Race horses. Magnificent beasts. Raised from foals. Some in the most prestigious stables of the land. Owned by billionaires and millionaires. A few of God’s favourite creations win at the Kentucky Derby and, if lucky, win the Belmont, too. Once in a generation The Preakness is also added to the stable’s victories. This now famous horse is at the apex of his career—and only three years of age with a normal life span of thirty or so.

What’s an owner to do? Tour the country, go overseas, win races everywhere, risk a terminal injury? Nope. He puts the horse to pasture and sells vials of Sea Biscuit’s future Kentucky Derby winners for the next twenty-plus years. This is how stable owners hope to finance their operation and their next winner.

Aston Villa is in the middle of a dilemma and it’s regarding Jack Grealish. Are player summations out of whack? Is £100 million fair compensation for Jack’s services? If it is fair compensation, then it’s time for Edens and Sawiris to cash in. Grealish, just like the triple crown winner, isn’t ever going to be worth much more than he is right now. Does Villa want to risk playing Jack and kiss an asset worth £100 million goodbye to injury? Would you?

Don’t get me wrong, I think Grealish is a treat to watch and in a Villa shirt that makes it even sweeter. The problem I’m having is that player talent in terms of monetary worth isn’t linear anymore. It’s exponential. I think it’s time to take a hard look at what Jack Grealish means to the club. Do we, as fans, see Villa as a whole team concept where no one player is indispensable? Do we see them as a team of groups of players who play together and the sum of the whole being greater than the individual efforts of each player in that group? The substitutes bench is supposed to have players who can slot into a given trio of players or replace players to change the dynamics of the team. Right now, Villa don’t have that luxury of a top talent bench. But the possibility is there.

Now, back to my earlier thought about linear and exponential. If, let’s say, Jack is worth £100 million and is rated at a 10 for talent, flair, etc. And, for example, John MacGinn is rated as an 8 for talent, flair, etc., but can only fetch £40 million. Would it not be in Aston Villa’s best interest to sell Jack and buy two players at an 8 for talent, and perhaps an up and comer? A move that would be a team improvement, although a loss of a rare talent.

A famous precedent comes to mind. In the late ‘90s, the Edmonton Oilers sold the best hockey player the world has ever seen, Wayne Gretzky. In his prime. For top talent and future possibilities. All that happened was they won the Stanley Cup the following season without the “greatest.”

I’m suggesting that Villa strike while the iron is hot and bid Jack adieu. Having an asset of Grealish’s level, unfortunately means he should be sold to further the team’s ambitions. To risk injury would reduce Villa’s ability to improve over the next five years. Unfortunately, Jack is five years too early in Villa’s climb back to the top four.

Comments 94

  1. Hard-headed logic, Ian, and very persuasively put! Leaving my heart out of things for now, the old grey matter tells me you’re absolutely right. But…… being a Villa fan involves at least as much heart as head and, like a child at a party who’s already eaten three jellies and still hopes for another one, I find myself thinking: “well, maybe, but can’t we hang onto him for one more season. Or two?”

  2. Every player has his price Ian. If someone meets it, a player can be traded like a piece of horse meat. I personally think Jack deserves better than that from Villa. Which means any decision to leave should be his to make. It’s the least we owe him.

  3. However, if the cash raised permits the strengthening of the team overall and moves us towards the top 4 places, then business sense prevails.

  4. There are nutters around who think Jack is as good as Messi. Come on now, get real, the lad is very good but he ain’t no Jack Grealish.

  5. Ian,

    It does make sense, like viva says. And if you find the right players, it could make us a better and deeper team…If we got that, had a good replacement lined up, then you’d probably be talking about a £200 million window.

    Course, you’d likely spend £40m-£60m of it on replacing Jack, and I’m not sure what Villa’s appeal is for a ready-made player like that to come in with Jack out the door.

    Me, I’m very sentimental (which isn’t smart in horse-trading). I’d love to hang on to Jack and get to the promised land with him leading the way. I know it won’t go over well with some, but I’d really like to find a replacement for SJM: same type of player, but with more speed. I love him, great character, but not sure he’s athletic enough.

