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 270

  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.


    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,


  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
    Birkir Bjarnason
    Ritchie De Laet
    Jack Grealish
    Albert Adomah
    Alan Hutton
    Conor Hourihane
    Jonathan Kodjia
    Ivory Coast
    Neil Taylor
    Scott Hogan
    James Chester
    Henri Lansbury
    Mile Jedinak
    Micah Richards
    Gabby Agbonlahor
    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.

  66. Seems like there is a very tight hold on information at Villa now, but there are some signs that things may be gradually improving with funds coming in, and Xia mulling over a £40million offer for a controlling interest in the club.

    Tommy Elphick is now staying, which to me is a good thing, if we can keep Chester as well, then the defensive situation is looking more solid.

    Grealish is still not attracting any firm bids, so may be with the cash injection, he may not go, or if he does, it will be for the right money. The HS2 deal also looks as if it is pretty well sorted, which again will bring in money to the Villa coffers.

    All quiet on the Bruce front, so he may well stay, but hopefully with a different outlook, and a less pressured situation.

  67. PP
    I’m doubtful about these B,ham Mail vote games, as I’ve never met any fan that has ever bothered with these, due to the crapness & ethics of the rag.
    But having said that, I’m all for keeping the Viking.
    Somehow I don’t think that Xia will accept a share deal where he loses control, as the he may as well sell.
    With the proviso that it could be a staged deal over time, as a slow sale.

  68. wonder was spud watching ,germany down to 10 men drawing ,german manager takes off defender and puts on attacker and gets rewarded with last minute winner,thats how to play football

  69. Apologies for being absent. I have to admit, there’s not been much firm to comment on, as you’ve all noted. So, I’ve basically been drowning my sorrows, as it were, with the World Cup.

    But, will get something up, likely just cobbling together the various bits and pieces we’ve all been digesting of late.

  70. So much euphoria around this morning over the England result. Hey…….it was only Panama so what’s all the fuss about. The next match will give us a better idea of the standard reached.

    I thought Sterling was pretty anonomous.

  71. JG,

    Comparing Spud with Loew is grossly unfair. Chalk and cheese mate. You wouldn’t compare a rag and bone horse with Red Rum would you?

  72. Presumably the lack of player sales to generate income is down to the usual issue that no one is there to sign off on any sale so agents and players are being informed everything is on hold.

  73. Plug…

    Euphoria I can understand, but yes, they’ve not played anyone of note, and I’m wondering how they’ll look against a talented, experienced side like Belgium. The side is exciting and a breath of fresh air, but still seems a bit fragile to me. Very curious how they’ll handle being under pressure for large chunks.

  74. DOR,

    That’s my assumption, too. All the links, etc., I’m paying them no mind as we have no real idea who’ll be owning the team, never mind managing it.

  75. Bit harsh on a very young England side lads. Usually we would if f**ked up by now. Recent results against Brazil , Nigeria, Germany, Netherlands, Italy all draws or wins and we lost 3-2 in France . Our defence is fairly new but its improving. I think quite a few countries are on the wane at the moment and we are on the up. I expect that with the level of team played the concentration lapses will be less, tough to concentrate when you have the ball most of the time. Get to the quarters and I quite fancy our chances we have goals in us.
    As for selling players? Could well be we can’t as he’s trying to attract investment, sell our best and who’d be interested? Might even be a sale in the offing.

  76. Just saw that fifa will fine England if the fans sing pro Brexit songs in the march with Belgium hahaha 🙂 if that ones true god help us

  77. Mark,

    I wasn’t having a go at the England team so much, it was more the media I was really taking a dig at. There’s no measured or balanced view with those jerks, it’s all or nothing. Kane for Prime Minister or hang the useless sod depending on whether he’s scored or not.

    Southgate did exactly the right thing in my book taking the kids to Russia. Watching Uruguay, Germany, Argentina struggle trying to get a performance out of their mega millionaires whilst our kids are young and enthusiastic suggests that route may be the way forward in future World Cups.

  78. Plug- From what I have seen most British pundits are holding back while the foreign lads are telling them to get excited because we are doing well 🙂 I think the years of disappointment are showing. I like the look of what I’m seeing but we will see as always how far we will go, once its knock out anything can happen and we are at least trying to win.

    To me all the work done at the training grounds in recent years is starting to bear fruit and the FA push for continuity from the Under 17’s upwards. Very impressed with Southgate, said he didn’t like the performance or conceding that goal, I think he’ll keep them honest and like you say they want success.

  79. Mark
    ‘As for selling players? Could well be we can’t as he’s trying to attract investment, sell our best and who’d be interested? Might even be a sale in the offing.’

    I agree, exactly as I said in an earlier post above.
    It’s getting nearer decision time, which may very well not surface until pre season starts, & player decisions are made

  80. Mark
    Was also impressed by the lack of fear shown, & I think the slow down had a lot to do with the heat & the upcoming Thursday game.

  81. Mark,

    I definitely think young is the way to go, and this is a good crop of players. And if reports are to be believed, they seem free of the weight of expectations from previous sides. So, fingers crossed.

  82. DOR,

    The lack of player sales means the clock is ticking. About 6 weeks left in the transfer window as it closes at 5pm on 9th August. If Xia has to sell players as we are told, then the closer we get to that date, the lower the money that will be offered for them. Villa need to get their act together.

