As we’re entering a break I thought I’d pull out of the archives something that was a subject of contention at the Villa well over 100 years ago.

Back in the “good old days” Villa had their moments when they frustrated their supporters. Nothing changes! But of course then there was no Team Manager to have a go at but essentially the players themselves. At least the matter was clear cut!

In ‘those’ days, Villa’s main playing failure was in their inability – or lack of will – to turn opportunities into more goals, and this seemed to be an endemic weakness – it went on from one generation of players to another. A fictional dialogue on this matter and the matter of consistency, between fictional Villans named as Jim and Bill, appeared in The Villa News in 1908:

Bill: “…I don’t deny the cleverness and other good stuff that is in Aston Villa, Jim, but I do think they ought to be a bit more consistent.”

“You may be right about that, Bill,” said the older footballer, “… but it’s always been a characteristic of theirs. It was so in Archie Hunter’s days; it was even in the middle and late [eighteen-]nineties, when they made such a reputation for themselves and I suppose that a failing of this sort will stick to them, whoever comes and goes in the eleven, like birth-marks stick to people – all the time. Helps to make their displays more varied, Bill, d’yer see? It would never do for them to be right on the top of their form, or their play would get what they call monotonous, wouldn’t it?”

“Not to me, it wouldn’t,” said Bill, with a laugh, “nor to a lot more. Perhaps some season or other, if I live long enough, I shall see the Villa play three tip-top matches in succession, but I’m blest if I’ve ever seen it yet, and when I do I shall be a good deal older. What puzzles me, Jim, is this: Football players are paid to do certain things like other people. Well, the majority of professionals act up their profession consistently – say, for instance, actors. What would be said of some of the first-raters if one night they played their parts, humorous or tragic, in a manner that brought down the house, as the saying is, and the next practically made fools of themselves, wholly or partly to the disgust of the audience? What d’yer think the newspapers would say? Think they’d make excuses for that sort of inconsistency?”

“Ha! That’s all right my young friend,” answered Jim: “but football ain’t a theoretical game, and can’t be performed by rule, so to speak. It mostly depends upon circumstances; and though I’ll admit that few of the team play with anything like the consistency which might be expected, don’t forget that opposing excellence very often takes away from the brilliance of the other side. D’yer twig what I mean?”

“No, I’m blamed if I do,” said Bill, “nor do I understand why there should be all the cost of up-and-down form. Fact is, Jim, you know the Villa didn’t play anything like a good game against Leicester Fosse, and, like so many of their partisans, you’re trying to make excuses for them. You know that the defence was, with the exception of [the keeper], unsound; that the half-backs were not so good as they ought to have been; that the forwards were seldom together, even if they were sometimes damned clever; and the result of the match was a great disappointment to the people who saw it, especially after what they had seen against Manchester. I grant you that no team can play right up to first-rate form every time; but, hang it, there’s a difference between the top and pretty nearly the bottom round of the ladder, and I say again that the display against Leicester Fosse was not worthy of the team’s reputation.”

“Have your own way, Bill,” said Jim resignedly; “perhaps you’ll live all the longer for it; but you ain’t giving the strangers fair play while you’re lolloping it on the Villa chaps; and they managed to draw the game anyhow.”

“Should think they would, my son; but take my tip, and be satisfied with little points when you can’t have big ones, and drop the idea that any set of players can do just exactly as you want ’em to. ‘Taint in human nature – at least, not in the football part of it. Keep your pecker up … So long!”

So there you are! Bill said “drop the idea that any set of players can do just exactly as you want ’em to. ‘Taint in human nature – at least, not in the football part of it.”

OK, I know they were different times, but I think his point is right, even 110 years since. Unless we’re training and coaching ’em so much now that they’re effectively playing as robots. Perhaps they are; except when they’re not.

Comments 149

  1. McCormack- two sides to every story.

    If Villa cannot find some consistency then we will not get out of this league, is that not supposed to be the point of having Bruce?

  2. Hello, JL.
    The one thing that hasn’t changed is to win, one side needs to score more than the opposition.
    The human traits, as you mean, are the same. And that goes for fans too.
    Many other factors are different, pay, technology etc.
    Mark
    I will report you to the RSPCA if you continue to supply tobacco to juvenile pigeons.

  3. Trinity,

    Yes, agreed. But if the players hvve a nature that is not robotic, why think the manager in today’s football is always to blame?

    Especially as today’s players have hugely more control on their destiny than the players of ‘back then’.

    A good manager to me is one who can get through to the players and appeal to their better selves. Tactics are a secondary issue i.m.o.; if the manager can’t get through to the player then his cause is lost, and those that can’t or won’t respond have to go. If noone will take them then their attitude has to change if they want to play, not simply accommodated because the fans think it’s a good idea.

    Give way to the awkward player and the cause is lost; respect for discipline will go out of the window.

  4. JL
    Yes, I got where you were coming from. You have a fair point. In this case the blame will fall on the manager because he is, depending on results. Then again, Villa might do well.
    I don’t think the relationship with Mc Cormack is irreparable. He was on the bench and got game time two weeks ago.
    UTV

  5. Trinity- He fell in with a bad cloud 🙂

    For the life of me I cannot see how a player like Gabby is still here then, Shunned by the previous two managers for being a trouble maker, Elphick however is not a trouble maker and I don’t believe RMC is either, he has a problem for sure and until SB showed up had scored a couple and was top of our assist list. He showed frustration in matches under RDM as Ayew and later Kodjia just did not return his assists and were generally hogging the ball. I don’t blame him for feeling no support from Bruce nor the club (seems we are quite good at that as Vertout attested) This was the formerly proclaimed best player outside the prems big chance, instead he came to a club with less idea than his old one. whereas Gabby has been proving his lack of worth for years not a few months.

    Many decisions have been made for money reasons this summer.

    Question is why have players who were formerly match winners in this league now become hopeless? it has to be how we are asked to play, Bruces recent imports reflect this whereas the Jan signings mostly looked like a who’s who of players doing well at the time because we needed goals with no forethought to how they would fit the system. How often have we seen players play for England and look a shadow of themselves, scholes played out left and many more asked to play the flavour of the day system.

    We now have a decision to make, blend those players from Jan with the youth and couple of oldies or continue with the oldies experiment and render them toothless, that is how I have seen our pre-season and 1st 5 games pan out.

  6. The Gabby Phenomoenon

    Unlike many of Villa’s players, Gabby was brought through the Villa ranks, and up to 2013 (say) he played his part to a great extent as a Villan. But by then the clouds were becoming darker over VP, and, not being a very bright feller, gave way to his lesser instincts – stimulated by the fanciful ideas of the then CEO.

    Since Bruce arrived he has clearly tried to turn all that around and has – effectively, by his actions – said “I’m sorry”.

    How much Gabby can now actually offer is certainly a reasonable question, but for me he is a Villan at heart and have been glad to see his determination to turn his life around. Bloomin ‘eck, I bet the Toffee supporters will be very happy to accommodate Rooney and forgive him for leaving Everton and for his lifestyle. Just because he’s a player of greater ability than Gabby does that mean that Gabby should be ostrasised? I don’t think so.

