All eyes will be on the players as caretaker Kevin MacDonald takes up the unenviable task of leading Aston Villa down to Millwall for the club’s first game without Steve Bruce at the helm. His job hasn’t been made any easier with James Bree having to come in to partner Axel Tuanzebe, as James Chester will be serving a one-game suspension and Mile Jedinak has a hamstring problem. Stepping into a mess is not an unfamiliar spot for stalwart MacDonald, who has had seven games in charge over the years, leading Villa to a 2-2-3 record in those outings.

The match itself, though, is almost an afterthought, as speculation continues to swirl around the appointment of Bruce’s successor and debate about Bruce’s sacking continues.

For his part, KMac has selected an unsurprising side. Beside having no choice but to play Bree and Tuanzebe in front of Nyland, who returns after making way for Bunn in the fateful Preston North End match, it will be a 4-5-1 taking the field at the Den. Ahmed Elmohamady will be part of that five-man midfield along with Grealish, McGinn, Bjarnason, and Hourihane. Tammy Abraham will be the lone striker. Alan Hutton and Neil Taylor will be at fullback.

No one really expected KMac to be adventurous today, especially given the new CB pairing. He’s taken a page out of Bruce’s book putting Elmo in the midfield, but given the new CB pairing, one would expect a bit of conservatism.

The question is what response, if any, we’ll see from the players. They’ll now be auditioning for the as-yet unnamed new manager, and mourning or celebrating Bruce’s departure. Will it be any different than any of the other displays we’ve seen this season?

We’re about to find out.

So, not really much to be said. Be nice to see a miraculous turnaround in play, but I’m doubting that will be the case. More like going through the motions, albeit, one hopes, with gusto and purpose, as everyone awaits their fate. Indeed, we could see a worse level performance given the last few days.

But then there’s the break, almost certainly a new manager, and Compass’s big bet will be on the table for all to see. Here’s to the lads showing us something encouraging in the meantime.

Over to you.

Comments 219

  1. Paul Merson:

    “Villa have made a massive mistake letting Bruce go. This geezer knows the leagues. Who are they going to get who can get them up and play the Villa way? I was shocked I have to be honest. It’s complete panic. There’s no plan at Villa. None. It makes me angry. They’ve just bowed to fan pressure.

    “Bruce was doing fine. They should have given him time to see it through. Don’t forget he got them into the play-offs final last year. They should have given him more time. But they missed a penalty against Preston, drew the game and now they’ve sacked him. It’s ridiculous. I love my old club and still look for their results but this makes me angry. He’s a good bloke and a good manager.

    “He’s just had to deal with losing his parents and he’s given everything to that club. It just beggars belief.”

  2. And my apologies…Maybe I read it wrong, but club announcement made it sound like Hutton was out wide. But it’s Bree at RB and Hutton in the middle with Tuanzebe.

    This ought to be interesting.

  3. Really John !!
    Paul Merson ?

    I’ll see your journey man waffle and raise you a genuine villa mans perspective !

    “Not a shock really but after the year SB has had, have total respect for the way he handled things with what he had to go through. But it had got to the point where he couldn’t take the team forward. Fresh ideas needed…… identity and style… #UTV

    — Ian Taylor (@IanTaylor7) October 3, 2018

  4. JL- I do wonder how much of Villa a man who spends his life watching the whole prem for a living generally see’s, not as much as the average punter who may also be intuitive or just plain rational.

  5. Mark
    It’s a phenomena worth remembering.
    Whatever we do the insider position can be a trap, with the tendency to forget the wider reality.

  6. MK/IanG,

    When Paul Merson left Villa he made a very strong statement of his love for the club.

    I’ll try to dig it out if you’re interested. He played here – don’t you remember? And was loved by the fans.


    Ian Taylor’s a great guy but I’m not always in agreement with him.

  7. I’m warming to the Henri possibility after all Lampard and Gerrard both clever players doing not so bad in their 1st jobs. would be respected by the players for sure the rest unknown but he’s no dullard. All dependant on the owners criteria, if its rebuild its questionable if promotion might light a fire.

  8. JL- Are you trying to shame me? 🙂 still doesn’t make him Right, Withe said he would steer the club in the right direction and many other Villa stalwarts have voice there reservations of Villa under Bruce.

  9. MK: “many other Villa stalwarts have voice there reservations of Villa under Bruce.”

    Not from what I’ve read. Not saying there hasn’t been some comment, but any anti-Bruce remarks have been few and far between.

    In fact I’ve read more comments inclined towards Bruce than anything else.

    Certainly there have been some that have intimated that Bruce didn’t do it all correctly, but that’s what I’ve also said. Doesn’t mean to say you sack someone because he can’t be brilliant at it – especially bearing in mind the task at hand: promotion, managed by someone who had done it.

  10. The Match

    I haven’t got access to viewing the match today, but from what I’m gleaning KMac seems to have given instruction to keep the ball as much as possible. Hence 59% possession.

  11. John’s point about the players acting like men is probably relevant now . No one to blame , attacking formation , lets see if they have the minerals ?

  12. MK: “never said they didn’t rate Bruce in some ways just not what they were seeing on the pitch, which is where I stand.”

    Well, here’s where we’re going round in circles, n’est ce pas?

    I’ve never claimed that what was on the pitch was what I ultimately wanted, except that there have been times when it has looked good. It’s not been all been bad by any means.

    My backing of Bruce was essentially because he had the c.v. for the job at hand. The “how” of it was to be done is in the manager’s hands .. so long as the right outcome came around to get over the first hurdle.

    It’s called ‘pragmatism’ I suppose.

    If Villa wanted a different type of manager then they should have appointed one!

