Never a dull day being as Aston Villa supporter. Unless you count match days under Alex McLeish. Just kidding, Alex. You’re not alone. Most would throw Steve Bruce and Paul Lambert in there as well.

But whatever the football has been like since we flirted around with the big boys under Martin O’Neill in Lerner’s early days, the off-the-field action had been truly spectacular at Villa in recent years. Starting with MON’s walkout.

This summer’s latest installment of Turmoil Villa Style has perhaps been the most incredible episode to date. Just when it looked to be a tragic tale of epic proportions as we discovered how helpless Messiah Tony was in taking Villa forward after his massive gamble failed, Villa get new owners in almost out of the blue.

What it all means is far from clear, of course. We know that Villa now have the cash to pay the bills, and that FFP problems still hang over the club. Beyond that? Still anyone’s guess, and we’re all waiting for Tuesday’s likely revelations.

Nuts and Bolts: Grealish and Chester
Opinions will vary on how important it is that he stay, but obviously Jack Grealish’s future has been center stage in the drama for a number of reasons: true claret-and-blue raised up in the club, once mercurial and wayward talent, and now emerging star who’s grown into a man, finally, before our eyes. There’s a lot of sentiment around Jack given how many quality players Villa have lost and never replaced over the last several years. Most everyone sees a potential Villa legend in him. Seeing him go because of financial mismanagement would be painful, though no one begrudges him the chance to grow and claim a place among England’s elite players.

As I’d expected, Grealish and Chester have been taken off the table for the moment as the new owners no doubt bring in their own sports-finance wizards to sort through the players, contracts, and possibilities. While we don’t know the exact size of the FFP hole, they surely do. Sending Ross to Sunderland would be a great first step, though cutting down his presence on the books is obviously just a small part of the solution.

They may well have have sorted through the mess already, because they’ve had the one thing we don’t (besides lots of money): a true understanding of Villa’s FFP situation. It’s not that complicated in the end, it’s just that the most current finances could only be speculated on by outsiders.

So right now, Villa don’t need to take Levy’s offer for Grealish, or Stoke’s bid for Chester. It may well be inevitable that the two depart, but at least they won’t be leaving just to keep the lights on and the creditors at bay.

Instead, whether they leave or not more properly will be a function of their value to Villa in the big picture. This calculation will obviously reveal the new owners’ appraisal of the club’s promotion chances—which is ultimately a financial decision, because that’s where the money is. Do they think Villa can get back up this next season if they can somehow find a way to hang onto key players?

Or will they decide it’s a fool’s errand and that it’s simply untenable to hold on to either player and delay a more considered and inevitable rebuild? Which is to say, Villa may well get better faster by clearing the books. Though it’s always hard to think you’ll get better when your two best players go just to even the books. It would be different if we got £40m for Jack and could put it all into buying half a team.

For Edens and Sawiris, Villa can afford a different way of thinking because they have the money to be a little more disciplined and patient than either Lerner or Xia. As various bits of digging have revealed, Edens has implemented a sustainable model with his NBA franchise. He’s also been very focused on commercial development that complements the Buck’s new arena, and if he can do that around Villa Park, it ultimately will end up improving Villa’s bottom line, add something to the city and raise the club’s stature and game-day experience. But that won’t happen overnight.

If it’s me, I’d start the math from the premise that I’d like to hold onto Jack for one more year, provided he’s willing. He’s a rare player who’s only just realizing his potential—it’s not often a Championship club has a number 10 that would’ve looked at home in the World Cup squad. He’s obviously the kind of player you build a team around. He keeps the feel-good factor going, can put bums in seats, gives Villa genuine quality in the middle of the park, and is tailor-made for exciting football. To my mind, there’s no reason Gareth Southgate shouldn’t be including him in the England set-up for a few sessions to see if he can cut it at the next level. If he’s good enough, he’s good enough. It’s blinkered thinking to believe only Premier League players can be in the squad. Plenty of teams this summer had players from all sorts of leagues looking better than England.

For his part, I think Chester is more expendable as wonderful as he’s been. However, if Bruce is going to play a 3-5-2, a worthy replacement becomes rather important. I think De Laet and Bree have futures, and Hutton still has some running in him. Elphick? He’s not bad, but I would worry about him playing in so much space, presumably as the anchor in the middle. But if Chester going means Jack can stay? I’d say it’s harder to find another No. 10 than a solid CB.

We’ll soon see. If Grealish and/or Chester go now, it will be for the right reasons, part of a reality-based plan, and I think a subsequent rebuild finally will be done the right way.

Bruce, Henry, and Terry
Rumors of John Terry returning, and perhaps even Josh Onomah (through a very thin line of speculation), are now fluttering up, but Villa don’t have the leeway to take on wages at the moment. I wouldn’t mind seeing Terry join the coaching staff, however.

But perhaps the most important question is whether Steve Bruce stays. To be honest, I really don’t mind the idea of seeing Thierry Henry on the touchline instead of Bruce, as ludicrous as that rumor might be. The finances are one thing…They’re just numbers. The real trick going forward is getting in the right man to shape the squad, someone who can do something besides throw money at the problem.

That’s how we’ve gotten into this mess twice now. The good news is that there is no way to throw money at the problem.

So, is Bruce the man to reshape Villa without a war chest? I’ll say that given the stage of preparations and the season’s start just around the corner, Bruce obviously represents stability and continuity that could be vital. Especially given that Grealish and/or Chester’s departures would be rather abrupt, and they’ve featured in Bruce’s preseason so far. Which is either a good sign, wishful thinking, or a belief that you conduct business as usual until you know differently. Not sitting Jack and Chester could also be posturing for negotiations.

On the other hand, Bruce is not one we’d generally consider a developmental manager. And while we still don’t know the scope of development Villa will be looking at, Bruce’s seeming inability to put the parts together has been a sticking point for many. One clear example is not having Birkir Bjarnason in the side as a nailed-on starter.

I like Bruce. I like that he’s stayed on through the turmoil and kept things moving. He’s got plenty of money, so it’s not about paying the mortgage. I do think he genuinely cares, even if he’s not the most astute or progressive manager, and he’s endured a lot. Him staying wouldn’t be the worst thing, and he can work a good loan or two.

However, Bruce staying might not be the best thing as we’ve seen his tactical limitations. While Henry has very little managerial experience, he has been around Wenger, is a highly respected world-class presence, and seems poised and intelligent. You’d like to think he’d he could get the players onside and also bring good football to Villa. If Grealish were to stay, you’d also think he’d benefit as much from rubbing shoulders with Henry as he did with Terry.

But, yes, Henry might well end up being Di Matteo 2.0. Without the money. If the owners want change, there are far less risky options out there with more established pedigrees. Henry could be a masterstroke, could be a disaster.

Final Verdict
Overall I’m optimistic about the new owners. They’ve got money and established records of success. And of course, we had to have someone, and could likely have done much worse given the scramble. I don’t know how well a three-headed leadership group is going to function, but I’m sure it’s actually going to be two-headed and that Sawiris is counting on Edens’ experience in sports ownership and won’t be inclined to listen too much to Tony. Edens sounds a bit headstrong, so my only potential concern is him and Sawiris clashing. However, given Sawiris’ money, I think he’d win out.

That reservation aside, Sawiris and Edens look to be much more promising for Villa than either Lerner or Xia. So, it’s a step up at long last, and I think Villa are finally going to cease being so dysfunctional. I believe they’ll instead be run like a proper professional football club for a change.

At any rate, we’ll apparently be looking forward to more answers come Tuesday or Wednesday.

Over to you.

Comments 278

  1. JC, I agree with everything you say. To keep Spud or not to keep Spud, that is the question. I’ve found it interesting that he’s gone back to 3-5-2 in the last couple of games. Why? The last time he played that formation was at Cardiff at the start of last season and we got hammered 3-0. He ditched it during the game and hasn’t considered it since, settling mostly on 4-5-1 home and away or as some prefer to call it 4-4-1-1, either way damn defensive.

    Maybe he needed to accommodate JT in a defence severely lacking pace. If so, it may have cost us promotion last season and possibly his job later this week. We wait and see. If he is staying and he wants 3-5-2 then he may well sell Chester and look for more pace. After all, he has already sold him once before.

    I hope Jack stays for another season because I’d love to see him working with O’Hare in the same midfield. He owes us nothing but I wouldn’t put it past Levy to get him on the cheap and then sell him on for twice the price a year later to some Turkish outfit. Here’s hoping Levy meets his match in Sawiris.

    Thierry Henry? Yes please. I’d love to know Brian Little’s thoughts on the subject.

  2. Wish you hadn’t mentioned the (spit) MON (spit) word. I’ve been frothing at the mouth and muttering Martin O’Kaka for the last 10 minutes.
    Back to the point! We were all screwed last year because of the ridiculous expectation (and need) to get promoted. Surely that stupidity is over now. Has that expectation been lowered enough to buy time to do things properly and more thoroughly i.e. build a team instead of throwing money at a Harlem Globetrotters type team of next to knackered old superstars? I would hope that SB would have a better idea of who would work as a team than this time last year. Surely giving SB till at least January would give everyone calm solid thinking time after the last few months of madness. The present players will know each other better and might even feel they have got a point to prove.Stuffing in a marquee name as manager straight away just puts us back to square one and starts the unrealistic expectation all over again.

  3. jbd656
    ‘Stuffing in a marquee name as manager straight away just puts us back to square one and starts the unrealistic expectation all over again.’

    Maybe, maybe not, impossible to tell.
    You also have to factor in that hitting yourself over the head is relief from Bruce doing his usual until January.

  4. Our own history gives a clue. Vic Crowe failed to get us promoted out of the third division in his first full season as Villa manager. The next season we broke all records and got promoted with players such as Chris Nicholl, Ian Ross, Ray Graydon and a certain budding Brian Little. That provided Ron Saunders with a solid base to slog on and hammer out a team that came out of nowhere to win everything with what some German referred to as a European style of play. We were all p*ssed off and bored most of the time with both of these non marquee name managers but they both got on with their business and did what they knew was right. Ron Saunders couldn’t have done what he did without Vic Crowe’s work with a side that was totally shot after a four year pathetic slide out of the first division. The side RDM took over was more pathetic than that 1967 relegation non team and what SB took over was still a none team. RDM was Xia’s marquee name and we all know how long that lasted. We need to start evolving as a club not ripping everything up and starting over every year just to placate the glib smartarse key board warriors on social media and feed the hyena clickbait media scum. SO THERE!!!!! BEHAVE!!!!

