Aston Villa traveled to Wales for their first away match of the young Championship season, and were dismantled by a rampant Cardiff City side who will be shocked they only won by three. To say it was a bad day is being too kind.

The Good
Villa seemingly started well enough, though the signs were there early on that Cardiff were going to be the more dangerous side. Onomah played well again, showing confidence, skill on the ball, and covering a lot of ground. Sam Johnstone made a number of vital saves, bailing himself out one occasion.

O’Hare was lively when he came on, good quick feet and can play in tight spaces. Hogan did a lot of running.

That’s it.

The Bad
Well, it was all bad, in the end. We don’t tackle well, we don’t have many ball-winners. We’re predictable, insist on getting wide, but have no natural target in the middle, or good cutback patterns. Cardiff looked like they knew what was coming every time. It doesn’t help that Villa’s passing was all too often wayward…too ambitious, too heavy, too soft, and generally off the mark when trying to find the telling ball. Rarely was there an assured sequence of clean, quick passes with any incision.

In all, Cardiff simply looked a stronger, faster, more skillful and better-drilled side. They attacked quickly and decisively, skipped past players with ease, and were clinical even as they were profligate. This one could’ve been 6-0, easily.

Zohore, Hoilett, and Mendez-Laing were running at the back line at full pace all day with little in their way. I’d swap them for Hogan, Gabby, and Elmo (who, to be fair was injured early on) any day of the week. Gunnarsson and Bamba would walk right into our side. Maybe the whole Cardiff team would, at least on this day.

The Ugly
How easily we were taken apart. The back four were constantly exposed. Our fullbacks pose no attacking threat. I could go on and on. Like I said, could’ve been 6- or even 7-0. No answers.

Final Verdict
Maybe it will turn out to be Cardiff’s best day of the season. Maybe our worst (it better be). But the ease with which we were undone, and difficulty we had creating anything threatening was disturbing. Hugging the touchline isn’t working. Lumping balls into the middle from wide isn’t working. Playing through the middle isn’t working.

When we’re not trying to break on the counter we’re ponderous, confused, and hardly troubling. We can’t seem to get out of each other’s way. I’m still trying to discern a pattern beyond get it wide and then stall out waiting for everyone else to catch up. And I don’t think our opponents are worried about us doing anything else either. If we do manage to get a ball in the box, we’ve no real target, and misplayed balls, poor control and poor decisions see it coming back at us too easily.

Lansbury deep is a wasted player. Gabby offered nothing much at all. Hutton just needs to make way. He doesn’t defend well enough or attack well enough. I can’t imagine Bree would’ve been any greater liability at either end. Our wingers never get the time and space we afford the opposition’s.

Last week I was finding positives. This week I have none. This is clearly not the start we were looking for, 1 point out of 4, or 0.5 per game, with a -3 differential already. And that was not a performance to instill confidence in anyone on the team.

I don’t want to sound hysterical, and maybe it gets better when Kodjia returns and there’s a different set of options and/or a partnership up front. But that’s been delayed, and while Jedinak will offer a bit more of an anchor, he’s not going to solve the other issues, of which there are plenty. It seems a rather slender lifeline to be clinging to.

In short, I really can’t believe the money we’ve spent to have so little invention, possession, creativity, or threat. This just isn’t good enough. If we were to have played the U-23s could it have looked worse? I can imagine that lot growing into it over a few games. I’m having trouble right now seeing how this lot fits together.

If we don’t get a result against Reading, we’ve already dug ourselves a hole, and Steve Bruce is going to be right up against it. And based on what I saw today, my immediate reaction is that he has no answers but to try and slow things down and play for 1-0s.

I’d feel a lot better about our prospects if we were Cardiff supporters. Maybe I’ll feel better tomorrow, but I don’t think so. All I can do is tell myself that you can’t take too much away from one game. Or can you?

I’m off for some strong drink.

Over to you.

Comments 177

  1. JC,

    All I’m reading – from you and the after-match thoughts on the previous thread – is a lot of frustration. Understandably so … I’m inclined to follow suit, but having been through the 50s and 60s I’ve seen it all before. It became ingrained then that failure was the order of the day, so a return to it these last few years is something I’ve accepted more than some, perhaps.

    When Villa did get success in the 70s and early 80s … and even the 90s … I was surprised more than anything.

    So I’m sitting here *not* feeling superior because of that built-in resilience but just saying to myself “It took 8 years before to get back to the top and it may well take awhile yet this time around”. This time we may avoid going down into the 3rd tier (that level of rot has been dealt with, probably) but the club needs time to regurgitate its proper self. Perhaps everyone is trying to do things too quickly.

  2. A good summary JC,I believe I just read a very long suicide notr.
    True,nothing,nothing positive about our play,predictable,half hearted,stale,uninspiring,negative,dull,unimaginative,incoherent tactically,and that was when it was nil nil.
    Bruce under pressure now,he has has a full preseason and the majority of last season,two windows,yet it seems like he on walked through the door today.Whybuy Hourihane if you don’t fancy hin?Why keep selecting Gabby who just runs in straight,often offside ,lines?MF looks an utter mess,a mish mash of the clueless working with the disinnterested.The Spurs lad apart,off course.We set up negatively yet shipped 3,Lord help us if we set up to win a game.
    Our set plays are still dreadfull,I seem to have been saying this or writing this ever since AVL started.
    NOw SB is under the cosh,he will not change his spots ,we will set up negatively at Reading and hope for the best,on the back foot no doubt.Lose that one,and it’s Norwich at home.He will play the usual suspects,Gabby of course,Lansbuury,Hutton,and expect Hogan to grow 5 inches before Tuesday,get to the byline and cross to him.
    This is a negative post,I know,not a rant,but negative nonetheless.After watching today,I fèel I am being rather kind and objective,because be in no doubt we are in trouble,today was really dreadfull. Reading must me relishing the thought of running at us.Sods law Bacuna has a stormer and scores.

  3. JL,

    Right now, dunno what to say. You may well be right about expecting too much too soon, but as others have said repeatedly, other managers with much less money are overhauling squads and leaving us behind.

    I’m patient overall, but I can’t see what Bruce is doing or how he’s going to make it better.

  4. Good point JL,and I agree almost entirely.My main bone of contention is that the urgency and haste to get promoted is expressed in the club’s narrative throught the media,but not on the field.The team are playing as if they expect to be in the Champ. a la Leeds for many a long day.If the club were to express that it may be a long term project to get up then fair enough,but the hot air from within the club seems to state that going up this sesson is a “must”.Oh, if it were that easy.

  5. In one her words, lose a 3-2 thriller we could’ve won? That’s one thing. To be so poor when expecting to challenge? We should at least be competitive.

  6. JC,

    But I think a lot are overlooking what harm has been done to Villa in the 2011-16 years. The clubs you mention are not of the status of Villa nor have they been through a trauma like it.

    I still have a pulse on what VP is about, and without wishing to sound all-knowing, the effect of those 5 years has been greater than we realise. That’s why I say a slow-down is need. But it probably won’t (slow down) as the chairman wants promotion this season.

  7. B6,

    Good to see you, as always. Total shambles today, rant-worthy without a doubt. Or just negative. There was after all nothing to be positive about.

    The goal has been clear. The money’s been there. Realistic? Maybe not. But I don’t think it’s smoke and mirrors from Xia. He’ll not be at all happy tonight.

  8. john l
    think some people are using that for an excuse
    gabby and hutton are the only players left from that era,and the nutter bruce still picks them absolute useless the pair of them,the doc should have got shot gabby last year along with richards
    bruce bought bree who was standout full back in this league yet preferred to not play him
    same with houriane

  9. JL,

    I can’t discount what you say…you’re decidedly closer to that than I am.

    However, the question I have is, beyond the weight of expectation, how can that be affecting Bruce and all the new players when ownership and the backroom staff have all changed?

    Not a rhetorical question, genuinely curious.

    Having a very hard time wrapping my head around the tactics, performances, personnel, transfers. Not expecting us to challenge for the PL title, just be a credible Championship side that’s competitive each week, does the basics, and has a shout at the play-offs. This feels more like we’re just throwing darts at a wall.

