On Saturday, Aston Villa delivered their most comprehensive performance of the season to put hosts Derby County to the sword 0-3 and gain their first away victory since the season opener at Hull. For vast swaths of the game Villa dominated play, and for once it was the opponent that looked dazed and demoralized at the final whistle.

This will be rather long, but, of course, well worth reading. (Insert whatever emoji you like here.) You can, of course, always just skip it.

The Good
Well, everything, really. An away win against a good team. Goals distributed throughout the side. Playing out from the back with much more assurance. Quick passing. Excellent patterns of play in the final third. Constant attacking threat and intention. Two crucial saves from Nyland, who also looked more comfortable overall. Another all-action performance from John McGinn. A much more settled performance from Axel Tuanzebe, who roamed around cleaning up all sorts of threats inside and out, and played the ball forward with much more confidence. A high press employed at the right times and throughout the match. A strong cameo from Yannick Bolasie.

Moreover, it was an open, entertaining match. Lots of chances, lots of excitement, well worth the price of admission. Villa did not come to play like an away team. Villa came to play like a team with every intention of winning and doing it their way. I’ve always hated the conventional wisdom that for some reason you have to play differently on the road. You should always play how you play, and make them deal with you. The crowd aren’t on the pitch. If you’re going to be cowed away from home and set up to give the home side the initiative they’re going to have the initiative because you’ve conceded it to them before the opening kick-off.

The Bad
Villa squandered a number of chances to put the game away early, something we’ve seen a lot of this season. But Villa didn’t relent or retreat into a shell having spent themselves in the first half-hour, kept hammering and were eventually rewarded. They were able to stay in the ascendancy. A couple breakdowns had Derby in with chances they should’ve done better with, but Nyland did what a keeper is supposed to do, which is keep the ball out of the net. Most sides will have chances. It’s keeping out all those that can be kept out that make the difference between a result and a disappointing day.

The Ugly
Nothing really, except it got a bit ugly toward the end as Derby’s frustration mounted. To his credit, Frank Lampard apparently did not come into the match directing his players to take Jack Grealish out at every opportunity. Derby came to play to football, and so did Villa.

Final Verdict
What we saw Saturday was the first match in Smith’s tenure when all of the changes we’ve been hearing about were finally on full display. And the result was the first gripping game of football (for all the right reasons) that we’ve seen in a long time. It resulted from subtle but significant changes in all phases.

At the back: We’ve seen Whelan and Jedinak sidelined. Whelan did get a lone start, and was praised, but has not featured since—other than in late-game cameos off the bench. Jedinak was removed from the back line and replaced with a natural center back playing in his preferred position. We haven’t seen him since. Instead, we’ve seen Tuanzebe grow from match to match, finally putting in a performance yesterday that Jedinak simply doesn’t have in him. The result is that Chester had far less to do, as should always have been the case. Tuanzebe has greater range and pace, apparently is strong enough, and is growing in confidence. I’m not scared seeing the two of them at the back, or either one of them isolated in space and defending wide on counters.

This is no small thing. It’s allowing Villa’s back line to get further up the pitch while also being able to get back and snuff out counters. It’s allowing the rest of the team to play further forward and stay on the front foot. With better composure on the ball, playing out from the back is becoming more effective, and there are fewer aimless punts up the pitch resulting in the ball coming straight back at us.

In combination, the high press, which is what all good teams employ these days, is allowing Villa to play much less in their own half, and reduces the pressure on the back four immensely. Tighter triangles and predictable positioning are allowing players more options on the ball, and letting them play more quickly without succumbing to the pressure directed at them. Greater fitness is now allowing the team to keep it up for 90 minutes.

We’re seeing the bad habit (which I presume was a combination of instruction and fatigue) of dropping back and defending deep get corrected.

In the middle: We’ve seen Smith looking to let McGinn be the engine, Hourihane the swing the man, and Grealish the forward creator. (This doesn’t mean McGinn doesn’t create. He obviously does.) Less and less is Jack trying to carry the team and do too much. The complementary strengths of each of these players is being utilized. We are not relying on a big plodder to mop up in front of the back, or an old plodder too often seeing the play pass him by. Hourihane playing deep is very much a statement of philosophy and confidence. The statement is that we’re not sitting back to absorb. We’re not playing scared. We’re going to put our quickest, fittest, most composed and skillful players on the pitch and take it to the opponent.

Up front: Even if he’s been wildly profligate, Jonathan Kodjia is actually running, tracking back, and fitting into a role, rather than roaming around idly waiting for an opportunity to make something happen on his own. We’ve seen much more deliberate patterns of attacking play, which, yesterday, created numerous chances. And again, if you’re defending from the front, you’re much more likely have more men in the box since they’re not all a) gassed from running end to end, and b) actually up the pitch and available.

Abraham is being used to hold it up, but also to work quick interchanges to unlock defenses. He can do this because he’s not the only man up there—he’s also quick, strong and has good feet. He now has Jack to play off, as well as two wingers in a 4-3-3 who are looking to get infield as often as they are to play the ball in from wide areas. This takes pressure off him, draws defenders away, and opens up space. We’re seeing smarter runs that are anticipated because they’re intentional and everyone is on the same page.

Overall: As Smith has said, it’s not rocket science. And he’s right. Which, of course, leads one to wonder why these basic facets of the modern game weren’t addressed earlier. This is how the game is played now.

I’ve said that there’s no one on the team I don’t like. Whelan and Jedinak know what they’re doing. They’re simply just not suited to this style of play. Elmohamady has always had plenty of running in him, but if he is playing at right back (as was enforced yesterday by the injury to Taylor), he’s doing much less defending in this system (as are all the back four), which has been his greatest liability, and is not being asked to play in midfield. He can be a wingback. He’s not a winger. Speaking of fullbacks, we are starting to see them get closer to their men instead of standing off so much. This, again, is partly instruction, and partly based on the system and fitness which means there are more players getting back to cover if they do overcommit and let their man get free.

So…Yesterday was a treat. We went to play a good team and took them apart. We looked like we knew what we were doing. We saw players playing to their strengths, and saw a set-up and philosophy that’s making this possible. We’ve even seen players expressing frustration on the occasions when they’ve pressed and someone hasn’t come up to press the outlet as expected. We saw 90 minutes of running and Villa on the front foot til the end (which is why the dominance finally told and the floodgates opened).

Will it continue? Well, we know there are always bad days at the office. It won’t look like this every week. Never does.

What’s important is that yesterday the players saw the fruits of all the work on the training ground proved out. Their buy-in is crucial, so seeing it pay off is vital if it’s going to continue. Yes, there’s a new man to impress. But they’re showing they have the heart, and the desire to play better. Seems to me they were no more impressed by how they were made to look than we were.

They’re showing that this system suits their talents, just as we saw a few matches last season where many of these players were playing much more like this and got their rewards. We then saw it changed back. As a side note, we’ve seen a consistent XI, with players being played in their proper positions. Smith is drilling this into a side, while working with the fringe players so that they’re on the same page if and when they’re called upon.

We believed the talent was there. We just didn’t see it being applied properly. If we can produce performances like this more often than not, and grind out the games where we’re not flying, there’s an indication that we can expect more. Smith is confidently predicting there’s more to come. And so far, there’s no reason to doubt him.

If nothing else, what I’m seeing is a man who’s coached against Villa, and our old-guard tactics, and saw a tired, disorganized, yet talented team flailing about and making life way too hard on themselves. He knew what he would change if he were in charge of a talent pool he’d never had before. And now that he has it, he’s starting to prove out his approach. A man who pays attention to Guardiola & Co., and is trying to implement lessons learned from the game’s best. It’s not revolutionary, it’s simply intelligent and progressive. This is the modern game.

Although it sounds like I’m belaboring the point or perhaps trying overly hard to be critical of Bruce, I’m not. I, along with a lot of the support, have been banging on about these very things for years now, predating Bruce. Villa simply had not modernized and it was clear to see. We saw far less talented teams doing to us what we did to Derby and far too often. It never felt like there were answers forthcoming. We’d just go out and do the same things the next week and hope for better, to be there or thereabouts.

I hate to say it, but that’s not really a statement of intent. Wanting to pile on and put fear into opponents’ hearts? That’s a statement of intent. An organizing principle: We want to be the best, we will play our game, and we will take it to you. We will match your intensity and your organization. And we have better players.

So. Joy on the day, optimism looking forward. It’s a shame there’s another break, as a couple (almost) full weeks of training have taken the side forward. But Smith will have another intrasquad match to work on the fitness and cohesion of the players not going away on international duty, and given that what not only looks like improved fitness is actually improved fitness (according to Hutton, anyway), we may expect less drop-off in energy levels after the break.

I won’t go overboard, I won’t make bold predictions. I’ll just say what I’ve said before which is what I’m seeing and hearing is refreshing and long overdue at Aston Villa. Like all of us, I’m hoping it continues.

Over to you.

Comments 274

  1. JC
    Thanks for the writeup, you’re right it is long, but full of good comments on the whole.

    JL
    ‘I’m just putting reality into the situation, not using wishful thinking – though I agree that the future does look much brighter right now’

  2. Excellent write up gaffer as per usual
    Players playing right positions, in a system, being coached,getting fit all simple things that for the life of me could never understand Bruce reluctantance to try them,how did he manage to get all these years managing

  3. JL
    I clicked the button by mistake, here’s the rest of the comment:
    ‘I’m just putting reality into the situation, not using wishful thinking – though I agree that the future does look much brighter right now’
    You seem to be trying to fit the reality of the game into your ethos, instead of commenting about the moment.
    None of us know what is the scene with Bree, but probably not what we think.
    I look forward to it becoming clear.
    What we do see is the beginnings of a renaissance, after what I & others have witnessed for the last year or two.
    I find it refreshing that DS speaks as he finds it, & doesn’t seem interested in control games in his interviews, very different to Bruce, who couldn’t stop putting his foot in it instead.

    For the football, I disagree with your emphasis on focussing on negatives, as someone has already said, it is a game of 90 mins, not just the bits that fit our prejudices.

    It is a great shame that we have another crazy international break, which will limit the training as a whole squad, as we have so many internationals.
    Advantage to small heath, as they don’t have so many.

  4. IanG…

    Yes, rather long. Tedious, even. But there’s been a bevvy or two, and there’s no controlling the words after that. Thank you for reading, regardless.

  5. Cheers, JG.

    I do agree about Bruce. In short, I think it’s simple stubbornness, relying on what used to work and used to be conventional wisdom that a manager couldn’t be criticized for. “If it was good enough for me dad…”, that sort of thing. But the game has moved on. He had a bunch of greyhounds and persisted in playing them as he would a less talented squad.

    But, I have to point out that he did have a good winning percentage at Villa. The flipside to that is that in this division, with the players at his disposal, it should’ve been even higher. High bar, yes. But that’s the reality.

    Never mind that players don’t smoke before training anymore, or any of the rest from the old days. Fitness is paramount, as is organization. It’s a simple game, but it’s now approached much more methodically.

    He’s just relied on playing the percentages, and never had a remit beyond finding a way to make a mediocre team hard to beat.

  6. IanG,

    “None of us know what is the scene with Bree, but probably not what we think. I look forward to it becoming clear.”

    Indeed. I’ve seen him grow into games. He has to play. And like I said, Smith hasn’t been looking to change much up too quickly. He’s got the back shored up, and seems to me that he’s content for the moment not to tinker a lot. It’s all about what’s going on in training and how Bree’s doing there. If he’s doing the right things, we might end up seeing him coming up.

    My guess is that right now, Elmo offers more insurance from the bench (ie, throwing him on as a ‘winger’ or FB if someone gets hurt, etc.), and Smith is focused on getting the CB situation sorted before introducing more change. Extending that guess, Bree has sat for the better part of two years and received little to no coaching.

  7. Really interesting read thanks John.
    Ten days ago a Stoke supporting mate of mine was taunting me about Villa slipping further down the table since changing manager. I told him that (as someone who’d not wanted to change manager) we were starting to look good and someone would get s beating from us soon and it could be in the next game against Bolton.
    It’s more impressive that it’s actually come a week later against Derby.
    Having read the various comments it does seem that we rode our luck a bit in the first half and the game could have gone the other way, but we’re now putting ourselves in the position where we ‘can’ win any game.
    Exciting times

  8. things are looking up,,, but it really is early days yet in the smith revolution so although i am happy as a pig in sh*t i am trying not to get carried away as the disappointment this past 6 months has driven me doo dally,,,
    what ever happens this season even now i feel we are in very good hands with a manager who does seem to know his onions,,, and has got great performances with some average players at brentford
    but i still have concerns about the defending and conversion of chances at the moment,,
    it should improve as more games and coaching takes place,,,,
    and i still think for certain games the defensive qualities of jedi will be very useful as i think we can be bullied by physical teams,,,
    hopefully we can get more from the front 3 and start putting games to bed quickly,,,

  9. Cheers, r0bb0.

    A little luck in the first half, but also a couple of fine saves…It’s going to happen, especially in a wide-open game. Like I was saying, why you have a keeper. Teams will get chances, they do in every game. For the most part, anyway, especially the more you’re attacking.

    But yes, you’re right, starting to look like we can play 90 and create. We’re starting to learn how to watch film, see tendencies, and attack them.

  10. Hi, Dave…

    There is the question of getting bullied. It’s always a trade-off. Play Jedi, you’re bigger and stronger, but the rest of the system can suffer.

    Short answer, you don’t get bullied if you don’t let them get the ball to the bully boy(s). Fighters vs. bombers. We’ll see how situational Smith gets.

    More important, I agree…think we’re finally in good hands.

