There’s lots of talk around Villa at the moment, and none of it’s good. Especially since it seems like it’s only now beginning to sink in that the money woes many were talking about are all too real, and that there are no easy answers.

I feared this team wouldn’t get through the playoffs and I feared the consequences. We’ve all looked back at the games we could and should’ve won that likely would’ve seen us safe in second. But that’s not how it went, that’s why Bruce is being questioned, and that’s why we’re looking at selling Jack Grealish. Water, bridge, spilt milk and all the rest.

And while all the talk has been swirling round, I’ve largely held off saying anything since the final since a) We all saw it, were all crushed, and there was no dusting ourselves down to have another go next week; and b) We knew we were all groping around in the dark.

Now we supposedly have multiple folks looking to pick up Villa, and on the cheap, Alex is saying his dad is staying, Xia is saying nothing, and Bruce was/is being considered at Leeds?

We know answers will eventually be forthcoming to answer the questions left by Xia’s ultimately cryptic message to the fans. Have no idea whether we’ll like them.

So what I want to ask is whatever happened to the plans we supposedly had in place that accounted for failure to achieve promotion alongside what was needed if we did get up?

The FFP issues Villa face were hardly secrets. The books are the books, and no one would know them better than the Chairman and the board. Navigating a third season in the Championship could clearly have had a definitive roadmap. Whether it did and it’s been ripped up, or whether everyone was so set on getting promoted that they never wrapped their heads around the alternative I don’t know.

So. Is Xia willing to entertain offers? I’d certainly imagine it’s possible, but we know how these sorts of things go. A sale can take a very long time. Is he furiously working on a way to get some money to cover a part of the losses? Perhaps. Is he getting scolded for wasting money that doesn’t quite seem to be his? All we know is that Xia has gone home to have a re-think, and that’s where all the angst is coming from. We didn’t think there wasn’t a plan.

What’s also troubling is that whoever’s in charge, the inevitability of Jack Grealish departing seems to be shaping up as a given. And while we understand the way it is with footballers—deals too good to pass up, ambitions of playing for England and the like—it’s still gutting to think that only as he just started to fulfill his promise we’d be forced to sell him just to help make up a shortfall. And that selling him for £25m–£30m wouldn’t even fill the hole, let alone provide funds for rebuilding. Could we at least hold out for £40m? Dunno. Everyone’s pretty clued in that we’re largely screwed.

Maybe the plan was “Let’s see how much we get for Grealish then figure the rest out.”

If we were at least on level footing and it were just a swoop for Jack since we failed to get up, we could comfort ourselves with the thought that Villa could buy a complete and very competitive Championship side for £30m. But selling Jack would yield us nothing on the pitch and leave us without our best player to rebuild around. And how many players have we been unable to hold onto that we’ve also never managed to replace?

Now of course we’re Villans, and this sort of let-down is becoming familiar stuff. We didn’t think it was possible to repeat Lerner’s naive spending, but apparently it was.

We’re still stuck with players like McCormack, complicating the freeing up of funds for new faces, never mind solvency. We’ve said goodbye to the loanees. And no one is going to be offering us decent money to take anyone off our hands besides Jack. What do we get for Kodjia or Hogan? Will they go? Guessing Albert can leave if Green is going to be fit. Hutton would leave for free. Dunno if anyone wants Elmo or Samba. Or Richards. It goes on and on.

At least I’m encouraged by our youth, who will have to play a big part next season. I’m just very unsure how all this settles out. We’ve trimmed some wages. We’ll try to sell. But it’s hard seeing exactly how we get back ahead of the curve to round out the squad, even if we sell Jack. I suppose I should take out my calculator and send my thoughts to the Doc.

In the meantime, I can say that I’m not going to bother clicking on anything that talks about anyone coming in for a fee.

Over to you.

Comments 158

  1. as it stands i believe hutton bunn terry gabby samba snoddy grabban johnstone onoma tunzebe
    have or are in the process of leaving the club,,,
    with taxis booked for gollini gil and elphick
    thats got to bring the wages down by over 10 mill and bring in 5 mill for the taxi boys
    then we have to possibly shift some from mccormack hogan richards maby whelan and lansbury. delaet tish gardner,,, loans or sales,,,
    some of the kids could go to,, davis bree to name a few on loan to get them ready for next year
    and even bids for green adoma kodja could be accepted
    just by selling a few players , getting some on loan we should be able to bring the wage bill down
    by 15 mill, bring 15 mill in sales and with the 15 parachute would that would be enough to keep grealish does getting say 15 mill of wages of the books give us a deficit of 30 rather than 45 million,, any ideas anyone

  2. Dave…

    tbh, I’m not really sure. Breakdowns I’ve read talking about the proration of fees, etc., leave me wondering where we are exactly. Like I say, can take out the calculator and try to figure it out, but…

    So, yes, sending some back out on loan will help (though how much of their wages we pay, I don’t know). And selling is best, where possible. Wages do, I think, offer an immediate relief.

    Selling should manage to keep the yearly payments off the books. If you buy for £8m, have paid £4m, I would think the £4m is already accounted for in the reported shortfall. Selling for £4m would probably mean you just owe the other club that remainder. So you want to try and make a profit of some sort to count as income.

    But, I hasten to add, the last thing I am is an accountant. Of any kind.

    Anyway, it seems like one trick to even up the books, another to then go and spend anything because you’re talking about a long list of outgoings.

    The other thing you would hope is that the loan players coming back could perhaps play a part, though Tshibola probably makes decent money. I would think Lansbury would attract interest. Whelan? Who knows.