  10. Ah the football season is back….. 2 games in and it feels like a lifetime allready.


    Thers a common demonator in our crapness…..hutton and gabby

  11. Andrew,

    Hutton…Like I said above, I just don’t understand why Bruce is persisting with him. I love the energy and commitment, nobody faults him for that. But he gets beat far too often and rarely produces quality service.

    I just don’t understand, apart from his wages, what his ‘experience’ is actually bringing to the table.

    Gabby, well…Again, I don’t know.

  12. And, Hourihane…How do we go after a player who seemingly is on the outside looking in from the get-go this season? Or how do we buy Lansbury along with Hourihane, when the two apparently can’t play together? Shouldn’t we have gone after a younger Whelan?

    Some of this is just a bit mind-boggling as it’s playing out.

  13. I guess in hindsight, which is always handy, JL is right about Villa and the fans expecting things too fast. Therefore, Villa would have been better off with another manager who can build a competitive team for the future.
    The money factor is why Villa needed to get back up fast. Sadly, early indications are that Lambert’s prediction is going to happen.
    It looks like Villa will be stuck with expensive players, who aren’t playing to their strengths and potential, for a long time. And they’re not going anywhere in a hurry because they’re on a good wicket.
    As is often been the case over the last few years, the next week will be interesting for all the wrong reasons. Will SB survive? Will Villa score any goals…?

  14. Iana,

    Again, sadly all too true.

    If we’re being undone by expecting too much too soon, and this would be Xia, too, it may very well lie in appointing a ‘promotion specialist’ with such a short-term remit.

  15. “Slowly, slowly catchy monkey” that should of become the club motto, a so called experienced manager like bruce is under pressure 2 games in when taking the pressure off and declaring a rebuild would of been the wiser route last season. Oh well its roller coaster time.

  16. Sorry JL,
    I cannot agree with you. Villa’s predicament is down to Bruce Almighty…..and him alone…Unless Uncle Tony had the bright idea of recruiting John Terry and making him captain. For me, I have just seen the mini highlights on Sky, and I would agree with JC’s earlier summary. Bruce really has demoralised his team of last season, who defensively did ok. James Chester became outstanding as captain, built a solid partnership with Nathan Baker, and Hutton and Taylor were ok as fullbacks, although Bree and Amavi could well have challenged them this season, along with de Laet, but instead Bruce takes away Chester’s partner and the captaincy and leaves him demoralised. It was clear today that there was no real understanding between him and Terry, but of course Hutton gets the blame from the fans, but it was Chester who was stood off and Terry not close enough to Chester to close down the threat.

    I wont comment on the mid-field or the forwards, as Sky did not show their non existence, or have any interviews with Bruce, so I will hold out until I have seen more.

    I am now of the opinion, that Sir Alex Ferguson had it right, when recommended Alex McCleish as a replacement for the post of Villa manager, as he did not spend money, played with what he had, we remained in the Premiership, and could not have been worse than Lambert who produced the bomb squad, failed to improve the team , although he almost recruited a new team. Sherwood did the same, failed to speak French, and therefore could not communicate with the team he had recruited for him. Remi Garde failed to bring out the best in the same French recruits, and was to weak to make the club buy him some new players to save it from the drop, and finally we had di Matteo who failed to win enough games to keep his job, so we had to allow Chinese Tony to recruit this ex-scummers failure to finally destroy what is left of our “football” club, before it is turned into a Chinese Theme Park……..

    These are not only my thoughts, but may have come from the spirit world…..
    Sorry Steamer, I will try harder to be closer to the truth, and be more cutting…………

  17. Paul Pears
    You’ve made some valid points. I thought McLeish took a lot of unfair abuse. The writing was on the wall in 2010 when Villa lost poorly to Young Boys. Even Lambert wasn’t at fault. Lerner was. Yes, SB is in the spotlight at the moment, no where to hide. The buck stops with him this time.

  18. I hate to disagree with you John however it is game 2 the league is not won in the first or second game(ask Newcastle) we are 5 points off the top. I agree we were like the stuff you drop in the toilet yesterday and looked very disjointed like a team playing together for the first time-oh wait we were-our finishing and defending were poor-actually rubbish-but those are fixable areas and by the time the window closes they will be fixed
    I think a tweak or 2 would be perfect

  19. JC: “However, the question I have is, beyond the weight of expectation, how can that be affecting Bruce and all the new players when ownership and the backroom staff have all changed?”

    Yes, good question. I should have added that the big use of the chequebook must also be a major downside to Villa’s situation. Its over-use has never worked at Villa; and has probably never worked anywhere when a total change has been enforced by that method.

    The chequebook has to be used sparingly in combination with bringing players through from “the youth system”.

    Mark, Darren and all who have said that before in different ways are actually perfectly correct. Not reliance on the youth system only either, but a combination of that and chequebook.

    A “club” can only be a club when its purposes and modus operandi is successfully transmitted throughout the team. The Villa are attempting to do that, but it can’t be achieved overnight.

    That, combined with what I said before, must be the main issues – at least as far as I am concerned.

    People may go on about Steve Bruce, but he has a successful record in taking clubs up, so why is he also having difficulties here? Bruce may not be ideal (and I’ve always said that) but he has a record that’s good enough. It comes back to what I’m saying above i.m.o.

  20. In that case, Jl, SB must regret not blooding more youngsters last year. We would have more enthusiasim and a lower wage bill, but like I previously said hindsight is a wonderful thing, even though, most of us thought bringing in the youngsters last year was a good thing if they were ready.

  21. Maike: “a tweak or 2 would be perfect”

    Howdo, Miek, and welcome! 🙂

    I agree that some tweaks will help, but no more than 1 new signing, please! It’s been a circus at VP as it is.

    I think the tweaks really need to come from the existing squad.

    Hutton’s school report reads (to me) “tries hard but not up to it really”. So there’s one ‘tweak’ to make.

    Elsewhere? I dunno. We seem t need the Jedi but he’s a couple of weeks away.

    We do have Onomah as a +ve force now, so the remaining changes seem to be needed in the top 2.

    Becuase of physicality I’d keep Gabby, but let’s now have RHM given his chance at the expense of Hogan. One of the things that Hogan does not have is threat in the air, and I do think we miss that. Either that or chuck Gabby and Hogan out and put both RHM and Davis on (we probably can’t do worse) until Codger returns.

    As to promotion this season. I’ve downgraded my prediction to “perhaps”.

  22. Iana,

    Yes, I agree with you.

    BTW, the thoughts I’m now expressing are what I’ve felt for a very long time, but I think I’ve seen enough now to stop hoping I’ve been wrong.

  23. JL
    “…but let’s now have RHM given his chance at the expense of Hogan. One of the things that Hogan does not have is threat in the air, and I do think we miss that. Either that or chuck Gabby and Hogan out and put both RHM and Davis on (we probably can’t do worse) until Codger returns.”

    That sounds like a good idea. Give the younger players a chance up front. I suspect the younger players will hold on to the ball better and have a couple more goals in them.

  24. Steve Bruce does not have a clue what he is doing. His methods and ideas are out of date – his recruitment policy is out of date.

    You need a clear vision and philosophy on the football pitch. And then you build a team and buy players to fit the strategy.

    Steve Bruce has absolutely no idea.

    There are better managers in this league than Bruce.

    The style of football under Bruce is non existent.

    Buying old players with premier league experience is asinine in this league.

    Get rid of him now.

  25. Steve Bruce is so reminiscent of going to see Jim Davidson at a local theatre on Friday.
    He was a guy who had a good record of making people laugh and being a great entertainer, as well as being a great supporter of ex- soldiers and their charities.

    He turned up late, so did not have time to do a sound check, due in part to heavy traffic on the M5 after appearing in Torquay the previous night……Of course he could have got up earlier and travelled up in good time, and prepared, then chilled out and had a few beers etc.