  13. JL
    What the fans seem to need now is not pragmatism.
    I have no problem with pragmatism in context unless it’s overcooked or used as a brake.
    It seems to be an externalism of yours

  14. JL- we are talking about Tony Xia and a backroom staff that were sacked by the present owners that brought him in? Not very good were they, don’t think this lot would have employed him, although I can see the rational behind keeping him short notice. I also think their fingerprints are on some of the signings with the mendes connection.

  15. MK,

    However it came about, it came about. I’m not looking for whys but the issue of what we were given and once given to go with it as far as possible.

    To say “What the fans seem to need now is not pragmatism.” is to say that the fans have to be consulted? Just how is the matter to be sorted to get promotion this season?

    I can’t see it.

  16. To be fair I think Bruce had a job on his hands to play his way let alone a new man, created by himself mind. There is very little in the team/squad that says Steve Bruce style team which has always puzzled me, maybe Bruce was reacting to criticism/pressure in his thinking?

  17. MK,

    On that I agree. But I’ve never said that Brucie’s decisions were perfect. In fact I detected a certain amount of panic with some things that have taken place this season. Maybe because Bruce had to re-shuffle his cards very quickly following the takeover and not everything got considered properly.

  18. Jl- Could be in chasing two so far unused wingers he missed out on defensive options. doesn’t excuse sending out Delaet and Elphick. He was certainly told no more buying old players in from his first statement of intent under the new owners. This is why I want a manager that can improve what we have pronto, I don’t think Bruce would of given time, and I certainly don’t think the players will sort themselves.

  19. JL- sometimes it takes a new set of eyes to see the way, Bruce is mr Amiable and if he hasn’t made it clear who’s the boss on the pitch is then? Terry and snodgrass made that easy by force of personality, the players may feel they have plenty to say to each other too but don’t to my eyes.

  20. Well,

    watched the second half on stream, and Grealish was our worst player, with very few passes reaching the player, or the ball was overplayed. Bree and Bjarnason probably the best of them, with Bolasie coming on and being a nightmare, almost getting a red within a minute of coming on.
    Tuanzebe did well considering the players he had around him. Hutton and Taylor are not the best.

    Like you say MK, no real leader on the pitch, as Hutton Is no way captain material, or Hourihane. There is a mountain to climb before Xmas to get this team into any shape with the mess that Bruce has left the club…..perhaps he always knew that it would only be a matter of time before he was replaced by Henri…

  21. PP- shame as Clark, Delaet and Elphick were at least up for a fight. I would say Clark is the best LB at the club , except he’s not at the club. Brucie may have really put the boot in with his transfers bar tuenzabe and Mcginn. ElGhazi I hope will be ok when he gets to play.

    We have an uphill battle no doubt, potentially worse than it would have been without Transfers. I hope the new boss give Ohare and a few others look at. Long season ahead potentially.

  22. KMac says…

    “I think there are lots of things the new manager will need to address.

    “All the players, individually, need to tidy themselves up.

    “The team as a group need to tidy themselves up.

    “There are individual mistakes from a different player each game.

    “You can’t legislate for international players making fundamental mistakes, as most of them are.”

  23. I’ve no complaints about the result other than we’ve taken another one on the chin. We didn’t deserve anything from the game.

    All talk will be about our lack of a spine at the back but for me, games are won and lost in midfield. That is where the new coach needs to find some answers. We are too lightweight there. From the players we have, the new man will need to find the right balance and blend to make us competitive in the middle and relieve the pressure on the back line.

  24. KMac possibly a bit unfair as Hutton cannot by any stretch of the imagination be c-b, but Bree was the only other option.

    However, I do think the players have got to hold themselves more responsible, as said earlier.

  25. JL- Interesting, that would perhaps show a lack of sharpness or concentration or maybe not drilled enough in a mode of playing. The less a player has to think the more natural he can be like riding a bike. The more he knows he should do and more importantly what his team-mates will do the easier the decisions.

  26. Well that’s that for a while – til the 20th
    England women v Oz next Tuesday evening.

    Thursday 11th
    England U21s play Andora U21s
    Also Wales V Spain
    And Israel v Rep Ireland U21s

    Friday 12th
    Croatia v England should be interesting
    Austria v N Ireland that evening in the International league.
    And more U21 matches

    Sat 13th – Rep of Ireland v Denmark
    Sunday 14th – Scotland v Portugal

    Spain v England

    Tuesday 16th
    Rep of Ireland v Wales
    France v Germany
    Scotland v England U21s
    N Ireland v Slovakia U21s
    Germany v Rep of Ireland U21s
    Wales v Switzerland U21s

    Villa v Swansea

  27. PW
    Nothing to add here either, in fact I’m trying to forget him & the mess for now, until some concrete news appears for a new manager

  28. IanG,

    Surprised at you with that one…

    He may be getting a huge pay-off but I’m pretty sure that’s not what he was working for.

    We should respect the character, the person, and not the loot, surely.

  29. JL
    Strangely as it may seem to you, I wasn’t having a go at anyone, just the obscene amounts involved [in football everywhere also], that you can just put in a waitrose trolley & take home many times over.
    It is a kind of ill gotten gain, that you don’t have to work for.
    Not that there is anyone on here who would say no if it was offered.
    I don’t actually respect anyone for taking the money without qualification in this kind of scenario.
    if it was less then it could be seen as a reward for services rendered, but as it is a fortune, also as with the player’s wages as they are, in contrast to everyone else who works, including many in show business, public service & politics, I view it as a form of robbery.
    I could go on about the injustice contrast, but it is indisputable that we all bear the blame when we decide to accept the kind of subtle taints that corrupt us.
    So no, it doesn’t lead to respect for Bruce, but I wasn’t actually having a go until you reminded me.
    Thank you, come again!

