This week we take on another relegation-threatened side in Blackburn Rovers, currently sitting 22nd on 45 points, two behind Small Heath. Rovers are 16 points behind us, while we trail Newcastle (and the second automatic promotion spot) by 27. So, in all fairness, we’re closer to relegation than being second in the league. Hence the grumbling.

Of course, this means that Blackburn should be well up for it…just as blues were. This time we’re away and have very little to play for except Steve Bruce’s goal of a top-10 finish. How much that means to the players? No idea.

So what are looking at?

As the warm glow of the derby win gradually fades into the background, Villans now will look to this match and the final fixture of the campaign against league-leading Brighton to get a sense of where we’re really at, and more important, the work that needs to occur in the off-season. The idea is that perhaps we’ll show something in these final two fixtures to make the summer’s work appear less daunting.

I’m doubting that’s going to happen for a couple of reasons.

One: We haven’t shown any signs as yet that we’re playing to any sort of system beyond getting the ball to Kodjia someway, somehow, and nicking the odd goal from a set-piece. It’s been ‘effective’, but hardly scintillating.

Two: When presented with an opportunity to play to a different player’s strengths in Scott Hogan, Villa showed little capacity to do so.

Basically, it all means that the link-up play is still wanting, and creativity, never mind sophistication, is in short supply beyond the individual level.

We’ve gone back and forth over the merits of different systems and the urgency of simply getting results and steadying the ship. We’ve debated Steve Bruce’s ability to get Villa past the next hurdle. We’ve wondered why certain players we’ve brought in for good money seem either shackled or lost at sea, and why they haven’t made the impact at Villa that caused us to chase them in the first place.

Are we not able to utilize them properly, or is Bruce waiting to regroup and refashion after drilling them to grind out results and get some results? Have we got yet another set of mismatched parts?

Questions certainly outnumber answers. But answers will be forthcoming. Transfer speculation is heating up, and one imagines a number of loanees finding permanent homes elsewhere over the summer. There’ll be a lot of clickbait headlines on NewsNow. Might even come up with a couple myself.

But really, the story is now about expectations, and Dr. Tony is not going to accept anything less than promotion. So whatever you think about Steve Bruce, he’s now firmly on the clock with no excuses. He’ll definitely want all three points.

More important, this game will show us something about character. Do the players want to win simply for the sake of winning? They should, obviously. But do they? Or are they already thinking of beaches and bikinis…And never mind the fact that Villa winning might well keep Small Heath up. I know many don’t care at all what happens to the noses, but the result will certainly resonate in Brum if nowhere else.

Bruce has vowed to play to win, as of course he should. But it’s up to the players to show us something to back the optimism garnered from finally being competitive, or support the argument that we’re underachieving. It might seem like a nothing game, but it’s exactly the sort of match we should be looking to for answers.

Over to you.

Comments 184

  1. Morning JC thanks mate, I think its safe to say we wont see anything we haven’t yet, after all we have been preparing for next season since Jan, Yawn 😉

  2. Good morning, JC.
    Good leader, mate.
    I guess we’ll soon find out if our team are just a bunch of superficial t**ts, or a bit better.
    I will be disappointed if its just a case of get it to JK. He has been great but please let’s see others scoring.
    Wonder if Mr AV will get a start. Probably warm the bench for a while.
    Hope it isn’t the yawn Mark thinks it could be.

  3. JC,

    Yes, a good article, but this is all about just finishing off the season right now and though Villa should win this one (by one method or another!) I don’t think we’re going to glean much from this match or next week’s. This coming August will, of course, be a different kettle of fish as we’ll be looking at everything that the team is doing and how it’s organised.

    Last words on Gabby…

    I hear all the complainants and their tales of aggravation and bodily harm caused by Gabby, but, really, he’s just a human being who has disappointed – us and himself – but last Sunday at least (and in his last match or two before injury) he showed great commitment.

    He’s almost certain to be with us for another year, and what I would ask for is that if he continues to show redemption then we lay off and give him that chance to help our club back to the PL. Otherwise we may be seen to be churlish.

  4. whats up with Taylor?

    Im ok with jedi out…lets see if we can win without him!

    Always want to see villa win but on this occasion I shant loose any sleep if Blackburn beat us and put blues in bottom 3 🙂

    Truth be told its had an end of season feel to it for a while! Interesting to hear Sherwood and pardew on tele the other day talking about motivation of players when the team has nothing to play or fight for end of season.

    They said its nigh on impossible to get the players motivated.

  5. Mark

    Yeah that’s been the story for a while now, 3 or 4 players much better than what we have hopefully.

    All for the 12 outgoings. about time we had a settled smaller squad to pick from. reduce the wage bill a bit too!

    We defo have a team there that cares, fights and puts in a shift…lets build on it for next season!

  6. Trinity

    no excuses….just know by watching footy for years you see it at this stage of the season all the time. relegation teams will beat teams on the ‘beach’ but if the game was start of season no chance. Blackburn should be 100% on it playing for there place in the champ.

    is what it is

  7. Andrew- players should motivate themselves if not they are in the wrong business

    JL- So your up for RMC to make a comeback then as I remember you were quite Churlish toward him 😉

  8. Jedi is fantastic no doubt and I know all the stats etc …but I just don’t belive he is the sole reason we don’t loose/concede. Not buying into it for a sec and I think it will be proven so this time next season!

