I had a post ready about the FA Cup, but my shoulder started acting up so I’ve stayed away from the keyboard for a bit. Several days later, not quite as fresh, and Villa’s covid crisis has taken center stage. Spurs is obviously postponed, sorry Fulham, and we’ll see what we’ve got to work with against the Toffees on Sunday. Maybe. I’m hoping the players come through unscathed and can come back quickly (unlike Saint-Maximin at Newcastle, who’s been out more than six weeks now). Our first fixture back might be a bit of a throwaway.

The last time we did play, the casual fan probably wouldn’t have known many of the names on the Villa shirts lining up against Liverpool, but the youngsters drafted in to face the champions in a Covid-hit cup tie gave their all and earned a credible 1-4 defeat to the reigning champions. It was good to see the pride, and also good to see a continuity in style. The ‘kids’ acquitted themselves very well.

Obviously the highlight of the evening was Louie Barry calmly slotting home past Kelleher after skinning Rhys Williams to equalize. A lovely counter, and a very, very cool finish. You can understand the hype. Odoni made a number of good saves, and Dominic Revan impressed and stole the show in the second half. Ben Chrisene came away being labeled a “mini Gareth Barry.” You could go on and on.

All the accolades are more than deserved. There have to be a lot of proud players and parents.

S0, rather than continue to add to all the well-deserved praise they’ve received, I’ll talk about a couple big-picture things.

Boys versus Men
The most obvious for everyone was the boys versus men aspect, which isn’t just age. There’s experience, physiques, and training. Years of accumulated fitness, and all the work built into bodies that most youngsters just can’t have at their ages. There was Liverpool’s closing down and strength on the ball, control, passing. All obvious, all to be expected. Some looked closer to what you expect of a top-flight in terms of muscle mass and physique than others.

Point is, as talented as these young players are, you can see how big the step up is, and we don’t often get to see it so starkly in such a mismatch. Whilst many will point to Wayne Rooney, well, he was a bit more manly a lad when he debuted at 16 than Louie Barry is at the moment. Certainly more imposing than I was at that age. And that’s just the way it goes. Some 18yos (or even 16yos) look like grown men, others don’t. The picture doing the rounds of Barry asking Fabinho for his jersey just about sums it up. He could’ve been waiting in the car park for an autograph after a match. If he hadn’t just scored in the FA Cup.

Compass clearly have this in mind with the new training center, and the focused development of young talent, mentally, physically, and tactically.

Development
The other thing that jumps out is how wide the gulf is in terms of what competitive development the current youth setups can offer in England. There’s just no way to simulate the level of intensity at the top level. Unless they’ve been playing competitive 90-minute games against the first team, the Villa youth clearly could have had no idea how quickly they’d be closed down, how ‘strong’ the lightest challenges would be, how little time and space they’d end up having, how ruthless the passing and control could be.

Now, bringing them into the first-team set-up might seem like the obvious answer. And for a couple it might be. But, you have to think about training and what it is. It’s organized around the 25-man squad. Focusing on them, sharpening and driving them. They go like against like. The better your squad, the tougher training is, and the better prepared you are to face the best from other camps. If you play against a VVD every day, well…That helps get you to a different level.

Which isn’t to say they shouldn’t be around the set-up. They need to get to know the pace, the strength, the intensity. But it’s not quite as simple as saying Lansbury, Hourihane or Nakamba should train on his own to make way for Barry, or that he should be on the bench. It’s going to be different for each player. This is the art of bringing players along. Jacob Ramsey is undoubtedly talented. But he’s being slowly worked into things, and deservedly so. Of course there are loans, but I won’t get into that for the sake of ‘brevity’.

Having said all that, I was immensely impressed by Villa’s organization, discipline, composure, and mentality. Mark Delaney has clearly done an excellent job, and the style very much resembled the first team’s. They knew their roles, where their passes ought to be. They knew when to push up and drop off. They played as a unit. They tried to play out from the back. They put in tackles and blocks, didn’t concede a penalty, and made a lot of quality clearances. MON’s Keystone Cops back line didn’t look that composed. And while Liverpool showed what they can do in the four-minute stretch when they really put the screws to the boys and showed their quality, for the most part young Villa were forcing them to be at that level, if only for 10-20 minutes, to get what they were always expected to come away with.