  5. jbd656…

    Well said. Not sure what the thinking will be…Your view may well be the way things go. Right now I feel it’s 50-50, Bruce staying. Maybe more 60-40. The tight window makes it a big risk to change unless the long haul is the view, and the owners are just sacrificing this season.

    There’s enough to stay up, so I don’t think they’d be worried about going down. But if they figure they’re here for another year anyway, they might well go ahead and change course.

    Personally, I’m just fine with a steady and well done rebuild. Obviously have no idea how quickly the new owners are looking to get back up. Regardless, it may just not be possible to do anything but rebuild. What I do hope is that if that’s the case, they can recognize and embrace it.

    What little I’ve read about Edens suggests he’s willing to take the year to get things straightened out, put everything on a solid footing. And that he’ll have no problem moving Grealish and/or Chester if that’s the only way to balance the books and get on with things.

  6. And of course the big thing, just like with Randy and Tony, is who the owners are listening to. If they can just fall in with the right company, it’ll sort itself out in short order. If we’ve learned anything, and everyone’s said it over and over, it’s the lack of football knowledge with the foreign owners that’s really hurt us. They’ve just not gotten the right people in charge.

    All well and good to understand the ‘game’ and the finances. But picking the right manager, even director of football, however they go, that’s obviously what’s crucial. The money bit’s fine.

  7. Welcome jbd656 catchy name 🙂

    I’d question what a marquee manager is, Bruce is much hyped up because he has supposedly been there and done it with 4 promotions. He looks a no brainer on paper yet what I have seen so far I wouldn’t trust him to rebuild a kitchen cabinet. It depends what the owners now give bruce for me, if he’s allowed to spend we will go backwards I think, mostly to last season. You have to hope lessons will have been learnt but I doubt it.

    Any top player starting out would likely be considered a marquee manager and many of the very best began that way, of course some are failures but they are the ones remembered it seems. In our position I’d take Dean Smith all day long, I think we can safely say we are well and truly over the big club syndrome, we just need someone that knows what football and a team looks like.

    I agree about what RDM inherited it was shocking and the club reeling from relegation and the fans unforgiving, I was not a fan though of him to rebuild. Bruce has been hailed for saving us from relegation in our 1st season but did he really? one look at the run of games says his Jan window nearly sank us, 3 wins in 14 over Xmas and jan/feb. While RDM’s start was turbulent but hardly a disaster that early in the season. Worth a look back at that seasons games.–17_Aston_Villa_F.C._season

    I often wonder if Kodjia and Jedinak had come good earlier or in the next run of games for RDM as they did for Bruce would we of had a better season and crucially a better jan window and no Bruce? the times, the owner, the arrival of Round seem to be against that happening.

  8. By the way Wyness is suing the club for torturous interference in his Job, in other words someone stopped him from doing his job, not unfair dismissal.

  9. MK,

    Whatever else, I doubt there’ll be much to spend. We’ll soon find out the size of the hole…Maybe selling Jack for £25m-£35m takes care of it, maybe there’s more to go.

    Regardless, that will only get Villa even. There still have to be outgoings to get the club under the limit, and then new players have to fit within whatever space is made. Don’t think it’s going to be much.

    So, it’s going to be all about working with who’s left, maybe a couple of loans. Keep seeing all this talk of targets now that new owners are here. Just don’t see it, myself.

  10. If Wyness was supposed to be trying to balance the books, whatever, then someone obviously got in his way.

    All the summer scrambling, denials of sales, etc., and then what happens? We heard Wyness was talking to apparent investors and that Xia was unhappy about it. In that telling, Wyness only seems to have been ahead of the curve. Likewise clashing for months over the finances.

    Could all be different, but this version has Wyness being realistic and Xia didn’t want to hear about it.

  11. jbd656, MK.

    You’re right about what RDM inherited. It was truly a shambles, a squad that was completely demoralized, not playing for each other or anyone else, throwing up their hands and imploding.

    For me, and many others, it’s simply been about scattershot spending. He scored, get him in. Oh, he scored a lot, too, let’s buy him as well, etc. Can’t fail with that many goals in the side, right?

    It gets a bit muddied since RDM accounted for a lot of that spending. And we won’t ever know whether he would’ve been able to make it come good. But we do know Bruce did what many managers of a certain stripe would do, which is fall back on conventional, conservative thinking. Which stays around because it can work. It was about playing the odds.

    And he did come close. We know the standard criticisms, and they’re what point to questions about Bruce developing a side and working with youth. At the same time, we’ve not seen him in a lower-pressure situation without instant promotion as the remit. Onomah seemed to come on strong at the end, for example. Yet, we have Birkir not starting the final, which, based on what we’d seen down the stretch, seems an impossible decision. Very hard to figure.

  12. JC- whats your feeling about the team? Emphasis on the team.

    Myself from what we have seen pre-season I am quite hopeful we could be better than last. So far we have played football on the deck and not had Snodgrass as the focus and the nonsensical crossing to nobody stuff. Its quite Ironic that now Bruces hands are tied that the likes of De Laet is looking a far better player than Elmo or Snodgrass IMO, he showed glimpses last season but was ignored for those two. Similar to how Thor was treated along with many of his Jan buys. If he gets the go ahead for some loans then I bet/fear he benches them all again. Even GG is looking a good player.

    I’m hopeful that when we sell Grealish (sadly) it will be like taking the crutch away and the others can step up. We are playing the best football I have seen at the moment and I don’t want to spoil that by giving Bruce to much option to Feck it up. Sadly I could easily see RMC slotting into this style of play but that bridge is burnt with Bruce (Would love to see Smith arrive as this team with the youth, it would not be difficult to manage and he would include RMC I’d wager)

    Time will tell whether we have got better or just been playing poor teams, having seen previous pre-seasons I think/hope its the former.

  13. Can’t read anything into pre-season other than as fitness exercises, the formation and patterns of play (tactics) are likely to be changed for the season opener not least because Bruce, if manager, will resort to selecting his ‘senior’ players out of fear of not being beaten because kid A may have a nightmare.

    Happy the long term future investment is secure, I do hope that our new owners have the foresight to partially address the FFP issue for March by raising new income streams such as stadium naming rights, it will forever be Villa Park regardless of what happens and is a great source of ‘on the books’ revenue that we’ve not used.

    As for the season ahead, I’m more optimistic that a hand-tied Bruce can deliver than when he has to make choices, by way of example, the forced introduction of Keinan Davis last season albeit short-lived suggested to me that when Bruce has no choice the team benefits. Still will state my preferred option is to build a team over a few years, in the same way that all bar Newcastle have done to get promotion in the last few years, as such formation/personnel/tactic progression if we don’t get promotion won’t be a wasted season.

  14. MK,

    I would think we can definitely be better than last season. I would probably disagree in seeing Grealish as a ‘crutch’…I see him as the most composed all-round player we have, a true difference maker. If he stays, I’d feel good about our promotion chances, quite honestly.

    The side overall is settled, has something to prove, and just needs to have Whelan as a spectator/dressing room presence and Bjarnason as an ever-present. As you say, De Laet is better than our other two right backs. Big, fast, looks to attack. Also agree that Snodgrass is replaceable, and his absence ought to help change our patterns of play.

  15. DOR,

    Like you and MK say, it’s really down to Bruce not messing things up. I really have no idea why he feels the need to ignore good players (Adomah, Bjarnason, De Laet) until he’s forced to use them.

    As you also say, it must come down to fear of being second-guessed if he doesn’t go with veterans. But I would hope to god he learned from the final that he needs energy, pace, and legs in the side. Not just more cast-offs he’s worked with in the past. And also that the kids we have are capable of bouncing back from bad games. He’s got to have learned that his over-cautiousness likely cost us an automatic spot last year. And certainly didn’t see us over the line in the final.

  16. JC- There’s no doubting Jacks class its just an observation that when those players deemed irreplaceable are not in the side the whole style of play collapses, in other words players defer to or are told to give the ball to them regardless of the options available maybe? In the last two seasons we have been fairly clueless without, Kodjia, jack, snodgrass in the attacking department at different times. I think we can replace Jack by better passing and movement to get up field rather than rely on his ability. If he stays then give him a more attacking role not make him tackle in our own box and run the length of the field with the ball.

    DOR- I was surprised how good that senior side looked against Walsall in the 1st half with no youth, Wheelan I think was the oldest player though and the only one over 30. Not convinced with Kodjia yet and hope Hogan might make more of the set up. no breath holding was done in the making of this comment.

  17. jbd656
    Just got back to a computer since last night.
    I hope you weren’t referring to me as a smart arse, keyboard warrior & scum, as to reiterate without the humour, I was referring to the problem many of us have with Bruce, not Aston Villa, & by the way I was not attacking you, so if you were referring to me & calling me names in an aggressive fashion, you’re the one that should behave, & you can message me & meet up if you think you have a problem, as I don’t have one.
    But I can laugh like a hyena…

    I was first at VP in 1956, & I also remember the times you mentioned, & don’t actually disagree with you on much of it, as I experienced it also.
    But specifically about Bruce, he has been here more than a season, & the majority find his play boring & defensive & his management ability limited.

    We support the team, & also the manager in the sense he is the one we have, but many here, including myself have said in the past, that it would be better that he finds another challenge for him to go to, as he’s painful on occasions, & his style of play has often been depressing, & he restricts the kids coming through, unless as stated above, he has no choice.

    And in the past on this site we also have acknowledged the stability he has brought to the club, & the getting rid of the deep poisonous stuff ingrained in the club, which has made any sane supporter happy.
    But he is not the future, but an interim [as you say], which in my opinion has been for too long, & I would prefer we actually build a team, but unfortunately have wasted time & the advantage of parachute payments with Bruce.

    I also would rather have Dean Smith than Bruce, now, but as I have said many times, I support his work for the club, but am disappointed with many things.

    So, as I see it, welcome as you are a supporter [hopefully with a sense of humour], but there are no keyboard warriors on here, or media hyenas [I hope you don’t mean JC or JL], but we do like the craic

  18. Mark
    I thought Codger was getting slowly sharper & starting to enjoy himself in the Burton match.
    It’s a pity so many of the kids were injured in Portugal & the matches.