  83. On the England team its worth noting that many of the team don’t get guaranteed 1st team footy at the their clubs yet are trusted by Southgate. Other consideration is try putting a team together in your head of players 26-32 that could play for us right now?? I struggled, all the usual’s Rooney etc have gone. If Big Sam had not buggered up would we be in the position we are? I doubt it.

    Can’t believe the tripe in the papers and I can’t believe fans still defend Bruce who after all could of circumvented our problems by using the millions we spent better and the players ditto.

  84. OV
    Ha ha ha!
    Mind you the on-line B’ham Mail is now disgusting in it’s need for clickbate, where you have to check the date of the article, & then find half of it is copy & past from weeks past.
    The Torygraph is also a tad biased in which side it hangs with the Villa.
    There’s nothing wrong with a healthy bias towards the claret & blue of course.
    More like ‘in the media’s cross hairs’ really.

  85. I took my dog for a walk this morning. It’s all forest with and old logging road which we walk. Lola (dog) spotted him before me and froze in her tracks. It took me a second then I could see a black bear just off the road in the trees and brush walking towards us about 30 ft to the side. We both stopped and looked at each other for20 seconds or so. Me thinking how incredible this was and hoping young cubs weren’t near by. I decided to continue our walk and the bear, at the same time continued up the hill. You’re not guaranteed to see big wildlife every walk but you’re guaranteed to see them a couple times a month. They are wary of humans so I imagine they see me way more than I see them. Glad they seem to be well fed.

  86. Ian – I’m on holiday in Crete at the moment and one of the books I’m reading is Through Black Spruce by Joseph Boyden. About the Canadian wilderness and black bears (or one in particular) plays a big part in it. Maybe you should should look the book up, it’s a wonderfully written book and you may understand more than I do about the Canadian Indians who it is about…..


  87. Old Villa,
    I’ve seen his books and I’ll get black spruce to read.
    Another author you might like is Richard wagamamese

  88. AV
    Well, I’m in Brum & it’s 80 degrees, or 28 to those on holiday.
    With a drought on the horizon, along with Xia selling up.

  89. ian g
    good lik above well wrote

    now big[massive] well done to south korea after beating reigning [no more] world champions today ,shows when a side is set up right ,that they leave no massive [hutton] hole in defence, well disciplined well drilled everything bruce is not

  90. Haven’t We Understood Yet That Villa Is Just A Business Pawn To Its Owners?

    We’ve got away from the main topic. Bruce is an area of discussion but that’s not where the real focus should be i.m.o.

    No matter how Lerner or Xia have trumpeted their connection as fans to the club, they have both failed to understand that to be such a fan means more than treating the Club just as pure business.

    Both owners seem to have singularly failed to make the connection as ‘real’ supporters. I cannot but refer back to Fred Rinder and how he would have gone about things. Rather differently, and rather better, I would think.

    Yes, different times now to when he was around, but that’s part of the point. The basics now seem to have been dispensed with. And at what cost?

    Now, with the added dimension of Keith Wyness having been slung out (apparently for the temerity to speak his mind), the club is in a right pickle. How Xia’s idea of an “investment” is to work is somewhat mind-boggling to me: who on Earth wants to invest £30m with no big say in how the club is run? Is Xia promising big financial returns? He must be, unless the investors are showing interest out of pure love.

    Unless Wyness is replaced by someone equally as good – or better – and unless leadership at the club gets back to basics, the future of Aston Villa is now in jeopardy in my view. And allied to all the uncertainty is the threat that all the tradition that we have held dear (like the ground being called “Villa Park”) will go through the window. After all, it’s business … innit?

    When that horrible guy (?) Doug Ellis and his cortege arrived in 1968, one of the first things they did was to officially make the name of the ground “Villa Park”. Since 1897 it had been registered as “Aston Villa Lower Grounds”, but the regime of 1968 wanted populism to ring out through the club.

    That approach didn’t last too many years, of course, but at least there was some attempt and fans seemed to think they mattered at that time, and that they had a big right to have their say. The fact that Doug worked his bedsocks off to keep the fans in their place caused all kinds of sour reaction. Doug was (gladly) ousted, and now the fans have no real say at all. Except over relatively minor issues.

    The club had its spots changed some time ago in reality. The Supporters Trust is a joke, really.

    We – in reality – are not fans but ‘customers’ so far as the owner is concerned, despite his cosy chats. We haven’t mentally taken that in yet.

    I watch developments in fear. But if Germany can get ousted from the World Cup so soon, perhaps anything is possible!

  91. I’m hearing that a sale is about to happen maybe to a consortium of British who had shown interest before, apparently they have been in to have look a around/survey. Theres been a few £40mil offers for 51% share which Xia won’t swallow.

    As for the owner being about business only? thats been the same imo including Ellis, just different approaches. Unfortunately the managers given the money to invest have not been up to muster in a throw the money at it plan, O’neil, RDM, Tim or Bruce in recent times. Can’t remember having a slow build other than the seventies when the field was a bit more even money wise lower divisions or not.

  92. MK: “As for the owner being about business only? thats been the same imo including Ellis, just different approaches.”

    I was alluding to that, the main difference being that he was local, could be got at and was *not* the sole owner of the club. He also had (in my view) a better understanding of local conditions.

