#AVL #avfc

Well, here we are. 2021, thank god. I’ll make no excuses for my over-exuberance last night, which started out innocently enough with some bubbles, a three-course carry-out to support a local restaurant, FaceTiming with the kids and old friends, then moved on to getting hijacked by our neighbors, setting off fireworks, and dipping into the White Russians. To say I was glad to see the back of dear old 2020 would be putting it mildly. And in some ways, it’s still with me.

I’d meant to pen a New Year’s message, but didn’t quite get round to it. I was thinking, “what a shit year,” and wanted to put some closure on it. As I was thinking, which can be a bit painful, I realized that it wasn’t universally shit. Villa had a very good year. As did some billionaires and Amazon.

And just like at Christmas, I took a look back and thought about how much good fortune I’ve enjoyed. Didn’t win the lottery, at least not the one with a cash payout, but when it comes to children, family and friends, I can’t say I haven’t had a winning ticket. Don’t know where I’d be without the missus.

So while 2020 was pretty heavy, and 2021 will be, too, for a while yet, we’re turning a corner. And I hope everyone reading this has weathered the storm so far. My heart goes out to all who’ve suffered losses.

I also realized how much joy something as simple and perhaps meaningless as football has brought us. Maybe it’s been nothing more than a good and necessary distraction. But I took a lot from how Deano and the boys turned things around. I enjoyed the hell out of Restart, even if I thought it was a bad idea at the time and even if almost made a wreck of me watching it. Being Villa, staying up on the last day was just about as good as winning the Champions League. Sitting 5th to start 2021? I’ve enjoyed the hell out that, too.

I really can’t say enough about Dean Smith, Compass, and this Villa squad. When I had the good fortune to meet Dean, shake his hand, and thank him for giving us back our Villa, we’d just come back up and I’d no idea it would look so precarious and then so good. I came away buzzing because he was just what you’d like him to be. He let John Terry, Christian Purslow and the rest of the coaching team walk ahead, stopped, looked me in the eye, gave me his full attention and that earnest smile of his, and thanked me for what I said.

If nothing else, I knew he was a decent and kind man. Humble, hard-working, and fully aware of how much a football team can mean to supporters. I’d missed him earlier when he dropped round the pub one night (owned by a Burnley supporter and turned over to the Villans—flags flying out front and all) and mingled with those who were there. So I was glad to catch him at the end and let him know for at least the thousandth time how nice it was to feel good about the club again and have it in capable hands.

I like this squad. I like these players. I like the way we play. I like how lessons have been learned. I like how hard they work, and I like seeing smiles on their faces when they play. They’re enjoying their football, enjoying their time at Villa Park. And they’re all putting in a shift restoring a bit of dignity to our giant and historic club after years spent years in the wilderness. I really like seeing two of our own leading the way. I really like having good owners who are intent on doing all the right things for the club.

In other words, 2020 wasn’t a complete loss. Villa had my full attention all year and they didn’t disappoint. My wife’s a bit tired of hearing about it, but she’s seen how much suffering football can inflict, how many hours I’ve spent trying to make sense of soul-crushing losses, how little fun it can be continuing to try and remain optimistic sitting at the keyboard when it really does look like more disappointment is inevitable.

What I can say is thank you again, Dean. Thank you Villa. And thank you to all who read and contribute. I like this. I like the banter, I like the differing perspectives, I like the respect we show each other. I really enjoy seeing Villans from all over the globe popping in. A bit like working the bar at a pub and knowing it’s a little spot where people can gather and forget their other cares for a bit. Or cry in their beers.

Today? Well, I hope we make a fist of it and continue to battle without fear. I quite enjoy knowing that whether the performance gives us the result we want, the side will give it their all.

So here’s to 2021, and here’s to having our club back. I do believe the future is bright.

Up The Villa and over to you.

Comments 242

  1. An excellent leader JC,

    You cannot over emphasise how much football has helped to offer a break from what is going on around us, and give fans , especially Villa fans , something to look forward to, which is something I definitely am doing tonight.

  2. Thanks Jc a great leader and yes there is always a good side to find.

    Some things don’t change straight off the pundits asked if jack could play for a team like Utd? Answer is no he doesn’t want to

    Mings in and no Barkley still.

  3. Poor in the final third, wasting dead ball opportunities, and why are we not taking opportunities??
    Douglas Luiz used to have a great shot, and was good at dead ball kicks, but now he doesn’t bother.
    I am sure he could be more useful when he goes forward, and put some shots in.

    Need to step up in the second half, or we are going to be struggling to stay in the game.

  4. Might see it change up. Been trying to hit Watkins long, not coming off. Bit loose with the ball, and like PP says, the final pass has been missing.

    Good effort, and combative. But not quite on song.

  5. Always feared that Villa would be mentally tired and this would be a game too far.

    A lot is being made of our one win at OT. Got to remember that utd had no defence that day with Michael Carrick at C/H. That was a game too far for utd that day.