  11. Thanks JC, well balanced as always.

    Highlights if anybody has missed them – https://youtu.be/H1n24LemUGE

    Derby did have their chances in the first half and other teams will score against us in such situations. However, it appears that we now have confidence to come back from being a goal or two down. The threat of goals comes from multiple players which is what we’ve wanted to see from our talented and expensive squad.

    Hope DS gets some of the bench up to speed as well before the December fixtures.

  12. IanG: “For the football, I disagree with your emphasis on focussing on negatives,”

    If that’s how you read it that’s your bad luck! 😉

    If you were to read everything I’ve written you’d see that I have just been putting reality into a situation.

    Fact: at h-t we could easily have been behind and therefore the match was NOT a drubbing of Derby as some would like to suggest, they being enthused by the last 15 minutes of the match. Sorry, 16 minutes.

    Should Villa carry over their new found ability to put the ball on target then the future looks very bright indeed. But it’s still early days to be completely over the moon, which is what you appear to be suggesting we should be.

    “You seem to be trying to fit the reality of the game into your ethos”

    Well, why can’t I be putting the match into some kind of different context to bring some down to earth a little? What you see as being the reality may be (in reality!) a bit over the top. This is Hyde Park Corner I’ve been told, so I’m free to express my view am I not?

    You would not be aware that I was formerly a well-regarded problem solver in business systems, when I was usually able to see through the muck of the myriad of possibilities to getting to the real crux of the problem and providing real solutions. How many arguments I used to have and yet I was almost invariably proven right.

    Read that as you wish, but all I’m doing is using the approach I’ve always used and which have always held me in good stead.

  13. As with highlights coming from a Villa perspective, I’m being swayed by what I seen, however on the generalities of Derby under Lampard this was always going to be an open game of football and regardless of the swings within the game, Villa persevered with the game plan, never gave up as we’ve seen in the past under many managers and got the rewards.

    I’m with JL on not getting over the moon too soon as there is a long way to go but the shoots of something (something good) are there to be seen and that gives me hope and solace for the season ahead, there will be a few twists and turns but I expect getting to January, Smith will be very intelligent in getting players in that will provider cover or better what we have to ensure those negative twists are minimised.

    The proof of how well we played is reading about the game from a Derby perspective and our work rate with and without the ball were the key factors in beating Derby and the quality of players at our disposal, onwards to the real derby.

  14. Darren: “our work rate with and without the ball were the key factors in beating Derby”

    Fair point, but maybe we shouldn’t ignore the possibility that Derby were not mentally (and physically?) as strong as we were and hence buckled in the last 16 minutes?

    What I’m suggesting here is that as soon as the second went in, the Derby players may have just given in bearing in mind that we had virtually played them off the park in the second-half.

    The test may well be if we meet a side that is as mentally tuned as we appear to have been.

    I’m not sure that Small Heath have that strength, particularly as they lost at Derby last week! But a derby is a derby and anything might happen.

  15. JC
    Looks like Villa’s game put some lead in your pencil. Thanks for the leader.
    I don’t think after the last few years of tripe, Villa fans will take too much from one match, but a thaw begins with a trickle….
    Thanks for the link Villalore

  16. I love that smith has quickly got our mid 3 of mcguin jack and now conor in play. Bruce would of gone to derby played whelen in def mid with jedi cb and at 1 nil up taken off a striker to see the game out.

    The difference is there for all to see at 1 nil we went for it instead of trying to just see the match out.

    We are positive now not negative.

  17. interesting about bullying.

    You see city little sterling and the 2 silvas yesterday. tiny little players but was relentless tackling back and closing down.

    That’s the bullying I like to see not someone like jedi who is just a statue winning headers

  18. thanks JC- I know how you feel mate, having heard every excuse under the sun for two seasons from “thats the championship” to “their not doing what I told them” I’m relieved to hear some correct observations followed by potential answers and actions taken to correct, it seems to be improving us, strange that.

    What is very apparent is the emphasis Smith puts on emotional control and ability to learn, might well be that the players on the pitch are those most able to adapt. My other observation is Smith seems very adept at imparting his wisdom.

    So Derby should of beat us 1st half? well I agree we didn’t put our chances on target at first but we had 21 shots 10 more than them, more corners , more possession, and they were at home.

    If you look at shots on goal as the aim of the game then yep we had 5 each, if you look at it fairly you will realise that we put three of ours where their keeper couldn’t reach them and they did not. So should the game really have been 5-5? no, or maybe 21-11? of course not. Quality of chance is what counts in the end, unless you score a worldy.

    As were in the “what could of happened mode” The game is 90 mins long so whether Derby went in 2-1 up or whatever we would likely have carried on as we were and just as likely have scored, indeed we did, We have a plan and Smith wants us to stick to it regardless and not get emotionally out of whack if we concede a goal or don’t score.

    As for getting carried away? we lost the other two away games, could of won them both but didn’t, I still felt we were going the right direction. So while I fully expect to be disappointed at some point and to not win every game, I do think we will begin to see greater consistency, indeed we are already.

  19. As for Dean Smith having won nothing, its fair to say neither has Bruce other than promotion from the championship commendable as that is. Dean Smith has however got the Job at Villa that Bruce waited his whole career for at an earlier stage 7 years vs 20. It will be interesting to see how it all turns out.

    Bruces career so far mostly at big name clubs

    1998–1999 Sheffield United
    1999–2000 Huddersfield Town
    2001 Wigan Athletic
    2001 Crystal Palace
    2001–2007 Birmingham City
    2007–2009 Wigan Athletic
    2009–2011 Sunderland
    2012–2016 Hull City
    2016–2018 Aston Villa

    Dean Smith

    2011–2015 Walsall
    2015–2018 Brentford
    2018– Aston Villa

  20. “Fair point, but maybe we shouldn’t ignore the possibility that Derby were not mentally (and physically?) as strong as we were and hence buckled in the last 16 minutes?”

    That possibility would/could be down to the way we influenced/dictated the game surely as performances to date from Derby would justify their current league standing so they’ve been strong physically and mentally in previous games.

  21. MK,

    You will always try to hugely waffle about this and that, with 2 outsanding examples above.

    But you’re stating the obvious. e.g. Bruce has only Championship promotions to show on his c.v. Of course he has!!!!!! But they’re still more than Smith has to show! And that record was the very reason why Bruce was taken on. Of course.

    There’s no indictment of Smith from me. I welcome him and like his approach … but until the promise solidifies into something tangible it will remain just what it is … a hint of something greater.

    Let’s get behind Smith and encourage him in what he’s trying to do. As fans that is what our job must be; but until we can put 4 or 5 games together showing repetition (or better) of the second-half v Derby, the future remains simply a hope.

    Smith needs time and I trust he will get there.

  22. Darren,

    I won’t argue with what you say and in fairness that’s a more likely scenario.

    I’m just saying “be aware – let’s see how the next few games go before we crow too much”.

  23. jl

    you touched on consistency.

    That is what is going to get us up. every other team is like a yoyo.

    We have games against those above us now. Get some wins and go unbeaten we have a chance.

    lets see where we are end of January.

  24. JL- waffle? you might want to look at your own attempt at derailing a good result, you used to hate stats now they’re your main go to oh well 🙂

    I am behind Smith, you for all your talk of fairness have appeared not to be or at the very least seem reluctant no matter what you say, maybe your just trying to wind people up. I think to use one of your favourite words you’re being a little Churlish.

    You questioned many times what coaching could do that Bruce wasn’t already? well thats unfolding in front of you if you care to look. This by the way is not just about Smith winning promotion as you seem to presume its about at last an identity on the pitch, well done by the owners for wanting that at their club.

    https://www.fourfourtwo.com/features/why-aston-villa-fans-finally-have-a-club-feel-optimistic-about-again

  25. DOR
    I don’t think there are many who haven’t posted that there is a long way to go yet, & that there seems to be light at the end of a long tunnel, which has reenergised us a little, & as someone said, it’s not just about winning, but progression.

    JL
    I must have hit a nerve there, cos all you’re saying is that the great JL is never wrong.
    Good luck with that

  26. Excellent script JC. You have covered my thoughts in detail. I saw something against the Rams that I can’t recall seeing too often under Spud. That was both centre backs prepared to carry the ball forward over the half way line. It commits opponents to close them down which creates space behind them and more room to play. And with Tuanzebe we at last have some pace at the back.

  27. JL – “therefore the match was NOT a drubbing of Derby”

    2-0 is a sound win. 3-0 is a hammering. Sure Derby might have scored a couple. We might have scored 6 or more. From what I’ve read, the Derby fans thought they were walloped.

  28. IanG,

    Made me laugh. I can go on a bit. Could’ve broken it up since there’s a break and time to digest the individual components.

    Like Iana said, put some lead in the old pencil.

  29. Plug,

    Yes. Had the earlier opportunities gone in for us, might’ve been embarrassing for Derby, and they were outplayed throughout. The scoreline, while rather decent in itself, doesn’t tell the whole story. Neither does focusing on the second half to the exclusion of the first.

  30. Andrew, had Spud found his team 0-1 on 75 mins, his reaction would be to bring on Jedi, Whelan and any other defender on the bench (he always had plenty of them on the bench) to hang on to 0-1. Assuming he hadn’t selected them as starters. How exciting it is see us go for the jugular. Gates at VP will start increasing.

  31. DOR,

    Yes. It was constant pressure throughout the game that wore them down, mentally and physically. When a damn finally breaks, it can be a bit spectacular.

    The key for me is that it wasn’t a one-half game, as so many have been. We carried it into the second, and were able to keep up the intensity, quality of play, and intent throughout the match. That’s what told, in the end.

    We’ve all seen countless games where the big boys have a couple close calls, a world-class keeper makes the save or two he’s called upon to make, and then however brave and hard-working the lesser side, the better team finally breaks through.

  32. rObBo, exciting times indeed. I’m actually gutted about this latest international break. Another game against small heath to match last season’s caning will ignite the fans.

  33. Been thinking about this don’t get carried away stuff, yes we have been fooled before but when was the last time a new manager came in and had us playing this well?

    Derby are a good side, maybe they were missing a couple of players but we have been awful results wise away from home, they also beat Smiths Brentford 3-1. I honestly did not think Smith could effect a change so quickly, in the back of my head was the thought it might happen as we have good players but I was expecting it by Xmas.

    Its not long back we were wondering how we can play so many attacking options in midfield, Saturday answered that, not one defensive midfielder. While the previous manager has spent his time trying to get his attacking players to track back and defend in our half Smith has done the opposite.

    Ok we won’t see that level every game and Derby don’t sit back making it an open game but its been achieved in 5 games! something Steve Bruce was still trying to do after 100, solve that attack/defence balance.

    The biggest plus point for me is now I cannot wait until match day, rather than it feeling like I’m doing my duty its now enjoyable, hasn’t felt like that since mons time and We are beginning to look professional at last.

  34. Smith on the BBC

    “We haven’t had loads of time in the time I’ve been here,” said Smith. “And this week it’s the international break and we’ve now got 12 away.

    “Not all teams play the way Derby do. You have to come up with different ways to beat different teams. But the lads have upped the tempo to make themselves better.

    “This result was down to what they’ve been doing in training. We’ve been working really hard every day. Not just the one who are starting but the rest of the squad too.”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/46179375

  35. Plug
    The spud fan club are having a real hard time accepting that Dean Smith can get done in 1month and 5 games that spud couldn’t do in almost 2 years and 100 plus games

  36. It isn’t just tactics, as Neil Cutler pointed out in his interview, it is about videos , not just of the opposition, but about watching top players and studying how they play for the best clubs in the world, and about drip feeding ideas, rather than overwhelming players with change.

    The improvements, in a very short time have been there to see, with players not afraid of playing and using the ball.

  37. MK,

    I think the simple answer about turnaround times is that it comes down to philosophy. Like you say, you change round the dynamic by doing something as simple as defending further up the pitch and contesting every ball…all of a sudden, you can accommodate three attack-minded midfielders.

    There’s a reason so many other teams do it.

  38. PP,

    Very much so. This is how things are done, or should be anyway. All the examples are there as you say, so why not use them? Just like going over film clips with Jack at halftime, showing him what he can’t necessarily see in the middle of all the action.

  39. Andrew,

    Very much agree. It’s simply easier to attack than defend. And if you’re attacking well there’s less defending to be done.

    Although possession in and of itself doesn’t end up meaning much, it does mean you’re expending less energy (letting the ball do the running), making the opponent wear themselves out physically, and getting into their heads as they know a mistake will likely cost them. Focusing on scoring, rather than not conceding produces a completely different mindset.

    Like you said, positive, not negative.

    For the players, the trick is getting them to see that the energy spent winning the ball back is less overall than constantly chasing it around in your own half. That’s why I loved the result…very positive reinforcement.

  40. Plug,

    “both centre backs prepared to carry the ball forward over the half way line. It commits opponents to close them down which creates space behind them and more room to play.”

    Absolutely right. Teams with good athletes at back have that line functioning like a second midfield. Creates the space you point to, and you just need to ping it back and forth, let the opponent come onto it, then slide it right back past them. As long as you can hem them in and not make too many errant passes, it really does a job.

    For me, one of the reasons Tuanzebe had a good game was that he was much more comfortable sliding that pass forward than he had been in previous matches where was largely playing it square to the FB or Chester.

  41. I guess it’s inevitable that we’ll be comparing SB and DS for a while yet so I thought I’d risk adding a few thoughts.

    Steve Bruce inherited some decent players but there was reportedly, indiscipline in the dressing room. He had the gravitas to bring some stability and respect from the players.

    He had some money to play with at first but that quickly dried up and he subsequently had to manage with little or no cash. His reputation and rapport with players enabled him to attract some very good players and probably his biggest success has been leaving us with a strong squad of players.

