I’ve started I don’t know how many posts over the past couple of weeks, only to spike them as ‘events’, such as they are, continue to ‘unfold’, as it were. So much and so little happening at the same time. I’ve actually fallen into a bit of despair, truth be told.

Now, it’s not despair of the existential variety, though Villa certainly can provoke that. It’s just the head-shaking, empty-handed, “I have no answers” sort of despair.

Offers made and knocked back. Tony’s dealings coming into question in China. Steve Round being dismissed because of an apparently fractious relationship with Rongtian He, and, probably just as telling, there being no need for him since Villa have no money, can’t play in the market, and will likely be looking for local schoolboys to make up the numbers—if and when Villa actually start preparations for next season. Right now, I’m almost finding it hard to believe that Villa still exist and are still in the second tier. Feels like we should be in League Two right about now. And perhaps we will be, ultimately.

Particularly troubling is that inaction is costing us precious time at a time when we don’t really have the luxury of wasting time. Uncertainty is its own rot. And each little piece of news that leaks out only points to continued uncertainty as Xia flails around trying to come up with a way to stay in charge and keep the lights on. You’ll note I’m going to stop including “Dr.” in front of Xia’s name, because it was a silly degree to begin with, and I’d sooner have the ship’s surgeon working on me than this clown.

Uncertainty points to lack of foresight, as we’ve seen all too clearly. Lack of due diligence. And also a certain contempt for the supporters, who are left with no communication from the club of any meaningful sort. All we’ve got are a constant stream of newspaper stories, and an emerging picture of an owner who cannot yet find a way to face the fans he’s let down. He doesn’t have to spill secrets…But he does owe us more than what we’ve been given to date.

All of this uncertainty might also point to a certain degree of hubris. Or plain stubbornness. Or the simple fact that Tony is either unwilling to face the truth, or too desperate to recoup his losses to be rational.

I don’t know the terms, wasn’t in the room, but knocking back a £30m investment for a 30% stake…well, let’s hope it’s a bargaining tactic—from a man who really has no leverage. Tony obviously values the club at more than £90m, and based on what he’s sunk in, I’d be hard-pressed to disagree with his slightly delusional line of thinking. But there’s the potential value of the club (back in the Premier League and the TV teat), and the reality that the club is only really worth its physical assets and income minus liabilities. (That’s this simple man’s formula, anyway.) And the liabilities are not inconsiderable.

I was more annoyed by this story than the one about refusing to relinquish a majority stake, because I can understand Xia not wanting to leave the recovery of his sunk costs in other hands.

But I’m annoyed by both because time’s wasting and this mess is purely of Xia’s making, in the end. And I’m not liking this “China vs. Everyone Else” mentality I’m seeing take shape in the decision-making after our fate was sealed. I see no evidence of football knowledge in the current ‘management’ team, and no real credentials other than being Chinese and trusted by Xia.

This sort of insularity can be fatal. And it cannot be appealing to those outside the club. I would not want to come manage Villa’s high expectations, crushing financial pressures, and threadbare squad under the thumb of henchmen who know nothing about the game. Maybe He is the ‘superfan’ the Mail have made him out to be, and maybe he knows enough to actually do something good for the club. But as the heads roll around him, I’m finding it hard to believe Steve Bruce would be interested in continuing on. Which isn’t to say anything about Bruce as a manager, because I don’t really care since he’s the only piece of stability at the club right now.

The only encouragement I can take is that apparently there are people interested in putting in some money. But Xia had better get this right and not overplay his hand, again. With investment, we could hold on to enough players for a miracle shot at promotion. But he needs to get the money in now, and let Bruce or whoever else will be in charge get on with it. He also needs to realize that it wasn’t some foreign cabal that let him down and put him in this mess. It was his own recklessness and ignorance.

I really wish he’d just find a buyer and be gone altogether. No amount of tweeting and PR stunts are going to restore the supporters’ respect for him now. Never mind the fact that he’s demonstrating just how out of his depth he really is. In the meantime, it’s just about holding our noses and hoping he can pull something out of the hat.


On a more positive note, I want to hail England’s victory over Colombia. While still looking a bit unsure of themselves at times, the Lions’ youthful confidence also shone through in various passages of the game, and when it was all over we saw that there were reserves of mental strength and self-belief at the critical time of asking. They did indeed bend, but they didn’t break. And when it looked like Colombia were on the ascendancy leading into extra time, England found a way to hold fast, not fall behind, and finish on the front foot.

No one ever wanted it to go to penalties, but now that the squad have passed the test and exorcised England’s biggest demon, I feel it’s the best thing that could’ve happened. It was the first real test they’ve faced in the tournament, and they stared down England’s woeful legacy and just won.

They’ll have learned a lot. I don’t know whether they can pull off a miracle in Moscow, but there’s not a whole lot left standing in their way. Stranger things have happened.

Over to you.

Comments 243

  1. jc
    how much has doc put in ,as most of our spend is still to pay for and we have borrowed against money owed to us from para payments,transfer fees ,training groud

  2. JC
    I agree with JL, ‘the answer lies in the soil,’ which is where the club will be if someone doesn’t get it together pronto.

  3. From end of last post
    Napoleon! haha ha
    Keep telling you that if the big landowners in the East of UK don’t pay a living wage, [which they never have, with the much needed traditional perks [such as tied cottages] to go with it to make it semi feasible [all the feasibility of short term farming & other jobs have gone], so now only poor foreigners can afford to do the jobs, & the fruit growers are panicking now as they can’t get enough workers, & can’t afford UK workers who would need the living wage.
    Try working in the country for subsistance wages for a lifetime, then you’d put the blame where it actually should be.

    Not just farmers by the way, but many a small business in rural town & villages 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.
    Yet the County set landowners thrive.

    Down to the UK governments by design I’m afraid.
    I’ve lived in the country & have watched this particular stranglehold come about slowly since the 80’s.
    But don’t let desperation & reality get in the way of a good prejudice.
    Now that would be doing a Napoleon.

  4. JC,

    Really you’re a determined man to have put such an article together. To me Xia’s treatment of the Villa is all expressed in the term there’s s**t, bloody s**t and mud in your eye.

    To be honest, I have visions of Chineses advertising slogans plastered over VP (er, sorry, Tianaman Park) and the Dog Ellis Stand re-named the Mao Tse Tung Pavillion! That, with noodle stalls in place of burger and chips (perhaps not such a bad idea) will be the picture in 10 years time. If Xia stays.

    Of course, I could be way off beam – and probably am – but I suspect Aston Villa will never be the same again.

  5. JC
    Our club is suffering from Chinese politics as well as greedy incompetent tossers.
    As you say, not much time left to waste.
    The bookies have us down in extremes, both favourite to go down, yet at the same time to end up 4th.
    Pretty reflective I say.

  6. JG,

    It’s a very good question, and I honestly have no idea. Doesn’t seem like anyone else does, either.

    Like you say, so many money games have been played…

  7. JL
    ‘The Dog Ellis Stand’
    English is a very nuanced & accurate language.
    Coming from you that made my afternoon

  8. IanG,

    Just a matter of weeks til the season starts, and absolutely no direction at present. In the soil…We’ll certainly be starting with our own self-imposed points deduction if this doesn’t get sorted very soon.

  9. JC,

    On the matter of England’s performance v Columbia, I was not greatly impressed – except that they took the penalty kicks pretty well (Henderson – who looked unconfident – excepted).

    Delicious Ali was nowhere from what I saw, Sterling is no longer valid currency, and apart from Kane no-one really turned up up front.

    Winners of the WC? Gotta be Brazil or Belgium surely.

  10. IanG: “‘The Dog Ellis Stand’ … English is a very nuanced & accurate language. … Coming from you that made my afternoon”


    Begs (cough) the question “whose poodle was he?”!

  11. JL,

    Not been easy. I really haven’t been able to bring myself to deal with it. I don’t want to be overly harsh just to have some breakthrough happen, but between politics, which I didn’t really even get into (if there’s any truth to the idea he didn’t want U.S. or non-Chinese investment) and this unconscionable lack of planning, I’m really starting to get very angry.

    Xia is making Lerner look prepared.

  12. IanG,

    Indeed…for one, I don’t understand why a connected businessman could be left high and dry by his compatriots in digging out of this mess. I’m sure there’s a reason, but beyond Chinese government policy, it seems more like a case of no one trusting him enough to be involved or wanting to tarnish their reputation.

  13. JC
    Well at a guess, I think we can expect a boiling up from the supporters after the players get back from Portugal [if not before], if we’re still in this place with no change & no more information from Xia

  14. JL,

    Wasn’t vintage, the performance, by any means, and I’ve questions about the midfield set-up. Don’t disagree about the players you’ve mentioned.

    But, I always thought they were going to be a while coming together, and that Southgate is going to have some adjustments to make. There’s a lot of players who seem rather similar. Not terrible, but they need a Milner in there, a touch more steel and guile.