  6. I thought the penalty was unlucky . . . but fair
    But you’re right Mark, united’s fouling was incessant and the referee a bit too tolerant

  7. Too poor in front of goal, too many opportunities missed, United teaching us to shoot on sight.
    We did ok, but still have a way to go to match United and Liverpool.

    Jack needs to move the ball a little quicker and realise that he is not going to get every foul. However, a good effort , although some players seemed to be missing tonight.

  8. Not wrong r0bb0, but that is what game management is about, tonight’s referee is one who lets the game flow, and doesn’t give out many cards. Another ref books and blows at every opportunity. In the United collected the cards, whereas I don’t think Villa had a single card.

  9. Robbo- watched the pen again and luiz doesn’t really foul him the contacts minimal and pogba kicks his own calf harsh considering they can watch it in slow motion

  10. Mark, I’d thought that Luiz clipped Pogba’s leg which brought him down, but having seen it several times now it looks as if Pogba cleverly moved his left leg over to make it ‘look’ as if Luiz caught him.
    Having said that it was hard to judge and you can see why the referee gave it in real time. The decision wasn’t ‘obviously’ wrong in VAR replays so it was right not to overturn it.

  11. Yeah, very dodgy pen, ref should’ve had a look. Ended up being the difference on the score sheet.

    But we battled, made chances. Looked to me that maybe the fatigue had caught up a little bit. Poor start, and just not quite coming away with it or getting the right weight on balls.

    Good game from Emi. There ought to be a team accumulation red card. That was a bit ridiculous, they were hanging on.

  12. You can see why DS thinks it wasn’t a penalty but I still don’t think it was clearcut one way or the other.
    If it hadn’t been given in real time I don’t think they’d have overturned it on VAR as an ‘obvious’ error either.

  13. Well r0bb0, we were robbed on the penalty, as Pogba tripped after catching Luiz’s calf, and tripping himself.

    The next question could be whether that is Jack’s last game for Villa, and will we be getting Pogba and Tuanzebe as part of a deal with United???

  14. At the start of the season, VAR may well have overturned it. Need to be looking to some of our youngsters to find a place on the bench.

    I still think that we should take up Rugby rules on yellow cards, and put players in the sin bin for ten minutes, and then the number of yellows would be cumulative.

  15. I meant to say last night. . . .really nice write up. It was particularly good to hear confirmation of the impression Dean Smith gives out of a genuine personality who likes to put others forward.
    Last night it was good to see his frustration and clear belief that we could and should have got something out of that game. It confirmed that we now have a management and playing staff who ‘believe’ that we belong at the top of the football tree again and will do all that’s needed to get there. Yes, he’ll temper fan’s ambitions by repeating that there’s a long term plan and we’re still in the foothills, but underneath those realistic words is a man with high ambitions for this club. . . . . .and an impatience to get there as fast as possible.

  16. Robbed. It wasn’t a dodgy penalty because it never was a penalty. I don’t blame the ref because he saw it in real time. But VAR clearly showed in the short time we saw it, that Pogba tripped himself up. Deliberately or accidentally we’ll never know.

    Media chatter last night from neutrals all over the country said the same thing. VAR is schitt and unfit for purpose. It serves only to advance the needs of the few preferred clubs at the expense of everyone else. Nobody countrywide was in any doubt that it would have been a different outcome at the other end.

  17. The game itself was excellent. Villa were impressive. It’s a game we might have won on another day. If only we could get El Gassy and Traore to put in the kind of shift that the others put in, we’d be title contenders.

  18. I now have some serious doubts about Barks. He does seem to carry the curse of injuries. It’s not what Villa need right now. It’s the FA cup up next and I can’t see him being risked for that. Will he be back against Spurs?

  19. A dodgy pen which the ref should of gone to the screen and looked at instead of letting it back up his own decision. And the other goal a bit of a freak occurrence after we got caught on the break.

    Loved the comments from Andy Cole about us and Jack. I think us and utd are the youngest teams in the prem so very impressive from both.

  20. Great second half. Enjoyed the game. Was a bit loose with our passing and that extra quality in the final third was the difference for me. But bloody hell we have come so far in a short space. Very interested to see if we decide to add a bit more quality now with the league so tight. If we had genuine competion think Watkins would of been taken off more or rested more. Starting to look a but leggy. Entirely understandable, first time playing in prem and also playing a key role for us. Think Barkley is a massive miss for Ollie, gives him more support and is less isolated

  21. How many points have United taken off Villa during the Premier league with dubious decisions, especially penalties?

    United have had something like 38 penalties out of their last fifty -eight goals.

    Would Elmo have faired better in the end up against Luke Shaw with his experience?

    Everyone gave as much as they could, but could we have been a little wiser in our fight up against Shaw, Martial and Pogba?

    Mings unfortunate to head against Martial for a simple goal.

    How will we prepare for Liverpool and a cup run, or will we just decide to concentrate on the league this year?

