As the epically catastrophic playoff final slowly recedes in the review mirror, the consequences of that result are growing larger every day. I’d used the banner up above before, didn’t think I’d need it again. Not so soon, anyway. Shows what I know.

I can’t pretend to keep up. I’ve been reading, always overtaken by a new headline. We’d heard rumblings and questions all along about Tony Xia’s money, or lack thereof. But when it was being splashed about it seemed real enough. As did the ambition.

Now we’ve got cashflow problems. Loans to pay the taxes, loans to likely pay all the other bills. Millions of pounds to be cut. A manager who might be about to part ways on his accord. A CEO  accused of skullduggery who already has, and is now turning around to sue the club.

And in the middle of it all, two statements. Well, a statement and tweet. Heartbroken and working on getting a plan together. Tough road, tough decisions. It’s a business. There must be change.

That’s lovely. But I like to say I call it like I see it, and what I’m seeing right now is an absolute s**t show.

On Wyness
We’ve had Wyness and Xia apparently at odds for some time over the finances, and it seems all has not been rosy behind the scenes.  But if there were disagreements about the scale or likelihood of the financial fiasco we see unfolding, then I can see Wyness in two lights.

One, perhaps self-serving, underhanded and two-faced. Which does not seem to comport with the reputation he’s built up.

The other, someone trying to do the responsible thing. I mean, looking at this unfold, who in their right mind wouldn’t be talking to financial experts and potential investors or buyers? Tony Xia himself seems now to be courting investment, but rather belatedly, and does not seem to have the means at his disposal to clean up the mess without outside help. That can’t be news to anyone. Not Xia, and not Wyness.

So, I suppose talking to outsiders without Xia’s consent would always have been a problem. But then again, someone should’ve been talking to them a long while back.

I’m much more focused on the constructive dismissal suit. Is Wyness playing for revenge? To save his reputation? And if he does have a case, that case would be that he was right all along and acting in Villa’s best interests. But even so, the suit seems to be a cold dagger for the club, even if intended for Xia. What all that means is that I have no idea whether Wyness will turn out to be a villain or a Villan in this tale. The truth will out, but even if Wyness was trying to save the club, bringing suit now seems a damn funny way to show it.

On Xia
Likewise, Xia. He seems to have had his head in the sand. Or, perhaps it’s more apt to picture him at a roulette table with everything he has—savings, loans against the mortgage, and whatever else he could scrape together—all riding on red, paralyzed and fixated on the spinning ball. Which of course came up black. There didn’t seem to be much else planned other than to collect his things and get out of Dodge.

There have been some folks cautioning us all along, but optimism tends to drown out the skeptics whether they’re right or wrong. After all the arguments we’ve had over him, Bruce has suddenly become almost an afterthought. Though we’ll quickly turn back to talking about his role in this whole mess once we find the floor, wherever that is. But those worrying about Tony’s money, what sort of plans were in place, had Villa spent recklessly and foolishly…well, they were right.

And now Villa really are at a crossroads. The club will survive. But after two almost identically foolish owners, the club must have someone in charge with at least some understanding of players and money and managers. Someone with more than a passing interest in the game. Or enough money to underwrite the long learning curve of the naive.

Am I calling on Xia to sell? Well, it’s the old sack-the-manager/who-you-gonna-replace-him-with argument. Xia clearly has shown that his ambition, ego, or simple lack of sense have had a lot, if not everything to do with the current nightmare. It couldn’t have happened without him, and it should never have reached this point.

I have to admit, I’m having a hard time forgiving him for being such an idiot, even as I earlier cheered him on and thought he just might be brassy enough to get the job done.

Can he clean it up? Can he get the money in and learn from his mistakes?

Or is there someone out there who actually does get it?

I don’t know. What I do know is Xia is right about one thing, and it’s that a drastic overhaul is not only in order, but inevitable. Right now, it’s massive and immediate damage control. Keeping the lights on, paying the bills. We’ve got our Skype summit today, which presumably will tell us whether Bruce will be in charge going forward. Then we’ve got crucial transfer business, virtually all one-way, and an entire team to rebuild around the scraps in just a couple of months. Whoever we manage/decide to hang onto, it’s hard to overstate the importance that Villa get it right.

