Well, after a win on New Year’s Day that must surely have prompted delusions of grandeur amongst Villa fans, the visit of a mid-table third-tier side this Saturday should present little difficulty, right? Well, let caution prevail: once upon a time Peterborough made themselves into a team to be respected; even ‘Posh’. They were named ‘Posh’, it is said, because their first-ever team manager is quoted as saying “I am looking for posh players to play for a posh new club!”

More will be revealed about Posh in the following narrative.

The older ones amongst us will recall a time when big crowds at VP were almost a normality. And when I speak of ‘big’ I’m referring to the pre-1975 terrace days when the ground capacity was 75,000-plus. Though very big crowds (50,000-plus) became more of a rarity after the early-1950s, they still occurred, usually on big ‘derby’ days against the Blews or Wolves or Albion. And a few other occasions too, until 1970.

If the question were to be asked, “When was the last 60,000-plus attendance?”, it may not be too much of a surprise to be reminded that it was on the occasion of that grand mid-week evening match in the second leg of the Football League Cup semi against Manchester United in December 1970, 47 years ago. Yes, it was a mid-week match, and Villa – then in the old Third Division – gloriously beat a United team containing all the big names, including Best, Charlton and Law, and got to the Final. 62,500 were there to see it.

But by the 1960s, 60,000-plus gates became restricted mainly to Cup matches, and in season 1960-61 there were two such mammoth Cup gates. The next (and last) one was the 1970 match detailed above.

So (you may ask) “which were those two 1960-61 opponents that attracted so much attention?”. The first of them was against a side in the old Fourth Division: Peterborough United! The Posh! Our Cup opponents this coming Saturday. In fact, this will be the first time the Villa have played the Posh in the FA Cup since that momentous occasion of February 1st, 1961.

Just how could a fourth tier side attract such numbers at Villa Park when Villa was in the top tier? Well, the Posh were then a sensation; they had entered the Football League for the first time that season (1960-61) and were galloping towards promotion in their first year. They in fact succeeded. They had a striker by the name of Terry Bly who scored 81 goals in 88 appearances for them between 1960 and 1962 before moving to Coventry, where he scored 25 in 32 in the one season he was there. In short, the Posh were filling grounds wherever they went and had beaten second-tier Portsmouth away from home in the Third Round of the FA Cup. When the Villa went to Peterborough’s ground on January 28th to fulfil their FA Cup Fourth Round obligations, all Villa could achieve was a 1-1 draw, and Villa’s goal was owed to an own-goal at that! A replay was therefore required.

The Villa’s team in those two matches was: Fred Potter; John Neal, Stan Lynn; Vic Crowe, Jimmy Dugdale, Bobby Thomson; Jimmy MacEwan, Alan O’Neill, Gerry Hitchens, Ron Wylie, Peter McParland. This was virtually the same side that had beaten Charlton 11-1 the previous season, and (apart from Potter) identical to the team that beat the Blews 6-2 earlier in 1960-61. By then, Gerry Hitchens was firmly established as a scoring sensation. Villa also had Supermac.

Having beaten Portsmouth away in the FA Cup Third Round, and then achieving an initial draw against Villa with a very promising display, many Posh fans – perhaps as many as 10,000 – came to Villa Park in the belief they could beat the Villa, or at least spur them on to give Villa a headache. A total of 64,531 (I was the ‘1’!) turned up to watch that mid-week replay and until the end the Posh were in with a real chance; it was 0-0 at half-time. The second half was ding-dong as well, but goals did come, with Peter McParland providing his normal FA Cup heroics by scoring both Villa’s goals in a 2-1 win. But it was close, and the Posh went on to gain promotion at their first attempt.

Football historians will know that Tottenham Hotspur won ‘the double’ that season (the first team to do so since Villa in 1896-97), playing superlative football and prompted by their skipper, ex-Villan Danny Blanchflower. And it was the Spurs that Villa faced in the next (5th) round of the FA Cup. And yet another 60,000 crowd attended (nearly 70,000 in fact): 69,972. I was there for that match too as Villa were shown no quarter in losing 2-0. Spurs were dominant in defence and clinical in attack. While Spurs won the two major titles that year, Villa just had the slightly dubious honour of winning the first-ever Football League Cup, which very few top-tier clubs entered for the first few years of its existence.