    He turned up on stage in an old track suit and trainers, made a few funnies and continued for about 45 minutes and then need a break and a couple of whiskies.

    He returned about 20 minutes later to a smaller audiences, and then resorted to pure filth, which was barely funny. In the meantime he had changed into my shirt I had bought in the Dominican Republic around 12 years ago. He thought I was a bailiff who had come to collect a debt!

    At the end of it all, it was sad to see a guy who had failed, and would never be asked back, purely through living on his reputation from the past, failing to plan and prepare. His best joke was one of Jethro’s…That is how bad it was.

    Goodbye Jim……Goodbye Steve…..

  26. Richard S: “You need a clear vision and philosophy on the football pitch. And then you build a team and buy players to fit the strategy.”

    Hello Richard.

    But the “vision” is really from above Bruce. Bruce by no means has the entire control over what’s done. If you’re going to blame anyone, blame the lot.

    But I don’t think the issue is quite that as I said before. The current issue is more that the chequebook has been used to buy promotion quickly. And that’s not easy, as the Newcastle manager said.

  27. Poor Steve Bruce may be suffering dementia, because, as many fans have pointed out, he does not even remember how long he has been here, twice stating in interview that he has had ” six months at Villa so there is no excuse”, what has he been doing the other 4 months???????

  28. Morning fellow sufferers,

    I see the Newcastle lost two games excuses are being trotted out, well in those two games they were the better side in both and lost by a single goal. The two teams they played? Huddersfield and Fulham, both top performers last season. We played a barely assembled Hull shorn of their stars with a Russian manager new to the league and Cardiff my tip for dark horses this season. We have been tipped heavily to go up, the bookies don’t get it wrong do they? 🙂

    As for dropping hogan? why did we buy him when it was obvious he was the playing at the top of a team designed to supply him? and why can we not do the same? don’t blame the player that our choice of attack is to lob crosses and high balls at him when he needs through balls. Richards S spot on mate, when you are trying to build something have a plan to go to or a blueprint, Rounds working on Ours while Bruce pulls in old players because we are skint and not because he can see away to get the best out of what we have and the youth. During pre-season every time we have looked half decent it has involved the youth players, yesterday apparently Onomah , O’hare and Johnson were Our best players, they had enthusiasm and talent who’d of thought.

    Once more Villa have gone the experience route when all around them are younger hungrier sides with game plans. Why did the management not look at the squad and think RDM wasn’t that far away from a winning formula who could come in and settle us and maintain the attacking intent? Steve Bruce was entirely the wrong fit reputation or not, we now have a half assembled team in his style with a forward bought in Jan thats not and no real options unless he is able to change tack.

    As for Gabby I can only go on whats being said I did not see the game.

    “Point blank: Steve Bruce needs to try something different here. Against Hull, Agbonlahor’s inability to be involved in the play was ultimately a big part of why Villa tailed off in the second half and didn’t get three points. Yesterday, his inability to actually play a position was a big part of why Villa’s attack barely got going.”

    “The worst bit about it, though, is that — among all the complaining about his squad — Bruce actually bought a player well capable of starting on the left side of midfield: Birkir Bjarnason. For as long as André Green’s out, Steve, use him.

    Don’t let his opening-day goal fool you: Agbonlahor cannot be a long-term option for Villa as a left winger. If the experiment’s allowed to continue, Villa’s attack is going to continue to sputter”

  29. Interesting Idea? Calderwood for the chop?

    “Playing systems, tactics and ability to react are the problems. The solution has to address the problem and that means the coaching staff.

    I can see 3 alternatives:

    1. We wait until ? – but will it really change even if we win a couple of matches ?

    2. Remove Steve Bruce now – with all the uncertainties that come with it ?

    3. Remove Colin Calderwood and replace him with a more modern, younger coach with different ideas.

    Perhaps to replace Steve Bruce when we get promotion as we all know that he will take us no further anyway. The latter has my preference as CC is the same generation as Bruce and a defender and has no proven track record as a coach. Have we ever played well since he came to VP” ?

  30. PP: “stating in interview that he has had ‘six months at Villa so there is no excuse’, what has he been doing the other 4 months???????”

    I’d say he was talking about the fact that it’s only since January he’s had any real input into player signings. What happened before that is what he inherited and what he just tried to motivate.

  31. Mark: “Agbonlahor cannot be a long-term option for Villa as a left winger.”

    I’d say he’s not been put there as a (specialist) left-winger. Let’s not describe him what he’s not. He’s essentially a second striker with (supposedly) good harrying ability. I’d have to say, though, that apart from the first half vs Hull he’s not done much. But that maybe because the rest of the team isn’t working fully. I’d hold fire against blaming Gabby too much, though he’s obviously running out of chances.

  32. Mark,

    There’s a lot of emotion just now, and the idea of someone getting ‘the chop’ is always popular at such times.

    Let’s just take one game at a time and see … if it still looks bad after this week’s 2 games then I’d be thinking about that approach, but not until.

  33. JL- On Gabby maybe that is a problem playing him out of position which in turn unbalances the team? rather than the team not being right so Gabbys not? it may be the other way around.

    As for Calderwood? I don’t want to see someone lose their Job but he is a defensive coach (ex defender like bruce) brought in at Brighton because the season before they were not solid enough at the back. We clearly need some input on the coaching side as Bruce is just not that type of manager. To top it off we look awful defending, the teams to stretched out, I fear the lack of pace at the back means we sit to deep when attacking, perfect to counter attack. Jedinak would be the sticking plaster if he came back but not a real solution imo.

  34. Dementia indeed,SB has forgotten how Brentford caned us 3 nil.
    Good debate,by it’s very nature a negative one.My main concern is that there is no identifiable pattern of play.We seem to play off the cuff,and Gabby has to be accomodated at any cost,he is a guaranteed starter come what may.
    JT,too early to say,but he does not have quality like Ashley Cole either side of him,nor a top class midfield in front of him,which he has been used to for over a decade.
    My gut feeling,even at this early stage is that we are in this division for a few seasons yet.Buying players is not the solution,a cohesive pattern of play which the players understand and can execute is.We had the lines share of the ball at Cardiff,but had one shot on target.
    Bringing in more new blood is simply an admission that
    1)I’ve bought the wrong ones in my 2 windows
    or 2)I don’t know how to get the best out of what I already have.
    I strongly believe it is a combination of both factors.
    He has put all his faith in Gabby ,but is going to be so badly let down .
    Seeing,Brentford,Burton and Ipswich put out competitive sides on tiny budgets brings home the point that we are going to need a new gaffer,not a new spending spree.
    Bruce missed a golden opportunity to give youth a go last season,knowing that we had missed the play off boat.

  35. Oh and Bruce is talking about changing formation because what we have been working on isn’t working so back to 5 in midfield. He’s now had stability, funds, and a pre-season, to say we are not ready to play two up top, laughable really.

  36. Mark: “I am not talking from emotion here either, I have been saying the same for months.”

    Yes, but you cannot (sensibly) do things that way!!!!!!!!!!!!! Chop and change at a club is not on if you’re trying to achieve stability, and I’d say now is not the change anything either unless the next couple of games show something awful.

  37. Jl- well mate sometimes you have to be pro active and change things if they clearly are not producing results it’s a simple enough game. You know what they say about doing the same thing and hoping things will change. Either the players can’t understand what he wants from them or what he wants is wrong for the players. How many more players should we change to get the same result? The answer may well be to change the conductor.

  38. Mark: “well mate sometimes you have to be pro active and change things if they clearly are not producing results “

    I said that earlier. But now is still a bit early. As I said, give it this week to see what happens over these 2 matches … If it is as bad as you say I suspect we may well see some Tonics from the Chairman anyway by this time next week! 😉

  39. Jl- and I question whether stability is the aim? For me that’s being patient and using approach I have advocated from the off not the Bruce promotion focused root. If we go up it’s likely he’ll go leaving another huge rebuild where’s the stability or continuity in that?

  40. And why is it just down to Hogan to score? Did we not buy goals from midfield in January? All our buys are about creating a platform for others to score yet?

