Whoops! Well, this is the Villa isn’t it? We were lured into a sense of us becoming ready for automatic promotion but, clearly, the Wolves triumph must have launched the Villa players into such a state of well-being that they could not come down to reality by Tuesday. And Bruce has admitted that he was at fault for not making changes in the starting selection, to give some a rest.

How long has it been since we had a positive feeling that success was really in our grasp? Now we’re off to play the Trotters away from home in an attempt to re-coup lost morale and to give most of the VP attendees a rest from the see-saw feeling.

We know that one team change has to be made – an enforced one at left-back, meaning that James Bree will be playing his first league match for some 6 months. But will Birkir get his chance in place of the Jedi? Will Conor have to give way to Lansbury? Will Jack score a hat-trick? It would be nice if anyone could score a hat-trick! Er, a Villa player of course!

The Trotters have made some recovery of late and must not be treated as a team to be rolled-over. As Tuesday proved, every match can be a ‘banana skin’ and only maximum concentration (as achieved in the Wolves match) will do.

A win is vital before we enter the international break, and we should be able to do it. Perhaps we needed that Tuesday shock to take away all sense of complacency. It truly is 9 cup finals to be played, and with Cardiff still to face Wolves and ourselves, auto-promotion can still be achieved for Villa. But we have to do our part and get back on the winning trail. Anything can still happen … except we’re safe from relegation!

Many of us have been “through it” before such as the day Sheff Utd came to VP in that promotion year of 1959-60 and stuffed us 3-1 (thanks to old Villan Doc Pace), so I’m hoping that Tuesday’s result was a blip as that was.

I want to see nothing less than 100% commitment against Bolton combined with a high shooting accuracy; I suggest nothing else will be acceptable.


Comments 68

  1. Yes JL,

    We had sold “Doc” Pace to the “Blades” for Β£12,500 , otherwise we could not have bought Gerry Hitchens from Cardiff for Β£22,500. Poor cash strapped Villa repaid by a good servant…!!!

    How many more times are we going to try and bounce back from a bad defeat, which ALWAYS follows a big Brucey win…!!!

    Beat Barnsley 3-0 away….lose to Middlesboro’ 0-2 at home…
    beat PNE 2-0 away ….lose to Sheff Wed 1-2 at home..
    beat Brist City 5-0 home….lose to Peterboro’ 1-3 at home..
    beat B’hamCity 2-0 home…lose to Fulham 0-2 away
    beat Wolves 4-1 home…lose to QPR 1-3 home…

    Seems every time Bruce has a decent win which sets the team and the fans up, he totally loses the impetus and fails in the next match, instead of keeping the team/squad on song. Mainly it seems through a lack of planning for each and every game.

    May be of interest to several on here, one of the lads on another blog has discovered a book, “Villains” The inside story of Aston Villa’s hooligan gangs , by Danny Brown and Paul Brittle, which is full of photos and press cuttings as well, which he discovered in a second hand book shop. Could be some very interesting reading…!!!

    I have now finished reading “The real Bobby Dazzler” which is the Bobby Thomson story, written by Simon Goodyear on his behalf. What should have been a really great story of a man who could have been a huge legend, is really a sad story of an alcoholic, who messed up time and again, but did manage to play some good football at Villa and Blues, and enjoyed a great party style life for many years with other stars like George Best, Johnny Preston, Nigel Sims, to name but a few. However, finally, life slipped downhill for many years until he started on a road to recovery with the help of AA.

  2. PP – That Villains book ……………….. I was asked to write a few bits for that book and did so. And maybe there are others from this blog who did the same. That book stands out from other ‘hooligan’ books because it is all the total truth and doesnt glorify hooliganism or say things like two of us fought 100 Millwall and won.
    It does capture those days really well as anyone who went to all those games in those days will understand what is being said. Worth a read if you lived home and away with the Villa in the 70’s especially…..

    Tomorrow – lets leave SB to make his decisions and hope that they will gain us a much needed win …… plus a nice defeat or two for Cardiff/Fulham would be nice πŸ™‚

    JL – I understand your feelings on blogs/Villa/etc etc …….. I just feel that a lot of nasty comments are supposedly made good by a winking smiley …… you should only say on these blogs what you say to someones face, be it other bloggers or Villa players or managers …….

    Here’s hoping for a good weekend for us all …

  3. OV,

    I did feel that the book would be of interest to several of the AVL members, and that, like you may have contributed, or at least be mentioned.

    Will have to check out if there are any other copies available anywhere.

