The end of the world has come it would seem: gloom, gloom, yet more gloom! Yet any gloom usually turns to light, so I am assuming we are going to see light – and plenty of it – when matters sort themselves out. Promotion? Probably not this season, but, hey, we were getting used to the idea of it not happening anyway.

I see Bruce being condemned as a dinosaur, yet in reality I felt the dinosaur was Grealish! He is coming on 22 yet still exhibits a petulance that is not easily forgivable at that age, but possibly a carry-over from the previous administration that seemed to have lost it. When Bruce took over he found he had a dressing room of wet rags to contend with and he gradually eroded that situation – but perhaps in Grealish he has his most formidable challenge. After all, Alexander the Great was strutting his stuff at a similar age, but this lad seems scarcely able to organise a tea party, let alone an invasion. However, this is perhaps an age of mediocrity – in football certainly, as well as politics. Where, oh where, has the phenomenon gone that was once known as “character”?

And the Forest match result was really down to Grealish. Arguably his one touch of any note produced a goal, but his two yellow cards effectively gave the game to the opposition. Yes, probably aided by Johnstone’s fumble, but the shot he had to deal with was ‘one of those’, bouncing awkwardly, and we had the misfortune to see that Forest had a striker who was awake to the situation when Johnstone was about to atone for his slip.

Was it all bad? Some AVL fans are saying that the team, the manager and the club is rubbish, or words to that effect. Once we’ve slept on it, we’ll still feel disgruntled, yes, but we’ll still be interested to see Villa keep their unbeaten home record intact next week. We’ve been in a 6 year haze of disillusionment and it’s difficult to work ourselves out of it.

Like all on AVL I saw the match, and for me there were moments when I saw things coming together. I like the individual forays of Hogan, and the ‘strike when you see the whites of their eyes’ attitude of Kodjia. And in the three latest (midfield) signings I saw the beginnings of them finding their feet. And despite criticism after the match, I feel that the defence is good enough.

What is needed is simply more games for them to gel, for in their play I see the new signings having the capability of making the tail end of this season worth watching, and providing sufficient anticipation for the big push next season. It was a very similar situation back in 1936 to 1938 (from what I’ve read in the research I’ve recently been doing), so the omens are good.

Up the Villa!

Comments 261

  1. Season over….oh yeah, it was last Tuesday.
    I will say we will take this league apart next season, we’ll smash it. You heard it here first.
    Enjoy the journey …we’ll be ok.
    …..time for a tot of Bank’s mild….oh dear and me a Malvern lad ….should be zzzzider!!
    have a good evening all.
    The journey continues

  2. Very good, sensible, well thought out post John.
    Maybe we all (me definitely included!) need to just take stock of what immense changes there have been at Villa Park over the last few months and realise that these changes WILL take time to gel and sort out into some semblance of order.
    We need to probably discount this season and prepare for next with a team that is a team and is used to each other and knows what is expected of them.

  3. Oh an by the way….
    For all you old time fans from the 60’s-70’s. and slightly the 80’s
    If you’re at GH’s (AKA Steamer) funeral next week, I’ll see you there, I’ll be the one in the purple suede shoes…..steamer would have p!ssed himself and called me for everything.

  4. well i went to the con club to raise a glass to Steamer tonight with Wizza , Me my brother Roff and jessie and lm sorry to say even Steamer would have been disgusted with that performance . yes l have had a few but i think he would be turning in his grave , jack you f**king idiot and l hope my nephew whacks the f**k out of you ,

  5. Love the optimism JL.

    but do you not see the decline in Villa since the removal of Gollini and the introduction of Johnstone, whose bone slip in every game costs us. That is down to Bruce being a dinosaur, and not realising what a great keeper he had in Gollini, who got better with every game, was only on the losing side once…!!
    All because he was so keen that he had his own Italian goalkeeping coach….and Bruce said he was not allowing it. That is a dinosaur attitude..!!!

  6. You lot are getting me at it, I think I’m going to have to open a bottle of wine at 11.30pm.
    I was playing music trying to forget about the match,
    Heartily agree with you st75 about grealish, hope your nephew knocks some sense into him.
    Even his hair never got messed up.
    Someone should confiscate his mirror

  7. I listened to the match on AVTV. Excellent summary, John. I fully agree with your assessment of both the game and the future of this team. Like everybody else, disappointed with Jack Grealish. It’ll be interesting to see what the gaffer does with him.
    “Someone should confiscate his mirror” Lol.
    I hope they do.
    Hello ST75-happy to hear from you, even though, we managed to lose again.

  8. Well sorry folks but there is only one person to be upset about and that is Steve Bruce. He coaches and picks the team and from where I am looking is making a huge mess of it. Where is the steely determination? players fighting for each other? Hogan is a very good player yet tonight I saw him reduced to going it alone, the none pass he received from Kodjia after intelligently playing him in said it all for me, we have shipped out RMC who would have been fantastic with Hogan. Steve Bruces ego has ruined any chance of playing Football and I am not sure he knows what that is.

  9. Mark why bother?
    I think they thought they were kicking a sheep’s bladder with the sheep still attached the way they were performing.
    AVTV have lost my membership again for the 4th time in 1.5 seasons.
    Not a happy clappy!
    They couldn’t organise a pi*s up in a brewery.
    Mind you they used to include the sacks & the rats in the vats with the sugar at Ansells.
    No one noticed though, they probably thought it had more body.
    Even a bottle of wine doesn’t dispel the taste of the whole lunacy of thunking we could possibly play proper football.
    Bruce seems to be modelling himself on Trump where he creates chaos & tries to find where to go with what happens next

  10. I had to go the skull & crossbones route, & managed to find it just before Codger scored a great goal but it all went downhill after that.
    I even switched it off before the end & didn’t get my phantom money’s worth.

  11. Mark you said what I was going to say about Kodjia – maybe someone should explain he doesn’t have to do it all on his own now he has a striking partner who can actually strike – and presumably jump a 4ft 6in gate to get to training!
    I thought at the time Grealish got his first card for his usual petulance that it might come back to bite us and it did.
    Otherwise I saw signs of some improvement in the midfield that the substitution of Lansbury by Jedinak would help.
    I could not understand why, when we were playing 3-5-2 how much room Forest was getting on the wings towards the end – that was not totally due to the absence of Grealish.
    As usual John your post stimulates debate and, after all, that is the ‘raison d’etre’ of this site.

  12. So Dr T has pretty much confirmed that we made changes this January in order to give us time to properly prepare for ‘next’ season. We can therefore expect few changes in the summer and I’m 100% behind that (apart from the goalkeeper)

  13. I’ve seen calls for Bruce to be replaced by Rowett.
    That’s not an option for me.
    Villa is a club with great expectations and that piles extra pressure on the manager. Surely by now we’ve learned that any manager who has previously managed Birmingham will be put under even ‘greater’ pressure from a significant portion of Villa fans?
    I’m confident that we now have a squad that is more than capable of gaining promotion.
    I don’t mind seeing some experimentation and player rostation for the rest of the season as long as we see a winning formula being developed before the end of the season.
    I want to see players fighting hard to retain their places and cement themselves in the team which will get us promoted next year. That means that I ‘do’ want to see some of the academy players getting playing time. I ‘do’ want to see substitutions, and I ‘dont’ want to see them made when it’s too late to make a difference.

  14. I wasn’t able to watch the game yesterday but have seen the criticism of Jack ‘petulantly’ kicking the ball away and attracting the second booking.
    I don’t like players doing it and I don’t like players standing in front of the ball to prevent free kicks being taken, but I’m prepared to bet a case of wine or beer that next week, the same referee will see a player do exactly that and he will ‘not’ book him.
    The standard of some referees in this division is (probably inevitably) really poor.
    Some of the blame also has to go to the unimaginative officials who make the rules.
    If they don’t want players interfering with free kicks, then penalise them a further 10m as in rugby. If a referee doesn’t want free kicks being impeded in a game he’s refereeing then penalise ‘every’ player that does it.

  15. R0bb0
    Definitely we don’t need Rowett
    Jack set up the goal & then cost us the game.
    That ref did look like he was after him & prejudged with an agenda.They are generally cr*p & & appear to suit themselves with the rulebook.
    What do you think of Van Baston’s ideas of a sin bin for yellow cards like in Rugby Union, & only the captain being able to talk to the referee [also like in Rugby]?
    The 10 yards is a good idea, but not if he’s being screamed at & surrounded by half the team.
    When he scores it comes off for codger, but otherwise he seems to have some blank spots.
    I thought Hogan looks like he will be here for the long haul [I hope] & his runs were impressive, & it was one of his runs that allowed codger to have the space to score, even if it was brilliantly taken.
    Uncle Albert ran his socks off for the last 10 minutes as the No 9.
    I hope Jedi’s back for the next match

  16. r0bb0 the application of the laws seems to be erratic. I saw blatant shirt pulling in the penalty area ignored yesterday on MOTD e.g. Carson was tackled to the ground twice in successive corners at the end of the game.
    As you say players standing in front of free kicks go unpunished; having said that Hogan was booked after being warned twice about his position for a corner (I couldn’t see any white line indicating 10 yards from the corner).
    Players steal yards up the touchline to take throw-ins despite the rule being that the throw is from the point the ball goes out.
    I am all in favour of rigorous application of the rules in all cases rather than the haphazard approach referees are adopting that causes discontent.

  17. Sin bin them. I agree. And make it just the captain that can talk, like in rugby. Football players are all too often gobby and disrespectful.
    “I am all in favour of rigorous application of the rules in all cases rather than the haphazard approach referees are adopting that causes discontent.”
    Me too.

  18. PP: “do you not see the decline in Villa since the removal of Gollini and the introduction of Johnstone, whose bone slip in every game costs us. “

    Well, I didn’t see as much control of his area while Gollini was playing, to be honest.

    Otherwise both keepers have made slips, I agree, but of the two Johnstone seems more likely to make the top grade in my view.

    And when we talk of the “decline in Villa” that’s also mainly been since the start of January when we lost Kodjia and also the subsequent re-building of the side. Uner those circumstances we were not likely to see an immediate resurgence.

    Let’s see what happens in the two upcoming home games…

  19. Going to stick with 532 and sounds like bruce likes the counter. Sounds like o neil all over again. Defend for your lives and counter. What a waste of lansbury and hourihan. Pointless buying them.

    Forest were there for the taking, should of mullered that defence but we just sat back so deep and conceded poosesion.

  20. Please don’t blame the players

    Yes we have assembled a costly and pretty talented squad of players for this division but the players are only as good as there manager please believe that as a real thing in the game

    Mark already hit the nail on the head re Bruce and his Dinosaur non possession , hit em on the break tactics — this is now a obsolete way of playing the game and as we as villa fans should know by now it doesn’t work and takes you backwards — lord knows we have seen enough of this type of approach

    Steamer called Bruce out very early on and said he will take us down — i thought to my self at the time that’s a little harsh – we is a promotion specialist ect —– but that was before football finished evolving into a more tactical , thoughtful game were players need instruction in good movement and possession

    Dr X and his backroom are meant to be intelligent business and football people – which i believe is the case so i fully expect Bruce to go when we hit the bottom 3 or at the end of the season

    I would get Rowett now is this clearly isnt going to end well under bruce and his most trusted’s leadership

    thanks so much for the links Jl

  21. pp
    gollina was scouted for villa before rdm.[paddy riley no doubt] and one of reasons he signed was he was allowed an italian speaking coach[bruce cannot speak english] and he gollina had been on a decent run [one punch v leeds cech has been guilty of it in past does it make him poor keeper]bruce undermined gollina by dropping him twice replaced by bunn who made more goals conceded mistakes in less games and was only dropped for spud signing
    there has to be a decent coach available hull have been able to get one ,get him now and plan for next season
    spud out calderwood out

  22. Runtings, I think that rowett could probably manage our players better than Bruce based on recent performances but I think it would be a mistake to bring him in.
    Rightly or wrongly, a sizeable minority of villa fans will not accept an ex Birmingham manager and will be looking for the first chance to criticise them. For us to bring in our ‘third’ ex blues manager in just about as many years, having seen how much extra pressure it brings would be negligent of our board.
    Expectations of Villa fans are very high (some would say too high) and like Liverpool and Man Utd, the manager has to be exceptionally good (and thick skinned) not to be weighed down by this level of expectation. Being an ex blues manager just sets the bar even higher.

