After wobbling through the opening five fixtures to the tune of two wins and three draws, the wheels finally came off for Villa: first in the cup exit to Burton Albion, and then more decisively at Bramall Lane, where Sheffield United notched a comprehensive 4-1 victory.

All told, from August 22 to September 1, four matches, 8 conceded, 4 scored, and back-to-back embarrassments. Not going to get very far that way. Now, teams are going to have bad days, bad weeks, bad stretches. Wolves cruised to the title last year, and we beat them 4-1. It happens.

But it seems that it’s becoming clear in the minds of most Villans that, if nothing else, Villa have likely plateaued under Bruce. He’s reached the limits of his ability as manager, and his shortcomings, which once might’ve been viewed as circumstantial, are repeatedly on display, indicating they’re not about bad luck with injuries or clubhouse gloom. I could’ve written all this, and often did, at any time last season.

The Good
I didn’t really see anything, did you? Nice to El Ghazi get off the mark, but…

The Bad
We made the Blades look like Barcelona. And, as in some famously poor matches in previous campaigns, we looked to be playing the part of training cones. Some of the players were injured, apparently, but they wanted to play, so Bruce let them because everyone else had let him down so badly against mighty Burton. I think I heard him questioning the logic of this at some point after the game. I’ve given up ascribing any logic to his personnel decisions.

Well, that’s not quite right. I’ve just become resigned to the fact that Bruce is never going to be capable of settling on a system and lineup that suits the group of players he has at Villa.

The Ugly
Being booed off again for the second time in less than a week. The game itself. The shambles that’s taking shape. Bruce finding himself needing to say “I do know what I’m doing,” when there’s quite some evidence to the contrary. Well, I guess he does “know” what he’s doing, as in he’s self-aware and sentient. It’s the effectiveness that’s in question.

Final Verdict
We’ll see a new-look Villa after the break, so I’m going to hold fire a little. Reinforcements arrived in the form of Anwar El Ghazi, Yannick Bolasie, and Tammy Abraham, rendering Andre Green surplus to requirements, and setting off Albert Adomah’s brother. I’m assuming the latter was upset that Albert, who did indeed save Steve Bruce’s bacon last year, was somehow once again lower in the pecking order than Ahmed Elmohamady, never mind El Ghazi or Bolasie. 

We see the same sort of thing with Tommy Elphick, now inexplicably gone, James Bree, Birkir Bjarnason, etc. I’ve said it before—if I were Birkir and found myself sat on the bench to watch a pensioner in my place on the pitch, I’d walk, pure and simple.

We also will find ourselves on the other side of the window with no new left back, one CB, and five lined up to play RB.

We still lack cohesion, and basically just look rubbish. It could easily have been 7 or 8 conceded Saturday. We’ve got players past their sell-by who continue to displace better, younger players. We keep playing Kodjia as a hold-up man, Elmo as a winger, Jedinak as a CB, an inexperienced keeper, and Hutton now permanently on the left, which we’ve all gotten used to. It’s the same things we say week after week. 

For me, Bruce has had enough time to figure things out, yet nothing is really improving. If you want to point to this start versus last year’s, well, damn with faint praise all you like. We’ve got enough talent to be a much better side. Well, we should have enough talent if we hadn’t once again done some rather lopsided transfer dealings.

Now, it might be fair to say “Hold on, let’s see how we get on with El Ghazi, Bolasie, Abraham, and McGinn settled in.”

And truth be told, none of us can say how much difference they’ll make. They might be so good as to render Bruce superfluous. Perhaps we start scoring for fun and terrorizing teams. So I’m caught in two minds about how to react to the bad week.

What’s disheartening is that this early on Villa sit at a crucial juncture in the season, and it seems to me like something’s shifted in the mood of the team—that between the criticism of players and the poor treatment Uncle Albert’s received, it may well be that Bruce could be on his way to losing the dressing room. Which isn’t the same as saying the players don’t like him. They just may well have stopped believing in him as they see him desperately casting about for solutions to problems he’s ultimately responsible for, and not by doing anything different than bring in more players.