And if I thought it made any difference, I’d call on the players earning big wages to find a bit of honor and make themselves as easy as possible to find new homes for. I get the business, I get contracts, I get a deal being a deal. I get the good life. And I get that some are probably even laughing to themselves if they thought they weren’t treated fairly. Still…I wouldn’t feel very good about myself taking big wages while the club is floundering unless I was going to be integral to making the salary worth every penny and  dedicated to proving wrong those I might blame for my predicament.

We’ll soon see something about their character. And that of whoever our manager is going forward. You talk about another big decision. I’d not really thought another relegation would be a possibility if we didn’t beat Fulham. It now seems entirely possible.

Message for You, Dear Doctor
For now, all I can say is, Dr. Tony Xia: Pull your head out. Get this sorted and sorted quick. You screwed this up because you did not actually have a Plan B. It was, apparently, double down, all or nothing.

I don’t know what’s best for the club at the moment. But I ask you, Dr. Xia, to be honest with yourself and honest with the supporters. You cannot dally. You need to come out acting as decisively as you can at each juncture if you’re to remain in charge. You have to produce. And if you can’t do that, you have to admit you’re not the man to clean up after yourself. Others have made mistakes to be sure. But the buck always stops at the top. You did not have a Plan B. And that’s about as close to unforgivable as it gets. You bankrolled, sanctioned, delegated, saw it all piling up. And did not have a contingency.

So sort yourself out, Tony. And do it fast. For club you claim to love and the supporters you always applaud. Take your embarrassment and comeuppance like a man, get realistic, and show some character yourself. Walk if you need to.

But whatever you do, don’t keep leveraging the club. You’ve done enough of that already, and you can see where it’s gotten Villa. If you can look yourself in the mirror and know you’ve learned what you needed to know and can turn this around without years in the wilderness, then go ahead and fight like a lion and fix it. You’ll be forgiven. Winners always are. But if you can’t, then find someone else who can at least bail us out without digging the hole any deeper.

Over to you.

Comments 112

  1. A good article and, as you say, what an utter mess for which all of the management is completely responsible and I include Bruce in that, though he has my sympathies from a personal perspective. As you say we will see over the next few days who are the honourable men with the future of the club at heart and who are the self servers. Sadly given the way the game has gone we probably know the answer to that one already.
    Candidly I have no confidence in the current management team (what’s left of it) to get us out of this situation given that they are the one’s that appear to have sleep walked into it.
    Bruce will, of course, have been speaking regularly to Wyness so expect him to bail and why would anyone buy a failing business, let alone bail Xia out, someone who has already clearly demonstrated he is incapable of running a business? In reality, given the scale of the financial problems I see no alternative to administration. Whilst this comes with a risk of a drop to League One it also means we might attract the right kind of businessman who will build a sustainable club, has the funds and is prepared to invest the difference between the real market value and the administration price into the club for transfer purposes and god forbid, might even take the supporters seriously. I live in hope!

  2. All the problems, I subconsciously knew were going to happen. My first thought was somebody bought him a football club to get him out of their hair. Good luck Xia.

  3. Well said JC.

    We are witnessing mismanagement of seismic proportions. There are 2 figures I would dearly like to know. What will be the debt pile at end of this month and what will it likely be in 12 months time?

    Xia must have known this outcome was a possibility. He’s acting like Wild Bill Hickok in Deadwood. Is Tracy Gu acting like Calamity Jane? This is AVFC they are taking a wrecking ball to. I’m a humble supporter and I’m very angry. It’s just a long list of schitt revelations.

    Talk of SB bailing out. When a team is stripped to the bare bones he knows from his Sunderland days that the fans turn nasty. He won’t want to put his family through that again. So he may jump. But he has lived locally just outside Solihull from some years now and may decide to tough it out.

  4. Thanks JC and welcome Mike,

    What a great mix a bullshitter with no backing and a manager that always wants more players and likes to spend, neither appearing to have a plan as how the parts work together beyond blind luck.

  5. John,

    A good leader … but it seems to me that these days we should not be expecting great moral leadership in sport as they deem it now to be big business. And when you deal in pure business then it can get dodgy.

