Every sport has them: armchair quarterbacks, or more to our concerns, armchair managers. These fans have been around since the inception of league football. Amazingly, they have always been spot on with their take on “the game.” Of course they have!

Dissection has always been 100% accurate, whereas preparation for a game has always been fraught with decisions leading up to kick off.

This is where history comes up. History isn’t just a recording of the past. It’s coloured by the person who writes it down. For example, Villa won the FA cup in 1957 beating Manchester United 2-1. So, whose history is correct? Villa, who had a brace from McParland or Manchester who only managed 1 goal from Taylor? Emotion aside, Villa won 2-1 but was MU robbed or was Villa brilliant? Now, I couldn’t tell you as I was six at the time and other than remembering my father’s jubilation I didn’t really care. You get the picture—in Manchester the feeling was a downer.

The FA cup in 1957 was almost 61 years ago. How much does this history affect Aston Villa today? Most fans weren’t born until after the fact. So I would say zero. It’s now a footnote in Villa’s history. Now jump ahead to the European Championship in 1982. Peter Withe and Nigel Spink were the men that propelled Villa over Bayern Munich 1-0. And again, depending who you talk to, you were either robbed or were brilliant. And also, again, 36 years later what does it do for Villa in 2018? Apart from the banner at Villa Park the answer is nothing. Another footnote.

McLeish? Lambert? Sherwood? Garde? Di Matteo? Not much of an affect today. Lerner? The architect of Villa’s demotion is fading fast.

The advent of the internet gave birth to blogs of all descriptions (football is definitely one of them), and, to quote an AVL member, the emergence of keyboard warriors. If it weren’t for the fan who loves to tear apart the last game there really wouldn’t be any need for the blog.

Blogs exist to create friction between bloggers, to create groups with similar thoughts on the team. To jump up and scream, vent, and praise anyone who will listen and better yet, anyone who will react. If it didn’t and it was just pats on the back and a “well done old man” or “next time old boy,” it would die a slow death as it would be boring.

Which brings me to the point: How far back does one have to go before recent history is forgotten? Or how far back do you have to go to forget about a pivotal point in a game? Not far. For example, a defensive blunder that creates an opposition goal in a 6-1 win is really a non-starter, but that same blunder that puts the team 7th at season’s end will last until…the start of the next season. It will have become a footnote.

Dissecting Steve Bruce can be a fun pastime. Either slating him or hailing him as a genius creates discussion, banter, and some thinking about opposing points of view. All of this is fodder for our blog. But in the end, it’s all moot, it’s all history, soon to be dusty and forgotten. Villa sit in fourth (as this is written—either because of Steve Bruce or in spite of him.

We can only look at his history at Villa and only from the start of this season. Or the last four games, depending of your point of view. The rest is history. Some of it brilliant, some not so much and fading fast. It is what it is. Nothing behind us can change the future.

Comments 109

  1. From rogermuffin last night…Got blocked, so re-posting for him:

    Happy Single Malt Friday all!

    i don’t feel particularly pro or anti bruce, (i can swing both ways on that, oo er missus!), quantum physics dictates neither can true all the time, and neither can be true unless we think so!

    Besides its getting very boring, i mean wheres the humor. It’s starting to get like the last time i went to villa park, Christian Benteke scored twice in Aston Villa’s 3-2 victory over Malaga, and there was this boring git behind me going on and on about how crap we were, he didn’t even stop when we scored! http://www.skysports.com/football/a-villa-vs-malaga/300079

    At least back in the day, steamer, ( god rest his soul, and why i got hooked on this blog), was funny as fook when he moaned, and he had reason to moan, i mean least ye forget The Reign of the Lamberk! The best horror story never commited to paperback! I get a sweaty crack just thinking about those days.

