It’s a curious thing that over 100 years ago if there was one criticism due to the formidable Villa sides of those days, it was that they failed to convert enough chances into goals.

And to me, there lies the key issue of today’s players: that they are creating enough chances but are not putting them away. We have just witnessed two 0-0 results, but I’ve also seen that we had at least 8 chances (perhaps 10 or 12) over those matches that should have been converted. And if one of them had gone in then the rest of the match may have been quite different.

As to the quality of the players? In the middle and up front we have good enough players in my opinion. In Hourihane, Snodgrass, Adomah, Onomah, Kodjia and Davis (not forgetting Green and Lansbury) I see plenty of ability, and (importantly) a willingness to work. Importantly, I saw last night’s full-backs helping too, especially Taylor who played a couple of clever balls.

Once they get on the pitch it’s the players that mostly determine the outcome, and if they are in a profligate or tense mood, then that’s what we will see. But as long as the chances are being manufactured, surely there’s reason for plenty of hope. Another manager is surely not going to be able to make the same players put the ball in the net?

The existing manager? Possibly not our ideal choice. In our frustration, we may find fault in what he says in pre and post match statements, but what he says is not the important issue. The players are probably as frustrated as the supporters in not getting the result they want, but so long as the willingness to work and the ability to create is there, the results will surely come. Furthermore, injuries have seen some more be sidelined while others are coming back. Once we get a settled team working then the cohesion should come.

If by some cruel irony the results fail to materialise, then the inevitable ‘chop’ will take place, but let’s give this promising squad our backing. Let’s transcend the disappointments and frustration of 6 years and start propelling the team upwards.

Isn’t that what supporters are for?!


Comments 112

  1. thanks JL very rousing πŸ˜‰

    If what Bruce has to say to the wide world is meaningless think what he must be saying in private to the players. He rarely protects them and quite often deflects criticism from himself.

    The whole it was my fault they were tired was nothing other than him saying thats why we were cr*p, if I’d picked other players we wouldn’t have been.

    I find his talk very negative and if he is telling players to Keep it tight stay in position etc it will have an effect on how they play. We snatch at chances and as you said that comes from being tense, Bruces job is to make them not tense not increase it.

    Clear instruction gives players something to concentrate on but clearly with Bruces statements that the players are not doing what he wants they are either all thick or he’s giving them poor instruction.

    I think his attempts at bringing in experience (the teams littered with experienced players now) is just Mr Bruce hoping he won’t have to instruct them. Thats where the other managers seem to win out, their teams are well drilled, so far we appear to have had two managers that cannot do that, I’d welcome one that can and we would in my opinion quickly see more real chances put away. Teams movement dictates a lot ours is chaotic at best and laboured, good movement opens teams up and makes chance easier to put away as you have time and space.

    There the chance they might pull together by pure chance, proper coaching IMO would of got us there by now.

  2. A settled team is one that Bruce can’t provide. Like seniors in their cars trying to navigate city streets Bruce is being left behind and throws the binders on to keep pace with the players he has assembled. It’s time for Villa to turn off the right hand signal and play the way the players assembled know how.

    Thanks for the post John. I think everyone concurs with you except they want Bruce to sharpen up or ship out. 45 games and counting. No way would he survive in North America coaching one of the 4 major leagues here. (Soon to be 5 with the rise of soccer here)

  3. Mark,

    Well, all very interesting but also away from the point, perhaps: that we are now getting the players of ability and experience and are showing their ability to create chances. When they’re a bit more settled (another couple of games), I will expect them to put the ball in the net too often.

    What *might* have happened (and perhaps what should have happened) in terms of building from youth is purely academic. The top brass at VP decided that expediency rules the day in terms of the first target (promotion) and that’s where we are at. What’s important is that the quality seems now to be in the team … we just need goals and, therefore, points will follow.


    I’ve already given my breakdown of the 45 games (actually 42 league games) in that the first 17 were with the squad he inherited, and which were to a large extent not fit for purpose. Then we had the remaining 18 games of last season seeing whether his new players would gel. Well, at least they had a decent spell – 7 undefeated out of 8 I think it was.

    With the team just showing a lack of scoring technique right now, but creating chances, what else is Bruce supposed to do? No, I think it’s just a waiting game now to see how the *new* squad (Snodgrass, Codger, Adomah and the Jedi only now in the team) works out.

    I feel they’ll do well. But as always (let’s sing it again!) “we have to wait and see”. A bit longer anyway.

  4. BTW, a “settled team” for me is one that undergoes very few changes in its ranks: that the players have chance to get to know one another and therefore get to get the best out of one another.