    We should get an indication of the new owner’s direction with the squad this week, as the numbers have to be thinned for FFP.
    Also I also hope Bruce doesn’t revert to type, when the senior players join the preseason squad, & ignore the kids.
    I have always rated De Laet, & I think Bruce clung to the players he knew to try & get promoted, but am happy he’s back & showing his class.
    The right back [& wingback] position is between him & Elmo, Unless thinks he’s a threat to HIS player & sells him.
    Bree comes 3rd there.
    Hutton appears to be a left back now with Taylor [who they should sell], but Mitch Clark seems a better bet than Taylor, & across the back line.
    I also thought Hutton didn’t do too bad one the left side of a back 3, where Mitch Clark could also play,
    along with Suleman, I think we can survive even if one or 2 are sold, without panic buys, but the senior 2 CBs are very slow together.

    The next 2 friendlies should be interesting!

    Roll on some indication of where we’re heading from the owners.
    Still dubious about Henri replacing Bruce, but we will soon see what truth there is in any of this.

    Anyway, it could be worse as our Emeritus President could still be in charge.

  19. IanG- yes mate I noticed that, actually looks fitter to be fair to him. I’m really hoping OHare can get back soon. If him and Grealish get to play together could be great.

    I’m slowly thinking I’m glad we didn’t win the final, Gawd knows what it could of been like if we’d got some money with Tony aboard. I’m quietly thanking Tony for finding what looks like a good fit for us and for failing.

  20. Me a media hyena? 😀

    I suppose anyone ‘covering’ anything is going to be a ‘hyena’ of sorts, given a broad enough definition. Does AVL, or blogs in general, count as ‘media’? I suppose so, again, given a broad enough definition.

    What we do is provide a forum for supporters to connect and discuss all things Villa. You won’t see AVL doing a bunch of click-bait or scraping (like HITC and the like).

    We try to let things sort themselves out before breathlessly running round spreading rumors or jumping to conclusions. We don’t repackage official statements, or original reporting.

    AVL isn’t about money: doesn’t make any—I just try to give an honest opinion and pay the server costs. The only motivation is love for the club. And sometimes you do have to criticize/disagree with the ones you love.

  21. IanG,

    Indeed…we’ll know much more soon. However, since the club has until March to comply with FFP this season, there may not be as much movement as we might expect.

    Could be the case, for example, that a naming rights deal gets hammered out that changes the picture a little. Or maybe they see where we are come January, make some decisions. No idea, but maybe they figure they can take their lumps over FFP for one season.

    If reports are true that the new owners want to keep Jack, well…curious to see how they pull that off—if he’s willing to stay.

  22. JC- if he’s willing to stay indeed, if he does its another year he could of been getting some real instruction in the game not just given a platform but how to operate on/in it. I would not begrudge him a move for that reason.

  23. MK,

    Wouldn’t begrudge him the move in any way. Obviously if playing with the Spurs players featuring for England, and being brought along by Pochettino, will make him better and get him in the senior national set-up, then you can see him wanting the move.

  24. JC
    Yes that occurred to me as well, that the most important players like Jack, may not go [if at all] until January.
    Well we’ve got a week to go.

  25. IanG- Me too as soon as I heard the FFP is in March, we may however hear that he’s signed a pre-nuptial to join Spurs. Can’t see what possible alternative we have that the new owners won’t have already looked at? don’t seem the type to let much past them. Therefore they may start renaming all and sundry this week.

  26. I can imagine also that after the initial worry of leaving Villa Jack has grown to quite like the idea and to be told now its off? not sure how that would go down after so many false dawns promotion wise especially.

  27. Mark
    They can start with Bruce if they want to.
    We still haven’t got any idea what everyone after Wyness left was doing about transfers.
    I would think that the takeover would be currently pregnant enough to scrap the prenup

  28. IanG- no doubt but without upsetting Jack? no Doubt uncle JT has told him all about the possibilities for him.

    If only we could get money for Bruce, is the Glue factory still open?

  29. Mark ,
    An interesting article …about how rich the two new owners are ! Who the next manager is will tell us all we need to know about their business acumen though . I’ve given up even discussing Steve Bruce
    even though I think he’s a decent bloke who did everything within his ability . Football has moved on beyond his ilk .

    The way forward for football in these islands was clearly demonstrated at the world cup and that is what Villa needs to look towards for their future development . I’m still far from convinced with JG’s ability but if he can learn the patience to routinely distribute the ball to expectant team mates rather than his default position of going on often futile sloping runs then we have an English player who could very well be the key to a major trophy win for you lot in the future .

    If UK and Irish players put as much work into their awareness and control as they do in the gym and if they replicate the intricacy of their full sleeve tatoo’s in their actual passing on the field then I think it will ultimately serve their careers better .

  30. Nice one Frem.

    MK, he can’t sign a pre-nup whilst he’s still under contract surely?

    JC a media hyena?

    Prox comparing arm tatoos to intricate passing.

    Comedy has really broken out.

  31. IanG

    Grovelling apology for my unintended offensive response to your words. I wasn’t taking your words personally but they did release a train of thought about the widespread unrealistic expectation of promotion last year and the seeming denial of the rubbish RDC walked into and the utter confusion SB took over. Villa were well below ground zero and just weren’t a club on the pitch. It made me think of FC United of Manchester springing out of nothing. I remember how dismally horrible Leeds Utd were in their lengthy formative Don Revie years then they suddenly morphed into a superlative precision football machine that finally won the league. That took years of boring fecal matter to mould a team of local lads into the finished article. Alex Ferguson gave three or four years of frustration before he got what he wanted but he started from a higher base than Leeds. For the record, my first Villa game was the 2-1 defeat of MU in December ’66. Hands up, my fault we got relegated that season. I made up for it when I watched Villa cunningly lose 2-0 to Arsenal at Highbury in May ’81 to win the league. How clever was that?

    The glib keyboard warriors are all the pillocks who think they know football better than the managers and scream blue murder whenever the team only draw at home. I remember Stephen Warnock’s career ending after the QPR disaster and the ensuing fan outcry. I remember the fans hounding Ashley Westwood when he was the only thing resembling a footballer on Villa Park. I remember James Collins being slagged of as a hoofballer when in reality he was arrowing precision passes to the left corner flag for Ashley Young to run on to!!!

    Any news media connected contributers

    Humble apology for my badly placed clickbait hyenas crack. Outside of Villa Park, all my Villa news comes from “Newsnow Aston Villa” from the MON years. I consumed everything initially but then distilled it all down to “Aston Villa Life” (from the Turvey start up), “Vital Villa”, “My Old Man Said”, “The Villa Blog” and “7500 To The Holte”. The rest are the clickbait hyenas with a special mention to The Birmingham Mail, or is it The Newcastle Chronicle, or The Bristol Post, or The Liverpool Echo etc etc Canada Square ad nauseum.

    Mark King

    Cheers. JBD are my initials. 656 are my RAF last 3. Any more info would involve a recreational visit to Guantanamo Bay.

    Sorry to everyone for being unruly, I promise to attempt to cut down on the caffeine.

  32. Prox- unfortunately Jack may need a poch to improve further or stay top dog here only.

    IanG- I’m up at 5.15 tomorrow will give you a shout

    jbd656 – Thanks would be the 1st proper holiday I’d had in years.

  33. Frem- I think after he mentions jumpers for goalposts it will prove one catch phrase to much, especially if he denies his hand in the pickle making

  34. From, he’s the only manager who can swallow a pie whole without choking. His only talent. Choking is something he does to the teams he manages.
    Crimes aren’t solved around St Andrews since there are no dental records and all the DNA is the same.

    Jbd656. Thanks for saying that about Westwood, Collins and warnock. I thought I was the only one.
    I liked Dunn too only because he weighed 215 lbs and couldn’t be budged or messed with.

  35. JBD656
    No problem, we all have our moments, it must be all the banging myself on the head every time spud is mentioned as I’m so tired of the same old, & I’ve had my fingers crossed that long they’re stuck there.

    My orphanage No was 73! And I got my RAF crossed Rifles badge with a Lee Enfield, they were very cross!

    We’re on the same page re: the clickbait sites [which now included the Birmingham Mail] etc.
    Don’t beat yourself up over being unruly, we all have our moments on here, comes & goes like a flash flood.

    I used to enjoy that Leeds team [unless they were playing us], & Norman Hunter was a joy to behold.

  36. not villa and a bit before my time but PAUL MADLEY of leeds has died ,my father a leeds fans always asid he if he had stuck to one position he would have had more recognition ,instead played 10 positions only missing out on keeper

  37. Henry is going to be a riskier choice over SB, I’m not convinced that with FFP restrictions that he’ll get his wish-list of players. Can he make the best of who we already have? At least SB, Agnew and co. know this team’s strengths. I’d rather have the stability of the latter till October and then make a change if needed.

  38. Villalore ,
    Fair comment on Henri.
    I have that gentleman firmly placed in the ‘Loreal ‘ camp and I have no doubt its a vanity project for him but his involvement in the Belgian national set up gives me some hope for what he may have learned. We know a great player does not automatically mean a good manager , and I’m trying to suppress memories of Zola at Birmingham ,Keane at Ipswich , Shearer at newcastle , etc. etc. but I’m sure that Bruce is not the right man and if there’s a time to make a managerial change , its pre-season.
    I’m delighted that Brian Little is involved at the decision making level and it will be interesting to see if Henri’s faux charm and bonhomie will survive the transition from front seat passenger to actual driver .

    Roll the dice.

  39. Henry with Bould as his number two, i’ll put to one side the cheating French barstewards actions against Ireland, if he brings a less cautious approach to game management and allows our youth to flourish in a progressive system.

    Henry surely would be an influencing factor in Grealish’s thinking i.e. staying, while some on here are unconvinced by Grealish just yet, I think Grealish became a man after his injury and realised that he needed to re-focus on his playing career and I seen a more rounded performance from him.

    I’m also a Newsnow Villa person for my info, Villa and Brexit are most viewed, (I do love winding up Brexiteers that read the Daily Express, they’re very vitriolic in their new found nationalism, their hatred of all things EU and the failure of the Tories to deliver), agree with those above on the clickbait sites, my further bugbear is the use of twitter as news and further still in the body of an article it will quote the tweet but also screenshot it, one or the other is sufficient or I’m just reading the same thing twice.

  40. It really looks as if the appointment of Thierry will happen, and Bruce will move on, and like Frem, and one or tw3o others, I am sure it will be the best thing for Villa.

    I am amused by the comments that Bruce knows the players better than Henri, if he knew them so well, we would have made promotion. It was only his team selections, substitutions and tactics that failed to get us over the line.

    I also agree with jbd656, about the abuse of players by some of our short-sighted fans, and we have also lost several good ones, through failing to develop them properly.

