With news arriving this morning that Roberto di Matteo has been sacked there’s a real sense that the next step is key. Tony Xia arrived over the summer with promises of spending and, to that end, he has held up his side of the bargain with significant expenditure on players such as Jonathan Kodjia and Ross McCormack.

Results, however, have not supported the level of investment and so di Matteo has seen the axe fall on him a few short months after Xia strongly supported the idea of the Italian as the manager to take the club forwards. Now, Villa face the familiar challenge of hauling themselves up from the lower reaches of the league, although this time it is the Championship rather than the Premier League.

The challenge for any chairman – just as it will have been one for Xia – is deciding when enough is enough. Given that we will never have the opportunity to analyse an alternate dimension when di Matteo stayed longer, hypothetical questions about if the choice proves to be right are ultimately moot – what’s done is done.

That said, there are questions that need to be asked regarding Xia’s strong support for a manager cited as one who has won the Champions League. Whilst di Matteo did oversee Chelsea’s Champions League final success, it would be rather over the top to put the Italian down as the man who laid the foundations for such as success, even though he did play his part.

Xia heavily lauded di Matteo as the man for the job but it has proven that such a choice was ultimately wrong – one win so far this season against a team who have had a rather porous defence is hardly success by any standard. Unlike many managers who have preceded di Matteo, the Italian had a full and significant financial support – something that was rarely extended to many, or indeed any, of those who have been in charge post Gerard Houllier.

What Villa need now is a strategy. The concern for the club is that whilst di Matteo has had an awful win percentage to date, will Villa find themselves in a position where the axe is wielded at the first sign of trouble? £50m spent on players that one manager likes is not necessarily synonymous with the next manager having the same preferences.

Villa seem to have adopted a mentality of buying in the most prolific goalscorers, but that doesn’t equate to progress in itself. Up front there is potential for a lot of goals, but teams are based on far more than just sticking lots of people in who can score goals – there needs to be cohesion, and so far Villa have found very little of that.

Whether one wants to blame di Matteo’s tenure on a strong focus on scoring goals but a dismal return on actually putting the ball in the back of the net, or misfortunes around injuries that have disrupted the team, the fact is that things have gone awry.

Who the chairman chooses as the next manager is key. We’ve seen previously a chairman who was swayed by a manager clearly overplaying his past experiences as relevant when Tim Sherwood stated the importance of his role in developing Harry Kane, will Xia and his management team be able to see past manager keen to put their ring in the hat with a lot of talk but little to support it?

The club needs a man who can organise the team and get out of the league by any means possible. Whilst the reality is that Villa are unlikely to be promoted at the first time of asking, there needs to be some consistency, some cohesion if the club are to move forward positively and avoid become another Leeds United – fixated on sacking any manager as soon as things get tough.

The next manager may well be a rather boring choice – one who does not excite the fans, but who gets the job done. Let’s hope for the sake of the club that Xia doesn’t respond to trite but popular requests from some who think success means the manager must be related to the club as a fan or a player, but instead focuses on what will benefit the club over the long term, and not just react to what appears to be successful right now.

If the next manager can get the job done, Xia’s tenure will no doubt look more stable. If not, the questions must be asked as to exactly how things are different from the previous chairman given Lerner similarly threw money at the problem in his early years, only to find himself scrabbling around in the dirt years later as FFP proceeded to be a significant part of how the club have ended up in the Championship in the first place – for the sake of the club, let’s hope Villa significant spending a league further down doesn’t cause similar issues a few years from now, albeit under a new owner.

Dr. Xia – it’s over to you.

Comments 300

  1. Matt,

    Yes we have been at this crossroads far too many times for my liking, we lambasted Lerner for his poor choice of manager and now find ourselves throwing the same questions at Dr.T, when will we get one right, RDM seemed to lack that energy and passion that we all require from our manager he stood in the technical area arms folded like a rabbit caught in the headlights, bottom line he has not been anywhere near good enough.

    Who next we all ask, well I think we are all scratching our heads as to who might want to take on our poisoned chalice, Round Wyness and Tony will have to be very careful who they select this time around because we are running out of time, this season may already have passed us by, is the new man happy to work with Clarke and Bond or are we looking at another set of backroom staff, will the new man want his own players in come January, it is a bloody mess and the nightmare continues.


  2. ‘Who the chairman chooses as the next manager is key’

    Isn’t it always and wasn’t when RDM was hired but having been heavily backed in the transfer window, Dr.T has hit the panic button a few games after the closure of the transfer window.

    I cringe at the list of bookies ‘favourites’ for the job.

    Mr Potato Head, great at promotion but walked away from Hull because of the budget, sounds reliable
    Mr Umbrella Head, one of Newcastle’s messiahs who failed with them, they’d love him to be our next manager
    Mr Disgraced Head, still outstanding issues over transfers involving his agent son and Bolton, caught looking for 400k and a career in ruins
    Mr Traitor Head, once the darling of Villa forwards, joined Manu and you’d swear he never played for us, no experience but still why on the list at all
    Mr Hard Done By Head – managed us once under Lerner and was tactically inept and blamed everyone else for his woes and wants back probably because there’s money to be spent and no Reilly
    Mr. Hot Head – currently suspended at Derby and sitting waiting for Collymore’s car to arrive, did well with Leicester but most people put that down to the backroom team
    Mr. Manu Head – long serving Manu player with no experience on the list because Mourinho knew there was no need to accomodate him

    I’d take none of them and will stick my neck on the line for Ian Holloway, straight talking, loads of experience, passionate and had watched Villa closely this season as a pundit so knows where we are going wrong.

    Next manager has to stop accomodating all the forwards we’ve bought and build a tighter midfield unit, so may need to go 451 to boost midfield numbers until we give ourselves a platform to build on.

  3. Matt I think rdm can only have himself to blame

    The support given to him by dr x is the kind that almost every manager in this league can only dream of

    In terms of how the money has been spent and the complete lack of balance in the squad shows just how badly rdm has managed the club

    Are we any better off with dr x ? – hell yeah but what the dr must now do is identify a manager good enough to take the club forwards – no more duds please

  4. Latest contenders to join the list include Ryan Giggs, Big Sam is 12/1 Steve Clark 6/1,Martin Oneill 33/1, and Simon Grayson has been suggested, an ex-Villa player and has not been afraid to drop down and bring a team up, so well see the Villa job as a great move for him.

    Jen, I am sure many fans would be happy to see Rowett, but I do not think he has such a great love of Villa, as many suggest, and why come to us, when he is doing so well across the City.

    Martin O’neill is an interesting one, and I feel the odds will be cut drastically, as he has been our most successful manager of recent times, and many fans still love and respect him. At the same time Dr Tony would not be afraid to back him, if he brings the success once more. If Steve Clarke goes, then maybe he will bring Keane with him………..and his discipline…..both learned with Brian Clough…

    Could be a no brainer…!!!!

  5. Its all just a bloody shambles. I want wagner who seems to know what he wants and gets a style of play going…with results.

    All I want is to see villa play a good brand/style of footy. Lets get an identity going. Don’t know a lot about dean smith but apparently likes attacking footy. looks hard too!!

    Archie…you itk re wharbuton? Cant help but think of crumpets

  6. PP – why would we want Keane back here again? He didn’t set the world on fire when he was assistant before did he?
    And O’neill gave us some good times and then walked out on us just as the season was going to start – which was when our troubles began………

  7. I can’t understand how the players can change, the manager can change, the league can change, and the owner can change, but the results seemingly never change. It defies logic.

    With the money the club spent, and the chances they were creating early in the season, I thought a promotion push was realistic. Now, we’re not miles away points-wise, but there are a lot of clubs between us and the promotion places. Barring some torrid run of form where we rattle off five, six, seven wins in a row, the best we can hope for is to consolidate in the Championship and stop the death spiral the club is in. I’ll take Steve Bruce if he can do that. I can’t see Xia bringing in Nigel Pearson. Both big personalities, they would fall out within a month.

  8. local radio man asked wagner about villa job and he just said no comment 🙂

    balls to bruce, pearson etc unispiring and no long term help.

    Id take this wagner and stay in the champ for another season if it meant being built properly on solid foundations and getting us playing in the style of the geggingpress or whateves its called.

  9. Matt,

    A very laudable article. But please forgive me for saying that the situation is not currently – in reality – about strategies as such but about restoring the focus of the club that was cast asunder under Lerner.

    As I’ve intimated in my previous article and other comments, the fact that last year’s issues have somehow carried across into this season (yet with new players) highlights the fact that a dimension exists that is not going to be simply be removed by “strategies”.

    Until that matter is resolved I can’t see anything working, no matter who is the new manager.

    I hope I’m wrong, but it doesn’t look that way right now.

    Further I don’t think that the appointment of di Matteo was wrong at all. I agree he would not be on my immediate list of wants, but in the Championship I thought there was every chance he could succeed and for other problems that I talk of he wasn’t able to. He was submerged by issues that have carried over from last season which the chairman should be sorting out.

  10. Excellent leader Matt : absolutely agree on every point you’ve made . You’ve been reading Twitter and having the same nightmares as me with fans suggesting villa fans , ex players and horror of horrors Mr modesty Sherwood himself .

    Paul I pick Rowett because of his miracle working with getting the blues up to sixth on a budget of less than one of our players cost . He has worked wonders at St A taking over from Clark who left when they were in the relegation zone and very nearly dropped a league . I like how he talks , I’ve heard him a few times on radio and his instant repost to Sherwoid’s boast when we were over run by them in the dust half “I planned them to play like that ” GR “so he planned to have his team booed off then did he ” was funny and inciteful. Tim Sherwood appears on Talk Sport this am (great timing there ) and blames the sale of the club for his AV results . Well not so sure that’s right – he did have money to spend and jury’s out on who picked the players . Compare this to Rowett who has an owner in prison.

    My only reservation with Rowett would be is he another Lambert – great at develing and pushing teams up the championship but isn’t cut out fir the premiership . Also he’s only got a couple of years in this league . But , Listening to him , I’d take a chance . Whether he is ir isn’t a villa fan is irrelevant to me . In fact it’s almost a minus as it muddied the water IMO .

    Darren O – that response was brilliant / simply brilliant . . Love it .

  11. We should be able to attract to Wagner, Smith or Rowett still
    If Xia goes for Bruce I’d be annoyed. Another man out a job

    But you know what, I’d take Tim back

  12. Andrew,
    I heard about Warburton from the same bloke who told me MO’N was coming before it was announced all those years ago so I’m fairly confident. As for thinking about crumpet……tsk…the conversation always reduces to base level ….smut…smut …smut…

  13. John : I think we will find out whether your insight is correct when manager no 2 under Dr Xia has a few games under his belt . It may well be the case . I wonder whether Dr Xia was a little star struck with ‘Champions League winning Mge” on RDM’s CV when the reality is mkre he was caretaker of a very good team for 5 months rather than creator of . I also think that RDM appealed to Dr Xia’s branding and promotion of AV overseas . Nothing wrong with that at all but we need both commercial appeal and results .