  5. John L
    Thanks for the short and sweet leader.
    Yes, the team is unsettled. Hope there’s enough time for it to settle before Villa reaches the point of no return regarding the season.
    IMO, as frustrating as the Boro match was, there were good points too.
    I’d settle on a duo of Hogan and Davis up front or depending on the situation Kodjia as lone striker.

  6. Jl- are the older players Bruce’s call I think so, I suspect from what’s been said he’s sold it as the last piece and that he could do it relatively cheaply. All the talk was of getting a good start, setting him an ever moving success point now just says his planning so far has been pretty naff. If it’s all due to some hangover at VP then the players seem to have caught it and Bruce too. How do managers like big Sam get teams scoring in short order? All I have seen from Bruce is a defensive stance with an attacking team. We are not really producing many chances of note, 1 shot on target against Brentford and four against ten men I count. If the 8 goals in two games showed anything it was a different approach produced goals or the opposition was poorer.

  7. NK,

    I don’t see anything much wrong with the players right now except not getting the ball into the net. Ther *have* been hangover issues but I do believe we’re getting over that … a bit longer is what I think for it to come right.

    And, yes, getting in senior players may well be “Bruce’s call” … but as I have tried to say, if the rest of the team starts doing its job (of scoring and winning) then they will take the load off those senior players. In principle, there’s nothing wrong in buying in senior players for a particular purpose, especially when they’ve come straight from the PL.

  8. His best run of results was with the team he inherited from RDM. Still feel sorry for the guy as he had the tough job of managing Villa after the relegation and only got 10 games. Apart from the Luton result the games were exciting. SB has come in with his prehistoric mindset and been stumbling between games trying to figure out a plan. This can’t be right for a so called experienced manager. SB has had over 40 games and is still struggling this can’t be right. Why is there this -patience for SB to maybe turn it around but not for any other manager. The guy needs to go as we can’t wait. Villa need to go pay top dollar and get a top manager to handle villa.

  9. We got to stop using whatever happened in the past of what is going on now. We got new owner, new management team and new players. There should be no excuse for the abject performances and the dire management of SB and his coaching staff.

  10. Nilesh,

    Good to see your contribution!

    However, I think we’re basically all suffering from the aftermath of 6 years of rubbish and are getting impatient to get out of the mire we’ve been in. So we can’t exactly forget about the past but use it only to indicate why we’ve had the state of affairs we have.

    If you don’t like the current manager, and can’t live with him, then so be it, but I feel that given a month or two he’ll show the doubters he’s been right. If he’s given the chance.

    For me the players (particularly second half v. Boro) showed that there’s plenty of reason for optimism.

  11. Nilesh: “His best run of results was with the team he inherited from RDM.”

    Actually that’s not true … From Feb 25 Villa had a run of 7 wins, 1 draw and 1 defeat. That’s much better than the earlier run.

    And SB’s players have achieved the first 4 goal spree since the Doc took over.

  12. Bruce’s results can mean many things. Getting a decent run of results with a team that has been together for 11 games and not to his liking for instance? Were they more settled? Better suited to one another? Yes the footy at times was dire but there were a couple of bright spots that looked like we had turned a corner. Then he presumably brings in players to improve results over all and in Jan and has the worst run we have had for a long time. He gets two players back and has a good run (teams played in those periods also have an effect on results with easier runs) we lose those two players and the end of the season until now has been one long poor run. Let’s say we get through the next two months and go back to half decent, Bruce stays kodjia and jedinak suffer injuries and we are back to what? There is a team there without them he just has not got the nous to find it without even more players being sort out.

  13. JL,

    Well done!
    A positive and rousing leader, and hope that some of your continued optimism reaches SB.

    The posts from MK and Nilesh are much closer to my own thoughts.

    It is a sad moment that the only time Aston Villa can make the headlines, is once again, for all the wrong reasons, which also raises the issue of how much of this was part of the old malaise at Villa Park of let’s sweep it under the carpet, rather than face issues that were permeating the club in the 1980/90’s.

    We do have a new owner, new board and new staff, so that there is now no connection with those days, so there are no longer any excuses for blaming the past.

    We have had a very poor previous six seasons, but there have still been moments in them that gave some pleasure to Villa fans with the days of Benteke, the thrashing of Sunderland, the semi-final against Liverpool. So yes, we can always find positive moments.

    Now we have the most expensively assembled Championship side ever, with and outstanding under 23 squad to back it up, so Bruce must now produce the results in the next few games, or as Ian Wright has stated, he will lose the fans and his job.

  14. PP: “…there have still been moments in them that gave some pleasure to Villa fans with the days of Benteke, the thrashing of Sunderland, the semi-final against Liverpool. So yes, we can always find positive moments.”

    “Moments” in between a downward spiral that brings us to where we are.

    Yes, I totally agree that the team now has to produce something … but we have until the end of September at least (and about 4 games) for that to happen.