  22. Plug,

    DS said Barkley will be back for Spurs, he just didn’t have enough training to risk him.

    Watching Gers vs Celtic. Thank God we didn’t sign Edouard. He doesn’t look as good as Davis, never mind being valued at £40m.

    It was a disappointing result last night, but the players attitude in the 2nd half was excellent. Man Ure players celebrated like they won the World Cup afterwards. I guess that shows how lucky they know they got

  23. Unfortunately we cannot Ignore that in many games Cash has been up against it. The difference as it is for Targett is the man in front of him affording him some cover and him not being pulled in 2-3 directions.

    Traore was coming back sometimes but then when caught upfield he ambled back. When he was actually back his body positioning and where his eyes get pulled to are all wrong from a defensive point of view.

    Funny enough looks similar to Targett last year who now has the hang of it. Even if he had just stuck to Shaw it would of made all the difference.

    Still if Watkins had lifted that header an inch it would all be different, same with several other chances that had their keeper stretching. Martinez didn’t look to stretched despite the umpteen shots.

  24. PP- thought that when we played them, quality, would suit us.

    Brighton on 13 points in 17th after 16 games, at that point last season we were on 15 in 17th . Sheffield on 2 points is unbelievable. An extra 11 points for us this season, 3 wins and a draw somehow doesn’t seem like much but obviously is.

  25. PP was bemoaning the number of penalties that United are given so I thought I’d take a quick look and in fact Leicester have received more so far this season, with 10 followed by United’s 6. Looking back a couple more years however, shows that over the past 3 seasons, United have indeed received the most on 32, with Leicester second on 24 and as far as I can see, Liverpool, Man City and Chelsea all on 17. Crystal Palace have had 16 and then it’s down to Brighton 13, Southampton and Arsenal on 12, and Spurs on 11.
    You might expect teams at the top of the table who are getting into the box more to gain more penalties so it’s not surprising that some of the top teams are awarded the most penalties but the disparity between United and Leicester in second with 25% fewer and then particularly Spurs; with almost two thirds fewer than United starts to feel as if there IS something else going on.
    Are referees really biased in favour of United, or is it that the United players are trained to cheat?
    Last night Pogba was heard to berate a team mate for ‘not’ diving for a penalty and having seen that certainly does add weight to the thinking that yes. . . . .Pogba cheated for the penalty

  26. It’s funny…Don’t think Pogba knew too much about it, though yes, he did appear to be telling Luke Shaw he should’ve gone down.

    To me, it was just Luiz staying tough and tight while Pogba had his arm across his neck. Running side-by-side, Pogba’s leg catches Luiz’s calf on a planted leg, and then that causes him to trip himself. There was foul, just two players tight up. Dougie didn’t stick a leg in or anything.

    But they get those calls against us, like Bruno stepping on Konsa’s shin, again on a leg planted before he tries to make his move. Could’ve broken Ezri’s leg, so of course it’s a penalty to United for us not backing off and letting them have their way.

    The accumulation of fouls was ridiculous, Ollie saying “Villa are a physical team.” Bollocks. I read, but haven’t confirmed, that Fernandes in post-match comments said they wanted to foul us to keep us from playing. They did manage to accomplish that part of their plan.

  27. What’s really aggravating is that United are a talented side. If they’re playing well, you’ve got your hands full. They certainly don’t need help from the officials when opponents are managing to give them a real challenge, and fairly. However it would’ve played out had the call been reversed we’ll never know, but no team deserves to lose that way if we’re going to be reviewing things in slow motion and everyone else in the world can clearly see what happened. Apart from the United fans on Twitter.

  28. Robbo- makes you wonder how Villa with the most fouled player in the prem ever don’t get a raft of pens doesn’t it. We have had a whole lot not even looked at let alone given, I wonder if thats the norm? don’t watch many other teams to know.

  29. What’s the team for the cup then? Got to be a complete change for me to relieve the congestion of fixtures. With a couple of youngsters we can field a fairly decent side.


    Fred Engels Hause Taylor

    Ramsey Marv connor

    Elmo/traore Davis Trez/ a n other

    Bench – wonder kids plus 1st back up

    Barkley might be risked but?

  30. Dean has already indicated that Heaton will probably get his first game against Liverpool, along with several others, and that Liverpool will be making changes too.

    Likely team:

    Heaton Elmo Hause, Mings, Taylor, Ramsey, Nkamba, Hourihane, Trezeguet, Davis, Philogen-Bidace,
    Subs: Steer, Guilbert, Cash, Targett, Konsa, Luiz, McGinn, Grealish, Traore.

    United have been a dubious outfit from the beginning of the Premiership, and their ability to influence referees, or have we forgotten things like Fergie time, the worst case being when they were losing, and Bruce managed to score two goals in added time which was around 9 minutes for no logical reason, which then changed the dynamics of the league.