  14. Oh Gawd . Steamer ring me and tell lm still sitting in that pub in Preston and still pissed , lv heard /read some twats saying we should give the prick sherwood another go !! l really do despair of some of these villa fans , l heard them saturday in the pub and the only response l had for a few of them was “shit for brains ” one was banging on about sherwoods passion !! “Go On ” l said tell me about it , his response was , he ran on the pitch !!! , so did fucking Barry fry ya twat , thats when Clarkey dragged me up the bar, some lad said Garde again and he got covered in everything that was to hand . lol
    Saturday was an embarrassment and 15 mins into the second half l was gone , back to the station pub ,
    just hope the Dr gets his next appointment right
    oh hum , the trials of being a villan

  15. Yes st75 just heard one on radio WM saying bring back tactics Tim.
    Gary Rowett is on radio WM 6 pm phone in – just waiting for a villa fan to ring in and ask him to manage villa . Hahaha . That will upset a few bluenoses .

  16. It’s a weird one in terms of where we go from here.

    John is right that there is a still the spectre of the issues that overhung the Lerner era, but now we have new ones – spending money is OK, for example, but fail to get out of the league in the next three years, and FFP will cause a retrenchment of the latter Lerner years, i.e. cuts to try and balance the books.

    The reason I cited strategy as important is because there are financial hazards when money gets spent badly. We saw in the Premier League that if you spend money you don’t really have, you have to cut to balance the books, and we saw under Lerner in his final years in charge that it ultimately took us out of the top flight.

    It really is a very difficult choice as to who you pick as a manager that a) wants it and b) will be able to take the club forward. Even in the current state, I’m sure there will be managers wanting the job, but will they be good enough? Tim Sherwood, laughable as a return would be, certainly wants the job, but in my mind shouldn’t have been anywhere near it once, let alone twice.

    David Wagner seems to be the flavour of the month because Huddersfield are riding high, and he certainly has a technical ability that would be very useful. Dean Smith seems to be the other realistic candidate but I’m not really sure he’s ready for it even if you could argue he’s as qualified as Wagner is on paper (they’ve both managed for five years, four of which at a level lower than the Championship).

    The other option appears to be either Steve Bruce who would likely face the same issues that Alex McLeish had, i.e. being ex-Blues. Bruce did a sterling job with Hull, but sometimes you have to wonder if the fans can see past the Birmingham connection, and I can’t imagine some would.

    Who knows, maybe Clarke will stay in charge as he has form in the dugout, although arguably he’s a better coach than he is a manager.

    Who would I pick? Of those above, I’d go for Wagner, but my primary concern there would be that he’s still relatively young and arguably this job – as it stands – needs a bit more experience than that. A technical manager would be good, but I imagine experience will weigh heavily on the list of things that the board want, although obviously we’ve only limited experience so far on Xia’s picks to see who will end up with the job…

  17. Jenny,

    Whether the Doc was starry-eyed about the EC thing on RdiM’s c.v. or not, the fact is that this is the Championship we’re in – not the PL – and though not a manager with a wealth of experience I would fully believe that he had enough in him to get the wagon back on the road.

    But – as stated – a situation exists which proved to be beyond RdiM’s control.

    Now someone explain to me how anyone new is going to make any differenec?

    Yes, we will find out whether what I say is near the truth or not, but bearing the fact in mind of the several managerial appointments in the last 18 months I’d be surprised if any fan has any real hope for this lot to be turned round in (say) the next 12 months.

    But, hey, a lot more is going to evolve over the next 12 months, not just this.

  18. Well Gary Rowett has just said on radio that he isn’t surprised that Hfield are doing so well as when blues played them he was impressed what a “well drilled and organised team ” Wagner has created. I’m a bit of a Rowett fan – so if Gary likes him that’s good enough for me

  19. Matt,

    I fully understand about the financial ramifications and hence why you speak of strategies, but unless an enterprise has got its sense of direction properly sorted, all the best plans won’t be met.

    It’s up to the owner to take a grip and set the ethos, in my view, and using whatever help he can get in achieving that. Whether that’s partly a combination of Jenny and Fung Shui I leave to him!

  20. John,

    Strategy is important for me – direction is the first step but without that sense to follow through, it is hard to measure whether you’ve been successful with your plan or not. The ambition for many at the start of this season would have been the playoffs I imagine (or higher) but surely that probably needs to be tempered in terms of expectation? What do we think the expectation would be now? I don’t think we’ll make the playoffs this season to be honest, although I’d obviously like to be proven wrong.

    The talk from Xia was that we should get up immediately – a stance that is backed by both his expenditure and his ruthlessness re: di Matteo. As things stand, the financial risk will no doubt be if we gamble on pushing again with money in January if we start to progress.

    For me, strategy is integral to that and the three years rolling totals for FFP underpin the need for that alignment.

    The challenge is that you can risk not spending enough and seeing parachute payments dry up or you can spend a lot and risk not going up – either has devastating consequences for Villa as a force of the long term.

    Spend money or no? As things stand, Villa have already spent some and thus returns are desired, but whether they can be expected going forward is what, I imagine, is putting some managers off in terms of applying for the post as the club continue to be a very hard proposition to manage after switching the lower end of the Premier League for the lower end of the league below…

  21. Matt,

    We appear to be talking about different priorities! As a former business proprietor I cannot believe that a conventional business approach in this situation (and made manifest) is all that is required.

    It may appear to be the case that business is the priority, but first and foremost the club is about sport and people. The business element should not – nor cannot – over-ride the raison d’etre of the club’s existence. The business side of things is a necessary add-on, not the essence.


  22. surely there is a manager who can shape the team to have a proper attacking purpose when in possession, and a defensive solidity, starting from midfield.

    Think about the home nations national teams who punch above their weight just from being organised (except England :-))

    Still too many Lerner players start games…Westwood, Bacuna, Cissokho.

    This isn’t a particularly great squad given the money spent(midfield is woeful)…but it should be better than 19th. I wonder if Di Matteo will report later that he wasn’t in charge of recruitment?

    Sad day yet again for Villa.

  23. imo you can spend all the money you like but the most important thing for success is the manager

    a good manager will always make an impact no matter the budget and take a club to the ceiling of it’s capabilities

    Wanger would be amazing for me but if archie is correct it’s not a bad look either

    all the other managers mentioned by the bookies are not a huge upgrade imo – they may get us up in two seasons but are limited in what the can do beyond that

    tim does make me laugh – does he think he is good enough for villa ? Really

  24. Great comments from Matt and Jenny, once again.

    The days of football beng a sport have long since gone, and we are now inthe era of a leisure industry, where football now is more akin to the WWF, than a sport. The older ones of vus have to accept this, and realise that these players are only interested in money, and what they can do with it. Placing a bet for £5000 is nothing, driving a smart car is the norm, buying a bottle of champagne costing a £1000 is fun. Being a Villa player, a Sunderland player or a Stoke player means nothing more than a wage…!!!

  25. please now dc appoint the right man ,not a failed has been of all our last managers even going back to deadly most have been failures else where
    my favourite managers outside bfr and mon where
    little gregory and graham taylor each one came from small clubs and put down their own style which every one knew it wasn t pretty under taylor but effective it was
    we need some one to stamp a style of play on our club
    some one fresh not a failed manager ie bruce ,wally with brolly ,bent sam ,moyes sacked from last 2 jobs, wagner appeals but concerned one hit wonder, need a manager to get 11 players playing for one another

  26. There’s a bit of claret and blue tinted glasses going on here, if you think managers currently with teams are going to look at Villa and say, great stadium, great training facilities, great history and walk away from what they are successfully doing at other clubs. What they will be looking at is a disjointed team that needs a lot of work to get playing well, a trigger happy owner and a large number of frustrated fans.

    And look at what we think successful is, guiding a team to near or top of the league over 10+ games, we are name dropping managers that have no pedigree yet we aren’t prepared to stay the course with a manager with more experience.

    Then if you look at the other group of experienced managers the Bruce’s and McClaren’s of this world. They are out of work for mostly being unsuccessful or in Bruce’s case, gets a team promoted, isn’t seeing a prem league budget being offered and leaves them high and dry for the new season, smacks of O’Neill to me.

    Once again the club is in turmoil because of impatience. The one positive I can garner from this is when RDM arrived there was talk of rebuilding the house (to my mind rebuilding confidence). For the next manager there won’t be the same kind of rebuilding because the fall out from relegation is gone, there are too few ‘Lerner players’ left to be such an influence on the team.

    The qualities required of the next manager in my opinion are organisation, organisation and organisation, forget the fluff about being passionate on the sideline, that’s the fans job to bring passion. At this stage I don’t care who the manager is, we’ve gone through so many, I still back the team.

    A.N.Other’s Claret and Blue Army

  27. Paul: “The days of football beng a sport have long since gone, and we are now inthe era of a leisure industry, where football now is more akin to the WWF, than a sport. The older ones of vus have to accept this…”

    No, I don’t think I’ve made myself understood properly. I was not suggesting what you’ve written.

    It’s an absolute maxim – *whatever the industry* – that you have the enterprise motivated to achieve the end result desired. And it is clear that this people-orientated club needs attention in respect of issues of motivation and expectation. These issues have hung over since Lerner, and until they are set right nowt much is going to be achieved.

    It’s the kind of issues that RdiM inherited and (I believe) could not do much about by himself. I am saying that in my view the owner needs to address the matter as *his* concern, otherwise it’s not going to go away.

  28. Morning all

    Steve Bruce favourite folks with Wagner also up there . I’d prefer Wagner from what I’ve read about him but appreciate it’s the risky option .

    Agree DOR – we do need organisation. Massively.

    Former players like Ehigo saying why not have firmer players as manager . Well as Mandy Rice Davies said at the Profumo trial “he would say that wouldn’t he ” Forget former players, forget those wearing their fake hearts on the touch line , forget those kissing the badge frauds . This is a managerial choice not a drama contest. Neither do they need VTID Stamped on their CV. Let’s have a manager with passion and desire to improve himself and the team : not a safe bet who has realistically achieved all they are going to in the game .

  29. Runtings: “surely rdm has done an awful job and deserved to go ?”

    Well, no, I don’t think he did. For the reasons I’ve given above – that certain things seemed to be beyond his control. Why should he hang for something that the chairman has not (yet) properly addressed?

    There’s more that goes on that determines the success of an enterprise than meets the eye!

  30. Hey Runtings

    Did he do an awful job getting rid of a lot of the deadwood, did he do an awful job in terms of the players that came in. I don’t think so. Did possible other arrivals and loan deals not come to fruition which meant we are disjointed between defence and midfield and midfield to forwards, probably.

    Was there failings yes, the results weren’t good but this is the same club that managed 3 wins all last season, we got in players that play at this level and then expect because we are AVFC to roll teams over, again given the confidence work RDM had to do initially, this was unrealistic to expect we’d be in Newcastle position, they weren’t bereft of confidence as we were. What manager coming should have to address confidence alongside tactics and player assessment.

    Did RDM not get the team gelling after the transfer window closed 5 weeks go, doesn’t appear so but is 5 weeks enough.