So, perhaps the latest influx buys Bruce time. Perhaps he wises up and ditches the Jedinak experiment, leaves Elmo and Whelan out, and doesn’t put Jedi straight back in as DM. I don’t know. 

But I wish I didn’t have the feeling Bruce will manage to mismanage this team in the same ways he has previously, and that we won’t look as good or play as capably as we should. At the moment, it just feels that we’re destined to underachieve because of Bruce’s limitations. He’s epically and ironically mishandled the defense, and if he doesn’t change his ways, he’ll probably manage to shackle the new attacking talent.

On the upside, I do, however, think we’re dealing with what should be the best ownership we’ve had in I don’t know how long. The appointment of Christian Purslow means we’ve got someone running the operation who’s been around success, pressure, and some big egos. In other words, is qualified to be running a football team’s operations. We’ve got money, and there’s ambition.

And perhaps all these loanees aren’t they way to go. Maybe NSWE should’ve started from scratch with a new manager. But it’s hard to see them looking at the core of a team that came so close and not thinking they had a decent chance to make a run at it. We still don’t know whether they’ve been planning all along to take a look in January and reevaluate. But if they’re wanting to be in with a shout come the new year and next window, it’s seeming more and more likely to more and more supporters that they’ll have to part company with Bruce to get the best out of their investment.

Over to you.

Comments 66

  1. Excellent ‘State of the Nation’ summary JC (as in John Clark – if you were the other one you would have created a miracle for us!!)
    I think your suggestion that SB has lost the dressing room rings true – cf the Twitter posts by Man U players in support of Jose when he was under pressure. You will unlikely see that from Villa players.
    I just read Rob Bishop’s excellent book Euros and Villans – Saunders was a manager who commanded respect. Top players cheerfully remembering getting fined a weeks wages for having a drink and training on Sundays at a time we were playing Sat/Wed almost continuously and won the League with only 14 players. Something else you will not see from Villa players nor the Manager.
    I don’t think I am alone in thinking it is time to look for a new Manager who can command the respect of the players, can admit to making mistakes then rectify them and possess some degree of tactical nous.
    I do not see the influx of players as being the solution as we are still lacking in defence and our strikers cannot justify their name. Perhaps Bruce should have watched Jermain Jenas’ analysis of Watford’s successful defensive tactics that kept Spurs at bay for long periods https://youtu.be/QPRQzkf6iUA

    Looking forward to some more critical comments

  2. Accurate summary JC. My take on Bruce is that he has not imparted anything new to the players. A few training sessions, dump some expensive players (for the championship) into the first team and hope for it to work. I could be wrong but there doesn’t appear there is any skill development, help in reading the game or developing tactics.

    Also, in a way he reminds be on O’Neill who bought a lot of expensive players and never used them, relying only on the same eleven game after game. But at least MON never forced people into the wrong positions. I understand that good managers do that sometimes when they see something in a player, but taking a 34 year old and trying it when you have a creaky back-line is probably career suicide. As he’ll soon find out.

  3. Excellent post JC, we’re in the same boat, when I say boat I mean ship as there are thousands of Villans who have either arrived at this assessment of the inabilities/faults of SB as a manager or determined from the outset this was another Villa experiment.

    An experiment whereby a middle of the road manager, continuously overlooked for the ‘big jobs’ suddenly has an opportunity to make his mark amongst his peers by getting the biggest club outside of the prem back at the top table.

    Big clubs need big managers with big egos and a big amount of talent (knowledge for the game), Bruce just doesn’t qualify but will always be a success where the expectation level is not to be beaten for a while as he can set up teams not to lose. Unfortunately, even that train has come off the rails and it’s down to the players as much as the manager. It’s the players that have the talent to be at this big club, they know that they for the most part can play in the prem and are seeing tactics and poor man management as an impediment to their dream of playing in the prem. Human reaction is to disassociate yourself from mediocrity, my one concern is that professional pride has disappeared so quickly in their efforts to get Bruce sacked.