  30. JL
    To be ultra clear, I’m happy & releaved that he is no longer our manager, & can understand the respect for his situation that led to him being given another opportunity at the best football club in the world.
    He should be grateful, not just slink out the door without a sign of any honour, & without acknowledging the people who provided him with what he said was a priviledge.
    Actions speak louder than words[& lies], & I have less respect for him now, not more.
    Since he was a working class footballer not on a fortune, he has changed to emanating an entitlement that is an insult to all football fans & especially the Villa.

  31. Bruce had been working for his pay off since last May why else would we have such an unbalanced squad no sane manager would go into season with 1 centre Half

  32. IanG,

    I think we all know about the business/money nature of the game now … I sometimes wonder why we follow footie still!

    But my point was that you specifically stated “to add insult to injury he’s got his millions” as though he’s specifically at fault for that as well as everything else! …. If you’re criticising the state of the game in that statement, all well and good, but it did sound as though the man is at fault for taking that money.

    The thing is we don’t like to hear of these big payouts, but also we don’t know how he (Bruce) spends his money. He strikes me as the kind of character who will be generous in how he distributes it.

    In fact I was taken aback to hear about the charitable side of Paul Scholles and the Neville brothers a few years ago, so there is a good side to it all, as there very often is.

    I don’t agree with your comments about Bruce of course. In fact I thought your comments are, sadly, quite surprising, ungenerous and nauseous, but c’est la vie! 🙁

  33. I was surprised that Iana made the initial comment, actually.

    I previously credited you all with having a bit more humanity. James I had got used to, but you two?

  34. Jl
    Maybe everyone is fed up with your bleating about poor Bruce,it used to be gabby you personal crusade was about, me Bruce has been a poor but lucky manager all his career using his media mates when things go wrong as they have done at every club he has managed, when you put out a team with hutton(2 new contracts)Elmo (signed for different sides) Taylor it would be like going to work with one hand tied behind your back and our results will not change when we have them 3 in starting line up,all Bruce men

  35. Bruce’s Playing Record This Season

    Just thought I’d trawl through the BBC stats to see how Bruce’s record looked.

    These are some conclusions covering the 10 league matches before the PNE game:

    1. Villa had 55.4% possession on average and the only 2 games when Villa had less than 50% were in the two opening games (49% and 48%)- which we won!
    2. Villa had an average of 14.2 shots per game, with an average of 5 on target.
    3. In the heavy defeat against the Blades, we actually had 61% possession and sent in the same number of shots as United (9) – but they put 6 on target to our 2.
    4. In the 2 successive home draws against Brentford and Reading we had 57% and 59% possession and 17 and 21 shots, compared to their 13 and 10. In both cases we had 8 shots on target compared to their 7.
    5. In each of the 3 away draws against Ipswich, Blackburn and Bristol each time we had substantially more possession and more shots, including shots on goal.
    6. In the home defeat against Wednesday we had 54% possession and 18 shots compared to their 13, but 4 shots on target to their 5.

    Bruce’s failure in results seems to hang mainly on those 5 draws (items 4 and 5) when it clearly shows we should have won them all.

    Why didn’t we win ’em? I put it down to (a) inaccurate shooting and (b) defensive errors.

    Therefore the *main* reason for lack of success: the players, as KMac suggests.

    We would have had 10 more points if we had won those games which, based on stats, we should have won. We’d have been top of the division with those points.

  36. JL- Could it be that Villa and Bruce didn’t/don’t know what to do with the possession afforded them? certainly we don’t create many clear cut chances mainly as KMac said yesterday lots of crosses, which is a percentage game.

    The opposition could also have been better with their shooting its not all one way, and most telling is we have had to rescue a point from games not lose two quite often, the loss column could be easily worse.

    Under RDM we surrendered 11 points from winning positions 5 games after the 85th min, still sacked him

  37. Mk
    No point crossing the ball as under Bruce we only ever had 1/2 attackers getting in the box and then like yesterday both goals we had twice as many defenders as millwall had attackers yet they where fit to control ball and shoot with Taylor Elmo Hutton and co waving arms pointing fingers instead of marking players

  38. MK,

    I’m not sure how you come to those conclusions given that in 4 of those 5 drawn games (pre-PNE) Villa had substantially more possession *and* shots, therefore we should have won at least 3 of those 5.

    I remember clearly the Brentford match, wondering just how it was we could be losing until the 90th minute.

    So … it really is the players … I recall there were a lot of chances missed in the first 6 or 7 matches.

  39. JL- Yes chances were missed by both sides they don’t all go in and to be fair I can point to the 8 times Villa hit the woodwork and had extraordinary poor reffing decisions under RDM and how about the two goals from two chances forest got John? we have 27 shots that game.

    The point I’m trying make is s**t happens, but Villa have been mostly poor or nobody would of been moaning just saying how unlucky we have been, you might have noticed they are not 😉

  40. Brentford game I remember it too wasn’t all Villa, we played well first half and they should of had Maupay sent off.

    “But Villa were rightfully level on 39 minutes when a great tackle by McGinn won possession, Kodjia turned Ezri Konsa on the edge of the box and then, after letting go of the Bees defender’s shirt, darted into the area to drill a fiercely struck right-foot shot beyond Bentley.

    Maupay then got in at the far post ahead of Alan Hutton to acrobatically net from close range on 82 minutes after Villa keeper Orjan Nyland could only parry Watkins’ neatly chipped left-wing cross – the Frenchman’s fifth goal of the season.

    Nyland, who had already made one stunning low save to keep out a Nico Yennaris strike, then made another great block to prevent a third Bees goal for sub Said Benrahma.”

    “I would have taken a point at half-time. We weren’t very good in the first half but we looked the more likely as the game went on.