So that was virtually the end of 60,000-plus crowds at Villa Park, apart from the 1970 ‘miracle’ win against Man United – and one other match. The ‘other’ match was also against Spurs, and in the League at the start of the 1962-63 season, when they were still in their hey-day and by then had Jimmy Greaves in their line-up. 64,751 turned up to see Villa beat the magnificent Spurs that day, 2-1, with the mercurial Derek Dougan scoring both Villa’s goals. At that time Villa fans were expecting great things as at the end of the previous season Villa had won four of their last eight matches 5-4 (at Arsenal), 3-0, 8-3 and 5-1. Dougan was making a name for himself. Alas, although Villa lay in 6th place by Christmas (1962-63), it all fell apart in tandem with the ‘big freeze’ that winter, and led to Villa’s record spell of matches without a win. That lengthy non-winning record lasted until the dreadful season of 2015-16.

UTV!

P.S.

I know you will enjoy my latest book, “The Villa Way – 1874-1944”. Please look into my bookshop (click here) and purchase a copy. 

Michael of Herne Bay says: “Being a villa fan, I thoroughly enjoyed John Lerwill’s latest publication on my club. I have all of John’s publications to date, and they take pride of place in my ‘Villa Library'”.

Comments 93

  1. JL
    Thanks for the writeup.
    As JG said on the previous page, that we won the new year match 5-0 in the season that we were promoted under Graham Taylor.
    If that is true, then maybe it is a good omen.

  2. Another truly excellent leader from you JL, packed with loads of facts, which brought back many memories, as like you, I was at all the matches you mention.

    The Spurs match I remember for there being a group of Tottenham dustmen on the Holte End, just in front of where I was standing…!!

    Looking forward to this “Posh” match too.

  3. Alan Deakin

    Thinking further, the singular memory I have of him was in a clash with Man U at VP in the autumn of 1963. Deakin was given the job of shackling Dennis Law, and he did a magnificent job at that. So much so that a wonderful tackle by Deakin on a frustrated Law caused the Man U player to swing round and kick Deakin in the face while Deakin was on the ground.

    Law was sent off in the day when a sending-off was a rare thing. Better still, Villa won 4-0.

  4. Thanks JL a good read as always- I was born in jan 63 so maybe it was my fault villa collapsed like the Child in the film the Omen? 😉

    I hope we don’t take the game lightly and get to see the kids with a strong base and a positive attitude.

    Robbo- Champs could be fun if it wasn’t for the constant threat of bankruptcy but for football its not a touch on the Prem’s elite and its getting better since Pep turned up, hope he stays for while so we can play city. I would also be able to select some Villa players in my Fantasy league team 🙂

  5. Pep may stick around but there’s already talks about Mourinho being off. I’m hoping he sticks around dragging ManU down further while draining their coffers

  6. PP,

    I heard the story that Law left VP straight away in his Jag.

    In those days I had moved my ground position to the little terrace under the Trinity Stand, on the half-way line, about where the MotD team used to have a little enclosure. That Law/Deakin incident happened right in front of me. It was a malicious act on Law’s part and dangerous too. He really should have been banned for the rest of the season i.m.o.

  7. Hi John, i too was at that Man U game in 70, but if my memory serves two other games i was at in the 60’s & 70’s had over 60,000, or close to, one was against Southampton the other for the visit of the one and only Pele, when Santos came to town and we had the floodlight fiasco. I cant be sure if Southampton was a league or cup game, but it made the hair on your neck stand up to be in a crowd that big. Just found there was just over 55,000 for Santos not so sure that’s what was called at the time though, i seen to recall the speaker system calling 64,000 but hey I’m getting long in the tooth.

  8. Hello Canada,

    No, sorry, the Southampton game (an FA Cup game in 1969-70) was a handful over 59,000! It did not quite qualify!

    I did not include the Santos match as that was not a competitive match.

  9. Alan Deakin … and others

    I have sometimes thought that the injuries to he and Tindall were partly as a result of the pressures on the Villa players in those days. Do you remember the time that Bobby Park came back onto the field with his arm in a sling after suffering a broken collar bone?!! I wonder how many players at other clubs would have put themselves on the line to that extent? I wonder how Villa even allowed it!

  10. Tomorrow is an opportunity to poke Barry Fry in the face. Unfortunately, it also provides him with the chance to do the same to us. It promises to be a cold day so I hope SB picks a young attacking line up and bench that makes BF do one. VTID.