    I’m all for Villa getting back to winning ways but whether it was RDM or a.n.other, do we need to be so trigger happy or reactive to Villa fan frustrations that are 5/6 years old and not just as a result of the Preston game.

  31. John and DOR
    I can see both sides of the argument : sack him or back him. Truth is we won’t know if it would v got better or worse . Again , you’re right John , what goes on behind scenes we will never know . It comes down to A . Either the mgrs AV employ aren’t right for the club (and none in last five seasons have gone on to do great things ) or B there is something so entrenched which is wrong that needs addressing before any mgr can be successful . Or C what DOR is suggesting , that the malaise if five seasons can’t be halted in 12 games . More than likely it’s a combination of all three .

  32. if this had been the premier league then I don’t think Dr Tony would have acted so quickly . Underlying this, is the hugely difficult ambition of getting promoted first time . For all the “it takes time , we have a long term plan” is the financial need to get back into the premier league and secretly that is what Dr Xia is banking on IMO. Unfortunately , he’s learning that football is nt like business . He should speak to The owner of QPR who has had his fingers burnt by big taking mgrs like Harry Redknapp .

  33. Jenny: “if this had been the premier league then I don’t think Dr Tony would have acted so quickly . “

    But I think he’s very reactive to what the fans say, and on that basis I’m not sure.

  34. john l
    sorry rdm picked his squad ,top heavy with strikers, a midfield of gg and westwood who you are one of less than5% of all blogs that defend wastewood a inexperienced goalie from italy
    ONE win in 12 matches is sackable in pl never mind championship, and the manner of performances ,not once in 12 matches could any one say they knew our formation every match it changed ,9 new players amavi back from injury so can not blame last few seasons for players failings, and is grealish new gabby suspended for newcastle match for off field behaviour and yet back in to team which fell flat after great finish to newcastle match

  35. Excellent write-up, Matt!

    I’ll wager that Steamer would be more than happy to try a third drink from the Scottish well — after McLeish and Lambert, what’s Sir Alex up to these days? lol!

    If I couldn’t have a laugh about it, the reappearance of this same old tiresome situation once again would drive me bonkers …

  36. James: “… westwood who you are one of less than5% of all blogs that defend wastewood…”


    I seem to recall that about a similar number didn’t go with Hitler.

  37. I see Damian on TVB is for Bruce but at no point does he really identify the characteristics that he has to be successful at Villa, it puts forward this idea that so what he managed Small Heath, which is fine, completely agree but says his track record at getting promotion is there without mentioning that he walked away from Hull. To Damian’s credit he’s dismissed Sherwood straight away.

    I’m firmly in the Holloway/Warnock type camp right now for organisational abilities and getting the best out of players. Love also to see Roy Keane back and given some power as opposed to the previous incarnation which saw him sidelined/unsupported by mgmt following an exercise in player power.

    I don’t expect either to be manager or Keane to return and will assume bookies know nothing other than betting formula which accounts for Sherwood’s odds shortening to protect themselves against big payouts.

    Thank god for the international break, i’ll probably get to see this new Newcastle lad Ciaran Clark perform wonders in defence.

  38. Steve FUCKING Cotterill – sacked at the beginning of this year by Bristol City because they were crap. Isn’t it great to be managerless, we’re getting only the finest options to replace whoever our last manager was.

    Thank god for Dr.T hitting the panic button so early, we can only benefit by having Steve FUCKING Cotterill installed as manager, apologies to his CV having previously managed Nottingham Forest, Portsmouth, Notts County, Burnley, Stoke, Cheltenham Town and Sligo Rovers, we aren’t worthy to be in such exalted company.

  39. If that clueless fat knob Bruce gets the job we’re all dooooomed, soomer have virtually anyone, his mates in the media are determined that he gets it.

  40. If we’re not going for genuine quality you may as well stick with Clarke
    Two funny comments –
    One bloke on twtter suggested it was time to introduce Flabby to the coaching set up.
    Ballbagface said “it was disasterous to sack Sherwood.”
    Football is insane.

  41. DoR,

    The Bristol City fans cannot stop laughing when they read that my phone is going mental, a decent league one manager achieved the double at BC but was found woefully wanting in the championship, stuck to a rigid back five and would not change it even after a run of so many defeats they lost count.
    Perhaps the good doctor has given up and is making plans for the division below but I tell you one thing if he gets the job I am finished with this club for good.


  42. re Cotterill: Since RDM has been released for only winning 1 of 11, someone at Villa Park thinks it’s a brilliant move to interview a bloke who was sacked for going 1 of 12?

  43. As I just tweeted

    Interesting the “why Bruce/Sherwood/Allerdyce should be next #AVFC managers ” Best ability or just best PR and more media mates? Be wary .

  44. DoR,

    Mate they haven’t stopped laughing since they turned us over 3-1 at Ashton Gate, they keep asking me about the mighty Aston Villa being trounced by the carrot crunchers.


  45. dor / jl I personally think rdm has done a terrible job — I expected some very good players for this lge and not all at a premium cost
    Also there was no style of play or obvious method
    the lack of balance considering the spend is woeful
    I don’t get how 16 other managers in the lge have any right to be blowing us out the water
    It was a big job turning a very poor squad around but rdm has made a pigs ear of it imo
    I thought the worst when he turned down 5mil for westwood
    as far as I am concerned we will not move forward enough until we get a forward thinking manager
    I don’t worry about wagner’s lack of experience as he manages in the way I wish we where and which is identical to jow klopp plays

    who wouldn’t want that for villa

  46. Wagner may have little experience in this league but clearly that isn’t everything, People are impressed with Rowett and his low spend, Wagner took over from last November and kept them up so he can work with a poor team, he then Shipped out 17 and brought in 13 and created the team that sit top of the league. If thats not impressive I don’t know what is and get this, he did it for £1.2 mil net. they may not remain at the top or make the playoffs in the end but nobodies told them yet.

    Compared to RDM’s effort of £60mil spent and two thirds of a team, you would have to say he knows something.

  47. I agree with Mark, Wagner stands out a mile, he could use the same tactics in the EPL as he uses in the Championship. How many of the other names mentioned would you retain in the Prem ? He spent how many years managing BVB reserves and they’ve had some superb players come through.
    Not over keen on watching Jeerman footy but its structure is the best in the world, you know what your up against but not many beat it.

  48. Steamer prime candidate for me is. Chris Hughton.Knows the game inside out,and is a gentleman not a nob.His too nice for football though.
    Forgwt “big names”.Give him the job let him build something.There is no qiuck fix.

  49. i really want someone that has a plan be it long ball graham taylor first time,3 centre halfs the way little played, someone who can pick players long term not huttons lescotts and jedi looks the same already over the hill on big wages where are the platts teales ugos southgates even merson bust a gut when he played have watched mainly the last few years players on big wages not interested in playing sidwell beye makoun hutton given most lamberts crew flabby lescott richards

  50. Just went round the”Bookies” but he couldn’t find Mr Potato Head anywhere in the list. So now i don’t know who to put my two cents on, thought he would be a shoe in since Steamer has been complaining all week that he’ll get the job. I wouldn’t mind Big Sam to be honest, we should have had him last year anyway. I know some of you are now screaming he’s as bent as a nine bob note, but lets face it they all are. Even Clough’y was up for meetings and back handers on the M1 services, it’s always gone on and always will, so a guy prepared to work around a bit of red tape isn’t a life time criminal you know. The Huddersfield link is interesting but I cant see that happening without a meeting half way up the M1 either.

  51. Houghton would be decent. Very good manager and man. Wagner for me though. Been undecided whether to go for so called safe hands, bruce, big sam type or gambe on wagner etc. Well its not a gamble if your good enough. Poch, wenger, koeman all came over unknown quantity.

    Def not giggs, cotterell, pearson, mclaren according to murphy

  52. Have to agree with Andrew, Hughton very good but Wagner brings a whole new outlook, shame about John Gregory, perfect if he he didn’t have health worries, wanted him back years ago.
    Don’t think i could stand Potato head under any circumstances.
    Apparently Mccleish performed miracles when he was our boss.

  53. My choice would be Andre Villas Boas. He is young and dynamic . He has international experience as well as being familiar with the English game. He did well at Spurs, but Levy didn’t get along with him and had insufficient time at Chelsea.

    His appointment would send out a powerful statement of intent. I think he is the best qualified of all the candidates mentioned and if chosen, would bring excitement and optimism to VP.

  54. At last we are fighting like lions : or the AV official site is in response to virgin trains trolling the club . Actually found it very funny


    A must read !

    AVB – seemed v clever but didn’t get on with the players at Chelsea and I thought same problem at Spurs . Not sure what he’s done since . He could be the next Poccitino for all we know . Remember he was workaholic / had camp bed at club etc

    As we can’t have Rowett and there are the usual blues problems , I’d honestly rather see Wagner than Bruce . More of a risk I know but gut feeling about his bsckground good . In fact , I’d rather see RDM on the touch line than SB . His leaving statement was very dignified, gracious and generous . I guess like him really . Well done Roberto , no excuses , no blaming others , but praise for the club, staff and fans: a true gent .

  55. Jenny: you wrote concerning RDM, “His leaving statement was very dignified, gracious and generous . I guess like him really . Well done Roberto , no excuses , no blaming others , but praise for the club, staff and fans: a true gent.”

    I concur completely. I acknowledge that it was time for him to go, but wish him the very best in the future.

  56. Completely agreed on RDM’s statement, full of class.

    I thought the Villa engaging with Virgin was tactless on Villa’s part, not even sure why Virgin took it upon themselves to have a go. I think the banter bit flew over my head on this one.

    Anyway back to hiring a new manager, I know who I don’t want mostly summarised in my first post but of the names being mentioned on here, I’m firstly glad to see the bookface element of TS back or Bruce in, is very much missing from AVL.

    The names are very much long term championship managers doing very well with small budgets, McCarthy/Hughton/Rowett and Wagner (short term in champ but doing very well)

    All of them have the charateristic I want – organisation so i’d welcome any of them to VP but please let’s get patient and allow them to stumble and allow them to lose some games before we want to drop them and pick our own next messiah.

    Finally on my first post, i’d like to retract my statement about the next manager having stop accomodating all the forwards because ‘Arry Redknapp has said the same thing and I don’t want anything I state to be anyway similar to what that cockney club ruining twat has to say.

  57. Quotes from Nathan Jones, rulling himself out of the job, now maybe he was never in the frame in the first place but these quotes say a lot about how many managers will view the Villa job

    “But this (Luton) is a great job for me and I’ve come here because there is longevity in this job.

    “I want to build something. I don’t want a quick fix to move or jump ship.”

    Jones clearly sees he is in a job where there is a long term plan and that hiccups won’t mean the panic button is pressed. AVFC is a big club and attractive to managers for many reasons but i’d hate to think that we would miss out on a manager because there is no security of tenure and that a dip in form is likely to lead to the sack. We absolutely need to do what Man U did in the 80s, stick with the manager, build a football style/ethos that is played at all ages so the future Villans slot straight in if good enough.

    If Wagner for example gets the job, then he should be picking the underage managers as well not just his immediate coaching team. We have to start being long term nowor else we’ll just have 5 more years of chopping and changing managers and players to see if we accidentally hit the right formula.