    Yes, the strains of what I was talking about were there in Doug’s day, but no-one picked up on that at the time. And in my view since 2006 has made the situation deteriorate further.

    The situation is that Xia is the main focus right now – not Bruce i.m.o. Until he sorts out what he regards as a viable package, that’s where the concern really lies. And the aftermath of what it will all mean in practical terms.

  93. JL- On Bruce, the theme seems to be about keeping him regardless of what happens, does he deserve it? not for me and the financial mess hides that fact.

    You could also say Doug was of a different era, Money more scarce I would think during his upbringing, he reminds me of an old style boss who took his wage mainly and kept the factory ticking over for the relative good of all. These days get rich quick is the way.

  94. no tears for wynes ,who will probably walk away with fat pay off having failed miserably at his job,backed bruce to the hilt ,allowed bruce to spend 30m on fees almost 10m on loanees for what,it is not a bit wonder wynes had been out of big time football for so long,what ceo letsclub spend another 1.5m on wages of 2 loan players in january if we wherent meeting our bills at that time

  95. JL,

    Quite right. Villa is just another business as far as its owners are concerned. Herbert had a travel business when he got involved with Villa but retired a multi millionaire. He and his family made millions out of Villa. So from his point of view he milked it just right but to hell with the fans. From a supporters point of view he sponged millions that could have been invested in the team.

    I got the feeling that Lerner’s business plan was centred around lending Villa his considerable wealth and charging them around 18% interest which is what his father made on the credit card business. Where else was he going to get 18% return on his cash? When the club couldn’t sustain that return, he liquidated the best players and sold the residue for what he could get. I imagine he made money from his time with Villa contrary to what others may believe.

    Xia’s business plan appears to be based on borrowing the money from a bank (Macquarie) to buy the club and help himself to the riches that happen in the Premiership. Except you have to get there first. His method of reaching the promised land was grossly flawed as everyone now knows. So badly flawed that the club could well go under as you mention.

    The club needs in my opinion a coach who can take promising youngsters and turn them into better players. Using attack minded set ups and plenty of tactical nous. SB is not that person. Even more so if Xia does a Lerner and liquidates the better players due to his and the Board’s incompetence. Always assuming that Xia finds a way out of this deep schitt that’s been created.

  96. Ian, I’ll check out that author, thanks. Two more of Joseph Boyden books that I’ve read – Three Day Road and The Orenda. Both superbly written and thoughtful books. Absolutely recommend them to you as both Canada based stories.

    IanG – I saw there was a heatwave in the UK, enjoy! Does that mean all the roads will melt? Dunno how hot it is here in Crete, somewhere around the 30 mark I guess………


  97. For those who haven’t seen yesterdays Twat 😉

    His latest tweet – his first communication with supporters since June 7 – does little to answer any of the questions fans are demanding answers to.

    He wrote: “Took lots of time to rethink about what we did, right or wrong things. Didn’t read any news about us which surely were with many rumours. I will keep doing my best to support our beloved AV. Keep stronger! #UTV”

  98. Like JL, I am concerned about the stress level emanating from Xia, as it indicates something to worry about.
    Agree that this is the main concern, but the article I posted the link to, which was mostly about Bruce, was all the information available, so is not insignificant, as it indicates that he is in the frame for preseason, unless events move unusually swiftly in terms of a sale & possible change in manager.

  99. IanG- I think we are all worried about the clubs viability and like you I am worried that Bruce appears to be the go to regardless of the situation barring a takeover, targets have already been spoken to etc, weird as hell if he’s not staying, weirder still if we regain stability but have little funding.

  100. IanG,

    Yes, but you and I both know that unless “the business” is properly sorted the rest is all pipe-dreams and pillow talk!

    Even if he does get something put together does Xia really have the ability to run a football club of this scale? Like Lerner, I fear not – but on the other hand Xia might have learnt from his errors.

  101. JL
    It has to get sorted, properly or not as preseason starts next week in Portugal with Bruce.
    We could end up with a new owner & manager – or not

  102. Regarding Xia. The final at Wembley was the turning point for this man. That result has made him a seller and regardless of what you read he is going to sell Villa. To who? Who knows. Two things are for certain. He has to save face. That’s the most important thing on his mind and secondly he wants to regain as much of his investment as possible.
    To reach these goals he needs to retain the best players and a manager. Why else hasn’t anyone made a serious offer for Grealish, Chester, and Bjarnason? It’s because he won’t entertain a sale on any of them. That’s someone else’s problem not his of which he is 100% complicent. Why else is Bruce still at the helm after proving to be a costly waste of time, money, and team management? It’s too expensive to get rid of him.
    He might has invested £150 mill but it was only to create an atmosphere where he could make money off the team not for the sake of the team.
    Make no mistake his whole reason for living right now is to maximize his investment and come out of it looking like a smooth operator. No emotion towards the team what so ever. “My beloved Villa” what a pile of s**t he is trying to spin to everyone who will listen.

    And my didn’t John Terry leave in a hurry.

  103. James, actually I think Xia is the second coming of Christ. Now, that I made up.
    He should be reduced to hawking starfrit kitchen gadgets at the midway.

  104. Ian,

    I don’t really disagree with anything you say, but Wembley was the end result not the turning point.

