It wouldn’t be Villa if there weren’t a crisis, but fortunately there is a crisis, so we know we’re keeping up with the right claret-and-blue squad. Here it is match day 10 of the campaign, and it’s all swirling around Steve Bruce yet again.

I won’t get into the cases. The situation might be viewed as unfair, but football, like life, often isn’t fair. There’s a lot of money at stake, and this is about the money, right or wrong. So, following Saturday’s setback against Sheffield Wednesday, Bruce finds the seat underneath him glowing red again, vultures circling, and pundits and fans alike debating whether it’s time for a change.

The game against Bristol City tonight will probably be rather influential in determining Bruce’s fate. Should he get one of those bounce-back performances we often saw last year, he’ll likely be safe until Preston North End on Tuesday, where the team will have to produce again. The recent run of form—one win, two draws and two losses in the last five, and three wins in nine—just isn’t going to get it done.

But, Villa are still just five points off the top, despite the woeful start. No one’s running away with anything yet, and it could be one of those years where it’s a season-long scrap from top to bottom. However, Team Compass haven’t thrown their money in to prop up a very expensive squad only to see them underachieve and struggle throughout the season.

So we’ll soon see the extent of their patience and/or their expectations for this season.

On a happier note, was pleased to see Jack sign a new deal. On a not-so-happy note, was not impressed hearing Bruce say that Jack needs to up his game even as he was talking about the deal.

Not a class move, Steve. Keep that kind of commentary behind closed doors.

Anyway. Steve Bruce notwithstanding, we’ve got a game to win tonight. Not for Bruce, but Villa. And we’ll see how the focus on defending plays out tonight.

Over to you.

Comments 122

  1. JC
    Thanks for the writeup.
    I don’t know about their patience, but mine is wearing thin.
    The words Bruce & class don’t really go together in that way, are we sure he’s not Australian?

  2. JG
    According to Thompson on the radio, we’ve got a new formation with players in different positions, & they hadn’t settled into it.
    Now it’s 1-0 & nearly another.
    Doesn’t look good at the moment even after a disallowed goal.
    Midfield appears to be missing too much.

  3. 1-1 The Viking!!
    The team he picked hasn’t worked [again], needs subs, but gawd knows where Bruce’s head is at, or who’s side he’s actually on.
    Odds are he’ll wait until the 80th minute to bring the wrong ones on.
    As Thompson says, if you can’t defend then have to attack.

  4. Well at least we equalised with the last kick of the first half, been given a football lesson by the mighty Bristol city. Lost count of the hoof kicks.

  5. Haggis
    You got feel sorry for villa strikers 4 central midfielder s playing 2 woeful full backs no width and to top it of injury time before Bruce makes 2nd change

  6. Underwhelming again. Boggles the mind we can’t muster more attack than that. That said, it’s also uncanny how well certain players can strike the ball…unless they’re shooting from open play.

  7. I never want Villa to lose but something needs to be done. Bruce as made it clear he’s not resigning. Not sure if that’s a black mail as his sacking will incur compensation that will throw us in more dire with the FFP. I know I djould be grateful to where we was in the summer. Personally after relegation from the premiership I would of gone with youth regardless if we went down again

  8. Haggis,

    Yes, I’ll always cheer for the win, and I’d love to be wrong about Bruce. I appreciate him sticking by the club over the summer, appreciate how hard it must have been losing his parents and carrying on. Appreciate that he’s trying his best. It just seems to be an increasingly inescapable conclusion that his best isn’t good enough.

  9. JC,

    I’m really surprised that you’re joining the mob. There has been so much change since the summer, and if the howlers had not been made and the shooters had done their job (as Bruce says) we could easily have been 4 or 5 points better than where we are. As Bruce says, we didn’t get those points and we are where we are.

    In my view, the footie hasn’t been at all bad in most of the games I’ve seen, and I just see that right now it’s working towards gelling together.

    Give it a month! That’s my slogan. Nobody is running away with this league right now. There’s still time and with the players there it *is* just a question of them gelling better.

    I think it’s quietly getting there. We just need a few wins now.

  10. We managed another 10 minutes of pressure after half time. It seems that’s all we can manage. At this rate of knots we are going to see small heath run past us.

    I heard the away support calling for the removal of Spud. They’ve done it before of course, but this time it feels different. Playing ping pong in the air is our new norm. Getting the ball on the grass and playing it with movement isn’t there. I think the Fat Lady has now walked onto the stage.

  11. JL. ARE you sure you’re not doing a Camren and mixing Villa up with West Ham. I don’t think k I have slated Bruce but the football is poor. Every team we play seem more skilful look good on the attack and have fight. I’m not entirely blame Bruce for this but the same usual suspects seem to be out there time after time. Our build up is like over sixties walk football. Players always going into cul-de-sacs and losing the ball as there is no support or hoofing up only to come back again. I have given Bruce a chance but personally feel he is too pig headed for change. Why send out a natural CB & LD in Elphick and De lat with not proper replacements. Why send out Greene and pay stupid money to to Everton for Bolasie who had been out for over a season with a severe injury. Employ different coaching staff, analysts and councillors. Just not the same old same old.

