First off, Happy 2018, Villans! Here’s to prosperity, joy, and health for all of you and yours in the new year.

And while we’re at it, here’s to the same for Villa.

Yesterday, we said goodbye to our dear friend Dixie. My daughter picked her out from a litter of rescue dogs one afternoon, settled on her name, and Dix went on to be our steadfast companion for 14 years—some of them better than others. Fierce, loyal, stubborn, too smart for her own good and quite sure she was actually supposed to be the one in charge, she was a presence unlike any other, and will be sorely missed. RIP, Dixie.

Which means I didn’t really get to see the New Year’s even banter until now…And am shocked to see that Steve Bruce is still dividing opinion.

However, Villa did pick up a vital three points at the Riverside on Saturday to keep us in touch. Bruce, who has been upset with some of us lately, was glad for the opportunity to shut up supporters who’re questioning his stewardship. I don’t think Bruce is wrong that the Championship season is a long slog, and I don’t think he’s wrong that teams will generally have a bad patch or two.

I also don’t think he’s wrong that injuries have played a part in our struggles.

Regardless, we’ve got what we’ve got, and right now, results are what matter. Bruce can certainly silence his critics further with a win this evening at Villa Park. Bristol will be playing to overtake Derby in second, while Villa could climb back to fifth with a win. That’s not so bad, given the poor rate of return lately.

Glass half-full, or half-empty? I don’t really know where mine’s at, to be honest. Let’s see how we get on tonight, and then we can decide whether to put down the pitchforks and torches for bit.

Comments 119

  1. JC- how much better do we look without wheelan? getting forward much quicker and Hourihane is free with Jedinak anchoring made up for Hogan, got to love that flu 🙂

  2. Mark


    Who would of thought freeing hourihan up who at his old club was leading assister and ran the mid would improve us. Think he olayed freeer and got a hattrick one game but then bruce changed it! Same with lansbury….we are wasting him.

    But still a perfct 45 against a top club! Jack superb apparntly.

    So so so happy for hogan. Theres something about him i love. Just hope it clicks for him.

    Mind you 3 points is crucial have to hold on.

  3. I hope BC don’t wake up second half been poor from them from what I have seen this season but full credit to us for capitalising, this is exactly what we need to do please don’t make this a one off, win the big games when others slip up makes a huge difference, we could see 2nd looming over the hill by march maybe sooner, sod the play offs, hope I haven’t jinxed it now 🙂

  4. The Beeb: “Villa have had four shots on target and have scored three times. Ruthless.”

    I think those stats exclude Jack’s attempt that hit the woodwork as well.

  5. Rubbish team choice, crap substitutions, Hutton is rubbish – fancy setting up that goal for Thor, everyone said that we wouldn’t get any points from these two New Year games ……………………………………….. BRUCE OUT!!

    MK – keep taking the piss, it bores most people ……


  6. OV
    This is the first game that Villa has dominated—so far. A vastly different group of players. Give your head a shake. Injuries forced Bruce’s hand against everything he stands for.

  7. Ian – don’t tell me to give my head a shake – all you lot of whingers need to give your heads a shake surely?
    And what is vastly different about the starting lineup?
    Oh of course lucky SB got injuries in his team …….. just like every other team in the division.

    Lets support our team come rain or shine and see how we do eh? Through good and bad is what its all about and always has been …….


  8. OV
    All the goals came from players Bruce didn’t rate much bar one and he was in the dog house for ages.
    OK, don’t give your head a shake

  9. Hogan’s goal was well taken, thought his celebration was funny. The team jusT grew in confidence after that, really good passing for most of the goals. Biggest win since 2013 the commentator was saying,great start to 2018.

  10. Maybe its all about agnew?!

    But credit to bruce……he reacts well from huge pressure…. Was getting dogs abuse during 5 game unbeaten run and has just pulled off beating boro and city.

    2 huge huge huge victories. Well done bruce.

  11. this is a massive result,,,, and again by luck ,,, and a bit of desperation,,,,

    this is what we want to see more often,,, many of us have said about the cautious tactics and negativity along with some stupid player selections

    but today he stuck with the side most of us would have been happy with and bingo,,,,,

  12. Ian,

    Ahem … no, usual service has been resumed. You seem to forget the 4-0 win at Burton and one or two other results.