    Their physical side has been brought back in, as it disappeared for a time, but in Roy Keane’s time, was always present. Neville basically said the same about bullying your opponents. United players only cut down their diving when refs started booking players on a regular basis, but when was the last time a referee booked a player for diving. Now the attitude is that a player is entitled to go down if he is touched!

  31. PP…..I personally thought Man Ure kicked anything that moved in the last 15 minutes of the game to ensure victory. And they got away with it. I’m very angry at their preferential treatment. The EPL could clean it up immediately if they wanted to but there is obviously another agenda.

    You’re probably accurate with your team selection for the Cup game. Our guys do need a rest.

  32. Cannot believe there is not a single sniff of any transfer news anywhere at the moment. Is this because of the covid restrictions, and the pundits are struggling to reach their sources?

  33. Loving what villa are at the moment we went for it against some quality players that are doing very well themselves at the moment and are further down the road than us in terms of squad development and progression
    and of course we never come close to beating anyway traditionally

    There doesnt seem to be much room to add to our sqaud without players leaving first
    Looking forwards to the fa cup vs pool would be nice to see a few of the youngsters that are been talk about with some hype

    think pogba is a different gravy footballer and he made man u flow against us but equally thought we played well we just dont have that incisive cutting edge yet but i thnk it will come in time … jack should have had a few assists

  34. Plug, the Man United foul play stepped up an extra notch when Matic came on. It did seem quite deliberate at the time so it’s not surprising to have that confirmed.
    In fact this season they have only been the 5th worst offenders so far with Spurs being the worst (wouldn’t be surprising to hear that Mourinho coaches the ‘professional’ foul).
    Look back another two seasons though and Man United have been the second worst foulers in both of the them. It’s stretching things to imagine that they’ve been one of the top 5 dirtiest teams three seasons running by chance, so either referees are picking on them (decide for yourselves) or they consistently play dirty.
    The average number of fouls per game is usually around 11 and they doubled that total against us so they really did excel themselves.
    I suppose if you’re looking for a positive, it just shows the pressure that we put them under that they couldn’t beat us by fair means so had to resort to foul.

  35. PP. . . .you’re right . . . .so quiet on the transfer front!
    To be honest that’s all good as far as I’m concerned as so much shit is talked by people and websites that think they know something, or are just seeking attention and clicks.
    The one transfer that is being talked about of course is Jack Grealish who was certainly off to Spurs, two seasons ago, then certainly off to Man United last season and now is off to Man United once again.
    He can see now that the owners and management team really are shooting for the stars so it would seem an odd time for him to walk out on the club.

  36. r0bb0,
    Yes I am pleased too that it is quiet, and maybe business this January will be a little different, with very little change.
    I don’t see much movement at all at Villa, maybe an odd in or out, but little else.
    Like you, I would be very surprised for Jack to take a chance on moving before the summer. He will want be certain that his future is limited at Villa before taking a chance elsewhere. He has seen too often players making moves that do not work out, and would need to be guaranteed playing time.

  37. Mark love the look of that youngster .. you can see how intelligent he is by how he beats the press and he likes to run with the ball like many of our current team … yes pls

  38. Runtings I was thinking the same, at one point he redirects the ball into an onrushing players path into the box with such ease, takes great awareness and technique.

  39. He looks very good MK, but lots of clubs after him, if Villa win the race it would be excellent.

    Christian Purslow has put things in perspective for us now, pointing out that we are losing £1million every home game, so we need to be very careful in our spending to stay viable. This is where the Man Utd, Liverpool and Man City teams gain, because the world wide support spending and sponsorship make the difference, and they continue to make money, as well as having strong financial reserves.

  40. PP, AVFC is not losing 1 million each home game. But it is losing 1 million in revenue each home game. There’s a difference. If outgoings over the year are less than income, then we’re in profit. Purslow is saying we’re 20 million down over the year on income. And that hurts for sure.

    Some of that lost revenue will be made up by finishing higher in the table. Approximately 1.25 million per place was it last year? That will help.

    But Villans everywhere are the first to say we want a sustainable club. There are multiple ways to achieve it. Such as off-loading the deadwood. Ensuring we don’t take on more deadwood. Finishing higher in the table. Reaching European qualification. Increased revenue from overseas supporter bases. Producing more Jack’s for little outlay that will eventually lead to net positive transfer costs.

    But Compass know all of this and more. We’re in safe hands. The Jan window has always been for the desperate clubs. We are not one of those this Jan.

  41. Spot on Plug,

    The point I was trying to make is that we are a sustainable club, but throwing millions at the transfer market when we are losing substantial revenue, is not an answer. In fact, it is not an answer at anytime.

    Fortunately, we have very little deadwood these days compared with the past. It is such a breath of fresh air to have the owners we have now, who are willing and wanting the club to move forward.
    Have just been watching a podcast, Villa Extra, put out by Claret & Blue along with Villans Together. It is good to see that there is a group working hard to help diversity in the community to be able to enjoy the game of football through Aston Villa.