  6. Ian
    Good write up well put together,I disagree on price even with covid-19 chelsea splashed 80 on havertz untried in england, Barcelona paid 150 m was it for cotiniho recently,they also had to pay another wack for dembele
    Replace jack with who and how much,will we have to change our way of playing as well,
    he signed a new contract let’s build quick around him and add 3 or 4 more

  7. Now this is a topic worth discussing on the blog as it will elicit a range of reactions. . . . . . I’ve had several different ones already and it looks as if John and Plug have too.
    Let’s face it, we all dream about Jack leading Villa out to our first Champion’s league game. . . .and I’ll bet he does too.
    If you’re right about the timescales Ian then I guess you’re right and we should cash in. . . . .but could it be sooner? We’ve seen this season that our first 11 are capable of mixing it with any team in the league. I’d been hoping for a boring mid table finish this year but its not inconceivable that we could be top half. If so, then just a few more upgrades next season could see us knocking on the door of the top 4 and maybe, just maybe we could get there in 2 more seasons.
    In that scenario then you’d still want Jack leading us out.
    If we can be in or close to top 10 this season shouldn’t we therefore hang on for another year and see if we can then be knocking on the door of the top 4?

  8. One other reason for trying to hang on to Jack for a bit longer is that he seems to be really liked and respected by so many other players. I can imagine lots of players loving the thought of playing with him, so it’s not just his match day contributions that we should be thinking about, but also, his ability to attract more of the players who will help us get to the top 4 within the timescale we need.

  9. Credit to the owners for hanging on to him for as long as we have. It must have been tempting to cash in several times already. If Levy had offered £30m two years ago, would he have gone? If Man Utd had offered £80m this year . . .would he have gone?
    Next year, will the owners ask for £100m, and might that be ‘just’ enough to put teams off again??
    It’s clear that they’ve called it right so far, even if it was for purely business reasons as Jack has clearly appreciated in value yet again!
    It’s easy for us as fans to just want owners to keep all of our best players and keep spending more on new ones but with a very few exceptions, football doesn’t (and shouldn’t!) work like that.
    Randy Lerner and The Doctor both discovered to their detriment that running a football club can be very expensive hobby if you get it wrong!

  10. Thanks Ian, tempting to cash in, If you get that £100m that would buy you not a lot, as JC said add another £100m and yeah you can have a good window.

    Now I’ll tell you what I think. Jack has broken out of the Villa bubble ( no covid pun intended) he is the new media darling in an England shirt, people want to see him play ( I want to see him play) millions of people around the world will want to see him play, and therein lies the golden goose.

    Jack Grealish can put Villa back on the map, Imagine the chinese wearing jack Grealish sized shin pads (which would look then look normal sized) African Nations adopting the floppy wig just as Fans everywhere adopted the ruud gullit dreads, Claret and blue shirts everywhere with ‘I Love Jack’ on the back. Our owners and Villa rolling in money from more matches shown worldwide. £100m? nah I think the owners know what they have and Jack will only go if he wants.

    As Robbo mentioned Players will want to play with jack, more than that, players will notice Villa, Maybe the Ginger Mourinho can’t attract big names but with Jack we could become trendy and Birmingham become the centre of a new Renaissance (Made that last bit up)

  11. Maradona ? Great footballer maybe the best ever, even better proponent of hoovering up the Bolivian marching powder, Shattered my hopes that we could win the world cup in Argentina by cheating, and I hate cheating. Bit of a seedy little bugger but won the league Twice fro Lazio and had his Knees wrecked because he was contracted to play every game so lived in constant pain.

    Still R.I.P he was a footballing genius and had his own set of rules.

  12. I too would much prefer Jack to stay. My thoughts were about FFP and the ability of Edens and Sawiris ability to inject money without falling afoul. Also as rObbO mentioned, a football team is an expensive hobby and would they be inclined to spend more. Obviously i have no clue what having billions feels like, maybe it’s pocket lint to them.
    Mark, you’re right Jack’s cachet will draw players of quality just so they can play with him. I’m thinking Vettel or Hamilton could join Villa to help Jack out with his driving.
    Really, the only pitfall would be an injury. Just imagine if Wesley’’s injury was Jack’s. In the championship, probably struggling with a big player turn over and no guarantee he’d come back 100%. I guess it’s the chances you take. You never know he just might be indestructible like Ibrahimovic and play into his 40’s . I also had a vision of Jack being put out to stud……

  13. Sell Grealish. Absolutely not. We want to win things and we have enough money to spend and improve without selling grealish

    He’s genuinely one of the best players in the world at the moment. And don’t forget he’s showing this with a fairly bang average bunch of players

    We should be looking to sell everyone but Grealish. We should be looking to upgrade our midfield snd forward line to players better than what we have

    Jack Grealish is the only player we can’t improve on. Or replace. Everyone else, we can do better and replace.. So keep him

  14. Ian and bloggers,

    No, no, no, no, no. Not at any price should we let Jack leave. I don’t care if it’s 500M – answer is still no. Jack is Villa and we need to build a top 4 team around him, SJM, and Barkley with Ramsey brothers, Louie Barry and youth coming through.