  58. Morning all
    Texas – when you compare the leaving statements of Lambert and Sherwood (full of blame and bitterness towards the club – never their fault) RDM stands eleven men and shoulders above them.

    DOR – I just think the Virgin v Villa tweets were welcome comic relief from the purgatory we are in again. The final one was “let’s have a game to sort this out ” accompanied by ;photo of very unathletic office workers left it on a friendly note.

    As for HR, thhe has offered to work for nothing (on talk sport) and only get paid if we go into the top six. Tony Fernandez must be frothing at the mouth listening to that when he thinks of the millions HR spent on the wrong players and getting them relegated. I can imagine Steamer emigrating if this came off 🙂

    IMO Dr. Xia has to come to a decision by answering the Q “are we looking for long term vision – or short term stability and promotion”. The safe candidates for short term promotion (Bruce) have the draw back of unsuitability for Premier League and it will be a “get job done, another sacking, restart all over again”. The candidates for long term vision like Wagner have the draw back of bigger risk but advantage of long term continuity. (and excitement). So it comes down to whether Dr. Xia is prepared to gamble for long term vision and excitement or play it safe and that includes financially safe too. As it is largely Dr. Tony’s investment then we can only appreciate it is one hell of a decision !!!!

    I was chatting to Frem last night on twitter – reminiscing over the good old Lambert days with the brilliant Lambert impression by Paul Feeley “I thought we were fantastic – we are not meant to beat teams like Man City “. For anyone contemplating a Tim Sherwood come back this is for you



  59. Shame to see RDM go. He is a gentleman. However, the wins didn’t come…
    I tend to agree with DOR that the next manager isn’t expected to work miracles immediately and manages to stabilize the players in their right positions and bond them together as as an effective team.
    Whoever comes in, goodluck. I don’t think RDM had much.
    I hope RDM getting the sack ignites something in the players. If it doesn’t then it doesn’t matter who the next manager is.
    VP needs to be blessed. And the players need to be present. I think the club can still look back to its roots and learn something.

  60. Thanks Texas, much appreciated, my posts tend to be long so i’m not sure if people want to spend a few minutes reading thru them or just go straight to Steamer wit and knowledge.

  61. Re Andrew’s suggestion of Chris Hughton . I would love Chris to do well as he’s been described as the most polite and gentlemanly man in football . I wonder if he’s too nice to come to AV in it’s current state . He was fabulous at SHA but for some reason just below the mark at Norwich , not sure why that was . If decency and likability were the only criteria he’d win it hands down for me .

  62. Texas- He’s still on Prestons one way system

    Wagner is a very upbeat character much like Klipperty Klop, celebrates with his team, takes them over to the away fans at the end of games, Might be a breath of fresh air at Villa? We certainly need someone up and at them if the chairman has to be away a lot. Up until now if Xia isn’t being upbeat nobody is.

    Getting the increasing feeling We will be getting a vegetable shape headed Manager 🙁

  63. Darren – Well it was Roy Keane on MOTD saying in his inimitable honesty : I’ve been in the same team as Chris Hughton and Mick Mcarthy , one was the most decent and genuine man in football and the other the opposite . You couldn’t get two men more different . Haha .

    I hope st75 is ok xx

    Steamer – that was wicked as I was taken in at first – very funny though!

    Looks like Steve Bruce. What about Oscar Garcia ? Another Kruyff pupil : had to retire from Watford for health scare (now resdolved ) at Salzburg red bull . Has a fantastic football philosophy – mental attitude high up with the Kruyff /Barcelona style . I know it’s a bit of a stage left , but if only we could go for someone like him . Appreciate it’s high risk but what is Steve Bruce’s football style / philosophy ?

    Missing Frem on here – come back Frem !!

  64. Think he’s on day release tomorrow, his tablets should have arrived too.

    I honestly think Bruce could divide the fans if appointed, half want him only because they think he will DEFINITELY take us up this season but if he doesn’t they’ll be on his case and the club will revert to chaos mode, and the other half won’t accept his crepe football and low standards, again causing chaos. Bruce, Xia nor AVFC will win with these circumstances so why attempt to shoe him in, he’s not exactly Hose A is he ? its a lose lose situation for me, even if he get promotion half the crowd will hate him, if he doesn’t, the whole mob will be after his spud shaped cranium making McKnobs departure look like a friendly wave goodbye.

  65. People such as Steve Bruce don’t lend themselves to the description of “classy” do they?

    While there’s a need to have a no-nonsense manager, the person should i.m.o. fit the surroundings in which he has to work – or at least be able to grow into it to match the owner’s ambitions.

  66. Fair enough if he gets us up but I think the Doc wants Villa to develop along the lines of Southampton and thats rounds Job, bringing in Bruce is a step back on that although I was never sold on RDM either in that respect. Much rather get someone who Knows what to do and Knows why he’s doing it, not a chancer like Tim who’s main weapon in his armoury was an arm round the shoulder and a Jaunty smile. It would see an end to buying players that don’t suit us and produce players that do.

    Someone like Wagner would be a huge boost to Round and the club if he can repeat his success at Huddersfield . In the short term we may not have the team to play his system or at least not all in the 1st team. He is the kind of boss we should of got before Mcleish, The next Gen team would now be gracing Villa park regularly, He has Hogg at Huddersfield and both Johnson and Robinson have the kind of energy to suit his system, If only eh?

  67. I was sent this by a villa friend on Twitter
    Ok it was 2011 – but this is not the sun it’s the guardian and a reputable writer .
    Does this fit the progressive ambitious vision that Round et al have for AVFC?

    Also , didn’t Bruce walk away from Hull because they wouldn’t spend enough ? Dr Tony needs to be wary of managers seeing this as a golden egg opportunity . I don’t see why Dr Tony should spend any more in the transfer window in Jan so incoming mgr has to demonstrate with a footballing plan that he can accommodate and use the existing players – two of whom have broken transfer fee records for this league . Are these the type of players that fit Steve Bruce ‘s style of football .

  68. If Xia wants us to develop like Saints he should look to who they have chosen and why . Out with Adkins, to me more of a traditional Bruce type manager and took a risk (everyone thought they were Barmy, me included) with Poccetino . From Pocc they’ve brought in Koemsn – epitomises class, intelligence and progressive .

  69. Just taken St75’s daughters 17th birthday card over, you won’t believe what the knobs done, his local shop hadn’t got any 17th cards so he bought two five YO and one seventh birthday cards and put those 20 pounds that he robbed off me in each If brains were domino’s he’d be knocking.

  70. Jen,
    Quite an emphatic description of Bruce’s failings and if AVFC fall into that trap again then they deserve what they get.
    This would be a minor slight compared to what he’d get at VP –
    Granted, a minority shamefully hurled chants of “You fat Geordie bastard – get out of our club” after Saturday’s defeat to Wigan, but the overwhelming majority of supporters did not care about his roots. Moreover their “expectations” were mostly pretty modest.
    I’m totally against his appointment.
    Regarding Wagner, without stereotyping Jeermans, most in their football industry seem to be competent and intelligent which is a huge improvement on the British version and would fit in perfectly with JL’s vision, i’d definitely go for him but i can’t see us succeeding.

  71. I agree Steamer . There’s a big pro Bruce anti Bruce division on Twitter with AV fans already. Because of this , he will have less time .

    Faced with Bruce as our manager I’m now wishing RDM had been given more time . The margins are so small and if a few of those last minute goals hadn’t been conceded we could be sitting top ten. So the grass isn’t greener ………,,,,,,,,,

  72. There’s also something else not sitting quite right with me . Sunderland have had a very bad culture with their players which ended up with Evans being jailed fir rape . I have read this was nigh on inevitable as the drinking and womanising unprofessional behaviour had been around for years .

  73. i see bruce is blowing wagner away on a poll of who we want as next manager , blimey will we ever get a manager from the new school rather than the dark ages ? depressing stuff

  74. Yes mate the pull of the Premiership this season above the clubs long term health and goals. Not really surprising after the recent booing etc . In my Opinion any one that can organise a team would improve this lot, Smith and Wagner have proved this beyond all doubt and if they can’t then there is something seriously wrong with the blend of players purchased.

  75. Runtings- I sometimes wonder on these polls whether other fans say Blues or Huddersfield would take great delight in swaying opinion of Tony Xia via these polls, I think they are not likely to be hugely accurate.

  76. Morning all
    These polls annoy me too. Now any 16 yr old school boy can set up a poll (and most of them are !). If you check further most of the time there have only been about 10 ppl voting – so 6 ppl from millions of villa fans want Bruce and then media headlines “majority of Villa fans want Bruce “. Even a big villa site like Vital Villa only had 148 ppl voting . As Dr Tony loves social media I only hope that he understands that only a minority of villa fans vote on stuff like that or even use Twitter .

  77. Good morning each,
    I cant help but think, (my wife always advises me not to), If Bruce was the man, he’d be in post my now. So its not Bruce in my opinion.
    Still say Mark Warburton, I’ll be amazed if I’m wrong.
    Off to drive the van now, look in later

  78. Arch,
    Maybe they want someone else but want to keep Spudhead as a reserve in case a proper manager turns us down.
    Agree about polls, i’ve heard that the fly tippers have even clubbed together and bought a computer to influence voting, unfortunately they don’t have anyone who knows how to turn it on never mind work it (If any mealies are reading this sorry to mention work and BCFC fans in the same sentence, sod it, here’s another one for ya …. SOAP ).

  79. thanks for the reassurance about the polls everyone

    DOR that article sums up all that I believe about what type of manager we need

    we now have a very impressive backroom and there first appointment will show if they are in touch with the modern game and if they have the vision to select Wagner or someone similar that can drag the club out of the dark ages of management

    funny how since big Ron most ex villa managers haven’t been given another club or have had to drop many levels to get work

    please no Bruce or Clark types – I don’t think I could stand yet another prehistoric manager

  80. Read a post on TBAR about Wagner, remarkable, he took the squad to an island pre-season with no phones, imagine a footballer with no phone !! or other gadgets to build team spirit. He really is unorthodox in his approach, almost Cloughie-esc.

  81. Good article posted by Darren . Thanks .

    Good for Wagner taking them to mobile free island . How can you build team spirit when they’re all in their own little worlds on phones . It’s ridiculous . I e even seen players putting teeets on Twitter when they’re on the bench and game is being played . A young lad did it last night “so proud to be on the bench “. Cue likes ! Within five mins he was called onto the pitch . What the hell . Watch the game !!! Ok he’s a youngster and obviously made up , but who has he seen doing that / most probably senior players . It’s crazy . They should be watching how their likely opponent plays , looking at the spacing , where to exploit but no , tweeting . Stamp this out now .

    I see Pepe has banned phones too . It’s the first rule I’d make .

  82. Jenny Truman October 6, 2016 at 1:40 pm
    I’m referring to the under 23 game AV happily won . Well played lads. But don’t spoil it by juvenile tweets about the handbags after the game . Yes it was feisty but focus on the win , not the stupid spats after . It’s called professionalism.