  23. The frustration of fans over results since the start of January is understandable, but the club has been through this type of situation before … the mid-30s, the 60s, the mid-80s and individual seasons here and there. And Villa have always come out of it well.

    What we have now is the third new squad in 18 months, but I feel happy that the quality of the players will show through very soon. But we should not really have expected it to happen from the start – last Tuesday.

    If nothing good materialises in these upcoming two home matches then I will probably start feeling glum myself … but with goal power that is latent in our two new strikers and also the midfield, it will all pan out well, I’m sure.

    And we have RHM now available too, so even Mark should start feeling happy! 😉

  24. James, Bruce is not a ‘bad’ manager. His record of gaining promotions is excellent so if our prime objective is promotion by 2019 then it seemed a logical choice.
    It’s not working right now but the pressure is off for promotion and I’m happy for him to see if he can turn it round with this squad.
    Sacking ‘yet another’ manager right now, especially one who is clearly respected by much of the rest of his profession and the media would send a really bad signal to any potential future managers.

  25. Jl- Always happy mate except match day 😉

    Robbo- Grealish didn’t petulantly kick the ball away he did what all players do to gain time passed it 20 yards to their CB. In the same game I saw players pick the ball up run ten yards back into position then through the ball back to the opposition same thing in my book, Bruce even said the same. The second Yellow was a poor tackle but the first poor reffing as per. I think the ex blues manager is overplayed I think we now realise we are not in a position to be choosy, nobody that I know cares about Bruces former clubs just the horrendous non football.

    Do yourselves a favour and watch Huddersfield on now or even Hull yesterday, Hulls players were like terriers ours trot about like sausage dogs not knowing what to do or where to be. We should be playing games like its a final every one of them, we play more like its a funeral.

    Plenty of chances went missing yesterday just like they did for RDM so for me its no excuse, we might as well have kept RDM and let him make changes in jan at least he tried to play.

    First look at Hogan and I can tell he would be superb with RMC up with him, what a mess bruce has created.

  26. Mark,

    One game and you write them all off as a lost cause! And I see no reason to support an argument that Hogan would do better with RMC. That is scraping the barrel, and for what reason – just to try to suit your argument against Bruce?

    Sorry, Mark ,.. I used to see some sense in your p.o.v. but I’m completely lost with these latest remarks.

    Why just not let it go a couple of games to see what transpires with a new set of players? Let them settle for goodness sake… you must know it makes sense! 😉

  27. JL totally wrong I am writing Bruce off John. Hogan is a footballer so is RMC, Kodjia for all his athleticism isn’t a team player.

    See what Transpires?have you not been saying the same thing since Bruce has turned up? give him time yet RDM’s draws were not good enough to buy him time.

    if you remember it was all down to loss of confidence not ability under RDM and now we are seeing what exactly? RDM may have been the wrong appointment but Bruce is getting away with murder.

  28. JL- And if you think this is just because I don’t like Bruce and I say things to support that dislike that is doing me a great disservice.

    I think you have become very blinded yourself and entrenched in the supposed need for stability, that would be great if we had a structure on the pitch, many more games like the ones we have seen recently and the players will be shot to pieces, in short we need leadership from Bruce and a plan. At Villa we seem to assume that a plan has to take forever to achieve anything.

    Huddersfield have added a couple of players and they look like they have been there for years, its about the coach and the players willingness to fight for each other and the managers ability to harness that.

  29. Mark, I can understand people writing Bruce off, but would you sack him and change managers yet again?
    It would bring the club in for ridicule, maybe not quite the same as when Rowett was sacked, but not far short because we’ve done it so many times recently.
    As for team players, RMC’s team spirit is the sort that would rightly have had him sacked in any other industry.

  30. Mark,

    Totally agreed with the sensible pov of r0bb0.

    And I keep on saying “give more time” because that’s exactly what is needed … you can’t change an entire squad and expect immediate returns. Period. Nowhere in Villa’s history has transformation occurred overnight, except in one miraculous season – 1893/94. So why expect it now, in modern football?

    As for Huddersfield, you might have a point except that they’ve not been through the troubles that Villa have had for the last 6 or 7 years which we’re still trying to get out from … and Bruce to my mind has created a more workmanlike and committed approach that was *badly* needed. The rest (to obtain promotion) will follow.

    As for RDM … I do not rate him so highly. For me Bruce has far more practical nous, and that (over the next couple of years) is all that really matters i.m.o.

  31. Mark: “Hogan is a footballer so is RMC, Kodjia for all his athleticism isn’t a team player.”

    Don’t agree so far as RMC’s scoring ability is concerned (which is what I think he was mainly bought for), but I did not see anything yesterday that would make me think that K and H can’t work together. And if they can work together then there’s nowt wrong.

  32. Robbo- how was RMC allowed to get to that point? gabbys constant praise and selection must have been hard to take.

    Should we be afraid of a bit of ridicule? I’d rather the right decisions were made with the evidence we have so we can begin to move forward. I’m not talking instant wins here just football that allows our players to look like they are trying would be good.

    Leeds have had many managers some quite big names and now they have Monk and its working. If villa are to build an ethos then we need a cleverer manager than Bruce, he’s a sticking plaster at best. Wagener is showing his ability without a big club yet Bruce claims this is his big chance.

    I give up, I would rather watch Huddersfield than us and I am not Joking, Villa are in my heart but its turgid rubbish we are putting ourselves through.

  33. JL- Huddersfield had just as big a turnover of players 12 came in at first even more out, 15 players in now, doesn’t seem to stop them or Newcastle who have been in the wars for years now. I have had enough of the poor us excuses

    Have a look at Kodjias assists John he will shoot whenever possible, Yes it may work but it will be far from optimal for Hogan just as it was for RMC.

  34. The answer for us and kodjia is we start creating chances for him and Hogan like the Grealish one yesterday, if we stick to the launch the ball up to them tactics then Hogan will have to sacrifice his own goal ambitions for Kodjia IMO.

  35. I didnt like Bruce before he was appointed and I still dont .His blaming of the ref last night for JG’s sending off was infantile. Having said that , he was’nt to blame for yesterdays loss and neither was JG despite him being a total gobshite . Two mistakes , one from Johnstone and one from Elphicks apparent narcolepsy in the last minute was what done for us .
    The highlights did certainly not reflect the live commentary yesterday or the match stats but Villa had the better chances and should have won comfortably . I sensed an air of brittleness about them that worries me when their backs are to the wall . There are still no real leaders emerging so maybe it is about giving them some time .
    Forget about changing managers , that’s just 1st speed thinking and it is eroding the Aston Villa brand. The pressure is off now for promotion as it aint gonna happen , so the management have a rare opportunity to set personal goals for their squad members which are not connected to promotion or relegation avoidance . Does Bruce have that type skill set ? I dunno but he is the manager now so lets drop all this ‘changing manager ‘ bollox until the end of the season.

  36. Mark: “Huddersfield had just as big a turnover of players 12 came in at first even more out, 15 players in now”

    What Villa have been through these past 6 or 7 years had a massive affect Villa as a club, and the fall-out from that is what Bruce has had to deal with apart from the turnaround of players. Huddersfield have not been through that as a far as I’m aware, and ther’ve certainly not a recent PL club that has all the weight of expectancy present.

    Let’s talk about the overall situation that’s been at Villa not just a turnaround of players.

    As far as Kodjia is concerned, I think at a rate of 1 goal every 2 matches people are rather glad we’ve got him, team player or not. Let’s just see what happens next.-

  37. Mark, I’d have sacked Gabby too but having been offered an olive branch he’s seen the sense in grabbing it. RMC doesn’t seem man enough to do the same.
    The only reason I can’t agree with your ‘turgid rubbish’ comment is that it hasn’t all been like that. The first half against Preston was the best half of football I’ve seen us play for years and at times it was actually . . . . thrilling.
    At this point I honestly feel it could go either way. I fear it’ll go the way you predict but I don’t think it’s certain yet.

  38. Prox- so you agree with Bruces tactics of sitting back all match? taking both forwards off with none on the bench when we had nothing to lose? putting on two wingers with no forwards on the pitch?inviting pressure when your team has been brittle all season? not taking Grealish off when he was not in the game and on a yellow with as Bruce said the ref looking for an excuse? sounds like a great plan enjoy the next year or so 😉

  39. Proxopera, I like your comment about ‘setting individual goals’ for players.
    The worry is that with the carrot of promotion no longer dangling, players would lose focus and the season would fizzle out.
    If Bruce is a decent man manager he’ll be doing exactly what you suggest. Giving the academy players some time on the pitch should be part of that.

  40. Robbo- First off the Preston game was RDMs players plus Lansbury (and Johnson) plus gabby having his one good game . If we played the best football in years then why have we bought half a team? I’m sorry but the majority of Bruces matches have been awful. We have played two half’s against Preston and Brighton where we actually had a go, at least RDM tried every match to do that. The team has completely changed since the PNE best football we have played match.

  41. Stability
    that word is getting used a lot but what is the point of being stable but rubbish at football – he was hired for a promotion push but millions of pounds later we are spiraling towards a relegation battle and our football is still dire

    Until we identify a management team that is tactically astute , has philosophy that involves being comfortable with a football with the correct type of pas and move drills and good mam management we will continue to free fall no matter how much cash is thrown at it

  42. “Prox- so you agree with Bruces tactics of sitting back all match”

    yeah …well done Mark , thats exactly the message to be taken from my post , good man .

  43. Mark, I thought a) dropping Green was wrong b) throwing Thor straight in at the deep end was wrong
    I’m no fan of Bruce but don’t think spinning the wheel ‘yet again is sensible.
    Anyway, I don’t see any sign of Tony doing it again now so won’t be wasting my time worrying about it.

  44. i understand what lot of you are saying in that it may not be the right time to change yet again
    I don’t expect the will be a change in manager this season – unless we fall into the bottom 3 which i would like to think would be seen as unacceptable by the Dr

    just saying i don’t see anything good coming from the union

  45. 2016-17 : A review of the season to date…

    It could be said that the season started with a new ownership and a new team manager and that therefore everything was starting off on a clean slate, with the impression that (if money spent was to be the measuring stick) that the new management was going to force a high standard in the new season.

    I’d argue that was not quite the case as many of the players that di Matteo had to use had been ‘contaminated’ by the atmosphere of the previous regime, where a lax attitude appears to have ruled. Did di Matteo really address that matter? I don’t think he did. I agree that he introduced more method into the team but that killer instinct to succeed was still not there, even with the new players he acquired, though they clearly took time to settle. Hence one win until he was given the boot, and the one win gained at the expense of the division’s bottom team.

    Clearly di Matteo was not really getting to grips with key issues, and was getting way off target from the chairman’s ideal of promotion this season, and even had Villa edging towards yet another relegation. Two players whom some thought would sparkle this season – Ayew and Grealish – just did not hit any rhythm to speak of.

    Di Matteo even bought three players who were likely to be away during the whole of January whilst playing for their nations in the Africa Nations Cup, which could have left Villa somewhat bereft of forwards, although, as it turned out, the damage was mainly in terms of Kodjia’s absence. Di Matteo wanted Gabby out as well – which many fans thought was a good idea.

    In came Bruce and clearly his mandate was to stop the slide with no choice (until January) but to use the squad he had inherited. He soon identified the forthcoming January absence situation and brought Gabby back into the fold and into fitness to bolster his troops, though it took time. Perhaps di Matteo ought to have thought of that and had Gabby ready earlier?

    Bruce’s emphasis of solidity at the back at the expense of frills paid off, with a run of 7 games undefeated and putting Villa in contention for the play-offs. But the honeymoon then came to an end, and then the ‘January situation’ came around. Bruce was clearly not happy with the squad of players he had available, both in ability nor temperament – particularly at full-back and midfield – and brought in a new array while selling off or loaning out what he could. This new squad mostly did not play together until the 31st January, and not better organised (with the addition of Bree and Hogan) until 4th February.

    That, folks, is a summary of what the club has been going through since the summer, including the fact that the contamination afflicted by the previous administration has been affecting matters right up until the last week when Bruce has had (for the first time) his own players under his command.