  11. Just a word,
    Many thanks to the crew who turned up for a refreshment at the Briar Rose this afternoon. I renewed aquantenses with a great bunch of Villa fanatics spanning forty years and three divisions of the football league. One thing in common, our great Football Club, Aston Villa and our crew home and away, win lose or draw whatever the division.

  12. Robbo- yes I listened to that yesterday, as always very amiable and cautious in his approach. My main criticism of him is his inability to see things and make them happen without a bit of fortune. Seeing the way we played against Bristol won’t change him either, we have assembled a strong squad capable of playing more like Brentford or wolves than a typical Bruce team and that’s my frustration, I could be wrong but can’t help think we have made hard work of this season.

  13. Strong line up

    Aston Villa
    13Steer
    2de Laet
    26Terry
    16Bree
    19Green
    20Bjarnason
    14Hourihane
    18Onomah
    3Taylor
    36O’Hare
    39Davis
    Substitutes
    8Lansbury
    10Grealish
    24Elphick
    27El Mohamady Abdel Fattah
    29Hepburn-Murphy
    31Bunn
    32Doyle-Hayes

  14. MK: “can’t help think we have made hard work of this season”

    Perhaps, but as previously stated it’s a lot to do with trying to get a silk purse out of a pig’s breakfast, or something like that. The challenge at VP has been immense.

  15. JL- Yes I know you hold that view John and I understand why, for me watching the games doesn’t point to that this season, after all we have brought in masses of experience and talent unconnected with our demise and the kids don’t care. Continually proclaiming what a poor place we have been in can’t help us move forward and that is what I have heard from Bruce but not the chairman.

    Villa 1-0 davis

  16. MK: “after all we have brought in masses of experience and talent unconnected with our demise and the kids don’t care. Continually proclaiming what a poor place we have been in can’t help us move forward and that is what I have heard from Bruce but not the chairman.”

    The fact is the club *was* in a bad state. That the chairman doesn’t say anything is that he simply follows good Chinese manners in not directly slamming business peers. but he has inferred as such by some of the measures he has introduced.

    We really should not keep on questioning Bruce on this issue i.m.o. as SB’s task is simple – to get promotion. If that doesn’t happen then I’m sure there’ll be a big post=mortem about that. But that’s ‘if’ and ‘when’. When we ask why there’s been a problem at VP we moan; and when we get an answer as to why, we moan! 😀 Let’s just enjoy the ride.

  17. JL- I am enjoying it, and I enjoy dissecting it 🙂 so for me as Bruces remit is promotion then he is making hard work of it based on the quality we have taking all the other shenanigans out.

  18. MK,

    I don’t call a 5-0 drubbing of BCmaking hard work of it.

    As I’ve said before, you have the odd bad patch and for some the world has ended. But we’ve had two good wins since. So what’s the beef? (that question is just rhetorical btw). I just do not see the point of dissecting when what’s happening results-wise is not at all as you would have us believe.

    Today seems to emphasise that Bruce’s regular choices *are* the better option.

  19. JL- Then there is no hope of us agreeing mate as there have been maybe 3-4 stand out games Bristol being the best bar none and not the norm, most of the rest have been poor affairs which could of gone either way on the whole or trust me I wouldn’t be writing as I do. My aim is not to have you believe anything, just expressing my opinion, unwanted apparently as it is.

    Sorry Plug, no shutting up of BF today mate

    night all.

  20. Good comment from Holte End Worldwide: “The atmosphere today was shocking and people moaning, get your arses down villa park win lose or draw. Then you have bellends saying Bruce out we made 10 changes and nearly all of them was kids or recovering from injury people need to grow up and stop commenting on Facebook how about you make the effort and get and support your team. today’s crowd was woeful if you can’t get behind the team how Will the players?
    People on Facebook moaning are the problem of modern football………”
    Does that ring any bells to people on here?

    And then from Aston Villa Live Lounge – “What’s so disappointing is Bruce has given the fringe players a chance today and they have proved they ain’t up to it”

    So maybe that means that SB has been correct in his team choices so far, as the players he gave a chance to today, didnt step up to the plate did they? All this talk about he should play 5 or 6 youngsters – thats why he is a football manager earning bucket loads and the rest of us aren’t.