    He may have left us with a strong squad, but it’s imbalanced, particularly in defence and his recruitment and loan decisions in central defence are bemusing. So much so that you can’t help wondering if something else was going on behind the scenes.

    The most important thing for Bruce was the result rather than how we got it. There were times when the football sparkled but never consistently. It was more enjoyable to watch than under recent managers such as Lambert and McCleish, (but some of those times were truly demoralising!)
    His ‘old school’ style can still be effective though. It took us within a whisker of the premiership last year and it got Cardiff there and Pulis has ‘Boro in second place with it. Bielsa has Leeds playing a modern, fluid, high intensity style of football which gave them a stellar start to the season but will it see them through a whole championship season?
    There’s still more than one way to skin a cat if it’s results you’re after.
    Only two out of 26 Villa managers have achieved 45% win ratios over of the last 80 years and Steve Bruce was one of them.
    Having said that, he’d brought in good players that can be better than his more pragmatic style showed. If DS can unlock the potential that SB has left for him then it’s just possible that we could get the best of both worlds . . . excitement AND results.

  42. In case I’m giving the impression that I’d like Steve Bruce back . . . that’s not what I’m saying. I’m as excited as the next fan about the potential that it seems that Dean Smith may be able to unlock.

  43. r0bb0,

    They’re fair points. You’re absolutely right about his win percentage, and I think you’re also right to point out that he managed to bring in some very good players, McGinn, Abraham, and Tuanzebe not least among them.

    And I also agree that old-school tactics can get you somewhere. They’re really about playing the percentages, and as such, it’s not like they’re insane. You stay hard to break down, don’t concede, nick the odd goal and sometimes more, and you’re always in with a shout.

    For Bruce, I think it really came down to him not having players suited to playing that way. When didn’t have a hold-up man, we kept lumping balls up to Hogan or Kodjia, who are anything but. We used Davis that way, and he was good and strong and had some good games, but obviously got injured. Likewise, all the crosses coming in from the wings…Grabban could get on the end, and Abraham can, too, and Kodjia, when he’s fit. But when those players weren’t here or available, no real change in system or tactics. And no answers when those direct avenues were shut down.

    And then, of course, there’s fitness and the over-reliance on aging players that only compounded the lack of fitness. Good players all, just not quite enough to have avoided the playoffs, and almost no one liked the thought of us going up through the playoffs given our inconsistency. It’s always fair to bring up the injuries, too.

    So, never have wished Bruce anything but the best. Just glad that we might finally have a staff intent on playing in a way that makes the most of the talent that was already there.

  44. JC that’s a good summary of the situation. He would have done better with a Heskey or Carew than a Hogan type player. Davis fitted the bill and didn’t he try to use Gabby in a similar way?

  45. I remember thinking that last year we should be able to finish the season strongly because the players had ‘paced themselves’ more than some other teams. . . . didn’t quite work out that way sadly.
    I saw an article yesterday suggesting that Bruce was in the running for the Fulham job . . . . now that ‘would’ be a change in approach from a nervous board. ’

  46. Robbo/Jc.

    Good stuff, I have no problem with Bruce as a man just as a coach. Brought in some good players but not always the ones he needed, very hit and miss. His problem solving was to slow a process. The fact he’s left smith a decent enough 1st 11 to play a system that’s 180 from his own speaks volumes.

    With villas players and money it really should have been like taking a machine gun to a knife fight.

    Robbo- ironically if Fulham take Bruce it will be similar to him taking over here, good luck to him if he gets it. Thank god we didn’t beat Fulham, looking at the prem it’s a very tough league and getting tougher for promoted team. That said I’d take it this year for the money as it would allow the club to pay the bills even if relegated again.

  47. Robbo, my one caveat to Bruce is one of two managers to get over a 45% win rate is most of our managers were in the top division against better sides and post MON (with no investment) those managers were dealt a bad hand by Lerner.

  48. I would like to see the stats on fouls against Grealish in the last two games I would say its less? seems like we suddenly have a team wide threat and thats taking the pressure off Jack.

  49. MK,

    Watched this video yesterday and found it very amusing…..nice to see they both see each other as the hardman of the team….!!!

    Looks like Bruce will never leave us….
    He had all the ingredients to mould a side more than capable of winning the Championship, and somehow failed, and then had a second bite of the cherry at Wembley and failed….That should have ended his time at Villa.

    I am sure he can be a nice guy, but as a manager, I think there are many reservations, as with most of the journeymen around.

    Aston Villa’s history over the last 20 years or so, is full of if’s ands and maybe’s….

    especially when you look at the MON era and Houllier, with the players that we had, including some top class homegrown youngsters, like Albrighton, Bannan, Gabby, Delfounso, and many more, with top players like Downing, Young, Carew, Milner, Barry… How did we fail to grow a team good enough to be Premier league Champions..

  50. MK,

    Agree about the fouling. From all accounts, seems like Smith is really concentrating on passing through teams, rather than having Jack or anyone else carry the ball as much. And also of course seems to want Jack further up the pitch most of the time instead of coming back deep to get the ball.

    In combination, you’d think that would limit his exposure and lead to fewer fouls.

  51. PP,

    I think it just came down to timing (not growing the team). Round about when we were in 6th and Barry, Milner, Young (and later Delph) started attracting attention, we didn’t have quite enough to get us into the top four. Teams came sniffing once these guys were getting England look-ins, their heads were turned, and they were off. If Randy had had that bit more money, and MON had been a little smarter spending it, we might’ve gotten there.

    Barry did give us that extra year, but we just couldn’t get over the hump quick enough to keep them all on board. A real shame.

    My own suspicion is that the players also are very well aware of the club’s fortunes. When Milner was ready to leave, it was pretty much him stating that he didn’t believe Villa were going to be able to kick on.

  52. IanG: “I must have hit a nerve there, cos all you’re saying is that the great JL is never wrong.”

    Yes, I said read that as you want – and of course you did in not a very good way. Rather predictably I suppose!

  53. DoR, yes SB did have it easier than most managers, although we have spent a bit of time outside the top flight in the past 80 years.

    IanG. No he isn’t the Messiah, but he isn’t a very naughty boy either

  54. JC. Really good comments about our failure to quite make it under MoN
    It was a shame that he wasted so much money on players he never used. Lerner’s pockets weren’t quite deep enough to cope with O’Neill’s profligacy.
    Having said that, every year under MoN, the gap to 4th and to First reduced.
    By the end though he was coming in for a lot of stick online, particularly over his style of play and poor use of substitutes.
    Having reached 6th, ‘getting closer’ every year wasn’t enough for the fans who wanted champions league football and started to doubt whether MoN was going to be able to provide it

  55. JC,

    As r0bb0 states, you made interesting comments about life under MON and Randy.

    But you made the point “If Randy had had that bit more money, and MON had been a little smarter spending it…”.

    Well, firstly why do we assume Randy didn’t have the money? To me it was a question of whether Randy wanted to spend it. I state that as you will recall that it was in early 2011 that Randy stumped up £18 million to purchase Bent, who made good use of the openings created by Young and Downing but then both wingers went, leaving Bent bereft of the balls he fed on, though Albrighton had a fair idea on how to do it.

    OK, it’s probable that the money spent on Brent was afforded by the Milner sale to a good degree, but the irony is how Bent was then misused and simply went to waste. As far as I am aware we didn’t re-coup anything from Bent’s departure, so that was £18m down the drain for starters. Randy seemed to think that was OK.

    In fact, the real question is (i.m.o.): “why was it so important for Randy to keep on spending: why wasn’t the much-vaunted Academy made better use of?” People constantly made statements to the effect of how god our Academy was, but how come so few came out of it and blossomed? Take away (since 2009, to 2014, say) Gabby, Albrighton and Cairan Clark and you have no-one who we’ve produced who have blossomed in the top flight, and only Albrighton (how did we let him go!) has remained there (what’s happened to Clark?). Others – like Bannan and Weimann – did reasonably well, but in the second tier.

    Added to that was that MON seemed to like to buy almost anything that had become a star overnight – like Sidwell – at the expense of home-grown.

    To me, the big problem at Villa in the Lerner years was Lerner himself. He couldn’t manage the club himself and appointed others who didn’t have much of a clue either it would seem.

  56. some interesting comments here,,, while the result and performance against derby was great there is still much work and learning to be done,,, and the next 6 to 7 weeks are so important as we both need to keep pace and within 3 to 6 points off the top while developing the side to be stronger in the areas where we know we are weak and implement subtle changes to play against a variety of styles,, and be ready for when the window opens,,,
    i do think we are weak ish defensively in midfield without the physicality of jedi but we miss hourihanes set pieces and corners when he does not play, ironically jedi would be nailed on to start the next game under bruce and although he wont start i can see him coming on if we are being pegged back the blues are pumping high balls in,,,
    the other thing we need to do is be able to rotate players like abrahams and find a way of playing if he is out,,, so i can see him being withdrawn earlier in games to give hogan or davis a chance to impress if we are a couple of goals to the good..
    the next few games will be really interesting to see if we can carry on this real progression and see how teams set up and play against us,, and as most of the next games are on the box we all will be able to the revolution continue,,

  57. It all came down to us losing 4th place in MON’s last season, how different would things be if we had that Champions League money. Would Lerner had been so fiscally conservative, would we have got more attacking managers instead of Mcleish and Lambert in the coming years? It was such a pivotal moment for us.

    Whenever I look at Spurs now, I think of what might have been..oh well.

  58. Dave,

    I am curious about whether we’ll see a step forward, two back, that sort of thing. The Hogan thing is interesting, insofar as Abraham seems pretty nailed on (as he should be, atm), given Hogan had success under Smith. He’s come on very late when he’s come on at all. Hard to tell if Smith has any use for him.

    And like you say with Hourihane, you’ve got trade-offs. Have no idea whether Smith will start making tactical changes to the XI. He could be trying to drill “a” starting side to begin with, or maybe those are just the players that fit his system and seem to work well together. I’m wondering if and when Bolasie gets a full start, for example, now that he’s starting to show flashes of his previous self.

  59. Villalore,

    It was a watershed moment…I hadn’t really thought about it in a while, but I’d have had serious doubts that the squad, as it was, could’ve kept up with CL and league games, and something tells me MON wouldn’t have been able to consolidate that position. God knows it was hard enough for Spurs to get over the hump, and they’ve been a much better run club.

  60. MK,

    All kinds of things were said about how poor Randy had become because of the things you mention – but in reality he was spending money like water on his pet projects. £50k on mainly useless photographs for one, but also a big -rebuild of the internals at the Trinity Stand which were of a dubious need.

    Those sums of money would not have bought a top player, but the old adage is that if you look after the pennies the pounds will look after themselves.

  61. I wonder how many Villa fans managed to see Jeff Stelling’s programme “Time of our Lives” last week when we were playing Derby, and it was “Villa in Europe”, with Allan Evans, Tony Morley and Gary Shaw.
    It was very much an eye opener on Ron Saunders and his man management and his beliefs, and finding that there really was a “Villa way” then, with the first, seconds and thirds playing exactly the same systems, so that they were interchangeable! I get the feeling that this is where Dean Smith wants to get back to, and again with a very high level of fitness that Villa had then, which is why they were able to take on anyone and beat them.
    I also liked Saunders attitude towards opposition, when he produced their team sheets and read them out, declaring nothing special there then, and promptly screwed them up and threw them in the bin, especially remembered when he did it with Barcelona,….Cruff, Neeskens, nothing special and threw it! Not even pronouncing Cruyff’s name properly, and Villa went on to beat them 3-1.

    They talked about the media and how Villa was basically ignored because the media centres were in London and Manchester, with nothing in the Midlands, but it did help perhaps to keep the pressure off, but did not do any favours for our great players that were overlooked at the time for international duty.

    They made it very clear that they considered that Cowans and Morimer were the best midfield in their lifetimes, and I have to agree.

    They also were adamant about Peter With and his fluke goal, that if he had intended to hit it, it would have ended in the stands!! Morley had one chance in the game for a 20yd dash, having received the ball from Cowans, and he struck it towards With and it hit a divot in the ground, and it hit With on the ankle, before he could do anything, and finished in the net.

    They went on to talk about Ron Saunders leaving, and Tony Barton taking over, and how he never changed anything, and continued as if Ron was still there with the “Villa way”, and also how much Roy McClaren was part of things.

    The change in Villa came with Doug Ellis buying out the Bendall’s, and because he had not been a part of Ron Saunders glory years, he was not interested in the European team, etc. He then set about destroying it and starting again, but never achieved what the Bendalls had.

    It also confirms a lot of the comments made in Peter Crouch’s book about his time at the Villa, but that is another story…

  62. JL,

    In the main, I agree with your comments on Lerner regarding spending, but the major mistake was selling Milner, then having to buy Bent to score the goals to keep us in the Premiership.
    If that had not happened, then Villa’s path may have been very different.
    It was also at a time when Albrighton and Bannan were showing their worth, and could have continued to develop, when they had great players around them, which is where the big clubs succeed in developing their young stars.
    You omitted Johnson and Robinson who continue to shine at PNE, and if our European Cup winning youngsters had been on a proper development programme, who knows what may have been achieved. Don’t blame the tools when they are in the hands of unskilled labour..!!

  63. Paul,

    I quite agree with a lot of your points (I didn’t “omit” Johnson and Robinson – I was *mainly* talking about ex-Villans who had made it in the Premiership) and comment on the Ron Saunders time.

    However, this: “The change in Villa came with Doug Ellis buying out the Bendall’s, and because he had not been a part of Ron Saunders glory years, he was not interested in the European team, etc. He then set about destroying it and starting again, but never achieved what the Bendalls had.”

