Aston Villa travel to the DW Stadium today to take on Wigan Athletic, who currently are 23rd, and seven points adrift from safety. Wigan manager Warren Joyce was sacked during the week, leaving Graham Barrow as the interim boss. In other words, a relegation-threatened team at home in a bit of turmoil following a torrid run of two wins in 11. At least one of those wins came at the expense of BCFC, so they can feel good about that.

On paper, it might look an easy fixture, but as we’ve seen, nothing’s easy in the Championship. Apart from losing 4-0 to Manchester United, Wigan haven’t been blown out. And whereas Rotherham’s goal differential stands at a rather remarkable –50, Wigan are at a much more respectable –11. (It’s all relative, of course.)

Steve Bruce has made just one change from the starting XI against Sheffield, with Mile Jedinak starting at center half in place of the injured Nathan Baker.

Jack Grealilsh, and Scott Hogan return to the bench, accompanied by Henri Lansbury, Michah Richard, Tommy Elphick, Keinan Davis, and Mark Bunn. Andre Green is still out, but seems close to making his return

Gary Gardner and Conor Hourihane will anchor Villa’s midfield, apparently flanked by James Bree and Jordan Amavi, with Albert Adomah again looking to serve up the chances to Jonathan Kodjia, and, one hopes, Hourihane, as well. Would love to see him on the scoresheet.

Villa can’t climb much up the table with a win, maybe moving into 11th if Barnsley lose and the goals add up right. Currently we’re 14 off Sheffield in sixth, but just eight points off Preston North End, who sit 8th.

So, I expect a scrappy game. Wigan have everything to play for, and with the managerial change, you never know what you’re going to get. We’ll see if Villa continue to gel and show a bit of character, looking to win with nothing much at stake but pride, places perhaps, and a chance to show themselves they’ll truly be challenging for it all next season.

Comments 85

  1. Well, that was certainly underwhelming…Wasn’t expecting a goal fest, but Villa need to ratchet it up and assert themselves. Maybe need to get away from the 4-4-2.

  2. Well, play-offs anyone? 🙂

    With Wednesday and Fulham losing, Derby and Preston getting draws, and Villa winning, the picture looks quite different from 2 weeks ago.

  3. Well another good result ground out after a very poor start by Villa, offering very little until the substitutions. So glad to see Gardner go off, and Lansbury come on with Hogan. Chester doing his captain’s bit again, and Hogan getting his first Villa goal.

    Back to rugby now and a very tense game with France and Wales.

  4. JL,

    I certainly will never give up hope of a playoff spot until the math makes it mandatory.

    And you never know…If Villa, having been written off, can play out the season without pressure, they might just be in the position they want to be in, find themselves on a run of form and sneak in feeling good about themselves.

    Perhaps a long shot, but…

  5. Johnson – superb. Deserves alot of credit after getting some pelters. 5 clean sheets out of 6 is bloody brilliant.

    Scott hogan 🙂 him and kodjer going to be the best partnership since deano and atkinson. Heard it here first!!!

  6. Thanks for the write up, John.
    Glad for another win. Didn’t sound like much of a match, though, not many would have thought it’d be a classic. Johnson must have done well in goal, sounds like he got worked a bit. Did Gralish do anything worth mentioning? Glad to seee Hogan score his first.

  7. Paul,

    Subs definitely made a difference. If Villa had bought Lansbury and Hourihane over the summer, we’d likely be in the playoffs. Other factors, too, but close enough to the bottom line.

  8. Iana,

    Grealish never made it on. I admit I don’t know what to think of Bruce, but he’s obviously not impressed, and Villa win without him (Jack)….

    Think I have to agree with those who say he slows down play. There’s a very good footballer in him, hope he catches on that he has to become a complete player.

  9. Mark. Struggling to get back to sleep and bored so I thought I’d take another look at the possession v success discussion we were having yesterday (yeah I know . . . . dog with a bone)
    The ‘top’ teams weren’t playing yesterday which evens things out a bit and it was interesting that of the 6 wins in the premiership, 4 were by the team which had the ball the least. In the championship, only 3 of the 7 wins went to the team with the most possession and you could go further and say that the team with the most possession only won 3 out of the 10 games (3 were draws)
    We do know though that the top 4 to 6 teams in the premiership generally have more possession than the lower teams and (as I was bored) I wondered why.
    Here’s an article which might help explain it:
    It shows that unless you have ‘really’ good players, it’s actually better ‘not’ to have the ball if you want to win games.
    Even in the teams with really good players, that tend to win more games, their high possession stats are just a by-product of the quality of their players rather than what wins the games.
    It seems the most important thing is knowing how to quickly take advantage of the oppositions mistakes and ‘that’ is what Leicester demonstrated oh so well last season.