  12. Well I haven’t had the privilege of watching the game yet but I will say this, its looks like we are in the same position RDM was, errors at the back and miss firing forwards. I have to say the football looked better then and we did hit the woodwork 8 times in 11 games etc and the crowd were more volatile, also the mistakes came late in the game to surrender leads.

    The big difference? this is with a vastly experienced (champs) manager now into his third season with over 20 players in, a raft of youth and god knows how many out! its certainly not 11 games in from relegation. RDM had 9 new players to bed not a squad fresh from making the play off final, that also know the division.

    Bruce has only started 3 of his signings with any real regularity, so the gelling factor should be so much less, in fact despite early results gained with the old squad (no matter how lucky at times) it was without Bruce’s lost 6 from last season. Tammy and McGinn are also two of his best signings the keeper? worse than Steer maybe even Bunn.

    Like JL I called for patience under RDM as those big wins looked tantalisingly close, how close they were or were not we will never know. The problem is its never advanced far from that under Bruce and has been worse, Competency let alone stylish play has eluded us and many good players have been sidelined and money waisted. The two wingers he just had to have in the summer? they don’t appear to be part of the plan to date? are they not fit? is he scared to drop McGinn or jack to accommodate them?

    The only plus is others have had tougher runs and the points spread is still catchable. Others will hit there easy runs I’m sure and we will get our hard one in Nov/Dec if we don’t begin winning I fear the worst for this season and if the FFP rumours bear fruit thats two seasons down the drain with points deduction next season. This is the season we simply had to win and Bruce is f**king it up.

  13. Spot on MK,
    I am amused about all this bedding in etc….

    As you have stated Steer, DE Laet, Bree and Elphick have were all available, as was Thor, but none fitted in with Bruce’s plans, and instead we have had an everchanging and unsettled team. The bonus has been recruiting McGinn, who has hit the ground running and been one of the few bright sparks this season.

    If Bruce had started with Steer, DE Laet, Chester, Elphick , Bree, El Mohamady, Hourihane, Grealish, McGinn, Adomah, Abrahams and played them regularly we would be looking in a very different position. However, Bruce has to have his own “chosen ones” somewhere in the team, whether they fit, or are good enough, is not important to him.

    I wonder did Bruce buy up a job lot of your books JL, and give them as presents to his friends, otherwise, I cannot for the life of me how you continue to defend him. Players make the individual errors, not the manager I agree, but he selects these players that are prone to these errors…!! Like buying cheap tools that keep breaking…
    So glad that Thor had the opportunity to show what he can do last night, and score a great goal into the bargain. Red button viewing is not the same, but much better than not seeing the game. Now looking forward to the PNE game on Tuesday..!!

  14. Pp- puzzling isn’t it, before the takeover we were looking at pretty much what we had plus a few loans. Add Tammy a ch and mcginn we had a pretty good team. Clearly Bruce’s remit is promotion and Bruce appears to have swapped squad solidarity out when he declared that we are not good enough without the missing 6. Add the ffp and it’s even more puzzling.

  15. PP: “As you have stated Steer, DE Laet, Bree and Elphick have were all available, as was Thor, but none fitted in with Bruce’s plans”

    Maybe there are issues that you and I are not privy to Paul, about these players.

    We can’t just assume that what we think is right is what is right for the club – that’s why clubs appoint managers! 😉

  16. PP: “I cannot for the life of me how you continue to defend him.”

    I defend him for the reasons I’ve previously stated. But I’ve also said that if there’s no sign of significant improvement within the next month then I will have no choice but to agree with the view of the majority here.

    For example, as Bruce has rightly said, Jack has not been up to last season’s form much as yet and why would that be? Because of all the unsettlement that’s been going on since the summer – he thought he was going and then he didn’t. It plays on players minds.

    Now that’s out of the way (having signed a 5-year contract) perhaps we’ll see more of the dash from him that we saw last season and particularly in that play-off final.

    But it’s also the fact that the midfield and attack has been re-organised only in the past 2 or 3 weeks after the international break, with the influx of new players to bed in. Bolassie was not fir when he arrived and consequently has not seen a lot of action.

    In my view there’s a bit of settling down to take place. Glad to see, however, that Conor is shooting at goal so much. He just needs to steady his sights a bit better.

    As I’ve said before, see you in a month and then we’ll see what’s what.

    Ciou for now! 🙂

  17. JL – For example, as Bruce has rightly said, Jack has not been up to last season’s form much as yet and why would that be?
    Remember when Villa were League Champions and finished 6th the next season? Also when Villa were European Champions and went nowhere the next season?
    The fact is that other sides/managers work out where the successful teams make winning ploys and then next season make plans to foil them. cf Leicester.
    Take the mostly successful sides like Liverpool, Man Utd, Man City and they re-generate with the influx of new exciting players that introduce unexpected attacking manoeuvres.
    However, their success if largely determined by the skill of the Manager in how he employs them.
    That takes us to Villa with new players and an unimaginative Manager who stands stubbornly by his plans – brings to mind Brexit means Chequers Brexit and look what a crock of whatever we will reap from that approach.
    I may be wrong John but let’s see you in October to find out.
    PS great post John Clark and thanks for acting as our catalyst on a weekly basis.