That Jurgen
Klopp looked frustrated and not-all-happy through 60 minutes, which I very much enjoyed seeing. While I didn’t necessarily expect him to field his own U23s, I thought he’d at least have more youth on the bench. Bringing on Firminho, Shaquiri, and Oxlade-Chamberlain? That was a bit of a p*ss-take, really. Likewise starting with Sané and Salah, Henderson, Wijnaldum, Milner, and Fabinho. Did 7-2 smart? Or was it the 5-0? Or simply the fact they’re not running riot at the moment?

I don’t know that I’d go so far as to say it was classless, and on the pitch, the players seemed respectful of the situation. What I do know is that I don’t want to hear another word about fixture congestion coming out of Klopp’s mouth.

It Wasn’t About Klopp & Co., Though
Regardless of any questions of sportsmanship, it could be the best thing that ever happened to Villa’s youth, the single biggest learning moment of their footballing lives so far, under the lights on television taking on one of the world’s best teams. They showed an awful lot of heart and intelligence. They got to play against some of the best players in the world and managed to concede only four. Palace have done worse. Hell, senior Villa squads have done worse. They managed to score, embarrass the defending champions (who at times played like they were embarrassed to be out there, and then frustrated they weren’t up 10-0), and hold them level for 60 minutes.

I know I’d be buzzing for weeks after that, and chatting up a lot of girls: “Mo’s good, yeah, but thought he’d be a bit tougher. Nice guy, though.” “Well, it was just like training really, the goal. What I’m supposed to do. Ezri’s harder to skin like that, to be honest.”

So well done, Villa. No whinging, no self-pity. We fielded a side, got out there, and competed. Jack’s tweet said it all. The players, Delaney, and the club should be as proud as they can possibly be.

I know the supporters are. So, thank you, lads. We really enjoyed watching you wear the shirt so well.

Comments 99

  1. Smashing write up thanks John and yes. . . . we do all feel proud of them.
    As you say, it’s good to see a similar playing style develop throughout the club, and particularly as it’s a style that we all want to watch AND is proving effective too.

    It’s a good point about having a fixed number of first team squad members so for every youth player we move up, we’ll be moving a senior player down, or out to train on his own, which will reduce their value and harm squad morale.

    I suppose a decision therefore has to be made at each transfer window for each player that is moved on, whether we replace them by bringing in perceived higher quality from outside ‘OR’ promote youth.

  2. It seems that, for whatever reason, Guilbert doesn’t fit with Dean’s plans so provided an alternative club can be found that he’s happy to move to, should we replace from within or without?

  3. I’ll be gutted to see Freddie go. I would have thought a run out at RB with Cash RW in front of him might yield some real energy down our right side. Or even vice versa.

    Sad to say, it doesn’t look likely at all.

  4. Spud is seriously under the cosh now. But it’s not as though they are relegation certainties at the moment. Things could change, but if he got a couple of wins It’ll look much better for him.

  5. Klopp wanted to hurt us and it was brilliant watching his face when he realised our kids aren’t half bad and a smashing wasn’t going to happen

    Apparently we want another striker/ forward

    I certainly hope so. We don’t have enough strikers or attacking depth. Watkins needs help and is missing a lot of chances. Wd need another striker to esse the pressure and get us goals

    Ideally we will get a striker, winger and centre mid. Hourihane isn’t good enough so if mcginn gets injured we are in troublem not sure what is happening with Barkley

    But we certainly need a couple new players to add quality depth. We sre short, hence our dire bench every game

  6. excellent overview JC

    I am amazed at how quickly the playing structure has been sorted out under NSEW its a bit like everything at the club currently its been run in a well thought out deliberate way with a knowleadge of how you run a sports institution and but the foundations in place to make is very competitive and successful

    As you say there is some real quality looking youth and it would suprise me if our immeadiate transfer policy has changed a little following the kids showing against the champions

    on Barry I don’t want to get carried away but he looks to me in the class of an owen or rooney at the same age … the big test now is how we develop and intergrate players into the first team squad going forwards

  7. Thanks, runtings.

    Yeah, it’s really refreshing to see. When people call for change, things can be changed, but often we don’t see it. Villans sure haven’t, or at least not change for the better until now.

