So, Steve Bruce apparently divides opinion. Which I was surprised to learn. But then that’s why you get up in the morning. Complicating matters is that Villa are on a good run that for me still doesn’t seem terribly convincing. But the numbers and results are what they are.

There’s ammunition for both sides in the argument, so I understand it, and continue to find it legitimate. It is a shame, though, that some fans are getting angry with each other in the “I told you so” sweepstakes. There’s a lot of football to be played, and even at the end, there may never be a definitive answer. For example, if we keep picking up long-term injuries at this pace, in a few months we’ll either be praising Bruce as a genius, or calling him a very lucky man, a very unlucky man, or someone who can’t or won’t make the moves that might save us.

For now, as I’ve said before, I’ve given Bruce amnesty. However the current side came into being, he’s been smart enough to leave it alone and give it an honest run. Individual players have had up and down days, but Bruce has persisted with them. He’s bet his job on them.

The good news for all of us is that he’s been rewarded. We’re actually at dizzying heights in a league table for the first time since Martin O’Neill had us sixth. We’re showing resilience, energy, and some fight. We’re winning games, and most of us are starting to relax a little when we watch.

As teams are judged on results, so, too, are managers. And right now, Bruce has got results on his side. And here we are, winners of four of the last five.

So it’s off to Leeds for a Friday night match to see if we can keep the pressure up on Cardiff and Sheffield United.

Is it all a bit of a mirage? Do the injuries finally catch up to us as we’ve plumbed the depth that was our advantage? Do the other sides catch the injury bug? Does someone besides Albert start finding the net regularly? Does a tougher run of fixtures see us lose ground?

All to be determined, obviously. But last week was a good week, and at the moment, it seems we’re perhaps justified in cautiously, optimistically expecting a playoff spot. Should we expect more? I’ve said yes. But the picture has shifted a bit with the injuries (nice knowing you, Mile), and in the end, the whole thing is about promotion.

Villa’s form, should it continue, has also put second place very much in play, so we might well do better than the playoffs. After the festive period, we’ll obviously have a much better idea what we’re looking at. We thought Ipswich might be a good barometer, and in the end they posed no real danger. Will Leeds? We’re about to find out.

Interesting times, no?

Over to you.

Comments 147

  1. As usual John you are an excellent catalyst for a spate of discussion and perhaps disagreement.

    I think Bruce has been lucky in that he has managed to keep selecting by and large the same team so they get used to playing together whilst, at the same time, been blessed with the form of one striker. Uncle Albert this time taking over from Jonathan Kodjia.

    It was interesting to read the interview with Dr Tony where he said we might try and get a couple of loan deals to overcome FFP in the January window. While our midfield needs strengthening and we are not sure how long we will be without JT it might be worth looking for a striker as a bit of insurance. Unless of course the other players start hitting the target.

  2. A very good write up again John, but (unsurprisingly) I don’t think you’re giving SB enough credit for the way he’s managed the squad.
    I struggle to see how he’s been ‘lucky’ enough to keep selecting the same squad when you consider that he’s lost 5 out of 6 strikers and 2 of his top 3 central defenders and one of his first choice wingers and the number 10 that he’d planned his team around, and had his back 4 further disrupted by losing his favoured left back through suspension for 3 games.
    Yes, but apart from all that, what has Steve Bruce ever done for Villa?
    It’s possible to argue that we should have Mcormack available. I wouldn’t agree. The way he behaved is inexcusable. You would make allowances if he was suffering from some sort of mental health issue due to the pressures of playing for Villa but then the best solution for the player would be to take him out of that environment. If he’s just a ‘bad un’ then transporting him down under was the right thing to do and we’re best to be rid of him.
    After the first few games when he was coming in for stick for chopping and changing too much, he’s retained as stable a team as possible despite all the injuries and in the face of huge pressure from ‘ supporters’ to get rid of the likes of Whelan and Hutton in particular.
    In the face of all this adversity, and despite Steve Bruce, by some miracle we find ourselves sitting in the top 6.
    Who’d be a football manager eh?

  3. I see that last time tonight’s referee officiated against us he booked Keinan Davis.
    Doesn’t auger well does it.
    I expect to be shouting at my tv screen tonight when Keinan gets manhandled away from the ball yet again and the defender gets away scot free.

  4. r0bb0
    I like the idea that McCormack was transported to the colonies
    The reality is that I agree with you that he shouldn’t wear the shirt again

  5. John
    Thanks for another well-written leader.
    “There’s ammunition for both sides in the argument, so I understand it, and continue to find it legitimate.”
    The quote sums up my attitude to the current situation. The next month, according to Bruce, is make or break time in terms of a promotion push. Can’t argue with that.
    Lucky McCormack getting transported (probably business class) to the sunny colonies.
    Clive-looking forward to the league. My brain says Aussie by 10. My heart would like to see an England win, but the Roos are so strong.
    Leeds 1 Villa 0 Hope Villa win. UTV.

  6. Have to say r0bb0’s defence of SB is robust. I’m sure OV and JL will be in agreement. But like JC I am still not convinced. Hutton’s form at LB during Taylor’s enforced absence has been excellent because he’s worked well with Adomah. Don’t know why SB changed him back to RB.

    The team for tonight pretty much picks itself from what is available. But the bench will be important. Hope SB has no more than 3 defenders on it (including Steer) and the rest are attacking midfielders predominantly from the kids. We are going to need energy.

    The key performance indicator for me is -3. When SB gets that number into positive territory I’ll start believing in him. In the meantime he still has work to do.

  7. plug
    any defence of bruce is over the top ,
    hutton plays better at left back than taylor a bruce big money/wage signing
    since terry has got injured johnson has looked shaky at fault for both goals,got away with one at ipswich
    adoamh is onlyplaying because bruce couldnt shift him in summer
    davies is playing because kodja injured not the fact he suits team better or kodja only scored one penalty in 6/7games
    hogan another big money signing yet never set up team to use his best skills
    read on another site that bruce will get money back for lansby ,who is going to pay nearly 40 thousand a week in championship for a player that cant get in our side

  8. Good leader again JC,
    and enjoying the input from Robbo, Plug and JG. It looks like we have got back to discussing the Villa in a more happy frame of mind once more.