    I think I’ve said before that this is how it might have appeared on the surface (no I am not saying Doug was the greatest Villa chairman!) but people tend to overlook the fact that (1) Villa had a debt issue when Ellis took over and (2) Villa’s gates badly slumped (before TV revenue) with the Midlands’ recession.

    As for Villa selling Milner, he essentially wanted to win things and saw his future elsewhere in order to achieve that (as JC intimates).

  64. JC: “something tells me MON wouldn’t have been able to consolidate that position”

    My own view is that MON (like Bruce) took on a job bigger than he was suited for.

  65. JL,

    I do not know enough to disagree with you , without doing a lot of research, But I am also sure that Ellis was one of the few paid chairmen in the Premiership, and also the highest paid…!!

    I do not believe that Milner was looking for a move, but when City came calling , he may have discussed Villa’s future, as well as his own, as he has been one of those players, who has just wanted to play football. An assurance that he got from Liverpool, which is why he is there.

    Peter Crouch has the same opinion about Liverpool and their fans, as they backed him, after he was signed and he went for 16 games without scoring, and it took a night in “Solly’s” singing “Hey Jude” with the fans to break his duck!

    I see our fans now moaning about Kodija and Hogan, and think we just have4 to be patient, it will come, so long as someone is scoring. We have the players, the manager and the coaches, we just need to back them and raise the roof at Villa Park!

  66. JL,

    One wonders if Ron “the Messiah” Saunders had remained at Villa Park, with the same backing Ferguson got at United, where would Villa have been, and would they have overshadowed his United…!!

  67. Paul,

    On that last point about backing, Man U never suffered lack of income as Manchester appear not to have suffered from the recession that the Midlands suffered.

    On your first point, as an historian I did that research and the findings are in my book “Aston Villa – The First Superclub”.

    You’re right, Ellis was one of the first paid chairmen in football, but that is because Maggie Thatcher’s lot made it legal for it to happen. If it had been legal before then perhaps Fred Rinder might have ensured he got paid!

    I seem to recall that Ellis originally took a salary of a few hundred thousand. Can’t remember exactly how much but think it was about £200,000.

    I agree about patience with Kodhia. I’m not arguing to leave him out altogether, but after several games with wasteful shooting, and as Bolasie seems to be upping his game, a change may be due and perhaps Kodhia can be brought on as a sub.

  68. JL,

    Like Mark said, there were a number of things that impacted Lerner’s available funds and the juggling act he needed to undertake as far as safeguarding his future personal position while keeping a very expensive footballing operation afloat and pushing forward.

    But what I meant dovetails a little with what you’re saying. I look at it on a sliding scale. You’ve got “some” money (all relative at that level), but not oligarch/sheik money. So “willing” or “having” are likely just flipsides of the same coin. I think he was invested as far as he was comfortable, and had questions about the rate at which money was going out compared with the returns on it.

    If he’d had stupid money, he might’ve kept the spigot open. The figures used to be right at hand when we were talking about this all the time, but let’s say he had £800m, and spent anywhere from £150m-£250m, by all acounts. If true, spending up to a quarter of your fortune to fall short of the CL…You can see where the man would tighten the purse strings. I never begrudged him that. I don’t think he was trying to shut MON down, he was just saying, “Look…we’ve got to be a bit smarter about this going forward.” MON threw his toys out the pram.

    So I don’t think Lerner wanted to stop the pursuit so much as he became concerned about its sustainability in relation to his overall resources. My guess is that MON’s abrupt departure when he tried to rein things in a bit wounded him, as did the subsequent constructive dismissal business. But he spent a lot, made his play, fell short, and started to pull back and reconsider just how much he was going to have to spend to get to the CL money.

    As to the Academy, etc., well, we’ve all seen that while there’s undoubtedly talent, it’s just not brought along in a way that makes it easy for the players to make the step up. I’m hoping that’s changing now, but integrating them in a push for the top four? I don’t think they were ready for that level.

    Lerner obviously had a number of things going on outside of football that affected him. He did become distant and detached, he did turn things over to people who didn’t know what they were doing, and he should’ve sold up earlier. There’s a lot he’s culpable for in terms of institutional damage. But in the end, he just didn’t have the money required, and he ultimately placed those early decisions in questionable hands. Very easy to keep writing cheques with someone else’s money.

    Sawiris is coming at this with £6b or so, it seems, 7.5 times more money than Lerner. He could spend one-sixth of his fortune, not really be impacted, and it would exceed every penny Lerner had to his name.

  69. JC,

    If you were to look at it from purely a business point of view, I’d say you were right in most respects.

    But I think you are being too kind. The fact is he spent a lot of money wastefully and usually to suit his own likings but also because he was very misadvised.

    As I’ve said, I was there when Lerner was i.c. but in reality put the show in Faulkner”s hands. Pretty well whatever Faulkner advised, Lerner followed – a man who was a nice enough guy but knew nowt about football and its fans, though he worked hard at it to curry favour. But not the man I’d trust to run a football club on my behalf.

    In fact the salary that Faulkner was paid was small in comparison to that received by his successors who were paid OTT i.m.o. to achieve nowt. More examples of wasteful expenditure. For a man who was short of dough as you suggest, he was always prepared to throw money at things he thought was right but in the process pushed the club into the deep danger zone.

    I feel that today’s owners are not only significantly richer but – very importantly – have a good deal more common sense. Running a football club may need money, but to waste huge chunks must have weakened him a lot further. Except that I think that he got as much as he could when he finally sold the club.

  70. Lets not forget Financial fair play was approved in 2010 and the first assessments kicked off in 2011. Even if Lerner had the cash we were way over where the wages should have been thanks to Mon and that hasn’t even corrected itself yet either. We also still have many players not worth much stuck on our books on big money.

    “Now comes a Forbes report claiming that running Aston Villa into relegation has cost Lerner more than $100,000 a day over the past decade. He bought the club in 2006 for a reported $95 million and assumed $24 million of debt.

    Put another way: Lerner’s estimated worth since purchasing the soccer team has dropped from $1.6 billion, according to Forbes, to $1.08 billion. “

  71. Oh he sold the Browns for a $1BN in Aug 2012, so If forbes say he had $1.08Bn when we were relegated how much did he have to Shell out on everything if he had $2.6BN go through his hands over that period.

  72. I wonder how much of this statement if true? Smith is very big on team building and has studied other sports like Rugby to learn how to form bonds etc. So I wouldn’t put it past him to be geeing up the players he has left at Villa over the International period.

    But, the players do seem to have learnt very quickly so far though, so you can only presume they were taught bugger all before or had nodded off and weren’t listening 🙂

    Smith explained:
    “The performance at Derby on Saturday is not just from the 11 who played or the subs who came on, it is from training every day and the whole squad.

    “The likes of Henri, James Bree and Anwar have upped the training sessions and that is what makes the squad better.”

    And Smith has been impressed with the quality he has found throughout his squad, which has provided a stimulating challenge for coaches Richard O’Kelly and John Terry.

    “They are very good players. What they are doing at the moment is testing myself, John and Rich because they are good players and take on information very quickly and become tactically astute much quicker

    “We are having to come up with sessions which are going to test them and make them better.

    “It’s a two-fold thing. We are trying to make them better and invest time in them. They are making us better, that is for sure.”

  73. Ranieri appointed as Fulham Manager
    Hope OV’s well as we haven’t heard from him for ages.
    I’ve got a really bad lurgy, & I’m usually fairly bullet proof, & it happened so quickly & out of the blue, that it brought friends of mine who passed recently to mind, as for most the descent was quick.
    The support of families is very important, & that’s from someone who has none nearer than 180 miles away

  74. IanG – hello mate sorry to hear your suffering , Last I saw OV was having similar in Cuckoo land and was on some of the doctors good stuff and higher than a kite.

  75. IanG,

    Sorry to hear of your ‘lurgy’ … which you might be amused to hear was my nickname at school! 😀

    You sound a bit melancholy. Keep positive … that’s the secret. Pity you didn’t post earlier about your lurgy as I was not far from your pad today … I would have popped in and dowsed you with iced water. Or something. Tomorrow I go to Heathrow.

    As for OV … I suspect it’s him posting on another blog.

  76. MK,

    Don’t believe everything you read.

    BTW, you may be interested to hear that wages matter was of concern in 2008 when I took up my role at VP. The management certainly let it ride for another 2 years before MON was brought to task. I wonder whether Doug would have been so lenient?

  77. Lurgy
    You’ve let the cat out of the bag now.
    Thank you, probably would have welcomed the iced water, or something.
    Hope all goes well for you & family on your trip.

  78. De Laet leading scorer for Melbourne Victory already with two goals..!! but at the same time claims his role is defence…. Will we see him return to Villa Park??

  79. Mark
    Yes, the jammy bugger OV.
    As JL said he’s probably terrorising the other blogs as we speak.
    He’ll get bored with all that winning

  80. Iang- yeah Rooney playing is weird one fair enough he’s scored some goals but England have won sod all and did better without him last World Cup

    8pm tonight against the yanks by the way

  81. Mark
    On the border of Hall Green, Moseley & Springfield, just up the road from Billesley mate.
    But I’m not dying, it just feels like that when getting only 3 hours broken sleep for days on end.
    The things you can stand for easily when a little stronger, younger tend to become the equivalent of world war 3 when you’re stretched.
    Such is life, I’m spending more time watching a feral cat with 2 kittens who’ve taken up residence in my woodpile, they grow quick.
    Thanks for the post, I appreciate it.
    I’ll have to try to get the private messaging working, as last time I tried to use it for you it wouldn’t have it.

  82. PP
    I hope it isn’t serious with McGinn, especially with the derby coming.
    Mind you DS does say that all the players are training the same as the team, so they should be able to slot in [hopefully].

  83. IanG- Oh your in the Jungle might be a snake bite 😉 sleep deprivation is a killer mate its why The SAS keep their wannabe troops up for days rather than give them Flu. When your better pack your bags your off to Iran.

    Yeah McGinn could be potentially our biggest miss but at least if its only minor he has two weeks nearly, same with Taylor.

    The message system is very hit and miss, sometimes you have messages and you don’t have a scooby doo you have.

  84. IanG,

    Sorry you are suffering so much. Not pleasant. I am lucky as I rarely have a sleepless night, but if I do, I usually end up catching up on things I have avoided, or I find good stuff on You Tube to watch, either music, comedy or Villa matches from the past when it was really exciting to watch.

    I know your area reasonably well from years ago, but it has probably changed a great deal since I was their in my young days..!

    Wonder how the match behind closed doors went, and if anyone stood out for Dean.

    Looking forward to the derby game now, and hoping we will not be restricted by injuries.

  85. PP
    Thanks mate, am on the mend I think [snakes permitting] maybe try driving tomorrow.
    When was the match behind closed doors?
    I’m usually a night owl so do a lot of that.
    Yes the area has gone through changes [but still is Tolkein territory], but it does seem to have travelled east a ways.
    Oh well more pointless football tonight, & fingers crossed for McGinn & Taylor, although McGinn being injured might be more of an issue, especially on Saturday week.

  86. Scudamore being given a mere £5 mil as a parting golden handshake.
    With what he’s done to English football [along with Sky], he’d better watch that he doesn’t get mugged by some SAS wallah.

  87. IanG,

    My days were in the 60’s when I started my first job at Barclays Bank in St. Mary’s Row , opposite the Gigi coffee bar, which was a very in place in those days, when I would pull up in an old “sit up and beg” Ford Anglia, which had been hand painted, and about 6 or 7 people would tumble out…!!

  88. PP
    Yes I first set eyes on St Marys Row in 1967, all change now of course.
    I remember the Gigi well, with Mrs B cooking schnitzel & serving cream cakes from Druckers Viennese cake shop.
    He was the one that painted many of the strange pictures on the wall.They were both East End jews, along with Bernie the owner of the chippie further down the road, near the Traffic lights.
    Mrs B used to let the reality challenged people come in until they sometimes overdid it & she gently evicted them & told them to come back another time if they wanted.
    She was the archetypal jewish momma with a huge heart of gold, & was the heart of the village.
    Yes fond memories, as everything had changed by the end of the 60’s.
    I don’t remember the Anglia, but then there was so much of it everywhere then.
    It was the breakup of the post war depression, but the flavour lingered for a long while.
    I rarely went in Barclays, which was next to The Bulls Head, but used to hang about in the space between the mock Georgian pillars in bad weather, & sometimes with a pint, with the odd army officer going by & insisting I get my hair cut.
    You wouldn’t recognise it now sadly, but it was unique.

  89. Just got back to Melaka after a meandering tour of north Malaysia up tto Pinang and back.
    JL have not bumped into any lady claiming (nor admitting) to be your wife 🙂
    Thanks for the link Villalore I knew the result but good to see both renewed effort plus goals.
    Great write up John, I read it b4 watching tbd highlights and saw what you meant.
    I see the long drawn-out verbose battles over the success or otherwise of past Managers continue unabated. My view is that past performances are history, much of it glorious, but Smith is in charge now and that is really all that counts as far as I am concerned.
    Iana haven’t forgottdn your postcard, will send 2moro b4 we fly home

  90. Hello Clive, My Girlfriends dad built several bridges in northern Malaysia, He was a structural engineer by the name of Goudie. Half Scottish half Indian chap and her was mum was Indian/Nepalese. Ended up in Malaysia to escape family troubles to marry then sent the kids to England when Islam took over. Both parents were Catholic can you believe.

  91. Clive- I have to shake my head when I here a Villa manager saying things like this, like a dream come true for me.

    “The one thing I want our players to do when they lose the ball is win it back quickly,” said the Villa Head Coach.

    “Barcelona, for example, have always been a passing team – especially when Pep Guardiola was there. But what I liked about his teams was that they were hungry to regain possession very quickly.”