    But I still say the main issue is one of just putting the ball in the net. That instance of Hogan acting as their goalkeeper was just too bizarre for words!

  15. Jl- no more bizarre than hitting the woodwork 8 times whilst being the highest chance creators in the league under RDM nor the late goals you could say that will get better soon as you are now.

    I don’t have to watch football to know how much effect the right coach can have England rugby nearly were good until jones took over.

  16. JL,

    Perhaps we missed out on our most successful manager during this period. If we had given the same support to Alex McCleish, who not only kept us in the Premier league, but managed it after we had sold Young and Downing, and our only purchase, as I remember, was Alan Hutton, and the loan of the Β£1million sick note Jermaine Jenas. What would he have achieved, given the money that Lambert then spent, and now Bruce……

    So I can be mindful of what you wish for…..those naughty Villa away fans at Norwich that day…..!!!

  17. Thanks, JL.

    It’s a funny business. We certainly didn’t get much luck as far as the ball actually going in against Boro. And of course, it is always about the ball going in.

    Players vs. managers? When you watch teams be poor over a period, and you see a succession of managers, you wonder about ownership, club culture and the rest. Then the right manager/coach comes in and all of a sudden, you have a guy with a plan, the players are on board, and things turn around.

    All we know about the current buys (apart from Whelan, Terry, Elmo, which are different cases) is that they were seemingly better/more productive elsewhere.

    So, I guess we’ll see. What we do know is that the players will be here longer than the manager if there are changes. The only ones we can ship out are those we’d like to keep.

  18. And regardless, SB will write his own story over these upcoming games. Is he the author of his own demise, are the players undoing him? Proverbial chicken and egg.

  19. I don’t see how SB can avoid criticism. If the setup at home is 1 up front then by definition it is a defensive stance which was the starting points against Brentford and Boro. Is it because he is protecting ageing legs in Whelan, JT and Elmo? Certainly the lack of pace at the back is alarming and hasn’t been addressed. Let’s hope he plays 2 up front against Barnsley and picks some pace in the midfield.

  20. Howdo Plug! πŸ™‚

    Y’know, if we concede 2 at the back but score 4 up front then we’ve won, haven’t we?

    I frankly don’t care too much about the rearguard so long as we put away our own chances. And, in fact, we’ve only conceded 1 in the last 3 matches, which is a lot due to Johnstone, I know.

    As to “1 up front”, well, regardless, we had 17 shots vs Boro. Only 5 on target, agreed, but several chances should have been put away.

  21. Hey Plug welcome,agree entirely,leopard and spots with SB.Negative set up home and away,unable to adjust tactically during a game.Although
    with the Brizzie game his fams said we changed 3 at the back because of Samba’s knock.If any CBs get injured we are in the doo doo.
    I disagree with the narrative that “all that is missing are goals”.We are missing pace in certain areas,a pattern of play,an identity on the field,there is no progress in terms of style or playing ethic,we seem to be making it up as we go along.We were the 3rd or 4th lowest scorers last season so the lack of goals is not a recent occurence as we are led to believe by some.
    Brentford got their first clean sheet in 15 at VP,and played with composure,confidence and cohesion with a young team.A lot of sides do this in our division,we seem incapable of doing so.

  22. JL- Why have any tactics or coaches or even rules then at all? All team games have tactics, even a bunch of blokes on bikes have tactics. Managers poor at tactics/coaching don’t get far and they don’t get asked to manage big clubs no matter how much they moan about not getting a chance, Bruce is not synonymous with Winning, just coming somewhere in the top six of a 24 horse race occasionally.

    Why have all these formations and tactics been produced since the games inception? we could of
    sent 22 blokes out onto a field 300 times until they gelled? why write the Bible when we could of just left a typewriter in the Jungle and waited a few billion years for the monkeys to write it? πŸ˜‰

    At this level these things matter, Tactics evolve to take advantage of other tactics, I wish that we could afford to let in 2 as we score so many. The problem you seem to have is seeing that Bruce does not ask them to play that way and getting lucky a few times as a tactic when players are clean through on goal is just a ticking time Bomb. Tuesdays games sending off gave Bruce the belief it was safe to go for it (second half mind don’t want to be to mad) we don’t have the pace to play counter attack every week and we don’t have the pace at the back to really open up, whats left is a more balanced approach that we only seem to get when the Kids play in the cups.

    I think you hit the nail on the head when you mentioned players being tense in front of goal maybe its Bruce that instils that in them, If it was fear of the Villa crowd why have we had a good home record? why do we never win away? because when we go away we are even more conservative.