    I would also see Jack leaving as having a huge knock on effect. A lot of the 1st team are at Villa because of quality like Jack. We would never have got Barkley without Jack. Jack is the key to our attacking quality….letting him go would set us back years

  15. Ian,

    I thought FFP no longer applies due to Covid and no fans at stadiums? Spurs already saying they’ll have 150M loss for this season. How can you judge FFP when clubs are lousy main revenue?

  16. Hi VillaMD. I didn’t realize FFP was put on hold due to the corona virus. I guess you can see how fair that was with the millions Chelsea spent.

  17. The owners plans also tout sustainability, that’s what the youth policy is about , I would say we need next year before that bares fruit as that part has only just begun. I can see the owners paying out these next two years until the model becomes viable.

  18. There are few certainties in life or business and the ‘Jack question’ has to be one of those where there are shades of grey. Every player (without exception) has their price. It seems that two years ago our owners saw this as being around the £25-30m mark and last year around the £80m mark. Presumably it will be higher still next year.
    If we build everything around Jack then we are extremely vulnerable to him being injured so it’s a dangerous strategy, particularly until we’ve been able to steadily build strength throughout the rest of the squad. It says a lot for our owners that they’ve been prepared to put high values on Jack’s head rather than just taking the cash and running. . . .or reinvesting. I’m not sure that any of our previous owners over the past 50 years would have done the same.

  19. It’s hard to get the balance right between continually investing and cashing in and I would be concerned if our owners were prepared to just carry on pumping money in regardless of outcomes. At some point such a strategy will almost fail because of FFP or because the owners get fed up or because we’ve not been able to find the right manager or mix of players etc etc

    Southampton ‘s strategy has been an interesting one as they’ve always been prepared to put a price on their player’s heads. Alderwield, Van Dijk, Luke Shaw, Wanyama, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Lallana, Walcott, Sadio Mane, Schneiderlin, Jay Rodriguez, Bale to name 11 have all been sold on when the price was deemed to be right.
    Indications are that our owners have greater ambitions than that, as befits Aston Villa as a bigger club, but you have to admire Southampton’s owner’s successful implementation of the strategy they’ve set for themselves.
    Is it their ‘optimal’ strategy? Well If I was a Leicester supporter I’d say no, as my team has managed to sell some key players AND win the league, despite being a ‘smaller’ club and still be competing at the highest level.
    We’ll get a better picture of our current owner’s strategy as time goes on but the most positive signs are that they do at least HAVE a strategy and up to now we’ve benefitted from it

  20. Mark, rObbO
    I like what you say about the team and owners. Thinking like that should settle any fan as to where Villa is heading. Seeing what the owners have done so far it makes sense that this is their plan.
    Building around Jack like rObbO said is a risky proposition.

  21. Ian wash your mouth out with soap and water 🙂

    no way should we ever sell Jack we are a huge club with owners that want to be the best so the last thing we should do is sell a player of a generation who also happens to be villa through and through

  22. Ian,
    I agree with Runtings. Grealish leaving is not a conversation

    I like your write-ups, but comparing Villa to Leicester! Even the owners, Thai owners need profit. Our main Egyptian owner and US owner are in it to win. Granted they don’t want to throw money away, but who would in any business

  23. VillaMD. . . . me comparing Villa to Leicester?? As if!

    No I wasn’t doing that, I was just trying to demonstrate that different owners have different objectives and strategies for trying to achieve them.

    We’re fortunate that our current owners have the funds to pursue strategies that aren’t available to those of many other clubs, but that doesn’t mean that they will be willing, or able to simply spend their way to success. FFP has made that much more difficult.

    Indications so far are that they intend to use their knowledge of running sports clubs to take a steady, sustainable approach to bringing success.

    That works for me . . . . for some other, less patient fans, maybe not so much.