    But you have to put faith in people and get that right. Which I think Compass have apparently done.

    You have to think Dean is tickled pink being part of a project and team that’s actually doing the right things the right way.

  8. Frem,

    Yeah, I’m not quite sure what Klopp thought he was going to accomplish smashing the kids. The first team, sure. But even if they had scored 10, I don’t think it would’ve meant much to his players or their season.

  9. We need to sign players just to get us through the mad schedule now because of so many games in hand

    We have games every 2/3 days now.

    Unfortunately our sqaud isn’t good enough to rotate, so we definitely need 2 or 3 in to get us through this season. Striker. Winger. Centre mid desperate.

    We can’t afford to bring the likes of Taylor in to start a game, or Davis l, or hourihane, Elmo etc. We need better. We need someone to compete with Watkins and someone to cover Mcginn/ Barkley/ Luiz

  10. Congrats to Andre Green in finding a new club .. hope his career can kick start from here good luck to him

    frem so you don’t fancy Rowe to be given the left back cover slot then ? … I would love it to be him there considering he had Mo Salah to deal with I though he was immense.

    fare points about needing some cover due to our fixture pile up … hopefully one or two will come in but I am guessing it will partly depend on players leaving …not sure how far off Wes is but would love to see Barry playing a part

  11. Well, with the covid pile-up, it’s going to be interesting.

    Bruce saying that the players, even if back, are still battling lingering exhaustion. I’m not sure how we’re going to navigate that, and if we do get more than one or two who have that issue, it’s going to be a problem.

    I think right now, with talk of Hourihane going out on loan, trying to move Guilbert, etc., that the path to signings has to mean clearing some out, first.

  12. The rumours are, we are keeping tabs on Brooks at Bournemouth. He’s 23 so right in our recruitment slot. I can always find room for players in the engine room.

    Doubt it will happen this window, but let’s see what the summer brings.

  13. The Chinese owner of the yam yams now has 1 million in interest owing from the debt he inherited when he bought the club. Another Dr Skint. Best of luck Big Sam. Rearrange the following phrase.

    pot a got ain’t p*ss to in.

  14. Talking of Chinese owners. The wolfies are getting worried. The agent (Mendes) has had their trousers down and might now be shipping Nuno on. Mind the gap.

  15. With players potentially struggling to recover from covid, and with fixture congestion building, Frem is right that we will struggle to perform at our best with the current squad.
    We can either try to struggle through with what we have or splash out this month. . . . . or do we?

    We’re currently on 25 points with games in hand and therefore pretty much safe from relegation.
    Current circumstances make qualification for Europe unlikely (even if this was an aspiration) so why not use this fixture congestion as the perfect opportunity to develop some of the exciting youth players we saw last week?
    Let’s use these circumstances to give several of them Premier league playing time. We’ve seen that some of them are close to being ready and this could jump start their development and prepare the squad perfectly for a real push next season.

  16. im not really fussed about signing anyone this month. Quality over quantity and take our time getting the right ones in. Bjorn Baston last Jan in a panicked last min deal….no more of that!

    We are staying up and its amazing being so relaxed and just looking forward to games.

  17. robbo

    I read that revan and 3 others will be going on loan this window.

    I think our fixtures aint that bad…like being in the championship again. 2 games a week is fine. plus we aint played for ages. Barkley should be back too

  18. Ye Rowe could do OK at left back for sure.

    Hourihane out on loan is good for everyone. Unfortunately he just isn’t Premier league quality

    Brooks would be great. Massive improvement on Trezeguet. Can play a few roles. Hope we get the Reading lad in anda striker

    The reading lad will be another Eze. We should have signed Eze and Bowen when ee had the chance. Sarr off to West ham apparently. Ao they have signed 3 better wingers than we have. Benrama. Bowen and Sarr. Imagine if wr had those. Now that’s the quality we should be having as wing options

  19. frem

    think this reading lad is the real deal. very hihghly rated. Maybe we knew about him and left eze alone? If we do buy him!

    Id love brooks, but don’t see us going for him. no way west spam getting sarr man. they have bowen! not fussed about sarr now. too much money

  20. I have a feeling Watkins could well be used out on the right when wes is back.

    no real need for another rw then. do we keep barkely or send him back putting jack as a number 10 and sign a lw?

    Be interesting next summer window.