    I am in the SB improvement camp, and will make more judgements after the next couple of games. which we need to continue winning, if we are to stay in the race, but if the team fight like lions and don’t quite make it, I will be disappointed, but will not call for Bruce’s head. I will only do that if there is no real plan, and a lack of effort.

  9. PP
    “It looks like we have got back to discussing the Villa in a more happy frame of mind once more.”
    Only while we’re winning. That could change anytime soon.

  10. away from point , remain unbeaten as I was at this fixture last season, that will be progress enough for me.

    Pizza, Cider and the warmth of my couch for football on tv, who could ask for more.

  11. And if it sounds like I’m hedging my bets on Bruce it’s because I am. Like I say, I see merits in both arguments, JG pointing out some of the specifics on the other side of the debate.

    In the end, since we know Bruce will be here over the duration, we have to hope that he’s got what it takes to marshal what has turned into a thin-ish squad to continue to get results.

  12. Hi peeps Leeds bossing the midfield and pressing quickly and as per we have no answer, grealish for onamah at least he might buy us free kick and slow them down, there’s goals in it if we can spend some time in their half so far it’s as I expected unfortunately

  13. Mark
    Yeah, agree. Leeds are playing pretty well. 1-0 is a fair reflection of the match. Yellows against Hourihane and Snodgrass. What will SB do?
    I think most of Villa’s players doing okay, but Whelan looks a bit under the cosh.

  14. yeah trinity, sb did good with the changes when he did, ( or was he being lucky again! lol) lets hold out for at least a point now,maybe more, coyvbs theres time left

  15. Well thank god we decided they are not Real Madrid why do we play half a game? Would be handy if we could keep the ball and not let a 19 year old run the midfield but a points better than nothing, that’s one of the easier games over 🙂

  16. Whelean tonight was immense. Covered every blade of grass. Chester his superb self.

    Nice to tun up at last. First half awful.

    Bruce subs spot on. They looked very good when on. If we had another st might of won it. Davis was awful alng with omoah but couldnt drop him. We need gabby big time.

    Villa in the last 4 years loose that. This villa come out an battle a deserved point.


  17. Shame cardfiff won… 7 points off them and dont see thrm gong away 🙁

    The easy….and no pressure playoffs it will have to be hen.

    Get your heart rate in control because villa dont do things easy

  18. Mark

    Was saying at work, im very annoyed with sky. All our games on sky are away from home. Villa come to town and they want to see us turned over. Literally every game shown going back last season is away.

    Anyway mate at work said who we playing….straight away when its leeds at elland road on a fri night….ooooh tough game! But if it as a sunday 12 kick off id of been more confident. Funny how being a night game change things.

    They only had 1 shot on goal but tidy side. Good tecnical young players. Not sure id want them in the playoffs.

  19. Thought the changes were good from Bruce (Lansbury, obviously), and Villa got more stuck in and combative in the second. Was actually optimistic about a late winner.

    As someone said further up, this was a game Villa would’ve lost in years past…Shame another corner cost us, just the one shot on goal despite Leeds bossing large spells of the game.

  20. Nice to see alot of appreciation tweets for chester on twitter.

    My pots last year and think he is class.

    Hasnt missed a sec for us and always a 8 out of 10
    Quality player.

    Like taylor for his part in the goal. 2 full challenges.

  21. Andrew
    Chester is the key player in Villa’s defence. If he were to get hurt, I’d worry. I thought Whelan did well in the second half because he felt the heat in the first. Alan Hutton did well apart from the period he got frustrated, showed a bit of mongrel. Taylor seemed more composed, especially since Leeds’ midfield was like a hot knife through butter at times.
    Just as well SB made some good subs and the team didn’t give up. Not a bad night’s work, really.

  22. Lana

    Yes another performance and come back which re a firms my trust back in villa. Anytime over the last 5 years we roll over and get beat in that game after going behind early.

    29 points out of 39 with no spine for most part….jedi, terry and kodjer. Is pretty decent.

  23. Fair to day we havent seen the best of lansbury. Been asked to play holding mid most part but now wevhave whelen we could see a more effective lansbury. The guys a threat gong forward and assists.

    The impact of grealish was promosing. Changed it for us. Done everything onamah was meant to. Got on the ball and kept it and won fouls.

    Showed some class touches.

  24. Really impressed with jt traveling with the teams to leeds on a fri night whilst injured.

    Was pictured in bodmoore 0630 that morning too training.

    Maybe anob but god he is an ultra pro.

    Nothing but a good influence and example for the rest of them

    Wonder if the run we have been on has anything to do with having him around.

    We certainlay fight more and show more passion

  25. I rate whelen massively and id be very interested to see what we are like when he doesnt play next. Think his work wil be missed.

    Def one where he will be more appreciated when gone.

    Loved his tackle chasing back iN the last 10 against one of there counters. Slid in and got up and played a nice calm ball.

    Something westy would never ever do! Not bad for an old man whos legs have gone

  26. Some good observations there Andrew and Iana.
    Let’s face it, we were battered in the first half but showed in the second half that something about this team is ‘different’ this season.

    We’ve changed

    None of us would say we’re the finished article by any means, but we do have some fight now

    At last!

  27. Apart from Onamah, who had a very off night, another player who’s made me nervous in the last couple of games is Johnson. Thought he looked tentative last night and reminded me of the player we first saw giving the ball away and conceding poor goals.
    Both he and Onamah are still young so I guess will have off days, and he has a new central pairing to get to know so there are mitigating factors but I hope we see his arrogance back again in the coming weeks.

  28. Have to agree with all the comments here, but interestingly, no-one has said how well samba has played, and done his job, apart from being muscled out of position on the corner, so that he failed to clear, and they of course scored. After that, he made sure that he was in the right place.