    I think we all feel we could set up a Villa side with the players we have that could win a game, how is it that SB can’t, he’s not become a bad manager, it’s the fact that he has players who no longer listen to him, there could be a camp of pro-Albert, there could be a camp of Jedi is no CB or a camp that’s saying where is the CB cover, all these and many other reasons have meant SB is a hindrance to Villa’s promotion tilt and two weeks off won’t change things other than players getting a chance to get away from him.

    The Bruce stay argument is always about stability but this is based on a thought process completely impacted by the recent relegation and the turmoil around the final Lerner years, the mindset of the fan has to change to see that changing the manager now will only be a positive and this isn’t about new manager bounce but an opportunity to really start Villa’s promotion battle with a manager with tactical ability and progressive football at his heart, we have the players to do it, it may require a Kevin Keegan style Newcastle until the transfer window in order to address the defensive issues but to put my cards on the table here is my team influenced by MOMS suggestion of 3-5-2, pick it apart at your leisure

    GK – Nyland
    CBs – Hutton – Chester – Tuanzebe
    Midfield (L to R) El Ghazi, McGinn, Hourihane, Bjarneson, Grealish
    Strikers – Abrahams and Kodija

    I’m close to playing Adomah, Bolasie and dependent on the wingers being disciplined in tracking back, Bjarneson to provide the defensive midfield role, McGinn and Hourihane to provide the striker support, O’Hare, Elmo on the bench to allow a switch to 4-4-1-1 with O’Hare in the 10 role

    All the best Lifers

  4. Villalore – re playing a player out of position.
    Allan Evans was signed as a striker from Dunfermline in 1977 and played in the Central League at the start. he was brought on against Barcelona in the quarter-final of the UEFA Cup 1st March 1978 when David Evans was injured and sent on to cause problems up front as Villa came from behind to score 2 at 88 McNaught and 89 Deehan.
    The following season when Leighton Phillips was struck down with a virus with 6 games to go Ken McNaught suggested to Saunders that Allan Evans would make a good partner – he had the height and more speed than Ken. Saunders listened to his players and there began the successful partnership that lifted the League Trophy and the European Cup.
    The best result of my life as a supporter since I watched the 1957 Cup Final aged 15.

  5. Quality analysis JC. I’m in complete agreement. Spud is flatlining and currently treading water. I do understand NSWE’s decision to stick with him given the timing of their takeover but surely Purslow’s first task as new CEO is to source his replacement with someone who is known to understand and implement attacking play, improve players and enhance their values. A question for Spud. What do you think the market value is today for RMC, Lansbury, Taylor and Hogan?

    I like your team selection DOR and suggested bench although I’m not holding my breath. The international break just seems to give Spud 2 weeks off because he always says he can’t prepare a team for the next game when players are absent. Doesn’t hold water in my book with a squad the size of ours.

  6. The danger now is that if the new players do not hit it off immediately and start an upward trend, the fans will turn like they did at Sunderland. When they went after Spud big time during a home game he was gone within a couple of days.

    Where’s OV? I would welcome his thoughts on the current situation.

  7. Great story Clive, what a strange and wonderful sight it must have been.

    It’s not that Jedi couldn’t be a great CB, he just hasn’t had the time to train as one. Plus he’s lost his speed and doesn’t seem to really want it. The last few matches must be draining away his confidence, SB should bed him in more slowly. So drop him and replace him with..oh wait..

  8. Great leader JC. I really hope spud is gone by the weekend to give the new man a chance to get a feel for the club before our next game. I can’t see it but as a Villa fan we have no choice but to live in hope.

  9. JC
    Thanks for the accurate leader, mind boggling times.
    DOR – seems like a reasonable team to me, & a half decent bench as well..

    Why play 3 at the back for most of the preseason & then change it along with half the team, & get rid of experience & backup at the same time? Absolutely unbelievable!

    JG – with your success rate you ought to start a book on how many days Bruce has left.

    Well we’ll see how good the owners are now!