    Just for fun i readjusted the beginning of the song, by The Four Seasons “December, 1963 (Oh, What A Night)” to

    Oh, what a night!
    Late December, back in ‘2012
    losing ate – zero at scum-ford bridge,
    As I remember, what a lamberk

    Oh, what a night
    after losing 4-0 at home to gareth bale,
    You know, I didn’t even know where to put my face
    But I was never gonna be the same
    What a lamberk, what a night

    Oh, I
    I got a funny feeling when we lost 3-0 to wigan
    Hey, my
    As I recall, it ended not too soon
    etc.. lol

    I scare my kids with stories of the mumbling miserable lamberk, that he will get them if they don’t behave! ” He’ll say ” we’ll go again” when we lose. If they don’t go to sleep i say, ” he’ll laugh like a knob when we lose” i say , or even ” so you think i’m lamberks nothing? just you wait, i’ll get Ian Culverhouse and Gary Karsa to sort you out!”

    Come on guys admit it , we’ve come a long way since those days. Yes it not perfik! we should have been running away with the league, but for various reasons, like that manc knob at watford nearly destroying one of jack’s kidneys, ffp, no attcking coach, till xmas just gone, 2 defensive ones, ( by the way if you didn’t know PEP guardiola is surrounded by many many coaches, he has a team of like 12!), the southern knob media hating us, the gypsy curse , changing from our original strip of chocolate brown, etc..

    Lighten up i say, what happened to the random food, & music stories mixed in between footy, lets bring some off it back please!

    i’ll start one, i like single malt whisky , and its because of 3 reasons,
    1, i can’t ever drink barcadi again, i mean just yuck! thinking about it reminds me of the smell & of the last bad session, makes shudder!
    2nd reason can’t get stoned more than 1 week every 3 months,( lifes to nice when i do & i’l get too fat and lazy, lol).
    3rd reason , asda, tesco , & morrison haeve all been doing price wars for the 5+ years and there’s always a quality single malr normally £35 or more or £22 or £25.

    In fact just having some of this right now https://www.thewhiskyexchange.com/p/28161/talisker-skye – yummy!

    over to you!

  2. Thanks for the post, Ian.

    We all know the saying that history is written by the victors, and in many cases it’s true. Especially history in the biographical and footballing sense.

    There are the facts of results, goals, dates, opponents, players…But even if Steve Bruce were to write an autobiography where he lays everything bare, you’d likely think it’s through his eyes. Which of course it would be, but it’s hard for a person to write 100% objectively about him/herself. Takes courage to see oneself as you really are (many never do) and then put it out there for public consumption.

  3. Thanks for the post Ian
    As we’ve now more information than we know what to do with, long live humour.
    ‘One man’s meat is another man’s poison’ springs to mind, or ‘one man’s humour is another man’s horror story’.

  4. Ian and RogerMuffin … my hat is off to both of you! 😀

    Absolutely brilliant.

    Yes, you can only blog on what’s happened according to how you see it. A good historian will report on what’s in the archives and comment only on the basis of that information without flights of phantasy. And he won’t just dwell on the result – 2-1 win to Villa or 2-1 defeat to Man U. A real historian will look more closely into the details of the match. But after 60 years, what happened is academic, but good to bring back memories – and also simply to record and even trace how it’s affected where we are now.

    And that’s where I differ from Ian’s article as where we are today *does* stem from what happened in Eric Houghton’s time i.m.o. An attitude was put in place of The Board versus The Manager and in my opinion we’re still trying to move on from way back then, because Doug Ellis took over in 1982 and re-set the theme that it was He versus the Manager, despite what he otherwise claims. The holder of the purse is the king, he inferred. And whoever works for the king is a vassal.

    That – by the way – is exactly what I was told in my appeal to the Club on the occasion of my dismissal in 2010.

    Having studied the Vila in depth going back yonks, I know there’s a lot more truth beneath what was reported, so what the historian can report is really just a version, although if he’s aware of the political and social mores of the time he can often make more accurate interpretations. And there is such a thing as insight, too, and if the historian is blessed with that then so much the better.

