Back in the nervous days of autumn when the kind of question on AVL was orientated towards “how on earth can we get promotion [with Bruce in charge]?”, one of the Lifers stated that he thought that as the season progressed it would all come together and in time we would see the play improve substantially. He was saying that he thought the negative and devolutionary days that had accumulated until Bruce arrived, and had affected attitudes and well-being at the club, were over; that it would all come good in time, and in not that long a period of time either.

His comments were treated with disbelief and the anti-Bruce comments continued, especially when a reasonably good run got punctuated by a defeat, as all good runs do! Fans are fickle, and the expectation (as Bruce said) at the Club was (and is) high.

Now, fast-forward to February and people on AVL have actually expressed dismay that the team has lately shown an ability to pass the ball around in an impressive way. No, it’s still not the finished article, but by comparison with 4 to 6 months before, it’s great footie!

Now, just why has this transformation unfolded? The person of Jack Grealish must be one of the first to be acknowledged as showing the way to the team. His inter-linking with Snoddy, Onomah, Albert and Hourihane has been noted and it could be said that perhaps Jack is the fulcrum on which the transformation has occurred. But, of course, that’s as it was always intended (wasn’t it?) as Bruce said that he wanted to fashion his team around Jack at the start of the season. But Jack’s damaged body had other ideas and we didn’t see him for quite awhile, and he then took a few weeks to fully rehabilitate. But he’s not just rehabilitated: he has clearly gained physical strength and has at last been seen to be the player that his potential seemed to suggest. Not one normally given to having dreams about footie, I even had a dream this week that he would take the ball from defence and dribble his way through the middle to score the goal of the season. Will it be the winner against Blews?

Other player developments have been seen. We were lucky when Albert filled in for the otherwise absent strikers for awhile and is still our leading scorer with 12 goals. But then Hogan, at last, found his ability to score for Villa. Then there’s “The Icelander” who seems to have been the missing link in the middle of the park. And, not least, Snoddy, who is another whose ability to score the odd goal and create a few have been of particular note since December. And the two full-backs have often been a revelation going forward, with Hutton surprising everyone at left-back and has done very well in attacking forays. But he still occasionally drifts off in defence: witness Burton’s second goal last weekend.

So, onwards and upwards! We hope. And the fact that there is such a thing as ‘hope’ should evoke that other emotive word: ‘luck’. Yes, perhaps Brucie has had some luck, but if he carries good luck then all the more reason (for me) that he should be feted as a success – even for just bringing that commodity into the Club! After the previous 6 years, a touch of good luck is to be welcomed i.m.o.

But it’s that occasional defensive lapse that worries, isn’t it? Having got close to sorting out the creative side of the team, the defence can still do strange things. Witness both Burton’s goals at the weekend.

As another Lifer has already identified, the upcoming Small Heath has become resurgent in recent weeks, and have been seen to have acquired ‘staying’ ability, a point that our defenders will do well to take heed of. Unless we’re winning 5-0 at half-time, of course! I can’t see that happening, but if Villa’s creative bunch get their act together, it could be a sound and heartwarming 7th win on the trot.

I suspect a 3-1 or 4-2 Villa victory.


The remaining fixtures after Small Heath:

17-02-2018 Away Fulham
20-02-2018 Home Preston North End
24-02-2018 Away Sheffield Wednesday
03-03-2018 Home Queens Park Rangers
06-03-2018 Away Sunderland
10-03-2018 Home Wolverhampton
17-03-2018 Away Bolton Wanderers
30-03-2018 Away Hull City
03-04-2018 Home Reading
07-04-2018 Away Norwich City
10-04-2018 Home Cardiff City
14-04-2018 Home Leeds United
21-04-2018 Away Ipswich Town
28-04-2018 Home Derby County
06-05-2018 Away Millwall


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'”.

Alan says: “The Villa Way 1874-1944 is just the thing for Villa supporters of all ages and I can’t wait for a sequel, if there is one..”

Comments 151

  1. An interesting script JL as is the Sky article. You say:

    Now, fast-forward to February and people on AVL have actually expressed dismay that the team has lately shown an ability to pass the ball around in an impressive way.

    Can’t honestly say I’ve seen anyone on AVL of late express dismay at the current situation. SB continues to have his doubters (I’m one) but we’re all delighted to see the progress that is now actually happening. Earlier in the season Villa served up some turgid stuff which wound the fans up and prompted mass hysteria accusations from SB. Thankfully things are much better now, the changing room is tight and we are scoring some goals (only 3 teams have scored more). This has been reflected in increased gates which I’m expecting to average much higher over the last 8 home games than the average to date.

    According to Sky, Grealish is the most fouled player since his return to action in mid December. Didn’t stop the Ref from booking him last week for being fouled yet again.

    Small Heath are going to be tough this weekend. They’ll kick, bite and scratch like they usually do. Here’s hoping we take our chances when we get them.

  2. Plug:

    Dave Blurton February 4, 2018 at 4:18 pm

    “first goal through the center of the park was excellent and we seemed to create more through the middle than ive noticed for some time

    The “we seemed” bit sounded like some dismay to me! 😉

  3. Thanks JL for your version of the season so far and the sound of an early cockerel 😉

    History written by the Victor ( albeit premature) and not very balanced in its views.

    Heres my recap to flesh it out, Grealish injured ( while clearly not the player he is now) then Bruce proclaiming him crucial, Villa starting the season poorly and Bruce nearly getting the poke, Villa stuttering from surprise team to surprise team until December then disaster says Tony X and a talk with those upstairs, another surprise bare bones team completes the miraculous turnaround in the nick of time just after a certain Mr Agnew turns up to much acclaim from the players, particularly about restored confidence. Cue satisfaction from those who quite rightly thought it a bit of a shambles up to that point now happy to be seeing what appears to be a team form that can both attack and defend, Hooray.

    I have to say neither you or that article mention Agnew and I’m not sure if you have done it to wind people up or not? just when were are all behind the team and relatively happy 😉

    The team appears more defensively brittle since JT’s return and Thors continued presence but has looked much better going forward, a coincidence or maybe the defence have had to take up a bit more slack than they like? theres no denying Birkers ability to get us going forwards quickly, something some other unnamed posters have been saying all season when Wheelan was playing.

  4. From the sky Article

    “What has he changed? Wins breed confidence, and that first victory at Boro was vital, but a deeper look at Villa’s possession stats shows a startling switch in approach. In short, they’re happy without the ball.”

    “A startling Switch” So Agnew knows how to set up the attack properly for Counter attack as he did at Hull and we are no longer thumping the ball at the forwards.

  5. MK,

    Well your version totally ignores the very fact that you dismissed any chance of Villa getting it together, That’s the only real point here – that Bruce (via whichever methods and coaches he has utilised) has got somewhere.