    Oh, happy new year all,
    oldvilla

  21. OV
    I watched Steve Bruce’s post-match interview. He says he put out a team he thought could win. The main problem was attitude, looking down on Peterborough.
    To be fair, a lot of those players haven’t played a lot of football recently. It seemed a bit of a motley crew, but there was plenty of talent there to beat Posh. SB didn’t like his team going down, but on the other hand he’ll be relieved he doesn’t have to worry about that competition, anymore.

  22. MK: ” there have been maybe 3-4 stand out games Bristol being the best bar none and not the norm”

    Then what about the promotion years of 1959-60 and 187-88? Was it any different then?

    Even though Villa beat Charlton 11-1 and scored 21 goals in 3 games in the November, a lot of the rest of the season was not fantastic and you could say that 5 or 6 games stood out then – at about the same rate as now. The rest of the season was a grind. Same (more so) in 1987-88.

    But the point is that promotion was achieved both times.

  23. JL – exactly!! It’s not how you gain promotion but whether you gain promotion. Then the next phase will begin, one way or another.

    Trinity – agree with you completely, the players picked today looked good enough but didn’t step up and prove it. Good job it wasn’t a league match eh?

    oldvilla

  24. OV,

    In fact I was thinking also of the 1974-75 season – it was really the last 8 matches of that season – all of them good wins – that made that season seem so great. But up until February it was like any other of Villa’s promotion years.

    And I then started to think why promotion is difficult for Villa – and it comes back to the word that SB has been using: “expectation”. That word actually does describe to my mind why this hurdle is so difficult to overcome. Somehow at the back-end of 1974-75 they found a way to overcome it.

  25. Archie , was a great afternoon/evening catching up with the old boys, and even Reggae Ray turning up, roll on the next one mate , cr*p game today , B team didn’t show up , l said to OV on fb that if there was CCTV or mobiles in our day most of us would be in nick now ,
    JL hope to drop round very soon now l got over this virus ,
    Happy New Year All
    Jenny ❤❤❤

  26. Not regular first team players:
    Steer
    De leat
    Bree
    OHare
    Bjarnason
    Hepburn Murphy

    Returning from sickness/injury:
    Terry
    Green
    Davis
    Lansbury
    Onamah

    Really unhappy with today’s team selection.
    I know he listened to the fans. We all (including me) wanted to see some of the younger players, but today was the team of someone who really didn’t care about the competition.
    It’s was just too much change all in one go and we got what we deserved.

  27. Home from what could have been a good match for Villa.

    The team Bruce selected was ok on paper, except that to put Bree as CB, and de Laet as RB , was surely the wrong way round. The team started off ok and once Davis scored the first goal, Villa looked as if they could rack up a good win, until in the end Bruce got them to sit back, rather than attack, and Bjarnason and Onomah seemed to disappear, and in the end Onomah was so shocking in the first half, he should have been subbed at half time, but instead it was Andre Green who was replaced by Lansbury, with Villa then falling more and more off the pace. Until now O’Hare had been in the thick of it all and showing his potential.

    Peteboro’ got their equaliser, and then that was that, Onomah and Bjarnason got worse, and Bruce failed to make any sensible substitutions, bringing JG and RHM on in place of O’Hare and Bree, causing the defence and midfield to fall apart, as Terry then had too much on his plate., while we had two CF;s trying to do the same. A very poor game for the 17000 Villa fans that turned up to watch , but hey, the “POSH” fans had a great day out!

    Disappointed in another Bruce failing, as he could have rested players, at the same time as putting out a team capable of winning, the only plus points were that de Laet showed what he is capable of, and should be playing instead of El Mohamady, and O’Hare showed his capability, but for the rest they were average, except Steer who had a good game.

  28. A good summary PP. the only bits I’d disagree with are: Bruce didn’t ask them to sit back. . . . ‘Boro maintained or increased their work rate and some of our players were far too casual, so we were pushed back.
    Secondly, I wouldn’t have swapped Bree and DeLaet. De Laet was one of the positives from yesterday and it was good to see him in his natural position.
    To my mind, the real problem was a central defence of Terry ( a bit rusty) and more particularly, Bree who looked really uncomfortable there. Bjarnasen in front of them was then a step too far. Elphick for Bree and Whelan for Bjarnasen would have given us a far more solid central defence.
    The positives from yesterday:
    Steer is a very good shot stopper ( but needs to realise that unlike rugby, finding touch from every defensive kick is not a good thing)
    O’Hare was excellent. . . . now ‘he’ is the youth we particularly wanted to see more of!
    DeLaet was mostly very good, and there was some really nice interplay between him and O’Hare.
    And Davis got a goal. He really needed that because prior to it his body language had been awful. He visibly lifted after it went in and started competing and winning the ball the way we know he can.
    24 hours later, still cross about that team selection. I don’t want a manager who listens to the fans. He’s the manager because (despite what some fans might think) he knows more about football than we do. He sees the players in training ( which we don’t) and he is surrounded by knowledgeable advisors and statisticians who also see the players in training (which we aren’t)
    Whether it’s because he listened to the fans or just wanted to give other players a go. . . . it was wrong.