    Just thought we needed a bit of a reminder! 😉

  46. Prox- What else am I to take from your post when it suggests I’m talking bollox if I want another manager in ?

    Lets talk Bruce, Championship specialist brought in to resurrect Villa season as RDM was floundering. Club is supposed to be forming a football philosophy according to Round and Xia. Are we to believe Bruce is the architect this club needs? Does his approach seem remotely like a long term vision?( god I hope not) and finally we are led to believe Bruce has never been given a chance with a top club to show what he can do? That just says I believe the only way to succeed in football is to Buy better players, not coach them or improve them myself.

  47. I wasn’t a RDM fan either – although we were heading down the right line in finding someone that want’s to play

    RDM though has no real track record of bringing a successful football philosophy to a club and his recent appointments all ended badly

    Also he buying of players was very poor imo and also who he decided to keep and let go

    only good call was on gabby but that was a no brainier for me

  48. JL- When Bruce arrived he had Getsede and RMC fit and ready to use in Jan instead he chose to resurrect a player that can’t remember his last goal as his glorious Jan plan. Could he not of found a way to supply those two? he now has green and Adomah as wingers, why did he not try them in a 442 with Gestede and RMC up top? no instead he sold Gestede and ignored RMC on the whole in the build up to jan, RMC was obviously voicing his opinion that he was not getting a look in and the two fell out .

    He brought back gabby because he only plays one way, counter attack and he remembers gabby was quick.

  49. johnl
    bruce dropped gollina twice replaced him with calamity bunn who made mistake after mistake for goals,then thought some younger inexperienced keeper from utd was a good replacement, bruce spouted stories of gollina been homesick
    tish yes he no world beater but compared to gg wastewood he looks it yet bruce wouldn tplay him until his [bruce] back up against the wall and by no way was tisc the worst performer yet drops him again and with jedi injured sends tisc on loan
    grealish slags him off to press about waving his arms about this coming for a man who played for fergies teams
    always passing blame to some one else
    ross mark k has covered that well enough for me
    rhm won t play even with no goal gabby only choice
    as for gabby the doc backed de matteo on that score there where tweets after window closed about last chance gone for MR VILLA himself and guess what 13 for bruce we have went from an average of 2 points a game to less than 1,no goals half an assist when he flattened pne keeper[stone wall free out] by the way
    last night we play a wing back system bruce plays thor yet amavi stands out for that role,

  50. The next two matches will say a lot about this team. If the team can rally, which I think they can, the season will improve dramatically. If not, Dr.X can remove Brucie at the end of the season a long with Gabby, if possibe, who for whatever reasons is too often absent when needed.
    Regardless of the latest disappointment I’m still looking forward to the next match. If Villa start blowing games at home like they do on the road, the fans will turn on Brucie, and force a change. The next two matches (at home) will tell us a lot.

  51. Mark,
    That’s twice you’re interpreting views which are not expressed . I’m not a bruce fan but he has enough of a track record to at least give him the rest of the season. There’s enough blame to spread around the club , it’s not all the managers fault. Please review my original post but this time without the persecution complex.

  52. DR Tony’s vote of confidence in Bruce means that he has told him that results do count…You have the players you wanted….no more excuses….and lose another game, we will have to review your position….as per RDM before the Preston away game…

    Grealish and the game on Saturday, I have a sneaking suspicion that Lichaj was probably windi ng him up from the start, and he winged to the ref, and the ref then viewed JG differently from then on.
    Eventually Jack gave Eric his wish and got himself sent off, and if Bruce had woken up to it, then he would have switched his position, and probably substituted him at half- time, or not long after.

    If Bruce was such a great manager JL, then he would have built on that first half from the Preston home game, and against Brentford fielded almost the same team, with Kodjia in place of Gabby, and Gardner in for Westwood, and a couple of the new boys as impact subs on the bench. We would then have at least achieved a draw, if not the win. Then he could have continued in the same vein against Forest. The new players would also feel more comfortable, gel better and the fans would be happy too.

    I am totally with MK.

    Bruce is way off the modern game, along with Raneiri, who was playing a similar game today. It is outdated, which is why so many teams are getting caught out. Allardyce is just the same, these managers are just so behind the times now. Coaches and teams study their opponents, have plans which are mobile and can change at a moment…

    I would love to give support to Bruce, but he is not the man…we do have a good collection of players, and a proper manager should be able to mould them into an amazing unit, but the first building block in a team, has to be the goalkeeper, and best one on the books, is Sarkic. I also would ensure that Kodjia, understands he is part of a team. How many times in matches does he fail to pass, as did Ayew, when a team mate was in a perfect position to score. Watch Costa on Saturday. He was the same for Chelsea, occasionally they score, but how many times could a team mate have put away a winner.

  53. pp
    think there are plenty in mark k camp, plus i posted this morning about playing sarkic
    would like to see v ipswich

    bree amavi
    chester baker
    houirane lansby jedi adoamh/green
    hogan kodja

  54. So mark k, apparently you have a ‘camp’.
    Funny, I thought we were all individuals with a variety of our own views.
    If there is a camp though, presumably you all agree that Bruce should be sacked immediately?

  55. PP: “If Bruce was such a great manager JL, then he would have built on that first half from the Preston home game…”

    Well, for starters Paul , I have *never* said that SB is a “great manager”!!

    But I do think he has more practical awareness than RDM had for the job at hand.

    Whether he should have built on the PNE first-half is a very moot point, remembering that how you perform can depend very much on how the opposition play, and if PNE had played the first half as they played the second we could be talking a very different story.

    No, I cannot go with MK or you or a variety of others since there seems to be an immediate reaction from certain quarters without waiting to see how the story pans out … or even the first month of the new chapter in the story.

    If in two months time things have fallen apart then I will say you’re right … but right now you’re not giving the right rub of the green and relying just on 45 minutes of football you’ve born witness to!

  56. AV Ladies won 7-1
    Never been very fond of camping
    You know what Oscar Wilde said, ‘Whenever people agree with me, I always feel I must be wrong’

  57. Prox- forgive me mate no offence intended

    I find it all a little puzzling that Bruce can produce such rubbish football for a longer period than RDM did and with more players available than RDM had and yet people keep faith in him intact, RDM also took WBA back up but it obviously means nothing today. Bruce also has beaten mostly poor teams and now made losing a habit. I kept faith in Garde because I could see he had method and was held back by a poor squad much worse than this one in its imbalances, in that instance I was quite prepared to overlook the poor results for future gain, I fail to see what Bruce is offering.
    I would be happy if he actually was giving us a glimpse of a rosy future or what he intends but his moves are reactionary at most.

  58. Mark, yes, Garde was hard done by. I was sad to see him go without being given a chance to prove himself and would love to see what he could have done under Xia instead of Lerner.
    I can’t see the point in comparing RDM with Bruce. They’re different people with different outlooks and players so there’s not much to be gained by comparing that apple with this pear.
    Whatever RDM’s underlying qualities though, he’d ‘lost it’ and I didn’t see him as being up for the fight to try and turn things round.

  59. None taken Mate .

    I agree with your most of your analysis but you do appear to have a blind spot for RDM . Sacking Bruce now would not do anything for Villa except to further add to the chaos and ignomy. He has an opportunity to really prove himself now , lets see how he does . We wont get relegated and we now have some ambition down-time to get our s**t together , will he do it ?? Partially , would be my guess.

  60. Like MK,

    If I had seen any green shoots of the future with team selection, tactics and using the tools he was given, and then adding to his basket, so that it would bear fruit in the spring, I woud be only too happy to back Bruce. However, apart from the intial flush, which was achieved with GOLLINI as our goalkeeper, I have yet to see Bruce achieve a single outstanding performance. We scraped through a further 3 results with Mark Bunn, who did ok, but since then we have fallen apart, and much of that has been down to a shaky defence with an erratic goalkeeper, who would not get in the reserves elsewhere.
    No tactics of any worth have been employed, apart from odd flashes, and there is no fluidity to deal with changes in the opposition tactics. Give me some meat, apart from the recruitment which is not just his plan, and I will listen…….

  61. Prox,

    We are 3 points off the relegation possibles with some difficult games to come…..much nearer there than the play-offs of six weeks ago. We HAVE LOST five out of the last six games, picked up 2 out of a possible 18 points….that is relegation form.. I know one was against Spurs, but we did not even turn up…while Wolves have defeated two good teams…..

  62. Bruce has had 17 games in charge. Give or take a few?

    Taking over villa with a quarter of a season gone and villa in bottom 3, and everyone demading playoffs.

    He has only made some of his signings which look bloody good on paper and we now want him sacked.

    Even though we have seen villa change about 7 managers in 2 years.

    The most stupid thing i have ever read on here.

  63. Paul and Mark, just so we know. . . . are you convinced that Bruce can’t do it and that we will quickly find someone better so you want to see him sacked immediately?
    If not, what ‘would’ you like to see?

  64. Trouble is RDM is all we have to compare Bruce with, Bruce has had RDMs players for longer than he did. In some instances kodjia adomah jedinak they came in 5 games after the season started RDM got 11 league games and only lost 3, and if we are applying the new player gelling excuse to Bruce then its only fair RDM should get it too.

    Now I can forgive you for thinking I think RDM should still be here (and if Xia is to believed and we are now looking to next season maybe he should be) but we could all see the problems he had. Thing is he lost the fans support, we had just come of a season of cr*p when the fans finally let rip. So when Xia was calling for calm as he is now the fans ignored him and booed RDM out of a job. Bruce however came in and has played awful football and nicked some wins but has yet to get any real stick from the fans, why? have they suddenly realised where we are? they booed his selections like Westwood and Gabby incredibly but not Bruce directly.

    I never wanted RDM but you have to think the fans made his job impossible when they should of got behind the team, Bruce however seems like teflon in comparison. The fans being on a hair trigger have had a part to play in RDM’s failure for me with the disappointment of a slow start along with a tough summer window and task of assessment. Bruce has all the advantages of Round in place and a sports psychologist when he arrived too Don’t forget.

  65. Robbo- if we do not start to see some green shoots very soon I am not prepared to stumble into next season on the promise he will get it right, other coaches just get it right fairly quickly or don’t this saga just rolls on and on with the same out come. Far better to bite the bullet and give a modern orientated coach get to know the players IMO. Didn’t we learn from RDM the danger of not having seen the squad play in competitive matches? It will make the club look bad but lets be honest we are a standing joke anyway its just another degree of s**t.

  66. Trinity
    likewise, not because I rated him or wanted him in the first place [worst of the choices for me], but it would cause too much chaos right now & set us back even further with the danger of him not being given time, putting off any decent manager for the future.
    It’s a catch 22 because if he does only half alright we could be stuck with him putting the project back another season.
    Who knows what 6 matches will bring -one way or the other I think.
    The mail just reported Bruce as saying now he has to spend most of the time on the training pitch.
    I don’t know which way to take that.

  67. Villa has been a very sad demise which started not long after MON left and there were many fans that villified every manager that followed.
    Houllier was hated because he had the affrontery to still acknowledge LIverpool, although many mangers since have been able to respect their previous clubs without retribution.

    McCleish was drummed out by the fans, only for us to recruit Lambert, who recruited many new faces, who in turn were attacked by the fans…espec Joe Bennett, who sadly could have developed into a really good player with support. Lambert in the end became a disaster because of fan pressure, and his own failings (which may have been caused by the internal termoil in the club).

    Then everyone was over the moon with the arrival of Sherwood, but unfortunately it was short-lived as he blamed the players for not being good enough….(Ring bells)..wanted his own in, but failed to attract any, and ended up with a bunch of young inexperienced French moneyball players, who could not communicate with, and things went further downhill.

    Then we have the arrival of the virtually unknown Remi Garde, who gradually pulls the team together, and promises to turn things around if he gets a little help from the board last January…I wonder where we would be today if that help had been given…..

    Where are those players today? Sanchez playing well in a winning side , same with Gana at Everton, Veretout doing the same in France, Ayew and Amavi were both still here until the window.Traore gone to Middlesboro, Grealish still with us.

    RDM given a fresh start with new blood bought in, but did not live upto expectations….

    and now we have Bruce with another bunch of fresh faces….but Bruce is NOT a coach, nor a modern tactician….he just picks the team and sets the formation for the game with NO PLAN if things change or go wrong…..