    Don’t disagree with MK, I think it was, who was saying they could also use a Grealish in the middle. Forest mate of mine was saying the same thing after the game.

    Will be an interesting finish. Don’t disagree about Belgium and Brazil….looking forward to that one.

  15. Guys,

    As time passes he makes me think of him as a teenager whose found a toy. Not that much different to Lerner (I think), both of whom I equate as thinking in the same direction – very airy fairy and heading into the clouds.

  16. IanG,

    A poor joke’s about all our motto’s good for right now. 😉

    I would think the WC has been a very good distraction for Tony, and that there is going to be an outcry, as you suggest. We should demand to be able to buy shares. Don’t know how the representation would work, sounds like a recipe for chaos. Downside is that I know I wouldn’t trust Tony to use my money to any useful purpose as far as Villa are concerned.

  17. JL,

    I see a bit of difference. Lerner, I think, just became a bit depressed and disengaged…started playing for time, came to realize it wasn’t going to be a venture he understood, or was willing to learn enough about, in order to make it a viable business.

    Xia just seems like a con-man. Overambitious, overconfident and being called out.

    End of the day, though, they’ve both left us in the lurch.

  18. JC,

    I’m sure you’re right about both – to a certain extent. But when it comes down to it they both have been out of touch with reality, and that’s just what Villa didn’t need.

  19. To cap it all, Maradonna says that Columbia were cheated [well he should know about cheating], & that Kane threw himself to the floor when he got the penalty.
    I don’t know if we could end up with Argentina?

  20. jesus we have been busy just popped back and heap posts on,think the doc speaks in money terms the same way lerner kept saying we where making 30/40m losses every year cowboys and gangsters the whole lotof them

  21. When Xia purchased the club, he didn’t have a business plan. If he did, and it was credible, we wouldn’t be in this deep schitt. Instead, he’s sailed by the seat of his pants and leveraged the club to the maximum. If Macquarie Bank pull the plug we’re sunk.

    Spud isn’t going to get any funds for new players. In itself, I’m happy about that because his spending hasn’t returned the required results, so he can’t waste any more. We await to find out which players Xia sells in the next 5 weeks. After that, what’s left is what we run with. I see only struggles ahead. I also think Xia will do a Lerner and stay out of the UK to avoid the anger.

  22. IanG,

    Maradonna has the credibility of a coked-up buffoon, so…let him talk. From what I’ve seen of him in the stands, he wouldn’t be able to distinguish a take-down from a pregame handshake.

    What’s unbelievable is that someone would wrestle him to the ground yet again after the last bloke was finally penalized for it.

  23. JG,

    I won’t pretend to understand the accounting complexities they’re all mucking around with. What someone’s actually put in and lost…smoke, mirrors, loans, write-offs. I understand that that’s business, but the fans deserve a straightforward accounting statement that does more than just confuse the majority of us:

    “Xia has spent £x, which came from a, b, c….and at the end of the day, if he sold Villa for £90m straight up and turned over the keys, he’d be out £y, of which £w is his own money, and £z is money begged, borrowed or stolen and will be written off as a business loss.” Something like that.

  24. Thanks JC, what can I say its fecked.

    IanG- “But don’t let desperation & reality get in the way of a good prejudice” ?? Ha Ha no lets just grow our population exponentially and let our kids all work in Romania when things get really desperate 🙂

    Can’t see how a gang of 28 countries with only 3 apparently worth working in for poor folk survive? no matter what you say mate. All I see is countries shuffling labor over in an attempt to outdo china and the far east. If we don’t willingly use technology to improve everyone’s lot instead of for profit then just wait till the greedy b*****ds get robotics on the go, we will all be f**ked, coming very soon to a farm, factory, office and building site near you.

    I have lived in the Countryside for 40 years, most farmers I know tell me that they are squeezed on price by the likes of Tesco’s, no surprise some are paid to not farm might bring the prices down.

    Might be up your way soon going to a Pakistani wedding in Brum this August I have been told, no booze 🙁

    Be interested what you think the end game is and why? because to me it all looks suicidal, which might just be the aim.

  25. Taken from Xia’s Twitter account just over 1 year ago about no more panic buys or sells. Seems to me that there is an impending fire sale of our best players or even the entire club. Makes the statement worthless if that happens. As they say, take no notice of what people say, watch what they do.

    13 May 2017
    More Dr. Tony Xia Retweeted The Perennial Pundit
    Bottom line is that we won’t have panic buys or sells any more!

  26. On England v Columbia, Columbia don’t concede many and drew with Brazil in qualifying, beat France in Paris end of March to. They lost their best midfielder so I suspect they would of came at us more if he’d played as it was our midfield passed it around well but they sat in, once Ali went off we lost impetus and the midfield for a while. Dyer looks out of sorts to me. As JC said I’d love someone who can run at these sides and dribble. Stirling is in there for that and pace but he’s not at the races, needs a goal. Columbia very good in the air at the back and thats our main strength if teams sit in.

    As for Belgium who nearly lost to Japan? lucky ball headed across but went in for the first then an aerial bombardment with Fellani and several 6’4+ players in there Bruce would be proud 😉 Haven’t beaten anyone of significance for years lost to Wales (not counting the b team against our b team 🙂 )

    Brazil? not convinced yet and France and Uruguay both good sides who belgium or Brazil have to get past yet.

    We have an incredible chance and have scored the most goals so far if the games open up who knows 🙂

  27. Mark
    The end game as I see it, looking at the cast of characters, is redistribution of money to the wealthy [3rd time since 2010], & redistribution of power to London, Greater London & associated parishes such as Oxfordshire/ Cotswolds, M4 corridor & the solent etc, which is where the wealth will go.
    Places like Herefordshire haven’t changed since the 70’s, still very rich, & no work unless you’ve a profession or a farm or you’re prepared to kill chickens for a living, & boy don’t you know it, as you’re supposed to have 2 jobs to survive.
    Lincolnshire which was once wealthy has been ripped apart, by low wages due to Thatcher killing the mines & more, & an ever decreasing level of jobs, & of course the entrepreneurs such as Dyson, who have bought up many farms to grow silage for methane, with lorries tearing through lanes & tiny villages & all peace & village environments gone, & the money doesn’t stay in the county.
    If you have a trade ok.
    This isn’t because of brekshit, but a desperation protest vote stemming from loss of cultural environment & decades of dismantled infrastructure, plus people who will believe anything that makes them feel better or who are plain dumb.
    The farmers & small industry know that wages will be constrained with less regulation so we get poorer, as the black market cash in hand work has been severely minimised.

    The old saying, the rich get richer & the poor get poorer.
    There’s certainly nonethical direction from one side due to greed & manipulation, & from the other side due to fear.
    These are the ingrained patterns, but of course there are always optimists who think if they do ethical activity it will directly influence the greedy ones, who incidentally think that it is their right [typical class system.
    When we’re out there will be nothing to stop this redistribution except to vote for anyone who will beat the tories, as it’s only going to get worse as we’ve been shafted already with brekshit as both a misdirection & as a means to further control the money & the people.
    I wouldn’t trust them as far as I can throw them, as it’s all about me, me, me,& trickle down economics that is BS & doesn’t work, except it gets them control & wealth.
    The farmers were shafted by our own urban focused government, with no protection, unlike all the other countries, who interpreted the rules creatively to keep the farms alive.
    I could go on, as I also hear much of what you hear, but I view it in light of the bigger picture which always shines on the same old pattern.
    We need regulation for the planet, but intelligently & fairly overall, which of course non of it is, as it’s overcome by the greed & mankind’s seeming inability to see past their immediate desires needs & perspective that is captured by this.
    The Tories are just doing what Trump does, which is to manipulate the base.
    Yes the EU is not perfect, but what we’re going to get, will not be retrievable as we’ve put ourselves in hock for our children’s children’s children’s lifetime, if the planet doesn’t get us first..
    Scotland & Wales will split, as Nationalism is the new religion, leaving England to get worse.
    You have to be able to talk to people to solve problems, something this government is very bad at, as they need to grow out of their class mentality.
    At least in Greece the diet’s better & the sun shines most of the time….

  28. Mark
    I agree that it’s the best chance we’ve had in years.
    Dier wasn’t at the races.
    There must be injuries in the midfield as well.
    Should have kept Stirling on as it kept them on the back foot, but we handed the impetus to Columbia.
    We haven’t got a lot of strength in depth.

  29. IanG: “The end game as I see it, looking at the cast of characters, is redistribution of money to the wealthy …. etc”

    Excellent, Ian. You’ve said it all. *That’s* the kind of study I was referring to earlier …. one based on the bigger picture rather than reasoning based on everyday affairs, which is the level at which most people think. But because the majority can so easily view their fears these days, we get populist movements that are as a result of the manipulation that Ian refers to.

    Everyday affairs are not unimportant but to understand we have to rise above all that – as Ian has done. There is a big “however” though – we are where we are because over many many centuries we have gone away from the wisdom way and now treat transactional behaviour as the reality, when it’s not.