    The situation everything Villa is now in is because Xia didn’t get his plans set properly according to finances available. The Chinese are famous for their gambling habits and Xia has proved to be no different to that perspective we have of his race. If I didn’t personally know some Chinese that actually live without gambling I’d almost get the impression that all Chinese are gamblers. But that’s not true – just certain ones are, though they are large in number.

    The great tragedy is that those that argued on this blog for the club to start from basics and work a ‘Vila Way’ building from a generous helping of youth have been fully vindicated. Rather than the gamble Xia took (now we can see that) it’s clear there was only one sensible plan to work from (the youth way) and he blew it. But no doubt not helped by the mess that the previous ownership left behind.

    So the play-off final at v Fulham only led to Xia being found out. He might have got away with it otherwise. But the emphasis is on ‘might have’.

  105. We are on the outside looking in. But for me, the most damning piece of news to be reported was when Xia had a presentation from the Board that covered both scenarios of promotion or another season in the Championship. At the end of it, Xia was reported as remaining silent and Wyness afterwards telling his other Board members that meant there was only 1 option – promotion.

    If that was the case, how the blazes could a Board function if some members had a different objective to the other members? They were not running to a carefully laid out business plan at all. There was no plan. It was just a well paid crock of schitt.

  106. And as someone commented earlier – Brian Little has been awfully quiet these last few months.

    OK, his position was just as a football advisor, but in some ways his advice should count as much as anyone. He’s the only link left with the last 30 years of the 20th c. and understands a lot more than any other person at the club, I’m sure.

    To think it’s coming up 50 years since BL first donned Villa boots.

  107. John,
    The great tragedy wasn’t bringing in youth although that was what I thought should have been done but allowing a person like Xia who doesn’t know s**t from shinola to buy an English football club. The football association is 100% culpable as it is their duty for do diligence. Villa aren’t the only club to befall the lack of diligence by the FA.
    The sole purpose of the FA is to make money, make sure the top clubs are well compensated as well as protected by a FFP that works just like American Republican taxes—skewed against the working man and a bonanza to the wealthy.
    The entire pyramid of English football is designed for one thing only and that’s to feed the top clubs with players. It’s a farm system by any other name. No small club can ignore the call of £££ to keep their enterprise in the black. The status quo is self perpetuating.
    Not until there is an upheaval in how the system is run will things become more equitable. The European leagues are on the same page as the FA.

    Xia obviously didn’t listen to any of his advisors. I’m guessing they are all window dressing which came to a point when Wyness balked, suggested something different and was shut out. Resulting in his dismissal.
    Xia deserves his predicament, the fans and club do not. Expect a new owner without one heart string regarding Villa, only of a mind to make money off the backs and good will of the club.

    I’m still cranky

  108. Ian,

    You make uncranky sense, sir! 😀

    Yes, I think you’ve got the big picture there. Football is in a right old state really and ‘they’ don’t realise it. Or don’t care … so long as their pockets are filled.

    Their attitude reminds of HM Government’s … making decisions that are only going to produce a lot of strife in the end. See (2-thirds down):

  109. JL
    ‘In the end’???
    They’ve been doing it all our lives mate, the only change is cosmetic.
    The next change [incl brexit] might bring back christians & lions at Villa Park

  110. IanG: “‘In the end’??? They’ve been doing it all our lives mate, the only change is cosmetic.”

    Well, I don’t quite hold that view though I don’t differ that much.

    The fact is, thought, that government thinking has become more perverse as time has lapsed and they’re now struggling to keep Team UK (er, sorry, Team England) afloat by any daft means at hand under the flag of ‘progress’.

    What happens when we’ve run out all further ‘progress’ options? (In terms of land availability)

  111. I am delighted that due to current circumstances Spud is even unable to bring in out of contract freebies. If he was able to, the incoming players would invariably be the older types that everyone else is avoiding.

    These types of players just cost us wages and prevent our own youngsters taking places in the first team squad to the detriment of their development.

    I would much rather see Villa struggle with the kids next season than watch a mediocre group of senior citizens finish a few places higher. At least we wouldn’t be short of effort. Unless Spud wrecks them and sets up with 5 at the back and one up front rather than how they’ve played for the U23’s.

  112. JL – ‘What happens when we’ve run out all further ‘progress’ options? (In terms of land availability)’

    Christians v Lions in the park over the road from VP – where we started in fact

  113. I don’t think the youth situation is all down to Xia’s command for promotion or bust, plenty of times he has talked about using them, Bruce just hasn’t done so or was unable to see a way to.

    He completely cocked up the team in his first Jan window when he could of used some of them to get over the African cup, instead he spent big on the leagues top players and sold what strikers he could.

    He really has no vision in my eyes to how a team goes together, he buys and it either does or it doesn’t work. Considering he’s the champs expert I presume he was listened to by all the board in desperation and he let them down. Thats not to say they are not all prats. Strangely results improved whenever Xia was in town on a few occasions.

  114. As for the EU, when has empire building ever ended well? We need to regain control of this country from our own government/ hierarchy and from the loonie left and right and do whats right for our people/land before helping all and sundry. We couldn’t rely on the EU to do the best for us nor our Government but we have more say back at home if we take it.