    For me, I have (now) no further comment to make or great expectation in any ownership after the Lerner experience. Football has basically slid downhill and is making a big hole for itself – in general and not just at the Villa. Foreign owners at Villa have proved to be inept and if anything I’d hope for a British takeover now.

    In truth, however, following the Villa for me has returned to the state as it existed for me 50 and more years ago — just looking for footie heroes and being dazzled by the history. OK, so I’m returning to my childhood! 😉

  6. Plug: “Xia must have known this outcome was a possibility.”

    Absolutely. That’s why he looked so distraught after the Fulham decider. He gambled – and lost.

  7. JL- Makes me wonder where we would be if lerner hadn’t sold? Clearly there was that £80+ million loss that popped up in the accounts but if we had stuck with Mervyn King King and David Bernstein we might of had a better more level headed club now.

  8. Mike Stokes.

    Good to see you, even given the circumstances. Like you, I live in hope. And like you, I have serious questions as to whether there is currently anyone at Villa Park capable of running the club.

  9. Ian…

    I’ve been wondering about Xia’s time in China. Being scolded? Trying to explain how he managed to spend so much so recklessly? Trying to convince someone to give him another wad to back to the tables with? All of the above?

  10. Plug,

    I can see Bruce walking, certainly. I could also see him staying. I think he is an honorable man. He may well want the opportunity to put things right. But if management can’t get their act together and soon, it would seem only reasonable to walk away.

    As to the rest of them, well, like we both say: No one could’ve possibly expected anything different to happen. No wonder we came out so timid. The players knew. Jedinak’s honesty before the match told me there was too much pressure on all involved. And that’s how it played out. There was desperation to find a result, and you could see what it meant to Jack. But it wasn’t enough.

  11. JL,

    Agreed, one apparently should not expect it. I do know it exists, I still see it with some teams. But in football, at least, the crazy money has made it irresistible to all sorts who only end up way over their heads. And Villa are in the unfortunate position of being enough of a bauble to attract speculators. At least we were, anyway.

    There are worse things than returning to your childhood…

  12. And Mark…yes, we need sober leadership. If there’s to be a new owner, and we’ve been saying this for a while now, it needs to be someone who, if nothing else, can surround himself with the right people. Sadly it seems no one with money is willing to listen.

  13. JL,

    Also wouldn’t disagree about British ownership. I do worry about consortiums, though. Infighting, people pooling their money, having different ideas.

    Lerner’s a poor example, but an American football owner deals with enough complicated finances to handle this. He just has to have the sense to staff out with the right people and listen to them. The difference in contracts is a big issue, and relegation doesn’t necessarily allow them to approach building a team the way they would in the states.

  14. Thanks for your kind welcome chaps. Reading the press it appears we do have a plan. It involves somebody investing 30m for a minority share holding in a company which appears to be trading insolvently and run by an individual who has no business sense or money. I think the investor’s name is Sid James – Carry on Villa.

  15. Hey Mike
    Welcome to the nuthouse. Someone told me you are a regular at the Bagot Arms and you are buying drinks for all Villa fans. After the last couple weeks you should get away with only buying 6 or so.

    And to top it off, we’re being told MSG is bad for us. What’s a businessman to do? Those yoga mats are looking to be a good deal. I can see the shirt sponsor now, The downward dog yoga emporium.
    With a bit of luck the new pitch could be yoga mats.

  16. I can understand why the old time footballers never took up Yoga though with Hessian long johns being the standard undercrackers at the time.

  17. JC: “Lerner’s a poor example, but an American football owner deals with enough complicated finances to handle this. “

    Perhaps, but I think the ability to connect has a great deal to do with the issue.

    What I’m meaning here is people who really know what following football is traditionally like in the UK and not treating it purely as a business proposition based on a mistaken notion of “love” for the club.

  18. I think you’re right, JL. There has to be connection, and not just seeing it as a business opportunity.

    If you are going to get involved, you really have to surround yourself with and listen to people who know the game. Go in with your eyes and ears open, understand what you’re getting into.

  19. And I think that’s the real problem. If you’re not steeped in the game, you have trouble giving up so much control over decision-making to other people.