    1 man james chester is the reason. my player of the year.

    sorry kodjer

  9. Yeah I know they should play for the shirt and pride etc but they just seem to go on the beach early these teams with nowt to play for! Not saying we will tomoz but in general happens to every team!

    haha yes might as well of been on the beach in jan…what an awful winter we had!

    overall been a mental season

  10. Andrew thats shocking denial of the facts, one win under rdm without Jedinak, not one win without him under Bruce thats 46 games!!!! Bruce must be buying 4 quality defenders to replace him 😉

  11. I would go as far to say that if he had not been carrying a groin injury since December we would be in the play offs, no doubt in my mind whatsoever.

  12. Mark: “So your up for RMC to make a comeback then as I remember you were quite Churlish toward him”

    I think we’re not sure of the meaning of ‘churlish’, are we Mark? You seem to be using it as another word for ‘critical’, which it’s not. It’s to do with being mean spirited.

    I don’t think I’ve ever indicated such an attitude towards RMC, who has an ability but appears to have an attitude problem which may be comparable with Gabby last season. I ‘m not sure.

    However, Gabby is showing signs of repentance. And if we’re going to go one being anti him, then that i.m.o. would be churlish.

  13. mark

    yeah I know it sounds a bit mental with the stats etc but with Johnson, taylor, chester at the back and bacuna, lans hourihan in midfield, it should be more than enough to cope. I think it will be eventually.

    But that’s not to say we have another jedi type. he is what lamberk said years ago when we signed holt…a proper man! I got where he was coming from when he said that.

    a no nonsense beast of a man who does all the ugly stuff. love him.

    He will win every header and 50-50 challenge.

  14. And don’t forget Jedi had some very dodgy matches for us under rdm. everyone loves him now but was not always the case. he was subject to a lot of criticism, old, legs gone etc. was very exposed under rdm either on his own in mid or just alongside westy.

  15. Jl- I have google mate I know what churlish means 😉 I remember you being very uncomplmentary toward rmc without the full facts(which we still don’t have) it was about the same time gabby came back last time and folks were peeved 😉

    Andrew- I think we will eventually? These were player brought in for the promotion push this season. They are not 16 either.

  16. Andrew some people have short and selective memories, he came in late not match fit at Bristol, hurt his ankle so missed a game and had about 4 long haul flights during RDM’s time.

  17. And don’t forget he was playing in a mid two back then with ayew and grealish for cover and an unfit adomah. Still got 4 draws though snatched from the jaws of a win

  18. Mark,

    Whatever I said perhaps might have been “uncomplimentary” (i.e. critical of his actions), but that’s still not being the same thing as churlish. There is a difference.

  19. Jl- amazing isn’t it, must be a hell of a workout and doubles as a leaf blower.

    Have you heard about the buried pyramid in Asia that’s estimated to be 26,000 years old?

  20. Pyramids? … 26000 years? … Yes well pyramids were built world-wide and in places like the Crimea, Russia, Poland as well as the places that are well known about … and many go back many many millennia. And those that disappeared … as at Atlantis etc., which makes 26,000 years seem like just yesterday.

    What’s more there’s an idea (often debunked but not very successfully) that they were power houses…

  21. Andrew- Highly unlikely they were, some structures have blocks of a thousand tons thats a bit heavy to just plonk in place with a few slaves and a big A frame. I don’t know how they did it but it wasn’t manually.

  22. Re; the pyramid thing and the movement of large blocks, same could be said about Stone Henge. Again very large stones which I understand originated in North Wales and transported to Salisbury. Clever blokes these ancients.
    By the way if I’ve got it wrong about North Wales, I’m sure one of you intellectuals out there will wise me up.
    I forecast a 1-1 against Blackburn.
    And no way back for RMC. I think he’s burnt his bridges at B6.

  23. who Knows Andrew more likely us with a different solution, think how far we have come in a hundred years

    archie- Stone henge has been discovered to be part of a much bigger older site. They also found an Amazon sticker on the back of one stone so mystery solved 😉

    If RMC buggers off to Dubai for a p*ss up can he play? 🙂

  24. I hope RMC does come back to redeem himself. He is a skilful player. He will make a good 10.
    If Villa were to play thinking of the beach, the fans should save their money and not waste it.

  25. Archie
    Best left to the welsh mate.
    Funny how we knew this 50 years ago [& more] but now it’s official because you can read it on the internet or watch a tv prog & take part in a pub quiz.
    We had to read MAPS, & field walk a lot, probably why I’m still alive [at the moment].
    But did they play football?

  26. Jl

    How were the pyramids made then?!

    Yeah was thinking about stonehenge earlier too.

    Also isnt there some amazing temple in the amazon or somewhere. Really high up.

    If ross can get his head right we have to take him.
    we need at least 2 more players from wide or mid to score 10 goals if we want promotion.

  27. Just read that ‘Indonesian pyramid’ article.
    I stayed with a family in Bandung in my backpacking days many years ago but nobody mentioned this place back then dammit.