  115. Mark
    ‘We need to regain control of this country from our own government/ hierarchy…’
    I agree with that but not the rest, & we are part of the all & sundry, it’s called humanity & we all live on one planet [or very nearly ex-planet].
    As for GB, well we are the biggest empire builder on the planet, & now we have none, we have been sold to the highest corporate bidder.
    Never has the Uk been known to do anything much for the people, & the model is still the same as what the Normans brought with them, which makes the establishment pretty good at pirating.
    The EU is just not as good at it.
    The Establishment’s trick is to get enough people to believe in something as being in their interests & then charge them for it & blame someone else & encourage that in everyone tired enough to be vulnerable.
    Then we tell them another lie, that they can be one of them, which never works.
    It’s like listening to Bruce, no different.

    Our opinions tend to be based on what is fed to us, with the stick & carrot, but we think we have freedom.
    Failing that we do it to ourselves as instructed since birth, as our default is to be a bit daft when it comes to self preservation, & to blame as instructed.
    eg: the wages on the land are so bad no uk person could afford to do the jobs, so you can hardly blame the EU when foreigners from poorer countries are encouraged to come to do those jobs.
    Also, being self employed, it may have escaped you that half the jobs for workers have to have the wages topped up one way or another, which is deliberate & has been like it since Thatcher.
    In other words, blame the workers for being poor & get them to blame those doing better.
    Basic working class & army experience.

    The new squeeze is from the USA, with the tea party summer camp training schools for the young tories applying it for the past 10 years
    Apart from that we’ve already been charged a fortune for the Brexit scam, & you can hardly blame the EU for us being mug enough to be good little puppets.

  116. IanG,

    Yes, that’s not a bad summing up of the our state of affairs.

    Basically there’s no real attempt – in any area – to unify towards a truly common cause. And Brexit and its implementation may well make things a lot worse.

    If we want mayhem in this world then choose disunity – because that’s what Brexit is all about in reality. It’s a misconceived idea – despite all the faults inherent in the EU. If you want changes then you have to fight tooth and nail to change things within – not walk out in a sulk, which childish behaviour is what happens in a lot of divorces. And then forget that there’s a big bill entailed for any divorce.

    Wonder what would happen if there was mass USexit (ie the ‘United’ bit of the USA went)? Hang on – it might happen!

  117. Plug,

    By “human nature” we are surely talking about what man becomes when he identifies with what’s physically around him. As most (nearly everyone) does.

    But there is a finer nature to tap into – if we should wish to do so. That’s our challenge for today.

  118. IanG/JL I don’t blame the EU its an idealistic view of Europe conceived mid last century apparently of a honey coloured population. Centralised government for so many different cultures? I don’t think we will ever come to agreement nor will the countries in it with each other. When we finally withdraw we will cease to be the focus and they will argue about something else, the them and us scenario is rubbish. I don’t think humanity needs to know each other intimately nor be somehow uniform across the Globe. Doesn’t mean you can’t get on if you do meet just stop trying to change each other to suit.

    If the population was split into groups of 150-200 (the amount of people you can remember apparently) we could live peacefully in whatever way we choose as long as they don’t come into contact with the others it would all be fine. 🙂

    As that will never happen bar disaster scenario we will have to put up with anonymous people running our lives or have a bit of Chaos for a while, nothing wrong with Chaos by the way nothing changes without it as much a part of nature as order.

    And the good old British empire? the east India company etc no different to the many empires that came before it and the ones that now exist as corporations and countries today. Many cultures have done exactly the same through out history and somebody is the best at it at any one time. I never invaded anyone that I can remember.

    One thing that baffles me if we are all best buddies and EU members? The EU gives grants to firms to move their operations to countries away from these shores whys that? Can’t imagine its very helpful for us and we are paying towards it. Can’t understand the many farmers being paid not to farm throughout Europe and Britain either.

  119. Why is their such a media silence of how badly Bruce failed last season? I’m pretty sure he’s the one feeding the story’s about not being able to sign free agents to his media love in boys

    He will have to coach the youth won’t he. He won’t like that. He’s a money manager. He splashes the cash and won’t have a clue what to now

    I still have hope he sacked

  120. Frem- As he’s on a rolling contract he may be here until oct or whatever month he joined, depends what the agreement for cancelling the contract is as to whether he will get a pay off maybe? meanwhile sod all is said as to his position is my guess. If we can’t afford to pay him off then equally we are probably unable to pay his wage is also a consideration? If we go under then he’ll get bugger all.

  121. MK: “Centralised government for so many different cultures?”

    It wasn’t so very different when the United States of America came together!

    But I don’t think many support an EU in the form of the USA anyway. That’s just one approach. There are many ways to have close affiliation.

    Brexit is not one of them.

  122. JL- “Brexit is not one of them” neither is not allowing us some different rules as an attractive rich country with less land mass is it?

  123. Mark
    We joined the Common Market in 1973, not the EU.
    But due to the changing scenario, we joined up for being able to work &
    travel across europe as here, which to be honest was great.
    The problem here was that we didn’t break the rules or protect what was vulnerable like everyone else, which impacted the farmers more than most, but small business & others also.
    OUR government didn’t allow us to compete not europe.
    OUR government fell out with Europe not the other way round.
    As said the direction was corporate.
    OUR government decided to look after business to the detriment of everyone else, in a draconian way rather than a way which suited the UK scenario, & sold all OUR resources to make more money, & sit on Boards & be shareholders without creating anything except suffering as usual.
    The very people that were put in the s**t by our government [not europe], eg miners, the fishermen etc were the ones manipulated to do the deed that was required for the next step of corporate control, & Europe was in the way of that.
    All of them had money & have been made a lot richer by the idiocy called being in power.
    Trump giving the super rich 1.5 trillion dollard for a freebie while screwing everyone else to pay for it in an over the top way, is just the american way.
    The bigger farmers in much of the area which was pro brexit, were the ones setting the wages which resulted in loads of europeans,