    I am sure Thierry will ensure that he builds on the knowledge he already has of many of the Villa players, and mould them into a team. I am sure he will not be buying his way to promotion, as it is not the Wenger way, which I am sure will be the basis of his plans.

  41. Fair comments Prox. If Villa keep the ball in a composed manner like Belgium and Arsenal do, it would be a step up. My fears are about how long it will take for us to play that way and if we have the players to do so (and win). If we agree that promotion is a few years out and getting a Villa style of football is the bigger focus, then Henry may not be a bad choice. But it will take time in my opinion.

  42. Why do people think that we do not have the players to win the Championship. Bruce almost managed it last season, and we still have most of the players, and those that have gone, have players in the squad to replace them. Our weakest position is in the goalkeeping area, and there are plenty of good keepers around worth a punt.

    Steer, De Laet, Chester, Elphick, Hutton, Hourihane, Jedinak, Bjarnason, Adomah, Grealish, Kodjia, Hogan, all more than capable to form a team, with Whelan, Bree, Davis, Clark, O’Hare, Doyle-Hayes, Hogan, RHM, and several more. We have not sold a player yet…!!!

  43. what a mad mad world of villa.

    this time last week we were going bust and selling the family jewells for a pittance.

    Now we have the 3rd richest owners in England and debating if henry should manage us 🙂 football can sure move quick.

    love it.

    Henry a gamble but do it!

    Think bruce will stay though

  44. I’m solidly Birmingham English but TH robbed Richard Dunne that day. Dunne was a Villa player, so TH robbed us all. Henry was tweaked into being one of the best players in the modern era by Wenger and has been involved with Belgium’s golden generation, but could he have the patience and understanding to cope with the donkey level of skill of the players he would have at his disposal. Can Henry or any of the players he might want conceive life outside London? Birmingham has a huge image problem compared to London, Manchester, Liverpool and even Newcastle so I just can’t see anyone outside the British Isles “getting us”.
    If the SB crew are dumped, I’ll bet the money to pay them off won’t come out of the new owner’s pocket.

  45. Frem, the meeting between SB and the new owners is now reported to be happening on Weds. Perhaps they haven’t finished negotiating with TH yet?

    PP, I’m sure we still have a squad capable of competing for promotion. I guess fans are less expectant these days given how the last few years have panned out. A back 3 lacking pace is my main concern. Perhaps Bree, De Laet and Chester might work? Or do you prefer De Laet down the right wing?

  46. Hey lads for what it’s worth I think Henry has been lined up with Bould.
    I think the missing link we don’t know about is arsen Wenger and that’s why the new owners are taking a punt on Henry .
    I’ve been locked out of the site for ages and couldn’t reset password. See John and old villa have left again.

  47. jbd, I think Brum’s image may have been an issue in the past when trying to attract the better personnel. I know a few outsiders who have been pleasantly surprised at the regenerated city centre. Also, the money is so big these days and that is what talks. Clattenberg for instance went to Saudi.

  48. On the Th cheating thing , I dont have a huge problem with what he did , as i’d say he was astonished he got away with it himself and if Robbie Keane had done it , we’d still be laughing ! However , the cringe worthy attempt at empathy with Richard Dunne after the game was the most galling. All’s fair in love and war , just shake hands and carry on with your celebrations , you dont try to identify with the victim that you just created ! They’re big boys , they’ll get over it but you’ll always look like two-faced caannt!!

    On the players front , I think we probably do have the players to mount a sustained promotional challenge , its the gameplan which I think needs to change .

  49. Well as i see it i cant for the life of me understand why all the polls are showing 65% of Villa fans want to keep Bruce. Didn’t the cleverest guy ever (Albert) once say “the definition of insanity is to repeat the same thing over and over expecting different results” Bruce has had 11 games shy of two seasons and more money to throw at it than any other manager in the history of the Championship, and all we have to show for it is a fire sale of our most valuable assets. I don’t give a cr*p if Henry has only ever managed the “Scott Arms” in the Sunday league, it has to be better than the same old tripe. I hate to blow MK’s trumpet but we may have been better off keeping RDM for the season and seeing if he could turn attractive near misses into attractive wins. Anyway its time for change or whats the point in coming and bailing us out for more of the same??
    As for the calls for the other French man Remi Garde, i have not been impressed with what he’s done in Montreal, in a much weaker MLS. So i’m not sure he would have been a success either.
    I know a lot of fans are saying we don’t want change for changes sake, but if you don’t ever take a risk you will never shine

  50. Don’t want to say to much because I’m not sure it will happen and be gutted now if it doesn’t, but I just don’t see why we wouldn’t take a risk and go give Henry a chance

  51. Canadian Villan.
    “didn’t the cleverest guy ever (Albert) once say “the definition of insanity is to repeat the same thing over and over expecting different results”
    I agree. . . . continually changing the manager would seem to fit that nicely.

    You go on to say that Bruce
    “has had more money to throw at it than any manager in the history of the championship.”

    This one just isn’t true and in fact is way off the truth. Bruce actually spent a net £1m over two years.

    You say that you can’t understand why the polls are showing that 65% of fans want Bruce to stay and I’m sure that most of the posters on here feel the same.

    The fact is, this is not a rogue poll. All of the polls I’ve seen have said a similar thing.

    Here’s a novel thought. . . . The ‘majority’ of Villa fans may actually have got it right. . . . . Steve Bruce has done a good job under tough financial constraints and the fans are grateful to him. They also think he’s the best bet to get us out of the Championship in the even more difficult conditions to come this year.

  52. and really the board need to ask them two questions

    1) did Bruce fail in not getting us promoted ? Yes
    2) Was their any excuse for failing to get promoted ? No

  53. r0bb0,

    Fair points, all. While I’ve said I wouldn’t mind Henry on the touchline, I really didn’t think there was any truth to this. Or not much, anyway. I’m a bit gobsmacked at the rapidity and timing.

    Like I said, could be a masterstroke, could be a disaster.

  54. And if Bruce does go, I’m glad that at least it’s not the fans pushing him out the door, and that he might at least feel they’ve appreciated him. Whatever his merits and faults, I do think he gave it his all, and does genuinely care.

    I respected him wanting to stay under very difficult circumstances, respected him carrying on through so much heartbreak with his parents. And I’ve respected the way he’s handled all the speculation.

  55. IanG
    But the difference is, that when Trump says ‘most people’ the truth is usually the opposite, whereas I try to say it when it’s true.

  56. JC I agree he’s acted with Honor, just wasn’t quite good enough on the pitch nor the transfer market.

    Robbo- £1m net? looks good but in reality? come on he spent enough on high wages and dead end players just as RDM did, no surprise stars or cast offs plucked from the lower leagues like Warnock. And the worst thing is he didn’t trust those he bought! nor knew how to get the best from them. Sent Delaet and Elphick out on loan in Jan and got the manure lad on loan, ridiculous.

  57. JC, it’s a good point about Bruce’s relationship with the fans, and I hope that if he does indeed leave tomorrow that he takes some solace from that.

    However. . . . the last thing I’d want is for fans wishing we had him back in 6 month’s time because that would mean that Henry was failing, and as a Villa fan, I don’t care who the manager is, I just want him to be successful.

  58. Mark, I think you’re being too harsh. Name just about any manager and you can also name players he’s bought and not used effectively. It’s the nature of football. No manager gets it right every time

  59. I’d love to say that every person I’ve ever recruited has been a success and that I’ve got the most out of them.
    I can’t
    Can you?

  60. Still the battle rages on to keep Bruce from so many fans who seem more fearful of Villa becoming worse, rather wanting to see a new and exciting Villa.

    If nothing changes, then neither will Villa, and they will continue to languish in the Championship, which is not what I want and many others, although we seem to be in the minority….just like Brexit…Britain never can go back to where it was, and neither can Villa. It is time for a new beginning.

    I hope Henri comes, and he will turn Kodjia, who is from Paris, into a great footballer!!

  61. canadian villan

    good post warnock spent pennies finnished above bruce for what now will be 3 seasons running unless bruce gets a chance in pl laughable people still say bruce spent nothing

  62. I was in 2 minds to keep bruce if we went up let alone having him take on a re build under new owners and implement youth which appsrently the new guys want.

    Henry is a complete gsmble and im a bit scared if it does happen. But bruce has to go now. Id want dean smith

  63. 7500 to holte put up good post one line on bruce excellant

    experience simply allows fear to creep in,seen that in every match under bruce,like taking 10 men back to defend corner even in play off final when a goal down

  64. 7500 to holte put up good post one line on bruce excellant

    experience simply allows fear to creep in,seen that in every match under bruce,
    my take
    taking 10 men back to defend corner even in play off final when a goal down

  65. Robbo

    Hello mate

    What do these players have in common

    All players turned into managers. Like i say henry huge gamble could be a genius or could be chewed up and spat out in the championship.

    But thrse people have to stsrt somewhere. You just know bruce will get anoyher job and get promotion though!!!!

  66. Yeah james.

    I just cant see where bruce fits for us now. He is not renowned for building or proper coaching youth so where we are as a club makes sense to get rid. Will tell us alot about the new owners.

  67. Andrew, if Spud gets another club promoted it will only prove one thing to me. That Villa was too big a club for him to handle. He goes on about needing players who are big enough to play for Villa. The same applies to the manager.

  68. Andrew,
    Guardiola an exceptional success but allowed to cut his teeth with the Barcelona B team

    Rikaard’s first club management with Sparta Rotterdam saw them relegated for the first time in their history and he was sacked

    Zidane, a success, but cut his teeth with Madrid B team

    Conte, started as an assistant coach but was sacked from his first Serie B job after a series of poor results

    Ancelotti succeeded and saw his first club promoted from serie B
    Although was sacked from his next club Parma

    Little. . . well I’m not going to say anything negative here 🙂

    Gregory. His first two managerial jobs lasted a few months only but again. . . not going to be critical

    Someone. A success although he didn’t do well enough to convince the new owner in his first managerial job as he was sacked

    Thierry Henri may be a success for us but it really is a hell of a gamble and I’d rather he got his early managerial failures out of the way with some other team first.

  69. Andrew
    You’re right. . . . the toughest thing tobtake would be to see Bruce succeeding with someone else . . . . and boy, would he have an incentive to do so!

    Henry does have a brain though and a sense of humour (for a Frenchman) and also seems to have the benefit of empathy, so maybe he has a better chance of success than some of the names I listed.
    We can but hope that the dice fall double 6 for us!

  70. IanG. Fake news is only powerful because many people ‘want’ to believe it so don’t bother questioning, or looking for the truth.