    In this instance, I would support a consortium that has the money coming from the US (per the rumored interest) as long as there are British members in the team who can be speaking with ownership authority. As with many foreign ventures, it’s having the right local proxies/advisors. Which, of course, is always a bit tricky.

  20. I’ve switched the disaster movie off, & onto the comedy channel.
    Yoga mats is as believable as anything that’s come up so far.
    Chelski want to give us 30m & loan us Jack back, apparently.
    Agree that consortium is an bad idea.
    Someone needs to get their finger out, the problem is that it seems to be in a dyke.
    Wotcha mike, welcome

  21. Sadly its now whether SB (who partly put us in this s**t ) wants to stay, Bye.

    “Allardyce said on the The Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast show on talkSPORT on Tuesday morning (06:23am, June 12, 2018) about Bruce’s future at Villa: “He is such an ambitious manager as we know, big friend of mine.

    “He will not want to languish in the Championship too long, and he has always been exceptionally good in getting a team back into the Premier League.

    “It just depends how much surgery needs to be done to put Aston Villa right financially, and whether he considers they do have a chance of getting promoted next season.”

  22. Interesting offer, that, IanG. If true, might be the best possible option since it seems Grealish is virtually certain to go.

    Course, what will happen is we miraculously get promoted and then lose Jack. But I like our chances staying up and building a team if we still have Jack on board and looking to impress. We’d know we have a year to try and replace him.

  23. How and why did the club proceed with the unique shirt deal,when we could have got money from a brand?Surely they knew we were in the brown stuff financially?
    I like SB,but he will do what ks best for himself,not the club,I thi k he will walk,as he is unable to function as a mamager with out the cheque book.
    I would like to see the Bristol City or Bremtford manager in charge,their names escape me right now.

  24. JC: “As with many foreign ventures, it’s having the right local proxies/advisors. Which, of course, is always a bit tricky.”

    Older members on this list will surely recall that back in 1968, when Doug Ellis’s lot took over, there was an opposing offer by a consortium led by Phil Woosnam, a former Villa playmaker who had become ‘big’ in football in America. As I recall that would probably have been an ideal blend – led by a British ex-player of international standing (and who went on to influence the development of football in America).

    Phil Woosnam, by the way, was one of the major voices that wanted to see better family facilities at football grounds.

  25. JC
    Thanks for the good leader.
    It’s good to have read the good replies too.
    Yes, it seems our gamblers lost this bet, hope they can fix it, but it ain’t gonna be easy. Yes, naive. Those who argued for a slower but more stable rebuild seem to have been vindicated.

  26. Iana…

    Yeah, the slower rebuild probably would’ve been good. And just some smarter player acquisition overall. A lot of the money spent went to Kodjia, Hogan, and RMC. Wages for the PL veterans brought in weren’t inconsiderable. Then you have the Lansbury vs. Hourihane kind of confusion.

    Now, Hogan did slot in and help us out for a bit, and Kodjia’s obviously a good player and scores. Dunno if he’ll ever be the same now, though, and that’s just bad luck.

    Can’t remember the figures offhand, but in retrospect could’ve done without Hogan and RMC. Would’ve saved us £24m-£27m or thereabouts. And we’re looking at getting £30m for Grealish.

    And I’d forgotten we paid Fulham £12m for McCormack. Who’s laughing now?

  27. lana
    If they go any slower they will seize to a halt, not enough life left to stand for them.
    What did Dr John say, ‘In the right place but the wrong time’.

  28. Hutton has signed a new one year contract on a lower wage. Well done to our old stalwart!

    I am getting the feeling that we will be plodding on with Bruce, unless Leeds offer becomes one he cannot refuse.

    I see a few leavers, in addition to the released list, including Jack Grealish, which would be good for him and his career, and good for FFP and the Villa coffers.

    Hopefully, it is true that Chester wants to stay, and will be captain again.

    Will we shift Richards and McCormack, or will they come back into the squad with a new deal, and will we sell Kodjia, or Adomah. I think only one will be sold in the end. Hogan is an unknown at the moment, and probably depends on what offers come in for him. I see Bjarnason playing a bigger role and O’Hare joining him in midfield.

    Goalkeeper to me is the biggest question, and is Steer capable of making the position his own.