    I agree that as far as a blog is concerned, there’s not much point in discussing beyond the current season unless you just want to dip into the past for memory’s sake. But it is very rare that you can prove a point by going a long way back – even 1 year can be stretching it.

    But even within the current season the scenario can change a lot … as indeed it has this season.

    This is more the reason why I think what’s only real is what we have today and whether it’s likely to fit tomorrow’s needs.

  5. And, of course, I should add that if history is as bland and inaccurate as Ian and JC appear to describe it, there would be no point in having historians! 🙂 There are historians – and there are historians; as in any sphere, you have the good and not so good.

    So I do, in fact, see history from quite a different angle. Unless you are a historian you may not so easily see my point.

  6. Thanks for the kind words John. It’s nice to be on the same page.
    Funny how Roger was thinking along similar lines although I think “if you can learn how to drink scotch you should get it for free. I get a kick how that paint remover is described. Hints of ash, pumice, dirt with a hint of burnt cedar. An after taste of different mosses and peat with a final whiff of barnyard water.
    Me? Dark rum and rye whiskey

  7. Thanks ian got to love that history, what would the film industry do? make things up? come to mention it modern football uses a kind of history in numbers or stats as they are known also totally infallible 🙂

    Roger my experience with Whiskey is a very bad new years day head at age 15 after helping myself to quite a few whiskies when I was serving the adults at my parents New Years party, could not get my head of the pillow to go to band practise and dad had to break the bathroom door because I passed out in there put me off it a bit, although don’t mind jamesons 🙂

    Had another bad whiskey experience this Xmas, bought my moms fella a malt whiskey with hints of expensive only to find A: she was giving him the boot and B: he didn’t like whiskey then C: M&S wouldn’t take it back as it was foodstuff!?

    so if you are ever up my way pop in and get smashed 😉

  8. Ian
    Turning into philistines on here.
    I just happen to have a Woodford Kentucky Bourbon here, but it does give you a heavy head if you go mad, & a hit on the pocket.
    Preferring the Hine brandy, ditto the hit on the pocket.
    But as with everything, it depends on the quality as to the after effects.
    The Sheffield U game with 9 changes doesn’t bode well for Tuesday, so it looks possibly like a hard game on it’s way.

  9. IanG yes mate was never going to be easy and they now have players back, still think we have better but they have a bit of pace our favourite 🙂

    I quite like my Gins now, my Gran drank gin and bitter lemon, used to think it was perfume 🙂

  10. There are a multitude of Canadian ryes here. Dark Horse from Alberta is a fine drink. I imagine you get Canadian club in Birmingham.
    There are a million micro breweries too. Red Racer. Fat Tug, and Nasty Habit are my favourites.
    All of them are good for all occasions. Breakfast for instance.

  11. Ian
    I remember being in the Highlands of Scotland in the 1970s, with oatcakes & cheese & John Begg blended whiskey from Glasgow for breakfast.
    You didn’t want to drink too much as it was evil, but it went down so well with the food.

  12. Another good article . . . . thanks Ian.
    I enjoy whisky again now but I couldn’t face whisky for decades. After my finals my mates and I celebrated with whisky macs . . . . I know . . . sacrilege. Anyway, I was soooo ill.
    The next day I had to catch a train down from Liverpool to Birmingham .
    Man Utd were coming to Anfield. I remember sitting on my case in Lime Street station, head throbbing, stomach heaving and crowds of united fans bumping past me. Even the smell of whisky turned my stomach for years after.

  13. Mark, there are so many gins to chose from now eh? There’s a country pub near us that’s specialised in them and has a huge and growing selection.
    Distilleries are always looking for new flavours to try. A few months ago I tweeted about an unusual fruit I was growing and an Essex distillery read about it and asked if they could have some to try in a new gin. Sent some down to them and am now waiting for the free samples they promised in return!