  21. Runtings- sorry mate been a busy couple of days, don’t think I am missing the point on BLM but its probably not the sort of thing to discuss on here in depth anyway , no offence intended.

  22. Robbo- You should try having an Indian girlfriend, 50/50 chance of getting the evils in a taxi, been a fair few times in restaurants both Asian and Chinese where comments have been made, she hears and tells me afterwards as she speaks several languages. Her family are fantastic though.

    Funny enough I went around India with a white girl and got very little trouble other than letching and lots of curiosity. I remember back in the 70’s we went on holiday in Wales and dad stopped for directions at a pub, he literally had to leave very quickly without the directions, I’ll spare you the details.

  23. On to Villa, god I’m missing my fix 🙂

    Usually the long Covid effect is about a month, similar to any viral infection which can make any underlying conditions worse. Will all depend on whether they have actually had it bas enough or were asymptomatic. Think I heard Trez said he’d had it but not much else. Could even be that they have had the Flu or a cold as those get picked up by the PCR test.

    The sports geek in me wonders how the use of cryogenics (cold) in recovery might worsen things? Lower temps in the airways give any cold/flu virus a foot hold. Any player with darker skin is also more at risk from Vit D deficiency.

    We will soon see where we are at I suppose, might be the case we have to use the kids, if so we know they won’t let us down from the effort or tactical knowledge stand point.

  24. H&V and Mark. . . . .yes, I saw that article about some of the youth players going out on loan too. The writer seem to be guessing about which players may be in line and did you note that the management are concerned to make sure that the players that do go out actually get some playing time? If they’re not going to get playing time then I guess they’re better off staying with us and at least getting playing time for the youth teams.

    Mark, yes I was a bit surprised that AG didn’t get playing time but I do like that DS seems decisive about which players fit his style and which don’t. A lot of us feel the same about Guilbert and felt he had a role but clearly there’s something about him that doesn’t fit for DS.
    It will be good if DS won’t keep players on the payroll for the sake of it . . . .there has to be a role for them, and if there isn’t he’ll try his best to ship them out.

  25. Mark, research suggests that we are hard-wired to feel close affinity with people that we believe are similar to us. The corollary of this is that we tend to feel suspicious of those who we see as being different. Despots have taken advantage of this down the ages by drawing ‘affinity’ groups towards them and setting them against a common enemy. We’ve seen a lot of this being played out by cynical politicians recently and of course we’ll see a form of it when we’re all allowed back onto the terraces.
    Most of the time, most people are able to see through the cynical exploitation by those in power and things don’t get out of hand, but every now and then someone, or some ‘idea’ comes along that is particularly effective of tapping into these inbuilt instincts and then things can escalate further than we’d like to think possible.

  26. The worst intolerance to outsiders that I experienced was in Israel when a girlfriend and I strayed into an orthodox area and ended up being spat on and having stones thrown at us. It was partly our own fault as we weren’t sufficiently modestly dressed to be in that area.

  27. Yep, being without a game this weekend is a bummer. Thoughts turn to an in-form Man Citeh. Anybody else hopeful we might get something from them? My thoughts are most definitely, but then it depends what the virus has done to our players.

  28. Heroes, I’m relaxed too about new signings. It seems more likely we’ll be seeing outgoings rather than incomings. This time last year was panic stations. Well, it seemed like it. It’s great to watch from a distance and see the yam yams do the same. Don’t think Snoddy will keep them up.

  29. Mark. . . . . . if you want to get a natural vitamin D fix, then try taking a punnet of mushrooms. . . . .and simply exposing them to sunlight. The uv light triggers a gene that makes them produce high levels of the vitamin. Shitake and oyster mushrooms are particularly effective but even 3 button mushrooms exposed to sunlight can provide your recommended daily intake.
    M&S started selling Vitamin D enhanced mushrooms but we’ve been exposed to so many food fads that I bet most people didn’t believe the claims, or didn’t appreciate that this is one vitamin that many of us are genuinely deficient in, particularly at this time of year.