  10. Possession

    Albion’s performance v. Arsenal yesterday shows that you certainly don’t need a lot of possession.

    A 3-1 win with 20-something % possession, and showing that well-planned and directed play wins the day. Arsenal by contrast played the possession game but were sloppy in defence. Three Albion players were queuing up yesterday to head the third goal!

    Wenger must be rueing that day he lost his British defence 10 years ago. If not he should be.

  11. John, yes, yesterday’s game was another demonstration of what is really important when trying to win a football match and I’ve now read lots of articles and even scientufic papers that seem to point to possession not being a key indicator for success.
    I’ll try very hard not to become obsessive over it though!

  12. Robbo- hello mate, of course levels of proficiency affect how you can play but it’s my belief you should as a player be comfortable on the ball. And tha goes for any type of style if you don’t have that you cannot transition quickly unless it’s a big hoof into space like drinkwater to vandyke tactic or Huddleston to Hernandez. This should be coached from day one as should pass and move so proficiency allows you to play any style better not lock you into one style because of it. Look at Chelsea under mournho v arsenal under wenger both can keep the ball but both play it differently. Same goes for Southampton they will adjust to the opposition according to there strengths,that would be my preference but ultimately top clubs have the best players for a reason,they can.

    Also when a team is truly on song they don’t miss chances and have more energy about them regardless so concentration is key in any style. As pep says goals are mistakes, so snooze you loose, so to me it’s not one tactic being better than another although two teams sitting back is boring and three points were introduced to encourage going for the win. Maybe we should add 1/2 a point for 3 or more goals in a game. Most games are generally decided by the managers tactics being sound and the team being awake enough to follow it through, as we have seen this season changing the approach halfway can upset the apple cart, we have had it done to us and we were to rigid, and last two games we have done it to the opposition both times almost by accident than some planned design, i.e. Injuries forcing change or players not suiting formations.

    This is what frustrates me about Bruce and villa, we clearly have capable players but it’s appears to be like a suck it asee approach every match.

  13. Just read the latest mom article about Tony xia being upset about one of their articles. In it they mention that Dr Xia had only one plan at the start of the season and that was promotion this season and I see no other evidence to suggest otherwise from the boards actions, well worth a read especially about the Chinese interests in brum.

  14. Mark
    Agree almost 100% with your first posting today. I think the only area our views may differ is on the degree of latitude we’re prepared to give to Bruce.
    With any new job it’s hard to come in and hit the ground running. You need to understand the culture and the skills and weaknesses of your staff and also, in the case of football clubs, the expectations of the fans.
    There are plenty of examples of managers initially struggling but then coming good. SIr Alex is probably the very best example of that. (I’m not comparing Bruce with SAF btw)

  15. Mark, as for the MOM article (which I read in a wakeful period during the night) I find that site rather too self justifying and self congratulatory for my liking.
    I haven’t found the link to make comments about the articles on the site yet . . . am I being a bit dense and it’s really easy to find?
    As for their assertion that Xia only had a plan for promotion this year, I am sure that he would have liked us to be promoted this year, wouldn’t we all, but that’s not the same as saying that he expected it. He has said 1 or 2 years for promotion, 1 or 2 years for consolidation etc etc.
    What matters is not the sensitivity of some blogger or even Dr Tony’s sensitivity to implied criticism, it’s whether Xia is prepared to back us when things don’t follow his hopes or expectations. So far we’ve seen nothing to make us doubt that.

  16. r0bb0: “With any new job it’s hard to come in and hit the ground running. … There are plenty of examples of managers initially struggling but then coming good. SIr Alex is probably the very best example of that. (I’m not comparing Bruce with SAF btw)

    Totally agreed. Quite a few people don’t allow for the difficulties that you refer to when making criticisms, unfortunately.

    BTW, I also would not compare SB with SAF (though, given chance and time, he might emulate him to some degree!) but for me what is important is that SB learnt some vital attitudes and values at OT, and I think that learning is beginning to show fruit at VP.