  10. U18s 7 -1 against Norwich.
    The U23s are doing well too.
    Probably because they have managers who know what they are doing, & can spell continuity

  11. Thanks, all. What struck me as I was re-reading (one perhaps keeps looking for typos and the like until the next one goes) is the bit about doing nothing but bring in new players. Which basically is a continuation of “the players are letting me down.”

    Simply says whoever’s here is not good enough. “The problem is the players, not me.”

    Now of course, it makes sense to get a striker, for example, and Grealish was apparently enthusiastic about convincing Abraham. Even if Rushian gets a good run, you’d still want three healthy strikers, especially given Kodjia’s last couple of years.

    But not addressing CB, for example, while sending Green out and exiling Adomah again…Those are the kinds of moves that can alienate a side that had bonded quite well, by all appearances.

    And I wouldn’t disagree about always looking to improve a team. But I think for the players to buy into that, they have to believe a) the side is set up for success and might just be lacking a couple of players at key positions, and b) that they’re all getting a fair shake (or close enough).

  12. fairly concerned at this stage,surely purlow knows bruce is a dud and needs to be let go,honestly nobody could do worse than bruce,as for letting elphik without a replacement signed is really shocking,no way do i want terry back unless as manager his form tailed of last season ,going to take 6 weeks to get up to speed now

    ian g
    could kissed fat frank when his derby team scored in dying mins,never won anything before usually pick few teams each week

  13. JG
    Yes, what Purslow does or doesn’t do should be interesting.
    I can’t see him rushing any action unless the owners have it in hand & have given him directions.
    I’ve a nasty feeling that it will take a couple more losses to come to a head, but every time it’s come to this in the past Bruce has had a piece of luck which disassociated him from his thinking he knows what he’s doing, & we’ve won with players he wouldn’t pick.
    But I’ve never seen such a screw up in the defence, with Elphik & not getting a loan in.
    He seems to be the only one who thinks he knows what he’s doing, & lets hope Purslow & the owners don’t agree with him.

  14. Jc- can’t disagree with any of that, surprised to see you’ve slid of the fence with that last nudge, you’ve been clinging on for some time to be reasonable 🙂

    I think coming from Midfield to CB is a tough call, very different to the wide open spaces and less responsibility. Second only to the keeper in disaster pant moments.

  15. MK,

    Ha…well, I’ve had problems with Bruce for the most part. But, as I alluded to above, there had always been mitigating circumstances (to some extent, anyway), particularly in regard to injuries. We could talk about patience. We could take about stabilizing. We could talk about exorcising demons. And as IanG says, each time Bruce has been up against it, the team’s provided results.

    But what’s really torn it for me are things like Bjarnason vs. Whelan, De Laet vs. Elmo, or Elmo vs. Albert, the way we’re playing Kodjia, the way we can almost never slot a through ball to a runner. and keep punting it unless Jack or maybe now McGinn are carrying it. RHM was never going to stand a chance if we can’t put him through properly. Same for Hogan and RMC. We can’t play properly to any of four “first-team” strikers. We’ll see how it goes with Abraham. Bruce keeps saying he’s learned his lessons about all sorts of things but clearly he hasn’t. He gets an accidental team that strings together results and then changes it first chance he gets.

    Further, why are you going to waste time training Jedi to be a CB when you could have someone younger and more athletic in there learning the trade? Mistakes have and will be made regardless. But he’s persisting with this combination of panicked reliance on older players, working them in wherever and whenever he can, and not sorting out a backline that supports an attacking team. There’s no upside to this. The players only get older, meaning current deficiencies are only going to get worse. Meanwhile, you’re robbing yourself of the chance to develop other players who can offer as much or more in the short term, and certainly more in the second half of the season.

    It smacks of fear, obstinacy, you name it. It’s just been long enough for things not to look like they did last week.

    Nothing new in what I’ve said, I’ve just become very tired of the fact that we’ve been saying the same things over and over and nothing’s gotten better. Bruce has had as much of a chance as he could’ve asked for in this particular situation.