  28. Andrew
    There’s all the stuff from before the last ice age & after before the sea swallowed a lot of coast line.
    The North Sea was not all water in the not too distant past, & all along the south coast the sea has swallowed up land, but ironically now breaking the remaining land up to reveal fossils.
    If you look at the older pre decimal maps there is a lot of features we have lost, even in my time, which lessens the bigger picture & our cultural connection.
    With new techniques & technology they can see more that was not found physically before & it all fills the picture.
    They used to have too many details for a 1″ to the mile map so moved them around in different editions
    Then the farmers & builders have destroyed so many ancient land features, even in my lifetime & we’ve always managed the land so what overlays it as ‘the country’ is man made over thousands of years.
    If you look at the 18th century drawings of these places, much has gone even from then, leaving whispers of what was well known then but now vanished, & now being found again.
    All along the salisbury Plain there are vast monuments that are laid out in the landscape which is an integral part of the whole.
    This is all over this country from the orkneys south.
    When you remember that it was mainly forested then it brings our attention back to including nature in the picture.
    The monuments often changed over a few generations & were also rebuilt or added to as the skills & perceptions changed, for example due to finding different metals, until the culture forgot [you could say there are parallels of that now].
    Many of the pyramids in Egypt were quite recent by comparison to this one in Indonesia.
    If someone found a 5000 year old football field, then that would get me.
    Indonesia used to be a pivotal place for a number of religions & cultures which flowered there going back to so called prehistory, so it’s no surprise, but cultures forget, especially currently with some islamic cultures which tends to destroy something they don’t understand or see as a threat, resulting in the destruction of much, as it means less than nothing to them.
    Then the Hindus never revered antiquity & let it all rot in India until the British realised often due to finding things whilst making railways & got very enthusiastic about antiquities [not just for money].
    They were an important part of the beginnings of return of Buddhism in India.
    Life’s not long enough… I think I’ll keep looking for the iron age football stadium.

  29. Andrew: “How were the pyramids made then?!”

    My sources indicate that the ancients knew a lot (understatement) about how to control natural forces, and water and sound were key elements of this. They knew how to elevate objects without anywhere near so much physical work as the so-called experts would have us believe.

    The experts tell us that man was originally primitive and that we are the intelligent outcome of evolution. Phooey. Man always did have the intelligence but mis-used it and hence his downfall into a primitive state – out of which we’re only now emerging And still primitive spiritually.

    Technologically, there are images of aircraft on ancient structures in Egypt, and are also recorded in Hindu scriptures, known as vimanas. It is said that a vimana was found not so long back. But aircraft were not (apparently) widely used in ancient times … their use was controlled.

    Ancient scripture (the Old Testamant and Hindu sources in particular) describe advanced flying machines.

  30. IanG
    Love the Orkneys, all that neolithic history like Brodgar, Stensness etc.
    I know it wasn’t a Jack’s favourite place to be posted, but it is very special.
    Love Hoy.

  31. Andrew,

    I forgot to mention the wonderful symmetry of the stone blocks used in the construction of the Giza pyramids with flawless edges. How was this done without high-grade advanced equipment?

    Many other buildings around the world have been found to have stones cut to equal accuracy.

    Also electric light bulbs described on ancient Egyptian murals, and what have been determined as being ancient batteries discovered in Iraq.

    etc. etc.

  32. JL- There are electronics now that enable your mitochondria to rejuvenate using the Schumann resonance and certain Vibration and Infar red light generates Structured water within the bodies cells too, we are connected to the earth, water, food, movement and the sun. In essence we draw energy from our environment so to me its no surprise that there is more out there that is not visible or known to us, insects can see ultra violet light we can’t for instance.

    Trinity- I knew a chap in the 80’s that would put his razor blades under a paper pyramid and he swears it resharpened it, wonder if you wore one your head would become pointed? 🙂

  33. Mark: “There are electronics now that enable your mitochondria to rejuvenate using the Schumann resonance and certain Vibration and Infar red light generates Structured water within the bodies cells too,”

    Well, you probably know that I’m not a follower of technology to that degree as I see it as deflecting us from the real story. But it’s interesting.

  34. Mark: “I knew a chap in the 80’s that would put his razor blades under a paper pyramid and he swears it resharpened it, wonder if you wore one your head would become pointed?”

    Where do you think the dunce’s cap came from? And the mythical witch’s hat?

  35. He went 442 with lansbury out left? now if your trying to sort out whats what why play a CM out there? gives me no faith in Bruces methods at all and we are just a spoor at keeping the ball now as when he firsts started moaning about it.

  36. Fully agree with Trinity. West Brom 8th in the PL for many weeks; I’d be curious to see their transfer and wages stats compared to Xia’s.

    A thoroughly shameful season.

  37. Can’t see Steve Bruce being able to motivate this team as things stand.
    End of season stuff? Yes, but they should be sharper at the end, not less comfortable on the ball.

  38. Trinity
    Motivate? if none of them as a team can self motivate with their jobs on the line, then I think it’ll be Bruce’s turn to go rather than most of them

  39. End of season display, this game and the next will not form opinions -that will have already happened. I’m sure that the people paid to manage this club will know what is required and will sort things out.
    Us keyboard managers probably do not know all the story of what has been and is amiss at VP from top to bottom. Which cannot just be made good in a few months on top of actually running the team match to match.
    What Andrew has said is the most likely – time will be given up until about Christmas before any further major upheavals happen.
    I am not that impressed with how things are but see that there is more than just a team on the pitch to correct after all the total and utter mismanagement of our once great club.