    To me, the problem area has been the team has had to be changed constantly – mainly because of injuries. When you start to get a settled team then you get results.

  13. Grealish being back in the team and with hourihan freed up means we will play more through the middle and should suit hogan.

    As well as looking better on the eye for us fans! Jack could be the hero this second half of season we have been dreaming of!!

  14. Never mind how it came about . . . . Like everyone else, right now I’m just loving this result.
    Too soon to get carried away . . . only half way through the season, but hope rekindles

  15. John true

    No coincidence are 10 odd game unbeaten run was with settled team.

    Lmassive is a underststement.
    These 2 wins have putus back in the chase for 2nd. Today has just been perfect with the result goals and other results.

    Enjoy it as we have had enough bad times!

  16. John
    The team just took a big drop in average age and also a more attack minded group.
    Yeah, I forgot about the 4-0 win.
    Just happy to see a good go for the throat win. Happy for Bruce too

  17. Hilarious , the way both sides of the Bruce schism are attempting to claim vindication from todays result. I was delighted when I saw the midfield line up but after that who knows ? It was a great result against a good team and that type of attitude is what villa fans pay to see and its the VP regulars whom I’m most pleased for this evening.

    It would be churlish to analyse the reasons behind today’s win right now , so all I’ll say is happy new year compadres.!!

  18. IanG- no problem mate, what a laugh the lad from Alabama was who streamed it knew his stuff to, he made my day along with the scoreline, we went from pedestrian to actually having some pace its a miracle. Hutton has gone all his career without knowing he’s a left back hope Bruce doesn’t move him he is revelation there.

    Andrew/ Dave Blurton

    spot on lads IMO but at least it shows what this squad depleted or not is potentially capable of as I have said for months. Hope its not a blip but the forced changes hutton to left back, jedi DM, elmo RB, Elphick, makes us quicker and more solid at the back it appears and hourihane off the leash seems to have changed the way we play immediately, can’t see Wheelan getting back in not sure about Davis but think he will thrive if we carry on like this. come to think of it we kind of slumped when hutton switched sides as he was doing well with Adomah?

  19. Thanks JL, hadn’t seen Hourihanes goal, Baker back heeled it into his path instead of clearing it into row z , what a game so many good performances but jack beginning to run the show with movement off him everywhere, Villa park in full voice was great to hear, feels like a cloud has lifted at least for while? maybe for good?

  20. yep Ian I was thinking that myself, I thought Elphick would be better playing with this seasons defence and midfield, chuffed for him he’s stuck at it, not entirely sure I’d want to upset things right now regardless as leadership doesn’t appear to be a problem if we play that way, Do you think that JT and Wheelan will return soon? I’m hoping not

  21. Maybe the bench for whelan. Rest Terry a little longer. Look at Kodjer and a few years ago Kozak. Both brought back too early. Feet and ankles take a pounding just from everyday life. Villa found their feet without them so give them the rehab this injury needs

  22. Agreed Ian, something Andrew said earlier just came around in my head about Agnew, I know bruce had to make forced changes to the side and things consequently look better but maybe Agnew has cast his eye over the squad and had a word in his shell like to?

  23. Could be. Bruce might have put himself in a box regarding his selections and tactics. A fresh eye was all that was needed. Hope so.

  24. John
    Sorry to hear about Dixie. 14 years was a good innings. And good on your family for choosing a rescue dog. That was a good move.
    It’s good to see everyone happy that Villa won well and dominated to boot. I only watched the highlights on YouTube, can’t watch the Sky highlights here. Can’t wait to see the extended highlights.
    Good to see you commenting again.
    You must be getting lots of sugar, full of energy as usual. Hutton has played well for most of the season.
    Hogan’s header was awesome.

  25. That’s a good interview with the Bristol manager Mark. He talks very sensibly and he comes across as a very like-able fella. Importantly for Bristol , he seems to have a good grasp of the technical end of his job . I like him .