  42. Amazing performance by Southampton tonight. Wouldn’t mind having Ward-Prowse, Ings and Bertrand on our bench! Not players that are in our range at the moment, but good to see their youngsters playing their part to secure the victory.

    Will this now make Liverpool an easier opponent to face in the cup, or will they be looking for a result for the fans. If they want so save their best for the Man Utd game, will the team they put out have a point to prove??
    Villa will hopefully be more than ready to win this game, and could be the start of a good cup run, only Dean Smith knows what plan can bring the right result.

  43. As a matter of interest a tweet from our right back when he was 15 years old:
    A tweet of Cash’s has emerged from October 28 2012 after the incident, in which he wrote ‘Another ref supporting Man U’ accompanied by the hashtag ‘oh dear’.

    That fixture is quite the memorable on, the Red Devils dealt Chelsea their first loss of the season in a 3-2 win that was overshadowed by the Blues having two men sent off.

    Obviously opinions on United have not changed much…..

  44. Did VAR’s first involvement in last night’s Carabao Cup semi-final spoil the game and affect the result, after ruling Brentford’s equaliser offside?
    Certainly, for me, it brought home the desire to not have VAR, as it seemed to spoil a good game. However, was it right to call out the red card incident. Another difficult one, but a more serious one than many challenges that have overturned yellow cards and made them red ones.
    In the end maybe the result was the right one, and Spurs go marching on under the “Special One”.
    It certainly shows that we will have a tough game on our hands. but one we can win.

  45. Interesting that it was De Silva’s first card. He had not even had a yellow card before, and is a very clean player, and the incident was caused through the way he uses his left leg for balance.

    Rico Henry had another outstanding performance, as did Sissoko for Tottenham, a player that got away when we refused to pay the money, and he went to the toons.

  46. Frem- you must be gutted at the lack of transfers, all I have seen across all of the prem is one low grade transfer from manure to Brentford and loans going out.

  47. Reports this morning reckon Snoddy is moving from West ‘Aammm to the yam yams for the remainder of his existing contract. It keeps one place open for Big Sam to bring in a single loan. They’re doomed Mainwaring I tell you, doomed.

  48. vivavilla- I knew it would be mate, from not reading through loads of frems comments to next to no comments at all 🙂

    Looks like we have had a significant covid outbreak at BMH several 1st teams involved. Thats our next few weeks and my Fantasy league team plans Fucked.

  49. hmmm when are we going to fit these games in! I reckon they need to be firmer with the rules. if you have 14 available you play. end of. at the moment it depends on individual cases (who you are)!

    Is footy heading towards a circuit break? bloody hope not

  50. Yep, looks like we are going into postponement mode. We’ll be no different to the other teams that have been there before us.

  51. How to waste money. The dildo bros must be spitting vipers after agreeing to sell Haller for 20 million just 18 months after paying 45 million for him. And there’s Purslow worried about the loss of 20 million income from gate receipts.

    Millions are wasted on average Joe’s and their agents who are just crocodiles.

  52. Shame about the outbreak.

    Can’t say I care about the cup tie, but hope everyone turns out alright.

    Bigger scheduling concern are the following fixtures, and what shape the players are in. Can’t say they didn’t need a rest, but obviously experience may vary in terms of degree of illness/fatigue, etc.

  53. 656, I assume the game going ahead tonight is driven more by the TV money on offer than any of our undoubted class.

    The game against Spurs next Weds is a different matter though. I reckon that fixture is duck soup.

    Why the football clubs don’t get all of their players inoculated instead of paying continual costs associated with testing, is beyond me.

  54. U23 and U18 squads tonight. I hope Louie Barry and Aaron Ramsey were not training with the 1st team.

    I heard that 1st team squad will not be allowed to play until Jan 15, so Spurs game will be canceled. I’ve a feeling that we’re going to see a lot of cancellations

  55. Yeah, looking like U-23s, U-17s, U-12s…Yesterday I was seeing talk of postponement.

    But fair play, and no whinging from Villa. Like I say, don’t give a toss about the cups with fixture congestion, etc. Wondering how influential Lansbury will be.

  56. Spud says it’s morally wrong to continue playing whilst Covid infections are rising.

    Since when did football have any morals? Maybe back in the days of Jimmy Greaves but none since big money joined in.

  57. And now Mourinho talking about how it’s impossible to reschedule Villa with all Spurs’ commitments.

    I say cancel the cups, first. If Spurs refuse to play and want a forfeit, we should get one for Newcastle. It’s not like we don’t already have games in hand to be fit in.

  58. For the first time in a long while I have some sympathy for Mourinho’s view on things. I reckon the Scottish FA got it right when they proposed that defaulting teams would be adjudged to have lost 3-0. They backed down under pressure but now I’ll bet they’re starting to wish they’d stuck with it.