    (sigh) Remember me not to take your recommendation for the winning Lottery numbers! 😀

  6. IanG (from the previous posting) I was at Kegs Aston in the late 60’s early 70’s . . . . Ian, not quite the early ninteenth century even though it does feel like it.
    The most famous current old boy is Nick Timothy, who was until recently Theresa May’s right hand man . . . . sigh.
    Mark. And JL . . . I think we can all agree that Agnew has made a positive difference but I would hope that we can also all agree that the groundwork has been laid by Bruce and that in bringing Agnew in (as he wanted to right from when he arrived) he has managed to put in place one of the key pieces of the team that he was after.
    Frankly it would be silly to put ALL the credit in one place and discount the impact of the other and I don’t think anyone here is doing that.

  7. JL The very Fact!! Actually I didn’t state we would never get it together? I said it was looking unlikely under Bruce the way we were playing, that has been my stance. In Fact I have said we should be closer to wolves than Derby with our resources, I have also suggested ways that we needed to improve to make that happen, how to get the best from Hogan and that we needed to move the ball forward quicker especially to make use of Grealish. Who indecently looked our best player during Dec when played but was nowhere near as effective as he is since Agnew turned up, that goes for the whole team bar the defence which has declined now the defence coach is concentrating on them alone.

    I would go as far to say that had we not got Agnew or an equivalent coach in we would not be where we are as we were heading backwards with Bruce complaining of injuries. Only last week he said it was only a few weeks ago we had 9 injured and Sick, well thank god we did or Wheelan would still be passing the ball to the keeper from their half, all hail Agnew.

    Remind me never to look in your cupboard for the sherry you’ve clearly drained the bottle 🙂

  8. MK,

    I refer my case to the excellent summary Mr. r0bb0 posted a short while ago. 😀

    Let’s remind ourselves that Bruce clearly is firstly a **manager** and not a coach (at VP) and therefore (as r0bb0 intimates) it’s his job how he brings it all together using whatever means at his disposal – including Agnew.

  9. Mark. It feels to me that you went so far out on the ‘Bruce is hopeless’ limb that you are desperate to find a way of justifying the fact that we’re doing ok now and you’ve landed on Agnew as your self justification.

    Just telling it as it looks to me

  10. Robbo – I am more that happy to give Bruce some credit but by god he’s made a meal of it. Yes he wanted Agnew but having suffered the displays we have compared to post Agnew? I would of thought He would of got someone in asap as soon as he realised we couldn’t attack effectively given our quality of player but no he decided to Bring Agnew in to “freshen things Up in training” in his words, I find it hard to believe in him when he says such things.

    For all I know he spends countless hours flicking holy water around the ground to exorcise the past but by god his bumbling ways make my blood boil sometimes so much I think I’m channelling Steamer 🙂

  11. Robbo- I tell it as I see it, still feel the same, whatever Bruce does he hides it well. I would love to praise him for something but? When Agnew comes in and Hogan says he’s given him confidence I wonder where the great man manager tag has come from I really do, You can’t dislike the bloke though.

  12. One thing I will say I hope we don’t lose the rest of the season and Bruce gets carried around the Bull ring and goes down in folklore, he’s just lost his dad and his mums not great and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.

  13. when was promotion given out in january ?,we have had 1 good month and yet if cardiff win game in hand we will still only be 4th, 1 spell just half as bad as december and we will be toast, as for bruce been a manager and not a coach b*****ks,he is the man the buck falls with and for money we have spent we should be level with wolves at least,

  14. MK: ” I am more that happy to give Bruce some credit but by god he’s made a meal of it. “

    And Mr. King will no doubt be happy to tell us who would have done any better, please? 😉

    Anyone else did not have the qualifications to deal with the specific issues at VP in my opinion, but I will be very interested in your nominations for those that (1) would have liked to come to VP and (2) put right what had become a farce.

  15. James: “for money we have spent we should be level with wolves at least,”

    That’s a reasonable expectation James, but that’s assuming the motivational issues at both clubs. I don’t happen to think they were and that no matter how much money has been spent, it’s not been money that was the entire solution requirement but someone who could put the players heads right.

  16. MK: “When Agnew comes in and Hogan says he’s given him confidence I wonder where the great man manager tag has come from I really do”

    Firstly I don’t think that anyone thinks Bruce is a “great manager” – so that’s another disortion of what’s been said if you don’t mind me saying.

    But (as I’ve already said) it’s Bruce as *****manager**** who’s brought in the ******coach****** (Agnew) to sort out that element. Agnew works for Bruce. Please read what r0bb0 said.

  17. Please read what I said JL, I said “man Manager” and its been said many times in the football circles especially by pundits.

    Bruce clearly saw the need to bring in an attacking coach “Agnew” but in no way was it some sort of plan to bring him in at this point because he knew what would happen and where we would be. My point is its been obvious since last season we have struggled to get the best from some very attack minded players, why? poor coaching in that department imo as I have said repeatedly. So its either taken this long for Bruce to realise (over 12 months) or He has waited for his mate to come free from his contract (see FFP) . Why was something so obvious ignored/delayed for so long in this very important season?

    I could reel you out a list of managers as long as your arm JL but what would be the point? thinking Bruce is the only possible choice? crackers, considering round had a list of ten at least, some of which ruled themselves out, Bruce was A: out of work B: has four promotions two attractive reasons especially the first to a FFP constrained club.

  18. Every manager prefers to recruit his own team and buy players he knows he wants to work with . The more money they have, the greater the choice they have to bring in their ideal players.
    Certainly Villa have spent a lot of money on players over the past 5 years but we can’t lay that at Steve Bruce’s door. In fact, he and Mcleish have had the least money available to them since David O’Leary (I haven’t gone back before then)
    Bruce has actually had a ‘negative’ net spend since he arrived.

    Again. . . it seems to me that he has been successful in attracting the players that he wants. and building the team around him that he wants despite having one of the very ‘lowest’ net spends in the whole division.

    Six of the starters on Saturday were brought in by Bruce. He (and his support team) also seem to have turned round the fortunes of Hutton and Grealish
    He’s had to work within a negative net spend ‘because’ of the high spending under previous managers and we’re doing ok ‘despite’ previous high spending, not ‘because’ of it.

  19. According to the website AVFC’s transfer dealings since relegation are listed and costed in detail. They exclude the cost of loans though which as we know are not free. This is a summary:

    RDM – Summer window 2016 – Net Cost +£31.14 million
    Transfers in £55.53 million
    Transfers out £24.39 million

    SB – Winter window 2017 – Net Cost +£3.69 million
    Transfers in £20.61 million
    Transfers out £16.92 million

    SB – Summer window 2017 – Net Cost -£13.53 million
    Transfers in £2.52 million
    Transfers out £16.05 million

    SB – Winter window 2018 – Nil
    All Transfers in and out were loans

    This gives SB a total transfers Net Cost of -£9.84 million against RDM’s +£31.14. See the website for the individual breakdowns.

  20. Plug, there’s always speculation about ‘some’ transfers and the numbers I saw were slightly different from yours but the basic conclusion is he same, the Bruce has had to make money rather than spend it.