  83. In the modern way i’ve tweeted Dr.T and gave my tuppence worth to say Not Bruce and think long term with a Wagner type manager.

    You can imagine my frustration at being limited to 140 characters 🙂


  84. Jen have a watch of the U23 highlights, the Spanish are big lads and O’hare is about 5’8″ at the end about 5-6 Valencia players pile into him, one is sent off another booked, as the sent off player walks he spits in O’hares face, as a man let alone a boy you would want to separate him from his teeth 😉

  85. That may be so Mark but they had a terrific win so teeeting from the bench whilst game in play and teeetubg more about the fight (understandable though it is ) detracts from their impressive achievement .

  86. Sure that JD mentioned that he was related to O’Hare. His Grandad was coach to the excellent Highgate United team of the 70’s and managed Redditch United.

  87. Darren O’: I read that Birmingham Mail post shortly before you linked to it, and while I was reading it I thought to myself, “This is exactly what Darren was talking about … I wonder if he’s seen this?” lol

    Saw Jedinak is getting a boatload of grief about a poor performance for his national team. This brings up something that I’ve been meaning to mention about his and Elphick’s poor performance so far this year, and how this issue is related to our dreadful defensive woes last year. Last year we brought in two respected and experienced defensive specialists — Richards and

  88. OOPS!! Hit the comment button before I meant to! Here’s the rest of my comment:

    Last year we brought in two respected and experienced defensive specialists — Richards and Lescott and it turned into a disaster. This year we’ve brought in three more respected and experienced defensive specialists — Jedinak and Elphick (as well as Chester, but I don’t believe he’s been as bad as the other two).

    So what do these particular acquisitions of the last two seasons have in common? Well I’d say that there was one central and overriding theme: their previous clubs had either already released them, or put up no concerted effort to keep them. In none of these cases did we get in a bidding war with a club desperately trying to keep any of these players. Now contrast that with the acquisitions of our forwards this season: we had to fight tooth and nail, as well as paying obscenely high prices, in order to pry away McCormack, Kodjia and Adamoah — in fact, each of their clubs fought hard to keep them.

    So in my opinion, what we’ve been doing is targeting highly desirable forwards while contenting ourselves with bringing in defensive players whose previous clubs are quite happy to see leave their squads. That shows me that for two seasons now we’ve been severely undervaluing the defensive side of the game, and we all know exactly how that turned out. It is a truism of this sport that progress, real progress, is first achieved by making a team “hard to beat,” yet that’s never going to come to fruition for us until we start targeting defensive players that are as hard to pry away from other clubs as good offensive players are.

  89. If a club feels they have better existing options or a better target for the sold player, then there’s always a doubt in my mind that we are going after the right player. Maybe down to bungs for managers that agents orchestrate certain moves. Certainly agents don’t make half as much money negotiating sponsorship deals as they do for arranging sales.

    Having said that we’ve lacked goals even when challenging under MON, it’s nice to see we have a goal threat now but with organisation, the missing link between defence and midfield should be resolved and Elphick and Jedinak will begin to look more competent.

  90. Darren O’: I agree that more organizational structure would help with our defense, but one thing that worries me is that apparently Jedinak has played as poorly for the Australia team as he has for Villa which doesn’t bode well.

  91. Steamer: your repeated reference to “fly-tippers” (although I knew you were referring specifically to the Vermin) left this unenlightened Texan completely baffled as to its definition; once I Googled it, however, I understood the connection completely!

  92. It’s a grim position for the club. Bruce is absolutely not the guy to build a foundation for the future.

    Wagner, Smith et al have no more guarantee of doing better than RDM…could be that we have some quite poor players :-)…Hutton, Bacuna, Westwood, Jedinak, Cissokho, Gestede…and a few more besides

  93. Lets be honest until we sign a new midfield we will struggle.

    If we got wagner in maybe he would copy Liverpool, they have

    lalana hendo wjnaldon in mid
    mane firmino coutinho up top

    We could go

    tisch jedi greaish in mid
    Adomah Kodji ayew up top ?

  94. Sky announcement, Robert Wager or Steve Bruce. Two person short list. Blows my Mark Warburton theory out of the water.
    I think I’d go Wagner and go for the long haul, as long as we start to see some green shoots soonish.

  95. Steamer

    Totally with you. I’m still in shock, was feeling so positive in the summer with new set up and players brought in. I’m pretty devastated tbh. Reality is 19th in championship with potato head as manager. Mediocrity and shitness rubber stamped. I’m bored and fed up with it all. What the fuck has happened to us

  96. Looks like that’s it then, Spudhead is the man apparently. I have absolutely no confidence that he will make a respectable Villa manager, for a start he won’t be able to waste any of the Docs money until January and he’s hardly famous for his coaching and tactical abilities so Lge 1 next season for us. I think Round will be gone soon as Bruce is hardly the technical type that Round espouses.
    So Dr X has appointed two totally useless gobshites in less than 6 months, not good, no wonder the club is a laughing stock, if this is the best we can hope for then we’re stuffed.

  97. Steamer,

    Sadly, I agree with you.

    Matt (in his article) stated: “The club needs a man who can organise the team and get out of the league by any means possible. ”

    Is Steve Bruce that manager? Has he any more chance than di Matteo? For me the odds are against this manager getting anywhere except a ticket to Timbuktu.

    The fans were against McLeish coming, so will they be any kinder to Bruce?

    It is all very well to state that di Matteo was “the wrong choice”, but in comparison to what appears to be available he still sticks head and shoulders above the rest. The fans and a short-termism view got rid of RdiM, and that act may prove to be an anchor around the Doc’s neck.

  98. In my opinion we’ll be looking for a new gaffer in under 12 months. Have these people championing Bruce ever wondered why he never lasts long in a job and those jobs are with 2nd rate or 5th rate ( Blues) clubs which we are now bracketed with. Our standards and expectations are shot to pieces.

    Joleon Lescotts out for the season –
    But in their last match – a 3-0 derby defeat to Olympiakos at the weekend – Lescott had a shocker, with one report saying he looked “glaringly off the pace of the game, always dropping back and backpedalling, unwilling to go into the tackle”.

  99. The funny thing is that the Bruce followers are actually talking down the Villans who believe that the club should/could do infinitely better with the appointment. These dickheads usually cotton on when its too late, McCleish, Lambert, Sherwood. Never mind all this negativity about ‘not a Premier club anymore’ that is no excuse for appointing someone who wouldn’t be anywhere near the job if we were. The Doc has the financial pulling power to poach a proven Premier manager so why go for this clown. The happy clappers who know f-all about the club or football can happily join Spudheads pals in the media and watch the shite hit the fan, they’re welcome to him

  100. Steamer ,
    Villa have the players to win automatic promotion , they have the facilities , they have the fanbase , they have the money . Though the fans have been restless they are been incredibly patient given the circumstances so the only ingredient that leaves is management. not only the team manager but the actual regime. Dr.X has given RDM two months and regardless of the results , he has not put any shape on the group of players we will respectfully allude to as the ‘team’.

    Dr X has taken the decision to change and i believe he’s right . The fans are still on the owner’s side , accepting that he made a mistake and allowing him the latitude to correct that mistake .
    To appoint Bruce now would scream desperation and ineptitude and at the risk of being melodramatic could push Aston Villa FC into an existential crisis. The fans will accept something ‘new’ and go along with the experiment of perhaps an unproven manager , the appointment of Bruce however offers no hope to the fans and just officially declares Villa’s intention to remain in the lower leagues for a considerable time in the future.
    My biggest fear is that Villa will be a financial dinosaur in the lower leagues and you know what happened to those fellas.

  101. Very well put mate, as i was saying, he’s crepe. Folk warned us about Leeds, Florist, Blackburn, Bolton etc, we could easily join them wallowing in mediocrity for years.

  102. Look at the clubs that Spudhead has managed and tell me if he left a successful legacy at ANY of them –
    1998–1999 Sheffield United
    1999–2000 Huddersfield Town
    2001 Wigan Athletic
    2001 Crystal Palace
    2001–2007 Birmingham City
    2007–2009 Wigan Athletic
    2009–2011 Sunderland
    2012–2016 Hull City
    Every single one of them are mediocre nothing clubs, the clue is Birmingham City.

  103. Wallowing in mediocrity might be the least of our concerns Steamer . What does a business man usually do when the net worth of a company’s assets are more valuable than the company as a going concern ?
    Villa is not breaking into any new markets . Why would a kid like me from rural Ireland decide to adopt Villa as my team now compared to when I did? They dont have any ‘stars’. They dont play entertaining football? Glory days are non existent or too far in the past to count ? There is not even an ‘attitude’ about the club which would appeal to diehards. How many are international players?
    These are the factors that make non-local fans support a club , lets face it , the current villa fanbase chief demographic is one of an ageing population.
    The villa brand has to be attractive or it will not attract new customers and eventually wither.
    Anyone got a blackberry these days?

  104. Strange you should mention that, i’m finding it difficult to understand why a kid from Birmingham would support this shower. Oddly, i took the mutt down the park this morning and some local kids were training, not one had had Villa shirt and one even had a Borussia Dortmund shirt.

  105. After Sam we now have the new England manager and captain facing investigation for possible tax avoidance, just how much money do these Rsoles want ?.

  106. Prox: “[On di Matteo] Dr X has taken the decision to change and i believe he’s right . The fans are still on the owner’s side , accepting that he made a mistake and allowing him the latitude to correct that mistake .”

    Yes, you could say that. And if that is your opinion, then so be it. 😉

    However, to turn this club round from the stagnant situation it was in by last May, and we were told clearly by the new ownership that this was an issue that was not going to be sorted overnight. In my view, giving a manager less than 2 months league time is not in concert with the former statement.

    There were clearly problems in getting the players they wanted, and, indeed, they did not achieve what they wanted in that regard. Anf if you were to take the last 20 minutes of the Newcastle match I actually thought the bridge had been crossed a month after the last signings had come on board. I was shocked that Villa didn’t do better in the next two matches, and part of that has to be down to first-choice players not being fit. But only part of it, agreed.

    For me, there has been some malaise issue carried over from last season, and I think that di Matteo had difficulty in getting the team over that. Any new manager is going to have the same problem, and will have no better chance of success i.m.o. If Bruce is appointed, there’ll be even less chance i.m.o.

  107. Hi John ,
    The fact that we disagree is comforting in its consistency but you are right in this case that it is a matter of opinion. Notwithstanding all the factors you pointed out , I’m still pretty steady in my belief that a man of RDM’s profile and experience should have a competent team on the pitch in 2 months even if he was to use the reserves . The fact that villa are ping ponging all over the place is down to the manager and his lack of organizational ability and that is that in my book , albeit a very limited book.

  108. Papers tonight all saying its Bruce

    We had a short list of 25 managers. We got it down to two blokes. One unemployed, and the other our current assistant who hasn’t once got of his arse. Who the hell were the other 23 then ?