    “We missed big chances at 2-1 to put the game to bed. The start has been very good, it could have been excellent.”

    Bruce’s view

    “That was our best performance by a country mile in the first half. You can see what we’re trying to do. Then the first mistake we make they score from, but the reaction was good.

    “It was a horrible stamp on John McGinn and their lad should have been sent off. I know how difficult it is for referees and I never want to see anyone red carded. But I am sure they will look at it. A malicious stamp on purpose sticks in the back of your throat, especially when that player scores twice

    “At 2-1 down, they then had a couple of chances in a good 10 minutes and, all of a sudden, you think that’s a bit unjust. But Jonathan Kodjia looks a bit more like the old Jonathan Kodjia again. And we had the character to come back again and get something.”


    This jazz/rock/blues/folk fusion of Henry and Terry inexplicably reminds me of one of rock music’s first supergroups – BLIND FAITH. All incredibly talented and trendy but their free spirits soon wandered off all in different directions. I appreciate this is in the land of media muppetry at the moment but I can’t help tittering at the thought of all the football purists dribbling from all extremities at the possibility. Philosophise that!

  42. According to Sky Sports, who are rarely wrong, John Terry is nailed on as assistant manager, with Henri as manager, but the possibility remains that if the deal with Henri is not finalised, then Brendan Rogers will be appointed.

    The deal with Terry was always on the cards, and he has just been waiting for the call, as he will be assistant player manger until at least January, and play alongside Chester, making a huge difference to our defence, while Henri will concentrate on bringing out the best in Jack Grealish and our strikers.

  43. We are Aston Villa from Birmingham in the West Midlands. None of us are fashionable, trendy or glamorous. Nobody understands or likes us or our accent. We aren’t Liverpool, Manchester or Newcastle(?). London is lala land. Only Sam Allardyce could love or understand us. Made in heaven!!!!

  44. JL
    Hope you didn’t let it all out inside the house & mess the nest.

    From memory, we seem to have lost more games having more possession, when the other teams parked the bus.
    Set up as a counter attack team, we rarely seem to know how to break down teams doing this.
    Then occasionally you get teams with more possession, more nous, better coaching, better tactics & more intelligent subs, like Fulham.

  45. If it’s true regarding Henri and Terry becoming a one two behind the bench then their names and accomplishments should be worth extra points alone. The star power of these two won’t be lost on the team. Both are just finishing playing careers that you can only dream of and the squad will have their exploits fresh in their minds.
    I can’t see any player not having a huge boost to their confidence and desire to play well. Two managers who can relate to the players’ generation is a wonderful thing to have.
    I hope they are given some time to sort things as this could be quite the pairing for the foreseeable future.

  46. Ian
    In addition the players can’t get away with things that may be possible with an older manager, due to different attitudes.
    If true, I hope the tendency to baby the players is put to rest, & the responsibility factor brought to the fore.

  47. Well if it is to be TH and JT I have to assume that Compass are not overly worried about FFP and are prepared to pay the big salaries required to hire them on the basis that they can turn more debt into shares to write it down.

    Should that be the case then we just have to get behind AVFC and give them our support. Nobody can say they’re not making serious efforts to turn this supertanker around. COYVB.

  48. what a cr*p decision getting rid of Elphick was, still can’t believe it. Hull fans want him for Captain

    TFS Hull City
    Tommy Elphick should replace Markus Henriksen as Hull City’s captain #hcafc #hcafcpolls #TheTigers Please RT when voted

    22:29 – 4 Oct 2018
    See TFS Hull City’s other Tweets
    Twitter Ads information and privacy

    Asa hcafc
    Replying to @TeddyHCAFC
    Elphick IS a captain! Vocal, commanding and experience. Henriksen is timid, below average and weak!

    09:58 – 30 Sep 2018
    See Asa hcafc’s other Tweets
    Twitter Ads information and privacy

    HCAFC Highlights
    Tommy Elphick has been superb today for #hcafc

    16:24 – 6 Oct 2018
    See HCAFC Highlights’s other Tweets

  49. Rednapp in the mail, the idea is growing on me.

    “I’m delighted with the prospect of Thierry Henry and John Terry coming together at Aston Villa as a management partnership.

    I spent a lot of time with Thierry when he worked for Sky. Never have I met someone who is more obsessed with the game.

    By taking John as his No 2, Thierry will get someone who knows everything about the club and the players, after his time playing there last season.

    He could hold the key to getting more consistency from Jack Grealish. Both men are winners and I hope the Premier League’s best striker and defender (who announced his retirement from playing on Sunday night) prove a successful combination in the dugout.”

  50. Hi JL

    I’d agree it was the players fault but it backs my opinion in that the players were playing to get Bruce sacked never doing enough to win games to grind out draws and slowly but surely knowing that the buck stops with Bruce and players don’t really ever get the chop.

    They’ve got what they wanted in my opinion and nothing would change in one game under KMac, however if the Henry/Terry partnership comes about, the focus will need to switch on player performance as we’ll have two novices in charge, it’s the same as Lampard at Derby, the focus is on team performance because there’s a given lack of mgmt knowledge that needs to be acquired, whereas Bruce has history and is referred to as an experienced manager so highly unlikely that he’d allow situations like our defensive gaps to develop, our multitude of RBs and wingers and turning captains of clubs into shadows of their former selves amongst Bruce’s failings in his time at the club.

    Would love to see H/T lead the club into a new era, they’ve certainly achieved much in the game to get immediate respect, I might even possibly forgive Henry for his hand pass.

  51. DOR- If you are right about the players wanting him out it would mean the players showed little empathy with his trials last season and that the chickens came home to roost, having employed some real professionals last season to sort them out must have p*ssed a few off, particularly former captains. It would make you wonder what the true thoughts are of the squad outside of the younger crew.