  124. Mark
    I could go on but won’t, except to say that the way the euro regs were put into action was by our last 2 governments, & they don’t give a hoot about you or me, or the small farmers, or small business etc, & the greedy b*****ds have used it for the pre-brexit wind up, where we were robbed rather than the currency being revalued after the banks screwed up without penalty, resulting in food banks & the fabric of the country dissolving into mush etc.
    It says a lot that the main promoters of Brexit were well off people, with the old “you too can be one of us” con being reinvented.
    The NHS [which I & many others paid for as health insurance has been sold to the highest bidder & is no longer fit for purpose, plus a lot more.

    The world wide obsession with killing the planet is just part of it.
    Many of us have just fallen for the 5 card trick, the rest of us are just looking by in amazement at such profound stupidity.

  125. IanG,

    Well said on the EU etc – I couldn’t have said it better myself! 🙂

    Just to comment on “We joined the Common Market in 1973, not the EU..” A lot of people say that, but in fact there was small print that indicated that the EU would be the longer term aim, so voters should have known what to expect. But now they say they didn’t know.

  126. MK: ” I would say it was very different, you had to pay to get there for one and carve out a life not have it handed to you.”

    A somewhat rose-coloured perspective of the past – sorry Mark. For a start all education used to be free.

    There are very few that are handed anything – amongst the great majority that is. Today we have a great problem in finding jobs for young people as the old trade training systems (apprenticeships) were allowed to wither away, but now they’re being half-heartedly resurrected whilst young people are still being told that Uni is better. I couldn’t believe my ears when Blair said the target was to be 50% to enter Uni.

    Today we have a real mish-mash. For example, I as a pensioner have been struggling partly due to health problems incurred a few years ago but mainly because of my wife’s health issues. And she’s been refused disability payments. It’s meant that while I wanted to get back into well-paid work (though in my 70s) and have decades of valuable experience, today’s world wants bright young people with big degrees.

    My grandad was still working at age 79 until weeks before he died, and walked 3 miles to and from his place of work at the BSA. Can I do such a thing today? No sir – they won’t give you a look-in.

  127. Jl- I’m 55 and they don’t want me either. Also this moving cheap labour suits those in power I can tell you that many Europeans I have come across don’t want to be here they just have no girl friend works in caring and it would make your hair curl to know the thoughts of some of them. And quite a few far from being hard working .

    America formed from colonies of people escaping the crown or wanting to get rich not a continent with 1000’s of years of culture and wars Handily they had a common enemy to unite them. Nothing like the EU scenario imo rose tinted I don’t think so.

    Iang- Chip’s I think we all have a few don’t we mate. I can tell you many Asians voted for brexit to mate . The EU is not some benign entity either just another bunch of manipulators , for what it’s worth I don’t like the establishment much either but they are not the only ones out to make money and gain advantage and in that the scales are tipped. If we continue to put up with it then we can’t complain surely.

  128. Mark,

    What you write about how things were (“1000’s of years of culture and wars”) is all in the past and well and truly buried. We celebrate our past too much instead of getting on with how to properly evolve.

    In my view a proper evolution can take place only through a developing sense of unity, not dissatisfaction as in Brexit and other areas (Scottish and Welsh nationalism, e.g.). We need positivity, not negativity.

    Was/is the EU helping in that evolution? Partly – but a long way short. But it doesn’t mean the idea is wrong or that great efforts should not be taken to put it on the right track.

    You talk of us finding our way in the world. Have we not thought about the huge distances trade with old Commonwealth countries and the USA involves? And the damage to the environment (ocean and air) that all that causes? Apart from which under Trump the USA would do its upmost to steer the UK towards its own ecologically and health damaging ideas.

    The EU option is much the better of the two options in my view. We have gained more from our relationship with the EU this past 40 years than we realise. Change it, yes, but keep going!

  129. Jl where there’s the crunch isn’t it, one voice in 27-8 countries many who form alliances. As they say on the plane put your own air mask on before helping others no good us all being dead. Have you not noticed the decline in this country and the reason brexit was voted on? No smoke without fire. If it is all so fantastic then why has it happened? Can’t say I agree or disagree with you only that this country is in a mess and important conversations are not being had due to labelling, went to Sicily recently that’s a mess too. heres my solution ban advertising can’t buy what you don’t know you want 🙂

  130. Mark
    I more or less live in pakistan/punjab where I live.
    Most of their people who voted for brexit did so due to an emotional connection to the Britain that was [long gone], & a wish for things to remain that way, or fell for the line that they will be richer.
    The younger ones here on the whole voted either as a protest to everything, or as many younger people did, to keep their economic options as they are with Europe.
    Also many asians have family in Europe & Canada & the US of arse.
    As someone who visited the sub continent many times over 40 years, the thing we have in common with brexit & everything else, is that the emotionally reactionary among us tend to look for something to agree with how we feel, to confirm our existence.