  26. yes Prox I’m sure they will be top 6 min, hope we can hit second and dodge the play offs but lets see if Mr Bruce/Agnew has learned anything looking mighty pleased with himself in his presser considering he was going to play Jedinak in defence 🙂

  27. Yes, you can’t help liking Lee Johnson from the way he speaks there.
    He’s been fortunate in having a chairman who stood by him through the worst of times (although by his own admission the board were within a whisker of sacking him during their very bad run)
    He complained of injuries but I suspect that all mangers do at this stage of the season.
    It was interesting hearing him also talk of player tiredness. It’d be interesting to see the distance run stats for their players. They certainly ‘appear’ to work really hard and you can’t help wondering if that starts to take its toll in the latter half of the season?

  28. Got to Robbo, they are only human and they run a half marathon at pace virtually thats tough. hopefully as players return we can be sensible and not run the same team into the ground as we have when there are actually options. Jack needs wrapping in cotton wool.

  29. Mark ,
    You’re not going to draw me out on Bruce today !! I’m being ‘good cop ‘ for today at least. There are less daunting prospects than Bristol City (on paper at least ) to come over the next few weeks , lets just see.

    I wonder what odds the bookies would give on Villa being the only west midlands club in the premiership next season and the blues being relegated ?

  30. two good games coming up prox on paper then sheff utd away, has potential and I’d like to see some consistency at that performance level, we wont get 5 every game but play like that we will beat most.
    Be surprised if WBA escape can’t score, are you hoping that Wolves commit suicide? might be worth a tenner if your feeling flush.

  31. Yes Mark, Jack is really starting to look the player we all hoped he’d be. How do you go about wrapping him in cotton wool though. From what we’ve seen this season and last, he’s going to get little protection from referees.
    Not start him in some games. . . hard to do when he is making such a contribution.

  32. robbo very true, I think if he gets those other players taking the opposition away he’s hard to pin down one on one so thats my idea how, give him options not isolate him as Onamah has been. Rumour he’s off back to Spurs, might not be the worst thing for both parties

  33. To be fair bruce has a right to feel a bit smug. Been getting pelters last month and after 5 nil win going to be a bit full of himself.

    Dont mind that….just keep the hand brake off and play some football with intent!!

  34. Immense result. I didn’t see it coming. Not just 3 points but an adjustment to our goal difference of 10 against one of our closest rivals. And a statement to Warnock, Rowett and co.

    Square pegs in square holes and round pegs in round holes and surprise surprise. SB is already talking about returning players next week. Not for me thanks, make them wait. Same 18 players for the next few games in my book. That bench will frighten any team with the legs and energy available for the tiring latter stages of games. This 18 deserves a few more outings. The returning players won’t be happy but must understand what just happened in their absences.

    I won’t be getting carried away, it may be that lone swallow again. If BCFC hadn’t missed that sitter right after half time subsequent conversations might have been very different. But like all Villa fans and lifers, I’m a happy bunny this morning.

  35. Plug- spot on mate could of been different in the first 20 and Bristols attacking nature played into our hands giving us space but we looked better equipped all round to capitalise and the defence was sound. Thought Bruces comments about Jedinak was comical though as he was due to start the last match at CB with slow poke wheelan in the midfield, if he learns anything its don’t change that. Apparently Bruce was show-boating with a ball on the sideline living it up and it pissed off Johnson 🙂

    Lots has been said about injuries and of course having all options available is optimal. Life isn’t like that though and giving the likes of Jedinak time to heal will pay dividends while jack has been on a weight training Regime since the summer, now that extra strength is showing in his play, harder to shake off the ball braver and quicker. That would not of happened if he hadn’t had this extended time off to bulk up a little, building strength in season is nigh on impossible while running so much. Shame Bruce didn’t make better use of the lads he did have available like Elphick, ohare, doyle hayes, hogan and been braver so that Kodjia could of healed fully perhaps, that and not letting him go on international duty when unfit. As Vertout said about his time at Villa he had no pre-season, like driving out onto Silverstone race track in a mini against Hamilton.

    Full credit for staying in touch with the top no matter my feelings it could of been done better, lets hope it continues.

  36. Brizzle are a proper team and of course would of had some threat…but to put them to the sword like that and dismantle them was immense,

    Johnson always plays the big cb flint as a striker….the scenes when bruce does it!