  41. Well if its any consolation, the last time we were in the second tier 1987 under Graham Taylor we didn’t win a game in the month of August and that included a 0-2 stuffing from our neighbours across the city. The differance is SB is under greater pressure to win games.
    Anyway there’s not much out there manager wise apart from Pearson, Moyes, I think thats it unless we temp Big Sam out of retirement

  42. Archie difference is Archie GT was an unknown with just a pre-season to sort the now ex league and European champs. Not four times promoted Bruce with a nearly a whole season and two windows under his belt. Oh and GT had a plan.

  43. Mark,

    About “stability” I was speaki9ng of the time after RdiM’s departure, and then you have to give the next management a fair try. Bruce has not yet been a year in the job and ideally (for stability) should be there in another year’s time. Ideally. Whether that will be so we’ll see…

  44. Mark: “Archie GT was an unknown”

    Huh? He had simply got little Watford promoted, got them to a Cup Final and then runner-up in the League. Over several seasons. He was also highly talked about – people could see he had ability.

    Not bad for an “unknown”! 😀

  45. Sorry jl lager induced brain fart I was thinking of graham turner (turner/turnip) 🙂
    Taylor got us up first time of asking though and did have a plan of attack. I don’t think we are showing much more than muddling through.

  46. Hi Lifers
    Hope you are all well

    I stopped watching Villa & using this site a long time ago because the Club was in such a mess. I’d basically had enough but then 4 of us went back to Villa Park on Boxing Day last year – £20 for the Trinity Road – bargain you say – oh no it wasn’t & I wanted to leave at half time because Burton were playing us off the park but I was the driver so I had to stay & couldn’t even drown my sorrows ! It was evident then good people that Bruce was the wrong man, so I was staggered by the pre-season optimism because the lack of a tactic/game plan was obvious – I’d prefer Clough

    But 1 man is ultimately to blame – the CHAIRMAN ! Just as Randy Lerner put us in a deep hole, Tony Xia has so far failed in climbing back out. RL the spoilt rich kid wanted to prove to “Daddie” that he had what it takes but was totally incompetent & got bored with his new toy & TX the driven idealist wanting a world brand for his Asian business growth. The common denominator – both know sweet F A about football. It’s a recurring theme – ask Blackburn, Leeds & Hull fans

    On paper TA appointed a far better equipped hierarchy but then didn’t even listen to them when it came to the first managerial appointment RdeM ( they wanted Stuart Pearson ). Why ? RdeM fitted the world football dominance in 10 yrs dream. A quiet word with any executive / fan at WBA would have told him not to even waste time interviewing RdeM. While Newcastle got Benitez

    Look deeper at 2 of hierarchy Whyness & Round – what have they ever won in England, not much Albeit their work at Everton was impressive it was a long time ago & the game has moved on massively. Whyness is currently as much out of touch as Bruce. And what qualifies Round to be Director of football anyway – it’s not a name that would make you jump up & down is it
    Short term – Bruce will be gone by end Oct ( hope he is still on 1 year rolling contract ) although he could help himself by dropping Gabby & Hutton & playing ANYONE else. Round/Terry could run the team in the interim until a successor is found – & I’d have a cheeky bet it could be David Moyes ( please No ) well known to W & R – well versed in working on a budget than at Man Utd ( notice how Fergie only recommends Scottish mates )

    Long term – If Xia has learnt anything he actually needs to gamble than play safe again & continue the stagnation & unearth a new David Wagner like the still unknown Huddersfield Chairman did or sell the Club because his dreams have turned to bubbles & who knows who might buy us next

    Sorry folks that’s not very palatable but that’s just how I see it – the club badly needs inspiration

  47. Johnie,

    Howdo! 🙂 .. and (apparently) welcome back, too.

    Yes, some detail I don’t buy into there, but your view is pretty smart i.m.o.

    The main thing I disagree on is the new Chairman. Yes, in his anxiety to get places he has made a gaff or two, no doubt, but I see him in a totally different light compared to Lerner.

    He’s hands-on, communicates and seems to have a genuine ambition *and* inspiration for the club, not some wishy-washy view based on aesthetics (Lerner).

    So I see a good future with Dr. Tonics. He might still make a gaff or two, but I see him being the best chairman we’ve had in nearly 100 years. And that one (Rinder) also made gaffs. But it didn’t alter the fact that he knew what he was doing.

    As to Bruce. Well, you could be right. Sadly he may well be gone within 2 months or so. But there’s still time … we’ll see.

  48. Jl- I don’t think you have to give the manager a long time ask RDM 12 games and half a build done vs almost a full season and two windows. I know there are difficulties at Villa but as has been pointed out so many have done better with less. Every time we are told there’s something else holding the team back, lack of confidence, villa to big a club for the players so we get Jt and wheelan to little effect, the finger at some point has to come back to the manager, it wasn’t the players under RDM was it? But some how with an almost completely different team it’s the players.

  49. A comment By DrXia when we played Watford about Silva debriefing his team with data collected from the match makes me wonder what we do? are we the only team in this league that does not use every means possible to gain an advantage? Some managers have the data available at Half time and I wonder if some of the miraculous turnarounds are due to this to some degree. The way Tony was talking it was like a light had gone on when he saw this with his own eyes, I wonder if the words ” I was surprised how Much SB was open to new ideas” has finally hit home that he may be open to them but has no understanding of them?

  50. Just looking at the league we are 4th from bottom thats grounds for divorce 🙂 mind you 4 other promotion favourites are just above us. Top 7 are last years relegation struggler’s virtually from this league and the prem

  51. Hi John L
    Thanks for kind comment

    I totally agree that RL & TX are chalk & cheese & I like the Doc very much. He’s a top businessman who definitely communicates / is genuinely as frustrated as all the fans but maybe, in his haste he’s put the cart before the horse ?

    I just think he needs to consult & carefully listen to a few good football brains to get a balanced view before he makes any decision on Bruce / football philosophy going forward. He now knows that just buying the best players in the division ( Kodje excepted ) can’t guarantee success if there’s no game plan / can’t play together / don’t fit our particular style of play

    Got a copy of Aston Villa in a nutshell 1874 – 2014 from Oxfam shop which if as I assume you wrote, ( great work ) you are exactly the sort of guy he should chat to over a coffee to learn how the success of the past might be resurrected. Villa can only be as good as the people he employs for sure


    RdeM was down to him but I think TX has been badly advised since then or he hasn’t known how to ask the right football questions. Although it would be difficult to sack em all & start again !

  52. Mark: “I don’t think you have to give the manager a long time ask RDM 12 games and half a build done vs almost a full season and two windows. I know there are difficulties at Villa but as has been pointed out so many have done better with less.”

    I’m not going into another round on this old potato! 😀

  53. Johnie,

    Yes, I can see your reasoning now, and go with that without doubt.

    Many thanks for your comments on the book! 🙂

    You may be glad that there should be another one out soon. I’ll announce it on this blog.

  54. Johnie M – Yes I think wyness and Round have a lot to lose if Bruce goes, their jobs for one. We have started off on two separate Roads IMO, the Villa way and the Bruce way in the hope he gets us up while we develop this philosophy in the background, for me we have to do this as one Villa not two.

    RDM had one thing in common with Bruce a promotion from the Champs but also had the glamour Dr xia wanted for the launch in China, same with JT this season and the televised games worldwide to our abroad fans. Not the worst ploy to get some money and new fans I suppose but we have to start making football decisions not financial ones.

    I don’t understand why Bruce got rid of Gestede when we had no strikers either, he got Hogan whom he can’t service yet brought in Hourihane the assist king from fee kicks and corners. He should of just gone with Gestede and Gabby until Kodjia was back with whatever youth players were still standing. I suspect what he really wants is an Hernadez type player, something I think he thought he could make Gabby into, Kodjia is much closer to that type. How Hogan fitted that vision I will never know but now he has to go against his instincts because he has Hogan rather than admit the gaff, unless Hogan is down to Round?

  55. Neil Warnock,

    ““I’ve got a team of players who will run through brick walls for me now.”