    Possible future team:

    Steer Bree Richards Chester Hutton Hourihane O’Hare Bjarnason Green Hepburn-Murphy Hogan

    Subs: Bunn, Mick Clark, Jedinak, Lansbury, Davis, Whelan, Doyle-Hayes,

    Of course, we may still have Adomah, Kodjia, Taylor and El Mohamady, but without them, I still feel we could have a very good squad with plenty of under 23 back-up.

  29. PP – I agree. Hutts signing for another year is a good indicator that Spud is going to remain in charge. The big question is…. who of the retained list will still be with us when the transfer window closes? Think I’d sell Codger, Whelan, Elmo, Taylor, Lansbury if possible. As for RMC and Turpin, I think we are lumbered with them thanks to great foresight from previous managers.

    I think Steer and Sarkic will be quite adequate in goal.

  30. Plug,

    Steer is ok I am sure, but not so certain of Sarkic, after watching him in the play-off final against Brighton.

    Think Lansbury still has potential, would keep him at least until January window.

  31. I think Thor, hogan, Rmc, Hourihane , Lansbury, Jedinak, elmo, chester, steer and Albert have every chance of gelling with the U23’s and a few carefully selected loans to form a decent team. Unfortunately I cannot see that happen under Bruce if he continues to play his brand of Football thats the Kicker.

  32. pp
    where is money going to come from to pay all these players we have 5 full backs on the books ,no senior keeper ,elphik who bruce preferred jedi at centre half ,our strikers that stay that where 2nd choice to grabban ,going to take big sticky plaster to hold this all together

  33. Been thinking about last season and the aims it had. We were told the players acquired in the Jan window were building toward next season once we flunked top six by feb. Then in the summer Tony Xia said he had reached agreement with Steve Bruce to reduce the squad to 19-20 seniors and add 5-6 youth players. Clearly that didn’t happen for many reasons (couldn’t shift players, injuries etc). If Kodjia had been fit last season I think he would of been sold as teams were sniffing and Adomah was also rumoured to be up for sale but also got injured pre-season, even Green was being sniffed.

    Seems to me the aim was to reduce the wage bill/staff but it failed hence the money Xia was putting in. Question is at what point did they decide to sanction Bruces loans on big wages etc knowing the situation was on the edge so to speak? Could we have gone without those players? and gone with Elphick, bree etc? seems like we shot ourselves in the foot because Bruce didn’t see enough in the players we had to succeed and thats where the Gamble happened maybe? If the entire squad of players were fit to start the season I think many would of not been here. That said Bruce floundered around with what we did have early on getting no joy from Hogan and RMC and turning to gabby while he waited for Kodjia.

  34. Sounds like some well reasoned logic MK!

    I am sure you are not far away from the truth, but as you say, the wheels kept coming off, without a good mechanic to service them properly, and we just kept parking a bus with the handbrake on, and no wheels…..!!!!

  35. It feels good to be vindicated. Especially with Bjarnason who most everyone thought was a class player. Proof that Bruce needs to go and mess with another team.

  36. Ian
    I agree, except that it would depend if we can find anyone better who would want to come with the state we are in.
    The only positive over SB staying, is that he already knows the players, & he it may be cheaper to keep him.
    Apart from the financial state, I only have to think of Thor & him being left out of the final completely [& other crucial games], especially after his display in the WC yesterday, & I go towards someone new [although whether apart from the football, they know how to run a club the size of ours is another question, depending on who we’re talking about].
    So it all depends on who they would have in mind, & if indeed ‘they’ don’t sell the club first.
    Hopefully it will become clearer

  37. ian g
    when you think of final birr left out completely and then hutton gets another year contract after going awol for fulham goal ,if them decisisons dont get you sack nothing will

  38. come on mexico
    funny even the small countries when playing in world cup are all giving it a go ,try to score before parking the bus ,mexico have had 4/5 decent chances in 2nd half and when breaking its 4/5 players bursting a gut to get up the field ,please doc be watching how football should be played and fire round and bruce and get decent football men in

  39. Unfortunately keeping Bruce may mean we lose the likes of Thor as offers will come in and as he doesn’t appear to rate the lad as he’s to gung-ho (crosses halfway) . You can see a situation that many will be sold if Bruce is told he’ll get to buy and there we are back on that roundabout. A manager that can see what he has in front of him would be a massive bonus.