    “I want the same. It’s important and keeps pressure on the opposition,” added Smith. “The lads have worked very hard at it since I’ve been here.”

    I was just looking at a MOM’s article about the new film about Barcelona under Pepe.

    https://www.myoldmansaid.com/take-the-ball-pass-the-ball-guardiolas-blueprint-to-dean-smiths-villa-ways/

  92. MK: “Ended up in Malaysia to escape family troubles to marry then sent the kids to England when Islam took over. Both parents were Catholic can you believe.”

    Islam didn’t exactly “take over”. It became the national religion when independence came about in 1957.

    The Malays themselves are mostly Muslims, but there is a big Chinese population in Malaysia who are not Muslims. Also there are quite a few non-Muslim Indians. Ir’s the Chinese and the Indians who have done most to generate their economy this last 60 years and for the main part the various religions (Islam, Catholicism, Hindu, Buddhist and Sikh) have collaborated well. My wife is a Hindu bit educated at Malacca RC school so why your in-law couldn’t educate his kids at an RC school in Malaysia is interesting.

    But just as that was once the case in the old Yugoslavia, that collaboration began to break down, though not as badly as Yugoslavia. Something was initiated in Malaysia by Mullahs that sparked religious riots in the 1980s and in the past decade or so there was a lot of tension that was mainly generated by the Middle East conflicts. But now that Mahatir Mohammed – the grand old man – is back i.c., things are getting back more to the toleration that existed before, and he’s also doing a lot to get rid of corruption.

    So Islam never has “taken over” in reality, though the extremists tried hard enough. The Chinese pull a lot of the economic strings and are well supported by the professional Indians. Singaporeans also have great confidence to the extent that many have purchased holiday homes in Malacca.

    The biggest issue perhaps just now is that the previous Malaysian PM actually signed away the sovereignty of the famed Malacca Straits to China, and now Mahatir is trying to get it back into Malaysian hands. It sounds a tough thing to achieve, but Modi got back the Andaman Islands from China (for India) so anything is possible. Meanwhile I understand that there are signs that the Chinese have put up informing people of Malaysia that the Straits is Chinese.

  93. Jl- yes mostly cup matches , I’m including last season too Jl, Bruce clearly rated him but played him at RB and even tried him in midfield. Preseason he played CB with Manure with no problem. Why did Bruce not trust him there? All I can think is that Bruce saw the function of the CB differently.

  94. Jl- on Malaysia, all I know is my girlfriend was sent here age 10 in 1974 to a private school as he didn’t want her going to a Muslim school. Her older sisters and brothers were also sent earlier and eventually his wife. He died before she ever got to see him again. Sounds like a lot of trouble and expense to go to for no good reason and that is the reason she gave me, She still has family there otherwise I’m non the wiser to the political situation, thanks for the background.

  95. MK,

    No problem. People often tend to exaggerate attitude towards Islam knowing that many see it is a religion to be feared. But it’s the ethnic diversity in Malaysia that really creates what goes on, not the religion.

    As a matter of interest I’m informed that the Arabs don’t take Malaysia seriously as a Muslim nation.

  96. Paul: “Did spend many a happy hour in the Robin Hood in Hall Green”

    Funnily enough I was there on Wednesday and for the first time in my life, though I was living within 2 miles for my first 21 years.

  97. Paul: “Barclays Bank in St. Mary’s Row , opposite the Gigi coffee bar,”

    Ah, la Gigi!!!!! I was regular there in the early/mid 60s with a group that included Jasper Carrott and Russell Brookes (the rally champion) and a few others – most of whom are scattered around the world now.

    I can remember one time when a real cute lady parked her open top Mercedes outside the Gigi and slithered into the Gigi and right through to meet someone at the other end. Meanwhile about 8 goggle-eyed fellers watched her take every step!

    There’s a 1960s menu from Gigi included in a Moseley history I purchased a little while ago.

    Memorable – but time-wasting – days when the Mini was all (the car and the skirt!)

  98. JL- Her mom was Brahman class in India and became a staunch Catholic, I will ask her later for more details. I do know she had many suitors from an early age, Chinese, indian etc and I get the feeling she’s not enamoured with the males attitudes in Islamic and Hindu cultures having witnessed it first hand 🙂

  99. MK,

    Have to agree on the two minis…!!

    JL,

    In those days , I had a friend called Bob Morris, who lived just up the road from the Gigi, and the house had an amazing cellar, where we often used to party, and it had egg boxes stuck to the ceiling, which helped with 6the sound…!!! Another lad in the gang was a guy called Paul Laing (from the building family) and he was a cameraman with ATV. The Gigi was always the starting point, and from there to local pubs, or the city, or anywhere…even a place called the “Three Witches” in Stratford-Upon -Avon..!

    In later years, I have known us end up in the “Blue Boar” at Watford Gap Services…, but by then it was in a mini countryman…!!

  100. JL- I had a poke around and this may explain things a little, she was born and lived in Sabah

    ” Sabah and Sarawak was created but by 1965, Singapore broke up with Malaysia and became an independent republic. On 13 May 1969, racial violence and killings were recorded in the aftermath of the elections. A state of emergency was declared and a curfew imposed. In 1970, the New Economic Policy was introduced with quota systems. Over the decade, Christians were discriminated against and Catholic and other Christian missionaries were expelled from Sabah. However, in 1972, the new diocese of Malacca-Johor was created, making a total of six in Malaysia (three in the West, and three in Eastern Malaysia). In 1973, Malaysia became the first ASEAN country to recognise China. In the years 1970-1975, the resurgence of communist activities in the north and in urban centres created more political mayhem and led to persecutions against the Christians.

  101. JL
    I had an uncle who managed a rubber plantation in Malaya after the war.
    I also had an uncle who ran a banana plantation in the west Indies.
    I had 5 uncles but never met any of them due to my mother’s extreme dislike of my father & his family.
    More like the ‘wild bunch’ apparently, sigh.

  102. PP
    I was in the Robin Hood 4 months ago after a funeral, & nothing has changed very much inside from what I remember.
    I’ve an old mate who’s 75 who was the head boy at Moseley Grammar School on Wake Green Rd opposite a cricket club whose mother used to work in the Robin Hood.
    A total reprobate, you’d never know it.

    It sounds like that mate of your’s house was in Oxford Rd.
    I’m tall like JL, & once hired a Mini & drove to Cornwall when the M5 stopped before Bristol, & before I needed legroom or space for the head.

    There was a large jewish contingency from around Pershore Rd by Edgbaston Cricket Ground who integrated & were pals, & the Gigi was the headquarters.
    Haven’t seen any of them since the 80s, but still hear of them.

    I vividly remember the old notorious A30 with it’s lethal nightmare fog.
    Coming back to Brum in an Austin 1100, when I later lived near Tintagel in the mid 70’s, I drove all the way up the A30 on the limit in heavy fog, & collapsed exhausted at the wheel just before Bristol on a garage forecourt with the lights still on, & woke up in broad daylight with an unhappy garage owner banging on the window.
    The battery had flattened, & he wasn’t very pleased to have to push the car to get rid of me.

  103. JG
    Went past Brandon Rd this afternoon, & the houses are still the same, but another wave have taken up residence.
    Past the Hall Green Parade on the hill down to the College Arms & the beginning of Springfield.
    Not very far from me.

  104. Mark
    Do you know Breedon Hill 6 miles outside Evesham?
    There is a ring of small villages round it, & one village was called Elmley Castle?
    I used to go to a cider house there, I can’t remember the name, but it was maybe The Sun.
    They used to make cider in the big shed out the back.
    It was different to the Monkey House with the normal rough cider, as it was clear & tasteless, & you had to add a lemonade dash to get a taste [the days before elf & safety].

  105. MK,

    That piece you quote on Malaysia history is a small part of course, but what it says is right.

    As to your earlier piece “I get the feeling she’s not enamoured with the males attitudes in Islamic and Hindu cultures having witnessed it first hand”, if that’s your partner’s view then so be it, but it is very much a generalisation.

    My wife (who is Brahmin and from royalty) would not put it like that I have to say, and sees traits in a few western people that are also deficient in varying ways. We are all a product of our environment and can only escape it by struggle.

  106. MK,

    When I said “that piece you quote on Malaysia history is a small part of course, but what it says is right”. I should add that there were persecutions of Hindus and Sikhs (and their temples and Guradwas) as well, but the western reporters tend to have ignored that.

    That text gives a somewhat detrimental view and does not give the impression of a lot of cooperation amongst different religious persuasions, but there has been a considerable amount, as my wife would testify. Mahatir Muhammed (the PM) is Muslim but comes from a Hindu background on one side of his family, and generally promotes cooperation.

  107. JL- That history is only about Christianity in Malaysia during the period she was sent to England in not an all encompassing history but it may explain her families departure.

    She married into one of the richest Indian families in London before literally escaping with her two sons so she has had it rough but mostly found it restrictive. I must say I have been in enough taxis with her to know it does not sit well with many male Asians and had more than a few sour looks from Asian Grannies too 🙂

    Of course there are good and bad in every walk of life I don’t suggest otherwise, just that there is division and very different ideas of how things should be done too that exist in each culture.

    I think her family on the dads side in Scotland were something to do with lords, whats your wifes heritage? anyone famous?

  108. Ian g
    Been a few years since last in Brum,but one times I was back said to taxi man wanted to go to my old address ,he asked me twice was I sure,totally different look from when I was a boy ,remember the milkman letting me drive his cart down street ,still have an uncle around Northfield

  109. JL/Mark
    I’ve got an old friend from sri lanka, who has never been able to let it go that she had to leave, because she never wanted to be here, so she was never successfully here either.
    So although essentially a good person, she builds more walls than a bricky, although being an artist she gives the walls depth & colour.
    She takes her fear, pain & resent & uses it as an undercoat to paint pretty rules/pictures on it, but now & again remembers who she actually really is.
    And carries on trying to be a good person, but we all know how difficult that is.

    The problem with national characteristics, is that nothing is just that, although in some places it can be particularly lethally solid, as we know.

    I nearly married a Tibetan girl from India in middle 80s, but Thatcher kaiboshed that by raising the earning bottom limit from 8 grand to 25 grand a year, or be rich, in one fell swoop.

    But many times I was with her & her family, I couldn’t miss how badly some of the local people tried to use & abuse them, & if the mob mentality & scapegoating came about, there could be much violence.
    This was in India & Nepal.

    Yet in India & Nepal [& other places] there are people who know better than to operate from the animal level, from the highest to the lowest.
    I’ve met muslims who have more wisdom in their little finger than all the mullahs & imams put together.
    We all know what happens when you wind up a pack of dogs, because the natural wisdom of being a dog becomes the lowest level of the animal realm, & they all have to obey pack rules.

    My Tibetan girlfriend’s mother [Amla] said something to me that actually was very profound.
    She said, “Not all Tibetans are good Tibetans”, which at first sounds simplistic, but isn’t as there is no definitive in culture.
    First it brings awareness then you have to suspend judgment, or the cultural bulls**t wins over our humanity.
    Anyone who has gone the same route as me, has my respect because I know how nothing stays the same for a second.
    The apparent solidness comes from lack of acceptance of oneself & the other, otherwise thankfully it dissolves into the constant change & becomes renewed.

    But at the same time one has to use one’s intelligence & awareness, as being a blind optimist leads to extreme solidness.

    We all have our personal prejudices being human, but at the same time it is also part of the human condition to be able to transform our projections.
    I wish both of you the best in your journeys with this experience.
    If something is beyond price, then let it be free from judgment [but retain a sense of humour].

  110. JG
    It’s the same for me [including riding with the milk horse & cart & van], I must be a foreigner.
    In fact when I was 15 I worked weekends for the coop dairy, & the milkman collected the money & some milk, & I drove the milk float & delivered the milk.
    No Licence or experience, but normal then if you had the gumption.
    Mind you, Brandon Rd, yes the street layout is similar, but culturally everything is different & is about 90% asian now.

    I used to have people in West Cork say the same 20 years ago, & Dublin was a different country.
    Then the Tiger economy did the same damage, & no one can afford a house.

  111. My Prejudice against the Blues or the poor neighbours.

    Firstly I enjoy it, but if London or NW clubs start on them, I won’t have it, as Blues are the other half of the tribe & they’re taking the p*ss out of Brum.
    It can be difficult for them, because they really do tend to lose their marbles when thinking outside of the kennel they play in.
    They also tend to believe their own propaganda, so we have to beat them regularly to remind them that they are small.
    They should learn to treat gypsies better
    Et Al

  112. Iang- wise words mate all depends on where your sat at any one point in time and where and with whom, I prefer harmony where possible.

    I don’t dislike any group of people much, now individuals they can really give you the pip.

    Went out with a girl who supported the blues for a while, never let prejudice override carnal lust.

  113. IanG: “We all have our personal prejudices being human, but at the same time it is also part of the human condition to be able to transform our projections.”

    Exactly, though I’d use the word “transcend” rather than “transform”. But that’s just my preference.

    I’d add (to Mark) that in Malaysia you have little of the extremes that you find elsewhere, despite the religious hate that gets generated there occasionally. The Indians there are much less class-conscious than the Indians of India itself so in a way I’m sorry your partner did not get to know the Malaysian culture better. Not to say that the usual human prejudices are absent, of course.

  114. Jl- no need to be sorry mate she knows it well enough she has been back and gets together with many Malaysians over here. They have a big party/picnic in Stratford park every summer I go to with her.