  21. r0bb0
    I was at the Frederick Rd palace from 1960 to 1966 & as the Josiah Mason’s orphanage was given 2 charity places for those who had passed the 11+ I was sent there without any input from me.
    I was the only kid for the entire 1st year in short trousers, which didn’t go down very well, but then I left & the orphanage closed [ not down to me] & went back to my mother in Bordesley Green [she was born in Aston], & so my sartorial elegance improved. Then I had to walk to school from the No8 bus past the old victorian slums up Upper Thomas Street from Aston Cross past the HP every day to Victoria Rd, & dreaded the one day a week that the factory farted an obnoxious stink, & Ansells did have an odour, but nowhere near as bad as the HP.

    Talking of Ansells, my brother worked there in 1964, & he used to regale me with sories of when they put the sugar in the vats, as it was in hessian sacks & had melted to the sacks, the sacks went in as well, to join the dead rats that had tried to learn to swim.
    Put me off Ansells bitter.

    In those draconian days, if you were late 3 times a term you were suspended, although in ’63 I was late 37 times one term & the headmaster [named Brandon, a decent man] he lent me a watch!
    Did they still have that manor farm at Longden Green near Rugeley at the edge of Cannock Chase?

    Jessup was our sports master more than Watcyn Thomas [who I remembered as Watkins].
    Although I actually played against him in a 7’s match against the staff, & sold him the sweetest dummy that left him on his arse [but he was 59 by then, but still fit, & Ian we hadn’t drunk enough beer by then to have slowed us down.
    I was told that he also played for the Lions, but now I look it up, there is no record of this in 36 tour to Argentina or in 38 to South Africa, but the story of him playing against England with a broken collar bone is true, & as Wales’ captain he broke the hoodoo against England by beating them at Twickenham for the first time for years.

    As for famous old boys, apart from me & you, Geoff Lucas was not only the first kid to have a beatles haircut [for which he was suspended if memory serves me right], but he was the roady for Black Sabbath I think it was, fame indeed.
    I mean r0bb0, ‘Tim the teenage…..’?
    In the winters [we had proper winters with snow then] we also used to slide down the hill in Aston park on metal pub trays, trying to be the first to reach Trinity Rd or the first to fly into VP.
    And that was after going green learning to smoke in the bushes, sadly it took 36 years to pack it in.
    We even had a new form created for us failures that they called ‘Remove’, for 13 of us, but we had a school master key each, & we had a whole term off lessons to produce & do the school play on our own.
    Halcyon days, but by then the beer was slowing us down, & the ’60’s truly hit, so all change.

  22. JC
    Dear or not, many, many people are dealing with some form of grief, some of us, some we know & some we don’t [including SB & family & even myself].
    Yes it is tough, but in the light darkness cannot exist, & even when we are swamped by the tides of circumstances this is still the case.
    Thankfully the clarity it can bring can also be a solace & more, & contribute to the living.
    I wish all going through such things remember kindness & love & not retreat into the darkness & solitude.

  23. Robbo/plug – I can’t see Bruce not having £’s to spend as a hindrance considering what we have spent in comparison to others in this league. We needed to be smarter anyway in our spending it’s not like lambert had loads in the prem in comparison either. Huddersfield spent £3.5m for promotion we bought the leagues best performers mainly British. Is that being hard done by?

  24. MK: “thinking Bruce is the only possible choice? crackers”

    Who said that? The question I asked was “who else …?” – indicating I’m all ears to hear of others who could have come and in and sorted matters out as Bruce has done. Sadly, you’ve not given one name.

    The whole issue was not just about coaching the play – it was about putting together a team that had character to stand up and fight – and even win matches. Result? We’ve just won 6 in a row – the first time since 1990. And we’re a point off auto-promotion.

    I could also have a dig at Bruce for various things =- but in looking at the *overall* situation, he’s done alright.

  25. Plug/r0bb0,

    I took it that James was having a dig at Dr. Tonix on his overall expenditure.

    If his comment was simply about Bruce then of course it’s not accurate.

  26. Jl big Sam and Rowett for Two you said there were only two recently, in the entire world of football ?

    Sorry Jl different managers have different strengths Bruce is known for defensive play at spurs harry rednapp had all attacking coaches that didn’t work either. I’m surprised as you rate balance so much you can’t see that ?regardless of villas woes at the club Bruce constantly referred to players not doing what he asked, maybe he’s incapable of explaining it or it was at odds with their prior coaching? It definitely was in higans case

  27. MK,

    Nothing to be “sorry” about … Bruce’s approach *has* worked. That’s all that matters.

    Big Sam certainly was another possibility, but I don’t think that he nor Rowett would have done a better job. Just my opinion of course – we wouldn’t know unless they were actually appointed.

  28. IanG,

    Thanks! Yes, I saw that film some while ago. Great players there … but only if they had been allowed to say more! Their interviews were (by today’s standards) so clipped.

    But so good to watch all that. Great names, great days – but a lot of it before my time and in my Dad’s time as a supporter. He was at the 1948 Man U match that Edwards spoke of.

  29. Jl – that’s where I differ they have cosching ability that I don’t see in Bruce but have character so to me they have the edge in turning the situe around sooner potentially imo.

  30. Also his remit is promotion yet to be achieved, if it was a rebuild we would see very different players I’m sure. I suspect that would be the case for any manager at this time. So rapid assessment of the squad strength and ability to use what’s there would have been a huge plus rather than the 180 we have seen in method and staff turnover.

    On players we were supposed to have 19 senior players by the start of the season and supplement with the youth squad for a squad of 24 we have 30 plus. So as far as sorting the chaff out he’s added as many as subtracted. But I assume that’s because his remit is promotion and he felt he needed them but that is his way, he always wants more players from his own mouth, it’s not a criticism it’s his way.

  31. how can bruce have negative spend,we havent sold any of his players,what we are left with is a very aged squad with few players we can sell on,lansbury wage will make it impossible to shift him on along with taylor and a few others

  32. warnock took over cardiff at same time bruce took us over,dont think warnock has spent 30m on fees or 2m on loan fees for 1 player snodgrass or give another 3m in wages and if they win there game in hand they go back above us, thats a manager doing a great job

  33. Yep James, it’s how stats can lie. The figures quoted above are for each transfer window since relegation. RDM didn’t sell his players, he sold players who were already at the club.

    Same with Spud. He sold other peoples players and not his own. That same website calculates each Championship’s squad at estimated current values. Villa are top of the league at value estimated at just over £74 million. Wolves are 2nd with a value of £74 million also but a few hundred grand less than ours. Interestingly, Warnock ‘s team Cardiff are 10th in value. As you say, that’s a manager doing a great job.

    Salaries are another matter. We are well ahead of some big European names as well.

  34. MK: “they have cosching ability that I don’t see in Bruce”

    That is an area of Bruce’s management skills that is possibly lacking, agreed, but we must I think concentrate on the fact that Bruce’s job seems to be – following Agnew’s appointment – purely management to ensure that it all comes together, and in that he’s succeeding.