  71. Robbo- not harsh mate he spent as much on hogan as warnock did on his squad. If he had done similar we might not be selling jack he didn’t he spent big and got expensive loans in. Was he unaware of our position? I very much doubt it.

    I have never employed anyone can’t comment , I’m self employed.

  72. Just expand on the previous post if RDM had sold all those sent out on loans etc and Richards, gabby etc he would of been in the same boat. There was a massive turnaround of players that summer with some just let go that’s how bad it was. We also had no real infrastructure and some are unflushable. Bruce pretty much spent what came in from sales.
    From what I have seen we have a £55-60m wage bill slightly less now as gabby has gone plus Jt etc, still way over.

  73. r0bb0
    So many people want to provide it as well, but they don’t care either.
    A bit of a one dimensional part answer mate.
    Not impressed, or with the instructional tone to the great unwashed.
    But hey, probably best to stick to football

  74. Iang- washing instructions? Now that would be handy.

    If I was going to be totally brutal you could add the cost of non-promotion with our expensive squad likely to be between £150m – £200m all told for uncle Tony

  75. If Bruce does go I assume he won’t be ate the wet spam match. I’m not going to worry about Bruce getting someone else up, twice she’s fallen on decent squads and and twice had his own relegated team to start with. Villas hodge lodge of players he inherited just didn’t his play and neither did those added in jan (round maybe?)

    Like to see him get sheff weds or some other attacking side, Bolton would suit him.

    Still he ain’t gone yet.

  76. The picture on Thierry Henri is now becoming clearer, with his close association with David Dein, and having him as an advisor.

    Dein is one of the top football agents and has an excellent reputation, and could be key to providing Villa with top class players in the future.

  77. PP
    It’s just that the immediate future is a bit murky, & until then further ahead is dreaming a little [not that there’s anything wrong with that.

  78. Mark
    ‘washing instructions? Now that would be handy’
    Some would still wash them out of their hair!

    I’m not sure what Bruce’s style of play is, if it was a dulux paint it would be called ‘mostly soul destroying’

  79. Sometimes people do not see the huge potential of a club based in the biggest city in the country (City of London is only a one mile square), that has a huge fan base world wide, a powerful history, including the founding of the football league, and how with the right media attention, it can grow into one of the biggest clubs in the world.

    This is the vision that Tony Xia had, and thought he would achieve with De Matteo, but he panicked and sacked him, replacing him with the tried and tested Bruce, who failed his dream.

    The new owners now have similar visions, but are better equipped to achieve, understanding the world of sport, and having followed English football for many years. They know they cannot buy the modern day achievers of Man Utd, Liverpool, Arsenal, Spurs, and Man City, and the next best thing is Villa at a very affordable price in comparison. There are clubs in better positions in the Premiership, but they do not have anywhere near the potential of Villa.

  80. For those who have not seen it:

    In a joint statement, Villa’s new owners said: “As lifelong football fans, we are excited and privileged to have become part of this great Club. We believe that together we bring business and sports experience that will help strengthen the Club to ensure Aston Villa can return to its rightful place in the upper echelons of English football.
    “Our goal is to bring sustainable success to the Club, building on its rich history while respecting its loyal fan base and unique culture. We understand that we are stewards of Aston Villa on behalf of the fans and we take that responsibility seriously.
    “We look forward to working with Dr Tony to undertake a thorough assessment and evaluation of the Club in the coming weeks and our priority is to strengthen the squads and structures ahead of the upcoming season and beyond.”

    Also today, Rontigen Ho and Tracey Gu have resigned from the board, and been replaced by Sawiris and Edens at Companies House.

    Rontigen Ho also praised Tony for letting him be involved with Villa, which he has supported since he was 12yrs old. He pointed out that Xia is only concerned for the club, and has basically written off his £150million investment…..and it certainly looks that way for the time being.

  81. Paul,

    Would guess there’s a back-end arrangement for Xia to get at least some of that back if/when Sawiris and Edens take full ownership. But, yes, for now, looks like he’s not getting any of the initial cash as it’s going to operating expenses.

  82. Regarding Henry’s potential arrival, I find it humorous that Darren Bent is talking.

    Apparently his big fear is that Henry will be like Keane and get frustrated that the players aren’t as good as he was. So, interesting insight into what was happening during Keane’s brief tenure.

    Let’s hope Thierry would be a little more patient and understanding of what he’s got. Though, to be fair, I’d have been frustrated, too, given the Villa squad Keane was involved with.

  83. According to TalkSport we now have the 3rd richest owners in UK football. I should be drooling but I’m not. Just going to watch how they proceed feet firmly planted.

  84. IanG,

    I grew up with Villa, living in Birmingham until my 30’s, leaving in 1977 and loved everything about the club, and unfortunately missed being there for their greatest moments in 1981/2.

    I still live in Wales, but since retirement , have returned to being a season ticket holder, hoping that we may return to the better times. I still see the huge potential for Villa, and at the same time the city itself, and what a huge successful football club can bring to it.

  85. Well they’ve f**ked the Chinese allies of Xia off from the Board, according to Companies House.
    But no word of Bruce

  86. Bruce still here, no Henry

    Villa Statement

    Dr Tony Xia and Aston Villa Football Club (“the Club”) announce that NSWE, a company that is jointly owned and controlled by businessman Nassef Sawiris’ group NNS and businessman Wes Edens, will immediately inject significant investment capital into the Club. At the same time, Dr Tony Xia will become Co-Chairman and remain on the board.

    The capital injection and transaction have been approved by the EFL and the parties will work through all confirmatory approvals required by the EFL as soon as possible.

    The Club’s management remain focused on strengthening the squad and are fully aligned with the new investors who are supportive of their ambitions.

    Dr Tony Xia and the Club are energised and excited about their interactions with Nassef and Wes and their teams and are confident that as strategic partners they bring exceptional business, sport and leisure expertise that will enhance the Club’s future prospects. The parties look forward to working in partnership to drive Aston Villa forward to success.

    Dr Tony Xia commented: “I am extremely pleased to have formed a strategic partnership with Nassef and Wes. We have a common goal of delivering future success for Aston Villa and I look forward to working together to achieve this aim.

    “To have come so close to achieving promotion last season was a humbling experience. In finding such strong partners as Nassef and Wes we’re gearing up to fight again and bring back the success that this Club deserves and we all so want to provide it with.

    “The future is exciting on a number of fronts and I look forward to exploring further business collaborations.”

    Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens commented: “As lifelong football fans, we are excited and privileged to have become part of this great Club. We believe that together we bring business and sports experience that will help strengthen the Club to ensure Aston Villa can return to its rightful place in the upper echelons of English football.

    “Our goal is to bring sustainable success to the Club, building on its rich history while respecting its loyal fan base and unique culture. We understand that we are stewards of Aston Villa on behalf of the fans and we take that responsibility seriously.

    “We look forward to working with Dr Tony to undertake a thorough assessment and evaluation of the Club in the coming weeks and our priority is to strengthen the squads and structures ahead of the upcoming season and beyond.”

  87. according to sky bruce stays
    it was good while it lasted ,the thought of a new manager
    new bosses cant be asset strippers we have nothing left

  88. IanG – do you mean this one?

    “Aston Villa can confirm manager Steve Bruce has met majority owners Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens and will continue as manager with their full support.”

  89. We’ve had almost 2 years of defensive football. Not happy with the latest development this evening. There may be some more unhappiness between now and 9th Aug. Spud may be elated but I’m on a downer.

  90. Plug
    ‘More unhappiness before 9th August’

    Unless they can inject some cash quickly, sadly I think you’re right

    I’ve had enough of so many unrequited sagas, maybe time to get off Alcatraz for a bit before I go stir crazy.

  91. Yes mate unfortunately for him there are no runs ahead of him nor anyone else, just pass sideways pass back. You just don’t see the Youth players hanging back they commit when they go forward, we stand and watch.

  92. Snograss gets a third (spit) but GG and Knibbs combine with Green to get one back. all in all we looked better with some youth up top as Kodjia was ineffectual.

  93. Apparently, the poll in the “Birmingham Mail” on keeping Bruce as manager was the deciding factor for the new board……

    Be careful what you wish for….

    Once again, Villa fans have decided on the manager they want…..

    last time it was Paul Lambert……..

  94. PP
    Anyone who enters a poll by, or even thinks the BM is a paper employing journalists, needs their braincell rejuvenating.
    If AVFC thinks that’s the level of the majority of fans, maybe it’s sunk to their level.

    It’s about time Birmingham was taken out of the title, as it’s just the propaganda arm of Mirror Group in Brum.

    Horrible rag!

  95. IanG,

    and of course, there is no proof that the people who voted, were Villa fans….The poll should have been conducted by the club, and exclusive to season ticket holders….!!

  96. Hello Lifers,

    I hope you’re all well.

    So I guess we’re stuck with Bruce for at least the start of the season. I’m gutted to be honest as I can’t see this season being any different from the last two. Playoffs has, to many, been viewed as a good effort, but I’m still trying to find out why/how this is the consensus. And I really hope/pray that things will improve under him.

    But judging by the preseason so far, it won’t! You could argue it’s just preseason but just look at the way they play. It’s slow, unimaginative football – Bruce football!
    The only thing that’ll change this year, is that Bruce won’t be as lucky on the pitch – I can’t see us lucking our way through this season like we did the last.

    Anyways moving on to today’s game, and there was a clear gulf in quality but they are a premiership team. Jack as expected looked the business. Doyle-Hayes looked fantastic. Sadly, Bree’s confidence looks shot. Something that really stood out for me was Steer’s awkwardness with the ball at his feet. I can understand him not being comfortable putting the back line under pressure but the most worrying thing is his kicking which I believe resulted in West Ham’s third. He just doesn’t get any distance. Keep keep an eye on it guys as it causes unnecessary pressure.

    Have a great evening Lifers.

  97. Woke up this morning feeling like there’s a death in the family. If they really did go by a poll then gawd help us. What looks like a common sense decision is anything but when taken in context of the last two seasons of mediocrity on the pitch. Stability but no progression.

  98. If anything, this will be an interesting season for the Villa, the new owners have gone with stick rather than twist for the manager role, not surprised, they know nothing of football and played it safe.

    In an ideal world we’d find out who is advising them on football matters and get an explanation for their thought process in keeping Bruce in position. I do hope that FFP makes Bruce rely on youth and he doesn’t stifle their progress with his typically over-cautious approach.