  23. Read elsewhere that the new Leeds manager watched all there matches last season then presented a power point presentation to the board on how he could improve them, thats a manager with vision and tactical awareness. πŸ™

    Lansburys red card has been overturned apparently. Sadly Taylor now being involved in Paedophile case for telling the player not to report it because of Terrace chants.

    Think this is what Nilesh was alluding to earlier?

    Look at the points graph during his reign. By far his best spell was right at the start.

    Since January it’s only 34 points from 29 games, only two wins in the last 15 and only one win in first seven matches of this season, scoring a paltry seven goals.

    So basically since he started signing players, it’s got steadily worse, not better.

    In other words he got better results with Roberto Di Matteo’s squad than his own and that is not a great sign.

  24. MK,

    I really don’t know – in all honesty – why and you and others maintain that nothing that is being done at VP is down to your sense of how football should eb organised.

    Despite all your complaints they still created enough chances to have won the last two matches, and in fact created mainly better chances than the opposition.

    So there’s no disaster that I can see and therefore not worth going on about. Villa just couldn’t get the ball in the net – simples.

  25. If Bruce’s remit is only to achieve promotion, then we don’t even have him for another 12 months. If promotion is achieved then a different manager will be appointed like Hull did along with a shipload of players leaving and a shipload arriving. If he keeps along this level of progress then he’ll be gone sooner. With this in mind, wouldn’t it be a good idea to put that new manager in now, try and get out of purgatory and prepare for a brighter future?

  26. MK: ” Sadly Taylor now being involved in Paedophile case for telling the player not to report it because of Terrace chants.”

    Look, Mark, I’ve looked into this and there’s far more in it than the media seems to want to make clear. GT was an enormously decent feller and what methods he used on that matter were what he thought best. Didn’t the perpetrator lose his job as a result? I believe it didn’t go to the police partly because of the families concerned not wanting the matter to go that far in days when matters were not as open as today – as people would like to believe.

    What I particularly don’t like about the media headlines is that GT is somehow guilty of something. Poor feller, why can’t he just rest in peace and be appreciated as the decent feller he was?

  27. Ian,

    There are quite a few assumptions you’re making there! πŸ˜‰

    Should promotion be achieved I don’t think for one moment Bruce will be given the push, although I’m sure he would be replaced within a year or two after getting promotion.

  28. Really decent. Wow! Kids being abused and he tells them it could be worse. As talented as he was, that just pisses me off. I can’t imagine him taking that laying down if it was him hoping he would get to like it.

  29. MK: “Since January it’s only 34 points from 29 games, only two wins in the last 15 and only one win in first seven matches of this season, scoring a paltry seven goals.”

    In a 9 game spell from Feb 25 Villa won 7 and drew 1 followed by only 1 win in the last 6 of last season. So, yes, 2 wins in the last 13 (last 6 of last season + first 7 this season), not 15.


    And I am not surprised by all that after so many changes. It proves absolutely nothing – unless (and only unless) Villa fail to turn the matter around in the next few matches.

  30. Ina,

    I think you’re taking notice of what the media is saying. They, as always, like to make it sound as though someone’s guilty when they’re not, and (in this case) when he’s not around to defend himself.

    There are countless people who remember GT for all manner of kindnesses. So, yes, he was decent.

  31. Well John I just don’t get it. I can’t think of a much worse crime and even though it was over thirty years ago they let it slide.

  32. You’re probably right John but a man has to stand up to what is right. How much damage do you think that did to Villa by not acknowledging the problem. Hiding the problem from view certainly didn’t hide it from view just under surface. If Ellis did know of this then he deserves his nickname Deadly.

  33. Ian,

    Fisrtly, Doug – I’m 99% certain – was fully aware of what had happened. GT was not the one who would shirk from keeping his employer informed on matters of this importance. Secondly, Doug – I’m equally certain – would have laid down the ground rules for how Villa was to proceed. So, if that was the case (I can’t believe it wasn’t) for the media and individuals affected to put blame on GT is a bit awry to say the least.

    GT stood up as much as he was allowed in my opinion.

  34. JL- “Despite all your complaints they still created enough chances to have won the last two matches”

    I don’t know what you were watching then we had 10 shots 1 on target against Brentford they had 18 and 5 they were far more likely to win and had far better chances, they outplayed us at home.

    Middlesbrough was an improvement but against 10 men for 65 mins? so it should be,
    Granted you can have one shot and win a game but it is very unlikely, bang the drum by all means but we deserved what we got against Brentford.

    you really puzzled John how can we have our worst run in Jan something like 9 games without a win then have Bruces winning streak and you then not be surprised they win 1 in 6? this has been the problem there appears to be no progression, but if we don’t do it in the next few? what gives you any hint we won’t just yoyo again? and given we have changed a lot again at all?