    Terry comes in when fit for me but the rest stays the same. Which bruce will do as he is old school like that.


    yes, my worry at the start of decemebr was not being in playoffs come Jan. I thought we would struggle. So to be 5 points off 2nd is very decent.

    We will put a long unbeaten run together….we have done it under bruce lots….but can we play in that fashion more?!

  37. Andrew- Heres a thought if you were to bring back JT would it upset the balance of the team? we have at least a little more pace now and the FB’s actually contributed because of the stability and Jedinaks anchor role and would you drop Elphick who plays on the right side or Chester potentially our player of the season, tough call and I would wait awhile personally.

    Vital we win those home games against the top 6 teams now we have given ourselves a chance for second, I can put up with Bruce and his supporters crowing if the performance level stays high a sign of real stability, especially if it gets us up. I still stand by what I have said about what I have seen up till now just want out of this league 🙂

  38. JL- tough one as he has kept us in games this season when the defence failed but has barely had to make a save since Jedinaks reintroduction to DM. Don’t think theres much to choose from between him and steer, maybe johnsons quicker at coming out though neither control their box, should of got Ruddy on a free.

  39. Well, I have now got over the shock of a euphoric 5-0 win at Villa Park last night, which I bore witness to last night, along with 32,500 other football fans.

    “In the flu we trust”….. Let the Bruce lovers start to listen for once, I was with Villa people last night who made it clear, but for the flu, Whelan and Davis would have played the last two games…!!!

    Elphick has played the last two games, and alongside Chester has been outstanding, Hutton was exceptional last night in place of Taylor. Jack Grealish played his heart out- see his heat map for the game- and with Hogan, made a huge difference, as did Hourihane playing in a forward role. This was NOT THE BRUCE PLAN- Jack and Scott, with Horihane and the rest did it own their own.

    The credit I will give Bruce, were his substitutions, as these boys will be playing on Saturday against the “POSH”.

    Bruce has got very lucky once again, as he was happy to have Elphick, Hogan and one or two more he may need on the transfer list, so he could buy a few more of his cronies….

    Perhaps Bruce may be thinking about what he is going to say to DR. Tony, as to why Elphick has been out in the cold, why he persisted with Whelan, when his mistakes were so costly, and why he thinks that Jedinak could be a CB. Elphick got on with the job, was not having to avoid the missing Onomah, and there was 11 players wearing a Villa shirt, who were just not there to collect a pay cheque.

    On Snodgrass, overall he was ok, but should have had at least have had a hat trick, but in the second half he did up his game. He will stand out because of his two goals, but last night showed there are players on the bench desperate to be in this team.

    A word about Bjarnason, as well, with his new haircut, and the beard gone, he played his best ever in a Villa shirt. Look out! he is looking great for the future, and looking fit. Hogan was a different person last night with JG’s and Hourihane’s support. O’Hare, how is this boy not playing?? He came on and made a difference straight away, completely fearless, went for every ball, and Bristol City were not poor. They just could not cope with all this vitality. Perhaps JG and O’Hare should play 45 minutes each, and thereby destroy the oppositions..!!

    I am so glad that once again I was there to see one of Villa’s finest wins in my life time, and ranks with the Sunderland game, when we scored six, starting with Ron Vlaar, the Liverpool 5-1 win in 1977, the wins back in the early days against Man City 5-1, Notts Forest 8-3 and many others…!! of course the win against Liverpool under Sherwood at Wemley..Roll on the Villa memories…last night was a result the faithful Villa fans deserved…!!

  40. Well said PP, I think Ohares omission when Bruce has been talking all season about building around Jack is a mystery, Ohare is a much better match for Jack than Onamah.

  41. nice one PP

    yes need to see o hare and rushden given a place on the bench all the time and given minutes.

    not fussed with onamah at all can go back to spurs.

    jack and ohare enough.


    Just bring in terry for elphick…..terry just has to start. His precense alone helps us and keeps us concentrated.

    Another chester appreciation comment….just a class act.

  42. looking forward to the cup game….if as expected the likes of ohare, green play.

    Ohare has to make himself undroppable. Go and put in a performance that cant be ignored.

    After years of being unfit its nice at last we seem to have got in shape!

  43. not a lot of love for snoddy it seems, but I love him!