    We may escape relegation….just, but no I have no confidence in him, having watched every game we have played under him. I am not calling for his head, but I see no great future under him. I am not sure that the board have the capability to recruit the right manager for Villa. Most people here, if I remember, only wanted Bruce as an interim to get us back into the Premiership, but I think those days are gone. That is why it has taken a Benitez to get Newcastle back on course, and managers like Monk, Huyton, Wagner and Smith to create the winning mentality in the teams at the top. The era of the dinosaurs is over.

  68. PP
    He has his badges for what that’s worth.
    He prefers to manage coaching I gather rather than being a dynamic inspirational coach [is there one of those at VP]
    He has the football experience to know what needs doing as a progression, but tactics is another thing altogether.
    After the confusion of so many managers he has to stabilise a team & a style of play that can be fluid enough to think & react for itself.
    Whether he can do that is to say the least open to question.
    Tactics are only the start & once on the pitch anything can change & then a deep practised confidence in knowing what can be done individually & confidence as a team is necessary [here the supporters have to be supportive & loyal to the team instead of aggressively destructive & reactionary to the nth degree even though it is understandable].
    As we all know we still haven’t got that after the same problem for varying reasons & with so many managers.
    Even though the quality of players is improving, we will find out before the end of the season if Bruce has the quality to add to this as it will become obvious, & as Trinity said he will get millions if he leaves anyway.

    We have appeared to have grown an overview that any managerial incompetence cannot destroy as it stands, as it’s not actually all down to Bruce thankfully.
    There is talent in the back room teams, & the Dr appears to have a long term plan over many years if I understand it, so if we remember to look at how it’s going against that, the fans may not keep bringing out their knitting every week for the execution.
    As fans we all go through the grinder with all this, but knowing the above may limit the damage from our weekly explosion & give us a laugh.
    God knows we need it

  69. andrew
    what has bruce done to deserve more time, they say to keep doing the same thing wrong is madness or something like that. take first 5 games out for new manager bounce we have 15 points from 13 games alot of them against lower sides qpr burton cardif teams on bad runs norwich brentford and forest we have made most them look like barcelona,
    rdm was slammed for losing leads never mind us 2 up at home under rdm and only drawing, leading losing forest saturday,average of about 30 posession last 2 matches,6 matches before hardly a shot on target per game,6 at the back for spurs cup game [wycombe scored 3 v spurs
    his signings only one for sure johnson he is terrible.his treatment of players gollina tisc rhm and ross ,[if codja had passed in couple matches ross had tap ins bit like saturday shoot on sight nonesense from codja] his love of no effort no goal gabby one good half say some v preston but still no goals or assists
    the matches on tv leeds2 qpr norwich wolves brentford forest and spurs in cup where as bad or worse than anything last season
    please show me something good he has achieved

  70. Mark: ” I fail to see what Bruce is offering. I would be happy if he actually was giving us a glimpse of a rosy future or what he intends but his moves are reactionary at most.”

    As I’ve said, it’s only since last week that Bruce has had his own players in place. And you want to give him a rocket after 2 games with them (in fact only 1 game with Bree and Hogan)?

    Bruce has been appointed to get promotion achieved … and I think that he will do *and* also give you the type of football you want *once* the team has settled in.

    At least give him a chance to do that … please!!

  71. PP: “Villa has been a very sad demise which started not long after MON left and there were many fans that villified every manager that followed.”

    Villa *was* in a very sad demise until Dr. Tonix took over.

    At least we’re currently in a position (having spent a lot on Bruce’s type of player) were we can *possibly* look forward to better things.

    If you will recall, when Villa went down in 1966-67 it took 8 years to recover, but this time at least a takeover has been achieved early enough and the players rectified before too much further damage has been done.

    We have a chairman who clearly is bright and anxious to get the right structure in place … in such a short time he has done remarkably well.

    Now just let’s see what materialises … if Bruce doesn’t work out then we all know the consequence of that …

    It seems to e that you and others are just upset with the past 6 years and want to take it out on someone … anyone! 😉

  72. JL- I thought by now you would know me better than to think I am just being reactionary and angry, If its anger its anger at a great chance lost to really put the club to rights in the modern era.

    As IanG pointed out Bruce is now going to concentrate on coaching, he is well known for leaving the coach to it, what we may have seen in early times before his second in command turned up was renewed effort and energy form his presence and the knowledge that places and even jobs at the club were on the line come Jan.

    Coaches like Pep, Klopp Wagner from what I have read and seen are football coaches and tacticians, students of the game first and seek a deeper knowledge of every aspect. First thing Wagner does is spend hours one to one with a new player with videos and other methods so the player understands exactly what is required at Villa we go back to basics. At Villa we have Jack Grealish going to Clemence for help with his game while his boss tells him to stop waving his arms about on the TV, one glance at Wagner celebrating with his team over the late winning goal against Leeds yesterday shows you the deep connection he has with his players. Meanwhile in the youths sides we see flowing attacking football on display, Green when played looks to get at teams let see how long it takes to knock that out of him.

  73. JL- On giving him the rocket? I have said he has a few matches to show progression I’d say 8, he has assessed the team and brought in wholesale changes to suit his system when it should of been a couple of tweaks to get us winning, That seems flawed at this point, he was after all the promotion specialist. I think he has been surprised his additions have had Zero impact so far on results, his face shows it.

  74. Mark: “On giving him the rocket? I have said he has a few matches to show progression I’d say 8, he has assessed the team and brought in wholesale changes to suit his system when it should of been a couple of tweaks to get us winning, “

    That last “tweaking” bit is surely not consistent with what people on this blog were saying before … particularly about Westwood, who (I’d have to agree) was not offering a dimension of play that Villa needed (i.e. a driving force). Plus the clear weaknesses at full-back and the sheer disappointment with Ayew after a promising run in the PL.

    Apart from new full-backs and Hogan, Bruce has in fact acquired two midfielders of proven attacking propensities and therefore seem (on paper at least) as being at least an improvement on what we had before, not merely players brought into suit Bruce’s system. I’d say we have something to look forward to in that department.

    So why not just let it flow and see what happens without all the gnashing of teeth! 😉

    I see no benefit at all, either, in comparing Bruce with other managers. He has been brought in to do a job and so long as he gets that done, then no worries in my book. His comments about RHM and Grealish have been spot on in my view, but clearly we see that bit differently.

    But if Bruce doesn’t get the job done then you may get your Wagner! 😉

  75. James

    I don’t think bruce is doing the same thing again and again. he is trying everything!

    Always had one eye on 352, played it a lot at hull. Now he has got his full backs and another st to play it. Think it could be decent for us.

  76. Disappoited JL,

    That you have turned into a politician, and refuse to answer the question. MK and myself have not raved that he should be immediately sacked, but asked the question “What does he bring to the table?”.

    It has NOTHING TO DO WITH THE LAST SIX YEARS. It is about the here and now, and about his performance to date, and what w can expect from him.

    His nice little run of success was with an EXISTING team, with NONE of his own players, andthe failures only came when he tinkered with the team, and started introducing his own players!

    This is exactly what Sherwood did, who then failed to win….

    Maybe, the biggest problem at Villa, in recent times, is having too many to choose from, where lesser clubs have littlle or no choice, except for their youth, they have success through continually playing together, and improving as a unit.

    Other than previous experience, I cannot see what Bruce is offering, and he certainly has never operated at a top level, except as a player, and like ALL the players that learned their trade under Sir Alex, not become a top manager……Neville, Keane, Giggs….

  77. Find it interesting that you put Westwood down, when not long ago, you were championing him.

    Against PNE he had his finest display , because he had the RIGHT players around him…..and I accept that he will actually blossom now at Burnley, in a footballing side. Unfortunately at Villa, he has not had the players around him since Delph went.

    Something that was pointed out elsewhere, but have not fully checked, is that Villa have not lost a game when Jedinak has played the full 90 minutes.

  78. PP- I think Jedinaks absence has made Bruces tactics look redundant, Our better results corresponded with his better form, again something we did not see for RDM due to late purchase and international duties.

    And the PNE best in years performance is a glaring poke up the backside to basics rhetoric, I assume players had to be sold and created a baby with the bath water scenario if the team gelling is an excuse for Bruce.

  79. Hear! hear! MK..

    My own feeling is that Xia is now going to play a waiting game for Feb/March but if Villa are not moving in the right direction, then he will be close to planning Bruce’s replacement with a young vibrant and proven manager.

    The replacement may well not come until the end of the season, unless Villa are in the relegation places, but if a huge turnaround does not come about, I do not expect to see Bruce here in the close season.

  80. andrew
    trying everything smacks off not having a clue [bruce]
    going to 352/532 and leaving amavi out ,playing thor at left back mental,our 3 centre backs don t suit that style, nor fitting grealish in either, its was painful to sit and watch bruce not changing it saturday till it was to late,i ll give him the hogan sub he was booked but not codja and even then he took codja of first
    i don t see the sense in prolonging the pain

  81. james

    I think 352 will suit us. Ive always liked that formation for us. under little and Gregory we did well with it.

    Understand taylor to play lwb sat. But like you say would of played amavi over thor but then again amavi has been poor lately.

    to take off both st was stupid. No one to hold the ball up and relieve pressure.

  82. Johnson
    Chester Elphick Baker
    Bree Lansbury Hourihan Tyalor

    Hogan Kodjer

    I expect Lansbury and hourihan to be much more advanced and involved at games at vp.

    The forest game was clearly to sit back andcounter which was crepe.

    we have a mid now…use them!!

  83. and jack is in his best position I belive, no 10 behind the 2.
    Just a shame we decided to hoof it over his head and not play through him!!

    Hogan and kodjer excites me a great deal. Didn’t realise Hogan was so quick.

  84. PP: “Find it interesting that you put Westwood down, when not long ago, you were championing him.”

    Paul, I am getting so disappointed with you that you are taking to totally misrepresent what I say. MK comes close to that as well, and anyone who doesn’t like my “let’s keep a steady ship” philosophy! 😉 Oh well, so be it.

    I have *never* championed Westwood except by saying that he has/had a function. I always said that he was not terrific at going forward, but that what he did do was pretty well fine – as stats often supported.

    I also always said that if Villa could find a better player that I would be happy … and I believe SB has done that …

    So what’s the beef Mr. Pears? 😉

    PP: “MK and myself have not raved that he should be immediately sacked, but asked the question ‘What does he bring to the table?'”.

    But without giving him chance to do what he was hired to do – get promotion! He wasn’t hired to bring frills into Villa Park from what I understand.

    Your points of view would be fine, but when reading them you get a constant feel that there is an aggressive edge to it, almost as though Bruce is causing harm to the club. You may think that but I look in vein to see proof of it.

    PP: “It has NOTHING TO DO WITH THE LAST SIX YEARS. It is about the here and now, and about [Bruce’s] performance to date, and what w can expect from him.”

    Yes, Paul, but SB’s record to date cannot be too much criticised i.m.o. He got the squad more galvanised on his arrival and is now building up a squad that*he* wants – not what he inherited. It all takes time to put all that into effect. We’ll see in a few weeks (as MK now accepts) before we can properly judge on that.

    The “past six years” has everything to do with it in the sense that your arguments seem rooted in the past! You have said that “Villa has been a very sad demise which started not long after MON left” so what is that but bringing in the past 6 years? 😉

    PP: “His nice little run of success was with an EXISTING team, with NONE of his own players, andthe failures only came when he tinkered with the team, and started introducing his own players!”

    Well, that he got “his nice little run” achieved without his players was nothing short of miraculous as I see it! 🙂 That lot were making mistakes and generally becoming a copy of what we saw last season – until Bruce intervened!

    If Bruce “tinkered with the team” then in my view it’s because it needed tinkering with to get players playing who were committed to the cause. Another bonus to Bruce.

    And my goodness did we need new players!!!!!!!! The two signing sprees of Bruce’s predecessors were mostly awful i.m.o.

    For me Bruce is *mostly* doing the right things. He may not be perfect and suit everyone, but as long as we see method in the remainder of the season and hope for promotion then I’ll be thankful for that – you appear not to be … sadly. 🙁

  85. Andrew:

    Chester Elphick Baker
    Bree Lansbury Hourihan Taylor
    Hogan Kodjer

    I expect Lansbury and hourihan to be much more advanced and involved at games at vp.