  29. Oh . . . . . and Onamah. . . . . we know that the player has skill, but he’s a lazy little s**t.
    In fairness, I think he’d been talked to at half time, because he was one of the few players who worked harder in the second half.
    One of my pet hates is players losing the ball and then half-heartedly ‘pretending’ to chase to try and get it back.
    Jack used to be like that but has changed. Onamah needs to learn that you give 100% while you’re on that pitch. If you’re not really committed to Aston Villa then go back to Spurs and see how you fare there!
    This is your big chance to impress lad . . . . you probably won’t get a better one so bloody well make the most of it!!

  30. Oh . . . . and referees need to referee fouls, not outcomes.
    O’Hare was tripped in the box in the first half but made an effort to stay on his feet so didn’t get a penalty (lallana would have had at least 2 penalties yesterday)
    Not giving penalties in those situations almost forces players to cheat and just encourages players (like lallana) to do exactly that.

  31. PP – Good summary of proceedings yesterday. My take on team selection gives positives to De Laet and O’Hare down our right. They seemed to have a good understanding together. Other than that, we were back to square pegs and round holes again. The substitution of Green at half time for Lansbury was a disaster. To accommodate it, he moved the Viking to left wing. Oh Dear.

    r0bb0, I don’t think SB was listening to the fans with his team selection. He’s too stubborn for that. He used the game to give game time to players period. Everyone in the ground could see the opposition goals coming but SB did nothing. Don’t think he overly cared about the result much to my disappointment and the home support too.

    With respect to O’Hare not going down in the box, I don’t think we had a cat in hells chance of getting a penalty. The ref gave every 50-50 decision to the underdogs. Understandable, but doesn’t make it right.

    All eyes are now on SB’s team selection for the Forest game. I hope he gets that right.

  32. Plug: “He used the game to give game time to players period. “

    I think you’re probably right on that, but the fact remains that whatever players were out there they should have been good enough to beat a team at the midpoint in the next lower division.

    With all the injuries (players now injured like Hogan) and injured players coming back it was not an easy mix for SB to choose from to get a result. The Dane has generally been a disappointment, but he has to be given time … Taylor looks to have been in difficulty against the opposing player and Onomah should not have turned up apparently.

    If the players don’t measure up to their opportunity on the day then it’s hardly Bruce’s fault.

    And we’re more concerned about getting a fit team and promotion than anything else, I suggest. Why you suggest SB should be under pressure for the Forest game I don’t know – his first choice available team beat Bristol 5-0 remember?! 😉

  33. If we take Bruce at his word, and there’s no reason not to, he did want to simply give players time on the pitch. He says he got it wrong, and if he were looking to advance in the cup, then, yes, he did.

    But the selection pretty obviously looks like giving players time, thinking it ought to be good enough, and finding it wasn’t. The only criticism I’d have apart from players getting a run-out in a competitive match, was that it was probably unlikely to be a cohesive side. The flip-side is that if you’re simply trying to give a bunch of players time, for whatever reasons, it’s not likely to be a very cohesive side.

    Pairing Bree and a returning Terry…not going to be a great partnership. Onomah, well, we know how hot and cold he runs. Green, moreso than Terry, has had a long recovery and good spell away from playing, and he was only just becoming a regular. Bjarnason, very few minutes before this, and has never had a chance to get going, partly because of playing in different positions and having some woeful moments as a result.

    So, embarrassing, yes, and you have to hold players responsible for a lack of effort moreso than the manager. But in the end, it really was more of a fitness/training match, and given the priority is promotion, I couldn’t say Bruce was wrong to think of giving players 45, 60 or 90 minutes as more of a priority than a win.

  34. As to coming under pressure, Bruce is always going to be under pressure because we know the points return is all that counts.