  16. And, as many others have said, I have a hard time understanding why you’d go 3-5-2 for the preseason, then change it. Other than fear. Why do you have a highly regarded prospect from Man U in and insist on playing him at right back instead of CB? Yes, he’ll have moments, but Jedi is already having moments. And you’ve got four other RBs to choose from. Well, three, given Hutton is going to have to be the answer at LB.

    Bruce needs to grow a pair. I’d be perfectly fine living with the consequences of having committed to any of Bree, Chester, Tuanzebe, and Elphick in a back three (if he couldn’t find anyone else) with De Laet and Hutton as wingbacks.

    You look at other teams, other sports….kids are expected to come in, take their knocks, and then start to show what they can do.

    Bruce is relying on an old style of play (and its attendant percentages) that he thinks will win out over a season. But that relies on other teams not having changed their approaches, nevermind building a side to suit his preferred style.

  17. JC- As site custodian you’ve acted admirably mate 🙂

    Didn’t we drop the 3 at the back after west ham spanked us? it did look rather shaky at times and we were playing lower leagues but the wing backs worked to an extent. Bruces reaction is always seems to be retreat/change when a plan goes awry though.

    I think its amazing how few effective defenders he’s brought in over his tenure, JT thats it really and I suppose Johnson, the others all have their moments. I’d take Delaet and Elphick over any of them if we were set up right and young Clark at LB. I am beginning to think Tuenzabe is his love child, Bree must suspect same.

    Further to that he’s brought in many mid-fielders all attacking bar Wheelan then forced them to sit deep. He has improved them, they are all mediocre defensive mids.

    Have you noticed we now have a matching RB situation on the left wing/midfield? Grealish, Mcginn, ElGhazi, Kodjia, Albert and Green all like to play or appear better there, Albert the only one thats done well either side. Can’t believe Grealish has been pushed to the right, I honestly think Bruce had Mcginn lined up when Jack was going too.

    Meanwhile as DOR just suggested (and myself about a 100 times last season) O’hare answers a lot of our Problems, he’s the only true 10 we have bar erm…. RMC. O’hare possibly our best young player and I include Jack in that.

    I wish they had got rid of Bruce before the silly loans started of our squad and youth and a more progressive man brought in, I don’t think it would of harmed us as much as keeping him in truth. This situation could easily go tits up with another couple of losses.

  18. DOR,
    I am surprised you left Bree out, as he is one player who has been able to hold his head up, and not let Bruce or the team down at any time.

    I would be looking at Moreira, Bree, Chester, Tuanzebe, De Laet. Hourihane, Bjarnason, McGinn,

    Grealish, Kodija,

    Subs: Nyland, Hutton, Taylor, Whelan, Jedinak, Bolasie, Abrahams, El Gazhi.

    Most of this team are used to playing together, and the new comers can be used as impact subs until they are bedded in, and up the tempo in the later stages of the game.

    I still think the main reason Bruce stayed, was no-one offered him a job, and that the useless fan poll, which anyone could participate, was a shock to Edens and Nawiris, so they gave him an extension to start the season, and see how he fared. Unfortunately, he has messed up big time…!!

  19. i agree again with what most that is being said on here. The best CB do not necessarily need pace it’s about reading the game & you can’t teach that. Let’s face it the best CB we had at VP was McGrath & he didn’t have any pace but was a master at reading the game. Jedi will never be a CB. If we used one of our own from the the youth who has grown up playing that position & made some mistakes in the first few games of the season I think we would all forgive that knowing that he would need a few games at this level to get up to speed. Jedi is never going to learn how to read the game as a CB wether it’s part of a back 4 or a back 3. The best CB. I’ve ever seem at VP McGrath (god) had no legs when he came to us but was all about reading the game, you can’t teach that especially to a 30 something year old. A young up & coming CB might have the chance to develop into something close given the opportunity but its clear that’s not going to happen under Bruce. I also cannot understand the persistence with Whelan when clearly the Viking (who by the way kept MESSI quiet in the world cup) is by far the better option & I’m sure would only get better with a run of games is consistently left on the bench. I am completely at a loss as to what Bruce thinks he’s doing, he’s digging his own grave with his selections. As many have said on here if we had had the same results so far this season but was giving the youth & a new system a chance I’m sure he would have some backing by the fans, as it stands with him calling HIS players an embaresmenthe has clearly lost the dressing room & the plot. The most thing I’m enjoying about this season so far is reading everyone’s opinion on here. UTV