  18. Clive- Someone pointed out on another blog that Jack had said El Ghazi had asked him what Bristol are like to play against, now its maybe just chat between team mates or taken literally could mean nobody on the coaching staff had informed him what to expect. That along with the Forristeri gaff last game does make you wonder what our prep is?

    Was Bruce surprised to see 9 back behind the ball against sheff wed? or have we no contingency plan for that? Sheff wed did have 5 of their best players out so its not very surprising. Bruces one observation seemed to be play Jedinak as they have two big forwards, what problems were we going to give them? none apparently if they defended in numbers.

    I agree that teams have very likely sussed Bruce out generally as there is so much info and scrutiny available, unstoppable goals of rare skill appear to be where we get to score at present. you’d think this would naturally occur against most managers, so its the little nuances and their ability to change the game that count very often. We are a rarity to a degree as our individual level of player is high for this league, our way of playing non existent to all but Bruce apparently.

  19. Quite true Mark.
    On a similar note I have just watched Pellegrini’s Wet Spam show the highly paid proponents of the beautiful game how to play for your Manager.
    I hate to see Villa in this position but maybe we have to take the probability of another Championship season to make way for our Pelegrini.

  20. Yes Clive will to win is one very big component and Maurine is pissing his troops off it seems. He may be a mismatch with Manures attacking based history, most of his players that have come through the ranks have likely been schooled that way under SAF. Our own youth system conflicts hugely with the 1st.

    The only problem is what is the reality for us of FFP if we don’t go up? points loss would be worse than a fine if we get up, prem and Champs league are separate and the prem is less bothered than the champs will be as its money to them, we are a golden goose in this league.

  21. JL,

    You might still be reading, so…


    These situations are always tricky. As I’ve said before, I’ve watched this situation in football and every other sport I enjoy. Unless you’re consistently challenging for honors, there are always those urging change, always those urging patience. They might both be right. You replace the manager and you don’t know what would’ve happened had you stuck. You don’t replace him and…?

    More important than the fact we don’t see ‘good’ football, is that we just don’t see progress. Watching Man Utd, and the post-match sounded just like Villa: no plan, no set-up tailored to your best players, changing week to week, “almost like he (Mourinho) is just throwing things up to see what sticks.”

    What I’m seeing at Villa are a bunch of honest players who do put in effort and do want to win, but are not being set up to succeed. They’ll make mistakes, they’ll miss shots, always the case. But other, lesser sides are more organized, disciplined, and playing to a plan that suits the players. Even when just Abraham and McGinn are the only new faces, we still look completely at sea.

  22. I am almost certain that Bruce is playing cr*p football to get the heave ho. As players can become disenfranchised, so can a manager. Who knows, I think he wants his severance instead of resigning. He’s done some bone headed things re loan outs and if that’s to keep FFP at bay so be it. But if the rumours are true about bolasie’s pay packet, WTF.
    All this talk about gelling or bedding in is BS. They’ve had nine games and countless hours at bodymoor and there isn’t any improvement.
    And a last note, could someone explain to JL that a month has 30 odd days in it.

  23. JC,

    Yes – fair comment – but my key issue is that we’ve had so much change since the end of last season, with Jack not showing his best form yet and new players bedding in.

    That all needs another month i.m.o. before we can make fair judgment on what’s what.

    In my view, anything else is just venting frustration of what’s gone on these last 8 (EIGHT) years and putting the issue on Bruce’s head!

    Just wait a month and *then* let’s assess.

  24. Ian
    WTF – if it’s true, is about right.
    You now seem to be the one struggling to hang on to your perceived reality [or concept].
    But like your statements, this may only be the visible part of the story that we know has more legs, but thankfully we have intuition & know that we never know the whole story of anything, & do not necessarily need to.

    Non Specific
    My intuition tells me that as many of Bruce’s usual excuses from last season are no longer viable, his current very limited repertoire, such as ‘sometimes you win sometimes you lose’, are wearing thin with anyone who hasn’t put a blindfold on or lost their marbles.
    This indicates to me that he is stuck more in the habitual rather than creative realm.
    In other words, he reacts after the event more than creates [much like his playing days], so he is hardly likely to succeed past a point [sadly for us].
    Yes he may get us promoted at some point, but any decent manager would do the same with the squad we have.

    Yes there will be things going on behind the scenes & in the boardroom that affect everything, that we do not know about, but, we have never needed to have all the facts to see what is happening in any area of life, & whether it will work or not.
    If it was merely that lack of inside knowledge, then we would be seeing incremental changes in the communications, that give us a clue.
    Also the lack of this can clue us in.

    I tend to feel that Bruce is being used in the owners long term strategies, & is not intended to be the long term solution except he accidentally succeeds in a major way, so unless he creates a catastrophe he is fairly safe for now, until the owners decide.