    Need to see a proper striker on the bench, whether it is Gabby, RHM or McKirdy, we definitely need one to cover Davis.

  29. I think Johnson doesn’t command the box well and now JT’s out he’s having to do more. Samba at fault for their goal got wrong side so otherwise Leeds pretty impotent up top not like last season with Woods, if he was still there I’d think the score would of been very different. Thats why I find it so frustrating that we didn’t support Davis at all, Leeds are no great shakes at the back apart from Jannson who should of seen red, not as good as last seasons team for me.

    Don’t know what this we are doing ok because we have so many injuries is about, JT is the only one who has made any difference this season, None of the injured players have made a jot of difference against the better sides or in general and the current side has our best run of form.

    Why Bruce didn’t change things first half I will never know, He just stood and watched, we were strung out in the midfield and Onamah was showing the movement and awareness of a lamp post. He is to reactive in his tactics whereas Leeds had done their homework and stifled our supply lines and tried to get past Taylor at every opportunity.

    I can see how Wheelan thinks and its mostly about not committing himself in case he has to recover. Always seemed to be ten yards away from where he ideally should be to me, I was shouting at the telly for him to move at times (above a walk)and he does like to give the ball straight back to the players that just played it to him often under pressure, he has no ability to turn, plays the way he is facing and thats it. Gutted Lyden never got a chance to be honest and now he’s injured. Don’t get me wrong Wheelan does a lot of good stuff but is to slow in a vital role for us which is starting the counter.

    I hope that when we get these loan players in they don’t come with must play stamped on their foreheads, Ohare would of been ideal last night, can carry the ball and tenacious, Grealish for all his failings can beat a man and plays with his head up, just what we needed when leeds were closing down our slower witted players.

  30. Witnessed an apparition last night. SB made a double substitution and introduced 2 attacking midfielders. Couldn’t believe my eyes. It took them all of 5 minutes to make an impact. What a shame his bench didn’t have 1 more such player who could have been brought on for Snoddy with 10 minutes left and try to win it. Instead, the final subs of both managers showed they had settled for a draw. Too many defenders on the bench SB! Again!

    I must commend Taylor who didn’t pull out of 2 full on tackles and came out of them with the ball for Lansbury to bury. It was a solid team performance despite being overrun in the first half but it was clear that Leeds would not be able to repeat another 45 minutes like it after half time. Onomah struggled didn’t he? And Davis was whacked by the end. We did restrict them to just 1 shot on target all night.

    But they scored from it. Johnstone’s mistake for me. He needs relentless drilling on the training ground that the 6 yard box is his especially the area between the posts. His judgement needs much work and he has to come and take out such crosses. As the corner came in, he should have had 2 fists on the ball before the header punished him.

    I reckoned a draw before kick off so should be happy. In the end though, we might have won it with a bolder bench and an earlier final sub.

  31. Against Millwall I would be tempted to rest Wheelan and play lansbury and Hourihane with Grealish behind Davis. I think that might give us more impetus going forward without being to open. Whats happened to Delaet he can play CH? he’s 6’1″ and no slouch and can bring the ball out.

  32. mk
    if bruce read last post he would need to lie down in a dark room
    it was crying out for changes last few games,instead of token subs
    if johnson cant perform without terry no point signing him permanetly last 4 games at fault for goals got away with flap v ipswich and last night again,
    why are we still a 1 half team

  33. You can’t get it much tighter at the top. Or the middle for that matter. No room for mistakes.
    Nice to see Lansbury score and grealish assist.

    For those who are interested Neil Young has put his entire catalogue on his web site

    If you are a fan it’s all here

  34. Ian – the Neil Young archives are superb ….. as is all his work.

    James G – why was the team crying out for changes the last few games when we were doing ok?
    Also – all keepers have a few dodgy games but Johnson has got great potential and has still made some great saves and catches in the last few games. So give him time …… remember that you disliked Hutton and Whelan and yet they have been some of our best performers recently – so give players a chance.
    Also – if we are a 1 half team then that means that the teams we play are also a 1 half team – so whats the problem? SB corrected things 2nd half against Leeds and then they were a 1 half team.

    Yours as ever in the positive frame of mind except when I read certain comments,

  35. old villa
    hutton was terrible for over 100 games for villa now playing at his level in which he is adequate still no goals or assists in a really poor league
    whelan sorry poor midfield player plays beside our centre halfs not ever going to dominate a game with him part of a 2 man centre midfield,just look at his attempt on goal last night
    as for only being a 1 half team like whelan not going to win enough with only playing for 1 half
    as for bruce 1st sub should been at half time ooamoh was awful first half so no credit for making sub at that stage
    as for previous games we where playing really poor sides yet bruce ended up with no strikers on at full time , grealish lansby o hare plus some youth strikers should have got game time to get them up to match speed but i suppose that would be too smart for bruce

  36. Mark, good observation about Johnson having to do more without JT there. You’re probably right that his performances (and confidence) have dipped as a result.
    You say that his is the only injury of significance but then go on to say what a difference Grealish made, who has been out through . . . . injury.
    It’s also harsh to blame Bruce for not making first half substitution when unforced first half substitutions are as rare as hen’s teeth.

  37. Someone suggested that having Whelan in the midfield allows other midfielders to get further forward. Without him there the likes of Hourihane and Lansbury would have to sit deeper and they’ve not played well together before . . . . I don’t think I’d risk that.

  38. James Gill, I agree that Onomah should ideally have been substituted at half time as it was clear he was struggling. Weirdly, before the game my wife said that he didn’t look up for it . . . . how perceptive is she??
    I can only imagine that managers tend not to make substitutions at half time because of player morale. Not a great reason but I suspect there’s some truth to it.

  39. Andrew, when Johnson first joined I thought he was dreadful and said so. Happily I was wrong and he’s since shown that he’s a really good keeper. Having said that, he’s been a bit tentative and just not looked quite the same in the last couple of games, probably because he’s not played so much with Samba.