    McCormack is a bit of a different kettle of fish. Apparently he has a reputation for having an attitude problem and does not appear to be doing what his manager has asked him to do. That’s the difference.

  7. Many players have an attitude indeed many great players did. If we are talking possible worth to the team then a player that has scored 20 plus goals a season for several clubs in recent times has to be a better bet if handled correctly than one that has never reached his potential. Saying gabby can be a twenty goal a season player as Bruce and others have claimed doesn’t make it so. Hourihane when played as a DM is useless as an AM clearly not, hogan given no service is busy but ultimately fruitless unless played a certain way. Nothing to do with their application everything to do with the teams attitude or as it is, the managers.

  8. To add, there were rumblings before the gate indecent when RMC was said to have approached the manager to ask why he wasn’t getting a game, The obvious answer to me was Bruce was getting success with Kodjia and saw Gabby (from the past) as the ideal replacement at the club to play counter attack, RMC wasn’t and therefore did not get bigged up at the time as Gabby was and when push came to shove when Bruce needed him he was demoralised/got the hump. Of course I am only reading between the lines and from snippets of info given out and we don’t know his personal circumstance either.

  9. The players brought in are loaded with skill, energy, and excitement. Then they found out the manager only has a rudimentary understanding of “Battleship” thus becoming disheartened. Gabby is picked because he runs up and down in a straight line-a tactic Bruce understands

  10. Wel, I can’t agree with those views, but so be it.

    I’m sure in fact that Bruce may well have been inclined to let Gabby find his own way, but at various stages (like last January) being short of strikers he knew he had to make us of him. Not necessarily by preference, though he might have thought it might be possible to get Gabby playing as he was 4 or 5 years ago. And then Gabby was a useful player.

  11. JL ….. interesting article, shame the comments so far don’t match your prologue.
    As a now quite disinterested blogger on this site, I wonder how long the Mickey can be taken out of our team and how long other Lifers will hang around for with the type of comments made.
    It is interesting that those returning lifers have not been back since they reappeared. Maybe the standard of comments and Mickey taking is turning them away?
    Me? I don’t really care any more but feel for those who have and are putting effort into the blog………..
    Not expecting nor wanting any comments back but wish all a very happy season.
    Cheers JL.

    Oldvilla

  12. A player who scores 20 goals but who does not ‘fit’ is not good enough for Villa, i.m.o.

    That was the attitude in Rinder’s day and may well account for how things worked out better back then, as the focus of the club was about the club and teamwork, not individuals.

    That’s a perspective I admire and if The Villa Way is being re-engineered then that view is part of that ‘Way’, traditionally at least.

    Ron Saunders certainly got rid of players who were against the group ethos, even though their names might have been Gidman or Gray. Did it cause Villa to fail? Certainly not.

  13. Well I’m guilty of taking the Mickey but only with tongue in cheek. Given a chance I get a chuckle out of pushing a button but if I thought for one moment someone was upset it would bother me.
    In fairness the job Bruce took is a tough one. Expectations are huge at Villa. Putting a cohesive team together daunting in a short time frame. It’s not for the faint hearted. Finding that perfect set up next to impossible.

  14. Ian- it certainly is tough at Villa and about to get tougher,pressures on.

    Dr. Tony Xia‏Verified account
    @Dr_TonyXia

    A crucial month. Time to build real confidence and ‘only results matter’ culture at Villa as RECON always did as firm culture.#Septemberwish

    As for bloggers coming back I can’t remember many if any stating that they were happy with Bruce or the football on display? just a general disinterest kept them away, god forbid some even stated they agreed with me. They also appeared at a time when We had played a couple of decent games involving the youth.

    Why have they now disappeared? its the international break or the return to normality at Bristol maybe? Just us stalwarts here 😉

  15. Another bit of pressure would be IMO, the Chinese culture of success. I’m sure there is a rivalry behind the scenes with Wolverhampton and to some degree WestBrom. All three owned by Chinese businesses. It’s important to them to be the best and quickly.

  16. if as villa fans we are not allowed to take micky out of our side, the world is surely becoming far too serious, and in all honesty watching whats been on show for last 10 years has been criminal,its as bad as politics

  17. i dont see why bruce shouldnt get stick, by luck he found winning formation in which we actually scored goals he decides to change tack for the mighty bristol city,always read you dont change winning teams

  18. Maybe as an experiment all those that see Bruces product so far as being substandard should stop commenting until the 9th? then that would give all those put off by our comments chance to have there say and post all those interesting comments they have stored up.

    Personally having written analytically either for or against managers and players since I started posting am feeling more than a little unwanted, nothing has changed in the way I approach the blog other than I don’t rate what I am seeing this time around.

    Have a wonderful evening let me know if you want to proceed with the experiment

  19. Mark King – your last comment is exactly the type of pi$$ taking tosh that you normally write. Except you left out the condescending winking smiley. Plus the way you normally twist what is being said to suit your own views or feelings and not what others have said.
    I certainly don’t have the patience of others on here to listen about RDM or have bad Hutton is perceived to be, or how we won luckily, etc etc ad nauseum. Everyone should just realize how bad the villa have got over the Lerner years and we are now at the level we are because that’s where we deserve to be. Yes Bristol city were superior to us last season so drawing with them is quite an achievement these days. Recognize that we are where we are ……. and if everyone could just stick together then we may just get out of this predicament ………

    Ian – good comments and I appreciate them …..
    Oldvilla

  20. ov
    moan moan moan you fit right in on this site ,i dont know why youare moaning all the time,villas flying bruce is the new alec ferguson,hutton is the scottish cafu, gabby is the new jimmy greaves

  21. Well thank you OV for that informative post which consists of nothing more than you don’t seem to like me ? Feeling I have to say is becoming mutual. Do you have evidence that others are just patient or is that just your opinion all are welcome to comment

  22. OV
    Your direct comments always put a smile on my face, telling the naughty Lifers off.
    I think Mark is one of the more polite commentators, always replies.
    Hope all is well in the land of cheese and time pieces. Enjoy hearing from you.

  23. Just looking at Snodgrass’ temperament, he appears to be a bit of a firebrand, but he would add mongrel to the front and I suspect would work well with McCormack and Hogan. Yes, I’m hoping McCormack still gets a chance. On the other hand I’m hoping those strikers ahead in the que do so well nobody else gets a chance. But I still believe McCormack is a very skilled footballer.
    Brucie certainly has lots of depth in the squad. For him, this is Pressure September.

  24. Iana- Thank you for your kind words but I think you will find I am the devil incarnate apparently 🙂

    I agree we are collecting some fine footballing Brains lets hope we use them as they need to be used. Snodgrass seems to collect goals assists and yellows/reds equally, might well turn out to be Bruces best move .