  24. Sky Gambling reckon West ‘Aaamm will have a plan to deal with Jack Grealish.

    Yea…..by kicking the schitt out of him like everyone else does.

  25. Never had the pleasure of seeing Maradona playing live on the pitch. He was a flawed diamond.

    But I did see the other master Pele play live down VP when his team Santos came to town. In front of 54,000. With only 3 floodlights working. We beat them.

  26. Ian,

    It’s a good debate. Gives us something to think about, and I didn’t mean anything negative.

    It’s weird how the press are jumping on Jack to Man City bandwagon again. If he does eventually leave, then I hope it’s to Spain or Italy. Would hurt to see him play for another EPL club.

    Palace vs Toon tonight. Will need a few beers to get through it, or might have better entertainment taking the dog for a walk.

    Remember when we got relegated a few years ago and Toon fans were laughing at us. How times have changed!

  27. Hey Ian, washing your mouth out with soap is a new government directive over here, mainly to be used when not agreeing with them. Just watched the traing video and jack was covered head to foot in cotton wool.

  28. VAR is so shit. Fucked Liverpool today.

    Still pisses about Brighton. They hadn’t won in 7 games. 3 home defeats in a row. Shocking.

    Wonder what smith will do to replace Barkley. Better not be Hourihane

    Play Ramsey.

    Also Trezeguet doesn’t deserve to start. Ghazi or Traore.

  29. Ghazi did fine when he came on. Trezeguet needs to be dropped because of his finishing. And the fact he doesn’t assist. Or do anything a forward should do

  30. It’s the most open bizzare season ever probably.

    If we are ever going to break top 4 or get 6th it’s this season

    Unfortunately we need January to sign more attacking quality to do that. Wd can’t have one striker and Gahzi and Trezeguet playing for us past January

    And is Smith the man to get us to Europe, i certainly don’t think so but our fans are to soft.

  31. Hush up Frem!!!
    Players like Shearer, Wright and Henri, would never have succeeded on your thought process.
    All of them , like many others have periods where nothing goes right.
    Trezeguet will hit form in the near future because he works so hard, and then everyone will want to know who he is.
    The same with managers, Ferguson was close to the sack at United, then he managed to turn a corner, and became the greatest manger in our time. Dean Smith still has a long way to go, but he is on the right road, and young enough to be a second Fergie.
    I know you must be struggling in these covid times, so I feel for your negativity, and need to repeat yourself on here, more than you normally would.
    My own thoughts with regard to your discussion point on the future of Grealish, are not that far away. Jack is obviously our greatest player asset, and when is it best to cash in. He is now 25 years old, and approaching his greatest value in terms of potential. Should we look to sell him at the end of this season, and will he have reached his maximum value. Once he passes 26 years old, how long will that value be maintained, and should we have his successor ready to step into his boots. Certainly by 27/28 years old, his value could start to decline steeply. This also has to be balanced against what the club is earning from him compared to his costs. There could be a strong possibility of him going in the summer, but I do feel that because of Jack’s love for the club, he will not be keen on a move away, unless it is to a European Giant, or to follow Miner and Barry to earn some silverware at Man City while he can.
    What I would hate to see, is Villa sell him and then waste the money on second rate players, as they have in the past when they have cashed in on our best players.
    As Frem says, we need to recruit better potential players to complement Jack, and there are plenty of outstanding young players about today.

  32. Depresses me watching Leeds. They have a a great chance off getting Europe this season.

    We are 2 points of 15th.

    We need a win or we are slowly editing down

    PP. He’s a had 100 games. He can’t hit a barn door can tell you now he won’t ever hit form. He’s absolutely dog shit

  33. Frem, 6 comments on this thread and 5 anti Trezeguet comments. It’s really getting rather silly now and spoiling this blog.
    We know what you think.
    Try reading this:
    You exhibit a really bad case of this and believe me. . . .it’s not good thing.
    It’s important in so many walks of life to be willing and able to at least ‘try’ and understand the opinions of others and why they might reach those opinions.
    I’m not even saying that you’re wrong about Trezeguet, I’m just saying that others have opinions and it’d be good if you at least ‘considered them.
    A blog full of people who won’t even consider another opinion, frankly is not worth visiting.

  34. Social media tends to work on algorithms that try and identify the views and interests of individuals and then feed them more of what interests them. It can therefore magnify pre-existing views. this, along with our own inbuilt confirmation bias leads to the sort of situation we have in the US now where we have a President and maybe a quarter of the population who against all the evidence ‘still’ refuse to believe that he lost the election.
    I do worry where this is all going to lead us.