  40. Mark
    The injury excuse with the “core of the team” out is a false one. Kodjia, Hogan and Jedinak et al haven’t contributed much at all this year. It is better just to forget about them for a while. I believe there is adequate depth in the squad, which is evidenced through pretty good form of late.
    To be fair to Steve Bruce, he did say that everyone gets injuries and we just have to cope. The injury excuse is more coming from Villa’s media going on about it because they can’t think of anything else to go on about.
    Bruce must be pretty happy the way the squad has gone recently. The injuries may prove to have been a blessing in disguise because other players have had a chance to shine. Like most of us I’d like to see O’Hare, McKirdy et al get more chances. Be nice if Villa could get more goals so we can bring on developing players more often.
    Great to see Lansbury back with fire in the belly and a composed and focused Jack.

  41. Mark
    The injury excuse with the “core of the team” out is a false one. Kodjia, Hogan and Jedinak et al haven’t contributed much at all this year. It is better just to forget about them for a while. I believe there is adequate depth in the squad, which is evidenced through pretty good form of late.
    To be fair to Steve Bruce, he did say that everyone gets injuries and we just have to cope. The injury excuse is more coming from Villa’s media going on about it because they can’t think of anything else to go on about.
    Bruce must be pretty happy the way the squad has gone recently. The injuries may prove to have been a blessing in disguise because other players have had a chance to shine. Like most of us I’d like to see O’Hare, McKirdy et al get more chances. Be nice if Villa could get more goals so we can bring on developing players more often.
    Great to see Lansbury back with fire in the belly and a composed and focused Jack.
    robbo-Your wife has intuition

  42. Do we want to take players on loan from the premiership?

    It’s seen as an important means of strengthening championship sides whilst staying within ffp rules. It’s how we’ve had Sam Johnson for two seasons and he’s generally done very well for us.
    It could be how we’ll take on an extra striker in January.
    The downside is that you feel obliged to play them. If we don’t give our loanees game time then it removes a key incentive for a premiership team to lend to us.
    We’re unquestionably stretched up front right now and a loanee would be welcome, but I reckon there’s a general feeling that in midfield we would rather see our own academy players given more chances instead.

  43. robbo
    Affirmative to that. Bringing in a striker on loan from the PL could be good, but Villa has midfield talent that’s good enough there and should learn a thing or two from playing alongside the experienced players.

  44. Robbo- On Grealish, he was injured pre-season and then when he got re-injured out came the I was going to build the side around him statement. Well I would take that with a big old pinch of salt, How long has he been back now? 5 games and hasn’t started one, maybe thats onamahs contract and Alberts form? I don’t know but Jack isn’t bruces type of player although he may just end up one shortly as others have this season.

    On the first half, you don’t have to make a substitution to change things, Onamah was off the pace and Leeds were hammering into him so pull him and Davis in for ten minutes and get him on the ball with some passing options, not expect him to turn and beat 3 players every time he gets the ball, he plays better facing the opposition and running from deep anyway. Failing that swap him with Hourihane and let him be the link. Things clearly were not working and he changed nothing.

    On Resting Wheelan, he’s played all season in our good and bad games and been good and bad in equal measure. The team has shown glimpses of better football and more tenacity, Hourihane was poor last season and most of this early on and to me seems to be working overtime to cover Wheelan when his forte is attack and assists. Lansbury hasn’t played with Adomah and Snodgrass as the wingers yet, I think Hourihane has learnt off of Wheelan and a midfield three of Jack , hourihane and Lansbury could work well for the first 60 and get us some goals, by all means bring Wheelan on to shut up shop but lets start on the front foot.

    I would look for a forward and a CB in Jan, both with a bit of pace if possible or give delaet a go, hasn’t let us down when he’s played but just doesn’t get a run, find that bizarre unless he’s rubbish in the air? If we lose chester we are buggered.

  45. Mark. I’m with you on the loan requirements. CB and striker would be handy, although your suggestion about Delaet is an interesting one which I’ve not seen mentioned elsewhere.
    Your suggestion that the idea of building the side around Grealish was a smokescreen by Bruce fits your narrative well but isn’t accurate.
    Bruce was clearly very disappointed at the time and said so ‘before’ the season even kicked off. Grealish was also given the number 10 shirt and his picture was very prominent on the pre-season posters around the city. I remember being surprised at the time that his face was everywhere but it became clear why once he was ruled out through jnjury.
    In theory, your midfield suggestion looks attractive but Hourihane and Lansbury haven’t worked well together before and I wonder if it’s one of those Lampard/Gerrard conundrums that works well on paper but not in reality?

  46. Robbo- maybe on the hourihane/lansbury combo but they would be slotting into a much more stable side than last time so worth exploring for me. On Jack I would be inclined to agree if Bruce had mentioned it before he got injured, never mentioned it once and Jack is probably our most prominent player in recent years being home grown and a Villa supporter, no wonder he was on the ads small matter also that they were shot pre-season before half the players were signed. Bruce has never built a team around a player like jack in his life and going by how he’s gone about things this season? I think it was just a bit of saying what he thought would sound good myself, he does it often enough.

    Build a team with Jack in it I can see that but around?step to far, he’s to unreliable historically anyway and returning from injury having missed feb-april and the pre-season because of England. Lets not forget Gabby was considered the answer for Kodjias absence not hogan. Puzzling statement RE Jack as Ohare showed pre-season to be an able deputy in that role with hogan but in came Onimah. You would of thought Jack being built around in a no 10 role we would use another one?

  47. Mark, Onamah was considered a great prospect and a bit of a coup for us and in fairness he has shown glimpses of it this season. . . . sadly only glimpses.
    Like you I’d prefer to see O’Hare given a proper chance however presumably Bruce has seen something that is making him hold back for now.
    My instinct when you’ve put someone in a role is to give them the authority and responsibility to get on with it even when you can see things that you personally would do differently.
    For all his faults (real or imaginary) Bruce is the most successful manager there is at getting teams out of this division so I’m prepared to take the rough with the smooth, support him, and let him get on with it.
    He sees far more of all of the players than we do so whilst I’ll question how and why he does certain things, I’ll still trust him to get the bigger picture right.