  25. Came across this guardian article on another site, I remember reading it when Steve Bruce was mentioned as our next manager, thought it was a bit Harsh at the time but also quite worrying considering our position as a club and the way we were losing/drawing under RDM as a team. It also indicated that he is not the progressive manager I was hoping for.

    I read it again today and so many of the comments appear now to somewhere near the mark. Whether you think I am just anti-Bruce or not is irrelevant you cannot deny that we are seeing something very similar take shape since he arrived regarding the Tactics, style, his general comments and managing of players etc.

    https://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2011/nov/30/steve-bruce-sunderland-sacked

  26. Mark
    I’m hoping Snodgrass is the kind of player that not only scores and assists but is effective at getting stuck in and breaking up opposition ball. That kind of “mongrel,”
    This is a very interesting month for Villa, no pressure on Brucie:). Going on the last three games, I reckon Villa can win all six games for 18 points. Why not? Even last year, less into the rebuild, Villa had such runs.
    I’m pretty sure youngsters will feature regularly.

  27. Mark
    “Steve Bruce was a manager who refused to move with the times”
    (Louise Taylor)
    A fair article.
    One would think that Brucie has had lots of time to reflect on those failures. He must have looked in the mirror, and seen where he needs to improve his game. Tactics wise, he must listen to his most competent senior players and staff. He should have regular meetings with Terry, Chester and possibly Hourihane and Lansbury.

  28. Iana- yes the games are there to be won and should be imo as the doc says it’s time to stand up and be counted.

    You would think SB would take note of his critics but his reactions lately say otherwise for me as does the repetition of the same errors, only so long it can be put down to the players, after all they did not previously show the traits they are now labelled with.

  29. The transfer season is over and every team has the team they want to push forward with–mostly. Let’s start the season at game number six and go from there. Everything else is in the past. Nothing back there can change. Let’s forget about it.
    Having a meeting with some senior players for game plans is a good idea. Giving them some ownership of the game plan should bring the best out of them after all they won’t want to fail using some of their own suggestions.
    Snodgrass is a bit of a firebrand? That’s something I think has been missing for several years. I mean, I like Joey Barton for that reason. I think our keepers are quite good but I would like to see a little more aggression from them so opposition forwards are thinking twice when they enter the penalty zone.

    Ok Steve you’ve pretty much tied up two teams worth of talent. Show us what you’ve got this September.

  30. Ian: “Ok Steve you’ve pretty much tied up two teams worth of talent. Show us what you’ve got this September.”

    I believe that the chairman agrees with that view! 😀

    I do too…

  31. Indeed, September will be the tipping point…I don’t know that it’s helpful for Xia to publicly put pressure on the team. But he’s the owner, can do what he likes.

    I have a sneaking suspicion that the comment is directed at all parties. Players, do your part. Bruce, get results (however you get them). Could be read as prodding him to continue with recent selections (as in, those are where the results have come from recently), and also to lay the groundwork for getting rid if September is a “failure”.

  32. Xia has to be careful. Like Trump and the boy who cried wolf tweets can be the undoing, the moment when everyone turns off reducing them to flogging a dead horse. I think looking for positives works better. You can’t tell me no one knows they did poorly without someone ripping them a new one.

  33. I wonder if as mentioned in the article of Bruces Sunderland days his perceived weakness in in-game tactics exploited by other managers in the prem is now coming back to haunt him in this division? One glance at the recent managers to gain promotion from this division shows a fair number of foreign managers lately, go back 5-6 years this was not the case, the champs was the realm of gritty British managers. It is by no means a problem he has alone, RDM failed to do the same without his star studded Chelsea team.

    Now we have a younger more switched on Brit and foreigner managing in this league and many decent foreign managers cutting their teeth in this league to advance to the prem table if promoted or maybe even if they have shown promise. The Jekyll and Hyde performances may be nothing more than Bruces failure to adjust to other managers tactical switches and the growing quality of this league which may no longer be the one he had his successes in? He barely scraped in last time with his own Hull side which has since been sold for a fair bit of money (so I assume the players were quite decent).

    Bournemouth Eddie Howe 2015
    Norwich City Alex Neil 2015
    Burnley Sean Dyche 2016
    Hull City Steve Bruce 2016
    Rafa Benitez – Toon 2017
    Slavisa Jokanovic – Watford 2015
    Aitor Karanka – Middlesbrough 2016
    David Wagner Huddersfield 2017

  34. That said I hope we smash all opposition out of the park, the alternative doesn’t bear thinking about, Brentford should be a Win Arry Rednapp just bought three of their team/squad

  35. Trinity- Strangely enough the comments slanted toward McCormack because the first post was an article JL put up about McCormack , and addressed the nature of a couple of our players to boot, but lets not let that get in the way of a good moan 🙂

  36. OV- I just looked back over this post and re-reading your comments All you had to say was “Interesting article” then proceeded to lay into other bloggers who have put some thought into what they are typing, no wonder you are disinterested chap you add nothing to the conversation and attack those that contribute. As I have said feel free to ignore my posts as you see fit, I have my opinion and until someone puts up a compelling argument that supports Bruce and what we have seen since his arrival its unlikely to change.

  37. Trinity – agreed with my apologies, I should have said MOST comments 🙂 All good over here thanks mate but don’t get to see much of FC Basel ……. maybe Villa will get them in the Champions league very soon?!

    Iana – I’ll be in touch with you on FB very soon. Just got back from Italy so sorting some stuff out before writing too much …..

    Mark King – you never fail to deliver eh?
    Ok, please re-read my original comment which I have copied below to make it easier for you. And then once you have re-read it, can you let me know where I “lay into other bloggers” and “attack those who contribute”? Haha – lay into and attack eh? Strong words and yet again a total misreading of what is written and being used to back up whatever it is you are trying to prove.

    My original post – “JL ….. interesting article, shame the comments so far don’t match your prologue.
    As a now quite disinterested blogger on this site, I wonder how long the Mickey can be taken out of our team and how long other Lifers will hang around for with the type of comments made.
    It is interesting that those returning lifers have not been back since they reappeared. Maybe the standard of comments and Mickey taking is turning them away?
    Me? I don’t really care any more but feel for those who have and are putting effort into the blog………..
    Not expecting nor wanting any comments back but wish all a very happy season.”

    I have to admit that you do bore me with most of your comments and constant twisting of what people say and seeing as you must contribute about 50% of all comments, that is why I am so disinterested. So you have already seen off JL from commenting back to you and I will follow JL’s lead. That would seem the most sensible thing for all, just in case I start laying into and attacking fellow Villa fans again lol ………
    If any Lifers feel that they have been attacked and laid into by me then I apologise for being such a nasty bully 🙂

    Time for a walk in the sun I think …..
    oldvilla

  38. OV- so where is your ideas there then on JL’s post mate? there isn’t any, as I said you just criticise me and others for not talking about it. trust me you boring the cr*p out of me mate, same post for months mainly about me or negativity, so if you want the Blog to change try joining in and contributing, why you feel the need to defend others from me and others god only knows they are all big boys and girls.