    Yes, that’s what I’d put out as well! 🙂

    Jedi and Taylor were not available last match, but their inclusion makes sense.

    But, if so, why acquire the Icelander? I rather suspect he may get the nod over the Jedi, who (I feel) seems to be showing signs of age! – that he can’t cope with a full 90 minutes every week.

  86. a lot of it is deeper than bruce. he doesn’t want us to loose possession.

    I saw him go mental twice sat. Once where baker under no pressure at all hoofed it first time in row z and bruce told him calm down hold it. the other where kodjer needlessly had a spell of loosing possession, not holding it up and laying it off.

    He threw his water bottle down!

    Im more swayed towards needing villa to have stability for a few windows than sacking bruce now.

  87. JL,

    Our banter here is to examine all sides of the argument, and without it, there is no debate. I enjoy keeping a balance, and was classed, along with yourself one of the “Happy clappers”. Now there is so little real challenge without our great man, “Steamer” that there has to be a view from the other side. I do not have the same wit to match “Steamer” but feel I know many of the things he would be saying….perhaps I am too gentle…!!!

    The main thing is we all love Villa…..whether it will be Bruce’s Villa, or not…

  88. I hope my position is known by all on AVL, I wanted Villa to use relegation as an opportunity to genuinely rebuild this neglected club of ours, instead it was a case of throw money at the problem and as that didn’t work change the manager and then throw more money at the problem.

    I’ll talk about the hear and now in a minute but let it be said, the moment that those players who did nothing to prevent our relegation continued to be on the books that was this season written off because we had no one clever enough to see the psychological damage done. So primarily Gabby/Richards/Lescott should have gone at the final whistle of the last game, this may have convinced the more cultured European players that it was worth sticking around. We still have two of them taking up squad spaces. Thankfully Veretout, Gil and Sanchez could all return to boost the squad.

    So as to now, well given the Bruce was sold to us on his promotion capabilities, it looks like he’ll be found wanting this season, if he was sold to us as a master tactician and student of modern football techniques then he would have failed on that count. So what’s left – stability

    Sorry but stability is nothing without good football, we’ve seen that the championship isn’t spectacular nor is it the perceived overly physical game either, many sides are practicing playing good (passing, movement and speed of thought) football in the event they get promoted. I get that we have been unstable since MON left but stability won’t bring success. Bruce hasn’t produced an accomplished side yet because he is wanting in terms of tactics and player selection, that won’t change this season or next. I’m fed up with the merry go-round of manager changes but would welcome a change this summer.

    Dr.T has come out again about the 2 year plan and don’t worry about this season, well and I’ve said it before why not get everyone on board with this from the outset as his actions in terms of sacking and player acquisition tells me that the managers were given one season and Dr.T pulled the trigger due to fan pressure post PNE game, not someone thinking of a two year plan. Anyone not think that RDM wouldn’t have seen the midfield imbalance and done the same as Bruce anyway but at least he wouldn’t have played Gabby. We could have had a more relaxed approach to winning games instead of the stressful approach which seen us capitulate late on in games.

    I don’t see relegation in our future but I’m beginning to doubt next season if we continue to change systems and the first 11. Bruce should have a first 11 and a system that the players fit into, not the other way around.

    I’ll never understand Johnstone replacing Gollina.
    I’ll never understand a player on a yellow card being as stupid as Grealish for that tackle
    I’ll never understand the need to accommodate Elphick in another new system worked on during the week, that is not stability

    My first 11 with a 4-4-2 is below with some comments

    Bunn – I don’t see why we should persevere with helping a Man U trainee get experience if he is going to cost us points so I’m thinking Bunn might be better with our current back four in front of him, at least he is on our books and won’t be leaving end of season
    Bree – RB for the simple reason, he’s better than Hutton is who limited in defence and attack
    Chester- CB
    Baker – CB
    Taylor – LB
    Adomah – RW – traditional attacking winger, very direct and will supply our forwards
    Hourihane -CM we seem to now have an over-abundance of attacking mids, Hourihane gets the nod for his dead ball delivery
    Jedinak – CM – I’m loathe to put the man in because to my mind his legs are gone but our back four needs protection but he needs to improve in terms of putting his foot on the ball and controlling the pace of the game
    Amavi – LW – nothing to lose with this choice, lacks defensive knowledge but could support Taylor and could also provide an attacking outlet
    Kodija – needs to play behind Hogan as he tends to only see what is in front of him as opposed to left or right
    Hogan- clever movement up on the shoulder of the defender to cause them problems

    For the subs – Grealish has already become only an impact player for me, Green, great wing option and a close call for first 11, Elphick as defensive cover, Lansbury as mid cover, RHM as striker cover, Johnstone and Hutton

  89. The question we have to ask ourselves is how many more young managers will outsmart Bruce and his tactics.

    We are now the Man City of the Champioship, prepared to buy our way out of trouble, something no-one else can afford to do. We also have four out of five games at home, and we must target at least 9 or 10 points out of them, otherwise it will be deemed a failure.

    I do not think we have any problems up front now, the problems to be addressed are in the defence and mid field areas, and how we set up. I feel that failing to bring in an experienced top flight goalkeeper in the summer, is going to be our downfall, unless we play sarkic, and he continues to shine, but ay present Johnstone is far too erratic, which then puts pressure on the centre backs, as he did on Saturday and the previous Tuesday. Bunn is ok, but not good enough to be a first choice keeper. We should be looking to another Freidel or Smeichel, as a must for the future. It is sad when you see keepers like our own Scott Carson now at the top of their form.

  90. DOR,

    A perfect summation. Could not better that all.

    Your thoughts are exactly the one’s that any manger shoulld be having, if he is worth his salt.

    My backing for Sarkic is because he has been having a great season, and is outstanding from what is being said about him, and his young understudy in the youth team is extremely good, having watched a couple of the youth games.

  91. paul

    yeah that sarkic is always playing well when reading reports.

    Well the idea of round putting in place key staff was so that losing the manager would be not such a big thing.

    if bruce went we would only replace him and his assistant, 2 or 3 people at most. In past we would make wholesale changes.

  92. dor
    good assessment but few changes
    try sarkic in goals from now to end of season ,bunn poor games over xmas plus out of contract in summer send johnson back
    lb leave amavi there swansea fans think the same of taylor as a lot villa fans on hutton
    play thor or lansby in midfield
    other wise happy enough

  93. andrew
    i like 352 system but you need players to do it, taylor had mountfield god and nielson little had god southgate and ugo, gregory had southgate ugo and stauton /mellborg good players not what you say about our centre half now

  94. Paul / DO’R and the other “knockers”! 🙂

    This piece sums up the situation for me entirely …

    I don’t need to add to that to make clear my thoughts, except I think that when it comes to debate (Paul) then it should be on issues that are there rather than trying to manufacture them or predict what is the unpredictable. And some matters cannot be judged entirely because we’re not on the inside. Including the matter of Gollini!!

    As I’ve said, if it’s all coming apart after 2 months running with his own players then – and *only* then – would we have cause to create the level of argument that’s taking place just because his players have lost 2 matches.

  95. Happy Monday all, had to DVR the game as it was tape delayed here and not on until the middle of the night, but to be honest, i think I’ll just delete it. On to more important things, I have tried to post my condolence message for Steamer, but just like trying to join AVL I’ve had nothing but issues, and it’s not the browser as I’ve tried Firefox my default, IE and Chrome so I believe its geographical. If any one could post for me I would be eternally grateful.

    ” Steamer” it was after reading your fantastically witty and often sarcastic blogs that I eventually managed to join the family on Aston Villa Life. In the short time we conversed we learned a lot about each other and how much we had in common. Not just a love AVFC but our love of music and speedway be it Monday night at Perry Bar, or Saturday night at Brandon watching the Bee’s. So thank you for adding that little some thing to my day for the last few years, you will be truly missed my friend, and i send my love and condolences from over the pond in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada that’s how far your Witt and alternative views of life have managed to reach and touch your followers.

    Cheers and thanks to any one that can add my post for me.

  96. …. and it’s not a question of “…how many more young managers will outsmart Bruce and his tactics” – as Bruce has said he’s not a tactician then the argument is self-cancelling! 😉

  97. James,

    Come back … please … in two months time and then let’s see what has happened.

    It’s totally premature to be reacting as though the past 2 games are telling the whole picture.

    As Andrew has said, the kind of signings that Bruce has made this last window look very good … but let’s see if they can develop as a team. My guess is that they can.

  98. what are we going to do for 2 months? sit back and smile,we are building for next season now so cut the dead weight [bruce calderwood gabby richards]
    even if bruce was to take us up next season he would still be no good in pl his admission that he doesnt do tactics is like a dentist saying i won t pull teeth out or a teacher saying i don t work mondays not fit for purpose

  99. DO’R,

    Though I’d go with Andrew’s team selection, I like your well-thought-out team as well!

    It does make sense to use Amavi’s ability going forward, and his ability to centre (with Albert doing likewise on the other wing) should be useful for the two strikers.

    On the other hand I like the way Lansbury is developing, but maybe there is an argument for not having he and Hourihane on the pitch at the same time.

  100. Jl- was it not you that said Westwood was becoming more accomplished at attacking at the end of last season or another blogger called jl? 😉
    That last comment about Bruce not doing tactics begs the question what does he do? Coaching? No .
    Dr xia’s comment after two losses after his hugely exiting posts on new players suggests to me he is as surprised as Bruce at the lack of impact. Why not say at the beginning of the window we are building for the summer? Because we were not would be my educated guess with Bruce now admitting we would have to produce a miracle but he is still trying. That is two people singing from a different hymn sheet.

    DOR- as usual you say what I’m thinking with skill I don’t possess

  101. Mark: “was it not you that said Westwood was becoming more accomplished at attacking at the end of last season or another blogger called jl”

    If I did I did, Mark? I ask you also – what’s the beef? 😉

    Yes, he did step up a bit, but perhaps not enough.

    That still doesn’t remove the fact that I also expressed that if we could sign better player then I would be happy.

  102. Brought our knitting today I see!
    None of us think Bruce is the long term answer, The Dr is not going to sack him after 2 matches, so we’ll have to wait for a little while to see what happens.
    Taking it out on each other is boring me rigid.
    I agree that Grealish is heading for impact status as his brain doesn’t appear to work.
    A nice lad but he lets the opposition wind him up, & he’s only 16 really.
    We haven’t seen Jedi with the new younger midfield yet, it stands a chance of working, & it may be worth reminding people that the same was said about Gareth Barry & look where he is now, & he was never super quick either.
    Let’s hope it works.

  103. JL

    You leave my knockers out of this, it’s chest muscle 🙂

    I read that piece from Vital Villa and completely understand where that person is coming from but again that is on the basis of some crystal ball approach that says all the bad football under Bruce will just disappear as he has his players now. I’m not convinced, happy to be proven other wise, just to be able to be happy after each game but if I’m to continue to hold onto my view that a proper football ethos is possible to be built while out of the prem then Bruce is not the man to do it.

    The pressure to perform week in, week out in the prem is not the right environment to build a football club should we get promoted in 2018/19 and one season (2017/18) isn’t enough to prepare for either that season itself or promotion, given we can write this one of for too many changes to date and still Bruce is tinkering with the system. Look at our previous relegations and the rebuilding that took place, that’s what this opportunity afforded us and it has been squandered.

    Bruce is not the master tactician based on what I’ve seen and I don’t expect that to change, if we look to next season for the promotion tilt then in the first window we need a goalkeeper of experience, centreback cover for both positions or improvement on what we have, right wing cover or improvement on what we have and defensive midfielder to replace the tiring Jedinak, we need an out and out LW if Green doesn’t make it or get a fair crack under Bruce. That’s 6 positions to address and if let’s say 4 are achieved again that’s massive change to any first 11 that Bruce settles on by May.

    If people are happy with poor winning football then on you go. Because the moment we get promoted, many of the current squad won’t be good enough for the prem and so we go back into the same circle of throwing money at the issue, sacking the manager by Christmas if the players don’t gel and around we go again. My own crystal ball granted but it’s expecting the status quo to continue as opposed to some eureka moment where Bruce discovers the true meaning of football and we become last years Leicester but instead of folding we continue our upward Vital Villa curve and reach the Champions League final

  104. I think we are doing a disservice to Brentford because they have built a very good side and as shown against brighton can cause anyone trouble at there place.