  48. Robbo- Onamah a strange one in such an important role, his first loan and coming from a team that prides itself on playing football, I do think he has a must play if fit clause just as Snodgrass probably has or why would they come here? thats the problem with Prem loans. Onamah has been clearly knackered more than once and yet he’s played, Ohare continues to get his head patted but no games.

    Bruce has to play it as he see’s it and yes he see’s the players each day, however it doesn’t mean he see’s things the way another manager might, If your looking at players to suit your style you may not see how things could be better played another way, Bruce is not known for being a flexible manager as in if he has mostly attacking players he will play to that strength, he defaults to cautious counter attack. No problem in that other than it limits you when you have inherited an attacking managers squad.

  49. To add, his prior promotions two gained with his own relegated prem teams the others with squads more resembling typical championship teams on his arrival than he found at Villa I’m sure you’d agree. As its usual to sack the manager that takes you down or they leave I would be interested to see how many have stayed and got promotion Dyche being one. Warnock mr Marmite if he promotes Cardiff will have had 8 promotions and 15 clubs. Four promotions are good but surprised he’s never won the league.

  50. Robbo 🙂

    heres an interesting take on how we are fairing, we have a lot of the top teams to play at VP and I suppose on form at home it looks fairly rosey, As we have yet to beat any of them away from home gaining 3 points in 5 games and have beaten only a couple of outliers at VP(fulham, Ipswich) I am a bit sceptical to how it will pan out having drawn with ten man Borough and lost to sheff wed, what does AVL think?

  51. Watched Titties v Boro last night. The camera closed in on Gary Monk during the 2nd half. He was combusting. Livid. Must have been Traore and not salt giving him blood pressure. Traore was a cone in the 1st half. Think he walked about 200 yards the entire half. It was clear that his team mates didn’t want to pass to him. Can’t think why. Monk apologised to their supporters after the game.

  52. Think Sheff U are coming off their run. Hope so anyway. Seems some injuries are catching up with them. Warnock is still going strong. If we want P2 then it might be Cardiff who we have to finish above.

  53. Mark, interesting but dodgy article on salt. Guessing he’s being paid by Redmond salt. Hadn’t heard of it before so he’s done his job well!

  54. I’ve not suffered from high blood pressure but I was advised to go on statins because of my cholesterol levels.
    Managed to improve them quite dramatically with some dietary changes so happily managed to stave off the medication for a while

  55. I’ve started using potassium chloride salt, which is still 1/3 sodium. I tend to be potassium deficient. Many cardiologists think processed foods themselves are the real culprit in much heart disease. When did smoking become common in the west? Is the Mediterranean diet high in salt? They have lower heart disease rates. It is less processed than others.
    I know hypertension is now a problem in South Korea, especially among men. I was warned about kimchi when I first went to Korea, but everyone eats it at every meal. I think affluence and job stress has more to do with the blood pressure there. Koreans love their pork and eat lots more these days, usually with sesame and chilli paste, which is salty. Interesting subject

  56. Iana, as you’ve hinted, the point is that nutrition and health is an incredibly complex topic with so many variables that it’s tough for scientists to categorically point to cause and effect. The health food industry is huge, with much of it based on weak science or even quackery.
    I’m also wary of the demonisation of ‘processed’ foods. We all ‘process’ our food every day when we cook it or add salt. We create carcinogens when we fry potatoes but are the quantities really significant to our health?
    I was at a lecture on Friday which showed that excess vitamin C in plants ‘reduces’ their resistance to certain infections. It’s a long step from there to saying that too much vitC in humans is bad for you but it just highlights again that in this area of science there is still far more unknown than known and the best advice remains that we should try and eat a mixed diet including as many different fruit and vegetables as we can and avoid an excess of any one chemical, whether it be salt, sugar alcohol, vitamin C or anything else that the next fad diet comes up with.

  57. robbo
    That’s right. I think a mixed diet with various fruits and veges is the best advice. Too much vitamin C, over 2000 mg a day causes kidney stones in many people.

  58. Robbo- I’ll tell you whats bigger than the health industry, the food industry and the drug industry, dodgy findings abound. Pointing the finger at some people who are actually at the forefront of nutrition and calling them quacks is an industry standard technique. Theres a site called quack watch and the bloke who writes it is an industry paid troll. Lots of these people at least eat the way they tell others to and do extensive tests to check all their markers, if you go to the doctor you will get poor advice on food and nowhere near the level of test.

    The salt he is saying is the best is from an old sea bed in America and like Himalayan salt has low heavy metal and toxins compared to sea salt in our polluted waters and contains other minerals, its not table salt. As for avoiding Carcinogens? you definitely want to avoid a many as possible because there are so many in the modern world what appears minuscule is not when added to the rest, foods fried in vegetable oil cause inflammation to boot as they are full of omega 6 and damaged fats, the body is forced to use these for your cell walls and it takes about 2 years to swap out if you cut out the bad stuff.

    Glad your not on statins (big money spinner, a lot more than seas salt) if you ever go down that route take CoQ10 as statins effect your levels and thats what helps keep your heart going as part of the Kreb cycle. The whole cholesterol/statin thing is based on bad science its a small part of LDL that is effected by Carbs that does the damage not cholesterol as a whole. You can have high LDL cholesterol and not be at risk, Statins are a shot gun approach. Tests rarely show what type of LDL you have from your GP.

    “LDL comes in four basic forms: a big, fluffy form known as large LDL, and three increasingly dense forms known as medium, small, and very small LDL. A diet high in saturated fat mainly boosts the numbers of large-LDL particles, while a low-fat diet high in carbohydrates propagates the smaller forms. The big, fluffy particles are largely benign, while the small, dense versions keep lipid-science researchers awake at night.”

    Iana- heres an article about that vit c kidney stone thing.