  131. Mark
    I agree that things are a mess, & have been getting steadily worse for the past 10 years since the Banks ganged up on us internationally.
    However to blame the result on Europe is to have a definitive misunderstanding.
    It’s like blaming the burnt toast on the toast

  132. IanG- I agree, at least they can be looked in the eye then. Thats why the whole run us from Brussels is a no go for me.

    Pig sick of the all white men are racist rubbish as well, My girlfriend is Asian and I find her and her friends no different in some of their views which are racist plain and simple but so what? except it suits at the minute to bash certain sections of the public.

    Not sure all voted for emotional reasons either mate, some were duped for sure and some felt they had no other option. spoke to a mate today just back from Italy, he is Italian and he says they are talking riots over there with Italians going to former Yugoslavia to learn to shoot.

    Not all rosey in the EU, Germany needed workers to pay for their pension system so open borders which suited them except now it doesn’t, we will see later if she gets her marching orders. Very short sighted and has caused much heartache for EU and non EU peeps alike.

  133. Just saw an article on Villas squad going to Portugal, apparently involved in the final are getting more rest? haven’t they mostly left? and the squad bears more than a passing resemblance to RDM’s 🙂

  134. Should never had canned RDM

    The whole world revolves around the axiom of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”. There’s nothing altruistic on this planet, only a preservation of what’s close to you. If the trucks stopped delivering to the city, food would dry up in 3 days. We would revert to a caveman mentality in short order. Civilization only happens when people are fed and warm.

  135. MK: “with Italians going to former Yugoslavia to learn to shoot.”

    Pity Gerry Hitchens isn’t around – he could have taught them about that apparently! Huntin’ and shootin’ was his speciality, and not just on the football field!

  136. MK: “Not sure all voted for emotional reasons either mate, some were duped for sure and some felt they had no other option.”

    Quite right. But the other reason is just lack of education. People say they knew what they voted for – but did they really? To make decisions like Brexit without proper study makes democracy a laughing stock.

  137. Our local rag reports that Xia has rejected an offer of 30m for 30% share of the club. I can only read into that as meaning he wants to sell 100% of the club.

    If that’s the case, it won’t happen before the transfer window closes so there will be no new players arriving. It’s also unlikely that he’ll offload Jack or Chessie for less than full value because it reduces his asset value making it harder to find a buyer with everything fully leveraged. FFP will not become an issue until next summer so he probably doesn’t care about that right now as he still has another transfer window available before then.

    My guess is Xia is still gambling at the poker table. Deeper in debt, keep playing another hand of double or quit. And Spud remains to give us more 1 up front football.

  138. JL- I will add duped by both sides, the government had tried for years for more control over immigration, that’s part of why he promised a vote (and the fear of UKIP), so no surprise that was front and centre. The whole thing was a joke from start to finish but I wouldn’t change my vote I studied it and came to my conclusions, plenty of the remainers were complete plonkers too especially the ones that couldn’t be arsed to vote but wanted another go. Thats democracy for you even the thick get a say, oh and the evil, Never mind Tony Bliar says he’s going to save us 🙂

  139. Plug
    ‘My guess is Xia is still gambling at the poker table. Deeper in debt, keep playing another hand of double or quit. And Spud remains to give us more 1 up front football’

    Reminds me of the current government with brexit.
    There’s money about for football then, pity it doesn’t get to us

  140. JL
    ‘Pity Gerry Hitchens isn’t around – he could have taught them about that apparently! Huntin’ and shootin’ was his speciality, and not just on the football field!’

    Absolutely, comes from a continental education

  141. Iang- strange how people see things differently isn’t it. You and Jl seem so convinced your right have you ever thought about politics? You both seem clued up you could help us thicko’s out can’t be any worse that’s for sure.

  142. Mark
    If you think you’re thick, therein lies the problem.
    I haven’t made a judgment that something is right or wrong, just that the bullshitters win again

  143. Iang- must be if I voted out mate 🙂

    At the time I read what was available, looked at various sites around Europe that more accurately described what was going on that the usual suspects and talked it over with my best friend who sat on energy meetings in Brussels representing British companies. He said it’s just frustrating , no matter what Brit companies proposed it was out voted Usually as the Germans came in mob handed a squashed them. So my view of us ever changing it from the inside is a bit tainted based on Germany doing what’s best for itself.

  144. f**king love it, come on England, that game was worse than our play off final for tension. Feeling massively proud and patriotic and what a manager Southgate is, smart articulate and honest, when you’ve won the world cup come to villa please Gareth 🙂 And those youngsters with no world cup experience, not to shabby 🙂

    How the ref didn’t book all of the Columbian team including the coaches I’ll never know, at least this time cheats didn’t prosper, they should be told cut it out or your countries banned.

  145. Really wish Grealish was with the England team he would be invaluable, he’s they one thing they lack a real dribbler. Can’t imagine there would be much left of him mind.

  146. Mark,

    Johnstone signed for WBA for an undisclosed fee. ManUre wanted 5m so we know the price give or take a bit. They have a lot of work to do with him before he’s worth that amount of money. Davis up front and fire the crosses in I say when we play the yam yams.

  147. Like Wyness, it’s Round’s reward for failure. Such are Chinese masters, they don’t take kindly to having their money drained.

    Which leaves me wondering why Spud is still in situ as he failed also. Maybe it’s a time issue with him as AVFC must have someone to pick the team each week until someone else is sourced and/or afforded.