  30. Robbo- I think your talking about ingroup preference? probably why we don’t see herds of animals mixing to any great extent and you don’t get a flock of 6 different birds flying by. We like to think we can separate ourselves from Nature but its in there more than we care to admit. Thank god or the welsh would all have wool, no offence 🙂

    Yes I agree About politics using it but its been used and is being used by both left and right to further agenda’s for a long time and BLM was no exception this time around, given the floor to cause Mayhem with little to no consequence helped by Antifa and with official backing. I see that feeling doesn’t extend to trump supporters like them or loathe them 🙂

    I see BLM removed their original mission statement in September, at the end of the day Marxism/socialism is supposedly the cure for capitalism so you can see why it becomes the basis for some movements. I just don’t like seeing peoples good intentions used cynically on either side.

  31. Robbo- yeah I have seen the mushroom research, I would question whether there is enough sunlight this time of year to do much? its all in the angle of the sun in our parts, next to useless in winter even if your brave enough to strip off.

  32. Mark, the good news is that it doesn’t need much uv to trigger the reaction so leaving your mushrooms on the windowsill for a bit, even at this time of year will do the trick

  33. Mark, yup, our innate ‘in group preference’ (haven’t heard it called that but it sounds like the same principle) has no political, religious or colour preference.

  34. Mark Robbo the only thing I would add to your discussion is not to let BLM as a movement become more important than equal rights for all , it can be easy to allow politics to distract from issues that need urgent attention

  35. Will be great for Freddie and Conor to go on loan to Welsh sides. Shows their quality that they want game time vs a Lansbury that just wants a paycheck

  36. It’s good knowing players who aren’t good enough are leaving, and more will b gone in the summer. Hourihane, Taylor, Guildert and Engles all hopefully out this month and we can get a couple quality players in.

    We could be 11th by the time we win City.

    All of a sudden a bit of pressure builds on us

    We have game in hands but we need to win some. Newcastle we have to beat. I’d love to do city but can’t see that.

    If we want to get 4th we need to beat Newcastle and Everton

  37. Runtings – I couldn’t agree more, unfortunately in todays climate its dangerous to stick your head above the parapet and speak your truth because you will be shut down and in some case’s your life ruined. Shutting down one side of an argument because it doesn’t sit with the narrative will make thing’s worse not better imo. On the up side a lot of things are being revealed at this point in time I only hope people have their eyes and ears open.

  38. All I know Frem is we had better win the next two games by a landslide as I have Martinez, Grealish and Watkins in my fantasy team and its a double game week. Watkins and Jack have had a rest and hopefully didn’t get sick so I am banking on them to come good and hopefully Barkley is fit.

  39. The mushroom thing is worth doing but you are going to struggle this time of year a UV lamp is better I’m told. In strong sunlight you are talking 50,000 iu per 3.5oz dependent on species. Personally I think a pill is more controllable but foods preferable.

    In cold climbs things like cod liver oil and other animal based foods like liver were staples especially in winter. Mostly we got sunlight exposure when we could and stored the D in our Fat to be released over the winter. One problem is if you are fat already that will just dilute the D and delivery, plus these days with plentiful food all year people have a habit of becoming fatter in the winter months trapping the D and diluting it further.

  40. Mark. . .the mushroom thing is supposed to work even at this time of the year. . . .just leave them on a windowsill (gill side up for bigger surface area) for 2 or 3 hours between 10 am and 3pm and you should get more than your recommended daily dose when you eat them

  41. Mark if Barkley isn’t fit for Wednesday then something is seriously wrong

    I see we have let Rowe go on loan. Why aren’t we keeping him and finally selling Taylor?

    Great watching wolves struggle without Jimenez. Losing to WBA. Unfortunately they will sign Costa or someone but if they didn’t they could go down. But Mendes is one dodgy f**ker so will pull something out the bag

  42. If we can win a couple of our games in hand and sign a couple of quality attackers this month we are in such a great position

    I hope the club don’t just stand still this month and think Watkins is enough. We need a striker and a winger. Let’s improve on Trezeguet and Ghaizi

  43. Robbo- like I said bud you will get less in poor sunlight, whats more glass blocks lots of the light spectrum, same for humans you have to go outside not sit by a window no matter how warm it gets

    “The skin of mushrooms has the ability to make vitamin D when sunlight hits it, just like human and animal skin,” says Hewison. “Leaving mushrooms outside where they are exposed to sunlight (if they are inside, window glass will block UVB rays that are used to make vitamin D) means they become vitamin D-enriched.