    “It’s about knowing what you’re good at and using it.”

    What are we good at? anyone?

  56. Welcome, Mike!

    Don’t worry, you won’t be alone in disagreeing with me. The missus does it all the time.

    I hope you’re right. Like I say, last week I saw positives, this week, none. Bruce does have options at his disposal, so one hopes that a tweak or two can be made that do change things. Certainly Kodjia and Jedi will help when they return, but what bothers is that things keep looking the same.

    It seems like an eternity that we/I have been “looking for signs of progress” from Villa.

  57. RichardS,

    It’s hard to argue. I’ve never wanted to believe Bruce was out of his depth. Doesn’t seem possible that he could be involved in the game all these years and not see what’s going on around him.

    Maybe it’s down to the players and something will click. But given the ‘experience’ we have (and old legs), if it is the players, then it’s hard to understand Bruce’s recruitment choices, and it comes back around on him from that angle.

  58. Johnie M,

    Good to see you again. Wish we weren’t all still scratching our heads and seemingly in the same place that’s driven so many to despair.

    “I just think he needs to consult & carefully listen to a few good football brains to get a balanced view before he makes any decision on Bruce / football philosophy going forward.”

    Agreed. You’re not wrong in pointing to the lack of footballing knowledge at the top. It does have a lot to do with our troubles over these years. I like Dr. Tony, too, and likewise imagine he’s smart enough to realize he needs some input. Just hope he gets it from the right people.

  59. Mark,

    “Either the players can’t understand what he wants from them or what he wants is wrong for the players.”

    Pretty much the whole thing in a nutshell.

  60. B6,

    Sorry, saw you were also saying that, and I agree with everything you say. I can understand not doing something well, but I can’t see the patterns, either.

    Well, no pattern beyond get it wide then make it up as you go.

  61. JL
    Look forward to it

    Agree on a unified strategy but after RdeM the situation meant a tried & trusted championship achiever & I like Bruce as a man but his methods are far too predictable – too easy to outsmart us.
    Also the way he likes crosses fired in we’re crying out for a lump of a centre forward similar to Wood at Leeds & that’s what Gestede was. He also likes Rhodes who had a great understanding with him . There’s just no cohesion to it !

    The Hourihane situation beggar’s belief – I prefer him to Lansbury – he was captain of a very good Barnsley team so what’s gone wrong ? Oh to be a fly on the wall at Bodymoor Heath

    One thing for sure Bruce has to change his blueprint so we start scoring goals or he’s toast

  62. Gestede

    Here I can’t understand the sentiment regarding this player!

    I agree his *type* would be appropriate, but as for he, I never knew which side of the ground he was aiming at! 😀

  63. Well who do we get in next!! Norwich were all excited about there smooth talkng left field german manager but they got tonked at home today!

    The fulham manager is my number 1 choice then chico flores the ex watford man.

    Not sure about karanka

  64. Andrew- yes mate the fulham manager is about the required standard, how about making Benitez an off if he gets no funds?

    Johnie M- After RDM I think it only required the best fit for the squad and type of football they were bought for. If is often touted we were building for this season then even more reason to go for Continuity in style, that alone would of been easier than the 180 degrees under Bruce.

    JL- Bruce only had to make it through Jan with a couple of wins and a few draws then kodjia was back. How difficult would it have been to lump the ball to Gestede, like him or not he scores goals at this level and we are now playing to him while he’s in Middlesbrough 😉

  65. just watched the Low lights, boy that was worse than I thought, no fight or guidance coming from JT, no bollockings by anyone at all. Only one hogan chance shown which was a pass back he latches on to where the keeper saves at his near post as you would expect , looks like very little was made for him. Best bit in the whole 10 mins was O’hares bit of skill to evade 2 players. worryingly wheelan looks out of his depth, so slow.

  66. Mark,

    No, we didn’t seem to match up well with them at all. While a number of our youngsters seem to have promise, I wish there were a couple who were more “athletic” types. We’re a bit lightweight, seems to me.

  67. Bruce is useless, lets be honest. He’s been with us 10 months now and nothing has changed. We haven’t played well once under him, not once.

    I’m going to Reading on Tuesday night, Bruce only plan will be to put 11 men behind the ball and hope we don’t concede. There won’t be anything good going forwards from us

  68. Wow!

    There is still some real life….great to have you post again Frem…Hope you and the boys enjoy the trip on Tuesday night, apart from the football.

    Maybe Bruce will surprise us and get it right, but it is going to be very difficult now.

  69. Good morning folks
    The good news is I can buy Villa games now. The bad news is I don’t want to.
    Who is running this club? Is Bruce on birminghams payroll?
    Every year it’s the same thing. The media pump Villa up in the news, Xia chirps happily on twitter, the manager can’t keep his enthusiasm in check, new signings sell their soul to the Villa cause, Hutton became a saviour, Gabby went to confession and promised to try harder. And then those b*****d teams they have to play against did it better.
    Bought experience? They sure did. Did they turn to poo overnight or is the management team out to lunch? Are Round and Wyness pulling strings? Is Xia a complete idiot when it comes to football? We will never know but I’ll tell you one thing, nothing will change with a change of manager, this bunch will be running around with canned hams for feet.
    These players are good (or we’re), they’re being hamstrung. If they have so much experience, put Bruce in the stands and let them run the show for a game or two. I’m sure they can figure it out what to do.

  70. Ian
    I’ve often thought it’d be best if the players sorted it out for a game or two.
    I agree with others who have suggested Calderwood doesn’t seem to have coached too well. I am not going to renew my AVTV subscription until football that is worth getting up at 2am for is being played.

  71. JC
    They’d know alright, but I guess egos will get in the way. The manager and coaches will want to show who the boss is. I’d trust Chester, Terry and Jedi to choose a 1st XI.

  72. Hi Frem/Ian great to see you posting. Apparently we had a team meeting about our away form, perhaps a fair few were to busy to attend? I see a huge problem raising its head, we have key member’s who are slow, thats limits how we can play, push to far up as they did at Cardiff and the opposition brush them all aside and have a field day, sit back and hope for a break? we haven’t got the players for that quick turnaround attack, hence Bruce trying to use the wings and a ten and control midfield. I have come to the conclusion we are stuffed.

  73. Yes, I wondered about Calderwood too. The fact that we have 2 old c-bs as the main management team is a bit concerning.

    BUT … listen to you all!!!! 🙁 2 games in and it’s all doom, doom and gloom!

    As Paul, says, perhaps tomorrow we’ll see just what is what… Perhaps the players might decide to turn up for starters…?

    I do expect 2 or 3 team changes. Hutton being number 1. He seems to have been at least partly responsible for all 4 goals we’ve conceded.

  74. JL- It is what it is for me mate, it may improve but that was pretty catastrophic in terms of team morale and belief in JT for one, he got destroyed like a child stood in the middle of a wildebeest migration just as Samba did in midweek. Still two weeks to buy 7 more players thats the only positive I can find and I believe he will go out and Buy at least a CH, CF, winger, LB. Alternative is to play the kids.

  75. Well apparently we are back to the culture in the club, bring in Boy George “do you really want to hurt me……” 😉

    “The heavy defeat was highly disappointing for Villa, who began the campaign as one of the favourites for promotion.

    But when asked whether he would look to make more signings, Bruce insisted that adding more players was not the answer.

    He said: “I haven’t got millions to spend. The club has spent millions in the past. That is not the answer when you get beat.

    “We have to change the culture. We get beat and it doesn’t mean enough. We have to change that culture and turn it around.

    “There’s glimpses but there’s still a long way to go, especially away from home.”

    Bruce is now under serious pressure to find the winning formula at Villa sooner rather than later.

    The Midlands side were disappointing last term, and despite bringing in a lot of experience this summer, they are yet to prove they have improved.”

  76. “Let me paraphrase Bruce’s post match comments:

    ‘I’ve been here for six months. I haven’t managed to address our problems or away form. We don’t have the ability to change things. Maybe I need to change tactics again? Maybe we aren’t ready to play two up front? It’s disappointing. Our shape and organisation is littered with mistakes.”