  40. Looks shocking JL, for the life of me I cannot see someone throwing £30m our way when this lot are in charge? might as well burn it. Also does that comment about wishing he’d spent more time here mean that its come as a shock and Wyness has duped him? What difference would he have made other than keep them on their toes?

  41. JL,

    I think the Doc will sell if he gets a half decent offer, even at a loss. Appears to me that he wants out and is putting it down to life’s experience.

    The worry is whether he’ll offload Jack and Chessie before selling the club cheaply.

    MK,

    Given our situation, I don’t see how we can continue next season with SB. It’s going to be the kids and the Villa engine so it needs a manager who suits that set up. Definitely not Spud’s type of set up.

  42. Who can they attract, they not going to pay another club compo for a manager already in post. I can only think of Moyes who’s experienced working with under 21s and limited budget (at Preston)who’s available and I think he’d still fancy a shot with a Prem club. I think I’d stick with SB I’m more confident in his ability than an unknown which is the punt we’d have to take, just my take for what its worth.
    Anyway who’s going to do the negotiating now we don’t have a CEO, and seeing as we’re strapped for cash how are we going to bankroll theses centre halfs we’ve linked with, ….agents flying kites!
    Question; is Brian Little still attached to the club?

  43. watching the world cup, for the life of me i cannot see why anyone would stick with bruce,even in mini leagues of 3 matches no one parking the bus

  44. Interesting seeing how outstanding Bjarnason has been, marking Messi out of the game, and backing what I, and several others have been saying about Bruce and his selections, tactics, and finally, his failure in the final.

    Bjarnason may well have been the difference between us winning and losing at Wembley.

  45. In the MOMS article, they also reveal that the transition board , before Tony Xia took over, were going to appoint Nigel Pearson as manager. If he had been appointed, and stayed, would Villa be in a very different position today??

  46. I don’t think so Paul, I’m convinced had we been promoted the good doctor would have left us in exactly the same situation as we are now. He’d have sold us as a Prem club to anyone who put up the money and done a runner, as it is he’s left holding a busted flush which he either writes off or plays the long game, stick or twist. This leaves him looking for backers , (who lends money to a loser??)
    It looks like we have to sell the family silver, not much of that either, go with the U23s and any freebies. Interesting times ahead, it can only get better.
    JL, did the Bendells not leave the club heavily in dept when they departed and Doug returned?

  47. God save England and Sir Harry………….!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Great result for our Gareth and hope he continues in the same vein….

    Memo to Her Majesty:

    Could you please give William an early Xmas present and buy Aston Villa F.C for him, and get a decent bunch of fellows to help him run it, and offer Gareth a knighthood if he manages to come and get them back to their rightful pace in the Premiership….

    Your loyal servant and lifetime Villa Fan,

    Paul..

  48. Thought that there was a Jack Grealish sized hole in that England team especially seconds half. I really think he would cut it at international level fro us. But well done England having played against a bunch of niggly buggers and the Ref for 95 mins.

    I agree Paul I like Southgate.

  49. Xia’s dad told him to go fall on his sword for bringing disrespect to the family. Unfortunately Xia isn’t Japanese and pointed that out to his father.
    With Lotus leaking money for the last 15 years and Xia selling Recon, what kind of financial backing does he have? His Hollywood foray turned up snake eyes and now you have to think he tried to do it with smoke and mirrors.
    And what’s with the big confabs with his image showing up on the big screen from deepest China? It reminds me of that scene in the wizard of Oz when the wizard was found out to be a tiny, feeble man and not the apparition you first saw.

    Bruce will be in a snit when he finds out the cuts include the sausage rolls at Bodymoor Heath. The players are going to be asked to bring their own soap and toilet paper.

    Ian Holloway must be laughing in his beer.

    I like prince William and Gareth Southgate as the new messiahs.

  50. Archie: “JL, did the Bendells not leave the club heavily in dept when they departed and Doug returned?”

    That was the case Archie, but I’m not sure how much.