    Keep the faith and lets see how things pan out over the summer.
    We’ve been here before and no doubt we will be here again because we are Aston Villa FC,…. so enjoy the ride……..

  40. Not a lot to say….

    If Doctor Tony is happy with this management and the team effort displayed, then he is obviously happy to pour money down the toilet….a disgrace for the travelling faithful to suffer …

    I have wasted money on buying another season ticket…..

    and no JL, you cannot convince me that Bruce is the man to take us up next season…

  41. When the manager can no longer give the team the reason to succeed, then he has lost the plot, and very few of these players were showing the desire to play, let alone win for him.

  42. Keith wyness has been scathing about the performance. Worst he has seen from a team he has been involved in. Bruce also not happy but his words are cutting no ice. He is manager saying same thing for months. Fix it

  43. PP: “no JL, you cannot convince me that Bruce is the man to take us up next season…”

    I’m not 100% convinced myself, Paul, so why should I be trying to convince you?! 😉

    It’s simply that Bruce has a track record that qualifies him for that purpose. Whether he does achieve what he’s supposed to remains to be seen.

    I’m in agreement with OV about the state of affairs, and agree with he and Andrew that we simply have to see how the season starts to pan out from August to Christmas.

    I think I’ve said before that this season has had a flavour to it reminiscent of 1973-74 when we belly-flopped under the expectancy of promotion that year.

    But next season *is* a fresh start and we’ll all be glued in to see what happens…

  44. Telling words from Bruce JL,

    and reading between the lines, he is saying that he has failed to motivate the team, and he has to look at himself, which to me says that he may well be walking after the last game on Sunday.

    It is seems more than a coincidence, that since Bacuna’s return to the team, and playing more players out of position, the confidence has gone from the team.

    The cancer seems to be back.

  45. if bruces days are numbered surely round and wynes must be in firing line too
    wyness has been in charge of spending 80m in 2 windows with 2 different managers with small success ,
    round was supposedly setting up new scouting system well if january is anything to go by time for round to move on, 30m on players plus big wages and only taylor looks anyway average and what other club in championship are paying 25/30 thousand a week for a left back

  46. JG- it looks to me to be about tactics and the players bought to use them, there good players no Doubt for this level theirs just no format to our play that I can see.

    Andrew- this is for you mate, might take your mind off how poor we are

  47. mk
    why buy players that bruce cannot use
    yesterday was another embarrassing day in our season, couldn t careless about the blue half of city,if bruce had played young players at least it would been excusable not likes of gabby

  48. I read Bruces interview and fair play he holds his hands up but he has brought in a lot of players to no effect, less effect than the summer transfers in my opinion and now its down to quality?? we need some quality players? what the hell were we doing in the transfer market then in Jan? why are we back using GG and Bakuna who are very average?

    It did tickle me when he said just missing jedinak is not the answer when it clearly is results wise, style wise its down to the manager, might just be they are not enjoying the football and feel stifled?
    We have gone from a team on the front foot that could not close out games to a team on the back foot that cannot create and with jedinak can’t defend either. Progress my arse

  49. JG- in Jan Bruce made a lot of statements about most of the players being players he had watched and tried to buy before or words to that effect, Hourihane he had even managed before. If it is Round then Bruce was talking rubbish.

  50. James: “why buy players that bruce cannot use”

    From what Round has said, it is he that is responsible for going out to identify the players and compiling the selection lists, but the manager (Bruce) who has the final determination on who gets signed.

  51. johnl
    who of january permanent signings has bruce really made use of,
    bree supposedly bright young talent been kept out by hutton who runs about a bit, no goals or assist all season from hutton who supposedly an attacking fb, even sky highlights yesterday showed blackburns best chance in first half came from hutton awol
    taylor doing ok
    houirane great stats before jan confidence shot playing in bruce team
    lansby much same as houriane
    hogan same as previous 2
    birr injured but looked way of pace in matches played
    maybe you see them performing different
    on top of that the treatment of ross ,only knowing what was released to media from bruce , who on here at work would treat a valuble member of staff or equipment like that ,

  52. bruce talks rubbish all the time ,after every match same story but since december nothing has changed ,same set up , only 1 player over halfway line, subs when winning it was get more defensive players on

  53. Quite the comments from Bruce…obviously he’s said before “a lot of work to do” but not quite like that.

    If “quality” is code for something else (like “heart” maybe?), that’s one thing. But the players should be good enough for this league at least.

  54. Away for the weekend, so brief comments, but that was troubling. On the radio, Gary Thompson said “just not good enough in any way, shape, or form”….I was looking for character, obviously was missing.

    As Paul said, it’s possible that was cover for walking away. Can’t necessarily see that happening, would prefer Bruce succeed and bring some stability, but there’s something not working right. And I’m not sure more “quality” is the issue.

  55. Mark,

    “might just be they are not enjoying the football and feel stifled?”