  35. Delving back into history, there were people who didn’t see the point of Des Bremner or before that, Frank Carrodus. Trez does exactly what those two did.

  36. This quote from Dean Smith shows the intentions of the club:

    “I felt last season we had a core of five real top-drawer players. That’s probably gone up to eight or nine this season but you have to build gradually in the Premier League and, hopefully next season, we can build to have 12 or 13 but that takes time.”

    Last season, Dean Smith gained us promotion probably a year earlier than anticipated and we had to change a dozen players. Like Fulham the year before, such wholesale change, whilst trying to adapt to a new league, nearly saw us relegated.
    Our owners and manager seem to have the right ambitions for the club and now we’re looking to ‘steadily’ develop the squad and return the club to the heights we want to see.
    What’s not to like about that?

  37. Frem, you say that the fans are too soft but things really might not be as simple as you like to see them.
    Let me give you an example:
    Having taken a business from big losses back to profit, we were seeing good growth and reinvested all our profits ( plus a bit) when a major customer changed their business model and we saw some costs suddenly rise. The underlying business was still growing but we were now really tight on cash and if the underlying growth hadn’t continued we’d have lost the business.

    I know that running a football club is different, but it’s not ‘that’ different.

    It’s dangerous, and naive, to assume that the solution to everything is just spending more money. It’s also extremely easy to suggest that when it’s not your money!

    If you start from the assumption that cash is limited, then you have to start making real decisions:
    You want to replace Trezeguet? How much more will you have to spend to get the type of player you want and who will you sell to get the extra cash needed. Bear in mind that revenues are down this year so you’ll probably have to raise even more cash than you would have done last year. Maybe you could ask all the players to take a 10% cut in wages to fund it? Or perhaps plan to put season ticket prices up 10% next year instead?

    All I’m saying is that if you think the solution is really simple. . . you probably haven’t understood the question.

  38. Some excellent and wise comments R0bb0,
    Although there was only one goal in the Everton V Leeds game yesterday, I enjoyed watching it, with the intensity and pressure, never really knowing who would win, or indeed, if anyone would win.
    Some games have such fine margins these days, especially with the input of VAR with offside etc.
    We are still in a great position, and I am sure that our game with West Ham will have the same intensity tomorrow.
    We are still only six points from the top of the table, rather than six points from the bottom. These are exciting times for Villa once more, and many of us have waited a very long time for this, so please let us enjoy it, both the highs and the lows!!
    Such a positive statement from Dean Smith expressing Villa’s intention to rise from eight quality players to twelve next season, which clearly means that our intention is to retain the quality we have and recruit a further four players of quality in the close season, which is a huge statement in these difficult times.
    I do not see any January ins/outs , unless the likes of Lansbury move on. We will be replacing players whose contracts are close to ending in the next year.
    We may see some changes to the bench on Monday, as some of our under 23’s are really shining now.

  39. We need to go get Ralph Hasenhüttl

    Said before. If we want him we should get him

    Southampton should not have a better than Aston Villa do

  40. Get him before someone else does. Take us to Europe

    Potch will go to United now. We missed our chance with him to

    As a club we should always want to improve.

  41. Robbo- You might want to check your own Bias toward Trump and his supporters 🙂 What if Trumps right and they have manipulated the outcome? whether you like Trump or not doesn’t make him wrong, its not beyond the realms of possibility to rig an election. Huge turn out has been a sign in several rigged Elections along with a big postal vote. There are reports of a fire fight at a server farm in Germany between US special forces and the CIA with several killed a few days ago but no world wide coverage. They were retrieving servers that were used in the election vote count.

    Lets face it the Democrats have been denying that Trumps their President for four years, they have tried every way they can like the Russian collusion in getting him in etc to try and remove him. In our own country we have had years of the Brexit vote not counting because of XYZ and a refusal to accept the outcome and much slandering of those who voted out.

    I hope they get to the bottom of whatever is going on if indeed its happening or the consequences are that there will never be another fair election/vote. To make out its all a conspiracy theory and brushing it under the carpet is not the right thing to do, go to court and prove it or we might as well pack it all in.