  3. The FFP calculations are quite complex DB. They are also affected by the way football clubs discount the cost of any signing in equal parts over the length of the contract that player signs. So Xia is still counting the cost of players like Gil not to mention Dick Turpin who was “free” to get but has cost us an arm and a leg ever since. Suffice to say, that if the owner was in a position to put money in, we could reasonably expect to get away with a fine as I haven’t seen any club deducted points….. yet.

    If money has to be raised by sales, I would sell anyone except Jack. I would like to see Jack and O’Hare given a lengthy run out in the team to get used to each other. They would do some damage. I’d maybe sell Codger but keep Davis and Hogan. If we can’t offload RMC then Hogan may have to be sold. We still have RHM to involve. Green down the right and Albert down the left is not the worst combo.

    I’d keep Bree too and play him. Here’s a team for next season. Feel free to take pot shots at it:

    Keeper: Sarkic

    Back THREE: Chester, Tuanzebe (need to loan him again), Bree

    Midfield: Green, O’Hare, Jack, Albert, Viking

    Forwards: Davis, Hogan

    Bench: Steer, RHM, Hourihane, Jedi, Doyle-Hayes, Lansbury (if not sold), DeLaet

    That’s 3-5-2 with pace at the back.

  4. Can’ believe Xia purchased the club and put all his eggs in 1 basket (i.e. getting promotion within 2 years). I know Chinese are big gamblers and risk takers, but it’s football after all and there are no guarantees. Surely there must have been a Plan B from day 1 of his ownership.

  5. Evening all,

    It worries me that most of what everyone is talking about is either written by the Sun lol or is rumour driven on various blogs. Which is why I understand why r0bb0 was seeking clarification on things said on this blog.
    The Dr is constantly in China and has been going back and forth throughout the season. Why should the fact that he is there now mean that the whole world is going to end?

    There has been a statement issued saying that talk of a sale is basically bo££ocks as you expect from something the Suns ‘reporters’ have written.

    I feel that the facts are that we are all still groping in the dark with very little substance to anything that is being touted at the moment. We don’t who will be still on the playing staff, we don’t don’t know who will be manager …………….. we know very little. And lets face it, AVFC is a business so why should it have to constantly let everyone know its every move? I ran a company for 21 years and there were definitely times when I shut up shop and kept everything to myself until I judged that the time was right for both employees and customers to be party to the issues I was dealing with.

    These are businessmen running the club no matter what anyone thinks. And successful businessmen. Does anyone really imagine, that following the play-off final, no-one in the the Villa management has any idea what they should do next?!

    What will be will be and we will know soon enough exactly what will be. Basic conjecture is fine until it gets to end of the world proportions when really we should all be grown up enough to see the facts as they are.
    And as a couple have said on here, they are also businessmen and surely must understand the game?

    Or maybe I’m talking bo££ocks eh? We’ll see soon enough 🙂

  6. OV,

    Don’t think you’re “talking bo££ocks” as such. Like I said, we were told planning had been done for all scenarios. One would like to believe that.

    That being the case, it’s a bit strange that if such plans were in place the Doc would issue a rather vague statement in the end, then go home to be followed by a week’s silence. And silence in the face of speculation, while other people are filling in the blanks, just leads to more speculation. Xia might not care at all about speculation, but he’s starting to hear from just about everyone that they’d like a couple of big blanks to be filled in.

    Haven’t seen an official statement on the OS dismissing talk of a sale. Would expect a statement soon if the reports are rubbish. It’s one thing for folks to want to buy the club, quite another as to whether Xia is willing to sell.

    Now, I do understand that dealing with players and contracts, sales, whatever, isn’t going to be released by the club at this point, especially as whatever might be happening would be back-channel stuff. Neither would the club be talking about selling Bodymoor at this point.

    Likewise, Xia could be trying to line up money to cover the losses while the rest of the staff are working on who and where to cut. We certainly wouldn’t be hearing about that.

    Am I losing sleep over it? No. End of the world? No. A curious situation? Yeah, it’s becoming one. The Sun is one thing, the Telegraph saying Bruce is trying to get answers about his future while on holiday? Dunno.

  7. OV- Have you seen the statement from the Palace chairman? could be bollox but a strange thing for a business man to come out with if it is, maybe there has been a bid and Xia’s considering his options rather than coming out with the grand plan.

    “This all comes after former Crystal Palace chairman Simon Jordan aired his concerns about Aston Villa on Talksport – with the outspoken businessman actually holding his tongue in regards to Villa’s ownership, saying that he must be careful with what he says next, and that there are certain things that he knows that he can and can’t say. Make of that what you will.”

    The Grand plan will probably consist of sell a lot of players if possible, Use the youth and get in loans and free’s. Could rename Villa park or sell Body more heath as the trains coming through anyway.

  8. Yeah, that was interesting, Mark, from Jordan.

    You knew the loanees would go, you knew players would be sold (where possible). The simplest solution is to sell Jack to make up the biggest chunk of losses in one go. With the other cost-cutting, you might be able to strengthen a bit.

    And whether or not you can make up the loss without selling Jack, there’s whether Jack wants to stay, loyal or not. I can see him giving it a year, but with the possibility of injury, etc., you never know. And he might even think that him going would be best for the club’s future.

  9. JC- I have heard jacks staying and I think they will sell fringe players if possible but if its not then jack may be Grand plan 2. We have an awful lot to lose lets face it we have a squad of 30 without the youth and several loanee’s.

    OV- As for trusting in businessmen that have made a lot of money? I give you Sunderland, Leeds, Portsmouth………….oh and us.