  14. Just watched the VAR decisions in the Liverpool game.
    I’m seeing online headlines of ‘chaos’ and ‘shambles’.
    I reckon it’s exactly what we need. If players start to realise that they will be caught for shirt pulling and off the ball fouls in the box then maybe we’ll start to see a reduction in cheating

  15. Pardew was complaining about the VAR delays and its spoiling the pace of games and increasing the risk of players muscles cooling down leading to hamstring injuries .
    C’mon. . . . How long does it take for injuries to be dealt with and how often are ‘injuries’ used to cynically slow down games. If they really are worried about that then why haven’t we heard managers calling for trainers to be allowed onto the pitch to treat players while play goes on . . . . as happens in rugby?

  16. Robbo
    Agree about VAR & how players won’t be quite so blatant in fouling, & I bet the diving bookings go down.
    Doesn’t take long at all unless it’s inconclusive.
    It takes time for the refs to go & consult with the linesmen, & then the 4th official, & agree that stopping the play for rolling about is cynical time wasting & trying to get players booked, VAR should slow that down after a while as well.
    It used to be one thing to have the ref as the opposition, but personally I can do without the attacking the ref.

    Mind you I remember being in the first row in the witton lane stand on a european night, & saying to the linesman, “Hey you’ve dropped your wallet”, & he actually stopped & looked.

  17. Hello All
    Yes SB is “blog fodder”. History is largely about perspective.
    As a teenager in the navy, I had bad experiences with many kinds of alcoholic beverages, so I can definitely empathise with others here. For health reasons, I haven’t partaken for years but in 2011, after visiting Rosslyn Church, I tried a dram of Islay malt at the hotel across the road. It took a while to drink but I knew it was pretty good. I should procure a bottle for special occasions.

  18. Meant to say yesterday how interesting it was, after IanG had
    discussed his tai chi experiences, how many others on here had trodden similar paths. Maybe something to do with the ages we’d lived through, and maybe it goes some way to explaining the enlightenment and tolerance we find on this site 😉

  19. Been meaning to ask. . . JL, do you know anything of ‘ the Villa Amateurs’? Would have been around in the 50’s and 60’s I think

  20. JC: yesterday you wrote: “it’s hard for a person to write 100% objectively about him/herself. Takes courage to see oneself as you really are (many never do) and then put it out there for public consumption.”

    In my twenties I was sent on a week long management training course where through lack of sleep and relentless pressure, the barriers we all construct around ourselves were gradually broken down.
    On the last day, each of us in turn had to walk to the flip chart at the front of the room, say nothing, and just write down single words and phrases from your colleagues that they felt described you, your attributes and failings, both work wise and personality wise.

    In some cases it was quite brutal and I doubt it would be allowed in a work environment these days. The comments about one guy were especially harsh and he ended up requiring counselling. For most of us though it was a valuable lesson in self awareness and trying to appreciate what makes others tick, and trying to understand situations from their perspective as well as your own.
    Online, where all you see are words on a screen, its harder to build a similar empathy which possibly encourages the taking of more extreme positions, and reduced willingness to see the other’s point of view?

  21. r0bb0,

    do you know anything of ‘ the Villa Amateurs’?

    You’re ringing bells with that name, but I found it difficult to keep up with the first-team let alone anything else Villa and have not looked into it. Sorry!

    Do you know that Villa last had an amateur playing in the first team in the 1950s? The last time an amateur was played. His name was Mike Pinner, an England Amateur international ‘keeper. He played a few games. I think Dr. Vic Milne, centre-half of the 1920s, was the last previous amateur to make the first team – certainly the last one of any great note.

    Maybe something to do with the ages we’d lived through, and maybe it goes some way to explaining the enlightenment and tolerance we find on this site

    There’s something more in that erudite statement than meets the eye i.m.o.

  22. r0bb0,

    What a horror story.

    The management courses I attended were kind yet testing, usually using Maslow’s theorem as a basis. I found a lot of meaning in those courses without all that pain. So your account is quite a revelation to me.