    This is one of the most worrying interviews I’ve heard to date. It’s outrageous that we are getting the same Lambert-esque ‘we go again’ sentiments with absolutely no hint at a solution. More outrageous is the admission that he doesn’t even know what the problem is.

    Much like under Tim Sherwood, we’re just hoping that in changing the lineup repeatedly we will stumble upon a magic formula.”

  77. “Boss Warnock collects wayward players the way some fans collect selfies.

    And 25-year-old Mendez-Laing said: “He’s very inspiring. He talks to me during the week and we had a conversation when I first arrived.

    “I want to do well for him and myself. I’m not the first player he’s taken in my kind of situation.

    “But to see the titles he’s won and the times he’s taken clubs up, it’s obvious he knows what he’s doing.”

  78. That performance was one of the worst I can remember. The lack of pace in the team, especially the defence is a massive concern. And then you get to the midfield. Whelan and Lansbury are both very slow too, with Jedinak to return eventually.

    Any new signings must have pace. This is what we are lacking with the balance of the team. We were taken apart by the pace of their front 3 and dominated in midfield.

    The performance was pathetic but sacking the manager is not the answer. We keep sacking managers and it really isn’t the answer. It does us no good.

    Is Bacuna available tomorrow night? Would be ludicrous for him to be able to appear against us. Why not delay the transfer for a couple of days, if he is available?

  79. Mark,

    Whatever ‘system’ you play to, it’s the teamwork and willingness to scrap and fight that will often make the difference.

    That’s what seems to be still short in the Villa players, not whether they’re technically as good as the opposition, although it would be good if we could see lovely footie from our team.

    Yes, how Cardiff played, and the drilling that was clearly behind their play, is a great credit to Warnock. But what I say is what I’ve already inferred: you can go on changing managers until you’re blue in the face but if there’s something inherently wrong in the club itself you’ll not get any manager who can make much of a difference.

    I’ll say it again: what happened these past few years at VP has had a terrible affect on the *soul* of the club. Correct me if I’m wrong but the Leicester Thai directors applied spiritual methods to the club and the players used meditation as part of their equipment. And look what happened! Leicester’s ability to worry big teams has not gone away … 3-2 up at Arsenal and beaten only in the last 7 minutes of play on Friday.

    Unfortunately I don’t think that Dr. Tonix is that (spiritually) inclined, despite certain attractive aspects of his persona. But perhaps that way of thinking needs to be introduced by the club to clear away the cumulative damage of 6 years.

  80. Droyd What is the answer then? he has bought the players that are slow? surely you would look at that aspect of the game? He is saying spendings not the answer I suspect as he has already spent it in Jan and we are skint. Meanwhile anyone that can run is being sold while no real team is forming.

    We are desperate for Jedinak, Kodjia, Grealish, Green and Elmo to get fit, only one is a Bruce signing, thats pretty damning.

  81. I’d drop both full backs after their woeful performances so far this season and switch to 3-5-2 for the game at Reading. Lansbury would also be ditched.





  82. Well JL I am not beyond trying something like that as all else has been, is there such a thing as a spiritual manager? to be fair we got stuffed in Cardiff not VP and tend to do better at Home.

  83. Mark – Yes I agree, the signings have been very disappointing to date. Especially in the midfield area. The answer is to have patience with Bruce because of his excellent track record in this division because the alternative is much worse and is what we have been doing since Lambert left. The regular sacking of our faltering managers approach has not improved us to date, so why continue with that approach?

    We had some very disappointing days under Lambert and many called for his sacking years before it happened. The season after he was sacked, we were relegated.

    With new managers coming and going, new players come and go too. This not only leaves us in a poor financial state, we simply don’t have any stability or success with such an approach.

    Even if Bruce doesn’t improve on last season, I still don’t think he should be sacked. I want for us to try stability instead. Not sacking managers every year. He’s bought these players, kept the ones he liked and he should be given time to get it right. He’s nowhere near that yet but sacking him would be ludicrous in my view.

    But we all know if Bruce doesn’t deliver promotion this season, he is going anyway.

  84. Droyd I would go 4411 as Ohare can drop into midfield for a 451, no way I would risk out and out wing backs with Terry and Samba and there concrete boots.

    Johnson/Steer (no difference)

    Delaet Chester JT Bree

    Hourihane Wheelan Onomah Thor



  85. Droyd lets be honest if Bruce could he would of sold most of the players he has bought, he appears to have little faith in them and that is a problem in itself, the problem we have had is not consistency of the manager we have had but the lack of quality in that department. Lack of planning and motivation appear to be problems. Bruces problem may be his go to players are now to old or out of reach in players like Diame, he hasn’t promoted every club he’s been at nor particularly improved them long term either, as a short term manager Warnock blows him away. And the biggest factor for me is its becoming a younger managers game as things appear to have changed to the extent Bruces go to tactics are old hat.

  86. JL
    “But perhaps that way of thinking needs to be introduced by the club to clear away the cumulative damage of 6 years.”
    Jl-are you advocating meditation and prayer? I once suggested that Villa returns to its roots through prayer. The response was negative. Many fans don’t see any need for sprituality to come into football. A penny for your thoughts.

  87. Trinity- I wonder if an establishment Like Villa has a Soul? it appears that living creatures have whats known as morphic fields or memory specific to there Genus contained in the Field, could a club have such a field? much like the theory that resonance of Ghosts get left in some buildings? A collective emotional barrel of Villa angst.

  88. By the way a back four of Bree,chester,JT,Delaet means we are playing with four CB’s as they can all play there a la pulis. I would really like us to look at some of the young CB’s we have, suliman and clark and borg at LB

  89. “Trinity- I wonder if an establishment Like Villa has a Soul?”
    Mark-you’ve touched on an interesting subject. I once listened to some people explaining what they described as apparitions of Roman soldiers on the march in York. You probably know what I’m talking about. They were creditable people, who weren’t alone. I think there’s sometimes a kind of energy signature left behind, and that’s what those people saw in York. We know York was once used by the Romans
    I think Villa once, at least, had a soul, which begs the question, one I’ve asked before. Is the likes of Villa still a club or is it a franchise?

  90. Trinity- yes I know about the York Roman soldiers they appeared form the waist up as they were walking on a buried Road. If money has any influence then the entire of Football has no soul but it doesn’t stop them playing.

    Brum sign Vassel, sounds like the kind of player we should of grabbed.

    The highly-rated striker has penned a four-year contract.

    Vassell has been given squad number 11 and is eligible to make his Blues debut in Tuesday’s home game against Bolton Wanderers.

    Vassell, 23, spent only one full season at Luton but his performances marked him down as one of game’s most exciting talents.

    Blessed with searing pace, Vassell was being watched by a host of other clubs but Blues acted decisively to bring him to St. Andrew’s.

    Vassell, a cousin of former Aston Villa and England striker Darius Vassell, was born in Newquay and came through the youth ranks at Plymouth Argyle.

  91. droyd
    agree with most you say and then you put gabby in the team,gabby has done nothing for best part of 7 years now[bar one spell under mcleish i think]swap him for anyone kitman milkman

  92. Ah for feck sake, feckin Cardiff away, let’s hope the win the league so we can add to our table of excuses.

    Had a right old go on various FB groups on Saturday night, it was quite emotional because there were so many warriors talking thru their arses, more fun than the game itself.

    Here’s how I see and may replicate some of the views on here

    Bruce is a dead man walking, thank god, never had any time for him as he never had a plan, the evidence for not having a plan is buying in-form players and then not using them to their best ability. Buying similar players (Lansbury/Hourihane). An experienced manager admitting last season he threw too many new players on at once.

    He’s left our left side bereft of cover/experience and in terms of wing quality, where’s the plan.

    He bought in quality strikers in McCormack and Hogan and they’ve managed feck all between them when given the chance not out of them being bad players but mis-use. Signing Elmo would be good in itself but why sign someone to cross the ball to our 5’9ers, equally pointless from corners as defenders can prepare for Samba and Terry given their additional height.