    I doubt the Birmingham Mail poll had any influence but will set up multiple email accounts to provide some influence in the future, just in case, it will be like having a seat on the board 🙂

    Looking forward to the transfer window closure more than anything to end speculation and know where we stand in terms of our saleable assets.

  99. Says it all about having the right man in charge:

    Robert Snodgrass brought some interesting observations after the victory over Villa at Walsall revealing: “ The lads were great and Aston Villa started a week before us as well, so we’re in good shape and we’re ticking along nicely.”
    After spending last season at Villa Park many believed Snoddy’s Hammers career was at an end but, although it’s difficult to draw hard and fast conclusions, he looks right now as though he in Manuel Pellegrini’s thinking.
    He had a fine second half against Villa capped with a well taken goal and said: “If you see the likes of the forward-thinking players we’ve got with Arnautovic, Antonio, Anderson and Yarmolenko, you’ve got loads of options and people moving off the ball, so when you get that chance, why not try and take it?
    “Anybody watching that first half, and the second half in spells, would see us coming in off the line and the full-backs getting around. That’s exactly what the boss has brought to the table.
    “This record speaks for itself. He’s phenomenal. The lads have taken to him and his staff straight away and there’s a good feel about the place. We’re working day and night and doing a lot of things to start the season well and get a good start.”

  100. A genuine comment on how things were in the darker times…
    From Ron Vlaar,

    Vlaar is currently playing for AZ after joining the Dutch side in 2015
    Speaking to Voetbal International, the former Netherlands international was asked about his time in England: “The last season at Aston Villa I felt like a balloon that was empty. They had been three tough years, fighting against relegation, at a club with little structure.
    “I don’t regret anything, you know, things go the way they go. That I hardly ever played in the Dutch national team, and also had to deal with injuries. That’s just the way it is.”
    The Dutchman played nearly eighty Premier League games for Aston Villa, but in his final season at Villa Park the central defender was hampered with injuries, limiting him to just twenty appearances in the league.

  101. Well, was all much ado about nothing, in the end.

    I understand the stability angle having just taken over, the season about to start, and the players liking Bruce. In short, not surprised they decided to stick.

    How much rope does he get? Like everything else, we’ll soon see. Don’t think yesterday’s performance would’ve made anyone feel that good. Though it might impress upon NSWE that hanging on to Jack or getting the most possible for him are equally important.

  102. Hi, Gareth.

    With Bree, I’ve seen him before (albeit not much) coming out and looking very nervy, slowing growing into the game. If he gets a run, I still think there’s hope for him. Elphick had that disastrous spell where it looked like he’d never kicked a ball before. Then came back and filled in well, looking like the player we thought we were buying.

    So, fingers crossed.

  103. Kinda disappointed with Bruce being back but I like to think that the season is too close, too much turmoil, and too much wondering what was going to happen regarding a players future. Keeping Bruce injected some stability which right now is most important. It by no means gives Bruce a free pass on his work with Villa or his management style. I think he would be on a short leash and only a stop gap until things have settled. I think Henry must have come up short in NSWE’s thinking or is on the shadows waiting. Or they are waiting to see what might come up in the near future.
    Bruce is here, let’s get over it or be happy with the choice depending on what camp you are in. The new owners need time to get ther feet wet no make big decisions right off the bat.

    One thing I’m sure would help would be the best food concessions in the league at a bargain price. Food always helps. 🙂

  104. Ian…

    Concessions = revenue! Eat, drink, be merry, and reduce the FFP deficit!

    I’m just waiting to see who’s still here before I buy the new shirt. Though I’m probably too old to have anything but my own name on one.

  105. Yep, 11 games, 124 days. From the Beeb:

    “Following his arrival, Villa signed nine players for a combined outlay of about £50m, while 17 players left, worth in the region of £16m between them.

    But, since beating Rotherham United at home 3-0 on 13 August, his only win, Villa went nine games without a victory.

    In five of Di Matteo’s 11 league games at the helm, Villa conceded a goal after 85 minutes.”

    Sacked after the “abject” 2-0 defeat to PNE, where the team were booed off the pitch by the traveling support.

  106. Gutted Bruce has some how managed to keep his job

    More dire football on its way

    Have no doubt he will be sacked after 10 games though

  107. Frem,

    Well, we just have to hope for the best. It’s not a terribly rough start.

    But like DOR said above, would be nice to know what kind of side we’ll actually be fielding.

  108. Mark: “I have to grit my teeth when I see the no wins in 9 when Bruce went 8 losses in a fecking row at least RDM Drew.”

    When did Bruce have 8 losses in a row?

  109. Does anyone have a clear view of where we stand on FFP now?
    I’ve heard suggestions that we need to find an extra £40-45m this year.
    If you add in the likely £3.8m from Traore, it seems that we’ve raised about £18m in departures so far.
    Won’t wages be around £10m lower if you count JT, Gabby, Grabban, Snodgrass and a few others?
    Does that mean that we have something like another £15m or so to find?
    Are the new owners able to inject anything?
    Might the gap now not be insurmountable?
    Anyone know?

  110. Cheers Mark. . .Last season I remember it being depressing at the start of the year but I didn’t remember it being THAT bad.
    I reckon if we had a similar winless streak this year though then he’d not survive it.

  111. IanG. If Bruce has as bad a run as Mark described, with 7 losses in a row, or 9 without a win then we’re going backwards and he deserves to go.

    Let’s hope that he doesn’t, and that he takes us back to the Premiership instead.

    The owners seem to have at least ‘considered’ swapping him, so the thought won’t be far from their minds. Bruce and the players must know that if they don’t perform, his tenure will be questioned. If (as is reported) the players are loyal to him, and Chester is only still with us ‘because’ Bruce is staying, then they all now have an extra incentive ( if one was needed) to bring success this time round.

  112. Robbo How he survived that season when he went out to buy us Goals in Jan after talking up our chances of top 6 I’ll never Know. He Identified we needed goals from midfield fair enough so he bought in 3 mids two with the best assists and goals so far in the season same with Hogan 13 goals. Played Thor at left wing and LB He then played all of his buys and loans, thats when it went tits up.

    I think he could of kept Ayew and Gestede and not bought Hogan (might as well then sell them in the summer) use the youth at the time and Gardner and wait for Kodjia to return. He gambled on those goals he bought as much as Xia did on him.

    Worst case scenario we had some finances to play with last summer, worst thing has been how slow he is to see players attributes, his whole Tenure has been a sticking plaster approach that has yielded him some surprises.

  113. This lads there second string keeper who spends his time out on loan generally, 6’5″ apparently.

    “Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Andre Moreira is joining Aston Villa on loan.

    The stopper has agreed on the move until the end of the season after undergoing a medical on Thursday, as first reported by the Mirror.”


    Great player

    Good to have a new keeper. Can only be better than what we have already

    Hopefully Mendes can get us a few more. We need a left back and winger #avfc

  115. Mark, Yes, Gestede might have been a better fit for us than Hogan.
    It’s a bit of a puzzle really because Steve Bruce ( despite what some on here may think) isn’t stupid, so you have to question why he did it.
    The only conclusion I can come to is that his ‘intention’ has been to play a more fluid type of football that would suit Hogan rather than hoof ball to a tall centre forward.
    If all the key players can stay fit and he ‘has’ to use more of the youth players this year then maybe we’ll see more of that original intention play out on the pitch.

  116. Frem, best news for ages isn’t it. Particularly if he’s thinking of three at the back, Chester staying was vital for us. Elphick ‘coming good’ is going to be pretty crucial too

  117. Mark, you question how Bruce survived that first season, but I think you have to go back to the mindset within the club at that time.
    After years of steady, and depressing decline, deep down, everyone was just wanting something ‘better’. Everyone had become cynical about just about everything in the club and deep down, even the optimists were fearing the worst. Bruce’s first season may not have represented ‘success’, but it did at least apply the brake to our seemingly inevitable decline.
    From the time he came in, our results would have put us 8th in the table and that ‘felt’ like some sort of success. . . . . or at least a respite from failure!

  118. Robbo- The only time I have seen Hogan truly utiliesed to his strengths was in the cups with Ohare and Doyle-Hayes playing. The 1st team is to slow in both passage of play and thought, watching Grealish having to second guess himself against West Ham brought that home. We barely threatened West Ham until GG, Green and Knibbs came on. Why do his 1st choices play in such a static way?

    I would be surprised if Jack will be here long, against West Ham he looked at home against top players for spurs he’d be real asset (the only other players that looked comfortable for most the game? Doyle-Hayes.

  119. RoBb0,

    I don’t know what the state of FFP is at Villa other than the reported black hole of 40m approx. This morning news has broken that QPR have finally agreed their medicine with EFL over their train wreck on that front. They have been fined 42m, 21m of which is debt converted to shares. No points deductions. Transfer embargo on next Jan only.

    Nothing there that should frighten our new owners. Still a pretty lousy situation I agree, but I believe Xia used FFP as a smokescreen because he hadn’t got the cash to pay salaries, tax bills and outstanding purchase payments.

  120. Gardner is an interesting one. I watched him a fair bit in the youth teams and sat next to him and his Dad in one cup game when his bluenose brother was playing.
    He used to stand out, controlling games and physically bullying opponents.
    To be honest, I don’t reckon he’s shown anything like that sort of form for the seniors up to now. In pre-season he’s started to show a few glimpses of his capabilities and
    he’s one player I would love to see come good this year.

  121. Plug, that’s really encouraging. . . . will have to look it up.
    Intrigued to know what form the ‘fine’ takes. . . who gets the money?

  122. Don’t buy the results would have been better that season under Bruce having seen last seasons start after a pre-season that doesn’t bare out. Very likely he would of made similar conclusions to RDM and the board on players, People make a big deal about the mess he inherited but lets not forget RDM’s was worse. Maybe he would of made more buys like he did in january ? maybe we would of sacked him too.Don’t forget he reintroduced Gabby despite his disruptive influence, tried Richards, etc

    The Moral was bad no doubt but the players he brought in to correct this have most part gone( it was still going on last summer I was told), Richards still about, RMC isolated, Players in the squad Bruce was trying to sell, youth players that never get to start a game, they are all he has now.

    If RDM had stayed and continued the same pattern we would of had 44-46 points, that however was highly unlikely as the likes of Jedinak and Kodjiah improved as the season went on both had no pre-season with us, Both came good for Bruce. Who’s to say RMC would not have sparked up? he was already top on assists and scored 2 when Bruce arrived. This is Kodjiahs 1st pre-season at Villa! hitting the woodwork 8 times in 11 games was unlikely to continue for much longer.