    The historical education we have been fed is that life didn’t really exist before Jesus – oh, apart from a few mummified Egyptians, phoney Phoenicians and roamin’ Romans and platonic Greeks. And the idea that the Normans were the start of anything that became great in this country. The Normans have a lot to answer for as we go around admiring the stately homes and saying “Gee Whizz” when what we’re looking at is the result of the rape of overseas societies and the manipulation of the working people.

    But Brum’s Matthew Boulton (and others of the Lunar Society) was one of the enlightened. No wonder he doesn’t get mentioned much by the history teachers.

    So today’s masses (understandably) want to kick back when what is really required is wisdom-leadership and the preparedness of working all for one and one for all.

    There’s no other real answer, though we may kid ourselves otherwise.

  30. Following on from the above and the subject of history…

    Americans still believe that Christopher Columbus discovered America, right? OK, they may now think that a posse of Vikings dropped in at some earlier time, but that it was just a short visit (they think).

    But if I was to say that there are Indians of North American that speak a dialect of Hebrew, that van Daniken discovered the traces of a temple in Soth America that was similar to the Temple of Soloman in design, and – perhaps best of all – that Knights Templar graves and coins have been found in Nova Scotia – then it surely shows that our view of history is very distorted.

    And added to that a DNA testing of North American indians some time back concluded that Europeans from France intermarried with them some 20,000 years ago.

    My wife comes from Malaysia where she not only had to study Western history but also the study of Eastern history, in equal measure but to the same degree as Western study. She knows about both. How many Europeans and Americans can lay claim to that scale of awareness?

    Let’s all at least gain an awareness of Mohenjo-daro before we can claim we know our history. And that’s just a starting point.

  31. IanG: “Should have kept Stirling on as it kept them on the back foot, but we handed the impetus to Columbia.”

    Apart from nippiness he offers nowt in my eyes, Ian. Sorry.

    I think he’s just a useful tool for Man City and that’s his level really – not a real international player. Nor does have a ‘football brain’.

  32. Jl- history today is being manipulated so that even this country’s recent past isn’t taught anymore. I believe civilisation goes back countless years but still doesn’t make me think the EU can work for all. German firms have to have two workers on their board by law that will never happen here. That’s what baffles me the EU gladly pays to move western style companies from these shores haven’t seen any demands for workers on their boards. I also think they have shot themselves in the foot just as much as we have, even now they could relent because Europe needs time to settle or it will go pop.

    England have a very good passing game and pace there are no standout players although stones and maguire are beginning to shine.

  33. Iang- I don’t disagree with what you say either I just don’t see anyone on the horizon political spiritual or otherwise that will fix this. Disaster may be the answer and I don’t say that lightly , we are sleep walking wether in or out of the EU imo.

  34. MK,

    Since the Creator says that all *can* be sorted then you seem to be at odds with the Creator! 😉

    Look up the big history – the one that says that there are four great cycles of time – and that we’re now in the densest (non-spiritual). But once this cycle ends another starts – and one of peace.

  35. Jl- well all I can say to the big man/women/ non specific gender entity is give us a fecking clue here, not airy fairy hints in dusty old books all I wants a burning bush for a chat, and while he’s at it send a few plagues on the rich oh and a World Cup for england although we will share it with everyone else as we couldn’t have done it without them 🙂

  36. Jl- well mate I like the sound of this time of peace but I question what parent gives his child massive destructive capabilities just before it’s going to happen? Why not time the splitting of the atom when we are chilled out? Can I touch this flame dad? Hang on son read these cryptic clues and make up your own mind , needs to sharpen up those parenting skills methinks. Maybe the answer is we are only happy when there’s less of us about 🙂

  37. JL
    Agree with quality of sterling, but when he’s making runs they have to focus where he is.
    When he came off we lost something in that game, & the opposition grew emboldened.
    We haven’t got much strength in depth.

  38. JL- thank god I’ll pack it in, mind you Star wars and star trek manage it 🙂

    As always the quality and set up around players effects how they perform, Sterling doesn’t play out left for city and thats where he seems to be for England mostly. Still think if he gets one his mood will change, looks nervy but is doing a job for the team as Iang says. This is worth a read as to why we are scoring from set pieces not open play.


  39. Iang,

    I hear what you say about Sterling in you’re not wrong. But for me that doesn’t qualify him as being a first choice selection. Not saying you’re wrong – that’s just my take.

  40. Bearing in mind this is the squad and no real wingers among them, all utility Mid/forwards, I like loftus-cheek but think he’s more comfortable out right too, Rashford a possible, maybe Welbeck thats it .

    1. Jordan Pickford 2. Kyle Walker 3. Danny Rose 4. Eric Dier 5. John Stones 6. Harry Maguire 7. Jesse Lingard 8. Jordan Henderson 9. Harry Kane 10. Raheem Sterling 11. Jamie Vardy 12. Kieran Trippier 13. Jack Butland 14. Danny Welbeck 15. Gary Cahill 16. Phil Jones 17. Fabian Delph 18. Ashley Young 19. Marcus Rashford 20. Dele Alli 21. Ruben Loftus-Cheek 22. Trent Alexander-Arnold 23. Nick Pope

  41. MK: “so who would you play out of our current crop?”

    No, my criticism is purely of Sterling. I just don’t think he has ‘it’ at this level, but it probably highlights our lack of real quality in certain areas, particularly on the ings, though I like the combination of Trippier and Young.

    Gareth is doing a reasonable job with a squad that very much has its limitations, but I don’t think anyone has been left at home that shouldn’t be at home.

    We really do need a playmaker, and I suppose Deli is supposed to be that player. But I gather he was carrying an injury in the last match which may account for his shortcomings. At the same time he is not a ‘general’ sort of player, like a Johnny Haynes. I think we’ve really missed that kind of player over the last few decades, mainly down to coaching I think. Grealish could be that player but he needs to raise his level somewhat to do it for England.

    Talking about coaching I’m just reading Joe Mercer’s biography – ‘Football With A Smile’. No modern coaching systems for him – it was all about nurturing natural skills. It seems he was the man that made Gerry Hitchens the more striker he became. Gerry only had one leg before Joe came along.

  42. Iang- hopping Gerry Hitchens? 🙂

    Jl – I think a few things are preventing players doing what comes natural in their own teams one being park the bus methods, we are just not used to this much possession. Stirling Ali and lingered are there to get beyond Kane only Kane is also sitting deeper. The only game that showed this properly was Tunisia who conceded early and had to come out and we stuffed them. Ali injured his groin in the first game. I think grealish mk2 would suit international football. His plus points would override his weaknesses which he’s improving.

  43. Grealish

    I so wish Jack all the best and hope he shows everyone how it should be done.

    But here we go again – selling off the crown jewels.

    Villa will never be a great club again if it persists in doing this, but it’s been going on ever since the departure of Danny Boy in 1954. That’s 64 years of waiting to see a great player fully develop within the Villa’s ranks. But we did have Gordon Cowans who, thanks to Graham Taylor, came back to do it all again.

    People seem to be now realising how good some of our players were back in the 1990s and earlier … the Ehiogs and Southgates, as well as Sid. And, boy how we now miss ’em.

  44. JL,

    But here we go again – selling off the crown jewels.

    Couldn’t agree more. Those players that come good with us are sold on when the money is tempting enough. It tells me the various owners of our club have never had deep enough pockets to establish Villa as a leading brand that attracts the best players and sponsors. Instead, we attract the opportunists and chancers who wish to make smaller amounts of money than what could be possible. These days, it takes a Li Ka Shing, Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Saudi King etc to get there.

    So for Villa, the most important and vital ingredient is to establish a coaching team who are capable of sourcing players from all parts with potential and then make them better players and improve their skill sets. Spud does not fit that job description.

  45. Plug,

    Well said, I do agree with all that, but I think we must just regard ‘Spud’ as a temporary fix (if he stays beyond this summer) for the sake of continuity – which is important right now i.m.o.

    If the owner (whoever that might be) then sets up the right structure, I am sure that Bruce will have to be replaced.

  46. Reports this morning that Sheff Urinals are interested in Hogan. Xia will sell him for peanuts in the fire sale, like Grealish.

    If he does go (Hogan) just watch them feed quick balls along the ground to him in front of goal and he’ll fill his boots with goals. What’s happening at VP is disgusting.

  47. JL,

    Totally agree with you, selling off the crown jewels did start with “Pass the hot milk” Danny Blanchflower sale to Tottenham, when we had at one point been on the point of signing Dave Mackay….Maybe Villa would have done the league and cup double in 1960/61 instead…….but this has been the tale of Villa all the way through our lives….always on the brink of something great and then fail and leave to the Spurs, Bin Dippers and Manure’s….

    This time maybe Villa have sunk too low to come back for you and me JL. Very, very sad times…

  48. PP,

    Very sad indeed. I am not giving up all hope, but it will take some great leadership on someone’s part to turn things around.