  17. Thats not to say he is not in it for the long haul, that tweet does suggest a tilt at going straight back up, can you mix that with a longer term plan? I don’t think so personally, I think the pre-season buys would of looked a lot different if the longer term view was truly the main option which it should have been or a specialist brought in like Bruce,Warnock etc.

    I have never said I don’t appreciate Bruce seems to get results I just dont see his philosophy (non existent imo) as a long term plan for the club and now it appears it will have to be.

    On SAF- he did win the European cup winners cup and Scottish title and cup with Aberdeen, that gave him a bit more cred than 4 promotions, twice with your own relegated side in my book so giving him time with a man utd side that had like us come up from the second in recent years and become a cup specialist side was not such a gamble. Bruce has a trail of clubs and failed rebuilds, rosey at first but frowned on later by those clubs.

    I believe his remit to be promotion this season, why have a rolling contract? in that he has more than likely failed.

  18. JL- Speaking for myself I have allowed Bruce plenty of leeway in my thoughts as I did RDM with the club he inherited, I think both could have done better, a lot better. it wasn’t as if we had lost 10 games.

  19. Mark, I had read that tweet in the MOM article but on its own it falls short of being evidence that Xia was counting on promotion this year.
    It could be consistent with the stated plan of promotion in 1 or 2 years. If we don’t achieve it next year then it will be clear that we ‘are’ diverging from the plan.
    In any event, the sign of a good leader is not simply delivering against a plan but how you adapt when you are falling short of achieving it.
    If plan A ‘was’ indeed promotion in year 1 and there was no plan B then Xia has adapted pretty quickly and continued to put his money where his mouth is.
    I’m far more interested in the actions of our owner than the musings of a villa fan who happens to also be a self appointed fan’s mouthpiece.
    Oh. Where did I miss the feedback section on his site btw?

  20. Here’s food for thought, Is rounds involvement in the coaching staff from first team downwards at odds with Bruce’s style?

    Playing devils advocate there is a line that go’s our troubles started not long after Calderwood turned up from passing side Brighton, I saw recently that we approached Middlesbrough’s coach before we turned to calderwood, highly thought of and again a passing style team. I shrugged it off at the time but?

  21. Robbo- feedback? me know nothing mate.

    on Dr Xia it was a straight question and answer to me, whether that had not had time to implement plan b or even think about it is another matter. I think the huge intake of players in Jan hints to me they were desperate to back Bruce and give him every chance of getting to the play off’s unfortunately it caused more problems than it solved in the short term, Bruces attempt to play all of them at once and his comments on no attacking midfielders prior I think he thought it would solve our problems shame because even 5 draws would of seen us in with a better chance right now.

  22. Mark: “I just dont see his philosophy (non existent imo) as a long term plan for the club and now it appears it will have to be.”

    Well, my view is that you’d be jumping the gun a tad if you expected to see the rolling out of such a philosophy at this stage!

    In my view, Bruce has been far more engaged in getting the ethos right amongst players – as well as bringing in players who know how to deliver from a dead ball situation, and who generally have more quality about them.

    It’s clear that Bruce is now expecting more quality to be displayed by his players, so we’re probably morphing into an unofficial phase 2 of development.

    But the fact that we’re winning is at least adding confidence to the Villa ranks.

    But I am beginning to think that Gardner won’t be around much longer. He seems to have disappointed again yesterday. I am sad that is the case. When he went off Villa seemed to get themslelves better organised.

  23. I read an interview with round talking to some fan group.said They have a style of play in mind what they want to do but hard to implement this season.

    Talked about wanting to pass it quicker and forwards earlier, quicker.

    Surly 1 goal conceded in 6 is a villa record john?

  24. JL- yes I think Gardner has not come up to the level required, certainly not the player he was pre-injury and I think (sigh) injury permitting Lyden will overtake him.

    On the style of play I think your wrong, the manager has to have a firm idea of what he is trying to do, with Bruce it appears to be win at all cost (which suggests the promotion remit) , not the worst for a promotion tilt but long term its hard to run your reserves etc like that, its akin to only teaching them history at junior school level through to university. Wagner did not walk into Huddersfield and develop a plan around the players, he came ready to teach his ideas and failing that he went and got players he felt could implement it and did.

    The constant shuffling of the pack after his first window and return to 433 says to me Bruce doesn’t have that vision or he had failed at it this time. He does have a history of large amounts of player turnover and has come into clubs twice and took them up that season, one he joined late with no summer window and they brought in at least 14 players (don’t know how many he got in jan) the other he had a massive turnover of players in and out, some 19 players in. So the circumstance stuff did not seem to stop him before.