    As for the glaring imbalance in the team, maybe its all been to much for Mr Bruce to shoulder along with his personal grief? It all looks so obvious from the outside balance wise.

    Yes I agree the Onus will be on the players but with the hopeful bonus they will have some guidance on the pitch, apparently Henri got glowing reports from the Belgium players particularly the forwards and Terry has done consultancy for teams on their defences.

  52. Darren,

    It’s a good argument you make but I just can’t wash the idea that the players were doing what they were doing to get Bruce out. I’m afraid I can’t be cynical enough to look at that scenario, especially having not seen physical evidence of that – i.e. not putting effort in.

    I’ve seen effort, but short of the professional accuracy.

  53. well you just have to be excited about henry and jt!

    Young, would think theyd want to play the modern way. command respect and players will want to play for them and signings should get done ok!

    we need to have patience as fans though and give it time. big job on there hands with a cr*p defence and ill balanced squad.

  54. Mark

    Something must of been up with bruce. been through a lot and must of been distracted.

    He is known for teams as based on cautious and keep it tight and to end up with our back 5 is a joke.

  55. Andrew- yes its a weird one, If Bruce was dealing with everything then he probably dropped the ball. Maybe he believed the French lad was a cert and he had his back up with the Scottish CB but left it to late. The French lad was a mendes Client wasn’t he? which may have muddied the waters. Still no excuse surely for letting Two senior defenders go nor clark.

    One significant factor that isn’t talked about is the new owners arrival and the immediate turnaround in policy .

    “”As for John, that won’t be happening. The owners want young, aggressive, hungry players with things to prove. That’s their vision.”

    Thats a turnaround in thinking for Bruce who was planning for life without half the team let alone his 6 loanee’s.

  56. JL
    You do assume a lot also [I know, it takes one to know one].
    But I was referring to the mess left behind, & the lads have a point in that it was supposed to be his forte, but his tenures always seem to end with a mess.
    He was the one that left us in such an unbalanced state.
    Then there’s the anti cabbage sentiments…

  57. JL- When a player makes constant mistakes it smacks of confidence being low, when an entire team is making them it smacks of lack of direction, the harder I work the luckier I get, seems like we haven’t been working that hard to me.

  58. Mark,

    I don’t discount your comment there – it’s quite a valid one as a potential.

    I’m just not sure I fully agree though. There doesn’t seem to be hint of that from players like Grealish and Abraham, who, by the way, is scoring at the rate of 1 in 2 games just now and is one of those that would have helped to get better results by end-October. As I saw it at least.

  59. Chain of events 🙂

    selling jack, chester etc, using the squad we have plus maybe some low cost loan players and youth. Comfortable, no risk for manager, seen as hero for trying.

    Keeping all our players and getting some funds and high cost loans available. Demand for promotion push and a whole lot of stress with little room for error.

  60. JL- Abrahams is young and abitious and would have had a pre-season with Chelsea in hope of getting a start, Grealish would quite likely have trained hard too as he was off to Spurs and revved up.

    I’m only guessing but the switch of owners may have burst a fews bubble especially with Bruces comments about the missing 6, it sounded like he thought the rest were just the supporting cast and that wont have gone down well methinks. The Burton game comments spoke of players wanting assurances of game time too ie: knocking on doors etc. No Snodgrass and no JT leaves Bruce exposed in a mildly p*ssed of dressing room. The incoming players would know nothing of this.

  61. Apparently Petrov has applied for the manager’s job.
    A little early for him I think, but great to see the link with the club is still there.

  62. Rated 22nd / 23rd in all defensive stats this with a defensive manager in charge, another month would just have prolonged the agony,who ever new manager is has his work cut out trying to sort out Bruce disgrace full transfer dealings

  63. It is interesting all the backing and excuses that keep coming up for Bruce. He was hired specifically to get Villa promoted back to the Premiership, with a r5olling contract with huge bonuses. He failed completely in his first season, and managed to get himself a second bite at the cherry, and again he failed, although he had no restrictions on what he spent, who bought, sold or loaned. He managed to scrape into the play off final and still failed by playing a team that had too many old legs, and playing not to lose… was a final….you can only play to win. That should have been his final chance, and he should have been sacked, and I have the feeling, if it had not been for Tony Xia’s financial problems, he would have been.

    Enter the new owners, who want their own man, and a new start, but because of a poll in the press, they decide to ley Bruce prove himself to them, but with some proviso’s, but does Bruce really listen. He had the opportunities to sign McKenna, and several others, but held out, hoping he could still persuade the management to do fresh loan deals for Snodgrass and Terry, which they were totally unwilling to do. In desperation, having signed El Gazhi, he then went for Bolasie as his replacement for Snodgrass, but never dreamed that he could not swing getting Terry back, and by then it was all too late, so he had to make Jedinak his new main man in the defence, which as we have all seen, totally failed, and he has consequently lost his job. No sympathy whatsoever for the man, who dug his heels in and thought he could beat the board..!!

  64. A very apt analysis Paul P; I take it you would not have given him a month more to sort it out then 🙂

    I think Bruce lost the plot when his mind was busy dealing with the loss of both parents and the failure of his gambles to strengthen the squad. Let’s leave him to get some peace and rest – no doubt he will re-emerge to rescue some other unfortunate club.

    Meanwhile we are waiting for some positive outcome on the managerial front during or shortly after the international break. I know these things don’t happen overnight as contract negotiations need to secure the interests of both parties.

    We have the weight of the top half of the table to counter during November and December with regional ‘derbies’ in prospect and Blues hanging on our coat tails. No improvement could see Villa fall down dramatically

  65. If (and it’s a big if) Rodgers was available, would people still prefer Henry? Personally, I would take Brendan as he ticks all the boxes and is less of a gamble.