  42. Mark,
    The reason conspiracy theories gain traction is that you can’t disprove them. In the case of the US election, it’s impossible to ‘prove’ that there has been no fraud. Trump has now suggested that Biden has to ‘prove’ that his 80m ballots are valid which is a totally ridiculous suggestion of course. The onus is on him and his supporters to ‘prove’ that there ‘has’ been fraud and that’s the only way these things can work.
    If there has been fraud on the scale required to change the result, then with so many people looking, and so much at stake then they really should be able to find it without too much difficulty. The fact is that up to now they haven’t, which is why increasing numbers of Republican judges, Republican election officials and Republican politicians are ‘finally’ coming out to tell Trump it’s time to show a little grace and accept defeat.
    You’re right that I desperately want to see the back of the narcissistic, misogynistic, racist, divisive, serial business failure that is Donald Trump but IF there had been any evidence of fraud I would have definitely wanted it to be very thoroughly investigated. . . . . our democracies and stable societies depend totally on our belief in the election process and our political institutions.
    There certainly are flaws in our election process. In the US, boundaries are skewed in favour of the Republicans and in the UK they are skewed in favour of Labour and in an ideal world these would be rectified but no political party has yet had the will to do it.
    In the meantime, Trump’s supporters, believing in his conspiracy theories, will continue donating towards his recounts and legal challenges (£3m purely for the recounts in two Wisconsin counties. . . .which have so far delivered 132 extra votes for Biden) whilst Trump continues to play golf (something he criticised Obama for many times despite Obama playing ‘far’ less than he has himself).

  43. Mark, I don’t understand why you don’t want to swap Dean Smith for Ralph Hasenhüttl . . . . . in the same way that I didn’t understand why you didn’t want to swap him for Chris Wilder last season when a certain person was calling for it 😉

  44. Robbo- I have no skin in the game but four years of the Democrats doing precisely what Trump is now doing plus whispers in the background about Rouge elements plus the whole Covid scenario makes these very interesting times indeed. Nobody is going to come out and say yes we cheated either as its off to the electric chair etc.

    I do hope Biden doesn’t start as many wars as Obama though or give Iran Aid, for all Trumps personal faults he wasn’t that bad. Irans top Nuclear scientist was shot the other day. You can’t help but look at all this and wonder what else is going down among the confusion.

  45. Mark, yes, whatever the reasons for it, Trump’s unwillingness to start a war has made a welcome change for an American president. Who knows whether Biden will have a similar approach but you can’t help worrying that he will revert to US type and feel that it’s his ‘job’ to impose US influence on the rest of the world.
    Having praised Trump for not starting wars, you can’t help worrying about what he’s planning for Iran right now. . . . .he could be very dangerous in his last 2 months.

  46. MK,

    The Trump nonsense is exactly that. But more than the circus of a malignant narcissist’s inability and unwillingness to grasp losing, it’s a fundamental assault on the foundation of democracy, which is the peaceful transition of power.

    Trump’s actions, including running his last grift from the Oval Office on claims no one on earth takes seriously apart from the scared idiots who voted for him, are dangerous and represent exactly what a Putin or Xi would like to see: the beginnings of a house divided irreparably against itself.

    Simply put, I’m not having the Trump crap. He’s toxic, and cares about nothing but himself. These so-called “cases” are being thrown out left, right, and center for no evidence whatsoever, even by judges appointed by him as well as other Republican state officials. His margins of defeat in these “contested” states are larger than Hillary Clinton’s were, yet the Republicans did well down-ballot.

    Quite simply, there was no fraud, rigging, or anything of the sort.

  47. Win tomorrow and Friday we go top

    That has to be enough insensitive to go win both games. Make up for 3 awful defeats at home against 3 sides we should not be losing to.

    I expect us to beat West Ham and Newcastle. Second season. Loads of moeny spent

    No excuses for Smith now

    Go and get results

  48. JC- I hope your right, Just as there was no Russian collusion and nothing against Hilary Clinton apparently. Biden is not exactly Snow white either, Politics is in a mess, you can throw whatever mud you like without consequence to suit your narrative.

    I don’t trust either side in yours or my Country. It looks to me unfortunately that the division already exists, certainly does here. It would be nice to be able to trust in what you are told but that simply is not possible anymore.

    Any word from IanG? haven’t heard from him in a while

  49. Regarding conflict during Obama’s tenure, this summary is reasonable and short. The idiot preceding Obama (who no American thought could be beaten on that front until Trump showed up) is the one who unleashed chaos by invading Iraq.