    Players we have lost, of note, since WW2 (that come to my mind):

    Ford, Blanchflower, Thompson, Hitchens, Graham, Rioch, Cowans (temporarily), S.McMahon, Walters, Yorke, Ehiogu, Southgate, S.Davis, Crouch, Barry, Young, Milner.

    Add greats like Deakin, Slogger and Withers as the slog of the 1960s took their toll.

  49. JL,

    And Hateley, Gray, Benteke and Delph. It was Hateley’s sale that brought down the board of Normansell Smith and Co. after the fans went after them in Trinity Road in their thousands.

  50. This is why Xia’s fumbling around looking for money is really going to hurt. We’ll lose a player like Grealish and still be in a considerable hole.

  51. Plug,

    Yes, Hateley did come into my head. He scored a lot of goals but I couldn’t reconcile him with the notion of being a great player! Maybe wrongly.

    Gray also I didn’t include as he left because he thought he knew better at a time when Villa were on the ‘up’. I don’t feel he was mentally right at that time!

  52. JL,

    You left out one of my favourites, Harry Burrows, sold all for the sake of a tenner a week..!!

    Some would also include Dennis Mortimer, Martin Keown, the other Andy Gray and several others, but you do have the main ones.

    Unfortunately, this mess is going to get a lot worse, before it gets better…!!

  53. Grealish – has he gone then? As I can’t find anything written about him leaving? I know that some rags were saying that spurs wanted him for £20 million but haven’t seen more than that.


  54. Villa being trimmed to the bare bones, ready to be sold as small business venture stripped of all its major assets, and the club will end renting its ground back from whichever organisation buys it.

  55. Villa Park will be ripe for the lovers of American football to buy up and use for big competitions with its motorway accessibility, and rent back to the football club.

    Just been watching highlights of Villa in 1975 at Old Trafford when we had a great team with Little, Leonard, Carrodus, Graydon, Charlie Aitken and many others….and we won with great goals from Graydon and Aitken….

  56. How about these facts…

    The QFs are being played on the 6th and 7th (July), right?

    Have you noticed that each match has team names composed of 6 and 7 letters respectively … e.g. Sweden (6) v England (7).

  57. OV,

    No, Jack has not gone yet. I think they’re trying to decide whether the xfer figure is to £29.999m or £30m!


    Good shout on Harry B…. Yes, a good player for us (and Stoke) but he sadly never rose very high. I saw him play in his one u-23 match and he did not do well at all.

  58. I think that allowing Bruce to sell to buy now could be an utter disaster, at this point we still have enough to mount a challenge if the correct style of play is identified for the players we have and thats not Bruce style in my opinion. What could potentially be a half decent team thats already here could end up as a much weaker one come next season.

  59. The letter from Dr Xia in full:

    Dear supporter,

    Firstly, I would like to thank you for your patience during what has been an uncertain period on and off the pitch for the club. Losing out on promotion to the Premier League was a disappointment to us all – not least you, the fans, whose support took us to the brink of promotion.

    I would like to apologise for the lack of communication in recent weeks. This has been largely as a consequence of the many business decisions that have been required to be taken as the implications of losing the play-off final become a reality that we must face.

    I am now in a position to provide a comprehensive update on the club’s situation in the hope that we can continue our preparation for the season ahead with renewed focus and determination.

    For the avoidance of doubt, I remain a proud and committed owner of this football club and with that accept and embrace the responsibilities to the fans, players and staff.

    In recent weeks there have been changes at senior management level and these changes have been made with the intention of establishing a focused, calculated approach.

    Of course, given the financial realities, it would be prudent of us to be open and receptive to any potential minority strategic investment that would aid our objectives to consolidate after a tumultuous summer and ultimately achieve our ambition of returning to the Premier League. We will be very selective in any discussions to ensure that the club’s best interests remain the focal point.

    Having assumed the role of acting CEO, I have been working closely with the senior management team to improve efficiency and effectiveness. A more measured approach will enable us to overcome the implications of Financial Fair Play after two years of significant investment in the football department. We need to generate sufficient revenue to ensure the smooth-running of the club without compromising the standards of this great institution.

    With that comes a reality check over performance and expectation for the season ahead but also the opportunity to work smartly in the transfer market, bring through young talent and draw on the experience of our manager.

    I have had numerous conversations with Steve Bruce in recent weeks, which only reinforced how fortunate we are to have someone of his experience and standing in the game. His leadership will be important for us on the field, as a club and as a community and I thank him for his loyalty.

    These qualities will be essential as we begin a new season with the fresh hope and expectation it inevitably brings. While we would never want to compromise our ambitions, we must however be prepared to do so in a measured and realistic manner, hence the necessary business decisions I have outlined.

    Lastly, I am aware that there are a number of stories being written about the club and to be definitive I would like it to be known that:

    1. I have not put the club up for sale

    2. I would consider minority investment stakes that bring strategic value to the club to help us achieve our goals but this will be considered extremely carefully

    3. I have not received an offer of 51%

    4. I have received an offer of 30% but we did not believe there was strategic value and we did not know the source of the money

    5. We have been approached numerous times and we have turned away numerous approaches

    6. FFP is a burden and we need to work within the defined parameters over the course of the next 12 months and beyond and as we have done in the previous 12 months

    7. To be clear, to meet FFP we need to player trade. No shareholding sale of any size will contribute to meeting FFP. We must reduce costs and increase revenue

    8. Selling any size of shareholding in the club will not aid in respect to FFP

    9. Steve Bruce remains in charge with my support

    10. There is significant football experience within our playing department and our football administration team who will be supported by the club admin team

    11. I have made significant investments into the club and all loans provided up to 31st May have now been converted into equity as part of the club’s compliance with FFP rules

    12. We are bank loan free but continue to evaluate opportunities to create sensible solutions with regards to financing as is common in most business practises

    13. The EFL have shown no concern over the ‘lack of football experience within the club’

    14. Work continues at pace at the Recon Training Complex as a result of the HS2 project

    15. Work continues on the pitch at Villa Park and is on schedule

    I would like to once again thank you for all your support.

    Dr Tony Xia

  60. It looks to me that we will be selling the best players & trading in young loans as part of any deal when we can.
    Another obstacle to the kids coming through.

  61. iang
    he can afford to sack everyone else,we are doomed to this league and maybe worse with spud in charge ,seen this on facebook,bruce doing preseason tactics right lads 10of youse behind halfway line and hoof the ball to whatever unlucky sod i play 50 yards ahead of youse

  62. JL
    And today is the 6th of the 7th, & Lerwill has 7 letters, & tomorrow is the 7th of the 7th.
    Brazil [6 letters] got beat by Belgium [7 letters].
    Tomorrow England [7 letters] play Sweden [6 letters], & Croatia [7 letters] play Russia [6 letters].
    Well if all goes to pattern Russia & Sweden will be out.
    The France [6 letters v Belgium [7 letters] – Belgium maybe in the final.
    So all is possible for us.

  63. IanG – I have deliberately stayed off this and other blogs over the last few weeks until there was something concrete from the Club. All we have had so far is paper talk and rumours and it has disappointed me that so many have constantly accepted the word of the Star, The Sun, Tweets, Facebook, etc etc as being gospel and the onset of total collapse of AVFC if not the world as we know it.

    If we believe what the Dr has written, he is saying that basically all these rumours are just that – rumours and no more. He is now cutting the cloth to suit our standing – and to my mind, what exactly has changed as of today? We have experienced players in the team, we have youth already tested and we have youth ready to be tested. Which is what most have been calling for over the last few months.

    We have a manager who is not universally liked but one who can still do a job – the job he nearly completed last season. If there was an option readily to hand who wouldn’t cost the earth and who would come to VP, then maybe we would consider him. But maybe for stablility and cost reasons, SB is the probably the best (only?) option. And the players certainly seem to play for him.

    Will we sell players? Hopefully only those who are not essential to the team and who will reduce the wage bill outgoings.

    There is a lot of hurt going around and I am certainly not immune to it. But we are where we are and nothing can change it. We can support or not support what is happening at VP, we can voice our opinions or keep quiet, there is no right or wrong in what we think or do. That is our democratic right. I just hope that the majority can continue to support our club and help it through this worst of times.

    We thought last season was the big one – I say that this season is the biggest we have faced and one that will determine the future of OUR club in every respect, our once great club.

    Sorry for sounding like Winston Churchill but we will fight them on the beaches etc , we will never surrender …..


  64. ian g
    a 16year old has played in goals for shamrock rovers in league of ireland for last 4 games kept clean sheet in all of them,saved a penalty tonight against reigning champions cork,

  65. OV,

    I think this time you’re being a tad over-confident.

    What I said some days ago was that the Villa we knew will no longer be visible in the future. And the departure of Wyness, Round and now Donachie indicate a ruthlessness settling in that is hinted at in Xia’s message.