    I agree with JL in the sense that in about a month it will become more clear whether promotion is a viable concern with Bruce, whether change is needed after same old forever, or whether the owners strategies will become more clear.

    But, it can’t stay like this [thankfully], as change is inherent, even if Bruce seems to deny this truism

  25. JL,

    I certainly don’t have any say, and neither do the rest of us, but I often have to say something about three games in a week. I could just sit back, say “well, that was rubbish, but let’s see what happens in a month,” but that’s just not the way it works. I know you don’t like the way it works, but it is what it is. Each team is graded on each game, and then stretches of games, etc.

    I’m not frothing at the mouth, storming around kicking the dog, losing sleep. I’m just watching games and thinking, “well, that was rubbish.” And then trying to honestly assess why it was rubbish.

    Now, NSWE will do what they like based on the money, the arc of the season, and the whispers in their ears. So Bruce may have a month, he may have all season. It may all come right. I’m not saying failure is inevitable.

    What I’m saying is that while it seems early days, 22% of the season has been played. If you’re going to change managers, then you have to give yourself enough time for it to make a difference. Since no one’s running away with anything yet, Villa don’t have a lot of ground to make up. That can be a point for patience, certainly.

    On the other hand, Gary Thompson is saying the same things as us, Collymore, etc. Whatever anyone thinks of them, they have played the game and do care about Villa. If they’re corroborating the supporters’ view, then we know the supporters aren’t in the grip of some reality-distortion field.

    If it were me in charge, it would all depend on who I could get in, and how the money looks. I’m not privy to the money bit, and I wouldn’t know all the back-channel conversations. I don’t know the mood in the dressing room, but they’ll have those insights. But I’d be looking at what I’m seeing and thinking that I know it could and should be better. I’d be looking, making contacts, and basically assuming Bruce is done. I’d be open, of course, to Bruce surprising me, but right now, that would take four wins in his given month.

    I think it’s fair to say that the football has largely been terrible, the team looks a mess, Bruce keeps moving things around and wanting more players.

    But he is starting a backline of players who were all here and know each other, could start a midfield of players who were all here and know each other, and then just slot in the faster, younger striker, which should be no problem since the one you have that’s fit is doing not much of anything and just keeps giving the ball away. No gelling required whatsoever, other than that caused by moving Jedi to CB.

    But of course a person could say gelling would still be required. Why? Because Bruce never left things well enough alone last season, swapping Whelan, Jedi, and Bjarnason, and all the rest. He didn’t know his best team last year, doesn’t know his best team this year, and 100 games ought to be enough for any manager worth his salt to figure out how to get the most out of what he’s got.

  26. JC
    Maybe Bruce is trying to confuse us so we can’t see what he’s actually doing.
    I’ve got to the point where do I really want to know the answer to that

  27. I would go further and say the off pitch stuff is fairly irrelevant, footballers in general want to play and win games. They get paid very well and have very favourable contracts but the major concern once all this is put away is am I in the team and how can we win. A poor position can be used to provide ammo for playing better on it, hero’s to the fans etc, I doubt if they sit around discussing the owners predicament much and the major factor in moral is the manager and the players in your vicinity.

    I would be amazed if they met the owners much or were informed of every happening at board level. Your Job is win games of football, winning games of football makes you happier regardless of your bank balance, there has to be something going on at that team level! not board level to explain the paucity of performance . They will retire rich in comparison to Joe blogs, they may not fulfil their ambitions in a short career but care about club politics? nah.

  28. JC: ““well, that was rubbish, but let’s see what happens in a month,” but that’s just not the way it works. I know you don’t like the way it works, but it is what it is. “

    Well that’s not what I am inferring at all. I totally differ to your perception (and everyone else on this blog) about what is “rubbish” and in my view (at present) on Bruce.

    I am saying something quite different to what you are reading into my statements. I do not see any “rubbish” being played at all – I see a team trying to get its act together, and when they’ve found the rhythm they’re quite able to get over whatever hump they’re in.

    In fact this is a silly argument. You see it one way and I see it another. In a month we’ll see what is right. And you might all be right. On the other hand you might not. 😉

  29. By the way, 22% of the season having gone or not, the Championship at the moment is wide open. Virtually anyone can get promoted as things stand.

    So, all it takes is for Villa to put a decent run together – and maintain it.

  30. MK: “I would go further and say the off pitch stuff is fairly irrelevant, footballers in general want to play and win games.”

    You say this even though Jack has clearly been out of true form this season?

    Don’t tell me that Bruce caused that, please! 😀

  31. JL- At what month does this stop at? Bruce gets four more games wins a couple by hook or by crook, does he get more time? this has been the defining feature of his time here, no consistency, if he provided that we would be in the prem. Most of us are basing Opinions on 100 games in charge now, some of us given the evidence of his time here can see that Bruce might eventually get a tune, will it take off like a rocket? can’t see it but hey.