    It was made worse by the fact that with the Midlands’ recession at that time, the Villa – despite their recent successes – weren’t getting good enough attendances. I seem to recall Doug saying that 26,000 people was the break-even point but there were times when 20,000 or less turned up.

    And all that when TV was only in its infancy with regard to league games being televised.

    So, on that basis, when people say “Doug broke up the European Cup-winning squad” they were on the country’s top wages at the time and most were getting old as well. Doug couldn’t afford to keep ’em with the financial state of things as they were.

    Added to that was hard luck. I remember Villa signing Steve McMahon and he came as he relished the thought of playing alongside Cowans and Shaw. What happened? Cowans broke his leg before the season started and was out all season and then Shaw’s injuries intensified so he was little available either.

  51. Some very good points JL, and ones that Villa fans often overlook about Doug.

    I just hope that we have a club left at the end of the day, and that the tables don’t fully turn on us, as the Chinese at Wolves, Blues and West Brom show how things should be run.

  52. Below is the weekly wage bill for Aston Villa and makes interesting reading:

    So for the layout, but it is what this page does to the original..!!!
    Player Nationality Position Weekly Wage
    Christopher Samba France Defender ?
    Glenn Whelan Ireland Midfielder ?
    Ahmed Elmohamady Egypt Midfielder ?
    John Terry English Defender £60,00
    James Bree English Defender £1,200
    Rushian Hepburn-Murphy English Forward £3,000
    Andre Green English Midfielder £5,000
    Sam Johnstone English Goalkeeper £12,000
    Jed Steer English Goalkeeper £13,000
    Mark Bunn English Goalkeeper £17,500
    Gary Gardner English Midfielder £20,000
    Tommy Elphick
    English
    Defender
    £25,000
    Birkir Bjarnason
    Iceland
    Midfielder
    £25,000
    Ritchie De Laet
    Belgium
    Defender
    £25,000
    Jack Grealish
    English
    Midfielder
    £25,000
    Albert Adomah
    Ghana
    Midfielder
    £25,000
    Alan Hutton
    Scottish
    Defender
    £30,000
    Conor Hourihane
    Ireland
    Midfielder
    £30,000
    Jonathan Kodjia
    Ivory Coast
    Forward
    £30,000
    Neil Taylor
    Wales
    Defender
    £30,000
    Scott Hogan
    English
    Forward
    £35,000
    James Chester
    English
    Defender
    £40,000
    Henri Lansbury
    English
    Midfielder
    £40,000
    Mile Jedinak
    Australian
    Midfielder
    £45,000
    Micah Richards
    English
    Defender
    £50,000
    Gabby Agbonlahor
    English
    Striker
    £55,000
    As you can see, there is a large range of wages as Aston Villa FC. Aston Villa Players Salaries are higher than average for a Championship team. The young players are earning very little compared to the big stars. You can tell that this club have been recently relegated, as they still have wages on their books that you could associate with a Premier League club. Stars like Gabby Agbonlahor and Micah Richards are on sky-high wages that not even some Premier League clubs like Bournemouth could afford to pay

  53. Paul, just requires some prudent management, take the money for Chester and Jack and whatever we can get for Lansbury, Hogan, Bree, De last, Tshibola. I would also let Kodger go while he’s still the right side of 30, (he is 29 isn’t he?) and go with the U23s.
    JL, I seem to remember it took a few seasons and a relegation to overcome the Bendal regime. Plus a steady hand on the tiller, Graham Taylor, to revitalise the club.
    I think have interesting times ahead. I would like to think SB can get us out this division next season, and I think he can. TX to sell the club to competent buyers, although he will sell to first person with the right money, which worries me. I think there are more incompetent owners than competent ones. Most fans seem to lambast the owners apart from Chesea and City.
    The journey continues.

  54. Archie- At 19 Bree is an U23 and has played for them all season practically, bought for development lets develop him.

    Cheaper to bin Bruce than lose millions again with a fire sale. Theres a lot of quality in our squad if used properly. We may have to lose some but would keep Hogan, Bree , lansbury might even take a second look at Tishbola after he regained his form under Clarke in Scotland. Could be a good mix with 5-6 youngsters.