  23. Trinity,

    The main dream I had last night was of me landing a Harrier in my parents’ back garden (they have been gone decades, bless ’em). Having landed my thought was “Was it legal for me to do that?” and “I am allowed to take off again?”

    Must be to do with the pressure that MK puts you under! 😀

  24. JL, the interesting thing about Maslow’s theory is that it shows (amongst other things) that once we’ve achieved one level of security/satisfaction, we move on to the next one. It seems to be part of the genetic code to always want more than we have (where ‘greed’ comes from?) As we climb the first step in the pyramid we start looking towards the next.

    I guess it could go someway to explaining a football fan’s permanent dissatisfaction with their club’s current performance. It doesn’t matter where your team is on the pyramid, you’ll always want to be higher.
    How long before fans of those perennial under-achievers, Manchester City, want their manager out because he hasn’t even won the quadruple yet?

  25. John, the reason I asked about the Villa Amateurs was because I’ve been told that my Dad used to coach them, but I’ve never been able to find out anything about them.

  26. Robbo- Yes there are loads of micro breweries producing all sorts now, I went to a small bar in Bath that only sold Gin, 45 different gins to be precise. If I was pushed I would say my favourites are Liverpool and Cotswold gins, Liverpool gin you have with Mint or Orange. What the name of the fruit your Growing? and why are you growing it?

    I agree its impossible to know someone fully on a blog maybe ever, especially when that blog is about an emotive singular subject. Thats why the whole your negative I’m positive is uncalled for, plus you never know whats going in peoples lives and heads.

    Just had a call from one of my best friends who’s son is in A&E, lovely lad who got put on anti-depressants at 17 came off them at 23 but after a year and a half couldn’t cope so secretly went back on them and didn’t tell anyone as he was ashamed. Took a cocktail of heroin, cocaine etc yesterday thats left him in a trance like state, if you met him before you wouldn’t know he was depressed. Nurse told him this kind of stuff is epidemic in Britain with drugs available all over the net.

    As drugs etc can change your outlook I think there are many ways to do it, even thought or injury can produce a whole cascade of drug like substances in the body, if we didn’t have the receptor sites we wouldn’t get an effect from drugs. There are many two way relationships like that in the body and mind and even between the creatures that live in us.

    JL- Don’t be thinking you haven’t given me some sleepless nights with your fairness campaign 😉

  27. MK: “…especially when that blog is about an emotive singular subject. Thats why the whole your negative I’m positive is uncalled for, plus you never know whats going in peoples lives and heads.”

    Yes, agreed that the match and the immediate aftermath does have that emotive aspect, but then it should be possible to look at it all from a more detached angle, don’t you think? While I’m not without emotion, if I lived in emotion *all* the time I’d drown!

    Like any subject, there has to be some detachment at some point in order to see more clearly all of what’s going on. Not too means disorientation and even chaos.

  28. Mark, you’re right that the +ve/-ve talk is too prevalent on here and I know I’ve been guilty of it at times.
    When I’m feeling particularly uptight I’ll write exactly how I feel but then generally force myself to leave it for a while then go back with a calmer head and rewrite it or tone it down, or try and strip out the emotion. . . . . sometimes though I just say ‘sod it’ and press the purple button . . . . those are the ones I often later regret.
    It takes much longer to write a considered response and I suspect that JC takes a deal time over some of his postings . . . . or maybe he just naturally writes concisely with balance and equanimity.
    I wish I could always do that .

    As Mark Twain said : I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.

    I’m afraid I sometimes don’t have the time or patience to write a calm and balanced posting so I press the purple button on an emotive one instead

  29. JL- Yes I agree and do try to look at Bruce in a dispassionate way, I don’t call him names etc I just find his overall coaching capabilities as a manager lacking, and point out the many reasons why which is often taken as being negative or worse.