  66. JL
    I was never thinking anything negative about SB by mentioning the millions he’ll get. It was more like, what a lucky guy! And he is.
    I’m looking forward to exciting times ahead for Villa.
    Did you see the Boks/ABs game? Aus/Arg was good too.

  67. Villalore – not sure about Brendan – Celtic is an easy street post especially with his ex-Villa player!!
    Well it’s not our decision I just hope the ‘compass’ guys take a measured view and not necessarily get dazzled by the Henri-Terry hype. I’m not saying that they shouldn’t be considered but I am sure there are other irons in the fire that should be counted.
    Then again it’s not our……….

  68. Iana – saw the Boks game but I have had a busy weekend – football. rugby union. Super League semis, Grand Prix, plus gardening – laying pipes for new extension – retirement was never supposed to be this busy but than goodness it is as it keeps me healthy. If I was in UK I would be down the pub knocking back pints of real ale and trying to offset it by running 10 miles a day in the forest.
    I am with Paul Pears in that I am just waiting the owners to decide who they want to invest their money in; then it is up to the supporters if they want to invest in tickets!!

  69. I think these owners are the most savvy we have had in the modern era. I trust them to find someone, clearly they felt Bruce’s tenure could not continue not just sacked Him on a whim. They didn’t rush the ceo they are not rushing the dof so I’m gonna have a little faith 🙂

  70. just been reading about rogers. im not that convinced or excited about him to be fair.

    Rather have dean smith.

    but we have not got bruce so im happy.


    Yes they seem to think about what they are doing. Not rushing and keeping a low profile.

  71. At the moment it seems like every pundit, ex footballer and manager knows what is good for Villa, and who wants the job and who doesn’t. Certainly Villa’s PR team are making sure that Villa’s name is back on the sports pages, and I am sure that when the announcement comes it will make the maximum publicity it can around the world.

    This new management team know what they are about, and no one has managed to pick up anything concrete to divulge to the press. I do expect an announcement to be made by Friday lunchtime at the latest, and I am sure it will be the right one, as these people mean to succeed where Tony Xia failed. They are planning to take Villa back to be a force to be reckoned with in the Premiership, not in a few years, but in the next twelve months, which is why they sacked Bruce, knowing he would not fulfil their plans.

  72. Dean Smith is performing well as expectations are low and he is over achieving. With Villa, he needs to ensure promotion AND play attractive football. Other hyped managers have failed with us in the past, so for me its a concern (I don’t want to see another broken shell of a man leaving us).

    Rodgers achiever promotion with Swansea, had respective finishes and did well with Liverpool. If he can handle the pressure of the latter, he would have a better fortitude to deal with us, IMHO.

  73. Having read all the latest news reports on Villa, Henri, Martinez and Rodgers, etc; I have come to the conclusion that no one of any importance is saying anything, and that Henri/Terry is probably a done deal, but the final piece in the jigsaw is confirming a DOF that would complement them and give a strong message of commitment. It may also be about recruiting a backroom team that will also join the club.

    It would be crazy to name part of a team, and then have it all fall apart because the troops did not sign up to the plan. I feel we must be patient, and maybe ignore a lot of the speculation going on…..the bookies are making a fortune…..better than Mourinho getting sacked for them…. and wait for a complete statement from the club which will announce a complete team, probably on Saturday, after Belgium’s game with Switzerland.

  74. PP: “Henri/Terry”

    How come a “done deal”? It looks to me as though Henry doesn’t want the job! That’s what everyone seems to be saying. I got that impression earlier in the summer, too.

  75. You mean ‘coz ‘Arry knows it all… is just assumption that Monaco want him after sacking their manager….Just confirms that Villa are making the right choice.

    Newspapers are just scratching for information, while the bookies are making a fortune…more than betting on England in the World Cup…!!!

    The next team to be announced will be Lampard and Terry, as the compensation for Lampard cannot be more than the £2.5million for Brendan Rogers…and is a much more likely fit, if the Henri/Terry does not come off!!

  76. Paul,

    No, I haven’t even look at what ‘Arry has said!

    There seems to be several sources that say he’s not interested.

    Now from what I read last week the owners wanted to have a man installed to make full use of the international break to familiarise himself and get the players into some semblance of shape. Some suggested that the man would be at Millwall last Saturday.

    We’re almost a week in since Bruce left and nowt has happened.

    I really am beginning to think we have more owners who don’t know what they’re up against in the football world.

    We thought things were not good under Bruce? Wait and see…

    The management team might end up as being a consortium from AVL yet! 😀

    Well, why not? There are enough on here that think they can do better! 😉

  77. JL- Think? can 🙂

    I think your rubbing your hands at the prospect of a meltdown, shame on you 😉

    Question you might want to ask yourself, why sack Bruce with nothing in place? might be one of your we don’t know whats gone on behind the scenes scenario’s. If they are useless at least they are rich and useless and have myriad connections with Sport.

  78. JL- And How many owners have the requirements then? Liverpools American owners? or Man utd’s? or man city’s sheik? Shahid Khan at Fulham? Vincent Tan at Cardiff maybe? Fosun international of china at wolves perhaps? all massively experienced in football before they bought the teams, not 🙂

  79. Laurie Whitwell

    Understand Jesus Garcia Pitarch, formerly of Valencia, has started work at #avfc as sporting director and is involved in process to appoint manager

  80. MK,

    I’d rather not in the case of all of those you quote. Money ain’t all by any means, though those who only want success think that it is.

    And do you remember Randy Lerner by any chance?

  81. James,

    Yes the new Gunners guy looks impressive. When I saw the highlights of the Fulham/Arsenal match I was thinking how much sharper the Arsenal players looked.