    We are a club in massive transition…we don’t have any right to walk over teams. forest we should of won/drawn.

    Not sure why the hate for Calderwood. an excellent coach and trusted aid to chris Houghton.

    Players rate him highly.

  105. PP/JG

    Not heard much about Sarkic to be honest, but more so not sought it out either. Must check in future if we have a replacement already in the wings.

  106. Mark,

    Well, while you “knockers” are having a love-fest, I do have a gripe with this statement from DO’R:

    “Anyone not think that RDM wouldn’t have seen the midfield imbalance and done the same as Bruce anyway but at least he wouldn’t have played Gabby.”

    I’m afraid Darren completely overlooks the issue that while a “midfield balance” was present then, the commitment and confidence of the team was decreasing week-by-week, and by the time he left it needed a fresh pair of hands to knock a team back together.

    As for not playing Gabby, well that is all to do with the issue many fans have with Gabby’s behaviour last season, and an issue not to be taken too lightly I admit. But while we had the “January Situation” approaching we were short on the striker front (especially with Gestede not fitting the bill really) and so to make us of Gabby to me was a pragmatic and reasonable decision.

    It’s OK to criticise something, but doing so without stating what the alternative would be leaves a vacuum!

    And I suppose RHM was the alternative? Well, first things first on the contract front I said, and I stick by that.

  107. dor
    on sarkic only reason i would play him is he is ours not a utd reserve getting work experience,bunn has not played 70 games since 2008 for a reason poor keeper

    on our signings looking good on paper, so did last summer,summer before ,lambert first 2 summers even mcleish players looked reasonable look how they all fared

  108. DO’R: “The pressure to perform week in, week out in the prem is not the right environment to build a football club should we get promoted in 2018/19 and one season (2017/18) isn’t enough to prepare for either that season itself or promotion”

    What about Southampton? Can’t we be in the same state they were when they came up?

    Yes, agreed that there will have to be changes to make ourselves PL-able, but we are a big club by comparison to many and I feel that after a season of consolidation we’d be OK.

    DO’R: “If people are happy with poor winning football then on you go.”

    Sorry, Darren, I don’t see evidence of poor football being the case once this new lot settle down.

    Could be wrong, but that will be all part of the evaluation that will follow the next few weeks, I imagine.

  109. Well jl how long do you think it will take for the team to lose confidence under Bruce, you are saying it’s been 2 games? It’s pretty much been since the 1st Leeds game, performances have nose dived (not like they were electric) that’s the start of Dec. Rmc has been allowed to fester under Bruce with him not seeing any chance to play, this being his big chance like Bruce with a big club I’d be frustrated to when gabby is promoted above you. It’s crazy to think the team will have not been over gabbys absence under RDM ad nauseum only to see him back in the fold, who knows the knock-on effects of that decision? You yourself have said all is not possible to explain with logic alone.

  110. Mark,

    I’m sorry – we can’t make a meaningful debate/discussion out of this as we’ve known nothing but flux this past few weeks.

    Let some dust settle, and then we can see what’s what.

    And RMC was being naughty about training apparently … and I’m not just talking about Gate Gate!

  111. Only because fan pressure and the one season plan to get promoted took priority JL, had there been no pressure or the pressure to build over two seasons then we could have kept with RDM and given him the window to turn things around.

    We had the alternative in RMC, it wasn’t until the Bruce/Gabby love in started did RMC feel there was no point turning up and we may not have sold Gestede either.

    And addressing the midfield imbalance would have arrested the week by week decreasing confidence, mostly brought about by the pressure to win promotion first time such that one result slipping away be it a draw or a loss had a further reaching impact in following games.

    Just to be clear I’m being critical of Bruce because the football is turgid, lacks cohesion and is played at a snails pace as for any love fest, I expect better from you 🙂

  112. andrew
    calderwood came after last decent match v brighton look at results 1st performances 2nd
    both are sinking faster than beckham reputation
    plus last 6 matches v sides in bad form bottom half of table [bar leeds at home ] we have 2 points 4 goals and 1 half of football v pne

  113. Southampton immediately sacked there manager to much ire from pundits but the fundamental structure and players were there already they had already produced bale. In their youth system plus many more that now play for arsenal. I wish we could go up like Southampton the point is we won’t we will go up like hull or blues

  114. john l
    johnson looks worse than all previous keepers back to enklemen
    bree looks good but compared to hutton anyone would,still only 1st season at this level
    houriane looks good but same as above 1st season at this level
    lansby not confident about him think he will turn out like sidwell
    icelandic lad might do a job then again apart from last summer never heard of him
    taylor swansea fans havent much good to say about him,3rd choice at poor swansea team
    hogan best of bunch but unless codja learns football is a teams game it doesnt matter

  115. I’d give Brucie the Goosie another five-six matches to get this team going right. Eventually, it will get to the stage, where we’d have to say, more of the same isn’t enough. It’s not working.
    I’d move Gabby on, when possible, because he just isn’t effective or present enough. It’s just a question of economics. He doesn’t provide enough bang for the bucks. Him and Richards, given all the physiotherapy they get, might want to think about taking up something less physical. They’re young and wealthy enough to retrain. Much better off than most.
    Good to see people with differing views on here,

  116. Darren,

    I’ve read that there were issues with RMC at his previous clubs too … the Fulham players are said to not wanting him back this window!

    No, though he had football feet, he didn’t otherwise look right for Villa at all (i.e. using my 20-20 Villa Vision Goggles!).

    And as for RDM remaining to see through a vision. Really I only saw him failing … the team commitment was reducing by the week by the time he went. On balance I’m glad he’s gone … but we all see things differently I suppose.

  117. iana
    have to agree different views are great and none of name calling that goes on on other sites
    none them all right ,none of them all wrong just different coloured villa spectacles

  118. ‘Sorry, Darren, I don’t see evidence of poor football being the case once this new lot settle down.’

    The majority of our midfield signings are forward thinking players, this again has unbalanced the team as we only have one defensive midfielder in Jedinak and I personally think he hasn’t got the legs to carry out this role.

    This imbalance between the defence and the midfield will be our undoing until May unless Lansbury or Hourihane are asked to change the way the play and if that is the case one of them was bought for the wrong reasons.

    If we need Jedinak to protect the back four than we have counter that by dropping one of our signings, makes no sense.

    My crystal ball has taken a battering if you believe without evidence that the future is bright enough to produce good football while Bruce tinkers with systems and first 11s. Good football for me involves passing accuracy, movement to create space, speed of thought and pace. I’ve not seen much of it in 6 years, don’t expect it to turn that quickly in the next few months.

  119. yeah it’s a great debate but a shame we need one 🙁

    I’m unsure if the dr will loose Patience like with rdm or go for stability like the noises coming from vp.
    We have a period coming up where midweek footy is back. 4 homes games I believe out of 6?

    Might tell us a lot at the end of that.

    I want to see the new mid on the ball and taking the game to the oppo.


  120. Bruce seems to be applying that time honoured method throw mud at the wall and see what sticks, Announcing I’m going to try something new/different against Forest should set alarm bells ringing, apparently it doesn’t.

    The commentator of he Huddersfield game said he could talk to Wagner all day such is his football Knowledge and enthusiasm for the game. To me listening to Smiths assessment against Brentford verses Bruces says more than enough. Oh well each to his own.

  121. IMO it doesn’t matter how good our players are if they are not coached in a way that they can operate as a fluid footballing side

    When i have watched the villa in recent years it was been an ordeal 99% of the time
    The reason for this is poor coaching – poor tactics – poor man management and poor players.

    We now have a squad of players that are more than capable of having lots of fun in this division but when you see how they are set up to play – they all just looked lost and the left doesn’t know what the right is doing

    I have no faith in Bruce whatsoever and i have seen nothing so far to suggest he will be a top villa manager

    I see teams hire manager at all levels and they have made an instant impact and brought it forward with way way less resources and ability at there disposal

    hollier – mcliesh – lambert – sherwood and now Bruce — give me strength what good have they or do they bring to the modern game
    All shocking managers – and not what this once great club needs if it is to get anywhere near punching its weight

  122. As an example other managers use formation to attack our weaknesses while the pressing and passing remains the same. We in contrast and fumbling around to find a formation that works for the players??? this was feature under Tim in last seasons opening games which cost him his Job.

    “”Smith changed from the 3-5-2 formation deployed in recent weeks and played a 4-3-3 with Jota and Jozefzoon on the wings and the move paid off as Aston Villa were put to the sword.

    “We haven’t had wide players in abundance. Flo has come in and Jota has come back.

    “I wanted to flip the system but we haven’t had the opportunity to.

    “John Egan had 21 stitches in his ear but he wanted to play and I had to make a decision.

    “I said to the owner the other week I fancy flipping against Villa. It worked out and it’s great to have the opportunity.”

  123. DOR
    Yes we’ve seen a lot of no movement, space, passing accuracy etc but we have had 5 managers is it, & there’s been little change, & they weren’t all bad managers.
    With RDM he was overbalanced towards attack without the defence to cope with it, which was optimistic to say the least, all or nothing which ended up as nothing.
    Pretty to watch but winning is the main point, then tinker with how you do it.
    As has been said, it seems that this season has been written off for promotion with reorganising for next season the underlying realistic motivation.
    If Bruce can’t get this together he’ll be gone before the end of the season without us doing a Robespeare,
    The Doc appears to have been working with the football people we have to strategise with Bruce being left to actualise it [groan].
    I didn’t want him, don’t rate him more than average, but he’s here for at least a little while longer.
    I want reasonably interesting football with some good results the same as all of us. including the Doc I would think.
    If he doesn’t get it & his strategy is threatened, Bruce will be out the door at the appropriate time so as not to undermine the progress [ha ha], which probably gives him 8 weeks maximum & if it doesn’t improve at all, less than that, otherwise it will threaten next season.
    Then there is the information from behind the scenes that we have no access to which could be affecting everything.
    The Doc said that difficulty often comes at the beginning of a project [unless you’re lucky].
    Someone used the word turgid to describe the football, which is pretty accurate, as it implies very little movement.
    Again if Bruce can’t change it fairly rapidly he will be gone as the doc won’t endanger next season.
    I agree with JL that RMC was damaged goods & a mistake, & he was never going to be able to lead the line, & with RHM mucking about Bruce had no choice but to include Gabby who even at his most lazy runs about more than RMC, along with the Gestede business already scheduled to pay for the already planned targets.
    The Doc also keeps going on about a ‘superiority attitude’, which loses us a lot of games, & is his current main priority.
    It was also mentioned that Bruce may be on a 12 month rolling contract.

  124. Mark,

    It’s very strange to read that archivist job spec … I actually wrote it! 🙂

    Nah, at my age? You’ve already complained about dinosaurs being seen at VP … if I went there you’d be asking for evolution to take a backstep! 🙂

  125. JL,

    Have not read the spec, but unlike Bruce, you not only have the qualifications for that job, but the true desire and ability to do it, and do it well.

    You could also then tell the good DR about Jenny and her suitability for being a mind coach for the team!!

    I am not going to add to what has already been said, but just re-iterate that Bruce has the next 6 games to make his mark, or it will be goodbye from me and goodbye from him (the good Dr!).

  126. Paul,

    Thank you for your kind comment. Yes, if I thought I could help Jenny make her mark at VP, I’d go for the job. But having been bitten there once I’m not sure about another try – even if they’d want me back!

    Yes, I take it on board that Bruce has got a limited life span at VP if he can’t get the team gelling fairly quickly, but at the same time I think the results and standard of performance would have to be quite average with no sign of hope to cause the Doc to push the button. I’m not expecting that situation to happen.

  127. Runtings/Canada,

    No problem …

    And thanks to all for their contributions. I’ll be using those plus extracts from Matt’s thread on Steamer to make up the complete AVL memorial.

  128. Thank you JL,
    from all of us, for your magnificient effort in organising “Steamer’s ” memorial page, as well as, continuing to write the leaders here on AVL. I am sure we all appreciate it, and will look forward to an update from the funeral and the get together to celebrate his life afterwards.