  20. Please excuse the grammar, I’ve had a beer or several. I sound like right pessimist at the moment, can’t wait to be able to write a positive post about where we’re going. Here’s hoping….

  21. Never mind, Costa…drinking and the Villa go hand in hand.

    I don’t think it’s negative or positive. It’s just what people see. Bruce will prove us wrong or he won’t. I’ll raise my hand if he does.

    Sometimes certain managers and situations don’t work together, no matter the track records.

  22. Costa-Easier to go from centre forward to CB and visa Versa imo. Your operating in a confined space where things happen quickly with no room for error and anticipation is everything.In DM you have acres to patrol it’s not dissimilar but you can channel players out wide to be dealt with, CB you can do similar but no buggers behind you if you get it wrong 🙂

  23. PP I’d not forgotten the likes of DeLaet, Bree, Lansbury (or our injured players) unlike SB but I can’t play 14 a side

    Love to see Bree get an extended run, cameo appearances as sub do nothing for a lad that was already established at his previous club but suffice to say the squad allows Bruce multiple permutations that he doesn’t see fit to try and continues to shoe horn players into unnatural roles and probably those lads are just happy to be playing.

  24. Morning Lifers,excellent piece once more JC.
    The JT rumours are …well…nothing and I mean nothing,suprises or disappoints me with Villa anymore.It(JT) just conveys panic.Fail to prepare Bruce preparet o fail.Further evidence that he just makes it up as he goes along.No plan,strategy,pattern or method to our play,just this obsession with getting promoted via accumalating attacking players amd hoping for the best.
    I must add,what a pleasure AVL has become once more,debate and discussion without the vindictive and confrontational tone.I feel it has become a forum for debate again,I never enjoyed being lectured or spoken down to.

  25. Hear hear B6toBrasil – it has been a pleasure to return to these pages on a more regular basis again. It helps I suppose that we are all singing from the same song sheet albeit in many different keys.

    Well done JC for taking over

  26. JC
    Thanks for the accurate description of things Villa.
    Nothing at Villa is kindling the imagination for me. We’ve learned to be realists, which is good but it would be great to have a manager that exudes qualities of leadership and builds esprit de corps.

  27. It’s a very grim state. Back in the day there were arguments and squabbles on the forum about players, formations and styles. Now it’s so appalling that we’re in violent agreement about the utter mess.
    I just can’t add anything to what’s been said.
    I’m still astonished at the money spent for such a poor outcome in what is a very mediocre division.

  28. MK, the campaign to replace Spud is now pretty solid on all the Villa blogs. There is a small hard core of fans on the Holte who sometimes get behind him but everyone around me at VP home games are solidly ready for change. Regardless of what small heath Tom Ross has to say in the local comic, a good 85% of regular attendees know the current limitations. We’ve been watching him for 2 years now.

    Compass (think it was IanG’s term for NSWE) have been busy pumping in another 11 million in cash. By converting to shares, FFP should be reduced accordingly. This is great news. Fully appreciated by this fan. We were so in the schitt after Wembley. Corrective surgery continues, I believe we are 1 astute coaching appointment away from much better days.

  29. Time for me to be trite, but I do know after all these years that everyone on here wants what’s best for Villa. However much we might disagree about how to get there at times, you don’t bother engaging if you don’t love the club.