    Interesting to note if we win all our games we will be 4 points behind his 2nd place points total of 79 in his first season. That may well reflect that the champs has progressed since then indeed when he came back down he managed play offs with you’d think a better team.

  25. On Gaz Gardner- we have given him an improved contract according to Steve Bruce because he was not on much money in comparison, the contract runs until 2020 🙂

  26. Not woried at all about transfers/young players. Round isvery much pulling strings in background and in and outcomings thought through now thank god. The jan transfer window shows this. Was such a bloody good window. The players we needed at good value ages etc. Superb business.

    Think the dr eluded to this when he said surprised bruce is so open to new things.

  27. Andrew- this quote from Bruce hints that the summer may be busier than we think, I hate international breaks too but its timely as long as the players we have on duty come back in one piece, I really want to win every game and see where we are.

    “A lot of the lads have a lot to prove over the next 10 games and stake a claim that once pre-season comes that they are part of our squad that will take this club to mount a challenge.

    “I think everyone is disappointed this season that we haven’t been able to. But it’s not that easy. Just because we’re Aston Villa doesn’t give us a divine right as we have seen many times.

    “But it has got to be the aim and the challenge. There is still a lot to play for this season in my eyes because we have to finish in the top 10. We have to.

    “We must finish the season strongly which will stand us in good stead for the beginning of next which will be huge for everybody.”

  28. Mark, Im sure you’re right that the board backed Bruce fully in January to give him the best chance of taking us back up at the first attempt and in so doing made it temporarily more difficult.
    I’m getting bored of agreeing with you now
    I’m not convinced that you’re right about there there being much activity this summer though. Hasn’t Wyness already said that there won’t?
    It feels more like a motivational speech to the players to me.

  29. Mark: “On the style of play I think your wrong, the manager has to have a firm idea of what he is trying to do, with Bruce it appears to be win at all cost (which suggests the promotion remit)”
    In January of course there was still a ‘promotion remit’. Blimey, even now a few of us are clinging to the hope that it may ‘still’ be possible!
    Presumably when you mention a ‘win at all costs’ mentality you’re referring to a cautious, play on the break mentality?
    It seems that Mourinho is taking a similar approach as United only had 36% posession today against a bottom 3 side!

  30. Robbo- Ha Ha sorry mate, I am sure that at this point its not the plan, but three things say to me we will, the amount of players we have to sell (those on loan) Bruces history and Xias enthusiasm pre-season morale/ticket sales selling shenanigans ( we are bound to get a Chinese player 🙂 ) oh and don’t forget the loan market, Brucey loves a loan.

    Dr Xia is good for the club I have no doubt but a fair bit of truth stretching goes on too, I didn’t think he needed to say the club needed a man with guts when RDM had kept quiet on his sacking. It might have been translation but he wanted him for the publicity, no need to stick the boot in.

    The recent revelations about Recon being in talks with Southampton and others weeks before he bought us and the sometimes OTT Villa support made me think a bit.

  31. robbo- lets not compare what we do on the whole as any thing but playing to our strengths, tough to score against with Jedinak in and always a goal threat with Adomah and kodjia running about freestyling 🙂

    Mourinho has always played that way, worse even, he would not let cole go over the half way from full back. But when they smelt blood they can play, we don’t seem to be like that, More stuck in defensive gear.

    Remember Bruces first game against wolves at VP? it certainly changed the very next game and every time he tried a more attacking set up it went Tits up, it does tickle me that we have bought an amazing array of talent that cant pass 🙂

    I think back in Jan wyness was already sowing the building for next season seed mate.He had to they had just binned RMC ayew gestede with no forwards and were awful defensively without the Jedi.

  32. Bruce: “On the style of play I think your wrong, the manager has to have a firm idea of what he is trying to do”

    Of course he does, but what I was saying is that a fluent style was not his first priority when he arrived, and may well not be now. What he had to face when he arrived was a squad that just wasn’t facing up to its responsibilities, and even by January that was the case since the players were mostly just not up to it.

    So attitude and approach were the first issues, and they have been the area of his primary attention. Method will evolve more as time goes in, I would expect. That’s not to say he doesn’t have an idea of what he wants now, more that it’s something that will develop.