    I also asked earlier “which managers would want to come to VP who are so good” (or words to that effect) and your Big Sam answer didn’t sit right with me as Big Sam has spent the last 20 years managing clubs (and England for a bit) in the top echelon. I’d have to ask why would Big Sam want to drop to a club so in trouble as Villa were before Bruce came?

    Bruce was essentially chosen for his promotion-achieving record I think, and that to me was a good enough reason. As I’ve intimated before, I agree Bruce has bumped his way along in son respects, but he did have a very difficult job on the player attitude front and I think Bruce has come out of that pretty well. And the fact that Villa are where they now are is testimony to his success in creating a bonded squad and coaching staff that appear to be working in harmony. A Vastly different situation to what was there 18 months ago.

    So – despite whatever faults he has – I just don’t see the point in knocking him.

  35. JL- Because Big sam had been booted out of England and we are a big club, Everton are the biggest he’s managed at the moment, he also likes money so why would he not? biggest clue is he was appointed as west hams manager in the champs and promoted them 2011/12. Benitez a far bigger name stayed with Newcastle last season.

    On attitude, nearly the entire team is now his players? Of the ones that were not they have never had an attitude problem Bar Gabby and RMC. What you see as bashing I call discussing.

    Plug and James, We still cannot shift our players as we appear to have paid over the top on wages to entice the leagues best and prem players at the end of their careers. Grealish potentially worth more than the entire squad 🙂

  36. So what if Villa get promoted or remain in the championship. If they go up there will be too many on high wages to shift and get premier league type players. Stuck with old players and over paid championship players they will be burned weekly.
    If they stay in the championship finances and dad’s army will do poorly. They won’t be able to shift players there either. Well they will have Micah Richards as a £50,000 a week cheer leader. The best will be enticed away regardless of which league they are in. This is Bruce’s remit. Flog a dead horse for one last hurrah and then move on. This should have been a rebuild not a promotion by any means. Yep, everyone is happy but at what cost? Forest and Leeds could just have a new bedfellow

  37. MK: “On attitude, nearly the entire team is now his players? Of the ones that were not they have never had an attitude problem Bar Gabby and RMC.”

    Building a team of players you bring in that have the attitude you want is part of his approach, isn’t it. I wasn’t talking of how he achieved it but that he achieved it at all.

    But players like Hutton and Grealish have improved their *focus* a lot, and that’s related to attitude as anything, especially given how Jack liked his nights out and how they were publicised.

    Also there’s the curious case of Elphick. He was brought in by RDM to add that leadership component to the team, but it would appear that pre-Bruce he was affected by the attitude bug and went downhill.


    But it’s all ifs and buts that argument isn’t it, at a time when it looks (if anything) we might well end up in the runner-up spot and auto-promotion.

    Just as earlier in the season I believed that Villa would sort themselves out and start playing good footie, so do I now believe we’ll get that promotion this year.

    However, I grant you that’s far from certain, but we are where we are and with that little bit more push and self-belief it’s very do-able.

  38. JL- When Bruce was appointed he Brought back two of the players with the worst attitudes Gabby and Richards, RDM had no time for them. I think Elphicks problems lay in having a porous midfield with the soon to be indispensable Jedinak injured and not yet fit (and having played only 5-6 games plus international duty.) Now the team looks more solid as a whole his job is a lot easier and he doesn’t have the old Hutton at RB he’s had Elmo. I don’t think Bruce has fixed Elphick by completely sidelining him until he needed him, more power to Elphick for being a pro. The jedinak factor reared itself whenever he was out the side.

    Players he kept Chester, adomah, hutton, green, Kodjia, Amavi, Jedinak, absolutely no attitude problems. Ayew did but he sold him first chance and Grealish we all know has had a life changing injury to give his head a wobble. His biggest challenge was RMC and we know how that went.

    I think a lot of the attitude problems were down to the fans at Villa park were so used to booing and had lost patience, no player just settling in wants that let alone the ones that had just been through a relegation.

  39. Ian its a tough one.

    Promotion is very doable the next step with what we have is a mountain to climb, a bigger job than the relegation clear out is needed and outgoing may be the very players brought in to provide some experience, Most to old to cut it in the prem

    Chester, johnson, Hogan, Adomah, Grealish, hourihane , thor, Kodjiah if he ever returns, Thats about it plus the undeveloped youth.

  40. mk
    ayew had massive problem with gabby so it was no surprise that he threw a tantrum when ever bruce took gabby back into squad,couldnt understand bruce taking gabby richards back into a squad after what went on previous season

  41. James- well I have read since that Bruce regrets selling the forwards in Jan by which you have to think Gabby didn’t impress. it was a weird one but I suppose most managers have a view on players they haven’t managed and fancy they can get a tune out of them. You would of thought the powers that be would of wondered what the hell, I hope someone does and expose on our last 12 years some day, be nice to know at least some partial truths.

  42. after all that went on at west ham,every modern day club have to be able to integrate players of all corners of the world not allow players or managers to alienate certain ones ie gabby richards tape

  43. MK,

    Well, of course, you will have to try to tear the whole thing apart even though it doesn’t need tearing apart. Credit should be given where it’s due. There’s no point in discussing further as we are miles apart in how we see it – or (more to the point) want to see it.

    The bottom line is that we are where we are and under Bruce, no-one else..

    Nuff said in my view. Finis.

  44. Small Heath on Sunday. It’s their cup final. Win it and they’ll consider the season perfect even if they get relegated. Nothing else matters in their world. Just have to beat the Villa.

    So our team had better be up for it. Heads and feet are going to have to go in where it hurts. JG will be kicked to shreds so he needs to get into their area. We must keep cool and break at pace. COYVB.

  45. Mark and JL, good analyses of our current position with regard Bruce’s use of players and (although it clearly doesn’t seem it to you two) your views actually seem pretty similar.
    Mark, you see us having 8 senior players left who could cut it in the premiership and I’d pretty much agree with your choices. You’re assuming that Snodgras has done too well for us to keep him presumably?
    I reckon we might get a bit more out of some of the older ones still but probably not for a whole season. There are quite a few youngsters who may well be good enough if fit. Let’s not forget how pleased we all were when RHM and Green signed extensions despite being courted by top 6 premiership clubs.
    Despite those extras we’re probably still going to need 5or 6 decent premiership players in order to just stay in the division next year (unless DR T is feeling exceptionally generous!).

  46. MK: ” Fine by me just don’t post one sided views and expect me to suck it up. I won’t have to fill the rest in then.”

    The only person who puts up a stone-wall one-side view is yourself Mark. Clearly you can’t see it and I’m not going to prompt you as to where your problem is.


    Unfortunately you’ve just seen that I only post one-sided views here, according to MK. So how we’re similar in our views (as you say) I don’t know!

    I have consistently said that I have always had reservations about Bruce (as I stated above) – as we all have. But what he has achieved can be seen and you can’t take that away from him. Clearly MK sees no due credit to give Bruce at all (even Agnew over-rides who the boss is at VP it would appear according to MK), so how can we be similar in our views?