  10. OV,

    You are right, we should only deal with the facts, as they are:

    1. Xia and other Chinese businessmen are now having difficulty getting capital out of China due to Govt restrictions.
    2. The sale of Jack Grealish for £30/40million will solve our FFP problems.
    3. Various groups see potential in Villa and are considering the possibilities of buying the club.
    4. Bruce is struggling to give press conferences with no back up from the board

    5. Xia is very quiet and not reassuring the manager or the fans.

  11. MK – “OV- As for trusting in businessmen that have made a lot of money? I give you Sunderland, Leeds, Portsmouth………….oh and us.”
    Agreed – but Tom Fox apart lol, would you WANT to fail? Would you have no plans in place? It’s 2nd nature to have all this background stuff in place and ready to act on. Just basic business good practice.

    PP – not all of what you said are actual facts as far as I am aware but correct me please.
    “Xia and other Chinese businessmen are now having difficulty getting capital out of China due to Govt restrictions.” There has been talk but I’m not sure that any factual info has been published (and not in the Sun please lol)

    “Bruce is struggling to give press conferences with no back up from the board” – he’s on holiday at the mo, so has he actually been trying to give press conferences from the beach?

    “Xia is very quiet and not reassuring the manager or the fans.” – do you know that he’s not reassuring the manager?

    Agree that the sale of Jack will help or solve our FFP problems.
    And yes, I’m sure that various groups do see potential in Villa but I’m not aware of any factual info around this – except for Mr Jordans comments which are strange to say the least.


  12. Thanks John
    Pretty much my sentiments too. With Villa going down the same path as Lerner’s (at least for me) I’m a little more pessimistic. I like Dave’s point of view and really it’s not the end of the world for Villa if Jack got sold. His abilities would be tempered with a lesser team as they would increase with a premier spot. Take the money and invest. Jack needs the competition if he is to succeed. And he does want an England spot.
    Perhaps a consortium would work for Villa. Especially one with some football nouse.
    Let’s see what the summer brings. Don’t forget, Villa certainly aren’t the only ones taking a gravel road.

  13. OV- I think Football addles business mens Brains, I suppose having your assets worth £20 m one week and £2m the next doesn’t help and keeping a stock of out of date model players definitely doesn’t.

  14. Sports are tough for business men in general. Players are always gambles. What makes it worse in football is that contracts are guaranteed. Someone like RMC you should just be able cut loose, but you can’t. Can become a years’-long liability, and we’ve had too many of those.

  15. MK,

    If Jack’s willing to stay, it would help our leverage, assuming we can make enough cuts/sales elsewhere. Could see him saying he’d go, but only at a price that really helps the club.

  16. fellow poster please let OV finally put a post which he doesnt criticize fellow posters and he actualy puts up his own words and not of his fellow poster robbo in telling everyone they know nothing

  17. mk
    i would sell grealish if had right manager to build a team ,like wagner 3m spend gets promotion and keeps them up,wolves resigned striker from bournmouth now talk of selling him to stoke for small profit cant see that happening with any of our recent buys

  18. JG – “fellow poster please let OV finally put a post which he doesnt criticize fellow posters and he actualy puts up his own words and not of his fellow poster robbo in telling everyone they know nothing”

    Please tell me where I criticised fellow posters? And they are my own words. Sorry if they are too difficult for you to understand James. And it’s called debate or discussion that we are having and not your bile comments like your last one to r0bb0.

    Oh and your post was criticising a fellow poster – again.


  19. MK – “OV- I think Football addles business mens Brains, I suppose having your assets worth £20 m one week and £2m the next doesn’t help and keeping a stock of out of date model players definitely doesn’t.”

    Ha, maybe it does Mark. I think it’s so different having assets like people when compared to metal, cars, software etc …………….. I certainly would struggle with it. Thats why you need some good base assets like property (Bodymoor Heath) or supporters who will constantly buy into the club …….

    And being successful would help as well lol …….


  20. makes no difference the club was finished as soon as the idiot owner employed wyness and round to look for a manager boths complete idiots and no track record at all round assistant to moyes for 4 years and wyness useless at man city when they where potless they employ a dinosaur in bruce after appointing rdm and only giving him 12 weeks they support the most negative manager in british football and a guy who plays the worst football ever seen in my life time at villa park a guy who has wasted a fortune on pure unadulterated shyte the highest paid team in this shyte pot league by a mile ,
    so sacking bruce will achieve nothing with wyness and round kept in place all have to go but charlie chan has had enough and will back these three dinosaurs who for me are the worst that have ever graced this once great club all need clearing out as all have failed big time
    the simple answer is bring in dean smith as manager with small money clear out all the old men and start again with a small budget bring in an x player as chairman the likes of any player from rotterdam and that’s all you need carry on with these dinosaurs and you might as well get your ticket for the old third division ready again as for me bruce and co are without any doubt the worst to ever grace villa park in my life time and charlie chan id the most clueless owner we have ever had for employing these has beens

  21. The club have just out a statement that Wyness has been suspended from his Chief Exec role. The DR will take over his role.
    Elsewhere is stating that it’s because of Tax payments being missed to HMRC.

    Hells teeth.

  22. A very short statement.
    Me smells something else to come out soon, as Wyness being suspended is indeed a “hell’s teeth” moment.
    Doubt if it’s in isolation.

    As an addition, I am not very impressed by the 4 preseason games, very cheap.

  23. IanG – “As an addition, I am not very impressed by the 4 preseason games, very cheap.”

    It’s the usual Kiddie, Telford and Walsall plus one other in Germany – but others are still to be confirmed.

    On the Tax front it looks like a single payment was missed on Friday but will be paid immediately. How TF did that happen?
    I agree IanG – I have a feeling that more may be on its way. Usually those very nice HMRC people would not jump all over you just because of a single missed payment which is only two days late.