    Anyhow, it’s an underwhelming appointment for sure. Not a disaster, not one to make you give up but I expected more from Tony. He’s a manager we will have sack sooner rather than later because his ability In the Prem is limited

    I imagine he’s the type who will love Alan Hutton, who’s I’d say is the worst full back to ever play in football

    As a person, Bruce always seems a nice guy. Media friendly, funny. Just his style on the pitch I don’t like. He likes 5 at the back. Vial formation

  109. Totally agree on every point Frem, he’s just not good enough.
    This club invents new methods of humiliating it’s supporters every year, i had hoped the Doc would alter the clubs obsession with mediocrity but if Bruce is the answer i’d actually be happy with mediocrity.

  110. Been reading up on bruce. Average final position managing in the prem is 13th and average in championship is 3rd. Promoted 4 times.

    Going to bring in steve clemence, steve agnew and spinksy as backroom staff.

    Agnew seems highly rated with gibson at boro poaching him from hull.

    Its was agnew who pushed for 3 at the back under bruce at hull as hecwanted to strengthen midfield. He will want to play 7 in mid when he sees the state of ours!! I find the appontment of bruce pretty dull and uninspiring but got to suck it up as we are shit, won 4 games in 52, and 19th in the championship. And if bruce continues his impressive champ record with us then we will be delighted end of day.

  111. Bruce is on sky one at 11 on goals on Sunday. Interesting to see what he says.

    Steamer- I can’t see him lasting long. I gaine if he loses to wolves and scum ?!?!

    Andrew- He couldn’t get Hull automatic promotion last season, which was crimal with the players he had.

  112. I don’t know what sickens me most, Spudhead thinking he’s capable of managing England, which makes me nearly p myself laughing or that Villans actually want this toerag as a part of our club and that makes me want to fill two buckets with vomit.

  113. maybe the press are wrong in reporting that bruce is immanent for villa

    i don’t think he much better than rdm but he is better and judging from the work rdm has done with a lot of cash he is just as bad as the recent managers at the club

  114. Well bruce has lost abit of weight!

    Frem tbf nothing is a gimme in this league and he did get them up! Hulls team is decent too. I like that snodgrass, that type of playet would be great for us.

    Get your money on his crepe son signing foR us though!!!

  115. Great to see a bit of unity on AVL with regard to wanting the best for AVFC in terms of manager, it appears from Facebook that many fans are completely clueless, saying forget about the potato head’s blues connection, that’s fine but that’s not the issue. The issue is he is not the right choice for AVFC.

    Surely with Dr. T’s money we could have gone after some like Dyche if we wanted British and successful at organising teams or if we wanted to go foreign then what is stopping us dangling the carrot of us being a massive club in front of the likes of Wagner.

    Instead we’ll get a manager who walked out on Hull after getting the promoted over budgets, that’s fine in itself but the owners are the ones putting the money up not the manager so he should have accepted it, instead he hand-tied Hull into a situation where they couldn’t get players in and they will only struggle over the season. I don’t want a manager prepared to hold my club to ransom if he doesn’t get his way. He left Sheffield United for the same reason.

    While I’ve been quite prepared to build over two seasons our return to the premiership, at which stage we would be well versed in winning, have a system and 4 tfr windows to build a squad capable of sustaining promotion, instead we’re going hell for leather for promotion/play offs, with a squad that is unbalanced and with a new manager capable of promotion but incapable of staying in the prem.

    In terms of his promotions, which seem to be the focus for many fans or a way of dealing with who we’ve settled for, below is his promotion achievements

    Small Heath 2001-2 took over while they were mid-table and went up via play-off final
    Small Heath 2006-7 had the largest budget in the league, finished 2nd
    Hull 2012-13 joined Hull that summer and got them promoted after finishing 2nd
    Hull 2016-17 promoted via play-offs

    So one club he was with for 6 years and got them promoted by taking over someone else’s side and then promoted again and another club for 4 years and we expect that this is the level of manager needed to get promotion this season and to kick on.

    He’ll never have a budget it like it, but wouldn’t it be so much better to see any other manager have it.

  116. Well, all our talk may well come to nothing and we’ll get Mr. Bruce whether we want him or not.

    For me, this whole episode brings down the cred of the Doc. H e started by doing so many right things but Chinese impatience seems to have taken over. Which is a pity. At least, that’s how I see it.

    Actually, the thing that the Doc could have done from square one is to have got the badge re-designed. It’s restoration to something like a previous design might have had a positive psychological impact on players and fans alike. It’s still not too late to do it.

  117. Great post DOR.
    People saying he’s never had big budgets should look at this –

    He has history of holding clubs to ransom he actually went on strike at Naarwich because they wanted a reasonable fee for him.

    Went mad at FA for suspending Boyd for spitting in Harts face, denied it happened.
    Same with Dugarry on Gudjohnnson.

    Walked out on nearly every club and put the blame on the various chairmen.

    Another CRAP MANAGER approaching.

  118. JL,
    Agree, Dr X seems to be unaware of our traditions except the one where we appoint useless managers and end up paying millions out in compo.

  119. I may be the only one warming to the idea.

    don’t give a damn he managed blues 9 years ago. More upset he scored those 2 headers for utd against sheff wed in injury time to pretty much kill our title hopes.

    After having in experienced crepe like gardie, Sherwood, McLeish lambert the past 5 years I am happy to have someone with bruces experience, contacts and knowledge. I see the links to dyce. I mean back to the real world there is not a cat in hells chance dyche would join us!! It would of been just as hard to convince wagner to leave huddy for us!

    I really think despite the 6 or 7 years of being one of the worst prem sides in history some villans think we can attract the best. Another thing thrown at bruce is style of play…..have you not seen villa play the last 5 years!! I really don’t know who else people want or expect REALISTLICLY better than bruce!?

    Am I excited by Bruce…no. Do I want villa to play like spurs, Liverpool yes. do I want a manger like klopp, poch, koeman yes. But this is the real world…we are villa and we are shit. Horses for courses worry about the above if we get promoted. The here and now is getting a team out of the chamoionship…there is no one better at that than bruce. FACT

  120. Hi Andrew

    “there is no one better at that than bruce. FACT”

    4 promotions in 14 years including relegation with both those teams in order to get them promoted back again. Really don’t agree with you. As for not attracting the likes of Dyche or Wagner, are you saying because Bruce is out of work that’s what we should aim for.

    Sure it would prove difficult to get Dyche etc but why not try, most of these stories get leaked so why don’t we have Dyche turning us down or being flattered by the interest. I don’t think we necessarily had to limit ourselves to unemployed managers who have been involved in promotion, why not seek out managers who are good organisers because that is what this team really needs, putting aside how we all think AVFC is the greatest club that has ever existed. We’re in a position to offer more generous salaries and bigger player budgets than Dyche or Wagner have. Perfectly good reasons for us to attract better than Bruce.

  121. regarding how much money he has spent….whatever. Most managers now spend a fortune. The Hull side aint too shabby. His wigan side with Valenica, figureo, palcious, zaki up top was ok too.

    And I remember his time at the blues always worried me at the time as they was a decent little team with forssell and that stern john being a pain in the ass.

  122. who says we haven’t tried for others?

    Does not matter to me if bruce is more avaialbe now. The dr has eluded to wanting others in the summer but not available. Id bet they wanted bruce from the start. The re mit has always been championship experience rightly or wrongly.

    Again I would be amazed if any manager from the prem dropped down to join us even though we offered more dollar. The prem is where all these guys want to be….chuck that away for the poisoned chalice of villa? I wouldn’t and I love villa more than the world!!

    4 promotions….average finish of 3rd in the championship and average finish of 13th in the prem. Our remit from the beginning was get up and get mid table in the prem. Bruce can do that. The key will be getting rid of him once we are settled in the prem. But that’s a long way off. The hear and now is he is what we need like him or loath him

  123. we are villa and we are s**t. – and about to get shitter.

    The here and now is getting a team out of the championship…there is no one better at that than bruce. FACT – unfortunately its likely to be out and into Lge 1.

    I think the players will be totally disheartened by recent events and expect them to get mashed in the forthcoming blood feasts followed by a slow, painful drop into the lower leagues ala Wolves.
    This team has neither the ability or character to withstand any setback, fight like Lions my ‘arris.

  124. the doc will boot bruce if ever we get back in the prem!

    The players should of paid more attention in the last 5 mins and ran around a bit more if they wanted di matteo to succeed. WIN SOME BLOODY GAMES!

    Be interesting to see how bruce re vamps the midfield which I believe is the route of all our troubles. Does not protect the back 4, does not add anything up top.

  125. I don’t want to come across as a massive brucie fan cause I aint. But if I was the doc id prob get him in too. Bit like years ago when we should of got hughes in and instead went and got houllier in and the other shite managers. Time and place now for someone experienced instead of another bloody experiment/gamble.

  126. So the idea is not to plan for the long term now, but go for what will hopefully be a quick fix and then get another manager in who is better and will have to start from scratch again. This is were I disagree completely with Dr.T and anyone who thinks immediate promotion is going to lead to any sort of stability for Villa.

    I get it, money talks and being out of the prem for more than a season is a nightmare if we wish to stay in contention with the Stoke’s of this world but I’m looking at this relegation as a chance to rebuild our identity, how we wish to play football and how we wish to progress the club overall (clearly wishful thinking).

    Bruce will play Westwood and Jedinak in the middle, wait til you see, he’ll go 442 with Kodija and Gestede up top, Hutton at RB, Cissokho at LB, Baker and Elphick in defence, we’ll bore the pants off every team we play, scraping points here and there and by January, the vultures will be out for a new manager. Agnew will then get promoted to No.1 spot, get the transfer window and the next manager will have lost the op to pick who he wanted or I could have said it will play out a lot like last season.

    We have to stop this chopping and changing approach to key positions, it all just looks like we are trying to find the right formula by chance when the right formula takes time to build, look at Southampton, that’s not an overnight story

  127. In a perfect world we would get an exciting manager who comes across like klopp and we play wonderfull footy. But we have issues.

    we are shit
    we are 19th in the league
    outside of our bubble we are a laughing stock.

    Who ever is our manager I believe there will be continuity in the back ground. We have wyness, round, new head of scouting brought in. ambitious/ruthless owner. The guys in the background will remain the same and I think they do have a vision. Its very earlyt days and they are building a club from scratch.

    Lests be honest how many southamptons are out there and are they a model we want to copy. happy to just stay in the league and loose there best managers/players every year. (impossible to produce kids like they have been doing all the time, will dry up).

    Overall im happy with the Dr
    setting up the new scouting dept
    the new players signed.

  128. I think the dr is just thinking he wants to get promoted simple as that! And at the moment thinks bruce is the best man to achieve it.

    Long term does not exist in footy now….but the dr said from day one the plan is to get up, stay up, get Europe and conqor the world!!

    bruce would fit into the first 2 phases then he is a goner!!

    Have seen villa play abysmal and loose every week for years if bruce plays bad footy but gets results then im in! Bottom line is I want to see us wining matches. its been too long

  129. that’s good to hear

    Brucey who obv managed blues apparently lives in brum still so knows what its all about. Atkins villa man. spinks as gk coach, villa man. Little on board, villa man.

    one of the coaches bruce wants to nab is a brummie bloke too. Hopefully all these connections with villa/midlands helps a bit.