    Bruce has done what he has done with no real knowledge on our part as to what goes on behind the doors of VP. So all we can do is give a positive opinion or a negative one based on our scant knowledge and (perhaps) life experience. I can only see reason for giving a +ve view – the rest (“the fill in” as MK calls it) is mostly irrelevant.

  47. IanG so the coincidences keep coming . . . The playground of my primary school backed onto the Josiah Mason orphanage!
    They’d never be allowed to knock that building down these days. . . it was such a landmark.
    I joined Aston the year you left, but you would have been in the third year when my older brother started there.
    Harry Jessop was still there during my time and yes, the school did still have Longdon Hall back then . . . did you get to go there?
    I’m guessing you’ll remember Harry Tyson too. . . . that brought back scary memories!

  48. John, well maybe I’m reading too much between the lines
    Im not saying you and Mark have identical views by any means but (both feel free to tell me where I’m wrong),
    You both think that coaching is probably not Bruce’s main strength.
    You both think that Agnew
    has made a difference to our attack.
    You both think that Bruce has done better than you expected and now has a chance of getting us promoted.
    I could go further but maybe that’ll do for now

  49. r0bb0
    Yes to all that especially Tyson, & I went to Longdon Hall for 2 terms roaming about the Chase & chasing chickens.
    One more coincidence: as I arrives at SJMO in the early summer of ’53, they shut the in house school.
    So I attended [& watched being completed] Yenton Infants & Junior school], where we stood out like a sore thumb in our gym shorts, vest & plimsols school uniform, especially in those days as the area was very upmarket.
    Never been back to either.
    There’s a SJMO website with a [very] dwindling amount of ex pupils as it closed in1961 I think, & was demolished sadly in 1964.
    There are some interesting photos.

    As for Sunday, I hope Grabban is on the bench & not Gabby, if at all, & it will need some physical resilience against the thugs, so maybe not a game for the young ones apart from Davis.
    I can’t see the team changing much.
    We still have to play Cardiff, so a win will erase their game in hand [if it’s still there] & give us 3 points.
    I think we are better equipped to play them & Derby than at the beginning part of the season, & am more confident of a possible good result.

  50. Jl for the last time it’s not your place to suggest having problems, solve , save diagnose or other wise posters. You may not of noticed but I am the only one that really replied to your header others seemingly didn’t bother answering a post designed to stir the pot wish I hadn’t bothered a complete waste of time on deaf ears.

  51. robbo
    as usual everything you print is gospel and everything thing i print is lies,just like you saying mcleish had no money to spend on his year in charge,hutton 4.5m,given 3.5 zogbia 9.5m along with loan fee for keane and jenas who managed all of 30mins football for the year,this was a after spending 24m plus on bent ,makoun 6months previously ,after the xmas tape it was widely reported that the french/african lads had problems with gabby richards

  52. IanG, you’re right that from the outside it appeared that an ever-sullen Ayew would have struggled to get on with anyone, including Gabby, however I was talking to a friend of one of them yesterday and he said that he thought that Ayew and Gabby got on well and certainly didn’t recognise james’ assertion that ‘Ayew had massive problems with Gabby’.
    I was therefore curious about the source of the information.

  53. Robbo yes mate I think there will be many come and go next season moyes will want to keep snodgrass right up his street. Looking at Huddersfield who spent £50m and about 12m was their most expensive you can se the problem we will have when buying prem quality. Many will need to be cheape foreigners with the money available and the debts the doc has to pay out to just get us square. Can we shift the dross we have? We are still in that position from the relegation season . Going up is going to equally harrowing financially as staying down will. Can’t be helped though that’s the lemon we have.

    Iang- you mentioned Rugely my gramps birth place proper mining village from what I remember

  54. Ahh James, we must have been typing at the same time.
    I certainly don’t think that what I say is gospel and I don’t think that ‘everything’ you say is lies.
    I am saying that you were wrong to say that ‘Ayew had a massive problem with Gabby’
    I won’t use the word ‘lying’ but i am saying that in this instance you have made something up because it fits some narrative that you have in your head.
    Maybe ‘made up’ is too strong. Maybe you really believe what you say but just happen to be wrong.

  55. Mark, agree completely about the difficulties of pulling the squad together next year but at least I believe we now have an owner and board who can come up with a sensible plan to do this. Recent Hutton discussions show that they are already considering all possible eventualities.

    It will upset a few people to say so, but ‘if’ we were to gain promotion then it seems to me that we may want a manager for that first ‘survival’ season at least who has ‘been there done that’ and plays somewhat ‘pragmatic’ football.
    You know what I’m saying!

  56. Ayew? who cares, another mercenary gone, good luck to him
    Gabby? no way he was going to go on his wages after taking a large financial hit [Although it is past time he went].
    Richards 1 year left at 50,000 a week? No one seems to want him any more than Gabby.
    Hutton? on large wage & no one wanted him either, but to his credit he came good
    Steven Ireland? everything revolved round him at Villa, so never produced anything for his wages
    RMH – McGate now enjoying his security at Villa for the next 2 years, currently on holiday – reminds me of Gabby
    Mcmumbler still mumbling about how hard it was at Villa, no mention of how hard it was for us

    I was having fun, now I’m bored, it must be infectious

  57. Mark and John, it’s not my role to be mediator, and I’m probably not equipped or well placed to do it either . . . . however . . .
    I will just say that I enjoy reading both your comments, and even the disagreements between you do enliven the conversation on here and help to crystallise the contrasting viewpoints.

  58. IanG, those spells at Longden were memorable weren’t they!
    I remember going into the fields to dig up potatoes and baking them in bonfires. . . . better than any meal we were served.
    I remember lads being physically sick on a Sunday evening at the thought of double maths with Harry Tyson on the Monday morning, and actually looking forward to the 4 mile cross country run in the rain in the afternoon because at least it meant that maths was over.
    I also remember us being in real trouble for blocking the chimney and putting a load of wet leaves in the wood stove so that the start of lessons had to be delayed while the smoke was cleared and the boiler sorted out.
    Must have been memorable times. . . I could go on but better not!

  59. r0bb0,

    Yes, the elements of agreement you mention exist, but whereas I’ve stated that, not at any time does MK bend towards his adversary and admit there’s any agreement. And then he accuses me of writing an article “designed to stir the pot”. This the rather sad approach that MK uses – all his way or nothing. And this towards someone who has constantly tried to see positivity in what’s developed at VP, not destruction, which is MK’s orientation. Or as he presents it at least.

    Whereas OV gave up, I’ve tried to persevere but it’s a lost cause. Anything MK says from now on I’ll not be answering. Unless it’s a message of conciliation.

  60. IsnG, the one of those high wage players that really upsets me is Richards.
    Not played in his best position and never seemingly committed enough to succeed. He had real talent and it’s tough, watching it wasted.

    They say he’s good to have around the dressing room, but heck, for £2,500,000 a year !!!!! . . . we could could employ a cheerleading group of motivational speakers before every game for that!