  24. Mind you, nothing new under the Villa sun.
    Such gems as under Deadly, making the players pay for massage & physio, as someone remembered.
    The club is taking a bit of a media bashing, with vultures doing their hopeful flypast.
    The silence is getting a little long for comfort, & is starting to be possibly damaging to the club, so ‘no further comment at this time’ seems to indicate possible further serious or substantive announcements.
    Or maybe they’ve found a diamond mine & are keeping it secret.

  25. OV
    HMRC just invented a problem for me over events that didn’t exist, brought about by them losing something that did.
    Not even an apology!
    Wretch of an organisation, along with most UK Government departments these days.

  26. IanG – horribly enough, I also had dealings with HMRC today as they were delaying paying me some monies owed to me. And they decided without talking to me about it, to take an extra £3000 from what they should be paying me. And no-one could tell me why. Allegedly they sent me the tax calculations 14 days ago – obviously one of their minions is bringing it by hand to Switzerland ……

    Tossers all of them …..

  27. This thread is titled “Why is there never a Plan B at Villa”. Is there even a Plan to pay the damn tax bill? As we keep making losses I assume it is our VAT Bill that is unpaid. FFS. Basic housekeeping. Wyness for his salary of a quarter of a million/annum manages to get us a winding up order from HMRC if Sky is to be believed.

    Boot him in to touch and watch this space for more schitt to surface in the coming days. Billy Smarts.

  28. BBC are reporting that his suspension is NOT linked to the unpaid tax bill. Has he therefore paid the price for failure?

  29. Finding out what he’s paying the price for would be a good start, failure is a broad spectrum at VP.
    Right now feel like I’m being treated as muggins.
    Where’s the ‘no news is good news’ gone?

  30. Total mess. Unless firing Wyness (sorry, ‘suspending’ him) is the first step in Plan B, then there clearly seems to be no Plan B.

    Never mind not having anyone who can pay the bills.

  31. JC
    The Doc’s trouble getting money out of china worries me, & also reminds me of the trouble in little china movie.
    But that’s the way my mind works.

  32. Iang for me yes 🙂

    Suspension suggests investigation unless he snaffled the last Jaffa cake and Tony’s f**king with him?

    Clearly there’s a shitstorm a brewing and all the facts have not been gatherered hence no communication? Maybe we have been done for selling season tickets then not providing football 😉

  33. You can’t make this sh1t up. I imagine ole Liz and Phil needed the coin for Harry’s wedding and got a truck load of those bottle caps I mentioned.
    Who in their right mind, of any worth, will want to manage this? I blame Ferguson for telling randy to hire mcliesh. Actually it’s worth a good laugh but I’m not a blues supporter.
    Xia is looking woefully inexperienced. Maybe he should stick to MSG and Chinese five spices. But then, he was a striker—somewhere. I suspect it was lighting grills at Bennies BBQ emporium.

  34. No, you really can’t make it up, Ian. I wonder if the Doc just figured we had to go up and put his head in the sand? Talk of worry/conflict in the camp about the money…Good lord. How was that a surprise to anyone?

  35. My gut tells me that Keith Wyness is the fall guy in this scenario. Xia was unable to deliver the goods and Wyness was: (WTF—my opinion). Failure and saving face, two driving factors for Xia left him no alternative but to to say adios, not my fault.

  36. Looks like we are living in ‘interesting times’!
    I am not sure we will get a good price for Jack following this media coverage.
    Re HMRC – pay interest when you owe them but wait for them when they owe you. I took out a Skype subscription for free UK land-line calls @ £9.49 a quarter so I can phone them and give them a bollocking from time to time!! Cheaper than mobile calls from Thailand
    I’m not sure we really need posters to slag off each other just now (if at all) – this used to be a friendly site and I visit less often because of the acrimony

  37. Some posts on FB saying that Wyness went shopping for a buyer without Xia’s permission. Might be more rumours but the consortium stories and lack of clarity from the official sources is making this one big pile of sh*te.
    Well my worst fears since we knew were going down are coming true, when will this train wreck ever end?

  38. Our motto is Prepared.

    Sounds like we’ve never been more Unprepared. Who knows what today will bring. Another American owner with 75m to offer? According to The Times.

    As others have noted. It’s a shambles.

  39. And here’s me think the summer was going to be dull and boring without league football, without Ireland in the WC but Villa keep on giving in all the wrong ways.

    I await with bated breath, OS statements thanking Wyness for his services to Villa, Bruce getting the chop with Round taking over as interim manager and other (No) Plan B ideas are brought into play including having to stop training matches if some kicks the ball over the train tracks in Bodymoor and Villa Park being renamed The Unknown Company Stadium as no well known company touches us with a barge pole these days, queue our new kit being designed and manufactured on the cheap yet we are told it’s a revolutionary way of kit design.

    The club is on its knees financially through the Lerner years and now the Dr.T approach to promotion has put us back two years as we finally start a proper rebuild with kids and some loans.

    I’ll say it again if Bruce couldn’t achieve automatic promotion with the squad he had irrespective of missing Grealish or Terry (team game remember) then he for sure won’t get it with kids and loans, it’s time for a lot of change at VP in my opinion.

  40. the only option is to strip it right back

    New team ( mostly youth) sell everyone ££££ new manager dean smith (play with a modern style). stay in the championship and consolidate and build.

    Unless xia can get money in new owner too….this amerivan been linked.

  41. the title says it all.

    the new owner, if one, needs to run us properly and not gamble with us.

    Apparently these americans are proper sports people and more like liverpools owners. lets hope something good actually happens!!

  42. Andrew,

    Lerner had a sporting connection too. The Cleveland Browns. He smashed that train into the buffers as well. Beware Americans I say. I’ll wait and see what Xia comes up with before passing comment on him. He should be able to loan the tax money needed from a UK bank using the ground and training centre as colateral. Unless of course he has already fully mortgaged them to raise the funds to purchase AVFC in the first place.