    I will not be categorical on my vision of what is to come at this stage, but let’s just say there will be oodles of noodles. 😉

  66. IanG: “I tell you what, it’ll be a bit hairy if it’s a Russia v England semi”

    It May seem like that. Perhaps our PM may find some nerve agent to paralyse the Russian team?

  67. I’m so glad Xia wrote us a letter. I’m so relieved that everything is going to fall in place and Villa will rise from the ashes like a Phoenix. He is so forthright to the Villa masses.
    And as luck would have it I found a letter written by Xia when he was a teen.

    Dear Mr and Mrs Hong,
    Please let me take your daughter out again. I promise not to bang her on the backseat of my car again.

    Yours truly

  68. It’s points (4) and (7) of his letter that disturb me.

    Xia has refused a 30% offer which would have brought in funds to pay salaries next season. As he’s already accounted for the season ticket sales money and final parachute payment, it conveniently leaves FFP as a reason to sell the crown jewels so that he can meet the payments that the refused offer might have covered. That way, he keeps the club but stuffs the team.

    My view is that Xia has rolled the dice again. This time the chips he’s laying down is the goodwill of the fans. If the team shorn of its best players struggles (which I think it might) then fans could well turn nasty.

  69. Tony Xia’s letter seems pretty clear, in that all his loans have become equity, i.e. he has increased the number of shares in his name by the amount of the loans. This means the club is no longer in debt, and he is free to sell shares, if he cares to do so.

    He has trimmed the top end of the staff to the minimum, which means he only has to sack Bruce in January, if Villa are struggling. Donachie left, apparently, as he had a very good offer on the table from a Premiership club….maybe..

    Looks like a lot of Chinese staff will arrive eventually to run the administration of the club, and people he can trust.

    May not be all bad news, as Xia has a more hands on approach for the coming season, and works on player contracts directly.

  70. ian g
    he is that young they have no stats on website but liverpool are supposed to be watching close,plenty clips on internet of pen save last night,bruce would have heart attack if someone told him to start 16 for us

  71. Our club? in memory and emotional attachment only I’m afraid at this point.

    To me it looks like either Xia is looking to fix his tarnished reputation by sticking at it, in which case could be 5-6 + years as we sell any player with a whiff of quality about him. Can’t get a bank loan and had our overdraft withdrawn, I suppose this means we owe them nothing.

    I do wonder whether all his companies are floundering and any profits have been moved around within the group, China has lost faith with him and their banks won’t play either. Therefore he’s stuck with Villa as his last chance saloon for investment?

    My other wild swing at making sense of things is what is he waiting for? says he’d welcome investment but turned down a reasonable £30m for 30% which values the club at a £100m. This could of staved off selling Grealish and chester and given us wiggle room to have a go this season with a decent enough team if not the right manager.

    What if there is money coming our way for the loss of our training ground and the HS2’s arrival but we are still arguing how much? selling shares would set the clubs worth which may not be what he has told the HS2 people he values it at? When its all settled will he bank that money and sell having sold anything on the playing side worth having this season?

    As for the letter generally? fool me once shame on you………….


  72. So the club doesn’t make contact and gets hammered for it.
    Then the club makes contact and gets hammered for it.
    And the same things are being talked about on the blogs which are just rumours and heresay……

    …………and of course everyone knows best and is suddenly a top businessman or financial expert or football manager or whatever ……

    Social media has a lot to answer for ……. it will kill football yet ……


  73. Sorry OV didn’t you tell me the club couldn’t possibly not have a plan for not going up?

    Plenty of us outlined this scenario when the spending started, doesn’t take a genius business man to see the consequences of poorly executed overspending there are so many in this league already.

  74. Don’t be sorry MK, it’s alright really……
    Yep, I got that one wrong, no problem with that so how about the rest of what I said? And I don’t think that you “outlined this scenario” exactly or surely you would be running a successful company by now?!

    The point that I try to make is that there is so much rumour and heresay from totally unreliable sources but it seems to be believed. Sometimes it seems the more incredible the rumour with the worst news is the most believed.
    There were also people interpreting every fart the Dr and others made and coming up with all sorts of weird analysis – the Dr once made a comment (in the past couple of months) and someone on here or another blog interpreted it as meaning that SB will be sacked in two weeks … and the reasoning behind it was that this person understood business! Hmmmmm……
    And for your information, I ran a successful company for 21 years before we sold up ………

    Maybe it will all turn totally belly up but at this moment in time we have lost our loanees, lost three top staff (who some on here were saying should go months ago) and that’s about the facts of the matter. Except for the rumours. No-one knows how bad things are and we can only hope that the paper talk is wide of the mark to some extent.

    Anyway England to win 3-1 and then all start praying that Croatia beat the Russkies. I don’t want our fans to have to face the Russians in the semis – unless the Govt allow our 3,000 banned lads to travel 🙂

    Yours showing the colours in Switzerland …..

  75. OV
    We all have a view mate, just none of us know what he is doing for real, therefore the pain reactions.
    Also as Mark said, you don’t have to be a genius to see the bulls**t, & the fact that he screwed up.

    For me, my bulls**t meter has been in for a service as it’s getting a lot of use, with the likelihood of more to come.

    The other point is that you can be a genius & not be successful at any given time, as it’s not an exact science, & anyway we learn more through the trials & tribulations of everything going pear shaped, than one ever does by being successful, which [& no insult intended] is only marginally under our control & is not what it’s made out to be.
    What was that about camels & eyes of needles?

    To be truly successful is to be fully human!
    Thankfully there are one or two on this blog.

  76. Well…at least he said something even if he didn’t say anything.

    Good thoughts in response, as per usual..and nice to see you, OV (to see you, nice).

    Now come on England. Give us something to cheer about.

  77. OV – it would be a bit much v russkis without the bad boys
    Could do with a bit of swede bashing.
    ps: I can talk english as well, we all had to at one time, which is probably why I talk babble now.

  78. can imagine spud in portugal,dont worry lads to youth players i signed maguire for hull and never played him so there is hope for use when i am sacked

  79. England in the semis???? Didn’t see that coming. Well done Southgate. He trusts the kids unlike someone in Portugal eh JG?

    IanG, I bet your bulls**t meter is off the scale right now.

  80. ian g
    funny when you get a manager who trusts players not needing to go back in time for someone who was good 5/10 years ago,pep got slaughtered for dumping hart hasnt done southgate any harm,

  81. MK: “Plenty of us outlined this scenario when the spending started, doesn’t take a genius business man to see the consequences of poorly executed overspending there are so many in this league already.”

    Sorry that’s a fallacy when we didn’t know what the Doc’s limitations on spending wee when he started. If we knew that he was going to go nearly belly-up then you’d have a fair point, but the impression given was that he was the money king.

  82. Plug
    Just ticking over mate, waiting for the next input, but the babble meter is off the scale.

    None of us saw it coming, but they seem to be peaking at the right time for a semi final.
    Now going to watch who the opponents are going to be

  83. JL- Really? its not a fallacy that FFP exists. so calling for a rebuild that was based on youth and carefully chosen buys over more than 1 season was what exactly? knowing that FFP is actually real. As it turned out the Doc had no money or we would probably be Recon park by now, we are not, doesn’t change the rules.

    And Sterling? look beyond your prejudices mate, be happy that the team is winning deservedly…., emphasis on the team.

    OV- So getting that one wrong means business is not so straight forward maybe? Clearly those in charge are not that good or are yet to have that moment that makes them successful? I know about your business expertise you’ve told me before, congrats contact Xia he clearly needs you.

  84. MK,

    Yes, really! You and I had no idea what the real business/financial situation was when the Xia enterprise started rolling – we’re not au fait with all that. All we do is make guesses.

    And, yes, I like the idea of OV being given a job at VP! 😉 Except that OV would not leave his seat in the Alps, I’m sure!

  85. MK,

    Well b****y nonsense you do spout sometimes (re: Sterling and “prehudices”)!

    Sterling does have very little to offer except for his club ***in my opinion****.

    Wait when he gets older and slows down. Unless he learns something in his career he’ll soon drop out of the limelight.

    That fact is that over and over again he misses goal chances – despite the number he has scored at club level.

    England would do as well or better without him in the team ***in my opinion****. I think that Vardy would be a more beneficial option.

    But it’s all opinions.

  86. The Mirror doesn’t seem to approve of football teams outside of London & Manchester, but it’s a first that they seem to rabidly attack our club.
    Don’t forget they own the clickbait machine called The ‘Birmingham Evening Mail, which also regularly shows anti Villa bias & out of date news.

    I am waiting for some actual activity or process to come about rather than verbiage, so am not having a go at anyone too much while the world cup is here to distract us, including Bruce, as I’ve already made my views clear on that front, & nothing has changed there, except that he is now being held up as the epitome of villa stability [cue laughter & sleep].

  87. JC
    Dele Ali seems to have remembered that he used to know how to play football, so maybe he’ll infect Sterling so he actually scores a goal.
    But Sterling does stop their defence from coming forward too much, as he is a threat [if he remembers how to put the ball in the net], & can pretend to get in goal scoring positions that makes the opposition nervous & he does draw a lot of fouls.
    Unfortunately Vardy appears to be injured, but I’m sure Rashford could play that position ok.