  130. we have gone from randy learner
    chief exec fox then no one!
    No tech director
    don’t think there was a scouting network set up. collymore said we had 4 scouts who worked abroad…normal for a club to have over 100!!
    coaches at the club were keano, a drunk Wilkins, black.

    Basically nothing in place/ no plan.

    Now we have the Dr
    Keith wyness
    Brian little

    I have to think that’s a good strong backroom and one that will provide stability and has football knowledge which is a first for us! that’s the future and has only been In place 5mins. It WILL eventually trickle down to the pitch. Just as the shite from the top trickled down under learner. its only been literally months in place.

  131. Andrew: “I think the dr is just thinking he wants to get promoted simple as that! And at the moment thinks bruce is the best man to achieve it.”

    Yes, I’m sure you’re right, but I think DO’R has stated enough issues to suggest that the Doc’s apparent ploy is not what is really required.

    I keep on saying that I can’t see anyone (of those touted) being able to do better than RdiM, so what was the point of his departure? OK, that’s done and dusted now, but I am really concerned about what we’re now likely to experience as a result.

  132. I can completely see where DO’R is coming from. The championship is cut throat 2 games a week, is it really the time to gamble and exepriment now?

    I have no doubts john that bruce will set up a team better than rdm and make better in game subs.

    Reaing up on bruce and seems ery unfair to label him boring lump it to the big man. it appears he is far from it. At Hull he changed from 4231 352 433 and finally settled on 532 which he interestingly he did before it came into fashion at the int stage with Italy/mexico.

    I think wing backs prob suite us and some of our best sides used the formation. Believe little and Gregory used it.

  133. Andrew,

    Yes, believe me, I can see where you’re coming from as well, but the fact that nothing’s been allowed to settle this last 20 months – plus the lack of spirit – means that there’s a substantial psychological barrier to break through.

    If Bruce can get some quick wins then all may be well … but I wait with baited breath …

  134. yep, proof as always is in the pudding. Beating wolves at home on a sat night would be a great start.

    To be honest if it is bruce then why the hell is it not all confirmed now! whats the ruddy hold up

  135. When RDM was let go I predicted on here that his replacement was likely to be Steve Bruce or someone like him, even though I’d be thrilled if we could get Wagner or his like. The truth is, is that Andrew is correct: in our current state no one the likes of Wagner or Dyche wants anything to do with us. If our new gaffer can carry us into a period of “relative” success by getting us promoted this season or next, then at that time we might be glamorous enough to entice the new-wave type of manager. Meanwhile, the new and well-respected backroom staff can be restructuring us into a club worthy of the name “Aston Villa.”

  136. And of the older class of managers — Bruce, Pearson, Mad Mick, Warnock, Warburton — I don’t see that with four Championship promotions on his CV Bruce can really be that much worse than any of the others in his class (to be fair, Pearson and McCarthy would have been alright with me as well).

  137. I am now becoming reasonably content with the Steve Bruce appointment, if it happens, as so many ex Villa players feel he is the man for the job.

    I wonder if the malaise with Villa started with the cancer diagnosis of Stilyan Petrov, and has coninued to hang over the club, because with such a traumatic event amongst the team, there probably was no attempt to consider the effect on the team and staff, and the need for proper counselling.

  138. Anyone think that Giggs is making a late play for the job by saying that he’d manage in the Champs “if a club managed my ambition.” Not interested in working his way up is he ? Wouldn’t have him selling the pies at VP.

  139. Andrew

    “Lets be honest how many Southampton’s are out there ”

    There are more appearing, Brentford for one, Watford, Swansea, Leicester its not just about Finding youth players to sell, more about a style of play that players can be sourced from elsewhere to fit the system, so less chance of buying players that don’t fit as in our current plan. Even Huddersfield have bought players to fit Wagners system, we bought good players that had champs experience and leadership not ones that fit a system, hence to problems gelling.

  140. Looks like the man utd reserve man might be assistant manager. And according to reports rdm was to laid back in the dressing room. Bruce main strength is leadership and getting morale up.

    Defo agree we bought players in without thinkng where they are going o play or how we are going to play.

  141. great comments again all

    I am not sure if it is more about timing than the attractiveness of being villa manager that means we can’t get the likes of Wagner at the moment

    With Dr x and his ambitions and the huge potential everyone knows is there it is more likely that Wagner would go anywhere right now rather than anything else

    steamers post re Wagner’s pre season antics makes me think he couldn’t just walk away from this group at this stage

    Ee Bruce

    again not my choice and this time Dr x has got professionals in place to make the decision

    If the brief is lets justify this spend and get back up now – then hate him or love him Bruce has done it regularly

    I dread to think of 5 at the back and yet more dreary football ,, But if by any means we start functioning as a team a get wins , like Andrew I will take that right now

    not a bruce fan btw

  142. Bruce … Bruce … Bruce….

    Surely – with no appointment looking too close – the Doc is waiting to see whether Clarke does any better this week-end vs Wolves?

    It could be his trial game … and if he wins we may end up with Clarke as manager …

  143. Hmmm murphy says bruce still fav but there a few managers they are intersted gone under the radar. Wagner knocked us back and the villa staff wyness etc really lke dyche but would he come.

    Due dlignce all done and now reported to the dr who has final say. Unlikely to go off piste like wirh rdm and will listen to little and round!

  144. Tbh i dont get the fuss over dyche. With bruce accused of boring footy dych sets his team up no better. Wouldnot excite me more than bruce.

    Getting oscar garcia, flores, wagner would be more exciting.

  145. Dyche

    Two promotions with Burnley, no significant budget, clearly has to organise his team to punch above their weight. Both promotions within the last 2 years so has current experience of what is required to get teams out of the league.

    There’s the fuss, I’m not having a go at you Andrew, we want the same thing a successful Villa side, we may want to go about it in different ways that’s fine, my thoughts are based on having seen Villa go thru loads of below par managers in the hope we happen on the right mix of talent and ability to work within a Lerner budget of zero.

    Now we have an owner prepared to invest and we go for Bruce, I feel that if we had a plan at all, we’d be talking about very different managers. But like a few managers who have turned us down in the last few weeks, they don’t see any longevity in Villa, they don’t see the project, they see the last 5 years. So within manager circles as they do talk is that the club must be speaking of the immediacy of promotion and from any potential manager’s perspective possibly getting dumped if we succeed or dumped if we don’t. To me, it smacks of pay day managers, they’ll get a million for the year, walk away and not give a sh1t.

    If Bruce gets the job then I’ll wish him every success, i’m just not convinced that he’s the right man for the job.

    Phil Neville that was a close one, thankfully he’s said no because he like Giggs has this over inflated opinion of himself as do all the Fergie fledglings, sometimes in the case of Scholes and Giggs it might be better just to live with being a good footballer.

  146. You’re all still ignoring the fact that Clarke is at VP right now and might get the job … particularly if Villa win vs Wolves.

    Though I suppose it may depend on how he came across at the interview.

  147. It’s amazing how when an ex- Untied player gets a managers job he signs a couple of their overrated crepe players almost as if they will have a magical effect on the team. How many Untied players have made good managers ? including Spudhead, i’d say …………………………. none.

  148. I think yes, money on spudbonce, I have to say he’s probably the safe pair of hands we need right now. He’ll know all about the club and the fans expectations. So it’s going to be Bruce. I suspect Bruce being the type of person he is, experienced in dealing with the chicanery associated with football club chairmen, he’s most likely got his lawyers going through the small print on the contract in terms of assurances before he puts his monicker on it.
    It’ll happen. Another era begins, don’t you just love it

  149. Morning all.
    If you want to read something different to the “Is it or isn’t it” I have written my latest blog. Hope Matt doesn’t mind me posting link here.

    You will all know that for several years I have been talking about the mentality problem at AVFC. Many asssumed that with a new manager and a revamped squad (not to mention enthusiastic new owner in Dr. Tony Xia) that things could only get better. They haven’t and I explain why in my latest article.


  150. Hi John,
    I will look out those WW2 letters for you and try and scan them. My Mom and Nan, God rest their souls , would be greatly touched if they thought that Ernie’s words would be read all these years later. Thank you x

  151. Hi Darren

    Its all good..like you say all want the same thing! Agree about the ex utd players wouldn’t want them at our club.

    Yeah dyche has done that but bruce has gone up 4 times! Mangaged to keep the blues in the prem 6 years and finish above us on no massive budget! so he can clearly build a team too! His wigan side was his own and current hull team his own. Not much difference between the 2 for me. Id be ok with either but not overly excited.

    Im no big lover of bruce and wont be that excited with him…just think he is the man for the current job. Which prob says more about the state of us!

    Steamer tbf sparky aint done tooo badly. Incey the worst of the lot. thinks he is big time. Prob why he is out the job.

  152. interesting developments today

    I think Dyche would come to villa even though it is a drop for him what he can achieve in the long term is far greater than what can be done at his current club

    St75 nice to see you post -n I will be sending you a link later to an awesome reggae band I recently discovered called Midnite – think you might like them

  153. I’ll not be surprised if its Dyche….nothing surprises me where our club is concerned, or football in general. But I think its Spudbonce for sure.

  154. Jenny If its Dyche we will get a man well versed in positive talk, a very good manager and big bugger that will scare the crap out of them without trying

  155. Can we have this please?

    10 reasons why Burnley won promotion to the Premier League

    1. The manager: Sean Dyche showed leadership, knowledge, expectation. He drilled into his players an insatiable will to win.

    2. An incredible level of fitness, the foundations laid in pre-season training. Stats showed it never dropped and even increased at the season’s end.

    3. Mark Howard and his sports science staff were crucial. His mantra – any injury is an injury too many.

    4. Team spirit was as good as anything ever seen at Turf Moor. Egos were weeded out. Divas were in short supply.

    5. The pressing game never let other teams settle. They were hassled, harried and hustled.

    6. Every player had his best ever season, Tom Heaton and Sam Vokes being the best examples. Everyone played at their maximum.

    7. It was a season of superb goals, so many it was difficult to pick the best of the season. The quality was outstanding.

    8. The miserly defence shut other teams out: 21 clean sheets and only 37 goals conceded.

    9. When Charlie Austin was sold, Sam Vokes and Danny Ings answered the challenge to fill his shoes. Their 41 league goals was the best since Andy Lochhead and Willie Irvine in the 1960s.

    10. Swift transition through the units, endlessly practised. Goal of the season was a five-man, 15-second move from the keeper onwards against Wigan.

  156. No way is Bruce clear favourite by villa that’s for sure. If he was, he’d be in by now. Either they want someone in a job and Bruce is back up, or as John says, Clarke has wolves for a trail game. I don’t want him, but think it is the case

    Turned down by Wagner, Neville and now Dyche. Sad

  157. The Villa gig is a career breaker at the moment, so no surprises at being knocked back by Wagner et al.
    I really don’t see Clark being the man, It’s Bruce. I would say with Dyche distancing himself, Bruce will be unveiled tomorrow 12.00 news conference.
    All I can say is I was equally underwelmed when Ron Saunders was appointed in 1974. I wanted Sir Alf Ramsey or Gordon Jago who was a top manager at the time with QPR. The rest is history, so what do I know. I think it was at that time Steamer stopped watching the first team and would only watch Villa reserves I’m sure he’ll confirm that, apologies Steamer if I got the year wrong;-)

  158. Jenny,

    I much look forward to seeing the scanned letters when you have chance (before January?!).