  43. Apparently Tony Xia has been funding Villa to the tune of £5 million per month from his own pocket, ever since he took over, and the money has arrived into Villa’s bank account every month without fail up to and including April, but the May payment has not been made….

    Seems it was promotion or nothing, as far as Tony was concerned, and Wyness then had to get money from Burnley for Westwood, in order to pay the May payroll, but there was not enough to pay HMRC, who could be owed at least two or three payments now.

    We are entering some very dark days where every single Villa player is up for sale…..and apparently most of the ones we have bought, were bought on the never never scheme….

    Time for poor Bruce to fall on his sword……!!!!

  44. Two years of building feel good factor with no substance behind it and one week to carpet bomb it out of excistence. Felt this was the wrong approach in my bones from day one. I can imagine most villa fans feel like they’ve been lied to right now I’m intrigued to here what Tony’s next move is, is he the architect or the victim?

  45. imagine their where some on here quick to slam down those who said bruce would destroy our club,yes he alone didnt do it alone but was backed by dumb and dumber round and wynes

  46. dear god its getting worse.

    there may be no light at the end of the tunnel here.

    that 90 minute game was huuuuuuuge!

    collymore who gets a bad press but ive always liked him is trying to drum up a fan takeover.

    good lad

  47. Mark

    the dr is responsible for me.

    he is the owner after all.

    I cant belive whats going on here.

    Exactly right about the 2 year feel good factor…..feel stabbed in the back and very angry

  48. Don’t get me wrong some good may come of this but the stability and all the rhetoric thats been spouted by the club looks pretty false, seems very much like they have treated the fans like cattle for the obvious reason of the cash it would bring. Yes that may have been out of necessity but its a bit like kicking your family in the nuts.

  49. Mark,

    I like Collymore’s example of Dortmund being 51% owned by the fans for sustainability. If the club is valued at 75m then 51% is 38.25m. If Xia wants to sell 51% for that price, the fans would need to cough up less than 650 quid each for an equal share of that percentage based on 60,000 fans. Of course, some would want larger shares and some smaller.

    If we don’t like that way, then borrow the 38.25m from the finance banks against VP and training grounds as collateral. It means financing costs are incurred each year but with fans running the club, obscene salaries from those stealing a living would be a thing of the past and the club would be guaranteed to endure. We need someone like Black Sabbath or other prominent Villa citizen to step forward with a good accountant to determine the due diligence.

    Always assuming Xia wants to sell 51%.

  50. andrew
    we didnt just fail over 90 mins we failed most of season,how did doc not sack bruce earlier or are we that broke,terry samba and snodgrass 6m for what

  51. The tip of the iceberg was Birmingham city with Carson Yeung being a crook. Aston Villa have fallen afoul of Chinese business practices as well. It’s only a matter of time til West Brom and Wolves fans find themselves on the wrong side of the fence with their owners. Shady is the politest I can be.
    Melamine in baby formula that killed and hurt babies.
    Toxic material mixed into drywall and sent to America only to leach out in hundreds of thousands of homes.
    Using beach sand laced with salt for concrete buildings.
    Organ harvesting from falun and Tibetan prisoners.
    Militarizing the South China Sea. Restricting East Asian countries from their offshore rights.
    What on earth made anyone thing they would go all Mother Teresa when they started to invest in European football clubs. If you think for one minute the fans were close to their heart…

  52. Ian,

    Though I empathise with some of the issues you’ve made, from what I read there are no actual bad business practises in this case.

    I understand (supported from my Far East contacts) that the economic situation is such in China that there is a limitation on what the rich Chinese can do outside of their own country.

    China is not in the great financial state that most think.

    The limitations on Chinese outside China seem to have come into effect about the time Xia bought Villa but it was thought to be a temporary measure from what I’m told. And as Xia’s a cousin (or some relative) of the Chinese president, I would have thought that he’s have been given clarity on this. But not so in reality it seems.

  53. JG – seems like once he’d pushed the button last season there was going back even though we spent sod all he rolled the dice, can definitely see why he was pushing Bruce to reduce to 19 senior players and 5 youth. Wonder why other than not being able to shift players we splashed out on big wages other than the ultimate gamble? Something has happened with Zia’s funds I’d guess and maybe recon isn’t performing so well.

  54. Hi everyone,talk of rising again is premature…..sorry to pi$$ on anyones chips but The Academy will go,as in CLOSE DOWN until further notice.Feels like the late 60s early 70s again.
    I just can’t beleve the last few days.

  55. JL- I’m trying to remember but I think it was toward the end of last season April time that the Chinese Government told all their businessmen to wind down the spending in football? The Global economy was/is tightening up so as a major manufacturer China will feel it. Don’t know but could be push back from the USA to bring Jobs home or something similar, Just as Russia was brought to heel by sanctions and cheap Petrol.

  56. From Sky Sports

    “We have been told HMRC are content with an arrangement whereby the club pays £1.2m by the end of this week – around half of the money it owes in unpaid tax – after an immediate payment of £500,000 was made earlier on Wednesday.”

    Looks like the number owed was wrong.
    Also the Doc appears to be accusing Wyness of trying to sell the club with possible benefit for him without the Doc’s knowledge.

  57. just seen this,stay of execution?

    “Aston Villa have reportedly reached an agreement with the tax authorities to stave off the immediate threat of administration.

    The Championship club suspended chief executive Keith Wyness with immediate effect on Tuesday, announcing that owner Dr Tony Xia would take over the day-to-day running of the club.