    Enjoy your walk

  39. MK
    A couple of things oh bored one – you forgot to answer this part of my post “And then once you have re-read it, can you let me know where I “lay into other bloggers” and “attack those who contribute”? Haha – lay into and attack eh? Strong words and yet again a total misreading of what is written and being used to back up whatever it is you are trying to prove. ”

    Maybe thats why I don’t post much as no-one answers my questions or its all twisted into something I didnt say, just like when you said “why you feel the need to defend others from me and others god only knows they are all big boys and girls.” Where exactly am I defending the others from you?!

    And finally you say I dont join in or contribute but I posted this a few days ago…… “Everyone should just realize how bad the villa have got over the Lerner years and we are now at the level we are because that’s where we deserve to be. Yes Bristol city were superior to us last season so drawing with them is quite an achievement these days. Recognize that we are where we are” …….. which I thought was a decent comment and something which needs to be recognised by all as the Villa are where we are because that is our current level and status. It was in response to the comments that Villa only managed to draw with the mighty Brizzle City (or something similar)….. well they were better than us last season because of our standing these days.

    Here endeth the lesson for today ………………..
    oldvilla

  40. 1. “interesting article, shame the comments so far don’t match your prologue.”
    That is a dig at the posts and whomever has posted it no?
    2.you constantly mention posters who won’t post etc and now the people who run the blog you feel sorry for as if you are a spokesman for the downtrodden do they not have voices if things are that bad? How do you think that makes those you are accusing feel?

    3. Your final actual football related comment came after you had decided to tell me that my comments are what? p*ss taking,?take that part out and you might of got a reply to it.

    As it is where are villa? They have a squad that should if handled properly walk this league, to date it sure doesn’t look that way. If we don’t go up we will see where we really are but there is nobody to be scared of in this league if we apply ourselves properly imo

  41. MK – I give up with you and your blog. It is the MK blog isnt it?
    “spokesman for the downtrodden”???!!!!!!! I had to actually laugh in sympathy at your comment …. where do you get all this from eh?

    I’ll join the downtrodden then and won’t have to read such a load of rubbish ….

    oldvilla

  42. Oh and you still didnt answer my questions that I asked twice. Maybe because you couldnt.
    Anyway, please dont bother as it will all be meaningless ….

    oldvilla

  43. OV- read it again then as I have answered it

    1. “interesting article, shame the comments so far don’t match your prologue.”

    That is a dig at the posts and whomever has posted it no? term it whichever way you like, lay into, attack………. thats usually how you start a post

    You have to ask why you keep returning to have a go at my meaningless posts?? another dig 🙂

  44. mk
    thanks when OV giving you abuse he is leaving me alone,
    not once has he posted anything anything new just copy and paste or agreeing with someone or moaning about my posts now its yours
    every blog is quiet especially on international weeks,plus most are p*ssed of with villa ,bruces management style
    going tomorrow to see whelan play v serbia ,he got some stick over weekend for another poor show on saturday much like his performances for us villa

  45. “I give up with you and your blog. It is the MK blog isnt it”

    no its not my Blog its a community supposedly graciously owned and kept going by JC since the last owner retired, (forgive me if anyone else has a stake in it.) you talk about twisting words and being condescending, I have nothing on you mate.

  46. Hi JG, yes I find it most friendly, I hope its a good game for you mate, its never a good sign when the management are defending a players inclusion, I didn’t see much of the Ireland game myself and in fact watched a bit of England then turned it off just before they scored 4 sods law 🙂

  47. MK, You must be kicking yourself on missing out on an exhilarating game like Georgia v Ireland. It was terrible.

    And to JG I listened to Eamonn and Liam and completely agree with them, it’s our typical self destruct game from being in a decent position in the group to now having to look over our shoulders at the Welsh. The benefit maybe that it will focus the minds tomorrow that nothing less than a win is needed, I’d hate to be going to Wales looking to get second spot.

    Back to AVL

    I do find on Facebook, a breeding ground for social media warriors such that it propagates a sense of entitlement in terms of opinion that if you shout loud enough and get exonerated by having loads of likes, your ego is massaged and you successfully dismiss every other opinion as being not true to the Villa.

    Well as with Facebook, AVL has no impact at all, Steve Bruce doesn’t read what we say, the Dr nor the team, so professing an opinion that seeks to justify an impression that all is not well at Villa and the cause is the manager is perfectly valid. Equally suggesting a wait and see approach allowing the team to gel, the manager to succeed or fail over time and for any assessment to be based on us being in the gutter looking up at the stars is surprisingly also equally valid. Neither will impact Aston Villa itself.

    What I don’t get (and given JL and MK as chief protagonists of disparate opinions that manage to debate with respect and even though they may have irritated each other, there is a understanding of each position) is OV’s assertion that the perceived negativity from MK is to be shot down and dismissed from AVL in it’s entirety. Again, these are OPINIONS backed up by reasoned thought on where Villa finds themselves right now under Bruce. My own opinion veers towards MK but I accept what JL says has veracity (apart from his love of Gabby the Villan as opposed to Gabby the footballer 🙂 )

    Therefore OV give it a rest, engage in debate, challenge the members, put forward your views but stop this dismissal approach. Again I don’t own AVL but we all have an equal right to be heard whether we agree or disagree. If you believe MK’s ‘negativity’ breeds negativity strike a balance, if you believe a point away to Bristol is good, debate with me about it as I believe for the money spent, the squad we have the 4 time promotion manager we have, this is a poor result and a reflection of some Villa fans continuation to wallow in the mire of the Lerner years instead of demanding more from the Dr.T years.

    Stop surmising why people post or don’t post as some sort of way to back your opinion, they could well be fed up with Villa in full as to any one person’s opinion. If opinion drives some people away, it also attracts people, what AVL and every other forum allows is all sides of opinion, it would be a very dull place if all we said was weren’t the Lerner years cr*p to us, and look its still impacting us two seasons later, that ad nauseum would put me off.

    As for Villa

    A crucial month ahead, with Dr.Ts added spice from his tweet, without club football it’s going to be quiet.

  48. Ah…I love the smell of discord in the morning.

    Working on a post now about the pro/anti business. Which I know is scintillating stuff. But, it does attempt to get to the heart of what we try to do here. Or why. Or something like that.

    At any rate, as I’ve said often enough, the basic AVL idea was to create a friendly and respectful place to talk Villa versus the wind-ups and hostility that tend to propagate in online forums, whether by design (angry people do post, if only to call you names) or not.

    The other element is that neither Matt nor I consider(ed) ourselves oracles. We’re often no more right or wrong than any other supporter.

    Which is why, as you saw with Ian’s post last week, we’ve always encouraged anyone interested in putting down thoughts for a leader to do so.

    I’ve got opinions, JL’s got opinions, as do Mark, OV, DOR and a very large number of people who read but don’t post.

    Doesn’t mean I’m right. Over time, I’ve found that the truth with things like football usually lies somewhere in the middle. Sometimes it is clear-cut one way or another. But I strive to keep my opinions and readings of games rooted in reality.