    You have to get him on the ball in the final 3rd and he is deadly. creates and scores. whats not to like!

    I like whelean too but not instead of hourihan.

    Hourihna has to have freedom and let jedi or whelean sit next to him.

    When whelean plays its always him that’s further forward! stay back!

  44. Andrew- Chester the unsung hero, we will see if we improve wit terry or whether it pins us in our half. Wheelan? I think hourihane spends all match covering for his lack of mobility and not doing what he’s best at, when he scored his hat trick he was virtually a no10 and Onamah sat deeper since then Bruce dragged him back and wheelan keeps him there.

    Fitness is down to RDM’s italian bloke he brought over and a friends son who now schedules the players weight training since the summer, incredible but most were not using the gym!! remember before Delph started playing better he got his own personal trainer in the city centre? some things at Villa need bringing up to date.

  45. JL – Re the Johnstone situation.

    In these instances I put myself in the player’s position and consider the options.

    1) He joins WBA. Gets a cut of the transfer fee. Short term salary gain that may only last 6 months. Has to dislodge Foster so may be back on the bench. Could be a championship bench next season. Career prospects not clear.

    2) He stays at Villa. Holds first team place. Could be in for a salary gain if promoted. Gets a cut of the transfer fee in 6 months time. Could be first team premiership next season. Career prospects have better potential.

    3) He stays at United at the end of this season. One more season on the bench then he’s free to negotiate with any club. Career prospects depend on who comes calling.

    If I was facing those options I’d stay with Villa. If he chooses differently then Steer is an able goalkeeper.

  46. PLug,

    Agree with you Johnstone would wise to stay with Villa, and the last couple of results may make the difference.

    The future is down now to Tony Xia, Bruce and the players. After the last two results, Bruce must change his mindset, and not be wanting the likes of Whelan back, or dropping Elphick. The defence is now a better and fitter four, with the right balance of experience, and shows in Johnstone’s renewed confidence.
    The midfield is also now a well balanced unit with Hourihane and JG outstanding, with O’Hare as back up for them. Bjarnason is now a different player, giving confidence, if he comes off the bench. Hogan just needs more paying time with JG, as together they are a force, with Hourihane sat just behind them.

  47. MK,

    Have now read the piece you put up from Bruce, about Jedinak and providing the freedom for JG and Hourihane, couple that with his begrudging acceptance of Tommy Elphick, must make him a potential for a top of the bill spot at “Live at the Apollo”

    and as a lone striker, he will not need any support act….!!!!

  48. PP
    great post i thought you where talking about me JG ,jg was superb 3rd goal started outside our box how many backpass would have been needed if whelan had been there,its simple use our firepower to attack teams,not one team in this league we should be setting up defensively,and as MK said like to be fly in wall between bruce and doc in why jedi played at centre half instead of elphik,why taylor plays at lb instead of hutton and why this spurs lad keeps getting played

  49. Spot on JG,

    I would love to be there too..!!!

    Funny girl… partner who knows little about the Villa, and even less about football…..said “so what you really need now is for the manager to go down with a dose of the ‘flu”…….

    She could be right, let JT oversee the team in the meantime…..!!!

  50. PP- Yes he does make me laugh, I know I get told I make scenarios up to support my argument but Bruce makes a living out of bending the truth to suit 🙂

  51. Mark

    re fitness

    think we are ok now behind the scenes with round re structuring.

    Bruce gave a nod to the strength and conditioning guy whos whipped jack into shape.

    The whole team seem fitter.

    Not seen the interview but apparently hogans spoke well and interestgly has said his form hasn’t been down to geling with the teams mates but moving the ball quicker and pressing higher.

    Agnew influence?

    Someone on twitter who watches the games says he can see a difference since agnew in.

    could be an inspired move?

  52. PP – SB has stumbled onto last night’s team of 18 players due to a virus. Like you I believe he should now leave well alone. If he changes it for the worse he deserves all the mass hysteria coming his way.

  53. Andrew- Yes we pressed well after the first 20, hourihane has some stamina and that helped snodgrass with no little help from Adomah, grealish and Hogan. No surprise on Hogans comment as thats exactly what Brentford do, a no brainer.