    It was adjudged that football could be isolated from the virus and it was therefore safe for games to be played again and let’s face it, we benefitted from completing last season. Having made that judgement though, it’s incumbent on the clubs to make sure that everyone complies with all the rules and does their best to avoid the sort of problems we’re now experiencing. If a club fails to do that then they pay the penalty. I felt that we should have been given the Newcastle game and if we can’t play on Wednesday then Spurs should win that one.

  59. Robbo- that works if you think people can magically avoid the Virus for ever, I don’t think you have to disobey rules etc to be unfortunate enough to get it.

    A lot depends on health at any one point in time when you come into contact. There will be millions that go through this without getting symptoms and maybe even without getting it at all. Its a bit of a lottery and having multiple games quickly will lower immunity and the chance of getting it rises. We might actually all have it in our systems by now ( we always have billions anyway of all types) just a case of when your feeling lower than normal.

  60. Yeah, I tend to agree that getting it at this point (with a much more transmissible variant) is basically a crapshoot. Then once one player or staff member gets it, who knows. That was always the argument, having that many people together in that kind of environment was going to cause problems sooner or later.

    That’s why I say for fixture congestion, start with scrapping the cups. I know it’s silverware, but if the integrity of the league (which is the biggest cash cow) is so important, then that has to be the priority.

    Europe? I dunno. If other countries’ clubs aren’t having the same problems, then…? If they are, well, what can I say. All extra games they’ve elected to play for the money (except the 3-4 clubs who actually stand a chance of winning…and even then, while a wonderful accomplishment) it’s still all about the money, branding, and appeal to talent.

    At some point, they’re going to have to choose between fielding the U23s for a CL game or West Brom.

  61. I was jumping around my living room

    Barry is a talent

    Rowe looks a quality left back. Better than Taylor

    The 3 in midfield look tall and athletic

    The left sided centre back looks so calm

  62. Honestly I thought this would be double figures

    Deleney must be the proudest man in the world

    Dean Smith to will be watching

    He will certainly group these together when hes allowed back at BMH and have a word with them

  63. Klopp wanted to absolutely hammer us tonight

    Even if it ends 3/4 – 1 we’ve don’t excellent

    I hope in the future we gives these lads a proper chance ans not just leave them

  64. Frem told you mate , its all in hand, next two years looking very good for us.

    jbd656 what say you now sir? I’m loving it, so want these lads to embarrass the wankers

  65. Mark. Ye. Maybe

    I was thinking we need a back up left back but I think we’ve found one in Rowe

    Barry could play up front in the first team at this rate.

    They have been so great

    Very very proud

  66. Louie Barry. Class finish.

    Klopp’s got to be fuming. All that whinging about fixture congestion and he’s got Mane, Salah, Wijnaldum, Henderson, Fabinho out there. Tosser.

  67. You know I’m enjoying watching this more than if the likes of Taylor, marvelous, hourihane l, Elmo, Davis etc would have played tonight

  68. CV. Yes. I hope we develop ans use this group of lads correctly

    Thing is we have the better youngsters out

    Ramsey brother would have played and another centre mid who apparently is the best 16 year old in the country

  69. This is doing AVFC no harm at all, its going to be interesting next half .

    Frem have some faith you are very lucky to be seeing this, been 40 years for me

  70. I actually watched villa under 18s 18 months ago against Stratford upon avon. We lost 2-0

    Reven played and we lost 2-0 wnd got bullied

    He’s came on massively since then

  71. We’ve been excellent since we conceded the 4th

    I thought the flood gates would be open but we settled again

    Very very well done boys

    Absolutely excellent

  72. Laughing my tits off at the pundits explaining why the league champs struggled against our third string, not a lower league men’s team, a bunch of very talented kids.

    so bloody proud

  73. Surely Barry makes oir bench now? And a couple of others?

    No need for Taylor and _ defenders on our bench and Davis as the only attacking player?

    Ee know Taylor, emo. Hourihane have no future so surely some youngsters make our bench if we aren’t signing anyone

    Deleney said they knew Barry would score if he getsa chance

    Watkins can’t hit a barn door at the moment so why not?

  74. So proud of our boys tonight. They were outstanding against the Champions of Europe!!!!
    We have so much to look forward to from these lads, if we can nurture them properly, and some of the best were missing, including Ramsey bros, and Philogen-Bidace, because they had to be in isolation with the first team squad, as they room together!!!

  75. Special mention for Louie Barry, and the way in which he took his opportunity to make sure Villa went in at half-time holding the mighty Liverpool to a draw.

  76. Well somebody has to say it. Delaney, the loss was down to you. From 55 to 60 minutes, we looked worn out and started to struggle as they brought on their first team squad. Time for 5 subs from our bench. It happened a little too late. Five minutes earlier with the subs and Clipperty would have been spitting feathers.

  77. But it has to be said as others already have. We have some great youngsters. Barry, Bridge, Hayden and Revan all looked excellent. The others did brilliant too. They just need more exposure to this level of opposition. Clipperty was bricking it at half time.

  78. I’m proud of these kids. Pure football. They only conceded 2 fouls all game. There was me shouting kick that bastard Salah and Henderson. Alas they were too nice. The dark arts are for future years.