  32. JL- well I did say once contracts are put away mate, On the playing side he’s played in two different positions to where he was last season so far also a factor as per JC’s last comment with fiddling. You did say not long back he wasn’t a big factor last season as he missed a large part of the season which is it? and you wanted him dropped 😉

  33. All Bruce fans can say needs more time to gel.take a good look at wolves miles above/ahead of us their manager has 9 months less in charge.if you take Bruce first 2 months in charge off the rest of time is 5/6 good results 9/10 bad ones with mainly no system or style at all just our better players performing better than other side

  34. JL,

    I do say “Since no one’s running away with anything yet, Villa don’t have a lot of ground to make up. That can be a point for patience, certainly.”

    I haven’t “called” for Bruce to be sacked…but I don’t think he “deserves” to avoid it.

    Grealish? I don’t think we’re going to see the best of him left out wide.

  35. MK,

    When I asked for him to be dropped I hadn’t thought at that stage about the state of affairs concerning him leaving having an affect on his level of performance. But now I believe that would be the explanation why. If he was playing so well at the end of last season then why otherwise would he have dropped off. Anyway, a good player should be able to play anywhere, so his actual position on the field is mostly immaterial.

    As for last season you again get the meaning of my comments befuddled! He was out until December and it took a few games before he got more into his stride and that made a difference to Villa’s season. That’s the only issue I think I was on about for last season except that until he came to life he did seem to be a liability more than not.

  36. MK – “I would go further and say the off pitch stuff is fairly irrelevant, footballers in general want to play and win games.”

    Not irrelevant when it makes ‘fans’ jeer and boo the team as they get off the team bus at Bristol City – how can the players approach games in the right way when they are attacked on social media non-stop along with the manager. All these ‘fans’ who know so much more than anyone who is totally involved at AVFC ie works or plays for them. And these players and the manager who are constantly abused by these ‘fans’ in the knowledge that their targets cannot answer back.
    Just look back over the last day or so on this blog alone and see what SB has been called. Is there really any need for that cowardly sort of action? And to want your team to lose so that SB can be sacked? It makes me feel slightly sick to see what our support has come to.


  37. OV
    Until recent times matchday was the main opportunity to make one’s opinions known, but now there is a change that cannot be reversed due to the internet & many new factors, which has changed the equation & the world.
    Complaining about this evolving phenomena seems to be locking the door after the horse has bolted as it were, & pointless.
    Also most younger people, players included, are very capable of ignoring cr*p about them on social media, & also contribute to it themselves usually.
    Us olduns are the ones who tend to get affected most, as we tend to take everything as read as if it is in a familiar time frame & context.
    You call us cowards, how is that going to help or contribute positively?
    Having a refined version of cr*p is still cr*p.
    My opinion of Bruce is stated, & also the fact that I don’t wish him or anyone else any harm.
    The phrase ‘sticks & stones etc’ may give this some perspective.

  38. IanG: “This is a fairly accurate article…”

    It may well be such for those that have that perspective! 😀 It’s just another statement that bolsters the belief of those who already see it that way.

    I don’t think you and a lot of others here have grasped the fact that people like myself and OV see history somewhat differently and believe there’s a lot more to it.

    Yes (as I’ve always said) Bruce is not ideal – but how many clubs have an ‘ideal’ manager?

    Let’s get back to the reason why Bruce is there: to bring stability and promotion.

    For me he’s turned around the club in terms of the attitude of the players. But last season’s failure to gain promotion (for me) was caused by Villa peaking too early (the Wolves win).

    As I say – that’s the way I see it.

    But it also seems to me that Bruce’s critics tend to be those that would not ideally have wanted him at VP in the first place. When Bruce seems to get something right it all goes quiet, but as soon as there’s a doubt all hell let’s loose!

    And as we’ve had a rocky pre-season and *the players* have failed to win games they should have, all eyes are on Bruce again.

    And above you excuse the introduction of the electronic age for the proliferation of instant “expert” opinions. Well – you’re right – you can’t turn the clock back as far as the invention is concerned, but people can be more self-controlled and be more balanced in their attitude. I think that’s what OV is getting at and which you choose to ignore.

    But of course it’s easier to vent your spleen than to take the effort to be fair. The sad thing is that the former approach just does not get you anywhere other than a moment’s relief.

  39. We sit in 15th place of the 2nd tier. Glass half full – we are 6 points off the top. Glass half empty – we are 6 points off the bottom.

    I’m watching Mourinho giving off vibes that suggest he prefers a payoff to continuing at Man Ure. I have the same feeling about SB.

    Starting at the basic level, this Villa team does not look fit. Perhaps the players have just become fat cats on their huge salaries and can’t be bothered to bust a gut. SB doesn’t seem able to motivate these millionaires into giving consistent pace and effort displays. I’m sure playing so many out of position doesn’t help.

    The team also does not look like a cohesive unit. As I’ve been thinking this for the last 2 years, I can’t see it changing any time soon under the current set up.

    SB doesn’t help himself by not providing the fans with any tactical reasoning for his decision making. Instead we get “batten down the hatches” and “we’ll be there or thereabouts”. Generalisms that don’t win me over. “Thereabouts” is no use for AV.

    It’s the bottom team at VP on Tuesday. I’m not confident of 3 points. There’s as much chance of post match comments stating “any team can beat any team on a given day”.