    I also welcome disagreement. There’s been quite a bit over the years, and I’ve been called all sorts of things. Doesn’t faze me, and I don’t mind when I’m wrong. Though I’m trying to remember the last time… 😉

    Anyway, just be respectful…We’re not all going to agree, no group ever does, but we are in control of how we respond to each other and whether we contribute to a positive or negative environment—which is distinct from having positive or negative opinions on any given topic.

  49. Looking at Villa’s plight over the context of 142 years of existence then this rough spot is a mere irritant. But looking at it as a what have you done lately it’s a big irritant to anyone with Villa tattoos on their butt.
    Looking back to the European championship in the early eighties is pointless. Most of Villa’s fans weren’t alive then. They want to see some improvement. Laying 18th in the championship is worse than bottom 3 in the Prem. Villa are still falling with excuses galore why things haven’t improved.
    Spending a king’s ransom on the best available in the champions league and a few older Prem players should work. But it hasn’t. You have to ask why. How can it not be the manager and his Coaches? How long does it take to gel?–the biggest, fattest excuse I can think off. Averaging a point a game for this talented group is head scratching.
    How many of these players are ruining their careers sticking to the way they are instructed to play? McCormack is the first. Kodjia has done well in spite of it all. Some say he is selfish. But if he wasn’t he’d have nowt under this dross. Grealish is misused as are others. They know what their best position and style of play is and they are kept from it. Do you really think they have bought into Bruce’s methods?

  50. dor
    if we are going to wales fighting for 2nd place ,it will be to little to late,worst 2nd place misses out on playoffs and our group is hovering on bottom couple placings
    and as usual very well wrote post earlier

  51. Dor- If you think the Ireland game was bad you should of watched England with 99% possession. Malta played 3 centre halves and a big bus it was Reading V Villa all over again thought I saw Steve Bruce in Malta’s dugout but it wasn’t it was JT on holiday, he had popped in to shake the Maltese lads hands, there’s dedication for you.

  52. Mark, that article you gave the link to is breathtaking . . . . not in its ignorance, but in its wanton manipulation of truth and deliberate lies.
    Forty years ago this year I was one of a dozen students on the UK’s first environmental biology degree course.
    All the way back then we studied the theory of global warming. It’s still a ‘theory’ of course. . . . that’s the nature of science, but in those intervening 40 years the flow of evidence has been almost totally one way.
    The key point however is that ‘if’ the theory is correct, as the vast majority of climate scientist believe, then the implications for us, and particularly our children are dire.
    There is a tiny, and still diminishing, chance that the sceptics are right but it’s pure madness to risk the future of civilisation on that tiny chance. The only sensible and logical action is to work on the assumption that the theory is correct and to take mitigating actions now before it’s too late. It makes me angry that stupid and bigoted people are risking my children’s future for some bizarre reasons that I doubt any of them could explain.

  53. Mark–only in my dreams.
    rObbO–I don’t know if you read about the forest fires in BC but the have been the worst ever. 10,000 square kilometres of scorched earth. Two rainy days here since mid June. The entire western part of North America is on fire. 51 inches of rain in Huston in 2 days. Another monster hurricane on the way. Snow in eastern Canada. It’s the new normal.

  54. Robbo- well that would depend on who is the sceptic? Appears to me people get attached to their version of the truth and lose perspective. Same in everything science football you name it , money is a great driver in many a theory to. I read recently that the Middle Ages were warmer than today, can we just discount the effects of universe around us ? I doubt it, I am more bothered by pollution.

    Ian- I’ll get it photographed pronto

  55. JC: “I’ve got opinions, JL’s got opinions, as do Mark, OV, DOR and a very large number of people who read but don’t post. … Doesn’t mean I’m right. Over time, I’ve found that the truth with things like football usually lies somewhere in the middle. Sometimes it is clear-cut one way or another. But I strive to keep my opinions and readings of games rooted in reality.”

    Yes, John, well put. However, I feel that supporters of different generations will look at matters from a different slant … depending, I suppose, on our experience with Villa in our younger years.

    OV and myself remember a kinder time when sport was a major thing, but certainly not at the level it is now, where money is the be-all-and-end-all to a great extent. And for me, we also come more into the era where analysis is regarded as so important.

    I feel that OV (like me) remembers those less serious days when it was the footie itself we simply experienced week-by-week. If we lost, we’d perhaps drown our sorrows but after a couple of days would be looking forward to the next week. And looking to it with (usually) hope rather than the denigration of whoever was the team manager. (Especially as back then we all knew it was the board that was the real problem … indeed, as it was up until last year. Assuming that Dr. Tonics really is the bees-knees.)

    The typical fan’s attitude is clearly simply not like that now nor has not been for quite a long time, and we have to recognise that. A bit like me, OV probably despairs that later generations cannot be more tolerant towards the manager. My message to OV would simply be to take the generational difference more into account and leave those poor suffering people to their sorrows! 😀

  56. Darren: “Therefore OV give it a rest, engage in debate, challenge the members, put forward your views but stop this dismissal approach. Again I don’t own AVL but we all have an equal right to be heard whether we agree or disagree.”

    I agree with the purport of that, but it can also be said that there is a somewhat disproportionate number of posts on the antagonistic side of the argument. OV’s comments are very difficult to find in the deluge! 🙂

  57. Good to see Villa’s management avoid any FFP sanctions for the club.
    I’m really looking forward to the weekend’s football. One thing I like about this league is that there’s more action.
    It’s been a good week in my sporting world. The ladies won their rugby world cup (commiserations England), the netball girls beat Aussie and now I want to see a Villa win by 4 goals.

  58. jl
    maybe if villa werent in championship near bottom as well,paying obscene wages to gabby richards and terry who to be honest none of them deserve for what effort they have put in,a manager who proclaims to be best at this level[mind you most was 10 years ago]yet has more excuses than a politician,for whats wrong,he has spent over 30m signed 15 players and we have not played well in one entire match half here half there,maybe its not a bit wonder most posters are fed up with what we see

  59. Yes I agree JG I have no problem with people earning good money it’s just out of proportion to the joy /entertainment given in return and then they have the cheek to moan about it. Contracts also make them impervious to the life the fans face, wish I could sit my contract out hang on I’m self employed 🙂

  60. Hi JL

    And I should great leader (in every sense) , it must be both brilliant and time-consuming to discover Aston Villa’s past directly like you do.

    Perhaps equally we should all be cognisant of each other, I’d hate to think that OV is the one to adjust to us and as JG has said perhaps the times we live in in terms of where Villa finds itself lends itself more readily to unhappiness at our predicament.

  61. years ago the fans were the club, no fans no funds now it’s a small part of a big clubs income. Teams played for pride not the pay check so maybe it was easy to tolerate seeing poor games if they tried.

    So much of the games inner workings are revealed these days it’s hard to watch a match and not see the flaws.

    Equally for me it’s hard to watch other teams play so well while ours can’t do the basics, I think the day of the man manager is past, if you don’t have both sides to your game then your at a disadvantage. That is how I see Bruce , I don’t dislike him I just see some big flaws in his game.