    Multiple reports had suggested that Villa were at risk of facing an HMRC winding-up order, with the prospect of administration a real possibility, due to huge investment in player wages and more than £70million in transfers in just two seasons

    According to Sky Sports News, however, HMRC are content with an arrangement whereby the club pays £1.2m by the end of this week – around half of the money it owes in unpaid tax – after an immediate payment of £500,000 was made earlier today.

    The report goes on to claim that, as a result, HMRC has shelved its plans to issue legal proceedings against Villa, via a winding up order in the High Court.

    Xia has officially insisted that the club is not for sale, but reports have suggested that he is attempting to bring in new investors and would be prepared to sell the club in a cut-price deal.”

  58. I know we don’t know the full details and reasons yet but how the hell does Tony Xia come back from this and save face? just went on the official site and the be part of the pride posters just made me Cringe.

    Whether he has the money and can’t get it is irrelevant, he has gambled the club knowing that failure could mean destruction. He is paying in £4-5m a month and we need to find £40m to break even what kind of plan is that? we are potentially going to lose any good will and players we have gained recently, how the hell was that a risk worth taking?

    We have been told about the incredible work being done to turn the club around for two seasons and it seems its been a big fib. I’m afraid Tony Xia has proved as astute in his choice of staff and direction as Lerner if thats possible.

    night all

  59. In the vast majority of companies in the U.K. (99% are SMEs not large corporations) the key factor is cash, not profit.
    If you have a seasonal business then the cash pressure becomes even more intense during the low cashflow periods. I’d never really thought about it before, but football is a hugely cashflow seasonal basis.
    In most seasonal businesses, during the quieter times you are at least able to reduce your overheads to offset some of the drop in income, but in football, with the inflation in player wages, A high proportion of the costs are going into the player’s pockets and of course they will want to be paid all year round.
    That is fine if you build enough reserves in the high income months, but if you don’t you will need regular cash injections over the summer months and it seems that Xia is struggling to extract the cash for that from China.
    Avoiding a fire sale of our best assets is essential now if we’re to avoid a grim outcome.

  60. I heard a rumour that Wyness received letters from HMRC about imminent action on heir behalf but thought they were a hoax and ignored them and that is why he was fired.
    Surely unfounded!?

  61. Robbo who knows I’ve heard he was giving the lowdown to potential buyers on what price was acceptable and even trying to push us over edge to reduce the price. Maybe that’s why he backed Bruce so much? 🙂

  62. RoBb0,

    Behave yourself, you are talking complete sense. About a business (football) that is complete nonsense.

    I can’t get my head around the figures being bandied about. TX is putting in 5m per month to cover the losses???? Each month until May which he missed. That’s 60m per year losses. We got 33m this season for parachute payments, plus gate receipts (2 big extra games this year), plus TV appearances, plus other income. We therefore must have considerably more than 100m outgoings?? Not to mention the profit on player sales. How so?

    As you say, cash flow is the life blood of every company. The Board knows when the peaks and troughs occur. It ain’t difficult to manage. The difficulties happen when a company doesn’t receive money it’s expecting. I’d suggest Villa’s income is sound, i.e. it will arrive.

    It’s time to get tough with players wages which need to contain a chunky amount of appearance money. So lengthy injuries or dodgy gates have a significant effect on what a player picks up. This is only fair to the club. If greedy players disagree, then don’t sign them.

  63. Plug story’s are that we have attempted to get loans on future player sell ons like amavi and have had the £22m overdraft withdrawn so they have basically been grabbing cash from all over absolutely nuts.

  64. Mark,

    If that’s the case, AVFC is not a viable business right now. The club needs to clear out all players on micky mouse wages. There are so many of them. The good news then will be that we get to see the kids playing regularly next season. And if that happens, then SB needs replacing with someone like Dean Smith who will not teach them defensive habits but keep playing them in the manner they have been. It also means next season will be a struggle and fans will need to show considerable patience.

    The more news that comes out of the closet, the more convinced I am that missing promotion was the best thing to happen to us. Otherwise, the new found riches would be used to service more ever growing debt with no light at the end of the tunnel. This is our wake up call.

  65. a bit of good news at last

    Goalkeeper Pierluigi Gollini has signed a new contract with Atalanta. After the club exercised his buyback clause from Aston Villa for €4.3m, Gollini will remain under contract with the Serie A club, with which he made 7 appearances on loan from Villa last season, until 2023.

  66. And at last tony tweets

    Dr. Tony Xia

    Verified account

    8h8 hours ago
    It has been very difficult 2weeks as I hinted earlier I was almost heartbroken by something.Tried my best to keep beloved AV move forward. Thanks for all ppl standing together going through the difficult time. It was all supporters’ encouraging words to keep me/us stronger. #UTV

  67. For What It’s Worth

    In the light of the very recent and unwelcome gleanings concerning finances, I have to say that it was completely absurd that the chairman should take the financial and managerial gamble he did over the last 2 years. The only excuse he has is that it’s his club, but if he’d had a clue about the sufferings Villa fans have had over the past 50 to 70 years (with a few highs, but not too many), it’s a route he should have bypassed.

    What should have happened, of course, is what many on this blog have wanted all along: the appointment of a manager that could have developed the younger players into a promotion outfit and as a true investment for the future.

    However, not realising at the time that Xia was taking his so-risky gamble, I thought the appointment of Bruce was a sound one (a good option 2 if you like), and in view of the performances from December to May he was very unlucky not to steal promotion.

    But the fact remains that at Xia’s outset the policy should have been based on youth development with the very minimum of purchases. A big problem would still have been the dressing room issue, but with what I’d call a “proper manager” installed that could still have been dealt with.

    In the light of the recent financial disclosures, a big question hangs as to how Xia intends to meet the future, even if his money becomes available. Or maybe he’s intelligent enough to have learnt from all this.