    One thing that struck me is they tell it as it is and laugh a lot about it to very much like it used to be in Britain before political correctness took over. Someone needs to tell them not to be so racist 🙂

  115. Interesting to read the comments from all you fellow world travellers, I have enjoyed here no racial sub-agendas. Everyone is happy and there is a strong cultural mix. We have been to several parties that involved Muslims, Christians, Indian and Chinese all convivially celebrating Divali with fellow Malaysians. Pretty much the same as within the circles I mix in in Thailand.
    The southern states of Thailand have some ‘troubles’ from separatist groups who want to be re-united with Malaysia. The instigators of many of the world’s troubles, the British, re-drew the boundaries before they left.

  116. Clive- I was at a party not long back playing Mahjong and singing Karaoke and the Malaysians broke out into a song in a Benny hill style Chinese accent and were peeing themselves 🙂 I think the depiction of the brits/English as the worlds new Nazis has gone far enough now, at least America is taking a bit of the heat for us lately 😉

  117. JL- Had a good chat withMy girls thoughts on malaysia today. She said her father worked at government level and was told he and his family would have to convert to Islam to get better work, status and reward at that time. He was a staunch Catholic so it was a no go and hence the kids coming here.

    She said that a couple of years later things got better as far as the schools went and she would probably had a better life growing up there. She also said people got on as neighbours etc regardless of faith but the government/police etc were corrupt. People enjoyed each others religious festivals as noted but if there was trouble it soon reverts to their separate Groups.

    She mentioned they are very much about status, Sri lankans for instants viewed as the lowest as they were generally servants. Also views differed very much based on your family.This is not how she is with people herself by the way just how she see’s her peoples attitudes and traits.

    One brother converted to Islam to p*ss her dad off and because he could have 3 wives, he then drank himself to death while his 3 wives worked, quite like him 😉 Her Cousin converted too as it was easier to get work as a teacher and she said as she prayed to god anyway didn’t matter which way 🙂

    One comment she made about us Brits is we let ourselves get walked over, were to polite, Malaysians would never stand for it 🙂

  118. Mark
    A lot of truth, & it drives me mad,
    ‘One comment she made about us Brits is we let ourselves get walked over, were to polite, Malaysians would never stand for it’

    That’s why when I’ve ever been asked if I’m from England, I always used to say, No I’m from Birmingham.
    Done that for 40 years.

    It seems to me that the cohesion that came from communities came to a peak 50 years ago, when it flowered in many different ways, then it all got knocked down [including most of the community homes in cities] remember ‘ghost Train’, & we ended up with Thatcher & we’ve had no genuine one since except their’s, which is still with us now as it kills everything it touches [if you don’t watch it].

    What’s going on now seems to be at the grotesque end of the result of wilfully ignoring our community’s cultures & communities for gain as many people were brainwashed by greed, which kills everything good.

    People didn’t understand that once gone it doesn’t come back.
    Time somebody made an effort not to be dumb.

  119. Mark
    Also it seems universal that giving in to corruption is bad for you.
    Like everyone, I love my habits, but if it’s painful, change.
    I also think Europe needs us to the counter the RW Popularist Nationalism.
    But many people seem so selfish, they can’t do without their habits, so they take it out on projections like currently in Brexit.
    This is how the mess we’re in came about, that & agents of the dark side.

  120. Mark
    I’m not surprised. We have a new colleague just come over from Malaysia, a Catholic. She wanted to move her family because there is a lack of religious freedom in Malaysia. Unless you’re Muslim, she says, you’re at a distinct disadvantage.

  121. MK,

    Interesting reflections on Malaysia. I would add that it seems to be the case that the situation differs somewhat depending on which area of Malaysia you happened to be. On the east coast (Parak) for example, there is an extremist Islamic p.o.v., but in Malacca (for example) it is quite relaxed by contrast.

    On the difficulties non-Muslim groups tend to face, my wife’s family (Indian origin and Hindu) have always said that they have had to show higher qualifications than Muslims to get the same job. There is a reason for that as when the country became independent Malays were not at all well in the economic sense and something had to be done to bring them up, but in doing so they were given extra – particularly if they were Muslim. Unfortunately many have had a tendency to relax and depend on that support. Rather like our Welfare State I suppose – not all but a significant number take advantage.

    But generally, socially there is a lot of caring between peoples of different ethnicity and religion and that’s what keeps many non-Muslims in Malaysia. In fact a number who have migrated (say to Australia) have regretted their decision (they miss the way of life so much), but others not.

    As I wrote before, matters seem to be improving since Mahatir returned as PM last year, including an attack on corruption, but he’s in his 90s. The previous PM;s wife seems to have been a clone Mrs. Marcos as she and her husband took the country to the cleaners. They’re now being hauled before the Malaysian High Court.

  122. JL
    We’re not a million miles away, I just tend to highlight what is being forgotten
    I would say more that if we can’t see the intrinsic co-existence of both in whatever we are looking at, then we tend to get just the one aspect, which also has an unfortunate tendency to kill us eventually, if not sooner.
    Europe is being a little bullying at the moment [makes a change from it being us] which won’t help at all, nor will it be forgotten.
    £10 billion? They’ve obviously forgotten what helping them has cost us financially in 2 world wars.
    People will seize on this, so not a good move.
    Also Macron trying it on with his demands added to the brexit as a distraction, while the french are revolting again.
    All a bit self defeating

  123. More good reports on new arsenal manager from freddi lungberg now coach of their u23, every side play same as 1st team ,he has got them fitter even the great Wenger had run out of stean

  124. Well back home again in the ‘land of smiles’ but I think that tag is a bit wornout now. Wil be a change to have a piece of toast in the morning instead of the Malaysian staple nasi lemak ,
    An observation – Thierry Henri’s Monaco sitting in the relegation spot.

  125. Hi all. Great leader as always JC. Great comments as usual, I grew up in cubley rd next to Brandon rd. The college arms was my local for years & often drank in the robin hood. The college was a blue nose pub full of nutters but I went to school & played football with a few of the lads in there so never had a problem with them. Can’t wait for next Sunday. UTV

  126. Costa
    I watched a villa match in the College 3-4 years ago with a pakistani friend of mine.
    No bluenoses left.
    Cubely Rd is a good shortcut up from the ford to the last row of shops.

  127. Hello folks, I think there is so much misinformation about that the average person can’t make head nor tales of it. Germany rule the EU with the euro set to help them sell stuff while stifling the likes of Italy Greece etc economies. Germany don’t want to adopt world standards as they have the key to Europe’s trading. If we adopted them and said stuff you on all accounts they would have little choice but to deal with us. Right now we are being lied to and told about the potential downsides but not the up.

    Mass immigration is being normalised for some nefarious reason on a worldwide scale makes no sense for the planet having to produce way more power and cr*p for the millions heading for the free stuff in the west.

    Bureaucracy and big money have replaced democracy in my book. How can moving millions Around for labour do anything but destroy the local culture? And with robotics and AI coming on very quickly we just don’t need the labour.

    We have 16 year olds in this country worried about their future while most of the youth in the EU’s southern countries have no jobs, laughable really yet the papers keep running this rubbish and we keep swallowing it.

    The EU’s not about unity, at least not on a worldwide scale.

    Christian morals are have probably been our greatest export to the world but also our Achilles heel. We should stop kicking ourselves in the goolies then others might stop too.

    It’s not perfect and I’m not religious but at least it’s a better basis for a start in life than kids of today have been given. We have binned it without replacing it. We might not like what fills the vacuum. Anyone for Facebook? 🙂

  128. Mark
    The weather’s a bit grim today isn’t it.

    We’ve been fighting for democracy in this country for over a thousand years, & we still haven’t got it.

    Your premises for your viewpoint [bias?] seems to be based on a starting point that is a little iffy.
    This makes the conclusions more of a personal prejudice than anything based on a deep analysis using facts.
    This makes your starting facts arbitrary with a personal experience bias basis, rather than a deep look at both sides of the ‘one’ coin.

    While it is human & understandable to have such views, it is difficult to base anything on such criteria, even if the facts you present are real, just misrepresented as a complete understanding.
    In other words you’re damned if you do & damned if you don’t, so let rip.

    Not very helpful to the big picture or serious analysis, which is beyond such partial factual basis.
    And, it tends to unfortunately support the crazies & self serving shysters who are so vocal, which I’m sure is not the intention, & leaves out any other valid position that is an inconvenience.

    Personally, starting where we [the British] are now in the current situation [without the brexit question], & pragmatically looking any benefits & the implications of what is going to be affected [in depth] by what choices we actually have in the process from this point [not trying to fit a silk purse into a sow’s ear], everything of any cultural significance has already been killed, by the lack of grounding to the populism aspect in the UK.

    With the amount of ungrounded frustration that has been prevalent in the whole process [the real details of which we are not privy to], the people who have upset the apple cart for puerile reasons, with the over emphasis on populist emotional reactionary self expression, would be better off going & having a wank.

  129. Mark
    This letter in the Indie made me laugh.

    ‘In light of the self-indulgent and self-defeating behaviour of our elected representatives (and the apparent ineptitude of the opposition), I find myself wondering how many of those who voted Leave would have done so had they realised that “breaking free” of being ruled in Europe by Brussels merely meant that we would instead be governed in London by cabbages.’

  130. IanG- Trouble is mate there is massive emotional wanking from both sides, one thinks they are coming for us and the other thinks they can save the world by wishing it, lovely Kitten pictures aahh 🙂 I don’t think I’m 100% right or wrong I just think we are 100% led down the garden path by our Government/hierarchy and the EU, making real choice impossible( other than f**k the lot of you), would the real truth please stand up please.

    yes it was bloody cold today 🙂

    Totally agree with that sentiment on the brexit negotiators, read an article today written by Tony Abbot, says we have nothing to fear from a no deal, I don’t think we have either.

    The original article in the spectator is not available in its entirety unless you sign up so I found this which gives you the rough idea.

    I was discussing this with my mate who worked for the government at EU meetings, lots of EU countries manufacturers including us wanted to adopt World standards, except…….erm Germany.

    https://www.breitbart.com/europe/2018/10/25/tony-abbot-brexit-britain-has-nothing-to-lose-but-its-chains/

  131. IanG- While I applaud anyone trying to stop mass extinction by our hands I think they are barking up the wrong tree with global warming.

    From the article about extinction

    “The group is calling on the government to reduce carbon emissions to zero by 2025 and establish a “citizens assembly” to devise an emergency plan of action similar to that seen during the second world war.”

    As I said earlier what is the truth? Al Gore 2000 not a millionaire, now $250m- $300m doesn’t smell good.

    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2018/11/07/uncritical-news-media-gave-blanket-coverage-to-flawed-climate-paper/

  132. Had misfortune to watch 70 mins of Ireland game,oneil time to go along with Bruce clueless players playing out of position, everyone behind the ball
    Saying that 1 of our explayees Stevens looks decent much better than 3.5m taylor

  133. Mark
    Well if Breitbart says it is, they must be right…
    Tony Abbott? Really?
    You seem to be looking for a way to reinforce a belief mate, & if you’re not careful you’ll end up with their disease.

    Your view on Germany is also a partial one, & if we cherry pick arguments to back up our wishes then it’s a lie.
    I have many German friends that I see every year, & although they’re not complimentary of Merkel due to her attitude & due to her East German upbringing, it’s for different reasons to yours, but also the same basis, which is too much central control, leaving the states & the people coming last, with the white nationalists in a stronger position.
    Also all of them are more concerned with & worried about the right wing nationalists, as they know what happens next better than most.
    It’s also the same in many euro countries [which includes us].
    It’s very dangerous to contract tunnel vision or wishful thinking at this time.
    If people only hear what gives them temporary relief, it’s no more than prozac, & they end up as good little slaves, always blaming who they’re told.
    This is Breitbart’s game, & Tony Abbott is a complete fascist.

    I just look & watch the patterns & the patterns within the patterns etc.
    Then left/right, right/wrong seem to be a bit of a passing opportunist thing when viewed against 1000 years of the same old, same old repression/control techniques.
    These are the same schemes in essence, just in modern terms, but with time running out.
    Maybe many people think too much instead of being here.

    As for Global warming as a reality, or the poisoning of the planet, the unnecessary suffering of billions of people, & our imminent extinction etc, it’s already here, withe planet fighting back, & the difference in nature in just 30 years is profound.
    It is already affecting the kids.

    You used to post about such things constantly, why the sudden conversion to the fascists?

  134. JG
    Enda Stevens?
    A good championship player.
    Lets hope we’ll be more concerned with an upgrade in the Premiership.
    It’s still very much on

  135. IanG- I’m not converted to anything that I know of mate, sometimes the view point has relevance and a bit of truth about it no matter the source. I’d like to know the truth, the left don’t seem to find much palatable these days in anything but there own doctrines, I am for truth if you can find it.

    Breitbart? never even crossed my mind I was just looking for the article on google or some of it that you didn’t have to sign up for.

    Germany are looking out for themselves and why shouldn’t they? Maybe the EU was meant to be something better at conception but its not working for all its members and seems to be getting to big for its boots. Mass immigration suited Germany but has been a mess for the southern and eastern countries, The Euro isn’t doing them many favours either. I would be happy to stay in it but it needs reform and sadly Britain have next to no say or leverage beyond coming out.

    No I’m still p*ssed off about poisoning the planet just sick of the misinformation from both sides about global warming. If the Science actually got together might give us a chance to correct if possible, can’t do that though as its worth money and has been politicised. Talking of which Bayer of Germany bought out Monsanto and the EU promptly voted for it to be used for another 5 years after previously trying to ban its products, sod mass extinction then.

    Honest mistakes are made but when you propose the worlds ending best not be making those ones or we could just go off down a path that causes even more suffering.