  88. IanG…

    Totally agree about Sterling’s effect. He was in the right place so many times. Fluffed his lines, but the abuse was good-natured. A lot of happy people who really didn’t know what to do with themselves.

  89. JC
    Thanks for writing another great leader. Aye, Chaos sounds about right, looks like they’ve had Maxwell Smart on the job.
    Villa aside, it’s good to see England doing well in Russia.

  90. JL- Countless times I have expressed concern about our wage bill being way above our money generated and that my friend is a massive FFP problem regardless of Xias wealth. It was a Problem before the sale, so there was more than a wish to see Villa rebuilt on solid ground I fear it was more a necessity.

    From what you have described above JL you could be talking about Gabby eh?

    Sterling? not my favourite by a long shot but the keeper pulled off some great saves too against him. He suits what we are trying to do and I trust Southgates judgement on the matter. He is only 23 though and when he scores the winner in the world cup final it will all be forgotten 🙂

  91. IanG: “Agree with Mark, that be glad we’re winning.”

    Don’t you start! The issue about Sterling is a separate issue. Just talking about one player – not the whole issue of their win.

    Am I being censored now?

  92. HC,

    Anyone can gallop and look like a racehorse if they have those genes! 😉

    That doesn’t make him a footballer despite whatever irritation he gives opponents. The thing is there’s rarely any product from him.

    In fact I was never very happy with Tony Daley but in comparison I think I’d prefer him!

  93. MK,

    Well, there go – there’s the reason why I ‘retired’. Better for me to stay off this and let you lot say what you want without interruption.

  94. MK,

    “Banter” to me is quite different. You put forward serious views and when I respond you call it “banter”. That’s a cop out.

    Frankly I’ve never had this sort of problem with anyone on blogs before (in 20 years) except Heroes and Villains) and I wouldn’t now touch them with a beanpole.

    Carry on regardless, MK, I’m sure you’re enjoying yourself.

    My *final* last word. No more from me.

  95. Jl – problem from? Whatever mate. Even you have to see the irony of pointing out the negatives when we have just made the semi finals? considering your recent lectures on positivity and calls for censorship of the negative it tickles me 🙂 no harm meant

  96. Well done England – now which side will the Ruskies cheer on in the semi?

    I was always a keen observer of the effects of players without the ball creating creative movement in the opposition, something not always apparent in the pictures relayed on TV. However, I was suitably impressed with the running off the ball from Jesse Lingard – I call him Mr Duracell as he keeps on running even when all the rest are knackered!
    Kane went missing in this game but that might mean he makes a miraculous entry in the semi.

  97. Clive- I can’t get over the difference in our team since qualifying . So brave of Southgate to change tactics with so little time with his team, the back three is paying dividends. Proud of them whatever happens next, a real team with good movement at last.

  98. MK – “Jl – problem from? Whatever mate. Even you have to see the irony of pointing out the negatives when we have just made the semi finals?”

    A bit like you and others pointing out negatives when the Villa reach the play-off final.

    Pot …… kettle ……


  99. JL
    Don’t have a mardi mate.
    I was talking for myself, just trying to be positive, not trying to relive yesterday.
    Wouldn’t be the same without you.

  100. OV- isn’t it just other than we looked nowhere near as professional and organised with a solid plan, kinda the point I was making there’s not much to moan at villa? Plenty

  101. MK – “kinda the point I was making there’s not much to moan at villa? Plenty”
    Especially when you reach the pay-off final eh? Which was my point and my only point for you to answer ….. without diversions into other areas ….

    IanG – I enjoyed both the game and the result. I thought we did the job well and in every game we are looking better and more like a TEAM. And one that works for each other and understands how each other plays. It could be that the best is yet to come ……….. but we’ve been here before haven’t we? I’ll enjoy it whilst it lasts ……


  102. OV
    Pretty much agree, except we actually haven’t been in this position for 28 years apparently, & the game stuttered a lot so wasn’t exactly an exhibition.
    But I too look forward to Wednesday & hope it continues.

  103. Clive E
    Yes, who will the Russians support?
    We haven’t exactly had a lot of supporters in the stadiums so far, maybe that will change a little for Wednesday, & we haven’t upset the locals where we’ve played so far as far as I know, but we will see the proof of the pudding on Wednesday.
    It was a great atmosphere against Croatia, so if that continues without it getting nasty, then I can live with that & hope the team can.

  104. As we’ve got 3 days to go…
    Apparently Liverpool don’t rate Jack!
    Bit of sour grapes if true.
    The media seems to be on a well over the top search & destroy mission concerning the Villa.

  105. Can’t see there being any trouble as Putin apparently told the mobs to behave or else. If you look at the crowds there doesn’t appear to be any hard core looking types there. Can’t see Croatia being popular but who knows we do attract a fair bit of hatred.

    Heard we need to make £75m thats what is being bandied about, maybe the offers of £30m come with stipulations we can’t sell the crown jewels? who knows fed up to the back teeth with it, whats even more shocking is the kick off is less than a month away.

  106. Dear, dear boys….upsetting my dear old friend JL again. I just cannot take a few days off without something happening….

    Personally, I really enjoyed the game, and totally applaud Southgate for his team selection, tactics and the final result. I am sure there are Germans, Spaniards and many others wish that he had been doing it for them….!!!

    Sterling, I thought was tremendous, working hard, harrying their defence, and putting them on the ropes. The only thing he failed to do was score, but Southgate had picked a team which did score, and very nice goals too..!! Then at the right moments he brought on the right subs for the job.

    Give praise where it is due, and especially for an ex-Villan, because until no he has not had a huge amount from our press…!!!

  107. even we sell grealish for 30m ,we will only get whatever lenght of contract percent of transfer fee,so assuming 5 years we will only get 6m unless doc gives big discount for rest

  108. Paul Dear, dear boys….upsetting my dear old friend JL again. I just cannot take a few days off without something happening…
    Hear hear – this forum is a pleasure to visit when the views of others are listened to and maybe debated without any rancour; that occurrence grows at times when the Villa is in trouble.
    You only have to compare the remarks about England that are greeted with consensus by all and compare them with the remarks about Villa.
    I visit this forum less often these days as it is not as not as pleasurable as it used to be in the days of Steamer’s repartee and the camaraderie that existed amongst the members, many of whom would never meet.
    Anyway, I have been a Villa supporter for 63 years from the days when rumour had it 10,000 would turn up to see the shirts drying on the line. I follow the principle of VTID but would like to see constructive discussion instead of some of what has been here recently.
    Sermon over, up the Villa whatever happens and come on England

  109. Came across this its Steve Bruce on Harry Maguire, funny thing is when you scroll down to the comments section you see remarks from Hull city fans that state Bruce loaned him out regardless of 150 senior games, played his son Alex instead and barely gave harry a look in Hull selling him after he got frustrated with no game time.

    “I first came about him when Stan Ternent our chief scout at Hull said we must go have a look at this young kid who is playing centre half at Sheffield United for the last two or three years. By the time he was 21 he had something like 150 appearances under his belt,” Bruce told Radio 5 Live.

    “We drew them in the semi-final of the FA Cup and he strode around Wembley and caused us all sorts of problems. He was so composed with the way he handled the ball and stepped out of defence.

    “We had to be a little bit patient with him of course. He was a fantastic lad, a great lad who always wants to do well and I couldn’t be more delighted for the boy.”

    Comments from Hull fans:

    “Take the credit Steve for signing him but not for playing him. Too often played his own lad instead of Harry.”

    “Bruce clearly forgot to mention how he wouldn’t give him a starting spot for months and left him in the dressing room when we lost vital games.
    Selective memory. ”

    “And sent him on loan to Wigan, because despite around 150 games and captaining Sheff Utd, he considered him one for the future. Well he was right about that, but it was a pity Bruce had to leave before Maguire got a look in, and by then the damage was done in terms of Maguire’s desire to get away”

    Bruce at this moment is casting his eye over the U23’s in Portugal I just hope he isn’t given the power to sell them.

  110. Xia’s handling of the club since he purchased it has followed very closely to the actions of Lerner who also threw money at an attempt to gain a prize before pulling the plug and giving us years of attrition that included selling the crown jewels before eventual sale.

    Hopefully the years of attrition which I’m expecting won’t seem quite as bad as previously due to the fact that we’re in a lower division. Hopefully.

  111. Plug – difference being Lerner actually had the funds and premiership money, Xia never had either and bet the clubs future on a coin flip.

  112. Ok Mark as you said “kinda the point I was making there’s not much to moan at villa? Plenty”

    So you continue moaning like you have for the last couple of days (no doubt you will find issues with the new kit?) and being 100% correct in everything you say – if anyone else dares to contradict you then out come the winking smillies and the prevaricating replies trying to change the subject.