  61. I suppose we have to look ourselves in the mirror and ask
    ‘ if I had £10m guaranteed over the next 4 years, would I give up half of that in order to move somewhere else and keep playing football?’

    Hmmmm. . . . I’d like to think that I’d take the move, but I’m actually not sure.

  62. r0bb0
    Yeah Longdon, 6 years is a long time, a lot changed.
    We had to work for a week digging up a huge field of potatoes [by hand] for a local farmer at 10 shillings a week.
    They implied that it was character building, all it did was give us back ache for next to nothing.
    Strict it was, & we had to take turns to catch a chicken & ring it’s neck, so that we had Sunday lunch, or we all starved, or lived on potatoes.
    No girls & lots of time roaming that part of Cannock Chase [which was great].
    I had to keep getting the bus back to Brum to play Rugby for the school, then back again that day.
    Better than being in Frederick Rd.
    Glad to see that you remember how to be a troublemaker.

  63. r0bb0
    If I loved football as much as he professes, I’d want to play, & a year was a long time at his age, let alone 2.
    He’s only got 3 years of a top level career left, so it’s shooting himself in the foot, but we don’t know if anybody else came for him or not, but he could get himself a move if he wanted to, maybe he likes Gates.
    These days a player’s attitude is all important, gone are the days when they were pi**ed the night before, or even that morning, & played a blinder.
    We’d not do anything for 2 years at that age, unless it involved a lot of movement & potential for experiencing different things.
    I’m glad I wasn’t tested with that one though, as greed is a major mind numb these days.

  64. IanG,

    To enlarge…

    It’s clear that there are some who carry an enormous baggage to throw at Bruce. Why I do not know. I’ve always said he’s not the most perfect manager that ever existed, but he’s what we have and his attitude and approach has generated a good response from the squad.

    Even Graham Taylor didn’t satisfy everyone, but he came in and did a very decent job in my opinion. And I would go so far as to say that is how we’ll perceive Bruce when he’s gone.

    Things are a lot further forward than they were when the Doc took over. The way some are talking now is that the 6 years before didn’t exist – but to me we have turned a big corner and are (hopefull) at the point of redemption.

    Every reason to be +ve, i.m.o. And give some credit.

  65. JL
    I wish you wouldn’t enlarge round me [wink wink, nudge nudge emoji].
    Enormous baggage as well!
    You’re beginning to sound like Frankie Howard John.
    You may be right, you may not, who knows yet.
    Imperfections are the fuel of football blogs, & long may they reign, otherwise it would get very boring.

    I think one way of looking is to just focus on one part knowing the rest is still there, cos to keep digging up the same vegetable time after time after you’ve eaten it ends up as counter productive.
    It’s impossible to keep the whole view of your house in your mind when you think of the back door in the moment, you just know it’s there, in fact you not only don’t have to, you’d get an enormous headache if you tried.
    Some people start with one part, others another, if it’s not what I want to look at all the time I just say what I want & then look at something else.
    I’ve found if I get het up it’s me that suffers most.
    I think this is at the root of all the problems along with taking it too seriously

  66. Now, now children… (How’s that for some moderation?) 😉

    As long as everyone’s polite enough, which is virtually always the case even in disagreement, then it’s all good. You’re all grown men, can work things out just fine.

    Don’t want to embarrass him, but r0bb0 is a master at disagreeing agreeably.

    Oh, and emojis…You should be able to type in the basic ones like on a keyboard and the site should convert them. 😉 🙂

  67. JL
    One more thing, you can take something seriously without fixation, unless that’s what turns people on.
    Supporting a football team is a fixation, it’s like after the love affair of discovering it & immersing oneself in it, then it has to be acted on, looking at & analysing the parts of the game.
    It doesn’t have to be a conflict or a judgment, but it is fun if you don’t take it too seriously.
    The bottom line is that I don’t doubt anyone’s attachment to the club on here, & from experience with some on here who are very emotional, there’s not far you can go with that.
    I don’t see any enemies, just a reflection of how people are, which sometimes is hilarious, sometimes irritating & sometimes it helps me back to a good overview of the current position today.

  68. JC
    Oh, vive la difference
    I’ve given myself a nightmare now, I can’t get the thought of the Lerwill as Frankie Howard out of my head.

  69. IanG,

    Thanks for the lectures. 😉 Yes, there’s always room for light heartedness I don’t deny that.

    But … I’m sorry, Bill Shankley made some comment about the seriousness of football (!!) so perhaps it’s not all quite contained as you say in your narrative. 😀

    Not that I entirely agree with the great Bill – I don’t – but the fact is that the Villa has been the centre of a community for a bloody long time and engendered in that is a responsibility that the Club has to that community, and also the supporters to the Club. …

    … And that (i.m.o.) includes treating the team manager with a bit more respect than what he gets. Especially when his formula proves to work – which, clearly, some don’t appreciate. And despite the huge salary he must be getting, he’s a person just like you and me, who has emotions and everything else. He believes in what he’s doing and I sense the salary is not as important to him as getting this Club right.

  70. JL
    If I was entirely right I’d probably disappear in a puff of smoke.
    You’re welcome to the lecture, thanks I feel much better.
    Yes when Bruce’s game plan works it’s great, but I for one still have doubts about his management,. but like most people are happy that it came together, but there is still a long way to go, so I’m not giving him a medal yet.
    Respect has to be earned & go both ways in the cauldron, & I’ve seen that missing at times, so c’est la vie.
    Outside of that I have no issues with him as a human personally, I just think he’s limited as a manager, but purple patches are great.

  71. IanG,

    It’s clear that your assessment of the manager’s technical capability is very similar to my own. but when results are achieved then let’s give a bit more cred I suggest. Why not?

    It was on Bruce’s attitude when he arrived that I based my confidence and by autumn just gone I was forecasting it would come out OK. And it has. Good for Brucie.

    What happens when (not if) we get promotion is another story to unfold, but I reckon plans are in place to do what’s necessary.

  72. JL – ‘but when results are achieved then let’s give a bit more cred I suggest. Why not?’

    Mainly because he was irritating when he played for United, & irritating when he managed Hull, & especially when he managed the Tilton Rd tat merchants, so it goes against the grain & he’s lucky he gets any at all.
    But we were always generous

  73. conciliatory is it now JL? well I’m all ears any time your ready to apologise. As usual you see my points as Irrelevant and probably irritating and maybe a little inconvenient and you feel I have a problem that you are uniquely placed to inform me of, thanks friend.

    ” I can only see reason for giving a +ve view – the rest (“the fill in” as MK calls it) is mostly irrelevant.”


    “Clearly you can’t see it and I’m not going to prompt you as to where your problem is.”

    IanG- He’s still irritating

  74. Evening, long time hope you are all well.
    Although from what i see when i pay the site a visit its like when you drop into an old favourite boozer and nothing/no one has changed aside from the guest beer.
    IMO Bruce still gets out thought by opposition managers too often.
    Also he is the only one who never stops to sign autographs for the kids after matches. That’s not a good example for our young fans.
    See you all on Sunday, lets hope the football gods shine down on us – UTV!