    Said it before, a crying shame the captaincy was removed from Chester, he did nothing wrong and was probably forced to come out to the media welcoming Mr. Experience, an additional crying shame that Baker was let go before Elphick was moved on.

    As for Mr. Experience, a waste of a salary if we get half the number of games out of him, it still means a new partner for Chester for the other half, for all his lack of pace, it’s a big risk for teams with pace and that’s pretty much all of them

    None of this is a response to being two games in, it’s a response to the mis-management of the club under Dr.T, glamour signing DiMatteo and presenting him in China who despite having a plan, had to learn on the job which players were prepared to play and which players were still exercising player power (looking at you Gabby).

    Then with all the talk of give SB time, he’s only been in 6 months, he’s only had one window, he’s not had pre-season those same standards weren’t applied to RDM, now SB has had two windows, one pre-season against mediocre opposition, there is precisely zero change in the mid-game dip in form, there is zero change in the recognised away form over those 10 months.

    We are so heavily reliant on Kodija because he does so much work for himself, I’d considered it selfishness but it may be recognition on his part he’s never going to be adequately supported, if there is a malaise in the club then what is Bruce doing to address it, there’s no evidence in performance levels.

    Agree with suggestions that we are top heavy with defenders in coaching positions, even a No.3 focussed on midfield/forward would be welcome, regardless of it being an admission of failure on SB’s part.

    The future is bleak, clearly hampered by FFP, awaiting one final parachute payment from relegation, if SB doesn’t turn it around in the next 10 games, we’ll be circling around the same timeframe that RDM was given and then expect manager no. 307 to work miracles to achieve promotion. Clearly money is the motivating factor having bought the club so I get the urgency to be promoted but this is harming Villa because we’ve settled on a manager who has nearly as many relegations as prmotions on his CV.

    However, the future is also bright and that is down to the kids. Green needs a mentor to progress as a winger, however O’Hare has ability in spades, Bree is very comfortable and there are others on the way. Unfortunately as MK has commented SB recognises the wrong attributes and being so concerned with not losing, it’s the kids who would drive the attacks missing out.


    Going to catch you up on one thing, for a while when debating Gabby, you often stated he was no striker and therefore it is unacceptable to attack him based on goals, however above you used the term second striker when explaining why he isn’t a winger, can you expand on the term second striker as to me Gabby is neither and effectively taking the place of someone who could be a specialist in either more clearly defined role.

    Sorry a diatribe as always but, my Villa our Villa is being ruined due a lack of a plan/formation/tactics/work ethic due SBs lack of trust in players and players lack of trust in what SB is allegedly doing. There is only one option for me Dinosaur out and not to be replaced by any other dinosaur (Moyes/Allardyce etc). Time has come to bite the bullet of promotion and start the Villa way in the first team. Effective football will always win out and we’re not even that.

  93. hope oldvilla is doing what he said and not reading the blog,john l is only one with a shred of hope the rest our chips are well and truly burnt 22 matches in

  94. Trinity: “Many fans don’t see any need for sprituality to come into football. A penny for your thoughts.”

    Well, that’s people in general isn’t it – not just football fans.

    One day, everyone will come realise that there’s an inner as well as an outer. The side of life that is external (the relative) and the real (the inner). It applies to football as it applies to anything, but people shy away from that philosophy.

    Mark: ” I wonder if an establishment Like Villa has a Soul?”

    It is well known in practical spirituality that thoughts create ‘things’, including a football club. That ‘thing’ constitutes a living entity that has life. Damage it without cure and it will remain damaged.

  95. Howdo Darren,

    when debating Gabby, you often stated he was no striker and therefore it is unacceptable to attack him based on goals, however above you used the term second striker when explaining why he isn’t a winger, can you expand on the term second striker as to me Gabby is neither and effectively taking the place of someone who could be a specialist in either more clearly defined role.

    I thought someone would come back on this. 😉

    Well I also latterly said something about Gabby having the attrubute of a harrier. I was trying to think of some term to describe his other attributes than scoring the odd goal (no rude comment please!!) . It is difficult to put my definition of him into words, so all I will say is that he has the appearance of a striker, but he never did make it as a great goalscorer. He has, however, justified his inclusion by (previously at least) able to torment the opposition defence with pace and general ‘warrior skills’, and in assists. Though his pace has dropped off a tad he still has that warrior appearance reminiscent of some of our best centre-forwards. Hence why I still refer to him as a “second striker” but not in the sense of one who will himself score a lot.

  96. JL- Food for thought Mate, often though a club is brought back by an individual of who appears to have that certain Power (call it what you will) to lift the whole club, I know you were hoping Bruce would be that for us but its looking doubtful. If personalities have power the likes of Wagner, Benitez etc are like gold dust, maybe we just haven’t met our saviour yet? Saunders fitted Villa but was unsuccessful elsewhere?

    Still think we should of been nurtured as a project rather than pushed into even more pressure than we had on dropping.

  97. I may have risen to your bait so JL 🙂

    So in essence the inclusion is down to a perception of some warrior like quality as opposed to having a defined position/role/ and despite lacking in footballing intelligence, despite lacking positional sense, you’re prepared to forego having a natural winger or a natural goalscorer in order to maintain some unseen driving force that will the team to perform but has equally failed to do so in the last 5 years in the same way he’s failed to be a striker and fails to be a winger.

    Would that we had a first 11 with some warrior qualities to go alongside the footballing intelligence but I fail to see how the inept can be a catalyst to go over the trenches and fight for Villa.

    Welcome to the returnees, to the new members, shame we are discussing the relative disaster that was Saturday as a continuation of SB’s tenure.

  98. JL- I think you should pay close attention to O’hare who I can only describe as being an absolute pain in the bum to defences and opposition, Gabby is physical but this lad routinely takes the ball off of much bigger players and makes good use of it, right now I’d take 5-6 O’hares.

  99. Stam on Bacuna, no mention of he runs a lot or is on the short side, the last sentence says it all as to why we don’t get the best out of players. 😉

    “Leandro is a player that we have been following for a while – he has played Premier League football and brings quality to us,” said Stam.

    “He is the type of player who can play in several positions in the team – in midfield, at the back, or even sometimes as a winger.

    “He is a player with the right mentality and who wants to go forward; these are the types of players that we want to have.”

  100. Darren,

    It’s early to say (i.m.o.) that Gabby has failed. So far he has 25% of his time on the field that you can say was worthy. If another 2 matches pass by without him reaching the standard of his first half contribution vs Hull then I’ll be the first to say “drop ‘im”.

  101. JL- The team I put up earlier is more balanced and I think, Gabbys place would be to come on in the last Half hour and use his pace and tenacity, that way we don’t have to take him off on 60 when we might want to change some other aspect of the game. I think Thor has to be given the chance to be Greens alternative and I would hope the play would knit together better rather than being to frantic.

  102. JL

    Still going with current as opposed to overall, even if I go along with your victim theory for the Lerner years and discount them, he was non-contributory last season, in the same way I believe it’s only fair to judge SB on his tenure as opposed to two games, I’ll judge Gabby over the same period and it still backs my argument.

    My only conclusion is that one of the swords that Bruce will die on is his insistence on starting Gabby as he is not a striker and not a winger and not rousing the troops to win, he therefore offers nothing and keeps someone else from making the grade.

  103. it was my main worry all summer….pace.

    im done with bruce, I was waiting to hear him trot out the line we will put our boots back on…and he has.

    makes me sick

  104. History at VP

    I contacted Villa to see what was happening about the Archivist post they advertised some time ago.

    I’ve been told that an offer was made but then a hold put on appointments.

    So I offered my own help. They said: ” it does not seem fair for us to do this as you will be receiving no remuneration for doing so.”

    So I offered my help for free plus help in selling my books.

    I was thanked for that and was told my offer had been “noted”. On querying what was meant by that I was told “On file at the moment John”.

    I’m basically aghast. Free help offered and effectively spurned. Probably because it’s me and the hiatus of 2010/11.