    The positives that you allude to are impossible to quantify beyond I think he’s doing an ok Job. Its a bit of a mystery that we are were we are on the games I have watched? And I do think in other hands we could of been a lot closer to Wolves than we are to Derby if done right on quality alone with the squad he’s assembled but then again another manager makes other choices and the squad would be different/better /worse. I backed Garde as I could follow what he was trying to do if you follow, if I had seen the same foibles as Bruce displays I’d have said so at the time. I think its possible to like a managers personality but not the product rarely is it both.

  30. Mark, the fruits are Chilean Guavas. they apparently used to be Queen Victoria’s favourite fruit and the plants have an amazing toasted marshmallow scent when covered in ripe fruit in the autumn. Picked at the right time they taste like strawberry candy floss.
    They are reputedly hardy down to -10 although our plants have only been exposed to about -4 so far down in Devon. With climate change, it should be possible to successfully grow them in most parts of the UK now.

  31. MK: “The positives that you allude to are impossible to quantify beyond I think he’s doing an ok Job.”

    Well, again we’re talking about Bruce! 😉

    You see I’m just interested that we are making progress and don’t care very much about analysing what Bruce has done or not done. If things are going well enough then I like to leave well alone and let him get on with it. If it all goes downhill then (as Canada said) that’s the time to look at Bruce under a different light.

    Though Bruce is possibly only a 75% right fit for Villa I believe overall he’s helped the club and wish to leave it at that. To me results indicate that his influence is more +ve rather than -ve. Whether other managers could do better is something we can’t know unless they take up the job at VP.

    To me the main issue is what the players are doing and how they’re progressing.

    I know you see things differently.

  32. JL- one point ” If it all goes downhill then (as Canada said) that’s the time to look at Bruce under a different light.”

    I think he was very close to losing his job in December it has only been 4 league games since that juncture so can’t understand how you think theres nothing to analyse? Things look rosier when your winning and in with a chance but not so good when were going backwards? I don’t know if you count that as recent enough history to be worthy of discussion, I do and I am sure on recent history that we are quite capable of doing that again, if we don’t then maybe we have truly turned a corner 😉

  33. The one thing everyone seems to have left out is a sense of humour, which is where all the other often goes by the board, of course it depends on how wild the sense of humour is.
    It would be depressing to have a conformist’s sense of humour.
    Humour certainly tests everyone’s certainties, & often solidifies a position in others, so long may it reign.
    Anyway you need a sense of humour with the Villa

  34. I hope we don’t sign anymore players. Murphy, Doyle-Hayes and O’Hare should be blooded. We don’t even need that Man U loan player. What position will he play? Maybe defensive midfield? He’s definitely not going to play CB and we still have Elphick who is more than good enough to step in.

    Get rid of McCormack, Gabby, and Spurs tosser.

  35. And what does Suliman have to do? Why send him on loan? Surely he’s good enough to come on for last 20mins when we’re winning games.

    I don’t get it. Murphy reminds me of a young Ian Wright, who is the best striker I’ve had the pleasure to watch. Give the lad a chance. Of all our young lads I rate him the highest.

    Thoughts on who you rate as our best young player? For me:
    H Murphy due to turn of pace, eye for goal. He’s a rare breed. We have him and don’t play him. He should be our super-sub.

  36. Villa MD- if I had to say most impressed with this season I’d pick Doyle hayes for the maturity of his game if he continues to mature as he seems to be physically he will run our midfield for years. O’hare should be playing now and RHM is impressive if a little Brittle, would like to see him brought on slowly just for that reason as his bones set, he was in the team at 16 but not really physically mature enough. Borg is one that puzzles me he is a man and a left back yet gets not a look in.
    I doubt RHM colon is 6’2″ I know it says that on the official site but thats rubbish.