  68. Definitely poor judgment from Xia
    I wish I could p*ss money away like that. The sad part is, it’s two years wasted and now a difficult spot to be in. In part I blame the football association who allow actions like that go without questions being asked. It’s fine that they do “do diligence” to become an owner but it needs to go on throughout the years. I can cite Wolves somewhat slight of hand with that particular agent. (Mendes?)
    The football association would be wise to see how different sports leagues run their business over here in North America. The leagues and teams are set up not to fail and owners can be given the bums rush if they don’t tow the line.

  69. And another “win one for the Gipper” text. How quaint his missives are. Xia should remember Aston Villa are nothing without the fans. Don’t patronize me.

  70. I certainly did Ian, having just proven the previous hierarchy had no idea we set out with pretty much an inexperienced set up in a new league and p*ssed it up the wall again. I thought either this blokes loaded or mental, nice chap a bit quirky but we might as well gone whole hog and got ‘Arry in.

    JL- for what its worth I don’t blame you for thinking that way, whomever took the managers spot needed experience of a huge rebuild or a background management that did. We got caught up in having to have experience of the League and in RDM a show pony for China. We were scared of the champs before it had even begun imo.

    To be fare to Bruce he may have fared better if he’d been in from the start, would never be how I’d have preferred us to go though and going from gung ho attacking manager to gung ho defensive manager after a major overhaul was particularly stupid.
    Love him or Loathe him I think Warnock may have got us up in either season if its just results your after.

  71. ian
    the big spend from 2 years ago ,we still had amavi clark baker vertout gana ayew traore rudi cissko bacuna sanchez gill all on the books now we have taylor whelan elmo lansbury etc,we definetley made balls up of squad replacement

  72. Been away on business the last couple days…been reading the news and all your views as much as I could. No time to post.

    As details spray out all over the place i’ve Had a hard time keeping up or making sense of it all.

    However, that won’t stop me from putting something up for the weekend. You’ll all likely have gotten to wherever i’m going before I do.

    But it’ll be a fresh sheet of paper, if nothing else.

  73. Apparently Jedinak, Whelan and El Mohamady have been put up for sale. Does this mean the end of Bruce’s tired old men, and a look to younger players, as well as much cheaper…

  74. PP- Spurs sniffing around Grealish, Green and Davis being looked at too, by going down the path we have we have put ourselves in a weak position and will be less able to keep our young prospects and most certainly will get a pittance for the oldies other than the much needed wage reduction.

    Will be glad to see any kind of plan emerge but I’m not sure I’m going to like it much.

  75. JL- I agree Bruce nearly snatched it at the death but I do feel it really should of been a routine promotion in 2 years min with our spending if done with care or 3 years tops with a fresh faced team to boot if we reinvented ourselves.

    Always thought the experience over talent was a flawed idea particularly when this league is so physically demanding. Would of understood it more if Bruce had a possession bias not a counter attack one, we just were not equipped. The fact we nearly did it is testament to how poor this league actually is. Fulhams approach once in gear sliced through the league while we roller-coastered our way.

    Still it is what it is, we need to be brave and the club will truly need the fans now whether the management deserve it or not.

  76. Apparently Tony Xia has been given a £50million loan from Recon to finance his plans for Villa. which probably means via the Chinese government.

    I do think we will sell Grealish and maybe a couple of fringe players, in addition to the Bruce recruits that have been put up for sale, Jedinak, Whelan and El Mohamady, Tony Xia should raise a further £50/60 million to give him around £100million to finance the coming season.

  77. PP- well heres another couple more of roles for him, the fitness coach the sheik of muscles has gone who came in with RDM and Tony Cotton head of domestic recruitment has gone to Sunderland.

  78. PP

    If the tea lady has been booted…….it tells me we can’t afford 8.50/hour.


    I’m less worried about Elmo and Whelan but more worried about our failure to offload Dick Turpin.

  79. dick turpin was last regime ,they said we had learned lessons of old ,seems not,what have any bruces signings really produced ,remember these are all on big money

  80. Well things aren’t rosy and British media as usual have kicked up a negative shitstorm. It’s hard to sort things out and maybe we should just take a wait a see for the next couple of weeks.
    It is hard to trust them though. Strictly a money driven exercise over a short amount of time. I get a laugh out of the “my much beloved Villa” tweet. You’ve shown us your stripes Tony now do the club a favour and do it right.

  81. Before we get to excited/worried/delirious/depressed apparently the £50m is wide of the mark according to WMradio #could the real truth standupplease

  82. A very worrying article which says that Xia virtually now owns nothing, and may well have been money laundering. – The decline of Aston Villa under its enigmatic Chinese owner

    I am also reading that Hutton is willing to take a pay cut to stay at Villa and Gabby may be re-signed by Bruce on a much lower wage too. Maybe Bruce can do the same with Micah Richards and some of the others…!!!

  83. MOMs say that Inter Milan asked for a friendly at VP the week before the season starts, but due to the new pitch being laid, it isn’t possible.
    Maybe some famous bands could do some benefits before the beginning of the season.

  84. There I sat lonely musing,
    when a voice came out of the wilderness,

    “Cheer up things could be worse”,
    so I cheered up, and sure enough, things got worse!

  85. Board meeting in London tomorrow with Xia attending via conference call. SB is not attending but his position is due to be discussed along with fund raising. Hold on to your hats.

  86. Another great piece of business by Villa. Offload Joe Bennett on a free. Warnock takes him and pays him peanuts but has him pounding down the left flank like his life depends on it.

    Warnock has just refused a 2m bid for him from Fulham. p*ss ups and breweries come to mind.