  30. Plug- For me the product on the pitch doesn’t align with what comes out of Bruce’s mouth, never really has. It’s like Groundhog Day no matter the personal

  31. I see Collins and Jt are coming up on the free to sign get me out of the lurch news (for SB)

    If true it should rings bells and set fires in the CEO’s office

  32. Regarding the headline…im not too concerned. Just because the new owners will pull the trigger soonish.

    Looks like they want to get the house in order first.

    A sporting director lined up soon apparently.

  33. you see the route matey has gone down with his basketball team. Wont accept failure and would want to build something.

    I like that they are being in the back ground but doing things.

    The appointment of poulsen chap is pretty impressive to be fair.

  34. Indeed, Andrew. A very savvy appointment, by the looks of it.

    For me, this installment of the saga just points to a perennial dilemma: When does insistence on a certain level of success raise a standard or create undue stress?

    It can certainly lead to reactionary decision-making. But it can also be the thing that drives an organization forward. Supporters can be impatient, but it’s been a long time now that Villa have been wandering in the wilderness.

  35. “I’m thinking about the next 10 years,” he told the Express & Star in an exclusive interview. “Three years to get into the Premier League, so if we get promoted this year we’re a year ahead of schedule.

    “It’s a 10-year plan. It’s an achievement to have a small Premier League club but it’s not our (ultimate) target.

    “We want to build a strong team and it will take time with ups and downs.

    “It’s not like we’re building a house to meet the requirements of being in the Premier League and after one or two years we leave the house.

    “We’re building not a house but a manor! Step by step, brick by brick. It’s a different methodology and personally I think it’s different from most other clubs.

    “That’s a new way. Some fans want to compare us with Manchester City or Chelsea but it’s different.

    “Every period of time, every era, we have to find our own way to do something.

    https://www.molineuxmix.co.uk/index.php?threads/an-excellent-interview-with-jeff-shi.205375/

  36. That was an earlier Jeff Shi interview, CEO at Wolves,at the bottom the link on the first comment takes you to an online football magazine with his latest talk which says after being told they must get top British players for the champs (lambert) they changed tack entirely, its worth a read.

  37. Chester only on the subs bench for Wales tonight. Hourihane the first player to be subbed by Ireland. Two international managers don’t seem too impressed with our players.

  38. I thought i’d get a break from watching poor football but alas Ireland provided it in spades, excuses are missing players, unrest in the camp re Rice and Arter but Ireland has always based itself on collective over-achievement and we didn’t even have a collective.

    Also a reminder that Villa ‘reject’ Robinson now has his first international cap. Plug, I wouldn’t worry about Hourihane being subbed, the pace and movement from the Welsh attack and the lack of compactness from Ireland put paid to Hourihane doing what he does best i.e. being on the front foot.

    Still U21s v Germany on Tuesday in my local stadium so live football and better use of grass as a surface instead of the usual air.

  39. Might be putting 2 and 2 together and coming up with 5 but I’m guessing Spud is quite keen to get JT on board and JT is quite keen to come. But it hasn’t happened. Which means Compass have reservations. Could it be they are lining up Spud’s replacement who doesn’t want JT?

  40. From what I remember Cahill was very raw but loads of potential, scored a few too Like the two against us under Houllier, but made the odd ricket in the tackle, never mind we got Zack knight the basketball player and Salifou, Harewood and routledge that season, also sold Steven Davis, Ridgewell.

    looking at that I’m feeling sorry for you DOR 🙂

  41. MK I remember the overhead kick he scored against the s**t, not bad for a CH. JT dropping big hints of a return to us saying he has unfinished business. A last attempt by spud to save his job maybe ….or his replacement?

  42. Costa- I can’t see it being a replacement as Bruce said they discouraged him from resigning him, disturbing that he might be now going back to the owners and saying he’s our only hope for the season. Got a feeling that he will buy one in Jan anyway.

  43. Iang- Post this- 🙂

    John Terry has been pictured in Russia ahead of his reported move to CSKA Moscow.

    Former Aston Villa captain Terry touched down in Russia this morning and appears to be on the verge of clinching a return to football.

  44. Elphick on Hull live

    “In an interview with HullLive he spoke about his frustration at being dropped despite starting the season in the heart of defence.