    We will never know

  123. Haha. Thanks Plug. . . blimey, it’s been going on a while eh?
    The good news in there is that although the size of the fine is high, it’s a long term staggered payment which makes it much less onerous in the short term.

  124. Well after the initial upset of Bruce staying im thinking about being the owners. A week until the season starts, they want to settle and see how the land lies first and take it from there. No swift and sudden changes. remember the dr announcing by all accounts eden inparticular is ruthless. If Bruce doesn’t share there vision and produce he will be gone.

    Also last week we were completely done for selling everyone for peanuts and administration. Now Chester could be staying and signing a new deal!! apparently bruce straying a massive factor in that too so as of now im happy.

  125. Andrew- always makes me laugh when claims are made like that because Bruce could be sacked if he doesn’t perform, Chester will get a nice new deal and thats as much as he can Guarantee unless he stipulates that he must be sold to wherever Bruce goes next 🙂

    I seriously hope he isn’t given a lot of money, I’d say a keeper, decent CB and a CF is all we need.

    Was told Blues have an Embargo but were told after they spent £2.5m on a FB, FFP said he has to go Back? bit of a shambles.

  126. Mark. With you on that one. No money to spend is not such a bad thing this time round, although I am sorry that we lost Johnson.
    The one good thing about FFP is that it’s removed those nonsense rumours from the ‘News Now’ site about all of the amazing players we’re about to sign.
    They’re just left with the Grealish rumours to continually re-hash in slightly different ways.

  127. I’m bored so I thought I’d play with some numbers? If RDM had continued with the same results pattern (unlikely) then he would had for arguments
    sake 46 points.

    Now to get the 62 that Bruce ended with he would of had to have won 8 and a bit games instead of drawn them, thats 3 more games or thereabouts won over each 1/4 season remaining after the game he was sacked but also RDM would not have to have gone on the prolonged losing streaks Bruce had.

    Now I am thinking surely we would of got 9 wins instead of draws over 35 remaining games? maybe even more? Bruce won 15 after all.

    Conclusion? RDM would of had a better defensive record than Bruce having lost only 12 all season vs Bruces 13 in 3/4? and lets say we won the 15 games Bruce did instead? thats 10 more points or 74 overall and 8th place.

    All utter rubbish of course as it didn’t happen although I do wonder What RDM’s Jan window would of looked like?

  128. Mark. . . lots of what ifs there but who’s to say you’re wrong.
    My reason for thinking that RDM’s time was up was his demeanour.
    He’d stopped coming out of the dugout, and had the air of a beaten man.
    If only we could have transplanted your confidence into him then maybe things could have turned out differently!

  129. Robbo- I think if Bruce had suffered the same amount of Booing at Villa park then I’m sure he’d have reeled out the high expectation stuff and it would of exploded.

    RDM ran into a p*ssed off demoralised fanbase and that was what did for him and maybe the team, Villa park was very Toxic full of people ready to have a go as they had under Lerner, it had become a habit.

  130. Andrew,

    You suggest a good way of looking at the current situation by putting yourself in the owner’s shoes. I would be thinking let’s keep our powder dry and not give Spud any money to waste because cash will remain tight this season. To date, he’s only lost his loan signings plus JT. Without them we might reasonably expect that a top 6 finish is still attainable. So if that looks on then we stick. If it doesn’t, then we twist. We should know after about 12 games.

  131. Robbo- thinking about it any bad run under Bruce had him fighting with the fans and expecting the tin tac, can you imagine that at the start of the 1st champs season?

  132. Now to put myself in the shoes of our fans. We believe the existing squad is good enough to do well but perhaps not achieve promotion with Spud in charge. With a savvy coach we might achieve promotion. Arguments all round with that statement.

    It looks like Spud is seriously looking at 3-5-2 for the majority of his forthcoming matches. Whilst more attacking and therefore commendable I can see us shipping more goals at the back due to lack of pace. So last season it was Xia throwing the dice. Next season it looks like Spud will be throwing them instead. Personally, my expectations are muted.

  133. god yes defo don’t go giving bruce money to spend now.

    don’t get 352 with our players. not enough cbs or left wing backs and where does albert and green play! would only really suit hourihan that formation

  134. Well he’s tried, green at wingback and RW and Lw same with delaet, Taylor too now he has Elmo add him. Then there’s a whole host of maybes at CB.
    Only one CF mind

    I really do get the feeling we are going to be treated to an August of musical chairs as he rotates furiously if we don’t win. We should arrange 20 pre-season games 🙂

  135. mk
    guess the bingo balls are back with bruce .take out player take out position and give it a whirl
    as for this poll that owners have taken to heart on this site would have said 90percent would have given henry the job, and others i dont see the love for bruce,john lerwill was on TVB for 2 days and got hammered for his point of view

  136. JG. I’m sure you’re right that the majority of forum posters want Bruce out . . . not just on this site, so the interesting question for me is: what is different about fans who post on forums and other fans?
    I do t have an answer, but clearly there is something different about the self-selected group of fans who take the trouble to voice their opinions on here and other sites

  137. Robbo- Maybe the fans that bother to post bother to think about things a bit more deeply than “thats good we won” or ” I like Bruce he’s safe therefore everything is ok” or my Favourite ” better leave it as it is or things might get worse” A lot of posting appears to be anger at others not sharing there view rather than thought out reasoning.

    Some of Bruces Pro’s are valid some not but it seems to be a lot of fans just buy into him whole hog and insist everyone else does, thats never going to happen, I wish for everyone sake he turns out some acceptable performances without appearing lucky, that I fear is also not going to happen.

  138. AM HIGHLY AMUSED….!!!!!

    Who were the majority of people who voted in the polls?????

    Where they Villa fans….??? Did they have to show any ID..???

    Most were probably ‘Noses and Baggies fans, enjoying the chance to f**k up these so called polls.

    We have what we deserve now, as I doubt more than 2000 votes comprised the whole of the Mail poll.

    I just am going to sit tight now, and see if Steve Bruce can make a difference this season, and formulate a good team from what he has , using them in their best positions.

  139. r0bb0 (and the rest)…

    I’ve seen £25m up to £45m on FFP. You’re right about the various bits we’ve raised, and the idea we might be keeping Chester indicates we don’t have all the facts.

    QPR’s fine was big, but I saw one in the region of £4m-£7m for Bournemouth. I’m wondering if new, deep-pocketed owners sway the regulators if not the actual numbers: “Hey. We’ve got the money. Let’s talk this through: no danger to the club, plenty of liquidity, happy to pay a small-ish fine while we’re getting this fixed and RMC goes missing.”

  140. MK,

    “spoiler alert- Two months from now when Grealish has gone and Ohare is fit Bruce will say its a shame Ohare was injured pre-season I was going to build the team around him”.

    How many games in do you reckon before we get his stock quote “we have to batten down the hatches”?

    That link to the OS about 3-5-2. Do you think they’re trying to educate us?

  141. Mark, I suspect that forum posters are not necessarily any more thoughtful, informed or intelligent than other Villa fans. It’s more likely to be something to do with character and a desire to be heard or influence others.
    Despite being down in Devon, I work with half a dozen villla fans including several ex season ticket holders and they are well informed about the club. They tend to get upset rather than angry when things aren’t going well. . . . but maybe that’s a reflection of living in Devon!

  142. Mark: “it describes how the players will fit in to the system but omits mentioning Grealish and Kodjia.”

    I clicked on your link, and it’s an interesting article, but is it the right link? The article mentions both Grealish and Kodjia. It picks out all the players who may be involved in the new defensive system so doesn’t mention Grealish or Kodjia in that bit, but I don’t think much can be read into it.

  143. plug
    bruce heard all about 352 from world cup after talking to big sam,that was after big sam had told anyone who would listen he wouldnt picked southgates team ,it had no dinosaur type players OLD SLOW BIG NAMES ON BIG WAGES

  144. PP
    I’ve been sitting tight so long I’ve got buttocks clench.
    As for things working out, I’m beginning to suspect that Bruce thinks he’s playing snakes & ladders

  145. IanG
    the villa blog run by damian,some real nutters on there one lad lives in france banned numerous times keeps coming back,lerwil tried to convert for couple days but got slaughtered for it

    back to poll even on fb definetly no way bruce has anywhere near support paper reporting ,have noticed one site i joined last year to see matches it seems to be a way of getting comments onto there site and particularly some writers

  146. I was blocked from TVB . . . Presumably Because I regularly disagreed with Damian.
    Ironically I find myself largely in agreement with him these days.

  147. JG. In my experience in ‘the real world’ Bruce genuinely does attract a lot of support.
    His name is still chanted from the stands too.
    I think you’ll find that it’s the online community that is unrepresentative

  148. r0bb0
    I would dispute that you call the rabble ‘the real world’.
    Nose rings don’t increase intelligence [or penis size].

    All the older supporters I know that don’t do ‘online’ have hated Bruce for his approach & incompetence & lack of understanding our DNA.

    Sometimes I think that you could encourage the ‘real world’ to jump in front of a bus if you put it into song.

  149. DOR
    I thought we were going to get together last season but it never happened.
    Before Christmas would be good, especially if we get a new manager by then

  150. IanG
    “I would dispute that you call the rabble ‘the real world’.
    Nose rings don’t increase intelligence [or penis size].”
    Coming out with some curious comments these days

  151. IanG
    no problem quite few groups last year showed games slowed down at end tho
    dont pay no heed to the troll
    all the rabble i know think the same of bruce ,and if you can get any clips of soueness doing punditry onTV3 ON IRELAND compared to doing it on sky or bbc shows the difference in pc britain where they all say nice things about all their friends managing

  152. r0bb0
    merely expressing myself in a nutshell, otherwise I tend to get bored.
    Was it just that bit that made you curious?
    That is curious.

  153. IanG
    Your comprehension doesn’t seem to be quite what it used to be
    It wasn’t just that bit, which is why I used the word ‘some’
    I didn’t say I was curious . . . I thought some of your recent comments were.

  154. JG: “the villa blog run by damian,some real nutters on there one lad lives in france banned numerous times keeps coming back,lerwil tried to convert for couple days but got slaughtered for it”

    That sums up what tends to happen online and make it unrepresentative.
    Negative feelings about a person or situation tend be expressed more strongly than positive ones. Herd mentality then takes over and tries to drive out counter views, leaving the remaining group believing that ‘they’ are the majority.

    The polls are unlikely to have been rigged; the majority probably ‘do’ want Bruce to stay; but they don’t express it with the same conviction as those who want him to go.