    Let’s hope that Bruce will get it right tomorrow, and that we can get back on track.

    Disappointed not hear from Frem and a few more, but perhaps more will join in on the final run in…!!!

  4. OV,

    We always leave SB to choose his team and make his decisions. I’m just not confident about getting 3 points at Bolton. This is down to my lack of confidence in SB’s preparation and choices. If we beat Bolton tomorrow I’ll be quiet.

  5. Plug – I’m not confident about us getting 3 points anywhere which is why the past few months have been a joy for me. To much cr*p for too long to be confident about anything – but the green shoots of recovery throughout the club have been obvious for some time now which is why I generally have faith in SB to get us promoted one way or another. After that is another story…..

    And if we win tomorrow then there’s no need to be quiet – just give your honest reactions for discussion. Thats all we bloggers should ever do…..


  6. OV,

    It’s an interesting point that maybe I would not view Bruce as favourably as I do where it not for the fact that he’s caused life to return to Villa Park. Well, he and the chairman and those they’ve recruited have.

    It was nearly all downhill nonsense for the previous 6 years, and though that’s all past now, it puts Bruce’s contribution into perspective and if we do get promotion this season into the category of something like a miracle recovery – i.m.o.

  7. Hello All.
    Yes, since we’re rounding the bend into the home straight, it is so important to beat Bolton.
    Good comments on the smiley faces.

  8. Wow is me….!!!

    Where is everyone today……Lining up to watch the Fulham scrap with QPR. Down the supermarket loading up with beer to watch the Irish smash England and win their first grand slam in over 20 years, which will certainly put a smile on DOR’s face and many more, and on this occasion, mine to , as the Irish in me has risen to the surface, and it may give inspiration to Hourihane and Hogan, and part of Jack too…!!!

  9. JL
    Yes a good result.
    Just recovering from Tuesday, & had a computer pack in then partially resurrect itself, so daren’t turn it off now.
    Well I’ve got a fortnight to get a new one, & just as well that the match is probably on WM in the UK.

    Smiley faces irritate a lot of people as they take away from the comments & as you say, can make sarcastic & negative connotations to any comment.
    As an emphasis is one thing, but maybe I’m too old to appreciate their simplistic tendency to undermine any depth to anything, & even as a joke they are very limited.

  10. IanG,

    You’re right in one sense about smiley faces, but I put them deliberately to indicate I’m *not* trying to be nasty. I started using them when (a long time ago) people were taking offence when I didn’t mean offence.

    It comes back as to what the intent is … if you know the person does not mean well then of course you take them as you read the person. But be cautious about your assumption.

    Oh …. I didn’t add πŸ™‚

  11. IanG,

    These matches will be televised (plus today’s match)…

    30-03-2018 Away Hull City
    07-04-2018 Away Norwich City
    10-04-2018 Home Cardiff City
    13-04-2018 Home Leeds United

  12. JL
    Got it!
    usagoalsdotn*t at 1830

    Fell sad about Barnsley, especially with small heath unfortunately in front in their match

  13. Smileys ……………………

    If I say “you twat” then you could rightly feel aggrieved!
    But if I say “you twat πŸ˜‰ ” then that makes my nasty comment alright’ish and hides my main intent. Bit of a cowards way really I guess.

    3-1 to the Villa this afternoon/evening. Whats the weather like – I’m seeing all sorts of snowy pictures at various UK sports events ……


  14. OV,

    There are two big ‘amber’ zones, basically London area and east midlands, which are more seriously affected.

    We’ve had a little snow, though very chilly, and Bolton also looks OK.

  15. Thanks JL, strangely enough, it’s just started snowing here in Basel as well ……..
    So time to get a pre-supper beer on the go whilst the bison is fried to go with some chips πŸ™‚ And a nice bottle of red of course …..

    chin chin, oldvilla

  16. OV
    Feeling aggrieved is not a direct linear result of being called a ‘twat’ as you put it, but an emotional reaction, which does not necessarily have to be that, as it would have a judgmental basis [& it could be correct].
    If it was an empirical result like you say, then the rules of the road would be fascist, & there would be no real dialogue.
    As for the smiley thing, JL appears to both agree & disagree with you, but I categorically think that they are a simplistic tool used to disconnect the user from responsibility.