  75. JL. . . . . I tried to be conciliatory with someone on here once . . . . . . when I offered him an olive branch he saw it as a stick to beat me with.

    I’ve since decided that it’s best to just try and ignore the insults and not expect apologies . . . . . on the understanding that I won’t be giving any either
    Simples 🙂

  76. Robbo – know what you mean bro the amount of times i’ve tried to help Andrew P over the years and he never gave me any thanks. Even took him to my Morris dancing club once and all he did was dance with no rhythm and get all the choreography wrong.
    Now i remember back in the day down the local disco he could clear the dance floor when night fever came on.

  77. Bibulus. . . afraid I have sympathy with Andrew there. I tried Morris dancing, and if you don’t have the proper rhythm and timing your knuckles take a right beating in the stick dance.

  78. JL. It’s worth remembering Bruce’s previous managerial jobs. For some Villa fans, his management of Small Heath casts a looooong shadow and rational argument is unlikely to overcome their visceral dislike.
    For them, his previous Small Heath bad karma will continue to reach forward through an infinate number of managerial reincarnations . . . . he can never escape it.

  79. JC, thanks for the kind words earlier . . . . . if only they were always true!
    I’m afraid there are times when all of us (you excepted) just can’t ‘play nice’ any more. I was banned from another blog because I couldn’t see eye to eye with the owner.
    Shame, because I’m currently agreeing with nearly everything he’s writing and his other readers aren’t! How times change.

  80. JL, it’s also worth remembering that some bloggers will ‘always’ be critical of the manager, whoever he is.
    Every manager fails eventually ( ok . . . maybe Sir Alex is an exception) so if you criticise them, it’s only a matter of time before you can say “I told you so”

  81. r0bb0: “For some Villa fans, his management of Small Heath casts a looooong shadow and rational argument is unlikely to overcome their visceral dislike. … it’s also worth remembering that some bloggers will ‘always’ be critical of the manager, whoever he is.”

    Thanks, mate, but I am fully aware of all that! 😉

    Knowing all that, I foolishly, perhaps, try to draw people to their better selves and thereby improve their karma. Well if they prefer to live amongst their dregs it’s their choice I suppose. I actually pity them. 🙁

  82. r0bb0,

    The thing is, we didn’t have all that nonsense of hate back in the 50s and early 60s and I still try to live according to those times and, indeed, through what I’ve come to know since.

    People born late 50s onwards cannot relate to an earlier time of comparative peace and well-being. It might have been boring without TV (and computer games!) by today’s standards, but life was better when it was more simple. I don’t express that as an opinion but as a fact.

    Steamer (bless ‘im) hated TV … and I can reconcile with that. I rarely watch more than 1 hour a day, and often it’s much less. Dragon’s Den and history programmes are the only things that attract me. Gadgets and other frippery I ignore like the plague. And this is someone who worked in software applications development for 40 years!

  83. JL
    The hate was a lot more hidden in the 50s, & the ground rules favoured the upper echelons& everything was a lot more limited, which wasn’t bad.
    Didn’t have TV in the 60s either, & in fact haven’t had one for 30 years.
    And I do like gadgets, they’re like the one xmas present when you were a kid, which broke or was forgotten 10 minutes later.
    I man’s dregs is another man’s joy as they say.

    Just remembered the old Hank Williams line, ‘If you’re minding your business, you’re not minding mine’, which is from the 50s [-

  84. Robbo- I assume that being insulted first counts for nothing? and it particularly galling when the person doing the insulting doesn’t even realise how insulting he can be.

    On the Cardiff game, Cardiff were hard done by and with another cr*p reffing decision but don’t let that get in the way of getting a dig in 🙂

    Birmingham who cares? I would of taken Rowett any day, very few times has his job there been mentioned in the last 12 months on here, that it matters to any great extent is getting very old hat.

    Do you remember when I backed garde, Lambert, houllier? even Tim, never thought O’neil was all that in some aspects of his game as they all tend to be in one way or another, Bruce is the first manager that has been deemed untouchable by some for doing a fairly mediocre job up until Jan and thats how I see it. No irrational dislike I have watched on in amazement at times his pressers, comments and decisions and have to wonder, Lambert could be the same in that regard. I don’t go along with Blindly backing anyone without some thought nor finding fault without some reason.

    Bibulus- nice to see you on here again mate sticks and all

    Jl- At least we agree on something I don’t watch much TV all

  85. JL. Your comment on ‘pre late 50’s peace and well being’ is an interesting one as is your comment about gadgets and materialism.
    I know there are quite a few on here who have spent time in under-developed regions and will have seen materially poor, but apparently contented people.
    I stayed with a family where the father earned a living from collecting tobacco from discarded cigarette butts. They were incredibly welcoming, sharing and apparently happy, but proud and would refuse any sort of ‘charity’
    In the halcyon post war period you mention, unemployment was low and after the depredations of the war I imagine people welcomed the more peaceful, optimistic times.
    Not sure I’d want to swap though. Advances in health care have improved outcomes in so many ways.
    Technological advances and societal changes are making life much easier, especially for women and many minority groups.
    Opportunities for travel and entertainment enrich lives and I’m afraid, like IanG, I do enjoy the odd gadget.
    On the downside,
    Income inequality is much higher than the 50’s (although, happily, falling again in recent years) and instant communications and social media tend to highlight differences and breed envy and dissatisfaction. . . . . not sure how we’ll put ‘that’ genie back in the bottle!

  86. Mark. . . . yes, Cardiff were unlucky not to have that goal and Warnock feels hard done by. . . no further comment. 🙂
    Millwall had more possession, shots, and shots on goal mind you so maybe a draw wasn’t so unreasonable?

  87. Mark. My ‘dig’ was against James and the way that he managed in one short sentence to seem disappointed that Cardiff had dropped two points (and therefore not moved above us) AND infer that Millwall are playing so well that we’ll struggle against them in our last game of the season.
    I’m not arguing that he’s wrong about Cardiff being unlucky or Millwall being a tough last game. I just find his ‘need’ to search out a negative angle for ‘everything’ perverse in a ‘supporter’ of a team.

    Incidentally, that’s not something that I have ever accused you of. I do actually remember your support of previous managers and I think you’ve tried to find positive things to say about Bruce, even though it may be through gritted teeth sometimes!

  88. JL. I guess I’d actually like a world where we could have the best of both worlds. We have some friends who live in a sort of ‘commune’ where they live an exceptionally simple life with minimal impact on the environment but access to the NHS and other services.
    When we’ve visited them I can’t help envying their way of life.

  89. IanG,

    I don’t know where your “hidden hate” come from, I have to say. I just don’t recognise that. And I got around a bit, too, footie-wise and all. I even went to a secondary school in Bordesley Green. So “hidden hate” is an enigma to me; there was plenty of meaningful banter, yes, but not what I’d term ‘hate’.