    Seems possible, mate. Jedi is a big component, but fair play to Bruce for admitting one player’s absence shouldn’t cause a side to completely unravel.

  56. JC,

    Yes, rather than “quality” I think that “heart” is a lot more to do with the problem.

    Leastways, someone – like the Jedi – who will stand up and be counted.

    I agree with previous comments that Bacuna’s inclusion seems to downgrade Villa’s ability to get at the opponent. He does some neat things, but nowhere near enough. Still a bit the same with Grealish.

    For me a couple new players with great leadership capabilities are the real need.

  57. Andrew,

    On the matter of ancient history, there is indeed plentiful evidence that matters such as atomic warfare must have taken place in various areas of the Middle East and North-West India, and there are countless reports (as I said, even in scripture) that flying machines of various kinds existed long ago and probably had extra-terrestial connections.

    A book by a NASA scientist named Blaumrich is indeed interesting as he was able to identify the design of a flying machine (spaceship?) in the Book of Ezekiel, in some detail. If you can find his book – written in 1974 – you’ll find it interesting. “The Spaceships of Ezekiel”. I have a copy I bought in 1975.

    However, all these stories are in parallel to ancient scriptural teachings of how man is supposed to deal with the aggressive dilemmas he continually finds himself in.

  58. Jc- yes he knows jedinaks absence shows the side up for what it is clueless. His shuffling of the team and formations in Jan just made me think it was done in hope of the play offs over any great plan he has and he’s still none the wiser.

    The whole of the summer was about buying character and goals we got one with character so the chance of buying 4 this summer? Lol

  59. andrew- a big fat message.

    when Clarke is saying Benitez is the first manager that has educated him about playing CH you have to listen.

  60. history is great

    Having read all the comments so far it seems many Villa fans have the same problem with Bruce that a lot of us up here in East Yorkshire had, boring football, too defensive, flooks a goal and parks the bus.

    From a Hull fan so it does not appear that there will be much different

  61. If Brighton embarrass Villa, Xia may act.
    Trouble is, many average footballers and managers get paid so much, they don’t care at the end of the day.

  62. JL
    Do you remember UFO in the early 70s? The aliens came to Earth to get body parts. That show was set in the 80s, boy did they get that wrong.

  63. I think it a poor thing Villa fans were chanting for a Blackburn win on Sunday. Guess it depends why they were supporting Blackburn. Was it so Blues go down, or were Villa that bad?

  64. moms
    have a goodreport on bruce time at villa, i can t manage to put up link, but main point 34 games in and even bruce doesnt know best team formation amazing for such a promotion specialist

  65. JL While I agree we have little to play for (other than a place in the squad maybe?) what is unacceptable is how we play, nothing wrong with being out fought or outplayed but never looking in the game? or having a clue? where’s the pride? where’s the professionalism?

    The worrying thing is we cannot afford to lose one of Jednak, Taylor or Kodjia and be effective in the style Bruce plays. recently that has been the case and imo the real reason we failed to perform along with Bruce going with Bacuna and others to what end? are they likely to be featuring next season? lets hope not, also playing players out of position?

  66. Mark
    It’s looking like more of the same nonsense. More Gabby and Bacuna. If they are better than the other options at Bruce’s disposal, Villa is shot. Those two are inconsistency incarnate.
    I prefer RMC to either of them.

  67. Trinity- he is unlikely to feature under Bruce imo even though he seems perfect to me as a foil for
    Hogan. Who knows what happened I think he spoke to loudly for Bruce’s liking on his chances of playing. Maybe villa was his last hope to get to the prem too, touted as the best player outside the prem for years so it’s not down to ability nor attitude at least on the field, he was captain at Fulham liked or not.speaking of Fulham I would like there manager if they don’t go up,has promotion recently with Watford and plays good football.

  68. Seems the board, especially Wyness, are very unhappy about Saturday’s performance…..Could the proverbial sh*t be about to hit the fan….

    Bruce and the board being in total agreement about a disasterous performance, surely leaves one course…..Sack every player in the team…..or the unthinkable….sack the manager..

  69. Just read a statement issued by AVFC stated there is no truth to the rumour regarding Dr Xia looking for investors, (selling the club).
    I wouldn’t think anyone associated with the club would be too happy with saturdays performance. Bruce has stated as much.
    Sack Bruce?? its a difficult one as I see it. I recognise the logic of the, “RDM was sacked for not winning enough games, Bruce’s record is as bad, so why’s he still in post?”
    The side is better defensively and he’s got enough wins for mid table security. We couldn’t win a game until he took over. He’s managed that. Next is create more chances and win thirty games next season. Is he the man to do that? or Wagner, Monk, or the bloke from Fulham. I think its all a punt, stick or twist?? Me personally, I’d stick, we’ll know the first half dozen games next August, September if we’re good enough. But it seems to me the team with the best players wins as for tactics dont forget these blokes are footballers, make too complicated and you confuse them, think Birmingham City.
    Just pass the ball quickly and accurately to blokes in the claret and blue ganzies. Its not rocket science.
    The journey continues.

  70. Mark: “Just a thought sparked by this article but at some point we seem to have devolved and Knowledge and technology disappeared. Natural disasters played a part I am sure but did we meddle with DNA?”