  59. Iana yep magnesium involved in over 300 bodily processes and counting. That’s why I found the salt article interesting as lack of salt flushes out magnesium. It’s a weird thing that all sorts of animals seek out salt licks in the wild. Veges have high potassium so makes sense.

    In my work I often get cramps after a hard day sweating, drinking lots of water without salt worsens it as many a runner finds out it can be fatal. I think that we are getting back to what was once common knowledge after business concerns interfered in food supply and preferences.

  60. Trinity- feel for you mate it’s hard to go against the sticking plaster medicine we take as gospel and get to the root cause . Interesting that a lot of animals self medicate when they have Parasites etc even ants do.

  61. Oh and I think a balanced diet is a crock of brown stuff doesn’t exist what animal eats a balanced diet? Some people do perfectly well on zero carbs some don’t but it’s worth finding out what suits you. Some elements in veg are like kryptonite to some people so basically eat whole foods as naturally produced as possible but if you don’t feel good on something don’t eat it, simple.

  62. Nutrition and health is a controversial subject and the only thing you can be certain of is uncertainty.
    If anyone says they ‘know’ the answers you can certain that they should be ignored..
    Mark, you’re right that there is a still a lot of uncertainty around cholesterol and heart disease, particularly amongst older people.
    Having said that, there is pretty strong evidence that a high, ldl to hdl ratio in younger people leads to increased risk of early mortality.
    I was able to significantly shift my ratio through dietary changes and the doctors have therefore stopped recommending statins for me . . . . having said that, I don’t ‘know’ that I have done the right thing and might actually be causing myself harm.
    I’ll probably be long gone before they are completely confident of any cholesterol cause and effect impact on heart disease

  63. what do you mean by ‘naturally produced’ food though?
    If you mean organic, that’s fine, but there’d be mass starvation if we all had to farm completely organically.

  64. Well that does it. I’m going to eat dirt before any plant gets to it first.
    12 years ago I had atrial fibrillation. Went and had tests and was told I had a heart attack. I was put on beta blockers, and all the accompanying meds. A year later I was tested again and it was discovered I didn’t have a heart attack. Good news right? No. The beta blockers I took gave me type 2. So on to a different set of meds.
    I take omega 3, chromium, potassium, magnesium citrate, cranberry, and alpha lipoid acid on top of the meds.
    I have no build up in my arteries—none.
    I’ve been eating whole milk, butter, etc as I read that saturated fats help with cells etc.
    It’s difficult to figure it out so I just changed and mixed and matched til I was satisfied. I went to a nutritionist early on. What a waste of time. Went again last year and discovered it’s still a waste of time.
    I keep active I think that’s the trick.
    I have been seeing an osteopath and have had great results mechanically. He also does weight training and dietary counselling. I’m a happy guy right now.

    I also use the MyFitnessPal app to track my food and exercise.

  65. Robbo- yes mate I do mean Organic, there has been a study recently that says we can easily feed the world with Organic farming so I think there are to many concerns spreading fibs about what can and can’t be done. Whats needed any way is a mindset change, we could all do with eating less and better quality. We waste so much produce and I am sure if we put our massive brains to work we would find ways to increase yields. In hotter climbs organic practices keep the soil moist and produce more food with the added bonus your topsoil doesn’t blow away.

    Ian- well done mate the information is out there and what these frowned upon approaches to diet give you is a template to work to and refine, if it works for you thats the whole point.There is definitely genetic components to this and it can be as close as what your Grandma ate that gives or does’t give you an advantage or immunity. Some African tribes cook with salty dirt yum 🙂

    On cholesterol , there are at least 3 African tribes and the Inuit that eat a high fish/meat/fat and milk diet and don’t suffer heart disease if they don’t follow western diets. If fat was the culprit surely they would of quickly died out years ago. They live 60 odd years without heart disease in tough surroundings.

    On the Salt shtick low salt lowers libido and conception apparently, handy if you want to lower the population, just a thought.

    Heres a question, if you were asked to eat one food for the rest of your life what would it be? I have to say Meat, contains fat b-vits minerals protean and stored glucose. Don’t think I could face leafy greens for my breakfast.

  66. Robbo- on the organic front I think the use of pesticides has to stop anyway, to many problems with insect and bird life and rivers, if the Bees die wont matter what we farm with.

    Lately I have been hearing an advert that asks us not to use anti-biotics unless the doctor said so, had to laugh as they are the ones handing them out for colds etc. Turns out Roundup (glyphosphate) which is an anti-biotic sets the bugs in the soil up to be anti-biotic resistant anyway and they are on our food, well done monsanto.

  67. Mark

    defo playoffs at best.

    Warnock at Cardiff is a wiley so & so…been there and done it like bruce in the championship.

    They are so well drilled and he has them playing to there potential.

    They will be so hard to make ground on. Christmas is key saying that with so many games.

    If come the end of January we are still 7 or 8 points off 2nd that’s game over.

    Im a bit more confident with our games against sheff utd and boro though…they seem to be going through a sticky patch. could be a good time to face them.

    Someone on twitter said about our away record…its very good now.

    And what pleases me is the doc saying in the summer that’s our main target to improve and what they have talked about and planned to get better.

    And we have.

  68. Andrew- just saw this


    1 Wolverhampton 10 9 0 1 26 6 +20 27 50%

    2 Derby County 10 7 1 2 17 8 +9 22 40%

    3 Cardiff City 10 6 2 2 13 5 +8 20 30%

    4 Aston Villa 10 6 2 2 13 8 +5 20 40%

    5 Bristol City 10 6 2 2 15 11 +4 20 70%

    Lots of teams going well unfortunately and come Jan I’m sure they will strengthen, we are looking at two loans, all we can do is try and win every match, draws not enough, the mindset has to be 3 points its going to be tight.

  69. Andrew/Mark. Draws are defo not enough. I too think if we want P2 it will need to be a balls out fight with Cardiff. We should set up to win in every game and go for it. If we lose 1 every 4 but win the other 3 it will be happy days next May.