  129. IanG: “The Doc also keeps going on about a ‘superiority attitude’, which loses us a lot of games, & is his current main priority.”

    Yes, I find that a fascinating statement to make.

    Is the “turgid” play a reflection of that attitude? It reminds me of the Lerner regime’s motto “We Are Aston Villa” as though we just had to turn out onto the pitch to win matches … Is this the basis of the attitude problem that has been so difficult to eradicate?

  130. Darren: “as for any love fest, I expect better from you”

    Haha! Well, it was not meant as an indictment, but it did seem that there was one big opinion that was represented against poor little me! 😉

    Frankly, I’m surprised that those in that body of opinion believe that they know Bruce so well … but I want to give him a fair crack of the whip as “We Are Aston Villa” (!!!!!!!!) and this is his one big chance to show that he can handle a big club situation. And one that I think he relishes.

    Though you’re all right that there has not been great football to witness since Bruce’s entrance, I am expecting his new purchases to blot out that memory. Perhaps I’m hoping for too much, but then my glass is always half-full! 🙂 And once we get back to winning ways I expect the football to improve.

  131. JL no better person to defend their opinion than your good-self. It is beneficial to the site that there is a counterfoil to the simmering Bruce out campaign which I’d join albeit for the actual want of stability in terms of the changing manager merry go-round we’ve been on for the last 6 years, unfortunately when the band stopped playing, Bruce was in charge and it looks to me that the merry go-round hasn’t finished turning. We as a club don’t need any more turmoil than is necessary. Agree that this site, thankfully, has a maturity about it that allows debate and difference of opinion without resorting to slagging each other off.

    I’d like to add my thanks to JL for keeping the leaders going and organising the tribute to Steamer, in the heat of debate you have my utmost respect for what you have done for AVL and Steamer.

    Finally, JL and I mean this in the best possible way. Suck it up and apply for the job. I know you were burnt by the last regime but there is a new dawn under Dr.T and what better person to influence the board on the beauty of our history than you.


    Missed your comment about my English, firstly thank you, the background is I used to have my own car magazine here in Ireland and that included writing the articles so I needed 1000/1500 words which was sometimes difficult, even when I read back my posts I do think a simple one line like ‘Bruce is s**te’ would be better option than you guys having to wade through my meandering thoughts.

  132. Darren: “Finally, JL and I mean this in the best possible way. Suck it up and apply for the job. I know you were burnt by the last regime but there is a new dawn under Dr.T and what better person to influence the board on the beauty of our history than you.”

    Sir, you are most generous in your remarks. However, not only would the “archivist” post be rather restrictive (I’ll not go into that) but there are politics at Villa that many people would not be aware of, that relate not only to Villa itself but the official Supporters Group. I have previously offered my help to that group but have been totally ignored as it was with a portion of that lot that the kerfuffle occurred some years ago which triggered my sacking. I have made some enemies there and inside Villa Park itself as I speak my mind and don’t tolerate what I perceive to be nonsense. There were things that had to be said and as the people I said them to (senior staff and supporters group members) are still around I can’t see me being welcomed with open arms! In fact I’m sure any attempted re-entry on my part would be rejected outright.

    I have thought about offering help to the club on a consultancy basis, but I think that would be rejected as well.

    On the matter of the maturity of this site (AVL) I quite agree. It’s a relief to correspond with people of open-hearted sincerity, apart from their knowledge.

  133. JL- Unless “we are Newcastle” doesn’t exist I cannot see that being the problem, wasn’t that long ago the doc said there is no mental issue its fitness and coaching then got a shrink in.

  134. JL- Then send a book and your CV to DrXia or contact him on Twitter, If you are offerning consultancy paid or unpaid he may listen, if not you have lost nothing and you might have a friendly chat with the new owner and a new chapter to add in your own archives 😉

  135. Message from God about Kodjia although Kodjia took it well,

    He said: “Sorry Aston Villa, even if he scores four Kodjia is the villain. Work rate is nil/ Hogan is a player.
    “Can I just give a quick mention to Hogan’s work rate. Other please take notice. Goal is great now let’s work for each other.

  136. Mark,

    Thanks for the confidence and moral support! 🙂

    However, the way Villa works ain’t as simple as it may seem and I’ve had enough of the kind of attitude I encountered last time. I already had a heart problem, and the situation didn’t help it!

    Thanks though for your thought.

  137. And ERM!!!!

    “Coming on in the 77th minute, when he replaced Scott Arfield, and being introduced at a stage where the Clarets were chasing a two-goal deficit with 10 men, away from home, it was a true baptism of fire for Westwood.

    But I feel he came through it with huge credit. The Clarets scored within seconds of his introduction and went on to control the fixture thereafter, even with a man short.

    With Burnley light in numbers in the middle, Westwood brought a discipline and calmness that the game needed in such circumstances. He moved the ball well and with purpose, impressed with his positional awareness, tracked well and I’m sure Sean Dyche will have been happy with his work rate.

  138. Theres more

    Burnley boss Sean Dyche said after the game: “I thought they came on and affected the game. Westy has got real good, quick thought on the pitch, quick awareness, he gets it down and plays quickly, finds good passes.”

  139. Mark,

    Yes, well, I think that what Sean Dyche has said rather re-states what I’ve said about Westy in the past.

    As has been said on here so many times, it is so strange that certain players go from Villa Park and become more outstanding at their new homes – particularly midfielders I think, like Bannan. And Lichaj clearly benefitted from his move to Forest, although that was a downward move, but he is team captain.

    But there are exceptions … like Benteke, and Delph, whio has by no means hit the high spots.

  140. JL- But does that not show you have to buy a player for his attributes and use them in a manner that suits not buy him and try to change him? a good coach can add something to a players game that they may not of seen themselves. I think RDM had the right idea with what he inherited it just did not happen defensively because of late arrivals and a few legacy players. Bruce is now making Lansbury his DM and others wingbacks and playing them generally out of position.

  141. RDM on leaving just to remind us.

    ““My coaching staff and I have worked tirelessly to rebuild the squad and I fully expect the players we have brought in to start delivering results in the weeks and months to come.”

    “I have seen enough over the opening games of the season to suggest that the team we have built will start converting draws into wins and climb the table towards the play-off places.”

  142. However much I want stability and am prepared to give bruce time if we start losing at vp the crowd will turn sharpish.

    The football has to be better, possession must be retained and progress must be made with confidence going into the summer and next season.

  143. did anyone see the Gollini comments saying that he doesn’t want to come back to villa as he does not like the training since Bruce came in ?

    Can’t say that i am looking forward to the next game but hoping the lads can get a result by hook or by crook — we certainly have enough talent now

  144. Runtingz we should do it’s Ipswich, but then again we just lost to a team that has a caretaker manager has lost its best player and captain to us and taken two of our unwanted players 😉

    Quick question, if RDM had say bought say 12-14 players in would he then deserved the sack if they had the same results by game 11 we had? Or would he have been allowed more time? Conversely would bruce in the same circumstance as xias first manager?

    In hindsight RDM lost his Rb which may have made a big difference for him and we had the late arrivals. Add the injuries to jedinak,baker,rmc, and Amavis injury comeback and he was quite light on numbers. That was either by choice or wage restrictions and in Several players seemed to not make the impact expected,ayew,grealish,Westwood,gg,bakuna. Assuming time and money added restrictions as did targets being missed. Was w1d7l3 so bad in light of our current form with a full squad from day one?

    Forest we should of hammered at villa they had 2 shots both went in the keeper making 5 world ie saves just like the one on Saturday, Brentford we drew with when they got a scrambled equaliser after kodjias 1st goal for us.RDM said we could of won by 5,we had grealish and rmc out injured and lost de laet. Not to say Brentford didn’t deserve something they played well but it certainly wasn’t 3-0.

  145. mark k
    our chances v brentford where mainly set pieces,[no westwood] and last 7/8 matches we create nothing
    and on to ross he said he is 4/5 kilo lighter this season

  146. While I’m at it RHM has signed, considering the no striker no goals situation we had going on was it a wise decision to exclude him, I have the feeling he would of signed eventually and maybe a whole lot sooner if involved. Just opinion I know but was an immediate option over the resurrect non scoring gabby option.

  147. JG- it was defo a case of not getting a game for Ross he may be a knob but he is a good player too. He got injured against Brentford after scoring which didn’t help him either.

  148. Hiya Mark

    I have posted that i am not a fan of any manager at villa in recent times

    My reasoning for RDM is that he hasn’t done anything to merit him being the right man to bring villa forward in his past and most recent appointments
    His buying was a bit hit and miss and without balance which is essential
    He kept some players that should have been moved on and let some go which we maybe should have kept longer
    As for the other recent managers only Garde is a bit of a maybe he could have put again he had no track record of being the right guy —he also seemed a bit too nice –bit like you MK 🙂
    What reinforces that i am properly right about villa continually picking the wrong managers is the fact non of them have gone on to be successful since leaving but instead its the newer forward thinking managers doing the business out there

    I will have very little hope for the future until we get someone that fulfils all the above missing criteria

  149. If bruce goes tomoz who do we want in? Smith or rowett would prob take it? but did smith rule himself out before bruce?

    Brendon Rodgers?

    Would a decent manager want to come/be put off with highering and firing?

  150. Being unrealistic other than he is unemployed Frank DeBoer formerly manager of Ajax and Inter. Dr.T would want to fire the gun now if he wanted change, allow the new manager to build a system to settle into between now and the end of the season and identify the areas to strengthen for the summer window.

    Much as i’d prefer it was anyone but Bruce and the other dinosaurs like Allardyce/Warnock/Pardew/Redknapp, the reality is we need to stick with what we have and see where it takes us up to May 2018 unless we fall apart in the interim there is no reason to change manager as the focus is/was getting points on the board as opposed to good football.

    If we don’t get promoted next season, the mgmt team at Villa have to take a step back and re-assess how they will achieve promotion in the long term as opposed to quick fix, Red Adare types parachuted in because they have experience of promotion.

  151. runtings- I am with you, I want a modern manager.

    I am only highlighting RDMs time because he got no real “its a new squad” breaks. I have said many times he was never my choice and yes he made mistakes. I have also outlined why it possibly went sour for him? there were mitigating circumstances, new owner/board, time scale, terrible squad to asses, relegation fallout, no scouting system. If he had his whole squad fit and ready for the first game it may well have turned out a different story unbalanced or not.

    I have heard people voice opinions that Bruce would of fared better given the same scenario, would he of got his targets sooner? not going by this window, would he have got all his targets? he chased Rhodes then settled on Hogan , would he have kept the right players, he Forgave gabby and likes Richards? doesn’t fill me with joy.

    And soft? no mate I’ve crushed many a grape 😉

  152. This is from the Guardian and although its history it is history we seem to have gladly forgotten when comparing Bruce, I know I’m banging on but nobody else is posting much 🙂

    “Di Matteo’s reign is the shortest of any permanent Villa manager in the club’s history and they are now looking for their fifth full-time manager since February 2015.

    The former Chelsea manager made nine signings in the summer, including spending £12m on Ross McCormack and £15m on Jonathan Kodjia, but the strikers have scored only three goals between them and McCormack had a penalty saved against Preston at the weekend.

    Di Matteo has also paid the price for Villa dropping 11 points in the final five minutes of games, when they have conceded five goals.

    Villa’s net spend was £34m and Di Matteo had made assurances to the club’s hierarchy they would win promotion if they were in the top six at Christmas. However, they are 15 points behind the leaders, Huddersfield, and Xia, who bought the club in the summer, has acted.

    Xia tweeted after the decision was announced: “A difficult decision 4the board. But rather sooner than later we’d make the decision. All need learn&not repeat mistakes again&again.”

    Its now 22 points dropped from winning positions and Kodjia has 10 goals thankfully and RMC never got to take another pen his confidence shattered i expect him to score at forest.

  153. andrew
    gabby would love to have ross goal record 3 in 23 ,
    gabby has 1 goal since sherwood made rhm youngest villa player in pl,4 full time managers and 2 stand ins later flabby still here bruce s love child

  154. Mark: “RDM on leaving just to remind us.”

    You’re playing that LP again, mate! 😉

    You know as well as I that by the time RDM left the team were going through the motions in an almost like manner to last season … Was RDM going to get them out from that? Despite all his rhetoric I don’t think so … but we’ll never know for sure of course.