  40. JL- For the record I say what I say because of what I see in games and what I hear from Steve Bruce and what I see in the broader world of Football, also take a look at the mans history, it is indeed repeating a pattern, even the outbursts against fans occur when he’s under pressure its nothing new. You, like Bruce, might have to accept people are not liking what he’s producing for us.

    OV- I was referring to the clubs immediate surroundings not social media which I supect you know. Criticism is not a new thing , many managers were lampooned by the press and fans used say what they say to each other and it was no less complimentary. Bruce does fight back and indeed causes himself more grief while not protecting his players, he has blamed them and circumstance every step of the way this season, I feel for the players because the manager appears not to have their back.

  41. IanG – I wasn’t calling everyone a coward as you seem to imply. I was saying that it’s a cowardly act to call people names and abuse them when they can’t respond. I don’t include you in that comment. Although you get close to it at times lol ……
    And this some of this morning comments are continuing the name calling, abusive theme …….. in your words IanG – how is that going to help or contribute positively? Just like booing the team when it arrived at Brizzle City – quite unbelievable and such a huge boost for the players. Not.

    Anyway I liked your longish comment at 3.51 yesterday – yes, there may be many things which we aren’t party to that are happening behind the scenes. But what’s new eh?
    And just for the record (yet again) I am not a Bruce supporter. But don’t agree with the abuse he is getting from fans. I don’t think he can make us a top Premier club but do think there is a good chance that he could get us promoted, unless the atmosphere gets so toxic that he has to go. Who knows what we will get then in his place though?

    Anyway time for a walk out in the sun and some good fresh Swiss air ………… clear my old head a bit.
    Toodle pip,

  42. Old Villa – a concise viewpoint on the critiques posted here. I am sure nobody on this site bears malice to Steve Bruce just that so many question his tactics and his ability to manage the players he has either inherited or brought in to this great club.
    The majority, myself included, think he has now reached the limit of his ability to turn things round; whether this is by design on his part or by a failure to meet the standards expected by a fanatical fan base (largest away following for example)
    I am quite happy to stand and accept criticism for what I post here and I am not going away for a month (whenever that starts or finishes) so I can return and say ‘I told you so’. If the cap fits 🙂
    As many have commented, Villa is at a cup half empty/half full situation in the league and the big question is does the Manager have the ability to top it up or completely drain it. I see no evidence at the moment that the former applies due to the lack of confidence in the selection of players.
    I would be quite happy to give him a month if history with previous incumbents were proved to show this was a correct thing to do.
    However, this approach led to Villa dropping down into the Championship; Division 1 beckons for faint hearts.
    OV – I’m a very OV since 1956 and I despair about the current situation – old Villa players fought for the team and thousands ‘allegedly’ turned up to watch the shirts drying on the washing line in Witton Lane!!

  43. James: “You said that because you and Ov are older youse have a more balanced view…”

    Where have I said that? I don’t buy that statement at all so where did I say it?

    This is an outstanding example of how blogs are manipulated – twisting a person’s statements to fit their own paradigm.

  44. Clive: “I would be quite happy to give him a month if history with previous incumbents were proved to show this was a correct thing to do.”

    But the summer changed things around did it not so that Bruce only got a semblance of a viable squad together within the last month!

    Do you expect it all to click within one month? If you do – and you appear to by inference – then that’s expecting the impossible…

    …which is why I believe it sensible to bite the tongue just to see what pans out.

  45. Jl – a good player should be able to play anywhere mostly?

    This is not Sunday morning football it is one down from the pinnacle of the English game where players are bought for millions because they play well in a position, do we go out and scout a forward to do an poor defensive job? Nope we buy them because they have shown the ability to score. I can’t take you seriously if that’s what you think.

  46. OV
    Well I’ve been on the edge for 70 years, so nothing new there.
    What’s wrong with a bit of Brummie insulting?
    It’s always been fun for everyone until someone takes it seriously, which sadly happens more these days, boohoo.
    As for booing Bruce, I have no problem with that, anymore than he appears to, but constantly booing the players has always been counter productive.
    Fans have to let them know, but when it becomes an emotional movement, which is a numskull game, then it’s a sad reflection on the social media realities.
    I don’t think Bruce has more than 4/5 games to get it together as far as knowing what the best team is, & to show some clarity of direction, before the fans will seriously start to turn.
    The tinkering & playing people out of position & the late & sometimes incomprehensible substitutions, just shows his apparent limitations.
    It also impacts on the players in their uncertainty, which impacts the results so far this season.
    Hope you enjoyed your stroll

  47. One month two months? Bruce will succeed or he won’t, its in his hands and if the owners have their own ideas then they will either stay with him or not, I don’t think they fear the fans deserting and I don’t think the fans will.

    If a bit of booing upsets them that much then there not very professional are they? and as we are now supposed to be stable etc under Bruce whats the big worry about fans voicing frustration? It is nowhere near the level of the relegation season and not I feel directed at the players unless Bruce takes the train.