  70. On the ball Plug..!!!

    9 points from every 4 games keeps us on track, and nothing less, or we drop below the two points + needed for automatic promotion.

    8 points per 4 games and we are dragging our heels. We need to win, win win.

  71. Mark
    I started on statins and warfarin last year. I can’t avoid the rat poison aka warfarin because of a congenital heart defect that was operated on last year. I asked if I could do without the statin or take a lower dose. The cardiologist insisted many doctors would have me on a higher dose. Interestingly, my cholesterol levels have been low most of my life. I had low LDL and low HDL. Low HDL is a killer apparently. Excess triclycerides isn’t good either. Omega 3 helps a lot with those. In my case, the statins are used to stabilise arterial walls, stop anything from breaking off and causing a stroke. The congenital condition and years of high blood pressure knackered arteris so had a valve replaced with an American made mechanical valve, one valve surgically repaired and X4 bypass grafts, for which they used a forearm artery, the long vein from a leg and a pulmonary artery.
    There’s about 5 foot of scars. The left chest is numb from where they used the pulmonary artery. The statins used to cause leg cramps, which is why I take CoQ10. Fatigue and loss of memory are the worst side effcts from the drugs. Before the operation, I didn’t get chest pain, but they reckon some don’t. They just die without warning. Anyway, great to be alive. It just takes a lot more pushing oneself to get anything done these days.

  72. Mark, the low heart disease Incidence of the Inuit eating a traditional diet demonstrates the risk of taking a simplistic approach to diet and health.
    You’re clearly right that there is no straight line correlation between a high fat diet and heart disease.
    Their traditional diet was very low in dairy products and carbohydrates but very high in other fats and protein . . . a bit like the Atkins diet (Atkins died suffering from obesity and heart problems btw)
    The fat in the Inuit diet however contains high levels of hdl cholesterol (from fish and naturally feeding herbivores and carnivores.)
    People have suggested that the Inuit show that

  73. People have suggested that the Inuit diet shows that a high fat diet is not the cause of heart disease when it does nothing of the sort. It just shows that the Inuit lifestyle and the Inuit diet is a low heart disease diet and lifestyle .
    Taking anybone element of a diet to prove a point is always dangerous when it leaves the myriad of other variables out of the equation

  74. Trinity . . . . you’ve been through the wars eh?
    Is it the statins that cause memory loss and fatigue? They didn’t mention that to me. Maybe because I didn’t have to go through with it though?

  75. Mark,
    I’d love to believe that the world could feed itself organically but I just don’t.
    If we were to all turn vegan and turn all our productive land over to vegetable crops then we’d improve our chances as livestock are hellishly inefficient and take up a disproportionate acreage of land.
    The dilemma is that organic farming still requires us to add nutrients to the soil and this comes in the form of animal waste. . . . . which we would no longer have.

  76. Robbo
    You have some interesting points.
    There’s a lot of things the doctors don’t tell you, they just weigh up the risks and benefits. I’m not sure if it’s just the statins that cause memory loss in myself. My brother has taken statins for a decade and says he’s never had side effects. He is on a small dose though, 20mg. I’m on 40. Some are on 80. I’m also on an anti-depressant because of panic attacks and anxiety disorder plus other drugs.

  77. Trinity- well mate you’ve been through the wars fella, must be tough, Consider looking into Vitamin K2 with Vit D3, K2 Is very under the radar, found in Grass fed butter and Natto does an awful lot to keep your pipes clean. Get plenty of sunshine its needed to convert Cholesterol to Vit D and I suspect that its why the liver may over produce when you don’t get enough sun light in the hope of getting More D. K2 keeps calcium where it should be which is the real culprit behind deposits in the artery’s. Believe it or not WIFI also channels calcium into your cells so avoid where possible, tough I know, Magnesium will help. Hope this helps mate.

  78. Robbo- Yes Grass fed or wild meats beat factory farmed by a long shot, higher omega 3 content, funny thing is the fat is the main component of such a diet about 80% if you raise the protein side up to much then its possible to get ill. Back in the 1930’s an explorer who’d lived on innuit food for 9 years did a year on just meat along with his friend under obsevation, They were both fine, didn’t do much exercise but didn’t lose strength either while on the diet. One other factor is organ meats, you have to eat the whole animal to get the full benifits.

  79. Mark
    It’s all a question of dosage and interactions and that’s where the problems come in.
    Everything is a poison in too high a dosage . . . even water, even though it’s clearly essential for life.
    All vitamins (by definition) are necessary for a healthy life but almost certainly, too high a dose of any of them is detrimental.
    The question is . . . what is too high a dose? And that’s where the problems come in.
    Yes the Inuit diet included eating all parts of the animal. Without that they would have suffered scurvy at least. Again that demonstrates how dangerous it is to just take single dietary factors in isolation and assume that they are good for you.
    It’s the balanced diet that matters.
    In saying that . . . . there are many ways of ‘balancing a diet’ and the Inuit found just one of them.

  80. Mark, yes cholesterol is essential but western diet have tended towards the low density form in recent years and it increasingly seems that THAT is bad for you.

  81. Robbo- look at western food, we isolate fats from seeds, carbs from wheat etc, truth is some foods we can’t even eat if we don’t, like Rice, White rice has the outer germ removed which contains a lot of arsenic, its not done for aesthetics it seems. We eat the whole range of deadly nightshade plants like spuds and tomatoes, they are not good for a lot of people, the Italians skin and de-seed their tomatoes for that reason, so what is a whole food?

    Cholesterol is produced by the liver at the rate of 800ml a day vs 200ml average from food, if we eat more the liver produces less, carbs produce more LDL thats harmful or raises it for whatever reason, its not the fats other than damaged seed oil which goes rancid as can fish oil causing inflammation, saturated fat is more stable. One problem is fattening up cattle with grain, instant inflamed cow and people and as the omega 6-3 ratio is change it causes problems grass fed fixes that.