    The quality of the food supply and environment is effecting us all mate and the unpalatable truth is we might have to die off, so Brexit is no big deal then 🙂

  136. Hi Mark

    Have to take issue with you and the idea that a no deal Brexit is advantageous for Britain, beyond not immediately paying for prior commitments to the EU and without falling into so-called Project Fear, the reality is Britain moves from a trading bloc of 500m (ish) people to a trading bloc of 60m (ish).

    So you take back control of your borders but you never signed up to Schengen and immigration needs to be looked at beyond the ‘coming over ere, taking our jobs’ mentality, there are realities that mean many British people won’t do the work or will do the work but not on the money being offered so you still need foreigners to come into the country and can’t look at it in terms of lets only get the best and the brightest the world has to offer.

    There is the idea of a dissolution of culture in the new found English nationalism, but what is that culture, morris dancing, English breakfasts or the colour of your skin, to my mind, English culture due to colonialism is multi-culturalism, be it the Windrush generation and the music and food they brought, is it Indian culture with Birmingham being the best place for a Balti, is it the Irish culture that 6m can claim ancestry from. English culture in terms of art, music etc has always been influenced by the world around it, would we have ska or grime for that matter (not a fan, old school hip-hop only) if Britain’s culture remained insular.

    Taking control of your laws, well intentioned but very little in EU law is designed not to protect its citizens so I see this as being some notional sovereignty from Farage and co, the reality will be that post Brexit, UK law will very much replicate EU law and if it will differ it will only be because of who in your two party system got the most votes, there will be a willingness on the Tory side to straddle up to big business which may mean reduced workers rights, or if Labour get in then a converse of that but business’s crippled by more regulation.

    Trade – tell me how you get advantage from trading as a bloc of 60m people when dealing with China or the US, China has no need for the UK except financial services (the theft of intellectual property helped Japan in the 50s/60s and now China gets the benefit of that approach) and a no deal Brexit means an end to passporting rights, the US has become so insular any trade deal will ensure they are in the driving seat as the larger market. The other BRIC countries, well Russia is the enemy and Putin is probably glad of the break up of the EU as Europe shares a border with disputed countries, India will likely trade on the basis of visas but equally there is the recent history of the 1947 India Act which split the country, Brazil what do you need from several thousand miles away that you probably can’t source from near neighbours in Europe.

    Sorry but for all the taking back control agenda of Farage, JRM and BJ and for all the real problems with the direction the EU is going, my assessment is that Britain would suffer from a no-deal, they are still a G7 country, a major financial services player and that won’t change but this idea of screw the consequences and stiff upper lip stuff when the only people that will suffer is the ordinary Joes, I don’t understand. I think much of the leave vote was bloody nose politics but taking back control won’t mean any positive change to the UK outside of London.

    And I avoided mentioning the island of Ireland 🙂

  137. Hello DOR- whether we like it or not its a world economy and its changed, the EU doesn’t do change easily, have a look in your shops for anything thats not made in China.

    Makes no more sense to buy from Brazil than to buy fish from our own waters from Spain either. UK is the 5th largest world economy but nobody has a need for it, not bad for 60m people though, Britain has always been a trading nation it has to, maybe Ireland should throw in with us 🙂

    Can’t remember the last time the EU contacted me to let me know all the wonderful stuff they are deciding on my behalf and thats not democratic. Be honest does anyone really know whats going on at that level? 🙂

    Really think the whole racist angle of being British and leaving the EU is a massive pile of s**te for all the reasons you outline alone. I know many asians that voted out. Nobody is telling countries like Japan to join with China or New Zealand with Australia are they? Does anyone think the rest of Europe are all bosom buddies? I mean come on the French 🙂

  138. We have some good MEPs like Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan and a lot of centrist dross too but i’ve no expectation on being contacted by the EU on any issue but similarly within my own Dail, i’ve no expectation of being contacted beyond electioneering.

    I’d agree with the issues around accountability of the EC but the EU Parliament which includes Farage is at least democratic.

    From an Irish perspective, we’ve only benefitted from EU membership, in terms of infrastructure funding and being a small country, we can and have punched above our weight when it comes to things like FDI, we’re now in a position to be a net contributor to the EU and possibly the most impressive thing is through diplomacy we’ve managed to get 26 other countries to agree with our approach to the British border issue, protecting the GFA and north/south trade, hopefully an FTA will protect east/west trade as well as we are heavily reliant on a near as status quo to exist even if the British media narrative is the Irish govt is playing silly buggers and using the border to prevent Brexit.

    Geopolitical history required the EEC and the EU grew out of it, that other parts of the world never required.

  139. Darren,

    Well said. A most intelligent run down of the main principles.

    There has been too much wishful-thinking in England about getting back to how things were in the Empire days. It may not be stated as such but it is in the mentality of the older people who were the main reason why the referendum went against the remain camp. Younger people want to be part of the European scene and it makes sense to me (as a septuagenarian!) as though things are not perfect within the EU it is a means of keeping peoples concentrating on mutual cooperation, which is a most important principle in my view.

    Indeed, if we do go with no deal we may well find ourselves in trading deals with the US that we will not like at all and then people will start to realise what we lost by leaving the EU.

    I’ll repeat again. Young people (under 40s) mostly want to stay in the EU. Let’s have a “People’s Vote” to sort out the issue once and for all now we know the realities rather than pipe dreams and rather than a May plan that is a half-baked concoction which was inevitable i.m.o. Mostly no fault of May’s really, but the corner that she was pushed into, but which is not going to do nearly enough. The Welsh, Scottish and Cornish are not very happy for starters.

  140. Mark
    The problem I have with Bbart et al is not about whether it has wings, but that it is both subtly & overtly slanted while calling everything else fake, & has altered the importance of issues by not being overtly attached to the truth as such, whilst using some truth in it, which is how propaganda works.
    This is the manipulation of truth Orwell was on about.
    Nothing new then, but very dangerous.
    I also admit to having a huge aversion to fascism of any sort, so if you think that makes me left wing, then that’s how far to the right everything has gone from Tony Blair onwards.

    ‘Bayer of Germany bought out Monsanto and the EU promptly voted for it to be used for another 5 years after previously trying to ban its products, sod mass extinction then.’

    Yes I caught that & totally agree, but thankfully it’s not across the board, but it doesn’t help, & totally understand the pain & frustration it causes.
    We have shot ourselves in the foot, as we now have no way of slowing down other country’s lurches towards protectionism, & have become more authoritarian in the process, which causes more of the same.
    No one ever said that to actually do something about it was rocket science, but there seems no will to do it amongst the stampede towards greed & lemming status.

  141. There must be something in the water, as I seem to agree with much of what Darren & JL have posted, & even Mark seems less depressed today.
    The main bone of contention is about Morris Dancing, what has it ever done to you, as it is hardly competition to River Dancing.

  142. IanG,

    Orwell? I prefer Toulmin Smith, a 19th c. Birmingham lawyer and historian, who stated:

    That self-interest and material self-gratification shall be the ends to
    be aimed at, is what Governments that smother freedom and
    cherish despotism seek to make the doctrine and the practice
    of man’s life. That every man owes a duty, and a full share
    of his time in order to fulfil that duty, to his neighbours and
    to his country, is the doctrine and the practice whence England
    has drawn the living breath of freedom through past
    ages ; and it is this doctrine and this practice, on the steadfast
    upholding of which the freedom, the prosperity, and the
    true Progress, now and hereafter, of England, and of Birmingham
    as a vital part of England, assuredly depend.

  143. JL- last figure I saw was a third of the under 35’s that voted voted out, so blaming it on old people doesn’t cut it. Also the thought that most of the youngsters didn’t vote is incorrect apparently. But then its all polls and they are not always accurate are they. People with mortgages tended to be remainers while renters and outright home owners voted out.

    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/jul/09/young-people-referendum-turnout-brexit-twice-as-high

  144. Iang- Which set of lies/half truths do want? thats the state of play because its pretty much all propaganda of a sort. The left is as dangerous as the right in my book.

    There is no one size fits all unless we kill everyone over 40 so the youngsters can have wonderful time growing beards and rapping as the last lemming shouts geronimo 🙂

    The EU and the left in general have some lovely ideas with no idea how to make them work mathematically, unfortunately the tossers we have are no better but at least we know where they live.

    I reserve my right as a human being to be depressed even if I’m not.

  145. Mark: “last figure I saw was a third of the under 35’s that voted out”

    “Doesn’t cut it”? What are you talking about?!

    That’s 66% ‘in’ versus 33% out. That’s a very big number. Very significant indeed.

    And – importantly – it’s *their* future. Not old duffers like you and me.

  146. And in fact, the article link you gave states: “It is thought that more than 70% of young voters chose to remain in the EU.”

    In the page linked to from the one you gave, it states: “According to polling data from YouGov, 75% of 18- to 24-year-olds voted to remain.”

    These are very serious stats in favour of remaining in the EU, with all its imperfections.

  147. I think to myself, “I should be getting something about football up”…Then I read the discussion, and it’s excellent.

    For what it’s worth, I’m seeing the same thing manifest itself all over: fear of the inevitability of change, insularity, tribalism, us against them. Count me a remainer and fierce anti-Trumper.

  148. JL- Shocking JL, young people don’t get their way in a democratic vote how terrible. Even more shocking older peoples view point is irrelevant as they will be dead soon. Maybe we should lower the voting age to 10? and cap it off at 20 that should sort it.

    The quotes in that article just appear to be narrow minded about people who voted out and more than a little fluffy about the sparkling future they have lost. They berate the people that apparently have had all the good stuff in there lives but chose to say stuff it

  149. Older people tend to mix in all kinds of reasons “why not” rather than taking the natural route.

    Young people tend to want harmony in their lives and the EU – as a notion at least – is a vehicle that can offer them that potential. I remember my young days and how much I appreciated travel into our neighbouring countries, and hearing the arguments of why there should be a united Europe.

    The future is more about harmony and sustainability rather than simply “trade” and stuffing loot into the pockets of the rich.

    Remain or leave, there is a tremendous amount of work to be done to put the future right, but if there is to be harmony in this world it is surely better to get it right with your immediate neighbours rather than embarking into what is now the relatively unknown.

  150. Mark
    Any preoccupation with the conceptualised label of right/left as dangerous depends on the definition.
    I think with you it’s more your definition that you’re disagreeing with.
    I haven’t got a problem with right as such so much as the extremes or how people use the vehicle.
    You on the other hand seem to create a demon called the left & then use it.
    This was McCarthyism in the 50s, which was totally reactionary, & was also a favourite tool of the nastier dictators.
    I appreciate you are not a dictator, but maybe a little care with labels would be a good idea, & a study of political terminology & it’s meaning concerning the whole of humanity.
    Otherwise everyone has their own private language, which when applied depends on emotion for meaning.

  151. Mark
    Ps: fascism & populism have a historical narrative that we all share & can see.
    I’m not talking about politics but actions on a large scale that effect a lot of people negatively, along with the logic & mind states that support it.

  152. Mark
    Every relative truth is a mixture of lies/half truth/& Truth.
    Specifically when it is weaponised is what we appear to have been talking about.
    It’s a bugger when we realise that the only person who can fool us, is ourselves, & worth keeping in mind

  153. Mark
    About individualists!
    To quote the other JL:
    ‘You’re think you’re so clever & classless & free
    But you’re still f**kin peasants as far as I can see’

  154. JL
    ‘The future is more about harmony and sustainability rather than simply “trade” and stuffing loot into the pockets of the rich.
    Remain or leave, there is a tremendous amount of work to be done to put the future right, but if there is to be harmony in this world it is surely better to get it right with your immediate neighbours rather than embarking into what is now the relatively unknown.’

    I can do 2 or more things at the same time as I’m sure you can.
    Maybe only men who don’t p*ss on the floor should run for office

  155. IanG: “Great sentiments but a bit boring compared to Orwell, but a product of his time I suppose”

    Well, for my part I reckon the Victorians had a lot of things right. Including Toulmin Smith.

    It may sound old-fashioned but that doesn’t mean to say it ain’t right.

  156. IanG- Quite honestly I couldn’t give a stuff about any extreme or the stuff in between, I just want to see some honesty and facts applied occasionally.

    JL wants to give the children the say in a world where old age is creeping ever upwards. I’m 55, by the time I’m 80-90 those ungrateful buggers will be my age or over, most of them have never had hardship beyond only having 4 tv’s in the house, they have more opportunity than any generation before if they want it but they just want it given to them it seems. Not one party I have voted for got in, do I moan? do I f….. oh and they have degrees, practically communists then 🙂

    JC- I want change, lots of it, I just disagree with the EU’s way of doing things.

  157. Morning Lads.

    Hope all is ok, in work early so had time to try several times to log in, reset password – login, reset password and on and on.

    I got a linked in invite yesterday from a certain Matthew Turvey, Solution Architect and the picture even looked like our little Warwick, does anyone know if it is our own Lord lucan.

  158. MK,

    I’m well on my way to 80 yet I don’t see the world as you picture it. I think you’re evaluating just the young people of Oxfordshire by the looks of it! 😀

  159. Jl- well this being the modern world the people of Oxfordshire have all moved here from London, biirmingham and every county in the country and other countries to commute to London. Your lucky as nobody is coming your way. You must send me some rose tinted glasses, hope your pockets are deep 😉

  160. Jl- except the people born there mate as posh folk have bought out the villages a long time ago. Trust me there are plenty of shitholes Oxford had the biggest council estate in the country. Housing prices are high wages low.

  161. Mark
    Good luck with looking for honesty, because what you’re looking for depends on how an individual understands it, as it’s not an absolute.
    Facts?
    One man’s meat [fact] is another man’s poison as they say, again always debatable as it depends on temporary circumstances, then also on how it’s applied.

    We now get more people relocating from London than Oxford, as housing is cheaper to buy here for them [not for us], & they can afford to commute.
    I haven’t even got a TV.