    If its Agnew then thank you sir because after all this time can’t be Bruce can it? I must say I saw the similarities to how we played against Norwich with Hourihane further up and us pressing but that stopped the next game, also saw it in the early cup games with a mix of first and U23’s and Hogan up top. The signs have been there imo but seemingly ignored.

  54. Agnew – Yes, I thought I glimpsed something else that had been added to the mix in the last game, & against BC it was more pronounced.
    The worry is that it may go back too far & start the negative model all over again.
    The Peterborough game team selection should give us a hint.
    I can’t see a gungho immediate approach materialising, but there is more hope that the set up might actually suit the players we have now.

  55. IanG,

    Why should the Peterbrough game team selection give a hint?

    I doubt it. I think we’ll be back into League Cup team selections again for this one, and change again for the next league match.

  56. IanG- I can imagine it will be something like below mainly to keep Hogan scoring if poss and eying up wheelan to see if he can fit into a more attacking stance. possibly de-laet at CB and Bree RB and Birkir is another possible start instead of Onamah

    Delaet academy CB terry taylor or academyFB

    Wheelan if alive

    onamah doyle hayes green



  57. Mark
    I would put Bee in RB & De Laet at LB with Elphick & Terry
    Apart from it’d help Jedinak get match fit with a week off afterwards, The rest as you say

  58. Well SB has stated nothing happening with Johnson as far as he and Mourhino are concerned. Of curse JM might be playing ‘mind games’ to get a good price

  59. IanG- yes mate many scenario’s and Bruce is unlikely to want to stay in the cup. My view is give the rest something to train for other than splinter gathering. I can imagine he will be thinking we have just come out of a hard period and shelving the team for two weeks. what it does show is we have so many options its rude.

    Read this on Moms asking do we need to bring anyone in? I would be happy without unless we can get areal game changer of a forward, we already have a few of those we can’t use properly so could be fruitless, I say a pacey forward or winger or even a proven CF in the Murry of Brightons mold. With RHM and Green back though are we once again shelving our own?

  60. Bruce has apparently said that the team will be:

    Steer Bree Sulliman Terry Taylor Green O’Hare Doyle-Hayes Bjarnason Heburn-Murphy Hogan….

    or something very similar, but Bree, Green, Sulliman, Doyle-Hayes and Hepburn-Murphy are definites for the team sheet on Saturday. Bedeaux could also be on the bench. Terry or Elphick, not sure, he may prefer to start Elphick, bringing on Terry for the second half.

    Like many, wonder how much difference Agnew is making to the team improvement.

    Good to see more contributions. Happy New Year JL, good to have you back.

  61. PP,

    Thanks for the welcome back, but I’ll not be commenting as much as I did before. I prefer a peaceful life! 😀 And I see that MK is looking for friends to come back and comment now I’ve re-appeared! 😀

  62. Well JL it looks like I’m getting my wish to see a team of youth on the pitch.:-)
    It’ll be interesting. And yeah I don’t think Bruce is too interested in the cup run.

  63. Heres the interview Andrew mentioned from Hogan, the start is very telling on how he needs us to play to succeed but he also says he needs to adapt to how Bruce wants him to play? a very honest lad and For me spot on in what he says.

    “I might not have not scored for 12 months but I have had worse times in my career,” said Hogan, who twice underwent surgery on a cruciate ligament injury while with Brentford.

    “I have been in the game as a professional for four years and two of those I did not play because I was injured. I’ve had worse to test me mentally. Mentally, this is no issue. I would like to think not many things will break me.

    “It just comes down to me, really. Working hard and doing what I know I can do.

    “Playing how I want to play and what the gaffer wants me to do. I have to change, I have to adapt to what he wants, more than anything. Or I am not going to play.

    “I am trying to change, little by little, adapt from what I would normally do to what the manager wants because he picks the team. He expects his faith rewarded.”

    “Whatever has gone, has gone. I am still confident. I am confident I am the best striker at the club. (Jonathan) Kodjia will say the same. Keinan (Davis) will say the same. You have to.

    “You have to believe. You have to think like that.

    “It has beaten me up a lot, not scoring. But hopefully this is a sign of things to come.”

  64. mark very refreshing interview with Hogan.