    Well, could be, but that’s what the Vedic message is partly about. I believe there are ways of circumventing physical/DNA issues by spiritual processes – which are mainly about common sense.

  71. mail had an article on hull keeper
    silva played jakupovic in every game 6 wins 3 draws 6 losses
    phelan preferred bruces signings 15games 1 win 3 draws 11losses
    in 5matches phelan played jakupovic 2 wins 1 draw 2 losses
    shows bruce doesnt know a good keeper

  72. Haha – love it James G ………………. do you spend all your life looking at stats to suit your thoughts? Was it the same defence in front of the keepers? Was it the same midfield? Who were they playing – teams at the top of the table or bottom?
    As they say – Lies, damn lies and statistics. Everyone can make the stats fit to suit their own particular point of view.

    Keep enjoying the angst …..

  73. enjoyed reading this today
    darren lewis daily mirror southampton 0 hull 0
    get the right man in and there is no such thing as the impossible job, and point them in direction of marcao silva, bruce walked away believing it couldnt be done,phelan sacked in january with hull below sunderland, enter silva and the escape is on
    jamie rednapp wrote piece in mail about hull keeper so i suppose oldvilla he knows nothing either

  74. Archie- I wouldn’t disagree if we were actually passing the ball much let alone quickly and accurately. Point is those other managers have won lots of games by trying to win not trying not to lose. The only reason the defence has improved stat wise is Jedinak plays as a third CH and Taylor stays at home mostly, play Amavi and there s huge hole at LB. In order to not lose we dare not try to win, thats no base IMO for next season.

    JL- I have no doubt we have some control over our Biology but its also very true that it has some control over us. Some of what we call us is actually them, Our cells were once bacteria, probably still are and our gut biome talks to the brain to get its own way in a constant struggle to feed.

    And the quest for eternal life? there have been plenty that have tried to remain on this planet past there due date, where are they? If we are spirit inhabiting a biological body we must exist in another plain, in this plain we have to live by its rules to some extent like gravity, breathing. I would say someone so spiritually advanced that he has full control over biology and surroundings doesn’t have much need to be here.

    JG- Silva is a class act destined for the top hull is a calling card to the big teams for him I think.

  75. James G – the point I was trying to make is that unless the conditions for the games that each keeper played were identical, then it doesnt really prove anything. And the conditions would include the players in front of him, the opposition teams and their players, etc etc ……………..

    Stats have long been used to ‘prove’ all sorts of both positive and negative reasonings – I used to use them when I had my own company, for PR purposes. But they are really quite meaningless once you look into them ……………….


  76. Old villa- Best give Round a bell he has a whole department working with stats and the like as do many clubs so there must be some merit to them surely? many other sports use them too. Yes they can be used differently but they do over time show a pattern. Brentford are interesting in that their owner was a gambler that made a lot of money on football. He has a computer program that looked at how goals were scored in games, what area produced the most chances etc. Brentford base there play on his findings and their recruitment to apply the strategy.

  77. Fascinating article MK.

    Villa’s problems this season may have stemmed from having too much money to spend with the new owner, and not using it wisely to steadily build a new team capable of being a dynamic unit to win the Championship.

  78. Mark: “I would say someone so spiritually advanced that he has full control over biology and surroundings doesn’t have much need to be here.”

    If you say, so, Mark. 😉

  79. silva has done a fine job with hull. no doubt.

    But have watched them a fair bit. They are lucky to get 40% possession in a match and just use the counter. Its lucky they have such a good home record as there away form is crepe.

    id like to see silva in a 2nd season before I judge him.

  80. PP- to me it shows that these clubs with a small budget have to think and plan better to compete, Money unfortunately makes no difference if spent unwisely a habit we seem to have mastered. On that article alone it would be worth having smith for his background Knowledge of the workings of Brentford. Couple that with our money and prestige then surely we could create something better?
    Garde had the insider Knowledge of Lyon, pretty much created it in his time there form top to bottom a big miss for us in our situation now.

  81. Mark: “Best give Round a bell he has a whole department working with stats and the like as do many clubs so there must be some merit to them surely? many other sports use them too. Yes they can be used differently but they do over time show a pattern. “

    Stats are only *potential* indicators. Anyone who lives by them has his days numbered! 🙂

  82. PP: “Villa’s problems this season may have stemmed from having too much money to spend with the new owner, and not using it wisely to steadily build a new team capable of being a dynamic unit to win the Championship.”

    Yes, there’s probably a lot that’s right in that statement. As DOR rightly says, the urge to get promotion as the over-riding issue does not take into account some a priori needs.

    As a businessman, theDoc is very conscious that the club is going to lose important PL pay-outs the longer we remain out of the PL, and hence that’s what drives his targets to a large degree. The problem is that he didn’t think that things were so bad at VP when he took over. He’s said as much, and if he were to have known he probably wouldn’t have taken the direction he has without some better provision for building from sound foundations. In my view, anyway.

  83. Mark: “I am not claiming to know anything, enlighten me.”

    Who am I to enlighten? That can only come from within on the basis of life experience, not external knowledge.

  84. Mark,

    The point about the stats issue is that many people – particularly footie fans – lay a great deal of store on them. If the football experts know the limitations of stats and use broader criteria then good.