    On GT totally agree, different times and the media are just doing what they always do stir the pot.

  35. New Book: The Villa Way, 1874-1944

    Glad to say that I’m just now having the book printed after seeing the excellent proof today.

    That means that the book should be available for purchase from end-September.

    Full details later – including details about my new online bookstore – but I thought I’d mention this in regard to Darren’t proposed meet-up. Perhaps the meet-up could be in October or November and to include (if you don’t mind) the launch of the book to Villa-Lifers, who will get a preferential discount if they’re at the meet.

  36. MK,

    Sorry to “puzzle” you mate, but the answer to me is as clear as that pimple between your shoulders! πŸ˜€

    I think we really do need to forget everything before this season and start again. You’ll still not be happy with what’s happened so far – you luv to grumble! – but now that the dust is pretty well settled (in terms of movements and some injury issues) I think the next few matches are crucial from which to judge.

    Hence I’m going to keep my pen dry for the most part (concerning judgment on Bruce) until September is over. I think it’s a waste of time discussing it until then.

  37. pp
    think you are forgetting biggest waste of money in villas history and there is plenty competition
    zogbia 11.5 m plus 5 year contract
    shay given 3.5m plus 5 year deal

  38. James.
    You may be right on Nzogbia, but he was injured early on I believe, and was then out for some time. I am sure JL will be able to give his history, and Shay Given was questionable I know. It is hardly a big spend on players for the Premiership, even then.

    Garcia apparently is now being tapped up as Bruce’s replacement in the next couple of weeks. I am sure we could do a lot better, but hey ho! we are Aston Villa.

    JL, cannot see for the life of me, how you think we could have possibly beaten Brentford. We had ONE SHOT on target the WHOLE match…!!!!

    Green went off injured, and then Davis had no supply…

  39. Perhaps those very good chances by the youth were produced from s**te passes and to even get a foot on the ball is amazing.
    You can’t slag them for not being ready for prime time and also slag them for missing opportunities

  40. not been on since old steamers passing but he would be turning in his grave at this pure shyte called football the villa are run by dionasours wyness 7 years retired round 5 years with moyes calderwood look at brighton since they got shot and then you have the great spud sorry all dionasours we have now the worst owner ever as he is a complete fool has hired dionasours to p*ss his money up the wall and coaches and a manager from the dark ages all need sacking and now all oaps brought in whelan is just another westwood but 20 yards slower all garbage buys from spud he and the rest just have to go but charlie chan just has not got the balls to see he has made the biggest mistake of his life hiring wyness and round to get managers they could not run a p*ss up in a brewery and i am sure old steamer would agree with every word

  41. Hey John Doyle
    Don’t sugar coat it! πŸ™‚
    Most of us agree with you.
    Is it rudi Garcia who is touted to be the next manager or Jerry Garcia? If it’s rudi then attacking football will be the main course. If it’s Jerry then a Woodstock flashback will be fun too

  42. You’d have to dig ol’ Jeremy up. Still, he can’t be worse than what’s happening now. The Villa hierarchy are all upstairs playing whack a mole

  43. used to watch springer when i was younger ,it was way ahead of time
    i think watching bruce he is stuck in ground no clue how to change any match,no thinking on his feet

  44. Jl- if you read until the end you would of got to to positive bit.

    My valued youngsters? I have been asking for ohare and Doyle Hayes two key players that make things happen. Green is pretty much established the spurs lad is a ball carrier and got a lucky deflection at Bristol and can’t remember calling for Davis although the lad has done well with umpteen assists in our win. Of course the seniors haven’t missed many have they ?cheap shot there mate.

  45. Ian,

    “You can’t slag them for not being ready for prime time and also slag them for missing opportunities”

    No “slagging” at all Ian. I think they’re great. I was merely pointing out that with being ‘green’ they will make mistakes … and really at a time when you don’t want mistakes, hence why Bruce signed experience.


    “The seniors” are just that bit more reliable i.m.o. Except when they act as stand-in for the opposing goalie! πŸ˜€

    As just stated to Ian, I think the youngsters are great but you can’t just throw youngsters at it – which is what you would seem to prefer. I’d agree with you if the plan was to build slowly (which you oft speak about and a view I have sympathy towards), but that’s not the chairman’s target.

  46. Have now watched Bruce’s pre-match interview and can accept a little of what he says, but am bemused by his “it is so close still at the moment that a couple of wins and a draw, and we would be back in the top six”, if of course everyone else suddenly starts losing….

    He continuously refers to the mass hysteria amongst some fans, who are not happy with him, who will always be calling for the manager’s head. The fans only feel this way when they see no progress, and that the situation is no better than before.