  33. JL- one way of getting the best out of players and lowering errors and nervousness is giving them exact jobs, if you leave it to the players you will have them second guessing themselves and each other. Therefore remove the doubt by coaching, not waiting to see what develops once they have cheered up, worked harder, got some go about them etc imo.

  34. Evening each, just had a masive plate full of zitti and a bottle of Primitivo, preceded by two pints of Banks’s bitter over the club…..I know…I’m an animal…nature not nurture, I assure you.
    I watched the Liverpool Man City game over the club and have to say we are light years away from that level of football. But, this is our journey .
    We won the third division championship in 1972 and then Champions of Europe in 1982. Its as close as that. With the right plan in place we can be top six again, ride the wave …enjoy the journey…all that sort of thing … two this time next year… heard it here.
    I enjoyed the win yesterday, this bloke, SB is part the fabric of this club and will play his part for I think the next couple of seasons.
    The journey continues…..

  35. Mark,

    I’ve already said as well that the previous squad was not really fit for purpose – nothing to do with nervousness, it’s *attitude* (grit) that was missing.

    As you have said yourself, for some time Bruce was chopping and changing, for what purpose? To see who he could trust. And he’s only just getting to a state of affairs where he knows who he can trust in my view.

  36. JL- To see who he could trust eh? not to win games then? beings we were going for promotion he was after wins by whatever way possible, and did we not speak for weeks on here about the teams fragile mentality IE nervousness in the last ten mins under RDM? the difference between at least five draws being wins. Seems like you are turning Bruce into some sort of master physiologist, Round brought in a specialist for that, bruce’s is grinding out results. Also if he was swapping about to see who he can trust it must have been a shock when all his new players produced nothing for 6 games 😉

  37. JL- “Well said. It’s only with people of your ilk that we’ll get anywhere! ”

    thanks mate sorry to drag the club down must be a huge drag for you all 🙂

  38. I’ve just done a bit of a tot for statistics nerds out there , and only taking results over the last 10 games ,Villa would be 10th in the table .
    However…. the results of the past 5 games would have Villa on top of the table with the best goal difference in the league , and one point ahead of Leeds .
    I know , I know , if my aunt had balls she’d by my uncle but still ,it is positive momentum .

  39. Mark,

    Nothing personal, but surely you must see that there are a lot of messages from both you and James that would make a Martian think that Villa were going down to the 4th tier, not edging to the play-offs of the 2nd tier! 😉

  40. john l
    about same odds of getting to play offs as seeing your martian, and if your happy with beating wigan with s**te football starting a side with 4 full backs[mcleish did similar and got stick bruce wins few matches use forgot about dec jan and feb very quick] playing jedi centre back , who palace got 4 m for a player who will be 33 on next birthday who had missed a third of previous 2 seasons and has missed similar for us yes keep smiling,another season of no streams even sky are fed up with spud cr*p football ,longest run not on box and as john doyle put it on blues match no one wants to watch to cr*p teams playing cr*p football

  41. James

    agree with playing bree and hutton on the right. don’t do it.

    Amavi left wing I don’t mind at all. may be his best position as he has been a liability at lb! But don’t worry as Hogan will be starting and adoamah will be rw with green coming in for amavi eventualy.

    No probs with 3mill for jedi. been outstanding for us and will get another 2 good years at cb in the championship,.

  42. I don’t really understand the constant criticism of style of footy.
    Youd have thought we have been playing like barca then being like west brom!

    the footys been as bad as its always has been! the difference we are winning games! And we are in the championship for crepes sake…its not known for great footy!!

  43. The very existence of Mark, James and myself ensure that debate actually does continue on this blog, loads of regulars no longer post not as a result of the blog trying to be overly positive about being 12th in the second division but we should question why those regulars don’t post anymore, not that they have to either.

    But to those that do post, why is there an inference that being subjective (or termed negative) about Aston Villa’s current position requires those protagonists to cease and desist. I truly don’t get the idea that a blog looking to generate opinion, debate, conflict, agreement, celebration should decide that one set of opinions should be thrown out.

    I’m far from happy about the mis-mgmt under Lerner but that’s history fine, but I’m also far from happy about the mis-mgmt this season that sees us 12th in the second division, having to use two transfer windows to effectively buy two new teams and an owner that talks of stability but pulled the trigger on RdiM, I get the reasons why RdiM was sacked but there is an inconsistency in approach both in number of players acquired and the manager type hired if stability is the byword.