  82. MK,

    I have seen comments on Jesus Garcia Pitarch working as Sporting Director at Villa, but it is denied that he is involved in the process, and that Purslow is handling it himself.

    Arsenal manager seems a whole new ball game, and they must now be worth a punt for the title, and much more like Man City.

  83. Jl- I do remember Randy he ran out of funds as Man City turned up with loads, all those mentioned dwarf his funds.

    As for only want success you are talking to someone who wanted a rebuild and the use of youth players which is the opposite of what Bruce was about.

    Also is not getting back to the prem one of your reasons for keeping him? Or are you happy in the champs?

    I want us up to date and competitive and sustainable but it’s likely the best won’t come for tuppence.

  84. I do not believe that Henri has accepted, or been offered the Monaco job. The present manager is still in place. An approach may have been made. but I believe Henri’s contract was agreed back in the summer, and was only shelved temporarily.

    Our chairman Sawiris has believed all along that Henri is the perfect fit, which has been confirmed by Robert Pires, who met Sawiris at the Emirates during the Arsenal v Watford match this season, and I am sure he is right.

    I do not think anyone is going to move Sawiris from his plan, so just let us wait and see, as the only likely thing that has happened, is that Henri has preferred John Terry for his assistant, as apposed to Steve Bould, and that Terry signed a contract at the weekend, and what is happening now, is agreeing over the rest of the coaching staff.

    I do not think that Henri would have made a commitment to Sawiris, and then changed his mind after Bruce was sacked. Life does not work like that.

  85. Henry has gone – there’s too many saying so i.m.o.

    The next favourite for the job, Rui Faria, has reportedly rejected the chance to take over at Aston Villa after emerging as a favourite for the job.

    So – the tea lady is the next favourite?

    Or maybe Dwight Yorke.

  86. MK: “quick question, have Villa ever been the richest team in England?”

    Yes – from around 1897 to 1924. And in 1981 the Villa players were the highest paid in the UK (then it was about £500 p.w. I think)

  87. JL,

    I am really quite surprised at you. I would have thought that you would have realised that all we are hearing is conjecture from, in the main, average sports pundits and writers. Not one of the top men have made any concrete comments on the Villa job. The odds from the bookies are set by the amount of money put on by the punters…NOT BY THE BOOKIES….!!! The bookmaking profession do not set the odds, only with an intial calculation as money is laid ….the money does…with the punter continually lining their very deep pockets….!!

    I shall wait for the official announcement, which I expect to be on Monday at 3pm.

  88. Andrew
    Yes it’s getting a bit crazy in the media.
    We don’t even actually know who is on what list [apart from Dwight York, who constantly tells us, as if that will help him].
    An as you say, with some it could be that the job’s gone, or that they were ignored, not invited, etc.

  89. JL
    £500 pw in 1981 [£2000 per month].
    Certainly changed a lot.
    Mind you, many of us don’t get £500 per month now, let alone then.

  90. Well whomever it turns out to be I hope he can really coach one on one, not just put an arm around the players but really coach them. There is a reason we have had so much talent come to Villa then implode and a reason our Youth rarely succeed with us.

    Had the pleasure of talking to a building inspector from the Black country today who has a wolves season ticket. Had a good chat about wolves and Villa, bottom line is Nuno Santos has transformed the club. He coaches all the players at the club from U17’s up, all of them. Turning several players like Cody there CB from average to very good.

    Players are bought for their position and the whole club is coached in the 1st teams style. To do that folks we have to have a style and a manager that can implement it, took Santos 2 months.

    “We don’t know how to play any other way,” he said. “There are two ways to react to what happened against Leicester. You react by changing or not. We will not change because we want to build something. It is more important than we keep doing the things that we train to do.”

  91. The more I read on new arsenal manager I like him,in fact I want a carbon copy ,double training session s just what doc ordered for our (old) players,He wantsquick forward passing rules out (whelan) then

  92. IanG,

    Interesting that the top Villa earners around the turn of the 20th c. got £6 per match …

    Sounds awful doesn’t it? But in fact a decent solicitor got paid £6 p.w. in those days.

    Anyway, the maximum wage came in 1902 (starting at £4) and stayed until 1961 (ending at £20 pw). After the removal of the maximum wage Ron Wylie is said to have commented that it wasn’t long before he got £60 pw and didn’t know what to do with that extra cash! 😀 That was in the days when the national average wage was £20 pw.

    And so it progressed over the next 20 years to £500 pw in 1981 at Villa. And then… I can remember about 1987 that someone stated that John Barnes was on £2,000 pw at that time. The mention of that sum opened a few gawping mouths back then.

  93. It’s looking like it could be smith.

    Very very happy if it is. Get it done!!

    Believe Henry was approached but it’s the new owners fault. Should of got him in the summer. Backed Bruce and have wasted time, transfer window. We are starting over in bloody November nearly.

  94. JL
    The normal wage in 1965 was about £5 in a factory, & 8-10 on the buildings [I was on £5 pw].
    In 1967 it was £12, with the building trade labourers going up to £26pw.
    This was non professional & non management.
    The bubble had burst by 1976 with the advent of the lump etc.
    I remember some of the comments about footballers getting £20pw.
    Yes, I suppose it is as it is.

  95. New era, Smith and Terry, Championship experience and a driven player who wants to win, good combo.

    Roll on intl break and let’s see what the new mgmt can do this season, no pressure with three quarters of the season to go.

  96. Buzzin. Won’t sleep.

    Over night we have been restructured! Weird we had to fit jt in some how. Will his staff come with him? The Jesus chap to ensure style is same through out the youth teams to first team

    I’m sooooo excited.