    It is sad when a Villa manager feels that every match he faces is a huge challenge, a difficult place to go and play, when we are talking about average teams in the Championship, not Man City or Chelsea. How far have we fallen. How much further should we lower our expectations of our team.

  47. JL- Wrong mate, Regardless of the target what I would like is a balanced team, if that meant we actually had a player in the middle who is young so be it, Doyle Hayes as it happens is the only one that can see runs early and play accurate passes forward, Wheelan has failed at it and none of the others suit that role. If getting Hogan scoring is a simple as the right service give it to him when its offered on a plate, the Doyle hayes,O’hare, Hogan combination looks good because it is, no other selection has come close in replicating it.

    Even Kodjia fitted straight into the stiffs with those two, he got two assists and was up against Virgil van Dijk one of the most sought after defenders in the prem and we put 4 past them.

    Problem seems to be silly old Bruce has bought more mid-fielders than he knows what to do with and we still have two/three on loan. Makes me think he hasn’t got a clue. He still prefers that players run their guts out than use the ball, thats where your injured players come from overworking, Onamah and Davis were trying to be everywhere when in a balanced team they would not have to, when was the last time a team like Man city or even Brentford looked tired?

    Playing only Old/older so called reliable players doesn’t make a team better, no other team in this league follows that path, not one. John Terrys and wheelans pace? a liability, Emo below average for several games now, best players on the park for weeks in the league has been Davis, Onamah and Johnston.

  48. And I made no reference for you to state “Playing only Old/older so called reliable players doesn’t make a team better, no other team in this league follows that path,”

    I do think you mis-read what I write.

  49. PP Spot on, my thoughts too. To reach the top six, 2 wins and a draw need to come in the next 3 games and not by Xmas. So go and get them SB. But then again his league record at Barnsley is dismal. Played 4 Lost 4.

    As for mass hysteria, there wasn’t any around me in the Holte End against Brentford early doors. But as the 2nd half wore on and the opposition started schooling us then the anger mounted. Slow passing along the back line and backwards does my head in. If the players gave everthing in effort then there would not be the current disconnect between the fans and players.

    I await the team selection tomorrow with some trepidation. As B6 mentions above, what chances are there we will see a team playing with shape and to a system?

  50. mass hysteria on a few bad results has he been asleep since dec 2016 when he started meddling with rdm squad bringing gabby back,go back to 442
    bree taylor chester terry
    adoamh jedi houriane snodgrass
    hogan kodja
    and tell them go out and enjoy the football

  51. Jl – wrong in your opinion of what you think I want to see (youth for youths sake)as outlined above

    Who were you referring to if not the 29 and above players mate? They are pretty much all there is above 19-20 year olds. Think we have about 3 in the 22-27 range

  52. Plug,

    What really matters is results. And I have said that Villa should have put away at least 8 of their chances these last 2 games.

    If they’re making chances (which they are) why complain too much about the system?

    In my view the play will improve when the results turn into wins.

  53. Chances mean nothing other than a probable goal kick. They are a useless statistic to bolster a team’s failings around the net. Shots on target are a different story with the keeper in play and a possible miscue leading to a goal. Like playing darts and all your throws end up in the wall. Nothing.

  54. JL- right assuming I have read it wrong what does this mean then?

    “The seniors” are just that bit more reliable i.m.o.”

    If its in the context of scoring/shooting/creating then they have not proved to be at all (Kodjia the exception). And if they are so much more reliable why would I not assume you would not rather have a team comprising mostly of the seniors?

    Your assumption below also leads me to believe the youth are not so valued by yourself

    “Yes, but your valued youngsters missed 3 very good chances of those that went wide.”

    My statement below

    “Playing only Old/older so called reliable players doesn’t make a team better…………”

    was written as part of what I was trying to convey, that the players should all be looked at on merit despite age or experience, if they can come together and form a team that wins that is the whole point of a team. Nowhere in that paragraph does it say thats your preference.

    I rest my case Mullud πŸ˜‰

  55. Brasil- guilty

    Heres Bruces presser and there a lot of hoping going on it

    surprised by this though thought it was a tactical switch to add to the attack?

    “Mile Jedinak is a bit sore, which is a bit of a concern if I’m being honest. His groin was a bit sore and that’s why we took him off against Middlesbrough.”

    Barnsley have lost a few to the form teams but then recently won and drawn against a couple PNE and Forest who are top 8 so no pushovers, please please please can we win.

  56. MK: “I rest my case Mullud”

    I wish you would (rest it)! πŸ˜€ Since there’s no case there.

    I’m afraid you’re mistifying me as to how you’re creating arguments. Best leave it alone.

    Ian: “Chances mean nothing other than a probable goal kick. “

    C’mon Ian, I thought you were of better stuff than making comments like that.