    Given time I am sure that he can produce a team but it’s looks more like a process of elimination with him than a deeper knowledge. What more can I say?

  62. I do appreciate the job he’s done either the finances this summer but then I have guage that against Wagner dealings for £3.5m net last season to get promoted and you have to take in the partial failure of the Jan window to make a telling difference.

    Could villa have been a whole lock cleverer in there dealings since the takeover? Imo yes

  63. Robbo- If your out there Here’s something much more important thats changed in the last 20 years, the decline in insect and bird life that is simply ignored.

    My suggestion if you want to protect your kids take a look at the effects of WIFI and Mobile phones emitting emf’s, its going to be a huge problem, there science is out there that EMF’s has a massive effect on Calcium within cells causing DNA damage.

    http://www.naturalnews.com/2017-09-04-mass-wipeout-of-insects-happening-now-across-the-uk.html

  64. B6,

    Depressing news?

    An eco-system imbalance was being talked about 30 years ago but few took it seriously.

    The rush to make money took over in the 80s.

    I have to say I feel guilty as I was one of those who helped to start that trend when I was being paid oodles in the then new computer business (60s and 70s) … then I had a rude shock when I suddenly realised what was taking place.

  65. “years ago the fans were the club, no fans no funds now it’s a small part of a big clubs income. Teams played for pride not the pay check so maybe it was easy to tolerate seeing poor games if they tried.”
    That’s right it was a club based around a local community. It was a club in the full sense of the word. Now it’s a franchise and fans have been disenfranchised.

  66. Brasil- I have not seen a single wasp this year, Blue bottles, lacewings, black fly, gnats rarely seen and I live in a rural area. It is depressing but not even newsworthy I think the worlds gone insane.

    Remember as kids the save the Panda campaigns? now there is barely a species left untouched. Plenty of rats in power though.

  67. Program on BBC4 just finishing so will be on catch up soon about footballers and rugby players around WW1 just heard they formed a footballers battalion? think you might like JL and OV its talks about there lives in the community

  68. I was looking at that issue of the Footballer’s Battalion some time ago … I’ve got a book in my library on the topic.

    The man who organised ’em was an ex-Villa player … (Major) Frank Buckley. He made a big name for himself as a football manager in the 30s and 40s, including a pre-war period with Wolves. He tried to get his players to take a monkey gland extraction to boost their play. Dickie Dorsett (then a Wolves player but later a Villa player for 10 years) refused to take it – the only one of Buckley’s players I believe to actually refuse to do so.

    Frank Buckley was also the elder brother to Chris Buckley – a star player for us in the chamionship side of 1909-10 and Villa’s chairman 1955-66.

  69. I for one have not commented for a few days or more, as it was our bank holiday this weekend. I have basically caught up now, but lets be honest here, Lerner years put us where we are, but we don’t have to be nor should we be happy and content with draws against the likes of Bristol. If you accept mediocrity then mediocrity is what you will get. I for one would accept a year or two longer in the chumpionship for some nice attacking footy, and we know we can play it, we have seen glimpses of it this season already. Don’t Mr Bruce try and reinvent the wheel every week, stick with the game plan from the Norwich and Wigan games, we may lose the odd game we could have drawn yes, but I for one could live with that. Put it this way, twelve draws away is twelve points yes? Six wins and Six loses is 18 points is it not for the same 12 games, which would you all prefer. I hope beyond all hope, Brucie wins this league this year and does it in style, I believe every one of us on this site does, and I don’t care if he does it by luck or judgement, but I do want to enjoy watching the matches, win or lose. Love him or hate him, the good doctor did go to Brian Little and others for advice when replacing RDM and like it or not, he was advised by those that are supposed to be in the know, to go with Steve Bruce. Maybe he needs to change his way’s as he is now managing his first big club, but we need try and support him, and keep pushing back though when we are dished up a load of rubbish. I am just into my sixty’s so I have been around since the days of Willie Anderson, big Tony and not forgetting our Charlie. I don’t think age has any thing to do with ones perception of what’s being dished up, it’s what one is willing to accept as a decent try or decent entertainment. Put us in a shift boy’s and we will all be happier little Villans.
    As for global warming boy’s its not true, Uncle Donald from just south of us say’s so, and we all know he is so truthful, it has to be a myth.

  70. I thought you’d know about it JL if anyone did, many of them didn’t come home which I suppose was the Norm.

    CV- I agree, trying to score goals or parking the Bus are both attempts to win but I know where my preference lies and I can’t remember to many games we won one nil except the European cup final, winning or losing in a high scoring close game sticks in the memory. Still, get us out of this league before we do a Leeds please

  71. JL,I never see fire flies here any longer,very few geckos,and seeing a bat is now rare,compared to just 5 years ago.
    Between 200 and 2000 species become extinct each year,according to the WWF.

  72. We’ve lost many species, mainly to the introduction of rats, possums, stoats and cats and people, animals that previously never lived here in NZ. In recent times, rats, stoats and possums have been the biggest problem. The moa, an emu like bird (but bigger), died out in the 19th century. The huia was a beautiful song bird that died out in the early 20th century and the Haast eagle, the world’s biggest eagle died out with its main prey, the moa. Even NZ’s mightiest forest tree, the kauri, is endangered now. It is being attacked by some virus there isn’t a cure for.

  73. Iana- yes I can see what you mean, no real base formed although they don’t have our history.

    the Haast eagle, what a sight that must of been and probably your last to 🙂

  74. Canada: “I don’t think age has any thing to do with ones perception of what’s being dished up, it’s what one is willing to accept as a decent try or decent entertainment.”

    Nor did I say it was, if you’re referring to my comment. I was talking about the lengths that people go to these days to analyse what’s what. That was something that was little done 50 years ago and (i.m.o.) we were happier for it! 😉

    About the time of the Second World War, there was an outcry about the depth to which statistics were by then being used in football (nothing to what is produced now!) rather than evaluating football purely as an entertainment medium. Which is what it really is, i.m.o. Sport is now treated as though it’s got more importance than the disappearing species of creatures and plants or the plight of poor people throughout the world who are being bombed out of their homes.

    But yes, the quality of play and the effort behind it are key to making Villa a success., and I agree that even though Villa did not do well in the 50s and 60s there were still marvellous players to watch in the Villa ranks and you could almost guarantee you’d see 110% effort from them.

    But I do see signs of that happening now. I think we’ve got into a criticising rut and forget that the previous 6 years got us to this situation and now it’s taking a lot of push to get us back up. The players now – for me at least – are of a better mindset than those of 12 months ago.

  75. Then it appears to be down to perspective JL, you assume people were happier for not analysing football, I quite enjoy it. There is little entertainment had from Villa’s play or Bruces management imo to wax lyrical about. If lets say we analysed soley the positive side of our play would that be accepatble? Or is it the highlighting of the many deficiencies people see that is causing a problem? to me highlighting them is not a problem they appear fairly obvious while the good play/ tactics less so. I guess it depends on how much you can separate your happiness from Villa? It cheers me when I see them play well above normal levels for a while.