    We could probably say it was a certainty that other teams would stumble, and fortunately some have and those bad runs have coincided with Villa’s poor points haul, meaning we didn’t lose as much ground as we could have.

    So in the end, coming into January still in the promotion pack is obviously good. And the team need a goal, like an automatic spot, to keep focus on not just staying on the playoff mix, but really getting used to winning and expecting to win.

    You take care of your own business, and the rest of it takes care of itself.

    The other trick is peaking at the right time. If Villa can say, “Alright, good enough first half of the season, it’s in front of us, not much ground to make up, and we know we’ve got more in us” they should feel pretty good about themselves and their chances. Do Leeds and Derby close out strongly? Who knows.

    Like any race over distance, it comes down to whether or not you’ve got a finishing kick.

  35. JC,

    Yes, but there’s pressure and there’s pressure! 😉

    To have convincingly won against a close rival in the previous match should easue some of the pressure not intensify it!

    Anyway … sad news … RIP Nihel Sims

    He passed away yesterday morning peacefully in his sleep at home in Swansea.

    Yet another of the late 50s has gone in very quick order. A few of them passed away pretty quickly in 2009 I remember.

    Nigel was probably the best uncapped goalkeeper ever … although Colin Withers was good as well.

    Great ‘keeper. Great man.

  36. vs Posh

    I’ve just seen the extended highlights: https://www.avfc.co.uk/AVTV/2018/01/06/Aston%20Villa%2013%20Peterborough%20United%20Extended%20highlights

    My overall impression is that Posh looked far better than their league position suggests.

    Villa obviously had a central defensive problem which just gave way eventually. But if it wasn’t for Steer they’d have been behind well before 75 minutes.

    For a rag-tag side sewn together for one match, I saw enough that actually impressed me as a hope. The downside was obviously the defensive play, but also the lack of bite in attack.

    In-between, though, there was some nice stuff from Villa., particularly in the opening 15 minutes.
    Yes, a shambles result, but one they’ll learn from.

  37. Some good comments r0bb0,

    and agree that O’Hare definitely should have had a penalty! There was again some poor refereeing.
    I agree that the side was Bruce’s selection, and nothing to do with the fans. If it had been their selection, Onomah certainly, would not have been picked, and Elphick or Sulliman would have played alongside Terry, who would have been subbed at half time. Enough of a run out for him, after coming back from injury. I agree that de Laet proved himself on the right, and deserves to be in the team on Saturday.

    JL,

    How can you say that the side against Bristol City was Bruce’s choice, when by his own admission, Whelan and Davis would have played if they had not had the flu’…..!!! and the same against ‘Boro.

    Very sad to hear the passing of Nigel “Nigger”Sims (as he was called back in the non-politically correct 1960’s. He was Villa’s goalie when I started watching them, and Geoff Sidebottom was his understudy, and both came from Wolves.
    Withers was originally a Blue Nose keeper…..

  38. PP,

    Withers may have played for Blews but he was always a Villa fan! 😉 And watching his effort he showed it too!

    As for the Bristol match, it doesn’t bloody matter how it occurred i.m.o. The thing came about under his watch and that by itself is good enough! There is a lot of fortune in sport … it’s not all logic as some people make it out to be and nuances go on that we can’t easily evaluate.

  39. Bruce’s words from the OS{

    “Going 1-0 up was probably our downfall. We thought it was going to be easy.
    We haven’t done enough with or without the ball, and consequently we’ve lost a Cup tie to a team in a division below.
    And rightly so, too. We have to be honest.
    The better team won and that’s the disappointing thing for me.
    There’s no excuses. No disrespect to Peterborough but I’ve picked a team I thought could win the game.
    We haven’t been able to do it.”

    At least you have been totally honest, but the substitutions at the end did not make sense.

  40. I don’t disagree JL,
    and that is the second time Bruce has got lucky on his watch when he had little choice about who to play.

    We now just have to wait and see if the team to play Forest, contains El Mohamady, Whelan and Terry.

    For me, the team should be:

    Johnstone de Laet Elphick Chester Hutton Snodgrass Jedinak Grealish Adomah Davis Hogan subs: Steer Bree Terry Lansbury O’Hare Hourihane

  41. PP – We could fill a complete topic debating SB’s substitutions. His half time change taking off Green for Lansbury can only taken as a sign that playing time was what it was all about. I can’t come to any other conclusion because the move entailed another move pushing the Viking out to the left wing. Poor guy.