  97. Yeah, read Scott’s comments, confirms what we all suspected about SB’s favoritism and tactics. Man, the amount of money we have spent on underutilized players in this league, criminal!

  98. Villalore,

    The point I’m attempting to make is that everyone has their foibles.

    There were not many on AVL (if any) that welcomed Bruce because they didn’t like his approach for one reason or another. In the case of Dean Smith he seems to be universally welcomed and possibly to such an extent that any foibles he has will be glossed over.

    That’s all I’m saying. Everyone has their predisposition in attitude and in Bruce’s case he had a lot to prove because of people’s predilictions which often ignored some of the realities of what Bruce was coping with over the last 2 years.

    Smith stands to have a smoother run under this ownership although there’s possibly more pressure now. I wish him well – as I wished Bruce well.

    Hogan might start playing now. I was amused, btw, about the reaction to that mischief article on Hogan’s recent treatment under Bruce. Something to be put aside I think. There’s always 2 sides to a story.

  99. There were not many on AVL (if any) that welcomed Bruce

    Unfair I think, while there were a vocal minority against him from the beginning, most recognized what a pragmatic decision it is. And he did bring stability and belief back into the team. I counted myself as a SB supporter in spite of his maddening behavior at times. But with everything we need to see improvements (not talking about results here) but he seemed to go in circles. Refused to learn or adapt, relying on his self proclaimed superior knowledge. Thats why he lost me in the end.

  100. JL,

    You still manage to amaze me, in thinking that Bruce’s treatment of players “is just one of his foibles”….

    The facts from Hogan, confirm the same story from Micah Richards and several other payers that he has shut out over his time with Villa. Certainly not good management, and yes I was glad to see him go, but I certainly welcomed him in his early days, and like many others here, gave him credit when and where it was due, and also was nothing to do with him ever managing Birmingham City.

    I may have got the manager and the timing wrong, but am happy that Villa made the right decisions in getting everyone on board before making any announcements, and I expect Villa Park to be rocking and sold out for the Swansea game…!! Don’t be late if you are going..!!!

  101. Jl- it appears first hand evidence is not enough for you?

    From all accounts smith is down to earth and humble, you might want to take a bite out of that slice of humble pie your being served 😉

  102. I gave bruce every chance.

    Me along with JL and another chap on here trinity?! sorry!

    But as soon as we lost the playoffs he should of gone.

    what I like about the smith appointment is if we don’t go up and ffp bites hard he has an excellent track record of working on a budget, improving players and playing youth.

    We may actually be building something solid now!

    for me under bruce it was short term and I put up with that in the hope he would get us up and go from there. but didn’t think anything sustainable would be built under him.

    Hopefully smith will give us clear identity.

    We must be patient thouhghh

  103. O’Kelly arriving too and must mention the sporting director, a quick read up shows he’s equally a winner in driving football clubs forward, something Villa absolutely need, expect the scouting process to improve no end with the contacts the club now has.

    Never felt the future was bright under Bruce, too much of a rush to get back to the prem without long term planning, while the pressure remains as we’re a big club, hopefully now we’ll realise our potential and build for the future as well.

  104. Darren

    Thanks for the snippet about the sporting director.

    Know nothing of him apart from being at Valencia and athletico Madrid.

    2 good clubs to have on your cv though!

    read a lot about o Kelly coming. crucial apparently. apparently a superb coach

  105. Well that’s the news we’ve all been waiting for, a Villa man at the helm, some one we will be more patient with just because. Also, JT on board so things looking up at long last.
    Still Deadly Doug manages to rain on our parade and bring us back down to earth. Rest in peace Doug, and thanks for the memories, you brought us Ron Saunders, Little and Gray, Withe and Shaw and so much more, pity you didn’t move with the times when Gregory pleaded with you, one signing back then and the whole picture could have changed.

  106. With all the false dawns we’ve been through I think this time everything will fall into place. I’m glad Bruce is good. Hogan’s chat just reaffirmed what I had been thinking about the man. There’s a lot of talent that has been sidelined. Perhaps they can be brought back sooner than later.
    JL you’d be better off arguing that the earth is flat.

  107. PP: “You still manage to amaze me, in thinking that Bruce’s treatment of players “is just one of his foibles”….”

    Now, now, Paul. You’re just upset that I called you on Henry! 🙂

    To me it was obvious he wasn’t coming but you still went at it!

    And who relayed the report of the Smith/Terry possibility?

  108. Andrew: “for me under bruce it was short term and I put up with that in the hope he would get us up and go from there”

    Yes … that’s a fair statement and reflects my own approach to his appointment. I still think he should have had the extra few weeks though, but c’est la vie.

    As for Doug? Well a lot of people did like him …. certainly families of old players whose funerals he went to.

    In fact I preferred him to Lerner and his cronies.

  109. Ian- Me too, Hogan comes across as being a straight up sort and he’s rightly p*ssed off at his treatment by Bruce who failed to mention Abraham when Hogan wanted out, God knows what he said to get him there in the 1st place? Clearly unless Hogan produced his own chances he was left to run around like a looney as young Davis was until he broke down.

    I had to laugh at Bruces coaching of Grealish, he’s just got him stronger and fitter, he still has no end product, some coaching of a player that was to be the hub of his team.

  110. I honestly don’t think Bruce would of lasted 10 minutes under Doug, nor would anyone but O’neil in the last 10 years, they probably wouldn’t of been employed either, think he would like Smith 🙂

  111. RIP Doug Ellis.
    Good to see Jesus back at Villa.
    Given the lack of central defenders at Villa, JT might be tempted to play a bit for a while until a long term solution is found.
    Villa will rise again,
    The old guard were killing Villa with their more-of-the-same approach, which was boring and wasn’t working, which is why they were sacked.

Leave a Reply