    I agree that there are signs of a better attitude but I see it coming from the youth Players in combination with the likes of Hourihane, Hogan, elmo, thor, Bree, Chester, Taylor not the likes of JT and Wheelan so far which we are told is the plan.That is why I am so keen to see them play.

    Totally agree to much superficial stuff is given so much importance but thats what Governments etc do when they are keeping the bad stuff Quiet, hence I am surprised you have a problem with analysing Villa’s problems, ignoring them won’t make Villa’s or the worlds problems go away.

  76. MK, you might enjoy it, and I’ve not said that there’s anything wrong about it per se. But like all things, it’s probably better done in moderation … and there’s always the added factor that one may not have all the facts at one’s fingertips to analyse accurately, especially if you’re relying on secondary sources for data.

  77. JL Maybe I am hoping for more pieces of the puzzle to appear or someone else’s perspective to spark something but if people refuse to entertain the idea then yes it appears pointless. Isn’t every thing written about based on the available Knowledge from the authors perspective or the perspective of what others have said or written, some may be original thought granted. I certainly am not hoping for some of the reactions or meaning harm but thats the way the cookie Crumbles.

    I get stick for mentioning the last manager while you bring in information from 100+ years of history and you are praised.

    Whatever happens I will try to make sense and connections from the knowledge I have and try to broaden the picture to understand it more if possible, thats just me. Maybe I have ADHD or something similar god knows these days 🙂

  78. This is basically the Southampton way which is Good, what I want to see though is the Villa way played in the first team not the Bruce way, Can Steve deliver that is the burning Question for me.

    “It’s also vital the club has that vital anchor that, if god forbid, we do have a management change, Steve would be the continuum in that we know how to carry on going-forward.

    “That’s something we have never had before. Whenever we have changed managers, it’s been total chaos and lurching from one crisis to another one.

    “We are now trying to make sure we have a balanced progression no matter what happens and I think that’s important for the future.”

  79. MK,

    Thanks for pointing out the Wyness interview. It’s a good long one and it reflects i.m.o. just how much thinking, planning and quiet execution is taking place while we fans sit back and wait for it to unfold. This is part of what I mean about analysing when we don’t know all the facts, and Wyness is clearly showing that there’s a lot we don’t know about what is happening in detail in the Club, about infrastructure as well as playing.

    I am very chary of trying to analyse what’s happening until I have all facts of that situation in front of me. Maybe it goes back to my 40 years in developing computer systems, and working with a lot of different companies and their management to determine requirements, analyse them and come out with a design.

    As far as footie is concerned I work more from past experience to work out what has transpired because I don’t (mostly) trust the data that is constantly thrown at us.

    As to my reporting on things of 100 years ago and being fortunate in receiving positive remarks on that, that’s the easy bit in one sense, as it’s happened and is fixed, and can be researched pretty accurately now time has passed. With the present – and the current manager situation – it’s a fluid situation, and (being fluid) we can’t expect it to be concrete! 😀

  80. JL- I agree on the whole.

    The interview itself could be revealing or just to keep us quiet, but taken as gospel bodes well 🙂 The whole thing apart from developing the Villa way seems reliant on Getting up into the Prem, which on the face of it is obvious, we need funds and the only concrete part is the Villa way. Being me I would like to here from Round what that actually is.

    What is odd is that we don’t seem to have gone for the Villa way whole hog and plumbed for the Bruce way in the hope it will strike rich. As I have said since Remi was here we needed to have continuity throughout the club and this time in the champs is the ideal time for that to occur. Other clubs like Leicester and Southampton did it that way, maybe because they had to but it appears with that information in front of us that working two separate ways as we are may be foolhardy. Once in the Prem that transition and testing of the Villa way will be harder and likely less successful if not ingrained now and proven.

  81. MK: “we don’t seem to have gone for the Villa way whole hog and plumbed for the Bruce way in the hope it will strike rich.”

    Well, they appointed a manager with a certain record and modus operandi and a man with a success record for the task at hand has to be respected, no? If you don’t trust the manager you’ve appointed then what’s the point of appointing him?

    It may not be the perfect appointment to fit your (understandable) criteria, but that’s where we’re at. But from how I read it there’s a phase 2…

  82. Good interview with Wyness, I’ll avoid cynicism and will wholeheartedly support the efforts the club is making to put all the ground work in to make Villa big in the modern sense.

    And I’ve probably not realised it until reading the article how much Deadly and Lerner ran the club on a shoestring when all around were putting in place the building blocks to be global or at least efficient for the times, some investment like Man City’s was done at an alarming rate but look at their academy and training facilities and how their player catchment area extends far beyond Manchester. While others like Southampton built low level success and have reaped the rewards, I’m not concerned that they don’t win trophies, it’s the ethos of the club that I admire that and Shane Long 🙂

    I do feel the first 11 and manager are at odds with the Villa way and Wyness has said as much because of the goal to return to the premiership being achieved at the cost of football, so if we don’t get promoted it may well give us a chance to get a manager that matches Round’s philosophy. Equally, I’ve not seen anything in what Bruce did prior to us suggesting he is anything but a stop gap with a mission and presumably alternative managers are being continually assessed in terms fit for the club depending on where we find ourselves in May.

    To JL, I’m sure they trusted their decision, Bruce’s CV is self evident if you look at it in cold terms like promotion. Sure there’s been relegation and Lerner hangovers but looking at last season and looking 5 games in plus pre-season. Clear issues on how we perform haven’t been addressed, he still has time given the number of games but the writing is on the wall if he doesn’t get us into top 6 by the time the next international break comes along.

    To finish on a positive, it does my heart good to know we may have a mgmt team at VP that actually has Villa’s long term best interests as priority and is seeking to revive a glorious name like Aston Villa.

  83. Agree Darren,
    I think Doug kept us ticking over and was visionary enough to see a new custodian was needed to keep up with the pack at the very least back in 2003, or whenever it was Learner took, over sadly he (RL) lost interest and the rest is history.
    It looks as though a structure/method or as JL puts it Villa way is being put in place, good. Again I dont think a new dynasty will built on Steve Bruce’s football methodology, Its his watch and he’s part of the journey.
    The journey continues. Archie.

  84. MK
    the only phobia you have is ” A fear of spending your own money in pubs ” £20 comes to mind , Gary (steamer) did leave a P.S in His Will , As worded ” get my £20 off that tight arse and give it too the PDSA ” l will haunt you till you sort it , . Be Warned !!
    and about the microwaves , my Brother was told that as far back as the early 1980s during his course work on BT telecommunications , they knew well of the complications this will cause , especially in the brain area ( oh your safe there then )
    On the villa , at the moment lm just enjoying the company of the Steamers that are left at some of the games , lm going to Barnsley and have a ticket for the Burton away game , but as for the football lm just letting that go over my head at the moment , lm not a fan of SB and just waiting to see where we are at xmas ,
    thanks as well to all the posters for the kind words ,
    Brasil l saw Ged at the Norwich game with his son , had a few words with him , great bloke there,
    well lm off to take my brother for his last Chemo , here’s hoping ,
    have a great weekend all
    Jenny XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

  85. Villa seem to have a knack of doing things arris about face, when faced with relegation we got garden in a man more about club building and the long term instead of a big Sam or warnock. Now even though we are on the biggest rebuild in memory we go for Bruce even though This league appears to have moved on.