    Liked your article, but am still not convinced any other manager of those quoted will do the job.

  159. Unfortunatly it appears most managers just dont want to take us on at the moment! Brucey get us promoted then watch em line up asking for the job! The dr will have his man eventually!!

    Steamer something to help you sleep…..its going to be bruce…..and he is open to bringing gabby back in the fold!!!!

  160. Arch,
    Noo mate it was when Herbert came back to destroy us that i departed although Saunders brand of anti football did make me waver, fortunately Barton saved us from relegation and won the EC. In the meantime the ‘effin wonderful Saunders managed to relegate the fly tippers and yam yams in the same season.
    There i was in bliss having forgotten about that parasite and i’m now regretting Di Matteo’s departure as he handled him perfectly, if Spudhead brings him back it’ll finish me.

  161. Haha well thats The reports but gabby has to be way off 1st team slection.

    Dr tweeted annoucment tomoz. Bruce will be our 1000th manager

    Im weirdly ok with england now everyone realises we are shit and will be lucky to win a game. Find myself getting behind them more. Jack motm for u21

  162. The FA only appoint top people, Adrian Boothroyd’s last league club job was Northampton Town, when he was booted they were bottom of League 2. The entire set up is amateurish, jobs for the boys, people think Southgate is intelligent, not because of anything he says or has done, its because he has refined his London accent and doesn’t pick his nose while giving an interview, he’s just a newer version of Hodgson. Talking of that dimwit, if our previous directors had of had their way RH would be our manager.

  163. Apparently Spudhead will be bringing a full set of ex-noses, Bertschin, Clemence that crepe ex Untied keeper Gary Walsh and Atkins, what next a Blue strip, KRO as the teams come out, we already get their results, our clubs gone down the gurgler.

  164. Houllier mcleish lambert shewood gardei rdm jesus christ its no wonder we are in the championship.

    Brucey the most sensible safest appointment since o neil.

    Be interesting who does come with him steamer, spink ruled himself out. That boro bloke would be decent.

    Wonder how long his contract is. 2 or 3 years

  165. More like a sentence than a contract , 3m per year is way, way over the top for a lower div manager. No confidence in Dr X to make any correct decisions regarding Villa.

  166. Did anyone notice last week when Wyness was talking about the clubs ambitions for owning satellites and he referred to “the clubs ownerS ?”

  167. Postponed while Potato Head books his Christmas holidays, that’s how long he’ll last. Faith has yet to be restored in Villa’s ability to pick managers, I won’t say stick with them because none have proved worthy under Lerner apart from Garde (imo) and RDM while having improved the team in many positions and got us to drawing games from being always beaten, it probably wasn’t good enough if immediate promotion was/is a one season only task.

    If Bruce fails this year, what would have been the difference in keeping RDM on, anyway back to my upbeat track.

    In the words of Randy Newman (those with kids will get the connection to our new leader)

    You’ve got a friend in me
    You’ve got a friend in me
    When the road looks rough ahead
    And you’re miles and miles
    From your nice warm bed
    Just remember what your old pal said
    Shit on the city, shit on the city today

  168. DOR,
    Just consulted my crystal ball about feeling despondent, as the pictures unfurled i saw –
    1)Bruce with another sackful of money signing the mediocrities that he usually signs.
    2)Villa making the play-offs ( went a bit foggy then ).
    3)Sneaking promotion by a last minute og.
    4)See 1.
    5) After struggling all season Spudhead resigns blaming DrX for only giving him 500m to squander.
    6) Becomes Engurland manager but is sacked after Gibralter knock them out o the WC, complains that five years isn’t enough time to build a team.
    7) Buys a ST at the skip.

    He may get us promoted eventually but he has NEVER left a legacy to build on, just buys crepe after crepe until the owners realise what a p-poor excuse of a manager he is, enjoy the ride, its gonna be a bumpy one and along the way just contemplate what AVFC has become.

  169. Jeez some of our fans are in countdown mode awaiting the arrival of our Geordie messiah, I do despair. How far have we fallen if some are eagerly awaiting his arrival.

    I know beggars can’t be choosers but for god sake, this isn’t Pep or Pochettino.

  170. The Villa Blog is really anti Spud, folk been on there for donkeys and packing up until this joker has gone, hopefully they’ll be back in a few weeks. I still can’t get over the 3m, you could have got a proper manager for that. Lerner lost me when he appointed McKnob, think Dr X has just done the same.

  171. we have the signing of his son alex to look forward to in Jan…….


    exactly…how far we have fallen. 1 Win in 7 months 0 wins away in 1 year and 3 months! 19th in the championship. This shit is real….we are horrundous which some of our fans forget.

  172. Hi Andrew

    And there’s an opportunity for Villans (particularly those on social media) to be a bit more contained and not act like some giddy schoolgirls, it’s just potato head arriving.

  173. Bit of a joke this 6-30 announcement , bruce signed monday , thats why l put ” get your money on bruce ”

    will have a listen to midnite , when you on about getting up here ,

    jenny xxxxxx hope all ok

    steamer ,, cheers mate , but check your texts l sent one monday about bruce so you could get your abuse in early …lol

  174. got to be honest lm not a bruce fan , but lm loving listening to noses stuttering about how he’s shit and we wont get anything on the 30th , l think they know he can wind a team up for certain games . just like he did with them against us .

  175. st75 next in the mids for a school reunion on 3rd of December – hoping to book some time off and say about a few days — i have sent you a link via email st

    needs must with Bruce but if he gets us winning games he will the the best in a long time

  176. Interesting to hear rdm was too laid back. Would not say a cross word to the players. Even after all the late goals!!

    Seems bruce main strength is man management, players like him. Takes no shit….got the fergie hair dryer in him too.

    Big ron and brian little talking him up….that will do.

  177. I think I may be warming to Bruce :0

    It hasn’t got me running around with joy, but maybe it’s not so bad. As man, he’s always seemed nice. He interviews well, speaks well after games. He’s no world beater but I think he will get us promoted this season in fact. It’s in the prem where we will struggle.

    5 year deal though ?!!?? hope not, 3 at max

    Just hope he doesn’t love hutton and play his 5 at the back. Get ayew, Jack, Kodjia and Ross scoring

  178. Bruce

    Well, as he’s the man who has been chosen, we should move forward and give him the benefit of the doubt. I can’t get too enthused either, but it will be interesting to see what affect this appointment has on the players this Saturday…

  179. Morning all
    I can only say this : is Bruce the progressive type of manager to fit the vision Dr Tony has for AVFC?

    John , odds are there will be a win on Sat : that’s the usual response by the players to new mgr according to stats , but it is often short lived . I agree , I will be v interested too and I think we will see a more confident performance particularly if Bruce sets them up in a combo they understand and are comfortable with .

    Clive has kindly told me the Twitter name I put on here was gobbydygook . Thanks Clive – here we go again .

    Jenny Truman@butterfield88.

  180. To give you another example of how stupid (weak kneed ) Villa fans are –
    On the lazy fat twat who’s constantly wiped his fat ‘arris on the Villa shirt and undermined every manager since MON while giving nothing in return for his 60k per week wages –
    The slight majority (37.4%) of fans say the club need to give him a chance, get him fit, and play him.

    Utter morons, this isn’t about opinions its about not being walked over by a gormless gobshite who got lucky.

  181. Jenny,
    Enjoyed reading your article and so much rang true.
    based in your comment about our number of shots, inimagine that our shot conversion rate is just about the lowest in the division. . . . despite us having the most prolific championship strike force from the last couple of seasons. That stat surely emphasises yourbpoint about lack of confidence.
    Having just checked, I was surprised to see that only 7 teams have conceded fewer goals than us. I imagine nobody has conceded fewer in the first 80 minutes!
    It suggests that we are not that far away. . .. if Bruce can get the right thoughts between their ears we may yet be ok.

  182. at best gabby will be on the bench. but with no match fitness at all I doubt that will happen thank God.

    Kodjia, gestede, ross, all above him. rushden murphy not far away either. should be on the bench now.

    Good luck Brucey, beat wolves and the blues and youll be off to a flyer.

  183. Andrew: “Good luck Brucey, beat wolves and the blues and youll be off to a flyer.”

    How true! Get those teams mashed and Bruce will be a hero even if we get relegated!

  184. There’s no point in giving Bruce a ‘roasting’ yet as who knows, maybe we will ‘smash’ (for the older readers) the first few games. From the time of ‘King Edward’ there have always been half ‘baked’ ideas on what needs to be done, put forward by those who really deserve a kick in the ‘tatties’.
    All I can say is that I am rather ‘fond(ant)’ of this club and have no wish to see it go down the ‘(chip)pan’.
    So lets hope we get of to a ‘fryer’ (Dr Tony pronunciation of flyer) and play out of our ‘skins’ this weekend………………..
    I’m off for a lie-down now ….. think I’ve a fever as I feel ‘boiled’…………

  185. He’s only gone and said it “clean slate for the whole squad.” get this twat out now.
    And Clemence has joined now, show him the door as well.

  186. nice one old villa!


    Its just standard new manager speak..he will know who he likes and don’t…the dr would of told him about gabby.

    Hopefully he wont be another manager who plays westy everygame!

  187. Yes another day another manager, I just read Jens article, very good Jen and accurate in our situation I think , if it is the case at Villa spudulika has until the second half to think things are going well 😉

  188. Evening all
    Thanks Robbie and Mark .
    Yes Robbie – it’s amazing that we are in the top 7 for shots on goal and like you point out , only 7 have conceded fewer goals . Based on these stats, the margin between 19th and 6th is so slight that it could be so different .

  189. Afternoon Lifers,

    I like that Bruce has a sense of humour and can laugh at himself re: potato head jokes.

    He can be the greatest motivator in the world and we’ve still got a team without adequate fullbacks, nothing in midfield and a 21 yr old Italian youth keeper.

    So we’re relying on Westwood(oh dear), Jedinak (he’d better not be past it or we’re in trouble), Gards(not the same player post serious injuries) and Tish who’s often injured himself.

    We’ve got a handful of very good attacking players for the Championship and no one to get them the ball consistently not to mention nobody wants to see Mutton and Cissokho for another season…

    Got the centre backs and the strikers but the middle of our spine is deficient; until we address that imbalance we’re going nowhere and I fear Jan is too late not to mention losing many key players to the African cup of nations.

    Oh well.


  190. Jenny,
    I’m quite sure I heard you mentioned on the radio or TV, can’t remember which one, talking about an article you wrote about the fragile Villa psyche (the one you linked to I’m guessing).

    Well done!

    Curious to see if there is a change of manager boost in performance.
    We need to get more from Jedinak; if he’s done then we have to pray that Tish stays injury free, big ask it would appear on both counts…

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