  105. Hi JL, I’m very occasionally on twitter, quite happy to make representations on your behalf, can think of anyone more suitable qualified, never mind offering your services for free

  106. Darren,

    Thank you so much! I’m loathed to do it – it’s then seen as slap-down of a manager if the Doc were to act on it. Apart from which that manager would be the one I have to work with! 🙁

    I just put that info up there just to indicate how petty things be at VP.

  107. Since it’s still early in the season all the young players should be given a go. Not just 10 min at the end of a foregone game either. Bruce has to take that leap of faith as he can’t keep turning to the players who (for what ever reason) played poorly. Hoping they will improve isn’t the way to go. They are already broken. Bringing in youth will be bringing in enthusiasm and a strong will to succeed.
    When Bruce likes a player he is blind to their overall play and is hoping by their one or two shining moments. Gabby’s two goals last year and Hull this year gives him enough credit to show up game after game as if Bruce is waiting for the next goal as vindication of Gabby’s inclusion.

  108. Ian the players that played poorly are generally his so no chance of dropping them for some kids, Its like waving a flag with I’ve failed on it.

  109. A good manager shouldn’t be so vain as to play only the players he chose. It’s a school yard mentality. A good manager changes direction when things go awry. There is something amiss when they play to not lose instead of playing to win. Go for the kill not road kill

  110. Excellent comments DOR, and all go with my own thoughts, but news has that we are about to be saved with the return of Gareth Barry and a possibility that we should sign Joe Bennett from Cardiff as cover for Neil Taylor….all media talk of course, but who knows, neither would cost a lot…

    Villa’s problem is that they have never signed a successful manager since Ron Saunders, unless you claim that O’neill was a success. This is the major problem, if we had spent the money getting the right man to captain the ship, we would not have had to waste so much money on poor players.

    The top clubs in the world of football concentrate on the main to make the team, not the team to make the man, which is Villa’s downfall.

    We should be looking to hire one of the top ten managers in the world and then giving him the backing to build a world beating side. It is just common sense. You pay for the best designer to create your dream and give him the tools, otherwise the dream can never become reality.

  111. shows how far we have fallen southampton changed hands 80percent for what nearly 200m,chopped and changed managers as bad as us yet background staff are super

  112. Couldn’t make it up, The manager that needed a pre-season to sort things out SB hates pre-season as it gives you a false sense of security??? blimey people on here think I am negative what sort of message does that give? oh and why not play some harder teams pre-season Steve so we know where we stand?

  113. “The mentality issues at Bodymoor Heath and Villa Park (flakier than an icecream van full of 99s) were supposed to have been solved by the recruitment of real men – John Terry, Glenn Whelan, Chris Samba and so on.

    But, and I know we are only 180 minutes in, Villa’s habits appeared to be rubbing off on JT and Co rather than vice versa at the weekend.

    It does seem a bit crazy that we are having these kind of debates in mid-August, but this situation has been a long time in the making.”

  114. Ian: “That mentality doesn’t affect the U23’s; Time to use them in the first team”

    It’s what the fans always say, isn’t it, Ian? 😉

    Yes, I can see your line of thinking, but that approach doesn’t work *except* as a one-off to make the supposed first-choice players think harder about their performances. It was a tactic the Villa management used over a century ago, and had some shock therapy effect.

    But it would seem there are changes to be made tonight. Talk of Bree, Houriihane and the Icelander starting. Aside from Bree I’m not sure whether the other 2 are able to change things.

  115. Well john what goes around comes around only 100 years later.
    Even with competition for places they play poorly. Is Villa that threatening to them?
    Nap time in Magna Bay

  116. PP: “Villa’s problem is that they have never signed a successful manager since Ron Saunders, unless you claim that O’neill was a success.”

    Well, if you do include MON then you most definitely have to include GT Mark 1, Atkinson and Little, i.m.o. Under those 3 we at least had 2 league runner-up seasons, and 2 League Cup wins. And (particularly under the last 2) we saw some good footie.

    GT had the ability to pick up some great acquisitions – McGrath, Platt and Yorke, as well as bringing back Sid and getting the best out of Daley. To think that’s nearly 30 years ago now.

  117. Mark,

    Yes – an awakening article that you’ve linked to.

    “Anybody who witnessed Saturday’s epic fail in Wales will tell you it was more stagger than swagger.”

    Maybe it’s properly called complacency?

  118. Mark
    It certainly sounds dumb when the recuperating and, as yet, not turned out for club, Jedinak is picked to play for country having had no time to get match fit. It’s ridiculous.
    I don’t know either how SB could get a false sense of security from the preseason matches given the lack of cohesiveness on display.
    “I wait – with apprehension and (I admit) dwindling hope) to see what happens tonight and on Saturday.”
    Probably could be talking for most of us.

  119. JL- If its complacency then we have had a whole summer of it not to mention last season, nothing seems to have changed much except the teams age.How the hell does the great SB of many promotions fame produce a complacent team? I would say its more about assumptions, JT and Samba will cope with the champs, Gabby can score 20, wheelans the answer in midfield, we don’t need a team underneath the first 11 that looks remotely like it because players never get injured. The youth are now indispensable unless we bring in yet more players.

    We haven’t addressed many of the real problems from last season with a solid plan from the manager just a hope that the old heads would provide one.

    Whats particularly galling for me is the likes of Lydens chances are blocked by the mids Bruce has bought, and for me he is there equal if not better as he can tackle and play more positions than them. He got all of 10 mins pre-season and looked lively and attack minded but??…..

  120. Anyone else reading “The Odd Man Out”. A biography of Ron Saunders. I’m not too far into it but it’s great reading so far. I’ve downloaded it onto my iphone.

    Gareth Barry return? No thanks. Another slow player in his mid thirties is just about the last thing we need right now. But at least he wouldn’t be giving the ball away all the time.

  121. I really hope we get a convincing win tonight, be that by 1 or ten goals don’t think I can go another season pointing out that all the goals and assists and stability in the side comes form four players signed by RDM Chester, Jedinak Adomah and Kodjia, you can even add RMC and Grealish to that list as they have provided more than any SB signing.

  122. Scott Hogan declares for Ireland, couldn’t be happier, we are shy a striker and a number 10 as Wes is getting on, shame its too late for the upcoming internationals, just need O’Hare to follow him

  123. Mark: “If its complacency then we have had a whole summer of it not to mention last season, nothing seems to have changed much”

    Forget about last season. I was alluding to the article itself which talked of the board’s direction to the team to walk tall and generally behave as top dog. If that is the dictate that has been taken up then what I was suggesting is that the players just thought that they had to walk onto the pitch to promote fear in the opposition with players like Terry being around.

    Well, if that’s the mentality that set in then they’ve been given a rude awaking. In fact that defeat and the manner of it may have done the Villa players a favour. We’ll see tonight, perhaps.

  124. JL- I understood what you meant but wasn’t it very similar last season though? Prem players and leaders and players with promotion? not to forget the buying of some of the champs best players, DR Xia talking about world conquest, it couldn’t get much more cocksure.

    Seems to me they have learnt nothing about the championship, Wyness says we have to score 80 goals and we have JT’s record of no goals conceded, how motivated do we want the opposition to get?

  125. Oh Dear

    Terry has been returning to Chelsea to help his recovery after games, and using the facilities at Stamford Bridge.

    However, Rosenior does not believe that Villa should be returning to his former club in midweek.

    “John Terry is still having ice baths at Stamford Bridge. Just leave it,” Rosenior said.

    “He does three days at Villa, and does his recovery at Stamford Bridge. He’s being spotted in the ice bath with the Chelsea players still. He’s got to let it go. He’s a Villa player. He’s supposed to be captain.”

  126. mark yeah I saw that re terry….not sure what the fuss is. lives near by and is doing a McGrath by training when he wants. not sure what the prob is.

    linked to Wilshire!

  127. Yes mate plenty have been told they have to live within easy distance and RMC got dumped because he didn’t turn up a couple of times. Well I suppose Jt’s special or wouldn’t sign and is SB’s mate

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