    I’ll leave you to your total despair at everything AVFC related and join the others who have left this blog. And yes, as per JL, this is my final *final* appearance on here.

  113. At least the kit’s good.
    So if this continues without a positive resolution from Xia, we will look good in division 1.
    I’m bored with the bickering, where is the humour?
    Must be the heat

  114. This site has got more resignations than Theresa May’s cabinet…

    but are our remainers, remainers or brexiteers….!!!!

    I agree there seems to be a complete lack of humour here, which is what you need, to be a Villa fan for the last six years at least, cos we have had some great comedy shows and circuses up to now, and even Blue Noses are being kind and sympathetic these days….!!!!

  115. Most people seem to like the kit, I’m not particularly fussed either way as we have more problems than our apparel at the moment. Saw this on TVB though, posted by our mate Archie that pops in on here every now and then, normally he’s upbeat 🙂

    Archie • 2 hours ago
    Last time we had a kit that design, all claret, no blue sleeves, Tommy Docherty was manager 1969
    Outcome, Tom sacked at xmas vic Crowe takes over and we revert to tradition Villa shirt, Villa relegated to the old div three.
    So no the kits cr@p.

  116. What wanker Bruce is. Look at his interview on sky sports. He’s told clubs how much of the s**t we are in. We won’t get full value for our players now

    He wants the sack. You can tell

  117. Listened to Bruce’s interview on the official site, and now I am certain that we have very little to look forward to, apart from selling off anybody and everybody, buying an assortment of journeymen, and maybe scraping the odd win.

    Maybe this term’s season ticket may gather some dust from time to time…..

  118. Well lads, have been following the stories and banter on here but to be honest, too pi$$ed at what’s happening to my club to put up any thing close to constructive opinions, but I think that’s what I’m seeing between some of you guys. The passion is so high that some stuff is being said, that makes sense if i interpret one way, and sounds condescending when i read it from the other perspective.
    Similar thing with Sterling, yes right now it looks like he couldn’t score in a house of disrepute, but he he’s making space, getting into some great spaces and believe me, when he gets that monkey off his back “look out”. I am saying this as a fan that couldn’t stand the little tool at Liverpool, but i’ve got him for a brace Wednesday, with an each way bet on a brace or hat trick. i really feel “when he gets one he’ll get more” now there’s a song from the Holte in my days, with the second verse going “once we get one we’ll get four” Anyway, my boss just approved my day off for Wednesday, so I can go to a bar with my lads and really enjoy this one, i was on call Saturday and had to restrict myself to a single pint with all this new point 005 BS, at least at point 008 or what ever it was i new a drink an hour if nibbling something as well, i would never blow over. Soon it’ll be zero tolerance and all the restaurants will go the same way as our Villa.
    Up Schits creek without a paddle.

  119. Hi Canadian Villan, yep we are all rightly p*ssed off and after that video of Steve Bruce rubbing ears eyes and pretty much every body language sign that he’s lying I’m even more dubious about the future, after the many times we heard FFP is tight but we have it under control from Wyness etc its now clear they never did, I hate the whole shower of s**t, they have shafted the club and now ask us to be realistic Cnuts.

  120. Appears to me whatever happens we are either going to lose our best players and pass FFP, or not lose them and the club is fined and deducted points, or we sell the players but its not enough to avoid sanctions. all in all a clusterfuck of incredible proportions

  121. Couple of thoughts…

    You’re a lovely bunch of lads, don’t fall out. You know each other too well by now. Every button you can push, and so on.

    So, c’mon…we all need each other more than ever now.

  122. And the second…

    I did some digging on FFP, spent hours coming up with some scenarios. And it is confusing. I came away with the conclusion that we might not “have” to sell Jack. But obviously he’s going to bring in more money than anyone else.

    However, when I do run through my own take on all the numbers and reality of FFP, it’s just a simple fact that every club will know that we have sell players, and the ones with any value are the ones we don’t want to leave.

    I did see a £40m-£50m penalty mentioned. An owner can also put in £30m to cover losses in a three-year period. I don’t know if that’s the purpose of seeking investment for curiously round about that much money.

    A points deduction? If we kept a semi-loaded team with Grealish and Chester…I dunno. Worse than our start last year?

  123. I personally think they’re trying to break our spirit a la brexit, so they can arrange things to suit their pockets & world view.
    Oh well time for a peasant’s uprising maybe

  124. I hope France lose tonight, they’re bad enough due to normally being same as collaborators, but if they won the world cup they’d be beyond irritating.

  125. IanG- I think France have arranged to win it this year with Germany.

    JC- Going on Bruces performance yesterday and last august with a diminished squad? we would be lucky to scrape 40 points if we get deducted any. When he was asked how the trainings going he was scratching his bonce like he had fleas. Three youths injured already?! all ankle? might be the pitch.

    The only Buttons I know is in panto.

  126. Quoting Bruce from the OS

    “But the ambition will always remain the same, because we’re Aston Villa. We’ve got to try and mount a challenge if we can. Obviously it’s going to be far more difficult than it was last year but we’ve got to go with the same mindset.”

    Can we stop with this mounting a challenge cr*p, some supporters may still think we are a big club but we are not and it pains me to say it. In Dr.Ts and now Bruce’s efforts to allege we were all guilty of expecting too much, can we now have a little more realism again from the board and mgmt (whoever is left) that dictates that we are going to build a team for the long term return of the club to the prem, a team with some additions on promotion could achieve stability in the prem, similar to Bournemouth for example. At that point maybe we can lose the run of ourselves and spend bigger on players but right now we have to be run on a shoestring and having being run on a shoestring under Lerner we all know that doesn’t mean challenging at the top.

    Hi Ian G

    I love this quote from you above

    I hope France lose tonight, they’re bad enough due to normally being same as collaborators, but if they won the world cup they’d be beyond irritating.

    I’ve seen little of French people harking back to 1998 in the same way England fans hark back to 1966, I understand the pride from being a WC winner, i’d love to be able to feel it alas qualification is as good as it gets and the joy of 1990’s quarter final v Italy, it maybe due to proximity to England but irritation levels between England and France doesn’t compare.

    For me I don’t care who wins it as my country didn’t make it but c’est la vie, mes amis, COME ON CROATIA 🙂

  127. DOR- Oh why did we all sign and send that letter to Xia and Bruce to overspend and ruin the club? what a bunch of silly puddings we have been, Buying kits and tickets etc forcing the club into a corner to spend it, shame on us.

    One question, why are the English so stupid that they want Ireland to do well? we even lend you our players 🙂

  128. We lend you our sons and grandsons as well 🙂 Kane, Maguire, Cahill, Rooney, Grealish if/when he makes it, all could have played for Ireland 🙂

    England want Ireland to do well out of historical guilt LOL

  129. Actually MK, why does England want another country to do well? You don’t at media level anyway want the Scots to do well, always wondered why the ‘soft spot’ is directed our way and not other countries within Britain or UK.

  130. DOR
    ‘always wondered why the ‘soft spot’ is directed our way and not other countries within Britain or UK’

    Probably because your chip is mostly softer & less vocal than the Scots & the Welsh.

    I qualify to play for Ireland from my Granddad, but being 70 this year I don’t think they’d be interested.
    Don’t say I didn’t offer.
    I think half of Birmingham would qualify to play for Ireland

  131. JC,

    “And it is confusing. I came away with the conclusion that we might not “have” to sell Jack.”

    Of course we have to sell Jack. How else are next seasons salaries going to be paid?

  132. DOR
    20 years ago I was in Normandy, was asking directions, & found out that there was still a lot of angst & resentment against the British about the 100 years war, before France actually existed as such.
    The Normans came from there & then exported it back & in every direction.
    The establishment are still basically the same mob.
    The rest of us are Celtic & Saxon & from further afield, & true to form we’re still getting shafted.

  133. DOR,

    It’s getting a bit tight now for the ABE’s eh? They are beginning to sweat. England are uncomfortably close.

    In the event that we do manage to win it, we’ll be having 2 parties. The first to celebrate the success and then a second one to celebrate the misery of all ABE’s north and west of our borders. 🙂

  134. Plug
    “And it is confusing. I came away with the conclusion that we might not “have” to sell Jack.”

    Of course we’re going to sell Jack, where else are we going to blame for what’s to come

  135. Yeh I’m running out of teams to support 🙂 Croatia and one of France/Belgium

    Seriously, I’ve never seen an England team so calm when it is about to make history, the togetherness is there for all to see and full credit to Southgate and Holland for delivering tactics that work. They’ve had the luck of the draw both in qualifiers and group but why not finally have a bit of luck

    With a tinge of jealousy, I wish we had the stature in world football that would say to the likes of Grealish, Kane, Maguire that they’d like to pull on the green for all the right reasons and not think of England but I can only support who plays for us so best of luck to them.

    Ian, don’t hang up those boots just yet, if Whelan can get a game there is hope for all of us. As for Ireland we have some very good underage players coming thru, wish we’d go all out and fight for Callum O’Hare though.