  17. More snow on the pitch than in my garden.
    Well at least the response from the lads was there, but still 0-1
    will need the subs in these conditions.
    Also some of the tackles were industrial to say the least, but the linesmen seem worse than the referees in this division

  18. IanG: “I categorically think that they are a simplistic tool used to disconnect the user from responsibility.”

    That may be seen as being what it is but I don’t think it’s ever been seen as a perfect tool. It’s just that when someone writes something – particularly on blogs – it can easily be misconstrued so the ‘thingy’ is just an attempt at helping the text to be understood, nothing more.

  19. Very poor.

    Having said that Villa had 3 or 4 good chances and a couple of superb defensive saves by Bolton.

    But why oh why wasn’t Davis the first sub? I thought the game was crying out for him.

  20. Great management tactics, when your defence and mid field is struggling, you substitute the midfield with three centre forwards…. what a wonderful idea…..not..!!!

    Maybe Lansbury would have been better to replace Adomah or Hourihane, and if O’Hare or Doyle-Hayes had been on the bench, they could have improved on what was there. James Bree, once he settled into the game, did a good job I thought.

  21. At least Bruce now has two weeks to sort it out and get the team back on track, if we are to make anything of this season with some very difficult games ahead.

  22. Sat and watched the QPR game on my phone in a cantina…tried to watch this one on the plane, was unable.

    Either way, couple of obviously very disappointing results after a great win.

    Not sure what I was seeing Tuesday…don’t know what I missed today. Just know it wasn’t what we needed.

  23. John,

    We had chances to win today and their keeper had to make 2 or 3 very very good saves.

    But the Villa performance was far from convincing. Bolton had a very strong defence – after a hesitant start – and Davis should have been on much earlier i.m.o. to get to headers that were mostly mopping up.

    Anyway, after these two matches a re-think is a must I would have thought. Though maybe we should safeguard getting to the play-offs now as the first priority.

  24. JL
    On the other hand we saw 2 attempts at goal which were top drawer, by Grealish & Bree which showed how talented they really are, which bodes well for the future.
    Bree may well be playing left back again, & at such a young age, along with all the others of similar age such as RHM who was not out of his depth, we have the best young prospects for many a year.
    Unfortunately we may well be needing them next year if we do not get promoted.

  25. Seven games ago we were clear in 2nd place. In the promotion race it is us who have blinked first. Not what you’d expect from an experienced team. I’m under no illusions that it is now a top six finish only we are battling for. It took just 4 days to wreck our P2 bid.

    With a lottery awaiting at the end of the season should we be able to stay in the top six, time to start thinking about the possibility of another season in the Championship. At least it will mean the end of some creaking high earners and bring the kids to the fore if it happens. Whether SB is still around is another matter.

  26. After last nights game SB was asked how could he prepare for the next game with players away on international duty. His reply was he couldn’t.

    This is BS from SB. Quite simply do not consider any player who has gone away on international duty. Pick his team for the next match from the players left at home and start Monday morning playing them together in preparation. He has 2 weeks to get them performing.

    Tuanzebe would ably replace Chester. Jedi wouldn’t be missed. Bree and Borg/Bedeau at FB’s and how about O’Hare and Grealish in midfield.

  27. IanG – no idea what you are talking about at 5.33 yesterday.

    Plug – Yep, as JL said …. we need to consolidate our playoff position and prepare for the lottery to come. But if we CAN put another unbeaten run together then who knows …….
    And I agree with SB on not being able to prepare fully for the next game without knowing what players will return fit from the internationals. He can prepare with what is left at home but lets face it, that isnt ideal. But every club that has internationals is in this position and has been this way in the past, so its nothing new.

    Did I hear that Derby vs Cardiff has been postponed?

    oldvilla from a very snowy Switzerland

  28. Didn’t think Villa looked comfortable in the snow yesterday. It was the same for both teams but conditions suited Bolton more.

    I was concerned that we ended up 4-2-4 for the last 10 minutes. SB should know better, chucking on 4 forwards rarely works. It handed the midfield to Bolton to see out the game and the four up front were starved of possession. Counter productive from SB and a desperate throw of the dice.

  29. IanG: “On the other hand we saw 2 attempts at goal which were top drawer, by Grealish & Bree which showed how talented they really are, which bodes well for the future.”

    I quite agree, and those goal attempts you mention were included in my mention of the keeper’s saves.

    I don’t quite agree about RHM. Though he has potential, in those conditions I was really mentally shouting to Bruce to bring on Davis. The size and discipline of their defence needed someone to get above them and create a knock-down or two. Old-fashioned footie that I would have thought Bruce would understand.