    “The manager gave his blessing for me to go out on loan without many centre-halves in the building so that says all you need to know.

    “I’m not one to cause a fuss or be banging on the manager’s door.

    “I try and let my football do the talking.

    “The last two league games I played for Steve, we beat Bristol City 5-1 and he took me out, then we beat Hull 3-1, I scored and he took me out again. The writing was on the wall after that.”

    Yep I agree with you Tommy, no point in playing for a place under Bruce.

  45. MK – I expect Elf to have the last laugh. Sanctioning his move to Hull was a brazen display of incompetence which Compass can’t fail to notice. I think his fate was sealed by that move.

  46. a well at least bruce didnt lose this week,no fu###d up team to moan about,
    some of storys coming out of villa scary most senior players seem not to want to play for him and then we have ireland another complete mess another manager way passed his sell by date,loved the way giggs went for youth [was chester injured or had giggs seen him play recently for bruce]

  47. Well terry is going to have fun playing on tundra in the middle of winter. The chance of injury in that climate will be something to watch out for. Winter cities in Canada and the US don’t have covered stadiums for fun.

  48. I think Bruce tries to ruin players confidence on purpose so he can get rid of them when they don’t perform to their full potential.
    I saw Sherwood suggesting that lower league clubs should be feeder clubs for the Prem. In a way I agree but the promotion/relegation aspect of the English game would consign teams to the lower realms forever which I don’t think was the original idea of the system.
    Perhaps a better way would be to restrict the number of foreigners playing in any given game similar to loan players. A minimum number of native born players on the pitch for any given game. Some teams have only one or two English players on the squad. When you think about it the Prem is nothing more than 20 all star teams with players coming and going every year. Really, how many shirts do you need with unpronounceable names on the back?

  49. Ian – is that like how many elephants can you get in a mini?

    The prems a runaway train that can only end in a European league as teams implode once the funding stops. Used to be size of stadium equates to income but that’s also regional with London prices. I’m amazed that teams like hull can get players to sign, imagine coming from Brazil to play in the prem and winding up in Hull? So top teams will always be in the bigger citys London teams will gradually attract a greater percentage of the better players plus munchester and latherpool. Eventually London will detach and move to Monico.

  50. Hi Ian

    Post Brexit, I’d assume the Premier League can introduce foreign quotas as they wouldn’t have to be compliant with EU law, in fact I’m not sure why existing quotas aren’t seen as a restrictive employment practice.

    English commentators can’t even pronounce Irish surnames, Cahill (it’s not K-hill, it’s Kahill) or McGrath (the th is silent) correctly, so I wouldn’t worry about other unpronounceable names being on the back of shirts.

    I’d suggest that lower league clubs act as feeder clubs already but in a small scale, we’re currently developing Tuanzebe at the moment for example and we’ve players out on loan that other clubs are developing for us, this has no impact on what is a competition where the rewards are greater than focusing on player development and therefore owners won’t risk investment just so player A gets a few more prem games.

  51. Could the possibility of Robert Huth signing for us to get Bruce out of the s**t, also a possibility that Claudio could come and take us on that dream ride to the top of the Premiership….!!!

    Gabby has now fallen in love with Celtic, and is quite happy to move to another country for work, as he has a young family to feed!

    Green subbed off at half time, as he was not moving the ball on to his team mates quickly enough. Too much pretty, pretty…Typical academy player. He will definitely learn the game from Kenny Jackett!!

    I watched the first half of the England V Spain game with a nice early goal from Rashford, but then the rest was poor, I gave up and went to play with my Nieces kids..!!

  52. DOR- I wonder what foreign commentators make of English names? perhaps thats why players and manager have taken to adding azza or y to the end of names?

    In this description of QPR’s FFP court case the commentator says he has a mate in wales who is an accountant, if the client owes money he sends a letter in welsh to HRMC if they are owed a rebate in English, Bloody non foreign Foreigners

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5X2phI6s7yM

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