  82. Robbo earth also had a lot more animals crapping on it 🙂

    the Vitamin thing is contentious but considering the foods less nutritious, picked unripe, sent thousands of miles I will take my chances, no thousands dying from vitamins to my knowledge, body just pisses them out can’t say the same for drugs. A lot depends on the gut biome and most peoples are pretty bad these days and unable to absorb much any way bar calories 🙂

    night mate up early.

  83. Mark, we’re probably going too far with this conversation Ina football blog, but . . . . I’ve had tomatoes I Italy with skin and seed but you’re right, they often remove them when cooking tomatoes which is a shame as there is the highest concentration of the antioxidant, lycopene, in the skin. (Recently funded research to find the varieties with the highest levels as it happens)
    As for the liver controlling cholesterol levels, the liver can play a part in trying to maintain balance, but the fact is that dietary intake has a dramatic effect on co entratiins in the blood (where it matters)

  84. I’ve found diet modification effective in getting the liver enzymes right. I already exercised a fair bit because I enjoy hiking in the mountains and along the coast with the dog. The B group vitamins are essential and like magnesium and Vit C it’s lacking in our diet. Apparently, it’s a good idea to have any magnesium supplement along with a banana or kiwifruit, something that naturally contains magnesium. This helps with absorption. The human body doesn’t absorb supplemental magnesium very well by itself. I take the supplement because I’d have to eat too many bananas to get the desired level of magnesium.

  85. Mark
    Thanks for the useful Vit K info. Vit K is closely related to warfarin, which I believe is produced from clover, so have to be careful of how much Vit K is consumed. They say consistency is the key. I started eating lots of spinach and I got a phone call from the nurse wanting to know if I’d changed my diet because my INR (warfarin) levels were right up.
    I see fermented foods are great for K2. I think our great-grandparents ate a lot more fermented foods because there weren’t many refrigerators around. They pickled a lot of things.

  86. Mark
    This link explains the development of warfarin if you’re interested.
    If I eat more Vit K, I generally need to take more warfarin depending on INR levels.;jsessionid=B1D66DD75F6A97A2D2008BEE8CF7F0D0.f04t04?v=1&t=jauaote6&s=1f13f1fe492ffd1f3ba5e51909f4ecab4eecddb5

    That JL fella has taken warfarin with no problems for decades. He eats moderately and follows the Vedic Karma Sutras.

  87. Trinity yes magnesium supplements don’t absorb well mag citrate is the best but there are different versions that are attracted to muscle brain and other tissues. Mag Oil gets into the blood via the skin much better.

    Robbing- interesting fact is we have lost 10% of our brain volume since adopting farming versus hunting. The other thing is man consumed mushroom that grew on the poop off the beards we followed and pot magic mushrooms etc react with brain transmitters that are cholesterol based.

  88. Mark
    Just been very busy & clocked back in after missing the Leeds match unfortunately.
    Then trying to wade through the enormous health companion, & had to take it with a pinch of salt [organic of course].
    Oh well no brain no pain.

  89. IanG- see how boring Villa have got Bruce out 🙂

    Trinity- yes your right all forms of K thin blood to varying degrees, MK4 being the Calcium vein cleaner, Could always take Nattokinase though a natural blood thinner, clears out fibrin 🙂
    the interactions must be murder.

    Andrew- do you think we will be getting those wins? I’d be a lot more confident if we beat some of the top teams.

  90. IanG
    Yeah, should win. Hope Millwall don’t bring to many of their thugs with them and don’t destroy half of Aston on the way home.
    How are you doing Mr G?

  91. IanG
    Yeah, should win. Hope Millwall don’t bring too many of their thugs with them and don’t destroy half of Aston on the way home.
    How are you doing Mr G?

  92. Kevin Mac copping some flak in today’s Guardian. Seems one of the youth team ain’t happy at the bullying he is receiving and his father is complaining. KM’s record at youth level is excellent. I would advise any kid who can’t hack it to find another club and/or job. Am I being harsh? In my day you got a fist behind the ear at school if your boots were dirty.

  93. Robbo- nattokinase is taken in a buffered tablet its an enzyme like proteolytic enzymes, the Germans use the latter instead of paracetamol etc to reduce inflammation. Serrapeptase another good one for reducing scar tissue and inflammation , the main cause of of peoples problems with Cholesterol.

    Plug- bullying could just be a few harsh words these days.

  94. Plug
    In these politically correct times, it’s could also be the kid’s own stuff in interactions, or even input from family, & maybe something to do with the father’s aspirations for the youth, or all of them.
    Or as you say, bollockings for a delicate youth from Kevin Mac.
    It can’t have been too serious or repercussions would have happened sooner,
    You have to be from a certain social strata & have money to send your kid to a football club, with the accompanying expectations & owning of the situations by the parents, & some need the red card.
    When is grown up [or young adult]officially now?
    For me also I paid the price as a teenager if a square peg in a round hole, [& earlier].
    There must be a science behind it Mark!

  95. Mark
    “Serrapeptase another good one for reducing scar tissue and inflammation, the main cause of peoples problems with Cholesterol.”
    Correct. Cholesterol is what the body uses to fill in lesions. It’s like the body’s way of filling in leaks in the plumbing, so the cholesterol itself isn’t the problem, except that it does its job from the inside, which leads to narrowing. Inflammation and whatever causes it is the problem. As you know. Just putting in my tuppence worth.

  96. Iana- This is it as I understand it, Inflammation starts in the gut, and effects the brain and its workings and then on to the body. The gut and the brain have a direct link. In the case of arteries etc inflammation causes lesions which get filled with a mixture of Small particle LDL and Calcium making them inflexible.
    To much sugar and carbs are turned to small particle LDL in the liver and can cause inflammation in the gut (via the gut biome) Carbs not used are changed to Triglyceride’s in the Liver, raised Triglycerides lower HDL and raise small LDL , whereas Saturated fat Raises HDL and LDL but they are the larger variety of LDL. Constant Stress via cortisol causes Inflammation too by pissing off the gut Biome.

    Andrew- I would rather have high Cholesterol than Gabby 🙂

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