  79. Runtings- maybe mate but Barry is 17 and doesn’t look a man yet, Rooney at 16 was, a lot can happen in a year growth wise. I also don’t think Liverpool were bullying them much maybe because they realised they were kids in the back of their minds. Barry would get far more thrown at him in the Prem would be my guess. He is without doubt the business.

  80. Mark Barry skinned the pool backline with a more accomplished finish the any of our current strikers are applying

    he is very young but his abilty is huge so playing with phyically strong team mates should allow him to do his thing more

    not saying he should start but he would be exciting off the bench i am sure he would soon get used to the level

    Rowe is strong enough was super impressed with him

  81. The question now is how much longer can we keep Barry out the first team sqaud? Apparently he’s the best finisher at theclub according to Terry.

    Our strikers aren’t scoring. Watkins misses a lot, Davis can’t score and Barry has had 1 chance against Liverpool and finished it with absolute composure

    If we need a goal in a game, who would you rather be on the end of it? Davis or Barry? Im not sure the club can ignore Barry after this, especially as our back up striker scoring record is non existent.

    Unless we are going to sign another striker its probably time for him to be in the sqaud.

    Reven has very good stats from last night

    I hope the club don’t wait until these are 21/22 to give them 10 minutes of first team football now and then

    Let’s get them first team football at 18/19.

  82. Runtings. Agree. I don’t see why Barry shouldn’t be in the squad now

    He will get chances up front and he’s definitely more clinical than Davis

  83. I think last night has proberbly saved the club a lot of future spending especially defenders as the back line are all over 20 yrs old .. hopefully they have shown that room needs to be left for them to get some 1st team football in the near future

    midfield are very young some may need to go out on loan next season

  84. Not being funny lads but the defence as well as they blocked, tackled and understood formation could not stop 5ft 7 inch Mane scoring two headers. Are they better at this point than what we have? I don’t think so.

    Barry does not have the Physique to play like Watkins, Davis or Wesley, considering we play with one up top I am not sure how or where he would play for us at this point. Not saying he can’t nick a goal from the bench now but I cannot see us changing the entire game plan at this point having spent £30m on Watkins.

    Pretty sure if Watkins had got one on one with the Liverpool defence he would score too, oh hang on he did three times in one half and should of had 5.

    I’m all for getting the youth minutes and I think many will but not loads this season barring problems. We saw last night that they don’t have the stamina that the 1st have yet.

    Exiting times ahead but all in good time.

  85. I certaInly havent suggested dropping our current first team who are themselves young to this and growing at this level .. just that there are a few kids i expect will be joining the big boys team next season the latest

    a good lge cup run would be great for them next season
    on barry i think he has the ability to make an impact mostly off the bench to begin with .. boys gonna be some player

  86. Runtings- didn’t for one minute think you did bud, I think by next window we will have lost Elmo, Taylor, Lansbury and maybe even Barkley. Conor, Marv, Engels and fred could look to move if they don’t get pitch time this year as well. Even Luiz could be off.

    It will then depend on where the youth are at as to how we will approach the market I would think. Very likely that some will pad the squad out.

  87. Nobody saying they should be starting, but they should be filing the squad now

    I’m sure Barry would have scored some of the chances Watkins has missed also. He should at very least be on our bench

    Mark, Mane is very good in the air. The two lads at centre back were excellent really to what they were up against. Bridge will be a good player and Reven can back up Konsa now

    We might as well ship Taylor l, hourihane Engles out this this month. Id rather Rowe be on the bench than Taylor.

    The chance Davis had at the death against Manchester United, Barry probably puts it away

  88. Sylla looks a powerful centre mid also and will only get bigger.

    The other good thing about probably not playing Wednesday is the rest ww needed l, especially Watkins. He looked shattered last couple of games l, especially towards the end

  89. As I said, I don’t think the club can not put Barry on our bench now

    Especially when it consists of 5 defenders most the time.. It won’t hurt to have him on our bench

  90. Mark. Didn’t say that but I bet he’s more clinical than Watkins who has missed a lot of chances.

    Apparently we want Brooks. Yes please

    Traore and Brooks for our right side. That’s more like it. Move Trezeguet on who I imagine the club may off realised he just isn’t producingx especially since Ghaizi and Traore have come in.

    Hope we get a striker, also.. Loan Davis out

  91. Apparently we want a 19 year old from Reading to with an 8 million buy out clause. Can play wing or CAM. Looks skillfull and quick and mobile. Would suit how we play.. Hourihane definitely off

    Smith wants young players apparently


  92. Frem- its hard to compare watkins and Barry as Barry has next to no adult career, Watkins has scored throughout his since he was 16 in mens football. More clinical given the same chances? nah a lot have been headers.

  93. Frem,

    Good to see you back

    Agreed that we should try to ship out Engels and Conor. I’m not sure why we signed Engels as for me he’s just big and slow. Conor on the other hand – great player for us, but not a player for top 8 teams.