  155. I picked up a quote from a sports reporter of 1936 while researching today. I won’t comment on it. The reporter in question had been reporting on football for 40 years, so he’d seen nearly all up to that point. It went:

    We must keep alive the traditional spirit of the game, which inspires cheerfulness and confidence when things are going wrong, which helps us to avoid getting rattled and which subdues over-exaltation in victory.

  156. well it appears JL that new signings aside and what they may bring at some point in the future all we have is Bruces Rhetoric to comfort us 😉

    Its shocking how dusty those memories get with time, RDM sacked for 19th place, and if bruce had 3 points less its exactly where we would be 19th and 16 points of the play offs instead of 10 as we were back then. God I hope the messiah sorts it soon.

  157. Just brought myself to watch the highlights…. How on earth did we loose that game! Jesus.

    And itsnot been said but what a goal…. Hogans clever run and smart ball by jack, great goal.

    Not even going to waste my breath on rdm, aloof, naive and made the same mistakes all the time.

    I dont think anyone thinks bruce is the messiah.

    Anyone not been watching westy for last 4 years….he is s**t

  158. had a bit of time and went back read some post from times gone by,and come across rdm last week and guess what nearly same as now with STEAMER RIP one liner about MR POTATO HEAD standing out the rest mostly the same jl preaching patience for rdm

  159. Haha hutton. 3 assists! We have a team of no hutton and westy now and gabbys injured. We should be ecstatic!!

    Mark. Dyche also sees summin in lowton and joey barton!

    Intersting. Last night drs sidekick ho eluded to more better people needed to be employed and some rmoved.

    And howard hodson said on radio tonight he spoke to bruce and bruce eluded to complcations behind the scenes. Might be just mccormack?

  160. Since Lerner has gone, I hope they review the club’s logo. Hopefully they go back to the round one, or just have the lion rampant by itself, which I prefer.
    I like your team for that formation, though I prefer Bunn in goal. I don’t see much sense in continuing to develop Johnson for Man U if he keeps making errors.
    I think you’d be fine at Villa under Xia. A new broom sweeps clean.

  161. Iana: “Since Lerner has gone, I hope they review the club’s logo. Hopefully they go back to the round one, or just have the lion rampant by itself, which I prefer.”

    Couldn’t agree more … a restoration of the club’s badge to looking more like a representation of the character of the club rather than that insipid yellow lion is a major need i.m.o. It would re-focus everyone if properly done.

    I take on board your comment about the “new broom” under the Doctor, mate. Yes, I agree on that score … the question is about the middle managers that remain from before. And the Supporters Trust.

  162. Andrew: “We have to be excited about that side! Its gong to come good, its too good a side not to.”

    But where be the wingers my dear friend? That’s my only fear. I suppose we have wing-backs in that formation, but it seems a waste of Albert and Green’s talents.

    Bring back MacEwan and McParland I say! 😉

  163. Mark: “JG- really can’t believe JL would say such things “

    Yes, well, I do believe in giving people a chance, but I have to say by the time RDM got to his 11th (or 12th?) match the situation was looking a bit grim.

  164. that’s the trouble john with 352…no wingers!

    I know at hull bruce varied between 442 and 352….might be horses for courses?

    Would rather one definite formation/style of play and sign players who fit the system.

    Too simple?!!

  165. Hi All
    l have just read all the posts on Johns memorial page and l think Steamer would have been very humbled , l will say this , The blog was a big part in Garys life as it kept him going, l know he did go off on one sometimes but l will tell you it done him really good , he didnt have a TV (never wanted one) and this blog was something that broke up his evenings and lm so glad of it as l did used to worry about him being in on his own , we did sometimes talk about winding certain people up , MK on his Band and Garde , SWV on his red footie boots (till he worked out who l was) and that meet up we had was a thing Gary loved and was always on about another one , l know we done a lot together but l did used to have to badger him for the whole week before to get him out and once out he was fine , you read what my daughter put about him and it was so true , its funny how me and Gary became so close these last 6 years , what sparked it was after a steamers reunion a about 4 years ago , l had a email off SWV who had come up for that night and it was the email that sent me into overdrive , and as swv had said , Gary had his demons , so it was through that l made sure Gary joined in with everything we as a family done , and every so often he would comment on it and it made me feel good too , but this wasnt a one way ticket , as you know l had a brain insult and l would get down a lot , stuck in the house as l was told l would never work again , so “the getting Gary involved also served me to get off my arse and do things , even getting the shopping became a laff with him and you read how my daughter described it as having ” two gay dads” and l did begin to notice the looks we got , as we shared the one shopping trolley and we did become noticable because of doing it regularly.
    lm hating the thought of friday getting here as it will be final . and l can honestly tell you all lm dreading the coming weeks,months, years after , one of our friends said to my brother last week , that it” wont be the same because when Deano came into the room , Gary was always behind him” and after thinking about that statement l realised how true that was , funny how you just fall into the routine and never think about it ,
    Thank You all again , Gary’s sister Linda will be really touched by the comments ,
    and maybe in the future we could do a meet up and drink a toast to Gary-Steamer , A real one-off ,
    All The Best
    Steamer 75 – Deano

  166. A truly excellent job JL.

    I am another old codger, and perhaps understand how you feel, but bite the bullet as you have nothing to lose but everything to gain, and if they do make you an offer, you still have the choice of saying yes or no….

  167. Hoped to make Friday but it looks like work has buggered that up, sent you an e-mail JL if its not late to add to you brilliant memorial. Thank for all you efforts

    St75- Steamer loved my band, probably a highlight for him not to see us 🙂

  168. PP,

    Yes, I take your point about the Villa job … To be honest I’m not interested in the post advertised as I’ve been there and know how the setup works …

    But I have to admit I am putting feelers out for some kind of advisory function on a part-time basis. With my wife’s state of health I can’t be out too much in any case.

    But I really appreciate your comment (and everyone else’s) on this. 🙂

  169. Steamer

    Everyone, please believe me, it’s an honour to have put the Memorial together: no thanks are necessary.

    There’s a lot of genuine feeling in those messages. It’s very humbling.

  170. Deno great tribute to a great pal am sure he would have been on about spud has to go after the forrest debacle again forest 785 passes villa 215 says it all about spud and his football i have no doubt in my mind whatsoever he is the most negative and non footballing manage in the history of aston villa and calderwood is worse well any true villa fan who has watched the club as long as us know he is pure shyte and should not have been given the job by a complete joke board and the sooner he is gone the beter will be there on friday deno along with all the rest keep your chin up and we will talk about the real villa sides we grew up watching and the real managers and footballers we have had the privilege to see were the villa shirt unlike the complete shower of wan kers we now have at the club from the board sown see you and any body else on friday

  171. With you MK on that article but not surprised, he was sold to us as the guy to get promotion not the guy to improve the standard of football and despite the new manager bounce there was nothing pretty about our scraped wins and something very ugly in our draws and losses.

    The cavaet is not having an appropriate engine room but that’s been resolved, now as we await the gelling of the team, we’ll need to endure more of the same in my opinion. This first home game will be very telling if we have freedom of the park and control the game or if we capitulate possession and play counter-attacking football at home.

  172. I’m of the opinion he always plays counter attack, using Huddlestone at hull for long range passing and Hernadez as his speedster. Gabby getting his reprieve was nothing to do with Clean slates he just saw him as a way to play his game without paying out but we all know Gabby has a goal allergy.

    Lansbury is the new Huddlestone. To me there is so much more to the players we have and had than sit and launch the counter, we had 3 years of that under Lambert then Tim. Two attacking mids and a full back in Jan and an experienced GK and we could of played some good stuff. Even introducing the youth to supplement as we are now not going for promotion would be great. Where is Jordan Lyden considered a prospect under Garde? and Toner under Black?

  173. Mark: “Even introducing the youth to supplement as we are now not going for promotion would be great. “

    Except that Bruce himself said this week that so long as it’s mathematically possible to get into the play-offs, he’s not giving up on that aspiration. Therefore he’s not going to try much more experimentation until that time, I’d say.

  174. JL yes I agree he won’t and he trying his best to play thor instead of Green at this point, Green probably should of had two headed goals to his name in the last few games but that’s not his forte. (or anyone elses recently) But to me he is well worth staying with rather than the wing back rubbish that never seems to work for us. Its been tried under umpteen managers now. At least Garde tried to play football the only one to do so since Houllier.

    The huge rebuild while playing in the league cost us (first 5 games), if we’d had all our players in before the kick off like jedinak the deficiencies could of been spotted early and sorted, we can only guess at the targets that did not come in, I believe we missed 3 late on. May have been a keeper a mid and a forward.

  175. Somewhat of a catch 22 situation then JL, Dr. T came out after the Forest game to remind us it’s a 2 year plan for promotion, most blogs, facebook groups etc are for the most part looking at not achieving a play-off spot this season. Bruce is correctly persisting with the mathematical argument but at what cost.

    Why not buck the trend and Villa mgmt come out and say ‘while every effort will be made to improve results with the goal of achieving a play-off spot we will also take the opportunity afforded to us by blooding more of the youngsters so we can make an educated assessment of the transfer needs in the summer’.

    If Villa truly engaged with the fans and got buy in for the above, it would remove the current pressure, it would show existing Villa youths there is opportunity, it would show potential Villa youths that you can make a career at Villa and would show that we were thinking about how this club progresses as opposed to let’s get to the top table and worry then.

    We are not prepared based on performances now to

    1. Achieve a play-off spot
    2. Be able to beat teams who have had consistently better seasons than us in any 2-leg/cup scenario
    3. Be sufficiently prepared for the Premier League based on scraping thru via the play-offs

    I so want us to succeed but this hell for leather approach isn’t working and that’s down to Villa mgmt and the hiring of the promotion king. We all presumably agree on paper this is probably a better first 11 than the one that got us relegated so I’m going to have to hold my breath as to whether Bruce can actually get the best out of this team, it beholds me to afford him some time as the transfer window has just closed, but it’s the previous performances that clouds my judgement on whether Bruce will ever turn this around and that then makes it another race next season if Dr.T pulls the trigger again.

  176. Darren/Mark,

    Yes, I generally have empathy with your viewpoints, but Darren’s “it’s the previous performances that clouds my judgement on whether Bruce will ever turn this around” phrase is key here.

    I can see the doubt, but we do have half a new team and a massively more +ve looking midfield now with (I think) better full-backs, so it comes back to the issue of holding our collective breath until we see what gels … After the next two home matches we should have a far better idea of what’s up Doc! 😉

  177. I think villa need 2 things. A plan that is integrated at youth level, at this moment in time our youth play a passing and attacking game, not overly complicated but looking to get forward when we have the ball and harrying teams when we don’t as a team. I don’t see that in Bruce’s set up or previous styles of his former clubs, I see defence minded displays where retreating rather than pressing is displayed.

    The second thing we need is a manager that mirrors some of the owners intellect and enthusiasm, Wagner being the standout example, larger than life personality to drag us up by the boot laces and inspire, smith too shows understanding of the game and a love of it but it more reserved,For me I don’t see that in Bruce, I see someone who thinks he’s never had a big chance, now we are no small club but successful in the modern era we cannot claim to be, and we are to believe we are the pinical of Bruce’s ambitions, a way to get back at his knockers, steves wagon to the top?

    We need a big Ron

  178. One thing else I have never seen our academy use wing backs.

    Andrew- passing and movement are fundamental to any style of football, formation you name it,it has to come first.

  179. yeah for sure mark.

    Also touched upon how we sit off teams.

    Against forest it was ridiculous, we gave them all the time in the world, no attempt to harry and close down. your gonna get punished in the end and we did.

  180. i see that we are now in the bottom 4 of all 92 english league sides since xmas

    p club p w d l pts
    88 crewe 6 0 2 3 2
    89 a villa 5 0 1 4 1
    90 coven 5 0 1 4 1
    91 leices 5 0 1 4 1
    92 le orie 6 0 0 6 0
    when will the shame end

  181. Interesting bruce says he will always go 2 up top in this league.

    Massive chance for rhm in that system.

    So excited by Hogan and kodjer. They are going to be a fantastic partnership. best since savo and yorke.

    No jedi

    do we stay 352 or go 442 o wonder.

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