    Biden will have no interest in starting any conflicts absent direct threat/attack. There’s far too much to be done at home, and he’ll have his hands full trying to repair the damage Trump’s done to America’s alliances.

  50. MK,

    No, haven’t heard anything from IanG. I’m often playing catch-up on comments, may have scrolled past him, but I’m guessing you’d have seen him pop on.

  51. JC- No sign of him all week mate.

    Certainly makes you wonder what the world would look like if we hadn’t invaded Iraq for sure, I am guessing it would still be a mess though.

    You have to wonder how a great Country like America only has the Likes of Trump and Biden as prospective Leaders? makes no sense at all. Look at the UK, last election Boris and Corbin.

  52. MK,

    People have written all sorts of books, so, you know…there’s a lot to unpack. Bottom line, Biden is just fine. He’s a decent man with what in Western European terms are very mildly center-left positions.

    The reason he’s going to be president is that he was the only figure reassuring enough in his lack of “radicalism” to peel off voters disgusted with Trump and appeal to moderate independents. Anyone to the left of center-right—or possessed of any vision besides that of division, demonization, and fundamentalist christian hegemony—was going to vote for anyone but Trump. What the Right paints as radical in the States is what Europeans take for granted in their modern social compacts.

  53. JC- No truth to the Biden family shenanigans then? particularly surrounding his son and back handers?

    I don’t know about take for granted, the left have become very radical or are influenced by the radicals far to much, like all walks of life these days the small protest groups rule over the majority’s wishes who now suffer in silence. The right are as soft as can be these days more like liberals. How they can be painted as Nazis etc I will never know.

    I thought that letting the BLM protests get out of hand this summer was terrible and used politically, meanwhile over here right now they are protesting the Lockdown and the police response is terrible considering in the summer they were taking the knee and having a laugh while the city was vandalised and covid passed around.

    Already Mr Biden has stuck his nose into the Brexit situation and Ireland again, just like Obama did with his back of the que comments so I’m not a fan of him interfering in my countries decisions.

  54. I do wonder if any of us are close to the truth even when we appear sane. For example we used to give heartache patients 6 months bed rest laid down so we didn’t tax their hearts. One doctor started sitting them up in bed to make them feel normal and to alleviate stress and depression. He was greeted by nazi salutes and claims he was killing people. When he died they painted killer on the side of his coffin. Well turns out he was right but the groupthink was that strong and emotionally charged people could not see it.

  55. re the headline – Hell No!

    Would be something else to get 6 points out of 6 but 4 would be bloody ideal.

    Spam have one 2 or 3 on the trot and I think Adrienne is back. Point would be ok today. toon fri night must be a win though

  56. H&V,

    Interesting one. Everyone’s probably read already, but seems that Villa were practicing with Jack in the middle, taking balls from deep and spreading quickly to Traoré and Trez on either side. Also working on playing through to Watkins.

    Would seem to imply SJM and Luiz still at the base. Though if Jack does stay left, I’d be thinking I might move McGinn up, and bring Nakamba in. Dean was dropping Ramsey’s name, so at least he’s in his thinking, but doubt we’d see him start. He’d make sense in the middle, as well.

  57. H&V,

    Yeah, could well be a bit of a ruse (it was the part of training open to the press), or something for later. But most everyone’s called for it, and would get both wide players on the pitch.

    Hoping that the longer layoff means we’ll be fresh again tonight…Friday’s a bit of a quick turnaround, but who knows if that’s going to happen, atm.

  58. Apparently Traore is injured. Christ

    Can’t be Hourihane starting tonight. Just can’t be. He isn’t at the level to start Premier league games.

    Play Ramsey. Mobile

    Or move Grealish in

    But do not start Hourihane

  59. JC I think there is zero chance of an real outbreak up north , Wales having locked down early again missed the tiny second wave and now are doing it again despite no scientific evidence for lockdowns doing anything bar destitute us, it appears even intelligent people are sometimes fuckwits . Michael Yeadons Scathing report on the PCR test shows just what a crock of shit this all is, #give us our crowds back


  60. H&V. I read that if a team was ‘unable’ to put out 14 players then they would be able to call the game off. I think it was also suggested that if they could promote youth players into the squad , then they should. The FA were very keen that covid could NOT be used as a reason to call off games.
    If true, then as a principle that must be right as it puts the onus on clubs and players acting responsibly!

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