    By some miracle (actually abysmal shooting from Posh plus superb shot stopping from Steer) we were still in it on the hour mark. SB always makes his subs on 60 mins so I and those around me thought things may improve. But no. The equalizer duly arrived. Still nothing from the bench. Then with 10 mins to go he makes his move with a double substitution.

    JL – I said – All eyes are now on SB’s team selection for the Forest game. I hope he gets that right.
    You said – Why you suggest SB should be under pressure for the Forest game I don’t know.
    Injuries permitting, all SB has to do at Forest is pick the same 18 man squad that dismantled Bristol C. After that result everyone thinks the squad deserves another shot even if they come up short. No?

  42. PP
    I like your team. That is what I’d like to see. As Plug says, too, nobody could criticise SB for going with the same team as against Bristol.

  43. well I think the u23s should go out on loan and play proper footy.

    to think there good enough to come in to the team and have a big impact now is asking to much.

    We need to stay clear of injuries and need a striker this window and maybe a mid too.

    Bruce put out a team capable of winning but they weren’t good enough

  44. bruce put out a mismatch of a team in a match that was willing to lose yet grealish came on,and houriane played 90 mins
    a complete new back 4 and keeper along with no covering midfield,terry who didnt play for 2 months played entire game,yet last week bruce said elphik 5/6 years younger not fit to play 2 games in 3 days,
    why are villa fans happy with a failed manager yes he has promotions ,you could say he had most trys at promotion ,why can we not get an eddie howe, sean dyhce, a wagner

  45. Have just watched the u23s vs Fulham (second half). 1-3. Exactly as per the Posh game … 1-0 up and lost 1-3 to 3 Fulham goals scored within 9 minutes. 🙁

    Tshbola given a run-out but he was virtually invisible.

    Fulham played well … good teamwork and individual skills. Villa looking as though they were still getting over their Christmas dinner.

  46. trip….game…

    and the important areas, mid field….no Doyle-Hayes, or O’Hare, no RHM up front, and Bree and de Laet not playing. Do not know where Jacob Bedeaux was either.

    Like the seniors, too many missing, and maybe not a great mix, even the regular goalie Sarkic was not playing.

  47. i see stoke fans complaining about hughes spending money buying old british and irish players with no resale value with big wage contracts ,sounds familiar

  48. SB under pressure? We’ve debated this issue plenty on these pages. Tony Xia has now spoken and said he is expecting promotion this season. He is not happy with events and says that AVFC is among his worst, if not the worst performing segment of his Recon brand.

    There’s nothing any of us lifers can do to allieviate or increase the pressure already on SB. With the owner leaning on him like this you would think the only way to go is all out attack for every minute of every remaining game. If that happened I know all fans would be right behind the team. cr*p or bust as they say. And it’s not just SB under pressure. Wyness and co must be feeling the heat too.

  49. Plug,

    What you’ve said is akin to what John Clark said earlier, and I understand that.

    But we’ve just achieved two good league wins so there’s no need i.m.o. to keep on emphasising this issue. I’m sure SB is well aware of what’s expected.

  50. Oaul,

    What you’ve said about the u23s is correct, but (as in the Posh match) you can say that those that were brought in vs Fulham did not take advantage of the opportunity offered to them.

    And in that I particularly refer to Tshibola who (second half at least) looked a very long way from first-team consideration.

    There were a couple of good ones on view. I liked Borg: to me he physically looks like a re-born John Gidman!

  51. ian g/plug
    bree was one of the best fullback in this league this time last year now only gets a runout in cup comps.when you think hutton failed miserably in pl,elmo has nearly as many relegations as his boss,delaet wasnt deemed good enough 2 seasons ago you would think round would be insisting his buy play full back

  52. Saw this great poem on another site in celebration of John Gidman’s birthday yesterday.

    Giddy : John Gidman
    Happy Birthday to a Villa Legend
    Fast and lean brave & tough
    One from the old school
    Giddy never gave up
    Running down the flanks
    Cutting inside then out
    Giving his all no worries
    No doubts
    “Wanna mess with me?”
    Was the signal he gave
    “Then get in there boy
    Try and fall this tree!”
    He took & he gave
    His grace we hailed
    His magic we praised
    A rebel a Lion a true Villa man
    From day one on
    Through the mud & the sand
    Home & away
    Until the lights go out
    We loved him then
    And boy we still do
    A hero in our hearts
    Villa-Villa
    Through & through
    “Wanna get past my shoulder?
    Hey fella then try your luck!
    Try and read my eyes!
    Try and read this book!
    I’m in it for the 90
    I’m in it for more
    I’m a Liverpool Lad
    But feel this Villain roar”
    You could feel his hunger
    The passion in his stance
    As he flew with the wind
    The Holte End would dance
    He was a king a legend
    He was one of us
    From a boy to man
    Giddy never gave up
    Happy birthday my friend
    We raise a glass for your day
    May those wonderful memories
    Keep your Claret warm
    And the Blues @ bay
    Love & Light
    ©DAJ 10.01.18