  136. DOR- I think its because there is no pretence from the welsh and scots they hate us properly 🙂 As for England winning the cup the blood lines are so mixed half of Europe might as well celebrate. Anyway why pick on people that dislike us when we can destroy ourselves or Stirling? Built in self hatreds the way.

    I think everyone is amazed at the team we have produced, incredible really, I thought 1/4’s but who knows now? Its gone Our way but we have had to battle for it too.

    IanG- Bloody sneaky Scandinavian French are the worst, they couldn’t conquer us on there own so they paired up with the back stabbers.

  137. DOR- Thats about right but Ohare is still injured after last seasons Kickings in the stiffs.

    Reality is we have no idea who will be here until the vultures stop circling. that alone will severely hamper any chance of grabbing frees and bargains when we don’t know the wage bill, it may be we can only get rid of players and still be running at to high a wage bill to afford Jack on loan. The likes of Richards may have to play, if not the entire U23’s

  138. There’s 4 players flying back from Portugal with twisted ankles etc, 2 of them the U23s.
    What are they doing to them?
    Then there’s o’hare, Hogan +++ whoever, we will be down to bare bones for the start to the season with this & if all the other players mentioned are sold.

  139. IanG- you wanted more humour mate 🙂

    Heres an open question, is or are there any players at Villa that absolutely wont be sold or are not up for sale, Richards doesn’t count.

    My take on it: None, Nadda, Zero. For me it begs a second question how we can field a team as with all the loan players etc gone we can’t cover some positions? so if more go and we can’t buy I don’t think the league will be happy, nor us.

  140. Mark
    What will happen will possibly be very different from what we see now, so to a degree I think there’s no choice but to try & balance between looking the stark reality of what we see now while leaving space for something positive to hopefully appear.
    The main thing is for us not to go into freefall.
    For me, humour allows me to look the worst in the eye, yet see the surreal quality of what is quite unbelievable really.

  141. IanG- Don’t know if it comes across (probably not) but thats my default these days and probably for all the previous ones. Unfortunately its a real possibility we could do a number of nasty things, does the club and fans deserve that? no, the owner defo. As per I will back us when we play (if we do). What will the team look like this season? they’ll be in Claret and Blue mostly.

    DOR- we will sell him.

  142. dor
    hutton will he never leave
    last match he left gap for fulham goal and we reward him wiith another contract even tho we had bree elmo delaet already at club ,who is doing the maths 2 rbis more than ample but 4 must be just like when bruce goes for a takeaway

  143. jc
    saved him moving house,we have no money yet hand out wage for a 4th rb where is sense in that,not like we can sell him for profit ,no keeper 1 lb ,2 centre halfs yet we splash out on 4th fb

  144. JG,

    He might very well end up being our left back. Think De Laet might be off (haven’t seen an update on that move in a little while), leaving Elmo and Bree at RB, and Taylor and Hutton at LB.

    And who knows…Maybe Taylor can or will be sold? Really anyone’s guess at the moment.

  145. So France through 1-0 thought they’d get there so no shock, if we make it Mbappe is going to be a royal pain in the arris. Belgium had chances and played ok but France very strong at the back and Lukaku does what he always does in big games, not much. If we make it through it will be tough for us but lost 3-2 in Paris last June wasn’t our finest performance but we are much improved and playing in a formation that suits.

    I suppose if we make it to the fnal and win its against yet another old enemy, we can make a new song up about one world cup and several hundred wars 🙂

  146. so our great [not] leader decides not to take ross to training camp,another stupid decision by our board to allow bruce to write of a player ,its not like we are going to be able to sell ross after bruce media hatchet job

  147. JG,

    Ross? I dunno. On the face of it, maybe cutting off your nose to spite your face. On the other hand, maybe he’s a bad influence. No idea. Maybe there’s a deal in the works? (I know)

    I imagine we’ll be stuck with him, and probably were going to be anyway. Another loan deal might be the only way to save some money on wages. But I have no idea who’d want him.

  148. IanG,

    Yeah, we may just end up playing the kids if we can offload players. What’s gutting is that we’ll end up with players we don’t need, like Taylor and Lansbury, or sell them for peanuts if they can be sold.

  149. jc
    could he be any worse than gabby who bruce let back into squad
    when i think back to rdm games in charge and if he had slight bit of luck we wouldnt got spud in charge ,

  150. Yes well done England, could of easily won but thats the fine margins at this stage, got to put the chances away. Don’t think the ref gave us much as he could but our lot looked tired, not enough depth yet.

  151. Ran out of steam, lack of mental toughness in the end, it became men against boys, we also lack quality strength in depth.
    They will learn a lot from this.
    Noticed that VAR has had nearly a week off from doing it’s job after starting so well.
    Not a good ref for a semi final of anything, whoever won.

  152. No complaints from me about the result. It was our first half but second half and extra time was all Croatia. I thought they covered much more ground than us. Must say I thought Young couldn’t raise a gallop all game.

    But reaching the semis was not in the script so I’m delighted with that. It was one of our better World Cups.

  153. Not a bad showing overall, by any means.

    But today underscored the importance of having a Milner in your squad. Even if he’s only there to play 15-20mins, you need that sort of player. Substitute with a younger version as you like.

    I do think things are teed up nicely for this group, but there needs to be more bite and combativeness to be called upon. Likewise, experience/leadership.

    They did well, they’re only young, but a bit more guile, please.

  154. Independent opinion and similar to above, fine margins but clearly the bench lacks depth as there’s no game changers when England could have done with fresh legs that impacted the game, Vardy,Dier, Rashford are not those players.

    Great to get to a semi but looking at the age profile, there’s a nucleus of a squad that will get better for this and will continue to challenge at the top end of international football, your underage teams are winning, the future is bright for England imo.

    Also, couldn’t live with Football’s Coming Home for another second, so thank Paul McGrath for that 🙂

  155. Could of done with Jack Grealish, and by the euro’s we will likely see him, especially if he goes to Spurs. At least with Southgate he won’t stick with favourites if they don’t perform. As more youngsters develop and come through we will have that core of older heads + youth.

    I do think it will be a long time until we see a path to the world cup final that looked so easy compared to the other.

    Come on Croatia prove me wrong even though your a bunch of fouling buggers and the refs your cousin from turkey 🙂

  156. I think I heard one commentator say that most of that team had played lower league football in the last 3-4 years (loans etc) and virtually none bar the city lads (man and leic) had won a thing in domestic football. A wake up call for Villa perhaps?

  157. Don’t know if your all aware of the changes in the transfer window this time out but it now closes the window for permanent transfers on Thursday, August 9, 2018, at 5pm. 1st game is on the 6th of Aug, after the 9th we cannot sign players, only loans and Free’s. As our players are likely to be sold close to window end this leaves us with little time to do much at all although I suspect there will be no buys as such and even Loans are doubtful.

    “When does the transfer window officially close?
    EFL clubs came to an agreement in February to close the window for permanent transfers on Thursday, August 9, 2018, at 5pm.

    That is aligned with the decision the Premier League opted to take in September 2017.

    How about the loan market?
    Championship, League One and League Two clubs are still able to:

    Sign players on standard loan deals up to August 31.
    Sign players on standard loan deals up to August 31 with an option to complete a permanent transfer when the next window opens.
    Register players who are not registered with a club during the period up until August 31.
    Transfer players out to a club in any league whose window is still open.”

  158. MK, Can’t see us getting anything in the way of players via the loan market due to the state of finances. The only loans Xia is taking are bank ones. The latest being a loan taken out on the security of the staff car park in Brookvale Road.

  159. Plug- Yes mate August could see us lose a lot of players depending on the money we can get for each one and the consequent drop in wages, I’m sure they have an idea of what the safety line is (although they are that s**t they might not) we will be trying to pick up Frees to plug gaps for all of Aug.

    Can’t imagine we will be offering more than a years contract though and some we will likely be out bid on wage too. whats worrying is if clubs drag things out we could end up with a totally disjointed squad and forced into playing the kids rather than a select few due to lack of options in some positions.

  160. Rob Bishop

    Jul 12
    7 days to deadline. If you would like your name included in Euros & Villans, pre-order by next Friday at http://paypal.me/eurovilla . The book is a limited edition of 1982 numbered copies. £22 inc UK p/p, £30 Europe, £35 worldwide #AVFC

  161. Anyone else had problems posting comments? I’ve had several comments not showing on the thread after posting.

    Being smart didn’t help. I’ve tried copying and then pasting the comment again only to get a message that the comment had already been posted. Any advice JC?

  162. Xia has flown into UK. Something must be happening. This week could be interesting on the sales front. Anything from a player(s) to the entire club could be sold.

  163. Another Irish Villan for the future – Tyreik Wright, plays U17 for Ireland and just signed scholar contract (basically pre-professional because of his age)

  164. New post finally up…I’ve spent several days trying to do some math of my own, so if you see any holes, please go ahead and point them out.

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