    I think you may need to travel mate.

  162. JG/DOR
    Well, Martin O’Neil & Roy Keane have gone.
    Sounds like by mutual consent.

    Papers putting up Mick McCarthy for the job.
    Not sure how that will go down

  163. IanG- yes there are loads more on the roads this year in the mornings heading for the smoke. They are building loads of houses along the M40 supposedly affordable housing but I’d wager most are bought by commuters. Makes you wonder who the hell other than the Chinese are buying in London.

    A little more straight reporting rather than hatchet jobs that set people up against each (mostly on social media ) would be a start on the honesty front.

    would love to do more travelling but I’m busy compiling a meagre retirement . Mind you Dennis from the care home pays 4 grand a month for the same treatment those on welfare get so might as well spend it and let the migrants pay for me when they turn up 🙂

  164. Mark
    When I got off a boat this year, you could feel the difference immediately.
    The state of people here was shocking, you could feel & see it just driving up the road.

    I wouldn’t make deep judgments based on where you & everyone is currently apparently at, for the moment.
    You can’t pressure or logic BS into something else.
    It affects all of us, it’s more like an island asylum at the moment.
    Thank you Cameron, [an oxfordshire MP?]

  165. Ian g
    Another manager way past his best before date,
    Mc Cathy got a raw deal from Irish media over his dealings with Keane,which I backed McCarthy he stood up to bully boy Keane that no other man did until he was past it and Fergie cut his legs from beneath him
    As for Mon it was like watching villa under spud painfull,like getting a wisdom tooth out
    North Ireland zipped ball about ,our keeper got man of match shocking,never mind Monday night v Denmark 11 men behind ball from kick off in a mean less match

  166. Also was a piece by Ken McNaught that he needed a serious heart op, & the PFA refused to pay for it stating that they hadn’t the money, making him wait 18 months, at risk, for £37.5 GRAND.
    That Taylor appears to be a piece of work.

  167. Iang- would be nice to remove politics and hone in what really needs to be done vs who benefits. As we can’t seperate health from the food and drug industry’s grasp then I conclude barring a massive disaster of the comet size we are buggered, enjoy.

    I suppose I see the west as a waisted chance for the world and burning it down to level out fairness across the board is the wrong approach. Sure we have plenty to gain from other cultures but recent history, religions, feuds etc don’t point toward harmony and forcing it on people rarely works. Maybe teaching philosophy in schools might be a start.

  168. Unfairly so MK, the Rock was ceded to Britain in the 1700s, with no return clause unlike Hong Kong, and with 95% of the population wishing to remain British, there is no argument. There may be a different outcome in the coming years if Brexit doesn’t work out in Gibraltar’s favour as it is smuggling from Gibraltar into Spain is rife.

    It’s not a disputed territory unlike closer to home, there was talk of a pre-agreement on Gibraltar anyway, I expect the rest of the EU will shout down Spain on this.

  169. I’ve always struggled with the idea of what is truth, historically the truth was based on perspective and bias (one man’s terrorist, is another man’s freedom fighter, etc) but even in modern times with media saturation and an iphone in everyone’s pocket to record events, even that can be biased based on what is recorded and/or how it is portrayed.

    Often, the truth is to be found by personal experience but having an interest in history, I find that I don’t have my own truths but an amalgamation of opinions on history that unfortunately suit my own bias’.

    To that end, I just accept that the facts I’m given by the media bear only a partial portrayal of the reality of whatever situation arises and always viewed with the pre-conceived idea that there is an an attempt to sway opinion.

    Take Trump for example, probably most people would possible agree he is a self-serving egotist, whose only purpose is to promote TNN (the Trump News Network), however there is a large swathe of people neglected by politics, thrown on middle America’s scrapheap who see him as a champion for them and have recognition of their circumstance and recognition of an imbalance in America between the coasts and their prosperity and the decline of the middle, are they wrong to place such faith in Trump, would I be correct to berate them for it because of my opinion of Trump. Somewhere in there lies the truth about how America sees itself nevermind how the rest of the world sees it. But my truth may not be correct as I’m not American.

    Back to football, I believe McGinn and Chester will be ready for the derby, and finally a manager who while he understands the importance of the game, he sees it correctly as just another 3 points in our race to the top, slightly refreshing for me given I’ve no true concept of the rivalry being an outsider.

    UTV

  170. Mark
    They used to call it common sense mate.

    DOR
    ‘You can’t teach anybody anything that they don’t already know’
    Ye olde proverb

  171. Mark
    Unfortunately kids are supposed to get the basic education that is common sense, at home before they get to school.
    Some are slower than others, but that should be no problem if common sense was used all round.

    Sadly what used to be an aberration is now the norm.
    My son went to a village school, & my other 2 were home schooled.
    The last 2 were a bit wild, but in their 30’s are rounded human beings with minds of their own.

  172. MK: “it’s a start but would prefer less faith based stuff personally.”

    There, my friend, you misunderstand the intention in SSEHV.

    It is not “faith stuff” at all – it is human values philosophy., which is what you asked for.

    I know what is put across, and it’s good. It’s about how to live. You’ll note that UNESCO likes it.

    It also betrays the belief you have that anything that smells of spirituality cannot be relevant. The ancient teachings combined spiritual philosophy with science – not as separate entities. And the Sai organisations support that view. In fact I’d say it’s the only view that makes sense.

  173. Darren: “historically the truth was based on perspective and bias (one man’s terrorist, is another man’s freedom fighter, etc) “

    The things is Darren that history goes back much further than the last 2,000 years, during which the Romans and later the Normans muddied the waters considerably to generate the view on history and truth that we now have.

    Many cannot conceive that there was a history worth knowing beyond (say) 5,000 years ago yet we’re now archaeologically finding out that the wheel was known about thousands of years before it was thought possible, and things like the Antikythera machine and ancient batteries have caused big questions to be asked. Let alone the hieroglyphs on Egyptian temples that resemble flying craft, and the increasing suspicion that the Sphynx and Great Pyramid were built thousands of years before officialdom says. And how is it that so many ancient buildings have joints that are virtually perfect and some built in such a way that they appear to have been designed to be not disturbed by earthquakes?

    I suppose what I’m really saying is that official history and philosophy and most of the books written are about knowledge as the academics would have us believe. But new findings continually cause the old dusty books to be re-written.

  174. JL
    Up to 20 years ago in the Himalaya, all the buildings were mostly earthquake proof, except for a cataclysm.
    When the earth moves the buildings move but remain standing with minor damage, & in particular, no rigid concrete.
    I some cultures they built pueblo housing to fall down in an earthquake, without killing all the occupants.
    It is so common sense a solution, & so simple, that of course all these techniques have been in use since antiquity to suit the circumstances, including the old Mediterranean cultures.
    The history of the west since the age of reason has created a vehemence in the comparisons with how it was seen before, that has never stood the test.

    As an example most doctors think herbal medicine is dangerous & a blag for money, as only they can be right.
    In my experience it’s the pot calling the kettle black, as they all have areas of relevance & strong & weak points if looked at critically.
    But the reason for continuing imposing this nonsense is money.
    There is so much wealth tied up in keeping the myth going, that the only way to change it is by personal action, not group response which feeds the bent logic if we’re not careful.
    Greed always did overpower common sense if you let it.

    I’m not dissing your predilection for ancient potentialities that often could also be missing vital information as we jump to conclusions, as much has obvious connections to modern times, but the amount of total BS, from those in the myth business has obscured much of the value of this stuff, & converted much of it to a commodity & turned many into consumers.

  175. IanG,

    I’m misunderstood again. I’d hope by now that my “predilection for ancient potentialities” would be seen to relate also to the present, because Truth never goes away … it remains latent for re-discovery. So anything I write is imbedded with that perspective and needs to be read with the lateral mind working! 🙂

  176. JL- I haven’t had chance to really look through it, just saw it was based more on faith philosophy and assumed it wasn’t Socrates , Like IanG said I was thinking more of common sense stuff or the likelihood is it will fall on deaf ears. This is one of my Favs, I live by it 🙂

    “The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.”

  177. DOR- think the Spanish are just joining in the shellacking. Thank god Mcginn and Chester are fit though. This seems apt in so many ways mate.

    “If you don’t get what you want, you suffer; if you get what you don’t want, you suffer; even when you get exactly what you want, you still suffer because you can’t hold on to it forever. Your mind is your predicament. It wants to be free of change. Free of pain, free of the obligations of life and death. But change is law and no amount of pretending will alter that reality.”
    ― Socrates

  178. MK,

    That phrase – true that it is – is well known to most who go into this kind of study.

    As to commonsense, you may be surprised to hear that Sai Baba said that three-quarters of religion (properly practised) is to do with commonsense, but note that leaves a quarter to develop, not as rituals but as psychological development.

    As to ” just saw it was based more on faith philosophy and assumed it wasn’t Socrates”, then perhaps you’re taking too many assumptions? I would not have put it forward if it wasn’t related to Socrates and others of similar wisdom. To me Socrates espoused a form of wisdom that is encapsulated in the thinking of many other great seers, Sai Baba very much included.

  179. JL- I think there’s way more to world history maybe several times over, quite possible faith was someone’s science we just don’t understand the mechanisms these days, yet. With the rate that top science entrepreneurs are turning to spirituality it won’t take to long. Heard today that even Google do medical research of their own.

  180. MK,

    Here we go again. Assumptions: “we just don’t understand the mechanisms these days”.

    What you mean is that common thinking doesn’t understand the mechanisms.

  181. hi, so i am having a nice drink of ardmore single malt, ( £20 a bottle at tesco, grab it while u can), very nice, watching pink floyd on you tube. Then i thought oh yeah Villa!

  182. “One thing: you have to walk, and create the way by your walking; you will not find a ready-made path. It is not so cheap, to reach to the ultimate realization of truth. You will have to create the path by walking yourself; the path is not ready-made, lying there and waiting for you. It is just like the sky: the birds fly, but they don’t leave any footprints. You cannot follow them; there are no footprints left behind.”

  183. Mark
    Check out John Trudell on you tube.
    He’s a native american poet, & he did an album with Jesse Ed Davis’s band [another native american half commanche & half Kiowa.
    Good stuff & in context

  184. I’m gearing up for Sunday. DS says it won’t be like the Derby game, a different approach is needed to beat small heath. If we can get 3 points from this match then the march is on. Although I do believe the march is on anyway. Hope McGinn is fit. A repeat of last season’s game will have the fans screaming from the rafters. Bring it on.

  185. rogerM: “One thing: you have to walk, and create the way by your walking; you will not find a ready-made path. It is not so cheap, to reach to the ultimate realization of truth. You will have to create the path by walking yourself; the path is not ready-made, lying there and waiting for you. It is just like the sky: the birds fly, but they don’t leave any footprints. You cannot follow them; there are no footprints left behind.”

    Absolutely true. But we were talking of the world picture as it is and what’s to be done. That was the context.

  186. Well, Chester & Taylor are fit to play, & just waiting on McGinn who they’re going to check tomorrow.
    So at least we have our half a defence back.

  187. roger…

    Indeed, another good set of comments from Dean. I liked hearing that they’d used the break to focus on all three upcoming matches.

    And speaking of flabbergasted, I was amazed that pregame planning apparently has had to be installed: “here’s what you’ll eat and when,” then a tactics session. Players arriving in plenty of time. Getting focused and fueled up properly. I mean, that’s so fundamental it’s laughable if something similar wasn’t happening previously.

  188. And I promise I’ll get a fresh sheet up tomorrow. Not that I have any brilliant insights about playing small heath (it is what it is), but it will reduce the scrolling.

  189. I play that Animals tune a fair bit.
    Since roger is being philosophical, here’s a bit of haiku,
    A wet crow
    Never flies
    At night

    I know, not quite haiku

    Little things keep popping up about the previous reign and when you think about it, it’s straight out of the thirties.

    Here’s to a great weekend.
    And on Sunday the 106th instalment of the Grey Cup is being played in Edmonton. 6 PM mountain time if you’re interested.

  190. JC, Spud’s idea of a team talk ran along the lines of “players are expected to put in a shift”.

    His idea of a presser went something like “we need to batten down the hatches” and “we lose a game and mass hysteria breaks out”.

    So refreshing watching the current incumbents not to mention the attacking football which I’ve spent 2 years banging on about its non existence. Time now to put small heath to the sword and claim the city as ours.

  191. MK,

    And Schopenhauer was deeply influenced by the Vedic teachings. Perhaps Hitler developed his Arianism notions out of that – but I’m more inclined to think that came through Mueller (the German orientalist).

  192. JL- It just made me think where the next threat will come from and which lunatic fringe, I don’t think its from the right myself, plenty of fanatics out there.

    I was listening to some history about WW1 and heard about Germany causing the revolution in Russia when America entered the war to prevent another front opening up. The EU seems to be getting decidedly big brother.

  193. Plug…

    Yes, apparently there were only stock phrases in place. And to MK’s remark, it’s really difficult to believe that when you’re immersed in the game 24/7 your entire life, you wouldn’t pick up on useful changes, or that you wouldn’t be force to keep up with the changes.

    I think it was r0bb0 further up this ludicrously long thread talking about Bruce’s win percentage, and you have to give him that, and in so doing give some credence to his footballing philosophy.

    However, you can play a certain way and still be well-drilled, rested, tactically aware, eating the right things at the right times, and so on. It would seem to point to a certain stubbornness in response to change.

  194. Jc
    You can’t give much credit to Bruce’s win percentage, it was championship football with biggest transfer budget,wage ever seen,every story coming out of villa since his sacking have been an embarrassment to a professional club,something similar happening with Ireland since oneil sacking players including our own your hand telling of dinosaur way of managing

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