  37. Villa MD
    Wouldn’t it be nice.
    I think this is Suleman’s chance to get some men’s football before coming back to do just that.
    Agree with Mark that Doyle hayes needs a bit more strength, but he should be training with the 1st team & be on the bench more often, & as for O’Hare, he should at least be on the bench IMO.
    But the squad is getting huge.
    This new manure guy seems a good player, & has speed, which is more than you can say about Elphick, Terry or Chester.
    Would suit 3 at the back, if we were brave enough
    Hope De Laet comes back fit & up for it.
    Also what about players who are out of contract?
    Do we keep Hutton?
    Can’t seem to find out any news about Richard’s fitness, but Gabby may well have a miraculous recovery in time for the Blues match.
    If not he will be gone in the summer cos he won’t get the wages he’s on again.
    Send him to the colonies!
    I don’t think it matters if we don’t get a loan forward, & don’t need one unless they are better than we have.

  38. Fulham want £30m for midfielder Tom Cairney big money but if he goes thats them out the race imo very decent player. How much is Grealish worth in todays market got to be £25m as he is.

  39. The colonies? I feel so second rate. My mother used to say how much better Britain was. You’d have thought she had been sent to Australia on a convict boat.
    Mind you with Trudeau and Trump running the show……

  40. r0bb0,

    It does take some intentional detachment as I feel a bit of responsibility. With a blog, you have to say something, take some sort of position, and feel okay defending it. You don’t always get it right, but…I try to stay away from winding people up, or posting click-bait—that’s my the basic rule. So, I try to keep emotions in check. If I sit down at 10pm to write something after a few beers, well, I can be a bit more provocative and cavalier!

    But it’s mainly a function of writing for a living, and having had to assume many different voices over the years.

    So here, I’m more informal and conversational. When I’m writing about healthcare policy, there’s another voice and a lot of editing and thought to try and say something insightful in a relatively small footprint given the complexity of the topic. If I’m doing a feature on a business leader or athlete, I’m attuned to the particular tone of the publication, getting the subject’s personality across, and making them “look good” (or at least not bad) without pandering.

  41. Sky reporting Ulloa is going to Brighton. Elphick is reported as a Reading target. All will be revealed in the next 72 hours or so. I’d be quite happy with what we’ve got so I’m not fussed if that’s it for this window.

    But I’d like to see SB promote more youngsters to the bench and get them on for some game time. Bring on 3 at the back but perhaps not next Tues. Think we need to get some practice time in training using Tuanzebe, Terry and Chester before setting them loose.

    Sheff U made loads of changes for yesterday’s cup game so their players will be fresh. We may gain though from their enforced reduced prep time. Hope so.

  42. Plug,

    we don’t need 3 center backs. Please, please, no, no, no. We’re not playing Man City week in week out.

    If this lad is good enough, he has to start defensive midfield. Otherwise rotate him for JT over the next 18 games

  43. So Hepburn-Murphy is really 5’10”? I actually prefer that. I believe he can be the new Ian Wright if he keeps his head together. We don’t need another Gary Gardner aka flop flop flop

  44. I would bring Doyle-Hayes on for last 30 mins of games we’re winning.

    He’s good enough to be the new Roy Keane. Not sure if that’s a good thing to write, as I despise Roy Keane. He’s a tinker. Can’t believe Irish management would have anything to do with him.

    There are some great Irish/Villa connections. Staunton, Deacy, McGod, Towsend, Houghton. Of all of them I think Staunton May have been better than Paul, as far as giving it every thing for every game

  45. VillaMD – I hope that was a joke me being the best poster of all time because it works on so many levels especially with a leader with history in the title, if I could do a laughing smiley I would, genius meant or not 🙂

  46. VillaMD

    3 at the back is an attacking formation. No FB’s but 2 additional midfielders or wingers. Bristol City have been using it all season to great effect and they’re above us with a much inferior squad of players than ours. I’d keep the Viking at DM with Jedi as cover.

    That said, we have won 4 on the spin so there’s a strong case for keeping the status quo using the same players.

  47. Well things are on the move this morning, with Tishbola going on loan to Kilmarnock and rejoining Steve Clarke.

    Tommy Elphick is going on loan to Reading to join Bacuna abd Jack Stamm.

    These loans should be confirmed on the OS kater today.

    McCormack is still a possibility to Leeds.