    I wrote previously, but for me …, go get Buendia for £30m. Please do not sign foreign league players, and especially that numb-nut winger from Kosovo playing in Germany.

    I’m not concerned with a striker. We can play false 9 like City. Imagine;

    Grealish, Buendia, Barkley
    Luiz, SJM

    That’s a top 4 lineup

  94. Villamd- Engels came here with more experience at the top level than any of our CB’s thought he was reasonable and had a decent enough passing range . Last season that was a ploy we used the long pass out to the wings as I assume DS thought we would struggle to string passes together straight off. That is my guess on Engels anyway. Might look ok now with cash in there.

  95. frem

    I saw the links to brooks and that reading lad. Hope it’s true. I really rate brooks and the reading lad is apparently class.

    but we have trez and troare for the right, not sure if it adds up. brooks can play number 10 though.

  96. barkley is now not a dead cert for me. Do we try and sign him or not? 27 nearly 28 will most prob miss 3 months every season. Wages and transfer fee will be high too.

    But for us would be quality when he plays almost guaranteeing us to stay up! And keeps jack happy

  97. hey Mark

    dont agree with that forest fella myself . funn how its white people that seem to be backing his view and this with no explination of why he is against taking the knee
    Sol Cambell doesnt agree with it but ths is because he says actions speak louder than words and the club he works for have put him in a high position and made steps to employ a good amount of non white people at the club so they are prp active which is something that is rare in football
    When kids aeround the world watch players they love take the knee i starts a very important conversation that kids growing up in a mainly institutionally racist world can prehaps be part of the beginning of the end of racism

    i am black born in the midlands i was having a convo re all this with a mate who is white he has been stop by the police 3 times in his life and was discssing the olympic black athlete that got stop 40 times plus in a month recently this a small example of what black people continue to have to negotiate

  98. Runtings- No problem with showing solidarity its the automatic assumption that if your white you are guilty of racism these days and nobody else is that bugs me. In fact White and Male makes you a second class citizen in some people eyes.

    I do take exception to BLM because they are not what they seem or are being portrayed as, they are a Marxist outfit and are using the situation which he is correct to point out . I get that some don’t see this side.

    I also don’t think taking the knee is helpful, I would not ask anyone to bow down to me to show respect, might be a man thing 🙂 The whole thing seems to be more divisive than a way forward.

    I would say most white people just want to get on with their lives and don’t think about racism from one minute to the next.

    I see Sterling is saying its a lack of black role models in the game at management level that is holding coaches back? just highlights that they identify as Black before anything to me. That for me is the problem, we are put in boxes and not seen as individuals, in fact we put ourselves into them.

  99. Mark either you are missing the point or unable to except the point being made

    the movement is not about black vs white it is simply about justice and fareness .. it is speakng out against real things that only effect people of a certain hertige .. it is about putting a stop the the legal linching of black people in the states which has gone on for 400 years and with views simular to yours and much worst view will continue for another 400

    the black person that i am and my black family and friend do not give a flying f about colour but we are will to fight for equality .. it doesnt benifit everyone to change the status quo of course

  100. Mark, I agree that there are problems with the BLM movement however I’ve never seen taking the knee before games in England as signifying approval of the BLM movement, instead I see it purely as recognition that racism still exists in football and society.

    Things may have improved but there is still a hell of a way to go and the start point needs to be an acceptance of that fact.
    It’s easy for us to think that all’s well because we don’t feel racist ourselves and rarely see overt racism towards others. Many non white people in this, and other countries however will frequently have very different experiences.

    It came home to me recently when I read an article by Nadiya Hussain who won Bake off a few years ago who said that she is ‘always’ stopped when she travels to and from the US.
    She said that she was scared to call out racism in the TV industry and she didn’t want to be accused of complaining.

    “speaking out is hard, because if I ever feel like I’m complaining about anything, I have this god-awful fear that nobody will want to work with me ever again. So I’m really scared.”
    “The times that I have called it out, I’ve met with some serious negativity.”

    It’s hard for us as white people to appreciate how pervasive and destructive racism can be because we don’t experience it in our own lives but it’s real. . . . and taking the knee feels to me like an important recognition that ‘we know things aren’t right and we want people to change’.

  101. If I was stopped every time I went through customs I’m pretty sure I’d start to feel unwelcome and resentful. The only time it’s happened to me was back in the early eighties on my first visit to Australia. Ok, I was backpacking and may have looked a bit disreputable but the search, and aggressive use of snarling Alsatian dogs was pretty intimidating. We’d arrived in the middle of the night and were trying to nap on some seats, waiting for the dawn. There was an Aussie family nearby and their young son kept walking past us, within earshot of his parents saying “Pommie bastards” as he walked past. I experienced ‘friendly’ and unfriendly racism a few times after that and although it is nothing like the racism experienced particularly by some young black guys here, it did give a small taste of what it must feel like.

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