  87. plug
    joe bennett never rated him but just shows how good warnock is he gets bennett makes him look good on a free,
    bruce pays 4m and gives taylor massive contract yet he taylor is definitely worse than bennett

  88. What a predicament, The only players Bruce relied on are to old or likely to be sold! and of the ones he bought as the backbone of the team in the Jan window in his 1st season only Hourihane did he use to any real effect. The best buy in that window Johnson a keeper who literally kept us in at least 5 games last term. He practically replaced that bunch this season . Also he had no faith in our own kids preferring other teams kids as his youth Quota.

    Now what baffles me is knowing all that and also knowing that last term Bruces season was supposedly/potentially wrecked by the non-availability of certain players ( Grealish/Jedinak and kodjia) why the hell do a lot of Villa fans see Bruce as the solution?

  89. I try not to do the ‘I told you so’ but I’ll make an exception in the case of Joe Bennet.
    He was criticised mercilessly on the blogs when he played for us and I remember saying that although he wasn’t performing well I just felt that he ‘had something’ going forward and that we ought to keep him. I don’t remember getting any support whatsoever for that view.
    It doesn’t surprise me that he’s doing a decent job now but if other fans are being honest, it ‘ought’ to surprise them!

  90. Robbo- when he came he was Boroughs Player of the season at 19, what a mess he was dropped into, no surprise he lost his way, very good crosser of the ball and shot on the lad. Remembering our defence who was their in it to mentor him?

  91. Just listened to a podcast on 7500 to holte and Steve Bruce was quoted as saying that when a club like Aston Villa sign a player like Henri lansbury they have to give him big wages? Can’t remember that personally but I trust the source. If thats true then we really need to get shot of the lot of them. What kind of bargaining is that? spurs don’t get turned over like that are they a small club?

    Harking back to the Jan window when Bruce bought in the leagues best performers plus thor and Johnson, things went seriously wrong at that point and Bruces job was threatened until Jedinak and Kodjia came back.

    Wyness came out and said at that point we were building for the next season, why then were those players bit part players this season on the whole? looks in hindsight like people covering there arses having signed off on an ineffective spending spree.

    To my mind there was little wrong with the players bought just the way they were used, players cannot just magically become cr*p when they land here. Makes me seriously want to pin my hopes on Dean Smith coming here it really does.

  92. MK

    Once again I am unable to imagine the figures being quoted. Wyness suing “which may cost 6m”. If he was on 375k/annum that’s 16 years salary for a 60 year old. I don’t think so Daily Telegraph. And who is to say he’ll win it? Don’t know why he was sacked but if it was for finding buyers behind the owners back then that could well amount to a dismissable event. Then he’ll be paying Xia’s defence costs. The legal action could be drawn out for several years yet so I don’t think it will impact on the coming season. Could be wrong.

    Telegraph also reporting Villa trying to get the wage bill down from 45m to 30m. I know that is the wage bill for everyone at VP and not just the players. If it was just the players, and we had 30 to consider, that’s an average wage of 20k/week for each player including the kids.


    I wasn’t a member of this blog when Joe Bennett was a Villa player, but I do remember fans on here giving him a hard time. My own view was that he wouldn’t make a LB as long as he had a hole in his backside. But it was clear he had some attributes. His crossing was good and he had a good engine. I would like to have seen him rampaging on the left side of midfield which is what Warnock has done as Cardiff tend to play 3 at the back. MK is correct, we do have/have had the players but just don’t seem to employ them in the right capacity. It’s a serious failing.

    The big meeting

    I await with concern the outcome of the impending fire sale.

  93. plug
    i was a member and one of those who slated bennet ,and i agree with your version of him ,only difference was bennet was trying to play in pl for us ,you will discover one who is always right on this blog so dont pass any heed

  94. Plug- yep all figures plucked out the air but I doubt Wyness would chance it without some chance of winning? the whole thing makes him look a right criminal,, which according to previous dodgy dealings he might well be 🙂

    I have heard our wage bill is closer to 55m and £30,000 average wage but with Gabby and JT going should come down some. Lansbury and RMC on 40k jedinak 50k, blimey if true we need shooting, hard to know the truth but nothing is being denied either. No surprise with wages that high our squad is the most happy and probably the least motivated in the Champs

  95. On the young players, we have bought many to develop lately but somehow managed to send them backwards for them to pop up elsewhere and improve, it happens to much to be pure chance.

  96. Wyness has just sacked himself, attacking everyone, & asking for £6m for constructive dismissal when he’s on 375 grand a year.
    F*ck Wyness, shows how much of it was about him, not the club.
    We need Round to hold the fort, as Organ is now part acting CEO.

    Well as they are holding a meeting tomorrow to sort out who’s being sold, I would imagine we should know soon whether SB is getting the heave-ho.
    It was quoted that SB would get £3m compensation, but that seems not based on any reality, as if you’re on a rolling contract, either side can opt out at the end of a season, & he’s only reported to be on £1m a year [only, excuse me while I cry into my milk].

  97. Granted a lot of this is speculation but anyone over the years can see Villas ineptitude in just about every aspect. Perhaps the football association can take over and run the club until an honest, astute owner can be found.
    Turning sows ears into s**t since 1875. Sorry for the exaggeration.

  98. Ian
    No need to be sorry about an exaggeration, the club’s been exaggerating it’s claims to be a football club for years

  99. Ian- I don’t think its possible at the moment to exaggerate I wish it was, with every claim there comes an even more bizarre fact.

    IanG- Would the real person in charge that gives a s**t about the club please stand up.

    You would assume SB has until October as thats the month he arrived, I saw somewhere that if bruce is on £3m a season that is £1.3m less than Zidane! a bargain.

  100. You have to laugh at the Irony that SB left hull in the prem because they wouldn’t spend. He then gets the move to the big club he wanted, has a little spend, fails, and now has no money and a worse squad than Hull had 🙂

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