    I’m lost for words now at what’s happened. But Mark, your headline made me smile.

  148. Have been very busy over the past week, so have not had time to comment, although there is not much to comment on, apart from the fact, that for the first time in a very long time, I am in complete agreement with JL, especially regarding Brexit.

    WE are being totally stitched up by Trump and his cronies, with many behind the scenes agreements being done in readiness, which will so tie us in with the USA, we will not be able to have proper trade agreements with anyone. At the same time, the NHS will become carved up and handed to the yanks and their companies to run. I am totally finished with the present government, and things will be no better with the Stalinist Corbyn. We have reached the stage where we need a completely new political party. There was a rumour at one time that one was being organised from among some leading business men and MP’s from both sides.

    What a great result last night, and I am so pleased for Southgate for sticking to his beliefs and principles, and as he said, when being interviewed before the match, it was about instilling in his team the belief that they could do it and to remain calm, which is exactly what they did.

  149. PP
    I was agreeing with you until you started the stalinist nonsense.
    The only real stalinist was stalin, as he was not a communist, or a socialist, but a power mad homicidal mass murderer.
    Somehow I don’t think that would fit in Islington.

    Actually, whether anyone likes Labour’s agenda or not, it is indisputable fact that the targets of the past 8 years, such as the disabled, the youth, the sick & the unemployed [who would like a proper job, not training how to sweep the floor or 0% contracts], & the large amount of low paid workers who have to have state top ups just to be poor, [employers should be ashamed of themselves] aren’t interested in dogma either.
    Of course if they don’t matter to anyone & people like to see that, it would make them a fascist [which I’m sure you’re not.
    Whatever the answer is, it’s not what’s happening now, as it’s dividing & killing people, with the present system the cause of people not being able to have dignity when they’re disabled or sick [& the NHS is killing people as it’s f**ked & sucked dry], not the ruling class of course.

    Oliver twist is getting real!

  150. News Now are asking everyone to contact their MEP’s about a new copyright law which will affect the supplying of free news, if passed by the EU..!!

  151. Plug
    I read that due to Xia getting a bollocking fro the Shanghai stock exchange for another of his companies [severe loss of face where failure stops you raising money in china], plus the new trade war with Trumpistan, where he is not on strong enough footing to sell to the Yanks, he is having a big problem.

    He would be hanging on to the Villa, as one more big loss of face c**k up abroad would scupper his plans of empire for good.

    No wonder he’s in the manure & us along with him.

  152. PP
    Yes I saw that about Newsnow last night, some over reaction over copyright it seems.
    I don’t even know who my MEP is, plus I think the vote may be today.
    This is corporate hanging on to their money cr*p, we can’t have the unwashed getting non fake news can we…

  153. PP
    Just to back up what I wrote, the moderator struck again
    http s://uk dot news dot yahoo dot com/esther-mcvey-savaged-over-apos-103221004 dot h tml

    http s://www dot huffingtonpost dot co dot uk/entry/universal-credit-poll_uk_5aef110ee4b0c4f19323a16f

    http s:// dot com/uk-government-going-copy-eu-161707593 dot html

    Also if you look at the disabled people’s blogs, you will find harrowing story after harrowing story, due to Tory dogma

  154. JG
    Then there would be no football people in the management????
    Wouldn’t put it past them
    But apparently we still have our scouting system intact for Bruce, humph humph

  155. ian g
    there should be no one still employed at villa in a coaching sense for senior side ,or in management or director ship of football side
    we can only hope the flight to portugal is to give spud his cards

  156. PP: “We have reached the stage where we need a completely new political party. “

    Well, there is one. Except it’s not so new: the Green Party!

    Have you read their manifesto? Makes sense to me. Trouble is, do they have the people to carry it out?

    Mind you, Caroline Lucas could do it by herself.

  157. Iang- Missed our chance when we went to war with Napoleon instead of joining him, could even of sided with Hitler, destroyed Russia (prompted by Roosevelt?) and potentially circumvent Americas rise and kept us strong, all considered by Churchill before declaring war with Germany I’m told. Its a s**t old world.

    Trouble is I cannot see how an ever growing line of foreign workers that keep our terminally unemployed out of work is helping anything? (other than the fact some of them won’t work). Spoke to a painter whose nephew from up north told him the way to avoid working and get your dole is turn up at interviews with a can of beer?!

    The system that is supposed to help those in need is itself in need and has been for 30+ years now. The whole system we live in is about profit, and cheap labor is where its at, its so out of hand it can’t stop without one almighty bang and reset imo. It will take a few good men to change things if theres any left. I no longer trust our lot from any party and neither do I trust the EU.

    As for shutting down free news? free speech has gone the way of the dinosaur along with common sense.

  158. Well, can’t blame the discussion getting into politics. But I’ll bring us all back down to earth with the latest take on the lack of goings-on at Villa.

    New post up. Finally.

  159. Mark
    Napoleon! haha ha
    Keep telling you that if the big landowners in the East of UK don’t pay a living wage, with the traditional perks [such as tied cottages] to go with it to make it semi feasible short term, have gone, so only poor foreigners can do the jobs.
    Put the blame where it is.
    Not just farmers by the way, but many a small business that finds it almost impossible to survive in the current climate, & it affects not only foreign workers but rural locals, who can’t live on the wages.
    Down to the UK government by design I’m afraid.
    I’ve lived in the country.

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