    Did make me smile that Bruce’s honesty is what wyness loves him implying younger managers are secretive? Also he drops in the manager continuity line that must have left Steve wishing Kieth was more secretive 🙂

  86. Darren: “…[Bruce] still has time given the number of games but the writing is on the wall if he doesn’t get us into top 6 by the time the next international break comes along.”

    Yes, that has to be right. But I just don’t know why we tend to look at the -ve possibilities, though, given that the Club is only now getting over the destructive era of Lerner.

    “looking 5 games in” I’d say that the picture is not all -ve given the last 3 games actually played, though the Bristol match was not quite what we hoped for.

    “We just have to see what materialises” (Quote: J. Lerwill, every week for the last … weeks! 🙂

  87. OV , get back on here , will be seeing Hicky and the like this weekend , will let them know your still about mate , and when you come over give me notice so l can sort out a pint with them all ,
    the bloke who owns Carspares Ltd in the midlands has a house on the borders , so next time we have to go over and work on his pile over there l will let you know and meet you at border control ..lol ,
    all the best mate and hopefully see you soon ,

  88. JL- Maybe we don’t have to look at it negatively but as we sit 18th at the moment its not rosey either, with an easy month comparably ahead it has to be said SB needs to step up if he wants to keep his job and we want promotion, I wish SB all the best and hope he rises to the challenge, 40 games of averageness doesn’t give us much to go on.

    September: Light at the end of the tunnel, or an oncoming train?
    Sep 16th 17:30 A Barnsley (TV)
    Sep 19th 19:45 H Middlesbrough (Football League/Carabao Cup Third round)
    Sep 23rd 17:30 H Nottingham Forest (TV)
    Sep 26th 19:45 A Burton
    Sep 30th 15:00 H Bolton Wanderers
    We will know a lot more about this year’s version of Aston Villa by the next International Break which hits after the Bolton match.

  89. MK: “Maybe we don’t have to look at it negatively but as we sit 18th at the moment its not rosey either, “

    With 41 games left anything can happen. If we were in 18th place after 20 games I *would* be seriously worried, but at this moment – and after seeing some reasons to be opti – for me it’s not worth thinking about just now.

  90. JL- Forgive me mate but wasn’t the narrative last season and the season before even from myself? I am hoping for the best while remaining as yet unconvinced

  91. JL- One other thing is that the last three games included a team full of youth and players we are actively trying to get rid of against Wigan but didn’t, Effectively being three different teams/formations in each match. The last three league games however have seen a loss a win and a draw with the away games being poor efforts.

    I had a look over his promotion years and on past evidence Steve Bruces teams have followed a good patch bad patch pattern, by that I mean long stretches without a win then a purple patch rather than lose one/two say every 5-6 games ( similar to last season). Both Newcastle and Brighton followed a more regular win loss pattern never losing more than two on the bounce last season. Maybe why he has been in so many late runs into the play offs or second place?

  92. Mark-“Iana- yes I can see what you mean, no real base formed although they don’t have our history.”
    I just watched a review of the Warriors’ year. It was an utter failure. Fans and the new chief executive of the club believe its biggest failure has been in developing local players, a foundation principle of why the club was established. Now, local players prefer to play for better Australian based clubs, so the Warriors have lost their appeal to both local players and many fans a like.
    Yes, the Warriors don’t have Villa’s tradition and thus, Villa will always have a fanbase of diehards, but if success is along time in coming, the club will grow weaker and shrink. The point though, is the importance of nurturing local talent. The local talent links the club to the community. The Warriors forgot that.

  93. Iana- up until round revamped the scouting Villa had no eye on Midlands youth Talent, it has all been left to city and WBA, I’m sure they still had trial days but nobody watched the schools and amateur clubs. Grealish has been here since he was 8 along with Ohare etc so they pre-date the lerner years. Gabby appears to be the last local to really make it here.

  94. On paper we should beat these handily but its interesting to hear Smiths take on youth Progression, Hopefully soon we will have this kind of thinking installed at VP. This is about a young CB who has just been promoted to the 1st team a Wales U21 player

    “The things that stand out are personalty and attitude. If you ask any of the first team players he has the respect of the players every time he trains with the first team and you think he’s got a chance.”

    There is a feeling that it takes luck or happenstance for a young player to establish themselves in the first team but Smith believes it can also be planning as well.

    He explained: “I don’t think there’s much luck because if you’re going to have a pathway you’re going to have to look a year or two down the line.”

    http://www.getwestlondon.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/brentford-hand-first-team-promotion-13587908

  95. Mark
    It’s hard to believe Lerner’s lot ignored local talent for so long. I might be wrong but if Xia, Bruce and Calderwood are true to their word, we should see the youth featuring regularly this season, especially in the domestic cups.
    Smith is surely right about planning ahead being so important. It can be done. Good for Round. With all the motivated talented youth and experience at Villa now, a good management team should be able to take it on.

  96. Iana- Yes I think the clubs intentions are clearly there but the 1st teams at present less so, the signing of 5 29-36 year olds speaks volumes. Unless the use of an older team falls flat I can’t see many other than Johnson, Green, Davis and Omanah featuring in the league, then you have Kodjiah, Grealish,Jedinak to come back too.

    I think Snodgrass is nailed on to start and elmo will play RB otherwise its toss up between Davis and Hogan up top with the side from the Norwich game and back to 4231

  97. Some interesting points from the presser, snograss has had no game time this season but I still think he’ll play, jedinak champing at the bit apparently and kodjia pencilled in to play Monday for a half then maybe involved Tuesday? I hope not he needs some game time before risking a return imo.

    Apparently we have had an average start to the season and we played well for one half at Cardiff? Bit of woe is me stuff from SB on not having his full squad until now. Does that mean we are about to see the great plan come together against Brentford at home? 😉

  98. SB’s old psychology trick, forget the results, let everyone think we’ve only had one bad half

    MK

    Look into my eyes, not around the eyes, you will believe everything SB says.

  99. mk
    nearly everywhere i have read snodgras is not match fit so real need to accommodate him in team,would really like to see something like this
    johnson
    bree chester terry taylor
    adoamh houriane whelan green
    ooamh
    davies
    terry because no other options at ch
    whelan because jedi is not match fit and really no better 2poor options at centre mid

  100. mk
    for snodgrass and jedi cup match for fitness
    dont like all these old players prefer to see most of team in early to mid 20s not late 30s especially in championship,martin oneil went with too many older players last few matches for ireland and surprise surprise we ran out of steam in both matches

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