with millions to spend. I think we are a poor relation by comparison, but that doesn’t mean we can’t attract good players, but I do believe it would prevent us from signing the very best, so it’s probably a good job we can’t afford them anyway.

    As for our season, I’m really enjoying the Villa project under Lambert. I like this approach of building something sustainable rather than gambling like Lerner did with O’Neill. I just pray that we can ride this season out and stay in the premiership, because I genuinely believe that we will improve over the next few years if we keep building slowly, but positively. I think we were very lucky to get Lambert, let’s hope he can achieve his ambitions with us, then we’ll all be happy.

  41. steamers75steamers7513-12-2012

    Hi All another good write up Ian , anyway on about where you were brought up , l lived on Ada Road next the the temple of doom (st andrews) and used to wind them up even then , could never hack the blues ground and a mates dad used to take us down the villa l was about 5 when that started , couple of things l got up to in my teens , 1 on a friday night around 12 ish l would go round the ground with my little ladder and change all the turnstile prices .1/6d to sit in the seats and 2/6d to stand on their kop , they even stuck a copper who would walk all around the ground ‘ l used to follow behind him , watched him one night scratching his head when he looked around and saw the prices had changed and he nearly caught me as l could’nt stop laughing , only got away because l ran across the railway track , and another night l’d been on the sherberts in the greenway pub (15ish) and l had got hold of some claret spray cans and l went all round the ground spraying AVFC on all the gates , in the following weeks programe they had put a £25 reward for info , a young lad saw me walking home with the cans and luckily l saw him and had a word in his ear , met him once inthe 80s and he bought the subject up and told me he used to look out for me when l used to change the prices ,
    oh and another little gem , every week old doug would visit , was there when he drove into the gate parapet , villa thru & thru ! my arse !!…………..
    steamer are we meeting up saturday mate ?? )))))

  42. Ian GibsonIan Gibson13-12-2012

    I have a feeling we are cut from the same cloth. No real damage done but a pain in the arse for all those involved. It was my favourite kind of prank. You could count on the fact that the visiting team had their underpants sitting in the toilets after the game. Never caught on.

  43. Ian GibsonIan Gibson14-12-2012

    Hey Steamer,
    Do you know why nosers screw dog style? So they can both watch footy on TV.

  44. steamers75steamers7514-12-2012

    Hi Ian , heard your in Canada , went there last year for a couple of weeks , daughter wanted to go there as she ‘d seen our honeymoon pics from 14 years ago ,so we done the same trip , flew to Calgary and drove to Jasper , Banff, lake louise and then to Toronto for the last 4 days , this time tho we stayed at a place called Canmore and met a artist from newquay who told me she would have about 20 people NOW who needs an electrician , she daid if you were a Hairdresser or butcher you were in no problem , we do wish we had moved the first time , been over there 5 times as my wife was a director of a company whose head office was in Kanatta ? over quebec way , while she was working l would go round the bars , found a pub . the red lion , and was asked if l could turn out for their football team on that weekend , but we were going for a drive to Toronto and niagra , found out from her work mates it was a GAY bar ))). couple of my mates are over there , one’s near whistler and the others in Hamilton , hope to be over again very soon , wife is looking into us moving there , all according what happens with the daughter , all the best matey

  45. RobRob14-12-2012

    Some great memories come back when I read the above posts. I was brought up at the Scott Arms, and the majority of us were Viilans, although there were a couple of scum, but mainly the opposition were the baggies. My Dad (90) is a baggies supporter – I escaped that by the skin of my teeth. Him and his work mate who lived across the road from us used to take me to the matches as a kid, and as it happens his mate was a Villa fan … and the first game I ever went to was Villa v.Chelsea in the 66/67 season. That was it my coloyrs were nailed to the mast. Over the next two or three years I would ocassionally also get taken down to the Hawthorns with my Dad and his mates, even going to Wembley for the League Cup final against QPR. I was confused …. why do they keep taking me to see the Albion when I’m a Villa fan. Fortunately enough two angels appeared on the horizon. The lady who lived next door but one to us was the PA to Eric Houghton, and she used to take me down there with her complinetary season tickets and I’d sit nexct to the Directors Box. And also my cousin (a good few years older than me) owned a furniture shop and he was a Villa fan too – and had two Season Tickets on the business. As it happens he had to be at the shop most Saturdays and so me and his son had use of them. Bloody brilliant, but I just didn’t know how much!

    By the time I was about 12 we were all sitting having dinner one night – there were 5 kids in the family – and my sister asked me how come I started supporting the Villa. “Because Dad does” I said. Well he nearly choked on his dinner. ” I bloody do NOT!”. I was somewhat surpised. “Who do you support thern?” I asked. “The Baggies”. I just replied “Oh” and carried on with my dinner. Never once did I think I ought to change my loyalties, and to be fair to my Dad he never tried either. He did finish the conversation by saying, “Those Villa fans are mad. If they hung the shirts out on a washing line down at Villa Park you’d get 20,00 turning up just to watch ‘em dry”. I knew then that I’d made the right choice!”. All my best mates were Villans, and we had great nights down there in the 70′s – Gray, Little, Deahan. Have we ever had a forward line like that one, that scored goals for the sheer fun of it? There has never been a time like those European games in the 70′s – bring them on and we’d knock them over. That League Cup semi against Utd, the 3rd Divison game against Bournemouth, ‘that’ game v. the scousers.

    Canada …. Ian …. you lucky so and so. Now heres’ my Canada/Villa connection. In the mid-70′s I was going to emigrate out there … of stuff it, you can read it here http://www.overthehills.co.uk/about/ . But put an hour or two aside. There will be pictures of places you know. All I will say is once again you lucky, lucky b*****d.