    Yes, I agree that the midfield was handed over to Bolton. The combination of Davis and Grabban up front should have been enough striking power i.m.h.o. Taking off Snodrass in particular took away a lot of our creative ability.

    But, despite all, we had 3 or 4 attempts that should have seen the back of the net. It was just as if our luck had run out yesterday.

  30. OV
    That’s an old cop out, not impressed with your grasp of English as it was very clear, & not an attack on you.
    Which part did you not understand?

  31. JL
    Different issues.
    I also was calling for Davis early, but was glad RHM showed his class.
    I presumed at the time that he sent the smaller more mobile forwards on because of the conditions.
    Then, as Plug said, Bruce reverted to type & desperation, so we ended up with 4 forwards & no midfield.
    But as you say, we should have scored a few, not our day.
    The Derby match being called off , makes it harder to accept what happened.

  32. BTW, I forgot to say how unimpressed (sadly) I was with Birkir.

    Sometimes he showed a little fluidity but I think it was he that effectively gifted them their goal and over the match sent quite a few unnecessary passes to the opposition.

  33. IanG: “Different issues.”

    I think we’re at cross-purposes here. My view was that I saw Davis being the most effective answer in those conditions and against that particular defence. RHM was not the answer i.m.o. and I honestly didn’t see him do much to say he had much of an effect, apart from being lively.

    But I accept we saw it differently.

  34. JL,

    Bjarnason has been blamed by many for yesterday, but it is up to Terry as captain to marshal his troops for defensive set pieces, and make sure they know what they are doing. Against QPR and Bolton, it was a very poor and loose set-up, compared with previous games.

    Someone has also pointed out that since Adomah has switched to the left, he has not provided one assist from that side of the pitch….maybe that is something else which needs consideration.

    Just very saddened that in both the last two matches the opposition has wanted it far more than we have, and got to second balls, made the recoveries, which have found us wanting.

  35. Paul: “Someone has also pointed out that since Adomah has switched to the left, he has not provided one assist from that side of the pitch”

    I’m afraid that’s not true – what about the assist for Grabban in the Wolves match, Paul?

    He has been accredited with 5 assists this season, which must nearly all must have come from the left side.

    “Bjarnason has been blamed by many for yesterday”

    Perhaps you’re right about the organisation, but the point I was really making was what I saw as being some sloppy play throughout the match from Birkir.

  36. Birmingham Mail confirms that Terry is willing to play another season at Villa and would be happy to face Chelsea in the Premier league. However, if Villa remain in the Championship, it may be a different story.

  37. JL
    ‘Well, you can switch to international politics and follow Boris and May instead!’
    You trying to get me to end it all?

    When I said different issue I was referring to being glad that RHM had a run out in the team & didn’t look too out of place, you misread what I wrote.
    As I said I also thought that it would be Davis, there is actually no misalignment here JL, just a habit of saying that we disagree, when this time we don’t.
    It was cross purposes.

  38. PP
    I think the attitude of the opposition wanting it more than us, & playing the conditions better was the cause of the slack marking, but the viking has not the defensive heading attributes of the Jedi.

  39. JL
    I did notice that the Viking seemed not to be able to cope with the snow so much as most of the others, which is odd coming from a place called Iceland, but he was a bit lax.
    Mind you I couldn’t see the white ball on the snow either.

  40. Leicester 1 – Chelsea 1, do they have extra time nowadays at this stage of the FA cup or a replay?

    JL It was Bruce’s idea to put RHM on instead of Davis not mine, as they don’t seem to listen to me.

  41. Good to see Albrighton the most outstanding Leicester player on the pitch, if only we had midfield players putting in a similar shift.

    Thor took time to adjust, which happens when you do not play, but he settled in and played his part. He also suffered from bad refereeing, and may well have been careful, as he was getting the blame, when he was the innocent party. He may not always get the headers IanG, but he places them more accurately than the Jedi, finding his man.

  42. JL.

    Have checked half of Albert’s assists, and have to agree with you that most have probably come from the left, but they are far fewer than when he was on the right.

  43. PP: “[Birkir] may not always get the headers IanG, but he places them more accurately than the Jedi, finding his man.”

    Not on Saturday he didn’t!

    But I’ll accept that Saturday was just a bad day on the Icelandic slopes for the Icelander!

  44. Spot on JL,

    Mark Hughes only really gave his players a full on team talk at half time, which made the difference. Sometimes wonder what the difference would have been for Villa, had Randy not turned his back on him after he walked out from Fulham, because they would not let him talk to Villa.

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