    My take on Tuanzebe, from what Bruce has been indicating, is that he will be used with the Dane to cover the DM role, but is also cover for JT, and part of Jose’s reason for him coming to Villa is to build his experience in these two roles. He is also more than capable of playing RB, and would be cover again, in addition to Bree.

  48. Should be at least a grade 11 (two) for you then JL…..!!!

    Hope everyone knows the game is on Sky Sports tomorrow..!!

    I was off the ball…I was picking up on the query where Andrew had referred to Alex, and my brain automatically changed it to apply to Axel….!!!

  49. Roger, my missus is a Single Malt drinker, recently discovered a new one (over here anyway) called Tripple Cask, she ardor’s it, but I’m with Ian should be used for furniture stripping lol.
    Ian, I too like a nice Rye, we have a local one I try and support Forty Creek, distilled a couple of miles from me in Grimsby Ontario, not sure if it’s made it out West or not. For the national brands I do like the Gibson’s 12 year old, but often end up with a Wisers. Find Crown Royal to sweet now I’m getting older., and CC is for girls with coke!! Not so much into Dark Rum, but I do like the Appleton’s Caramel colored rum. We too are now getting micro breweries popping up right, left and center. Very surprisingly they would keep company with some of the old black country real ale bars I used to frequent in the old day’s before coming over to Canada.
    To the local lads, can you still park at five ways and walk either down Broad Street or up the Hagley Road for a mile having one pint per pub and have to get a cab home you’d be that blasted?

  50. I’ve been thinking more than enough regarding McCormack. He bangs them in for fun moves to Villa only to have a manager change right away. Can’t integrate into the system put in place. (For what ever reason). Gets less and less playing time, has a row with the manager, gets imprisoned at home, has another row. Loses whatever confidence he had. Finally gets a move away on loan and immediately starts to bang them in again. WTF?
    Villa’s method of play has become more attack minded. Give him another go. No player intentionally plays crappy. Regardless of the personal aspect of the relationship, he wants to do well. Maybe put Steve Agnew on his case and see what transpires.
    It’s a no brainer for me. Like they say “it’s like a new signing.” Or wait for Gabby’s next 10 minutes of running around.

  51. Hi Canadian Villian
    I can get Forty Creek here. If you like your rye a little less sweet try Alberta Premium. It’s a pure 100% rye whiskey. In fact CC uses it as a base for their recipe. Alberta Springs is smoother and then Dark Horse but that’s a mix of ingredients. All three are highly rated by the whiskey bible. I’ve gone back to a splash of ginger ale with them.

  52. I’ll take a look for them Ian, but we are controlled by the liquor board out here, get all sorts of rubbish wine from around the world, but finding a nice BC wine is like finding rocking horse schit. I know BC has some fine wines, downed a few bottles when i was out there in 94. We do get an Alberta Vodka, so you never know.
    Did you see that story on CBC a couple of months back where the New Brunswick lad got arrested for traveling over to Quebec to grab some beer and liquor as its about 30% cheaper. If we cant have free trade within our own boarders, what chance of agreeing anything with Donald Chump.

  53. Hi Ian, I think they are desperate to lower the wage bill to fund Bruces CF loan deal so RMC will be off if possible, I agree worth a go in the new look side.

  54. Looks like Villa have completed their work during the transfer window, reading between the lines, and following Bruce’s press conference today.

    McCormack back home again, and fit, scoring goals, is obviously back in contention. RHM on fire in the under 23’s , and Hogan and Davis fit and available, means we are now content with our strike force.
    Take into account that Green and O’Hare are also firing in goals, and Jack Grealish will surely start scoring too.

    Maybe Bruce now feels he has a good solid squad with a good balance, including the youngsters, as they are training with the first team squad these days.

    Axel is definitely in the squad tomorrow, and should be playing according to Bruce’s press conference, so Bjarnason will probably be on the bench, along with Adomah, as Green may well get a start tomorrow.

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