  53. Bond: Hey Russki, I hear you are very good. Fake news?
    Russki: Not fake news. We’re so good we can get answers from a sealed envelope without opening it.
    Bond: I can do better than that. I can put answers into an envelope to a question you haven’t yet asked.
    Russki: Prove it.
    Bond: OK. He scribbles some secret words on a piece of paper and seals it in an envelope. Now you.
    Russki: He does the same as Bond. They stare at each other.
    Russki: You first, open your envelope.
    Bond: Opens his envelope and places his peice of paper on the table. It reads “Steve Bruce, Jack Grealish, Birmingham City”
    Russki: Opens his envelope and puts his paper on the table. It reads “Name a spud, a stud and a dud”

  54. 😀 Back to the serious stuff, Dr Tonics has now said:

    “The next 10 games will be very very crucial to us this season. I beg all of you do your best to support and that’s all Villans can contribute the most. Believe me, we together will make it this season! Show the Power of the Unified Villa fans!”

    Right lads … GO Villa!

  55. JL,

    The good Dr Tony is exactly right and there is nowhere for Bruce to hide now. He has ten games to save his job, and I am sure that every true Villa fan will hope he succeeds, and will back the club, the team and Bruce to achieve it!

    The alternative does not bear thinking about, considering the squad of players and talent that we have. It just needs to be managed properly.

  56. About the upcoming match against Forest, the Guardian writes…

    In one way Nottingham Forest v Aston Villa is just another fixture in the mammoth, 46-game long Championship season. Individual results can be brushed off in the second flight, where teams can afford to go months without playing well and still find themselves in the promotion reckoning due to the sheer number of matches played. But for some, especially supporters of a certain age, this match is always an evocative one that turns the clock back 40 years to when these two clubs ruled the continent.

    You won’t find a second flight in which two former European champions come up against each other anywhere else in the world. Is that damning indictment on the clubs or a testament to the strength in depth of English football? It depends on which way you look at it. Both teams find themselves a long way from previous glories, but it’s Forest, led to the summit of the European game under Brian Clough and Peter Taylor in 1979 and 1980, who have suffered the greater decline. They were relegated from the Premier League at just the wrong time, in 1999, and have missed out on the top flight’s economic boom.

    Aston Villa’s relegation to the Championship in 2016 ended a spell of 29 years in the top flight. Having stuck around in the Premier League for so long – the first 24 seasons – they are in a far better position to compete in the second flight; it’s hard to see them playing at this level for much longer. But the European Cup – and football as a whole – are now unrecognisable from the two clubs’ heydays. You would be offered long odds on either of them emulating their proudest days any time soon, a reality that obvious to the people we spoke to in our film.

    The memories of the late 1970s and early 1980s still burn brightly but, despite what Derby County or Birmingham City fans might tell you, we found two sets of supporters who are proud of their histories but not obsessed with them. They are looking forward even if the future might not hold the glory they experienced in the past.

    https://www.theguardian.com/football/copa90/2018/jan/12/nottingham-forest-aston-villa-european-cup-championship

  57. JamesG
    I can see him being useful as he’s supposed to be good & we still haven’t got Terry back & possibly will not see the giant for a while, then we would have 4 centre backs, 2 out with this new kid.
    It’d be nice to give our kids some time as cover on the bench as well, as if we were winning it could give them some playing time

  58. iang
    would suilman not be a better choice of cover,this utd sorry remember lad from spurs under lambert,if we are getting loans a striker and maybe a hard running midfielder

  59. Well, rumours starting to fly as Sarkic loan deal to Wigan is ripped up and he is recalled.

    Johnstone to West Bromwich, while Green could be on his way to Spurs to fund the purchase of Ulloha from Leicester. Powell deal off, as he has now signed a new deal.

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