  85. JL- ” if he were to have known he probably wouldn’t have taken the direction he has ”

    shows a lack of due diligence on is part surely? we all make mistakes but they don’t generally cost in the millions, He saw cheap and a Name/Brand

  86. JL- its a straight question, if as an enlightened being you are in control of your Biology to the extent you say we can be then you would no longer need anything, food, water, air, light, pain, nothing can effect you physically so you would not suffer nor deteriorate, that clearly does not happen to my Knoledge so why? and why enter a physical realm to learn when you control the physical? does the celestial realm not have emotions and problems? so why come here?

  87. Andrew- Silva is a Mourinho admirer and has Bruces old team, he has done what he had to to try and keep them up, he hasn’t attempted to make them Barca.

    I think Bruce came in and tried to make a barca into a Chelsea at Villa in want of a better way of explaining.

  88. Trinity- even if questioned are answered will things change? I suspect it will just be brushed under the carpet with A, B and C excuse and he will get to change things further this summer. One of two things can happen, Bruce will be given time or someone will deem what he’s done is not satisfactory when all things are considered.

  89. Trinity- That would be my position mate, It could just be that the players we have don’t suit a defensive style, whenever certain players are missing it doesn’t work. Bruce has said as much but does he know how to fix it beyond more players? its a question that will be answered soon as I don’t think He has a whole lot of players he rates, even the ones that came in Jan and that wont be missed by The hierachy.

  90. I watched the game on Saturday, in Dublin Villans home away from home, Murray’s what an empty vessel it was as only a handful of Villans showed up. They were perhaps more clever than me and spent time with their families instead of heading into town to pay €6 a pint.

    What an interesting game to watch having been left with mere tidbits of highlights and reading other people’s opinion. Interesting in that it backed up my opinion that Villa under the current regime will not generate the required additional 30 points to place them in the automatic promotion spots.

    I read above a few comments about it being a nothing game and there is credence to that if you wish to justify a non-performance but every single player was inept. If there was an unwritten agreement between Bruce and Mowbray to help Blackburn out then there was no attempt to hide the obvious, there number of times possession was given away was disgraceful, Baker’s pass to Blackburn gave them the goal that may or may not help them avoid relegation.

    I said many weeks ago that the remaining fixtures should have been used as competitive experiments, playing more youth to see who could step up, experiment with formation to find something that works with Hogan and Kodija as a front two or going with one upfront. As it stands the last few games have become wasted opportunities.

    Very few players in the first team squad have suffered the baggage of our relegation, so that is not an issue, all those who have joined, have done so on the pretext that they improve what we have or solve some positional issue, however apart from a run of wins that eased relegation fears as opposed to enhance promotion prospects, standards have not improved.

    I don’t believe within a few fitness raising friendlies and the acquisition of a few players plus the departure of many others that an approach to football where the fear of losing is greater than the desire to win will lead to anything but mid-table obscurity. I don’t see a sea change in approach from Bruce who has only ever played one way and as in the last few games he can’t find a way to use Hogan’s skills to Villa’s advantage then it was either wasted money or a problem with who is managing the first team, either way another indictment on the current regime.

    Seen someone above suggest we had too much money to spend, I disagree, the team that got us relegated did need to be disbanded as they accounted for many years of mediocrity and this did require a lot of money to address, however the trigger happy nature of Dr.T justified or not meant that we placed too much faith in a manager with two thirds of a season to get us promoted.

    Also suggested above, that Bruce is given ’til Christmas, but is there expectation that the next manager in half a season, (knowing that if Bruce does get sacked it’s because it hasn’t worked) will also be required to get us promoted, unfair on that manager and the same vicious circle we need to get out of. If there is any clarity of thought around how to get promoted it is from playing better football than all our rivals, not solely being reliant on one striker, not being solely reliant on being tight at the back, this would be better served by a manager with a reputation for playing good football, not a manager with a reputation for promotion but who’s reputation for relegation is ignored.

    Sorry but I’m further unconvinced that Villa is heading for anything other than a repeat of this season. Nothing in the way Bruce has set up his team suggests that he is trying to figure out how to play a winning game, we’ve won games against mediocre opposition, it’s nothing to shout about other than it beats being beaten and yet there are those that are accepting of a near relegated Blackburn side beating us with no effort from us whatsoever. We were shocking on Saturday and Bruce had no answer for it other than an expression of shock and an inference that we lack an undefined quality which could be attributed to wanting more money to spend or just a complete lack of ability in getting the best out of the players we have.

  91. In reply to ” if he were to have known he probably wouldn’t have taken the direction he has ”, Mark said: “shows a lack of due diligence on his part surely?”

    Ahem, I doubt that Due Diligence would identify broken-down morale and attitudes in the club, which I think is what the Doc alluded to.

  92. Mark: “if as an enlightened being you are in control of your Biology to the extent you say we can be then you would no longer need anything, food, water, air, light, pain, nothing can effect you physically so you would not suffer nor deteriorate, that clearly does not happen to my Knowledge so why? and why enter a physical realm to learn when you control the physical? does the celestial realm not have emotions and problems? so why come here?”