    If you don’t create chances then you’re unlikely to score goals. If you score from enough chances then everyone’s happy. It’s a fine line of difference. Missing chances and not scoring only leads to more tension and frustration in the fans that then they start to imagine things.

    Goalkicks do the same thing? C’mon! πŸ˜€

  57. MK,

    I’ll respond on ths… “that the players should all be looked at on merit despite age or experience, ”

    I quite agree. But that assumes that the young players have already been inducted in the first team and know what’s required.

    I told you a long time ago that back in the 60s Villa played too many youngsters and the team just fizzled out as a result, despite their efforts. Why? Because they didn’t have the experience or have wiser heads around them to guide them out of the predicament.

    Based on that experience I’ve always believed that you should have more experienced players in the team than unbloodied youngsters. Particularly when the target the chairman has set is to get promotion now, not later. If you are not given such targets then it leaves the manager with the option to experiment more. Bruce doesn’t have that option.

  58. MK,

    Your comments tend to make me think that you don’t value wisdom over simple knowledge, which is all youngsters have. Plus, enthusiasm and zest are valuable commodities, but wisdom gained through experience tells me that they are commodities that should be carefully nurtured.

  59. JL–tongue in cheek there mate. But I do think a chance is a shot stopped and a shot on goal is a score.

    What Bruce actually said was “I’m s**t just like I think all my predecessors were. He missed a big point IMO, none of the gaffers behind him had any money to work with. A couple of gems showed up with Benteke being one of them brought in by Lambert. Lambert was there for parts of three seasons. Sherwood went to the FA final. Houllier was making some gains until he did the funky chicken. Didn’t that team finish 9th?
    Everyone hated McLeish because he coached BCFC. How stupid is that? All who preceded him had albatrosses around their necks before they started. Bruce had a side that he got points from out of the Shute. Got money in January “to make his ream” and p*ssed it up a wall. Now the team is in the poo with FFP and funnily enough a team that can’t gel. Alienates players he doesn’t like, Spends what little he has last summer at the thrift store and now has a team that can’t gel or run. Yup it’s the fans who are the culprit for asking for a better product. The only thing Bruce can do with any confidence is pick what colour of bus he wants to park.

  60. Well said Ian. But he can win me over if he wins tomorrow…..and gets in the top six by end of Sept…..and wins 26 games in total by the end of the season. If he doesn’t manage the second bit, he won’t make the third bit because Dr X will probably step in.

  61. Oh dear,I like confidence in people… sport it is essential….but arrogance?No,be arrogant if you can back it up.
    SB “Who are they(Villa) going to get better than me?”
    Feeling the pressure Bruce?
    To give the quote context he said he had 2 promotions in the last 5 seasons.
    I admire SB for defending himself,he is on the back foot right now,exactly how he sets up his teams….but IMO his arrogance outweighs his competence.

  62. JL Has any young player really let us down yet? has Bruce not said they bring a spark to the team? I am not calling for 11 youngsters at all but 8 29 year old and over players in a team at once? Its an athletic game played at pace in this league. Whats the difference between playing a youngster for the first time and introducing a player with Wisdom? According to you they both need a load of games to settle/gel anyway, The youngsters have been together far longer.

    The question is not whether I value Wisdom at all its how much wisdom do you need and how much ability/athleticism . Some players just have innate ability they choose the right option and pass without thinking, we have two in Doyle-hayes and O’hare and I think you are doing them a great disservice, they have footballing wisdom beyond their years, only been playing the game at Villa for 11 years mind.

    You like Gabby and I don’t think he’d make anyone’s quiz team πŸ˜‰
    heres a 4231
    Bree chester de laet taylor

    jedinak Doyle-hayes

    snodgrass or emo hourihane or O’hare adomah or Green

    Kodjia, Hogan or Davis

  63. MK: “You like Gabby”

    Sorry, that’s another fallacy. What I have done previously is simply to give him a chance, and then it gets interpreted that I like him! πŸ™‚ I don’t *dislike* him but he’s not exactly near the top of my hit list.

    Apart from that I prefer Bruce’s assessment of what’s right. Bloggers are not usually qualified to his level and so I’m happy to go with what he’s doing. He’ll make mistakes – everyone does – but until it all goes pear-shaped he has my support.

  64. What shape are the pears in your house John? πŸ™‚
    Mark I used to work with guys with English like that. Therefore no reassembly required.

  65. “They are young and desperate to win.”
    Steve Bruce’s assessment of Barnsley.
    SB was ruddier than usual and had blood shot eyes at the presser. All the pressure is on him. I hope it turns around for him and Villa against Barnsley.

  66. Hear, hear, Iana. He’s not the world’s best manager but he’s the best we’ve got! πŸ™‚

    To me it’s unbelievable that people are calling for his head with the managerial record we’ve had this past 7 years. Another sacking will cause the club to lose a lot of disrespect. We must give Bruce space until October at least.