  155. JC,
    A very good summary of recent happenings at Villa. There have been many interesting comments from Lifers recently. I agree with Ian & others that believe SB is on a short leash. He remains for stability reasons but if things don’t pan out wins wise pretty smartly, he’ll be gone soon enough.Last years’ poor start bit hard.
    I wish Steve Bruce all the best for the 2018-19 season.

  156. IanG
    just whatever is on sky,then what we can get of the dark world of internet,
    this week eammon dunphy retired from our national station from football punditry used to be good but then got carried away with himself,but quote yesterday from him he siad my bosses[rte] told me at euros 2016 not to give [MON] a hard time the public wouldnt like it

  157. Robbo – it was an analysis of 352 not 35, talked about how it would benefit hourihane but not mention of the benefits to the top 2 thought that odd.

    Also I said they think more about it not are more intelligent from where I sit Bruce’s fans can be very emotional and irrational quoting lots of so called facts like he’s halved the wage bill, instead of the use of their eyeballs and ears . All fans want the best for villa they differ in how that can be achieved or wether it is. Mostly nobody wants to be lectured about not seeing someone else’s way do they.


    Steer, Elmohamady, Chester, Jedinak, Taylor, Hutton, Whelan, Bjarnason,Green, Grealish, Adomah. Subs: Sarkic, De Laet, Lansbury, Hourihane, Bree, Elphick, Gardner, Knibbs.

  159. Half time Dresden 1 Villa 0.

    A comedy of errors between Steer and Chester for the goal, but Dresden should be 3-0 up with the chances they have had.

  160. Good result in the end thanks to good work by Steer in goal, apart from his one lapse with Chester, and a goal line clearance from De Laet.

    In the end, probably a good workout for Villa.

  161. Impressed with Hutton when he made forward runs, taking players on and beating them, could see much more attacking play from him in the coming season, and working well with Green.

  162. PP- In all I’d say it tells us naff all about how we will line up come the start, concerning that we appear to have no forwards fit. Grealish continues to feature heavily despite the very likely sale.

    Bruce going to a 4141 after losing to wet spam with 352 is typical of him I think.

  163. Spot on MK.

    Now watching the Premier League years on Sky in the 2008/9 season when for a moment we were 3rd behind Chelsea and Liverpool, with Spurs bottom of the table….and Portsmouth still a Premiership side…!!!

  164. Fascinating watching the Premiership in 2008/9 and realising so much, and our highest position of 3rd to our final and lowest position of 6th, just below us Fulham in 7th, below them 8,9, 10th respectively, Tottenham(now under Redknapp) after being bottom, West Ham and Man City, under their new owners, and Mark Hughes as manager.

    The positions from 11-19 were all filled by clubs that would be relegated in the next 8/9 years:
    Wigan, Stoke, Bolton, Portsmouth, Blackburn, Sunderland, Hull, Newcastle Utd, Middlesboro, and West Brom respectively….

  165. Not watched the game myself – I will do in time – but if that was the formation (with Elmo at RM) then I just don’t know anymore.

    -If he plays 352 against Hull, then what was the point of playing 4141 today?
    -If he starts with 4 at the back on Monday, then fitness aside this has been a wasted pre-season.

    I have a feeling he’ll start with a back 4 and when he does I’m seriously gona lose it!!!

  166. GS- Hutton crosses from the right for the winner 🙂 4-5 games on the left in defence at CH no less and he plays him RB?

    I’m sure Brucie has some sort of Logic to what he is doing but after this long he must know these players strengths surely? Most players have had multiple positions so far, Green I think has played in 4!! left and right wing, wing back, and now Centre forward.

    Just smacks that he thinks we don’t have players to cover some positions so is trying his options out. If you add we are likely to lose some before the start of the season too?

  167. Apparently we are not selling anyone?

    “On discussions with the new majority owners, he said: “The one thing that the pair of them have said is that nobody is for sale. That’s music to my ears.

    “We don’t want to lose our best players. We all know in football that unfortunately these things happen.

    “But we will now be doing our utmost to make sure these things do not happen and not let them go anywhere.”

  168. Erm bloody hell

    “Bruce, as well as keeping his best players, is also looking to bring in quality in the window – with striker the priority.”

  169. MK

    “Bruce, as well as keeping his best players, is also looking to bring in quality in the window – with striker the priority.”

    A 5ft2 target man perhaps?

  170. Mark. Interesting FFP articles you posted above. Wish I could say everything is clear now!
    It ‘seems’ to confirm the £40m deficit for this year but it does also seem that there is some grey in there which may give leeway for the creative accountants.
    As far as I can see, we’ve made sales and reduced costs of around £30m so far this season so we still ‘seem’ to be around £10m short, ‘unless’ there is some additional creative leaway.
    The latest comments about no more player sales (i’ll be suspending judgement on that for a couple more weeks) suggest that they have indeed found this extra creative leeway ‘or’ decided that the risk of fines is one worth taking?

  171. Can’t help feeling that the ‘no more player sales’ message is aimed at Daniel Levy to let him know that we’ll only sell at the right price, rather than meaning that we really won’t sell under any circumstances.
    No evidence for that. . . . . just a gut feeling.

  172. has bruce never heard the saying when you have nothing to say ,say nothing
    noticed klopp has not taken bomb squad route with players not wanted at pool [sturridge] but said he was part of his plans

  173. GS- if we can stretch to that 🙂

    We can only hope the new blokes accountants are more creative than Tonys.

    Also does that mean he wants to keep RMC and Richards, doesn’t look good on his money saving CV 😉

    JG- sods law that the only fit forward is RMC with no pre-season and no chance of playing, that must be a sackable offence treating assets like that 🙂

  174. Mark, he’s pretty much come out and said that he’d love to get rid of RMC and Richards but nobody will take them.
    I don’t understand why it isn’t better to sell them on for ‘something’ and offer to pay half their wages to get them off the books. It may be bad for the P&L but would help cash flow. . . .
    I hate that players are happy to sit around doing nothing, although the club was at fault for giving such long, lucrative contracts in the first place.

  175. rObBo,

    The club have been at fault big time over staff salaries and contracts. They finally saw the light after RDM took us to the cleaners and gave Spud a 1 year rolling contract. Pity they haven’t been more astute with the players they signed.

    Why did Lansbury get a 4.5 year contract? What is wrong with 2 years and a further 2.5 years extension at the clubs discretion? Same with Tshibola. Same with RMC. Same with Dick Turpin. ManUre showed how its done with Johnstone. They took out the 1 year extension just so they could sell him. Shorter contracts with extension options at the club’s discretion is the only way to go. If players won’t sign up to it then don’t sign them. I understand 4 or 5 year deals for Hazard, Ronaldo, Messi and co but not for second tier journeymen.

    Cafu is a great example of the way forward. We gave him a 1 year extension. I expect him to perform admirably this season and if he does we can consider giving him a further 1 year extension. It keeps him hungry and honest. In RMC’s case, 40k per week is reported as increasing to 75k per week if we get promoted. WTF. I almost hope we don’t get promoted until his contract has expired.

  176. Plug/ robbo

    Your missing the point on our recent history of long contracts and FFP. Any player you buy is put into each years tax/books over the term of the contract. RMC for £12m over 1 year? That would have to be paid for there and then, over 4 it’s £3m a season.

    Unless we sell them we are still paying for players we bought 4 years ago. It’s called amortisation and without it we would either not been able to buy anyone or gone under very quickly.

    It’s not a recent thing either it’s been going on since mons day. Creating bomb squads of players you then cannot sell as they appear trouble or lazy etc is very stupid.

    Whatever Bruce thinks of RMC he scored 14 goal in OZ so deserved a go imo but now? He’s our only fit striker, bad move by Bruce who’s not in a position to be picky but has been equally at fault in Ross’s non attraction to other clubs

    Another reason why a new manager could have been a cheaper option than ditching Ross will be.

    Poor treatment of assets makes selling them way to hard as does high wages and long contracts on old players. It ain’t the players fault.

  177. Better hope mr Bruce doesn’t fall out with any of the new players being sought out eh as it appears he won’t be making the choices as much

  178. Mark,
    I understood that although the cost of players was amortised over the period of the contract in the company accounts the actual total cash fee was paid up front. Maybe that’s not the case?
    It’s why I thought that selling for a pittance could harm the bottom line but improve the cash.
    The other reason I think we struggle to sell them is their inflated wages and the players prefering to take the cash rather than actually play football for a lower wage at a different club. I don’t understand why we can’t partially fund their wages too though, just to move them on and at least save ‘some’ cash.
    Going back to the amortisation point, one of the articles you posted seemed to suggest that FFP was based on EBITDA which would therefore exclude the amortisation costs.
    Still clear as mud to me!

  179. Carry on Bruce…..

    It looks like more of the same for this season….Bruce stays, along with Whelan, El Mohammady, Jedinak, and guess what…..looks like Bruce may well bring back Snoddy…!!!

    None of these are necessarily bad things, but it really seems as if very little will change, on the expectation that we were unlucky last season with injuries and only just missed promotion, so therefore, with a bit of luck, Bruce and his team will make this season. Let us hope so.

  180. PP

    “…on the expectation that we were unlucky last season with injuries and only just missed promotion, so therefore, with a bit of luck, Bruce and his team will make this season.”

    If Bruce has half the luck he had last season on the pitch, then I call witchcraft!

  181. Robbo- Its a minefield, In our first season in the champs we supposedly spent out £88m on players with a wage bill of £61m and running costs with an income of £73.8m? and losses of £14m that just does not add up

    Football finance expert Kieran Maguire from Liverpool University

    “Villa bought players for £88m but a lot were on credit and a lot of those deals are yet to be finalised. They also probably had the highest wage bill in the Championship last season and meeting that on a monthly basis is a significant outgoing.”

    Amortization is entered as a yearly cost but bears no relevance to that seasons player acquisitions. It can also mean depreciation of an asset which is weird if you then sell the player for more money. You can give them a longer contract and reduce that amortization cost per year some more by diluting it over another 3-5 years.

    I think its fair to say we have been doing plenty of spreading things thin as possible.

  182. PP,

    As someone mentioned further up, it’s strange how anyone can think that a different result can be achieved from the same workings. Yet here we are talking about Snoddy again.

    I’ve read that we are after Woodburn on loan from the bin dippers. For me, if we hope to improve on last season, Spud needs to make his 3-5-2 work. The most urgent loan signings are a couple of greyhounds to play at the back with Chester to facilitate it. Oh, and they need to be big guys too who pass a ball from A to B.

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