    Usually players come up with all the standard pr bs and cliche but he was very honest and open. spoke his own mind.

    Looking forward to the cup game now….lets see the kids impress.

  65. Barry Fry’s backside has been talking again. Today’s comments:

    “Villa fans do not know how lucky they are to have Steve Bruce as their manager. Steve could easily have been Manchester United or England’s manager let alone Villa’s. I can’t understand some of the stick that Steve has received since he took over at the club, his record at getting Championship teams into the Premier League is second to none.

    “Although we will be massive underdogs on the day, I am sure we will give Villa a fright or two. Our young manager Grant McCann will play an attacking game and with the leading scorer in the Football League in Jack Marriott (21) and the leading assist maker in the EFL in Marcus Maddison (21 plus nine goals) in our ranks, we will give it a good go. Danny Lloyd has scored 10 goals in the last few months and is really good form and our talented midfielder Leo Da Silva Lopes, who has made over 80 appearances before the age of 19, is getting more experience every game he plays.”

    Maddison is the guy Fry failed to sell to ‘Arry just before ‘Arry got the tin tack.

  66. Very sad news about Alan Deakin passing, as he was one of Mercer’s minors, playing for Villa from 1959/69, before ending up with Walsall. He was an England under 23, and one of my favourites in my teenage years.

    The win was in 1988, but I am sure JL will give more information on that.

    I was very impressed with Hogan’s honesty, and admittance that the problem has also been trying to conform to Bruce’s style of play……hit and hoof..!! Playing out wide and poor crosses lobbed in from the wings, rather than telling ground passes into the box……from Grealish and O’Hare…

    I think Hogan will play alongside Hepburn-Murphy on Saturday. Sulliman will be paired with Elphick, with Terry coming off the bench.

  67. plug
    funny was it only mcleish of fergie players turned managers that actually won a trophy,bruce never was as lucky last oct when doc sacked rdm and wynes seen a chance to get another dinosaur into join his club,even newcastle who hired some strange managers wouldnt touch bruce

  68. Plug,

    at least Fry got one thing right then…….goodbye ‘Arry….and all connected with him..

    Bruce is ok with struggling clubs with no money, no history, and a very small fan base…anything bigger requires using experience, coupled with intelligence, to combine in making a formidable force like Ferguson did….

  69. Andrew,

    Yes, 5-0 vs Hull City on Jan 1 the last time we were in the 2nd tier (1987-88). And that was not an easy promotion ride either.

    re: Alan Deakin

    Yes, fine player. Some say he and Bobby Moore as the two wing-halves for England would have been the dream ticket.

    So with he and MacEwan just passed on, that’s 2 of the 1961 FL Cup-winning side that have gone.

  70. Thanks for that JL.

    I believe there is also a goalkeeper that played for Villa and West Bromwich, Derek Dudley that has passed away too.

    Moyes may also be reconsidering recalling Snodgrass to West Ham…

  71. Andrew/PP yes hogans very likeable and honest and thats the first hint from a player of how Bruce is trying to make them play, the opposite of everything Hogan said at the start of his interview it seems. Hope he packs that in, really feel like we should have been challenging Wolves not the rest but all water under the bridge now unless we revert to type. Need to push on and get our youngsters integrated because Chester, houriahne, green, Grealish, Ohare, Hogan and others will be part of our core if we make it up, potentially exciting times at last.

  72. From the official site:

    Aston Villa are saddened today to hear of the news of Alan Deakin’s death.
    Alan helped us to the League Cup win of 1961 over Rotherham United – in a season that ranks as one of his most successful in claret and blue.
    As well as the League Cup triumph, Alan also played in 40 league matches as we finished a creditable seventh in only our second season back in top-flight football.
    Throughout his time in B6, he maintained the form which made him arguably the most talented of the crop of teenage players known fondly as Mercer’s Minors.
    Apart from his consistent club performances, Alan also won half a dozen England U23 caps, only to suffer a broken ankle during the 1964/65 campaign when a call-up to the national team looked a distinct possibility.
    After 270 appearances over the course of a decade, he moved to Walsall in October 1969.
    We would like to send our condolences to his family and friends at this very sad time


    Probably right, you know what press rumours are like..

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