    Christian Purslow has been there and done it so I will trust him to make the call, we also have new DOF due in, I think its just as likely Bruce may get to Xmas and it has always been its in his hands whether he succeeds or not imo, he either has the players/plan now or he has been a poor judge this time and doesn’t.

    One other thing, last season if taken at his word Bruce was building the team around Jack, this season it appears to be Mcginn with Jack moving over or being slotted in. McGinn from what I have seen of his assists last season likes to put the ball over the top of the defence for forwards to run on to, Kodjia and tammy like it to feet or on the deck generally. Maybe Hogan will be the saviour.

  48. JL
    Calm down mate.
    If you constantly go counter to 90 odd% of any blog, then you have to accept that people don’t necessarily agree with you [except the small minority that sometimes do].
    as for your post:
    You don’t seem to read mine, so I will reprint this
    ‘like your statements, this may only be the visible part of the story that we know has more legs, but thankfully we have intuition & know that we never know the whole story of anything, & do not necessarily need to’.

    So being an expert is not all it’s made out to be.
    Also I prefer to enjoy the blog, rather than get so serious that it’s the equivalent of tangential mania.

    As far as history is concerned, we can have as many starting points as happens to address different aspects of reality.
    If we’re stuck in an academic model opposing every other window view, & using it rather than celebrating it, then it’s to our detriment.
    The proof of this is easily seen in the current mania for revisionism.

    ‘last season’s failure to gain promotion (for me) was caused by Villa peaking too early (the Wolves win)’

    Why you think I don’t understand anything is odd, as this was generally said at the time, along with the reason for it being down to Bruce as manager, as he sets the teams up, & this was right after the match before the playoffs.

    If we’re stuck with one reality [or history] as being the ‘right one’, it’s like trying to walk using one’s third leg, forgetting what it’s actually for. [:

  49. After Villa’s 1-1 draw at Ashton Gate on Friday evening, Steve Bruce stuck around in Bristol to record a pilot of a new television quiz show he hopes to present called ‘There or Thereabouts’, named after his own popular managerial catch phrase. [thanks to MOMS]
    Probably got the idea from the chant

  50. IanG- Hello mate good to see you back on the net, Its frustrating to see us stumbling along with the Squad we have. I think the best team and most balanced team may well upset a few players at Villa, we have so many stars at this level, So many of them ran the show at their previous clubs that its become a to many chiefs situation. I bet Bruce feels very concious of dropping some and those he has put faith in over the years plus he will have made promises to get the likes of Bolasie, Tammy etc.

    As for peaking early last season? Fulham peaked for about 23 matches without losing, lost the 1st play off game then peaked again. Much like JL points to us mere bods on here going quiet when we play well Bruce got the trumpet out about the business end of the season being all that mattered prematurely 🙂

  51. Hard to argue with MOM’s take on why Jedinak plays,its to cover Bruces new keeper basically. I would say the Bristol goal was totally preventable and happened because Jedinak tried to get a foot in rather than jokeying and preventing the player with the ball from turning or making a chance, the ball bobbled about and got smashed in while our own players ran past Jedinak to form a line behind him he didn’t buy them the time he could and should of.

  52. When is this nonsensical cr*p about Bruce not having time to put a squad together for the pre-season, until the money came in, and wasn’t he wonderful to stick by the club….

    He stuck by the club because they were paying his wages, and he did not have a better offer, and he was given time to deal with his personal issues. Perhaps the club and Tony Xia should be thanked for sticking by him!!

    Villa did not sell a single payer that he wanted to keep. He had a massive squad at his disposal. He knew that Snodgrass, Johnstone, Grabban and Onomah would return to their clubs if a deal was not done. He also had Players in the squad capable of replacing them, as they showed in pre season.

    The fans are probably responsible for Bruce being here, along with the poll in the Mail, which may have influenced their original decision of possibly appointing Henri as manager, so be careful what you wish for. If the reaction from the fans had not been so strong I think Bruce would have gone and Henri or someone similar would have been appointed.

    I also despair at a lot of the suggestions for a new manager, which is the most important appointment the club will make for years. West ham realised that in appointing Pellegrini, and now it is paying off, the same with Pochettino at Spurs and Unai Emery at Arsenal. We need to appoint a manager that has the best potential and experience that we can get.

  53. JL –

    “I despair!!! Ta ta for now.”

    I agree mate, quite unbelievable! No wonder so many have stayed away ………….

    All I’ll stay on here for is to hear back from JG about his (yet again) slanderous comment. But this time I will not let go.


  54. JL/OV
    Now you’re prima donnaring a bit don’t you think?
    Retreating into one’s ivory tower…
    Anyway I take it all with a pinch of salt, as ‘this is what the Villa taught me…’, as I break into song! [:

  55. Mark
    Twitter & facetwat does not work for me unfortunately.
    A lot of women I know use it instead of one on one.
    But on the bright side I don’t have to put up with it.

  56. IanG- Shame its pretty good (Jimmy Hessel that is) I don’t use it myself, got an account but not for me at the moment.

    JL- I think we are despairing for you mate, can’t save the whole world.

    OV- If I remember rightly you once told JG to go and support a team in your own country, he lives in Northern Ireland, born in Brum though and moved to NI when a kid. Might be that.