    Right in the first part to a certain extent, except the body (being physical) always needs some kind of nourishment, even if small.

    As to the rest of your point, I can only point to the Vedic tradition….

    According to scriptural tradition (both Biblical and Vedic), God created man in order to “know” Himself. It depends, of course, on what the word “know” means in this context. It all works from that … that our souls are implanted to *experience* and to deduce from that (usually through suffering) what is right from wrong, not at a legal level but at a spiritual level through layers. And not just in one lifetime but progressively until the ultimate Truth is realised.

    But the ‘Way’ cannot be trod until we first of all self-determine who we really are, or at least start asking the question and sparking the inner desire to find the answer. But: ‘No spark, no fire’.

  93. Dor- I agree mate other than the glaring example of Huddersfield who had similar player turnover and only spent £3m, Wagner has said they have overachieved form where they thought they’d be this season, but it shows what can be done for very little. Yes we had to shift a lot and didn’t want to lose money but it was a Harlem globetrotters approach at best. One off? well another team reading did similar with a £7m spend and stam, we gave them £5m. Fulham 16+ players in similar out £1.5m net we gave them £12m. we are like the Santa Claus of the champs

  94. DOR,

    I think all of what you state are fair points. Not sure that I agree with you entirely, though, and as for the ’til Christmas bit, I think we are only saying that we have to see what Bruce can do having had the opportunity to have a pre-season and direct (another) re-built side into a pattern of play that will succeed.

    Whether he achieves success or not, we can only wait and see. As for hoping that Bruce will be replaced by the end of this month, that I believe is totally unlikely unless Bruce himself decides he’s had enough. Round went through a very detailed selection process to identify Bruce as being the man needed, and I’m sure the attitude of the Doctor is that things stay in place … for now at least … ’til Christmas or before.

    Not ideal … but what really is? The assumption that we can get another manager of quality now who can do what we perceive should have been done is unrealistic in my view.

  95. JL reading the papers from the last season would tell you enough along with turnover of managers etc

    Thanks for your answer on spirit/body subject it makes sense, what doesn’t is why we need to take that journey and to what purpose and of course does this mean God is not as all knowing as he’d/she’d like to be as we are in his/her image? maybe there is no reason?

  96. JL- “Not ideal … but what really is? The assumption that we can get another manager of quality now who can do what we perceive should have been done is unrealistic in my view.”

    I can’t agree that someone else would not be better suited, the likes of Wagner, Silva, smith and Jokonavic are very comfortable in telling you exactly what went on in a game in their after match pressers and seem to know how to change it in the match. Bruce can be very cliché and the difference is striking to me at least. Their use of one on one coaching and modern techniques stand out, I could not tell you what Bruce does at all.

  97. dor

    agree mate.

    Would I be upset if bruce left now. nope. would I be excited. yep.

    Would love smith in, villa man to boot. But stability is the buzz word and bruce will be here up until chistmas at least. and only if we are miles off 6th will he be sacked then.

    all getting a bit zzzzzz. actions and not words are needed. fed up of buying good players and them having no impact. lans and hourihan should easily of upped are prob area mid but they have had little impact.

    midfield still non existent.

  98. Sod the top six we should be targeting 1st or 2nd at a minimum.

    Bruce was saying our away form is not good enough, we may have won more at home but by god it’s ugly. If I was a manager I’d park the bus at Villa park and attack us at home good chance of 4 points there.

  99. Hi MK

    Scary thing is what will Wagner achieve with another season of the same players if they don’t get promoted via the play-offs. We may (have to) be aiming for one of the two automatic promotion spots if Wagner continues on his upward trajectory.

  100. why will a preseason make any difference for bruce,fulham manager took over watford few seasons back at about same time bruce took over us and yet watford promoted with game to spare

    collymore writes today moyes is to old to lead sunderland up they need a younger manager ie monk,wagner someone fresh, moyes is 2 years younger than bruce plus has managed clubs bruce could only dream off

  101. DOR- ditto Monk and Rowett, leeds owner selling his shares so monk might get backed and Rowett will make Derby hard to beat to go with there attacking ability. Its not going to be easy next season by a long shot, Reading, sheff wed, Norwich,Sunderland, Middlesbrough and possibly Swansea or Hull, maybe even palace or west ham. So maybe 10 others in contention with us.

  102. “Jonathan Kodjia has suffered a broken ankle,” the statement read. “Kodjia will now visit a specialist in Europe this week for further tests.

    “The injury will likely require surgery which could then rule the striker out of pre-season and the start of next season.”

    its raining again

  103. Mark: “what doesn’t [make sense] is why we need to take that journey and to what purpose and of course does this mean God is not as all knowing as he’d/she’d like to be as we are in his/her image? maybe there is no reason?”

    Let’s turn that first question on its head. What otherwise would be the point of living?

    The “is God all knowing” question is a good one. My interpretation is that it’s all to do with the need (why, you’ll ask!) for expansion of the cosmos and that creation (the original “big bang” if you like) occurred for that purpose. To seek possibilities, *or* to achieve a specific goal – which, I don’t know, and I’m not sure initiates will know.

    But there must be something profound otherwise the likes of Zoroaster, Buddha and Jesus (and others) would never have been around to endure what they did and be part of the process.

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