  55. The danger in keeping Bruce for me is we may lose Kodjia, Grealish, Chester, Jedinak etc and have lost most of the team he assembled and trusted. Having seen him try and get the others playing and his non-use of the U23’s last season I have little faith in him getting a tune out of them. It would take some incredible dealing to assemble a team on the cheap to replace the numbers he’s lost and its quite likely he will be left with those ( in some cases his own purchases ) he didn’t fancy.

  56. Mark, I take your point about Bree, but not the others, correct me if i’m wrong Tshibola is 25 or there about and i dont think he’s got it, same Hogan, Lansbury a bit older maybe, Id take the money if anyone came in for them, I think its good business same Kodger sell, just my thoughts. Go with the U23s. Bring in some old sweats like Huth, dont know much about the lad from Wigan. With Thor, Jedi, Adomah, Hoorahan, maybe its Keinan Davies’s time. Good potential I think. should they be challenging.

  57. Archie- Tishbola 23 mate hogan 25 lansbury 27, all at a good age, Ok get rid if we are playing Bruces way as they are waisted but how do so many turn to poo when they get here? I guess we can only speculate when we see what we are left with and that includes Bruce, so weird that there’s still no mention. Smacks of a sale. Like Davies but he doesn’t score many for the Stiffs so I wouldn’t rely on him.

    I think Hogan would suit having the kids arch, they play more on his wavelength as seen in the cups, and no matter what people think of him Grabban dried up once Hogan was removed from the team and got left up top on his own.

    Don’t mind Huth bit slow but we are used to that, the Wigan lads there captain and can play a bit 6’7″ Wigan however are a footballing side like so many we bought players from and thats where it goes wrong for me. Lansbury and Hourihane were top dogs at their last clubs and don’t suit being shackled, Both can run the show if allowed.

  58. There has been little said the past couple of weeks. And nothing really but speculation and the odd quote in the papers. It all leads up to one thing for me. Xia is trying to sell otherwise we would have heard about Bruce’s future. He’s not going to shitcan him while trying to sell. Much easier to sell a donkey and a cart than just a cart.
    Villa have enough talent for next season. Play the players bought like they are used to and put younger players in. Baptism by fire might just be the way to go.
    And I think McCormack would come good with a change of scenery on the sideline.

  59. Ian,

    I agree. The silence from AVFC suggests Xia is trying to sell. The finances are screwed and I don’t believe he has the funds to rectify them.

    Also can’t understand why we haven’t been selling yet (Gollini excepted). Norwich appear to be well down that route of collecting sales funds. Murphy has gone (15m) Maddison about to go (22m) and another guy to Swansea (3m). A cool 40m there. We have better players than those, so what’s going on?

  60. Plug
    Could be selling the club, & for that it’s not good to sell the best players.
    On the other hand it could be just incompetent cr*p.

  61. When I put the wage bill up, it was as much to highlight that players who were much lower down the rankings than some of their counterparts, they were actually paid more. What a crazy situation for any business….Johnstone was paid less than Steer or Bunn….

    Bree was paid a fraction of Taylor, and a much better player….and so on…

  62. PP,

    You didn’t say where you obtained those salaries from. So there is a question of accuracy to consider. I’m not doubting them….they seem highly likely.

    In every company I’ve been involved with, salaries always contained anomolies. New staff got more because the company wouldn’t be able to attract them otherwise. Then you found out they weren’t as good as existing staff. It was ever thus.

    With the salaries as listed above, you wonder how Spud managed to create a tight dressing room. Perhaps it is because the players sign fixed term contracts and are therefore not in a position to complain half way through one. Certainly if I was a first team player at Villa I would be well p*ssed off with Turpin earning 50k/week.

  63. IanG,

    The local rag is just quoting the Torygraph. If a national rag can get the information, I wonder what the staff at the local rag do all day other than trawl through other newspapers and blogs for their items to print.

  64. MK,

    By all accounts we are now fully leveraged against hard assets. It means that should anyone buy the club from Xia, they will be taking on massive debts. Time to get Berstein and Mervyn King back on board. If any fans think we will be challenging the top 6 next season, they are going to be disappointed.

  65. Plug
    They’re just the Mirror in sheep’s clothing, but the torygraph as you call it is a major irritation to anyone.

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