    JG- sorry if thats not what you mean.

  57. Ov
    Go back on your posts it’s there.remember when you went on Facebook to find me and threatened me with lawyers.get a life and stop all this superior nonsense that you think/know better than the rest

  58. JG – “Ov
    Go back on your posts it’s there.remember when you went on Facebook to find me and threatened me with lawyers.”

    Yes I did as you were calling me racist and a bully quite a few times. Which is slander. Now you are at it again. You go back to your posts and prove me as being racist. This is all in the public domain so no problems with fact or fiction. You need to prove to me that I am racist ……. and I need that proof very soon. Lets give you 24 hours.


  59. I see Jedinak has retired from international football, funny how he can see it at country level but not club level, clearly being paid too much at Villa to contemplate opening up a sports bar in Melbourne or wherever.

  60. Tommy Elphick now the rock of Hull City’s back three….

    Can’t see any changes at Villa now until after the international break, and maybe not even then…

    Will probably go tomorrow night as it is the best chance we have of winning a game in the foreseeable future..!!!

  61. Paul I think he’s done to little with what he has and brought in to many at short notice. Could of gone with green steer elphick De laet etc then reaccessed in jan .

  62. Now he is blaming his failings on the defence making so many individual errors, which he has never seen before at Aston Villa. He claims that six individual errors have cost him this season, whereas last season, Villa only made six individual errors all season….!!

    Does this smack of clutching at straws, and the reasons for the errors are because of his selection, and playing players out of position…

  63. Well was that not why rdm was sacked? Players new to the club and individual error? I’d have mor sympathy if he hadn’t had the vast majority of his players to drill for 1-2 seasons already. Why is Adomah preferred? Imo because He defends why was Elmo preferred? He too works back .

    Bolasie, elghazi , grealish kodjia played wide don’t give you snodgrass’s work Rate, that’s looks a more likely reason for our poor defensive record, we are wide open

  64. Mark- I have said this B4 re Adomah – his defensive input is what keeps him in the side. I’m surprised SB has not tried him at left midfield to support another striker and opened the way for one of the youngsters.
    Bruce’s get out of jail card is that despite Villa’s lacklustre start to the season others around us are not pulling too far out of reach if we get a strong run going. Oh hang on I just saw a couple of pigs fly past.

    JL – assuming your month hasn’t started yet again, don’t take it to heart mate we all post on here to be either agreed with or shot down otherwise why are we bothering to post? If we all threw our toys out of the pram when others disagreed with us there would be nobody on here. Your comments are valued as contributing to the discussion.

  65. Hello Lads. Do you remember all those years back when we actually looked forward to a Villa game. Does anyone know if the match is on Sky red button tonight. Tempted to go to mates to watch it and get in a few games of FIFA19 while I’m at it.

  66. Yep. Good to see the still dysfunctional Villa and Villans are still at it.
    I guess JL is right about one thing. Villa hasn’t been that great for about 80-90 years? There have been the odd few real highs, 1981-82, some FA Cup and League Cup wins, but generally Villa has been an also-ran. I think JL is running out of months regarding Steve Bruce but I do see where he is coming from. Does that mean we should settle for mediocrity? No. Not that that is what JL is saying, but it might seem that way.
    OV-I envy you in the clear air there, sounds like the good life. Is the other half Swiss?
    JG loves ya. JG+OV4EVA.
    The football is pretty boring. I get more of a kick from the comments section on here.
    IanG, I imagine you holding two frayed wires together to get the Mac working again. How’s the head space been?
    One day, Mark will compose a classic Villa song.
    Clive, enjoy the ABs vs Boks this weekend. I think it’s at 4:30am NZT.
    JL-thanks for writing.

  67. Lana. It’s my Steve Austin (6 million dollar man)and Kenneth Williams dolls. I did have Stay calm and support the villa for this site but looks like it’s changed to my Facebook avitar.

  68. Lana. I got my first season ticket for the 80/81 with my highlight being the European Super cup where we beat Barcelona in extra time. I suppose I was a glory hunter but definitely can’t say that nowadays.

  69. Haggis- Its “Ian a” made that mistake myself, thought it must be a New- Zealand Name 🙂

    Yep all the mid week games are on the red Button, no excuse for enjoying some football instead tonight.

    Iana- Hows it going mate? more chance of me playing for Villa than writing a Villa song, Think Van morrison has already wrote it anyway

  70. U23’s won 1-0 at slumberland an O’hare is easily as good as Grealish IMO yet is stuck in the U23’s, he’s the most natural No10 we have bar none imo.
    We need this lad on a Five year deal or he will be gone soon, oh and maybe give him a game? except we can’t can we, we have to many midfielders/forwards. One for the ever moving future.

    “Captain Cal O’Hare, playing in a free role just off Knibbs, was so sharp and clever all night. With his socks rolled down and his confident swagger, he seems to have the attitude of a Jack Grealish – and he has the ability on the pitch to match. Displaying such guile and creativity, he almost looked out of place at this level, and he should surely be afforded more minutes with the first-team.”

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