  67. JL As we are talking about Aston Villa you have put gabby up there for selection when nobody else has. Even praised his character/personality Hogan has received no such treatment so I for one am going to stick to you liking him its simpler than thinking you are going against the flow to cause some ruckus πŸ˜‰

    Its hardly unbelievable, that would be us on a huge winning streak and sacking Bruce, Or us playing like RDM’s team did (who also looked oh so close)several clubs in the prem have already changed managers.
    He has all the magic ingredients Time/players/support, fans and club/control/games/pre-season if he cannot get consistency in close to 50 matches its his own doing.He may be close, he may be hoping Snodders/jedinak and Kodgia turn the tide, certainly he hasn’t convinced without them . I want us to win convincingly whatever the score may be and I want to get promoted and then I want him Gone.
    If the last one has to come before the others because he is failing the club then so be it, its in his hands. Twice now he has failed to have a contingency for the lack of Kodjia, it almost feels that if we go up it will be because of him not Bruce.

    “Talented youngsters Jake Doyle-Hayes and Callum O’Hare also trained with the first team today and could be involved in the squad to face the Tykes.”

  68. An ex colleague of Bruces an Ex City captain watched the Middlesbrough game and said that Steve Bruces transfers have not been good. The side lacks pace and lansbury and hourihane are not good enough to play for a club like Villa, can’t find the article now but thats the gist, he said even against 10 men they were not up to much.

  69. Jl- good question mate, firstly I would be happy but next up are two much more difficult months and it may just be a stay of execution. If he scrapes through this month saves his job but ultimately if our command of games stays poor we are unlikely to get far and another’s season bites the dust. To my mind if all his hopes are in the kodjia basket he’s failed in my eyes. If we continue to see the same football too I won’t be to happy but if he gets us up I’ll give him his fair due.

  70. “Jenny Windy” syas this at:

    “How is another managerial change likely to improve matters ?

    Every man and his dog , except Lassie and Scooby-do have been tried. It’s time to to stop moaning, it’s time to get behind Bruce draw, lose or lose. 21 years of achieving naff all with regular sackings says it all.

    Its the fans who have created the putrid and toxic atmosphere which lingers over Aston each home game. Will that ever change ?

    Dr Tony needs to back Bruce now with a genuine vote of confidence rather than twittering his normal garbage and tell the fans to shove it if they don’t like it. If the players are reassured that Bruce is going to be here for the next 3-5 years they’ll probably apply themselves to either jumping ship or at least accepting that they are nothing more than a bunch of over paid and under achieving lightweights.

    It’s about time that a little more backbone was shown from the fans. Get real ! This whole club is going nowhere but Bruce is only the third most significant factor in its continuous demise ! Tony and the fans are culpable.”

    My thoughts entirely!

  71. My reading of that statement is that we have stability for it’s own sake regardless of performances results.
    So,I as a fan am responsible for one up front at home?
    For the negative tactics home and away?
    Changing managers does work,not always,but look at Leeds doing ok after frequent changes.
    “Stability” of manager is a myth I have never swallowed this and don’t today.
    Comeon Bruce 4 fixtures 4 wins this month now.

  72. MK: “Well dr Xia hasn’t come out and backed him maybe him and the board know better than you and her? “

    It’s not a question of anyone knowing anything more, it’s a question of the chairman having a fixed target of promotion this year. I am sure that will determine what happens – in due course.

    The Doc is clearly keeping quiet until September is out – he’s more-or-less said that – and if this month is a hopeless mess then, of course, Bruce will go. That’s what happens, particularly when inscrutable Chines are in charge.

    But I’d hope (and indeed expect) that Bruce will get a proper run going by October.

  73. JL- Well the inscrutable Americans sacked Tim mate, poor performance is poor performance and god Forbid we continued to hope he will turn it around and get 1 point a match this season as we are, we could drop. The same thing was levelled at RDM last season as reason to sack him I cannot see that changing especially as he will have had 5 times the matches and two windows and a full pre-season.

    No doubt you would be happy to carry on with Bruce whether we go up or not in the hope he will get it right next season? to that I say we should of got a progressive manager in and rebuilt from the off, Then by the time the Parachute money runs out we would have a low cost team to work with not the massive wage bill we still have.

    One point to consider is Steve Bruce’s promotion Label says he has never took two seasons to promote the Clubs he has, one season only ever time, that would of been of importance when engaging him as manager with the aim of an instant return, it may have swayed the decision to appoint him.

    Steve Bruce must be fully aware of the ask surely? he is only under pressure because of that Knowledge, a few boo’s and media is nothing he has not had before.

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