    I see lots of comments about no one on here really thinks Bruce is the man but give him a chance and sure aren’t we winning so I see no issue with myself, Mark or James or anyone else challenging where we feel Bruce’s limitations/formation/team selection are hampering the development of Aston Villa as we turn the corner on the Lerner years.

    I’m happy to win, it makes my Tuesday/Saturday a whole lot more bearable but I have to countenance that with an overriding feeling that we are delaying the inevitable with a Bruce sacking and if it happens next season, do we panic again and get someone who 1. knows the championship and 2. has a promotion on his cv but not assess their footballing qualities or we get promoted and Bruce’s lack of tactics is found out in the prem and we get another manager in who has to assess a squad and keep us up at the same time. Ultimately the same vicious circle we are attempting to avoid by giving a limited manager the chance to manage a big club.

    Or do we actually build a Villa way with a forward thinking manager who we allow to fail but see absolute progression of our footballing qualities. If you’ve bothered to read this and fair play, you’ll immediately note I’m in repeat mode because I can’t buy in to beating a struggling team like Wigan 2-0 as being any sort of a zenith to celebrate or laud Bruce as a saviour.

    The response will be don’t you want us to win or we don’t think beating Wigan is the be all or that Bruce isn’t the saviour so in that regard, you should be happy that a few on here are challenging what they see unless being 12th just because of the Lerner years is us punching at our weight and beating a struggling Wigan side in the second half is still an example of green shoot recovery.

  44. Darren

    Being 12th in the championship. This is my point….we are no more than 8 months from having randy and being run like a pub side,having players take the pee out of our beloved shirt. Having no structure within the club, being the worst prem side ever etc….im sure you can remember! 8 months, and we are now moaning we aint easy on the eye! Its prob the least of my worrys way behind making sure we have the right people in place and being run like the club I fell in love with. style of play is the cherry on the icing on the cake which should/get better when the club heals itself. Just aint a concern for me.

    Jesus ive forgotten what an attractive villa side look anyway!

    Your correct though debate and wanting a attractive side is fine but at the moment im more relived.positive we have the dr take us on, round in a role villas being crying at for for years. A proven manager in this league and getting a tidy side together with players im looking forward to seeing. along with the emergence of some young players.

  45. DOR
    I think you post a question then answer it yourself in your post.
    Is this because you are trying too hard to be non controversial maybe?
    I think the standard of most football in the championship decides the approach as points are the main focus, as even arsenal with their money & standard of players would lose a few here.
    At least we are winning now & gelling into a team slowly.
    I refuse to talk about Bruce so called controversy any more, cos as you sort of said, we all tend to agree on Bruce, & as a controversy it’s a bit contrived.
    The disagreement is more about whether to destroy the club in the process to pander to the frustrations of people, rather than to support what is [for now] rather than a plethora of not very possible scenarios.
    Most other names mentioned were not much of a goer at the time, & it seems to me to just pander to people having nothing better to do at work.
    I respect honest convictions, such as Steamer who said that he’d prefer to watch in the lower divisions, but I don’t agree, & the constant haranguing does not stimulate a positive response from anyone but those in that cabal, as it appears to refuse to accept the possibility of other opinions.
    Time for finesse when we are out of this division, & some of the newer players stand a good chance of being effective for the first year back in the premiership, which most of us hope will be soon.

  46. Darren,

    Fair points, all. We’re in that funny spot, one we’ve been in before many times, where we can get results, but there’s nothing convincing happening yet. Whether we should be looking better and whether Bruce is the man to make us a real team is certainly open to debate, as is everything else about the side.

    I’m in complete agreement that there is no one correct viewpoint, and look forward to your comments and those of others with questions and criticisms to keep things objective.

  47. JC
    We appear to have lived in the ‘funny spot’ more times than not over the past 60 years, so to me it’s a deluge of the villa experience.
    When we were in the 3rd division we stopped worrying about other realms so much as we were somewhat prisoners of the board, & not for the first or last time, with their sometimes unbelievable choice of manager, & to some of us a rather suspect motivation.
    But we did support the team & players, & enjoyed honest effort, even if it wasn’t where we wanted to be, & we didn’t switch off or start a lot of infighting.
    If as has been said, it is the function of blogs to do this, I wonder about people.
    I genuinely hope that is not the case, & that this blog & community is above that purposely introduced ‘opium to the people’.

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