    Yes, I recognise a lot of what you say. My wife was brought up on a rubber plantation in Malaysia in the 60s. I have since visited one or two of the huts that the plantation workers lived in, and shared their food, which they gave even though they had little.

    There was a lot more poverty around in Britain in the 50s and 60s of course. That’s the downside of that time. Again I spent all one summer working at a dairy and doing the heavy slogging bit of transporting churns of sour milk to pig farms, and also replenishing milk floats. And generally baring witness to a lot of poverty around Stirchley.

    As for health. Well, that’s a moot point as to improvements. The cause of many health issues is the real problem i.m.o. And more natural cures – like homoeopathy and ayurveda – are being pushed under in favour of allopathic medicine.

    And as for insults, some people dish them out under the guise of ordinary language.

  90. JL
    All I said was that any hate was more hidden in the 50s, & it was in the sense of stiff upper lip & sweeping things under the carpet & keeping problems out of sight.
    Maybe I have a fetish as I seemed to see round the edges & noticed these things.
    It wasn’t an opinion but an observation.
    Really no need to personalise it into something else or it becomes an argument, & pass on that.

    My brother is the same as you, maybe it’s a generation thing as he’s 5 yrs older, & I was born in the thick of change in the same year that the NHS was founded, & they still had the hypocratic oath & took it seriously before, unlike after they quietly decided to cancel it, & it wasn’t appropriate to have the responsibility & it became the hypocritical oath, & now money rules.
    I had a masters degree in how the establishment works by the time I was 7, so I observe the changes more than accept them for what they appear.
    I lived on the street in Morrocco for 3 months in ’67 with no money along with the arab & berber kids, never a problem from them or most people, except for people trying to borrow soap when you were having a shower.
    There’s no bubble there, but I learned what true hospitality was, & that dissolved not long after sadly & it all changed in 86 as the world shrunk, Iran happened, & the Russians in Afghanistan, which was a beautiful place in parts with a brilliant culture, sadly now back to the stone age.
    I had an uncle that ran a rubber plantation in Malaya in the 40s/50s but left when the troubles started.
    Many of us travelled extensively due to people’s war travels, as it was a class thing without the forces, & I preferred to do it alone without the bubble that comes with a.n. other.
    Sadly the dollar killed most of it
    If you would like literate insults, I’m sure someone can oblige.

    There’s always Oscar Wilde – ‘If people agree with me, I always think that I must be wrong’

  91. Some interesting comments appearing here over the last few days, and I now know where many have been educated, lived and travelled around the world, adding to their rich life experiences, whilst at the same time becoming Villa fans.

    For real poverty in Britain in not only the 50’s, 60’s , but also the early 70’s try the Gorbals, on the south bank of the Clyde, in Glasgow, where they lived in complete poverty, with little , or no sanitation. I will never forget my visit there.

    I have refrained from re-joining the discussions on Bruce, as he is doing ok at the moment, but let us wait until April, before we really judge him, when we have Hull, Reading, Cardiff, Leeds, and Derby, before we play Millwall, and none of which we have beaten. If he comes through these with flying colours, then he will deserve all the accolades he can get. We have had a few tough games recently, but we also have played some fairly poor sides.

    Tomorrow is a big, big day, especially with bragging rights for many, but for me, now I no longer live in the city, the three points is the most important, and another step towards moving up to second.

    Cardiff unlucky, but that is Championship refereeing, and now Sheffield United already 1-0 up against Leeds Utd.

  92. IanG, i still find it wonderful (in the literal sense of the word) that I can tap out a message on my phone screen here and it can almost instantly be read on the other side of the world.

    Having grown up on a diet of sci-fi books It’s amazing how much of what ‘was’ my science fiction now ‘is’ an everyday fact.

  93. IanG: “All I said was that any hate was more hidden in the 50s, & it was in the sense of stiff upper lip & sweeping things under the carpet & keeping problems out of sight.”

    Having read your comments again, it’s clear that you’re talking about the full structure of society, whereas I have to admit I was talking about lower middle and working class life and the inter-action at that level, which was mostly harmonious amongst those groups.

    But yes, things went on amongst at the so-called ruling class level that just would not be tolerated these days, and they surely must have incurred much antagonism (and maybe hate) from the lower classes. My father was a Labour man, and one of his older brothers was a great worker in politics, both for the Labour Party and in actually doing voluntary work to help working people who were in need of all kinds of help until the Attlee Government took office. That laid the foundations for a better life for the lower classes that I saw in the following years.

    It was interesting in our family in that my dad and his siblings’ father was a Tory man, as was his father before him as he had his own business. The 1920s (I am told) produced scenes in our house of my mild grandfather being besieged by his sons and their desire to see the Tories get their uppance. And a fair society.

    It would be wrong of me if I were to infer the 50s and 60s were perfect. They most certainly weren’t, but at the ordinary everyday level life was good as I recall it on our council estate.

  94. JL, my dad was an active ‘liberal’. I spent many an hour running up and down driveways and blocks of flats delivering leaflets. Hating really springy letterboxes that tore the skin off your knuckles.
    I remember my Dad giving me leaflets to deliver for a very young and ambitious Paul Tilsley who went on to win a famous victory in Aston and eventually become deputy leader of Birmingham council

  95. Other than giving a bit of help to the Greens a while back I’ve not been involved in politics but I am seriously considering getting involved at the next election.

  96. Robbo- I think when someone makes a comment about a recently finished game who are our rivals and a team that could be a crucial last game maybe he’s looking for a conversation not a slating?

    You have made comment about me and JL’s troubles from your point of view, well it appears to me if you don’t mind me saying that you are letting your Bias hang out whenever James comments. If we all have to write to appease everyone else what’s the point?

    Sometimes on here it feels like ten blokes sat in a sauna while a couple of them discuss the others while they are present and dare I say a little bit of superiority thrown in on occasion.

  97. I’ve quite enjoyed this morning. Reading everyone’s thoughts and some insight to their life growing up. You’re no longer someone hidden behind a touch pad even though I don’t know you I definitely know you all a lot better. This has really made the blog more human for me. Thanks guys

  98. All our rivals winning at the moment and that Fulham game is looking to be a big one next up, a win tomorrow a must for many reasons one being if we lose/draw that and to Fulham they will be on equal points or overtake us (assuming they win today).

  99. robbo
    at least i am consistent in what i write unlike yourself who one day backs jl in his spat with mk,next day trying to get on mk good books ,then you write that jl and mk write the same only different, and what was it you wrote about bruce you didnt think he was doing great but you felt it was your duty to defend him

  100. The championship is a horse race, a long slog. 1/2 of us think Bruce is cr*p and the other 1/2 think he’s doing ok with a few thinking he’s gods gift to football.
    It’s tough to not think good job (so far) since Villa sit in third with a good chance of being second within 24 hours.
    Here’s how I see it with a car race as an example. Everyone are driving Yugos except Bruce. He has a Ferrari. So yeah he’s doing great in the race but still third against yugos—not something I’d brag about.

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