  44. Mark, I had a word with my mate who writes about such stuff and is a regular presenter on BBC science programmes and he confirmed that uvb (usually blocked by glass) is the best trigger for vit D production in mushrooms although uva ‘can’ also do it. So, yes, a few hours on your windowsill will work, even in winter, . . . . . . as long as the window is open! 🙂

  45. Was working in the garden this afternoon and pondering, if I was a young player looking for my first professional contract. . . .which club would I ideally like to go to?
    Southampton came high because the club is good at developing youth, has a good manager and seems to be on the up; Everton seem to have a similar ‘family club’ ethos to Villa; every player would probably be seduced by the thought of playing for United and they have a history of promoting young players and then of course Villa. We feel like a club on the up, we are clearly placing more value on youth than ever before, are playing exciting football and everyone seems to say what a great, welcoming atmosphere there is in the club.
    On balance it felt to me that Villa should be the first choice of every ambitious young player just now 🙂

  46. I did consider Leeds but then thought . . . .would I really want to have to go to a club where I’ll have to work harder than any other club both in training and on the pitch, all to end up mid table because the very best players won’t want to be forced to work that hard. . . . .and. . .would I really want to be part of a club that would have Bamford playing for them?

  47. Good leader JC,
    but I am not sure about Klupp, as he doesn’t win whatever he does. He has to win the game to ensure that he is fulfilling his contract. Any slip up and he gets torn apart by the fans and the media.
    Of course he cannot afford to lose, after the 7-2 defeat at Villa Park.
    I am happy that he put out a strong side, as it gave a wonderful opportunity to our young players, as well as it making good television sport, which is what puts the money into the game today

    Runtings and MK,
    Was going to join in the earlier discussion on taking the knee, but didn’t, as it is a very contentious subject. I will agree that part of the problem is, whether you see it as an act to support the eradication of racism, or whether you see it as an act to support the political “Black Lives Matter” Movement. Maybe the problem is created by Sky not making the “Black Lives Matter” statement a clear and non-political statement.

    I abhor racism, as a person who spent the first half of my life in Birmingham with many friends who were of different backgrounds and cultures. None of this mattered in my eyes, or in the eyes of many of my friends. They were great people and great friends, and their skin colour was irrelevant, but I know that many suffered verbal abuse from time to time from people who knew no better.
    Unfortunately, in recent times positions have become polarised through the rise of Nationalism that has been fuelled by constant lies and misinformation that has been spread by various organisations using social media to stoke up hatred.
    This all became obvious, rising to the surface with Trump looking to become a presidential candidate in the USA, and Farage along with others, wanting to escape the socialist rules that the EU wanted to introduce to bring about a fairer society that could compete with America and China.

    That is all I will say and move back to football, as that is what brings us all together with a common cause!! UTV!!!!

    I am interested to see that we are now looking to move players out on loan or sell on, whether it is to make room for some new signings, or to provide opportunities for our own youngsters. Hourihane, Nyland and several others are all part of media gossip, as are Brooks and Olise to be top of Villa’s shopping list.
    I am just happy to accept that Dean and his management team know what they are doing, and hope that Frem will one day accept that!!

  48. H&V, you’re surely right that there’s no pressure on us now. . . .but how many teams ‘are’ potentially still under pressure?
    The bookies seem to think that there are 6 teams potentially still in the mix. (that doesn’t include Wolves Frem)

  49. If Lifers want some light entertainment, go onto the Wolvesblog site. Talk about doom and gloom. Makes our moans on this site look like a tea party.

  50. They think Nuno wants out, Fosun are skint and the agents have had their trousers down. It’s great reading. They can only see mediocrity on the horizon and a relegation scrap. I imagine the yam yams are ecstatic.

  51. Plug, to be honest I was expecting worse on the wolves Blog.
    We do all tend to concentrate on the players first and then the manager, but in reality it does all start with the ambition and expertise of the owners. Fosun were looking like a good bet, but as the bloggers are saying, it does seem that something has changed and their willingness (or ability) to invest has waned.

  52. Brilliant about Wolves

    Yes that’s what we need. Hourihane out and an 15 million pound player in.

    Improves our bench. Improves our sqaud.

  53. Yep. We need better bench and players who can rotate and make us play the same way

    Sansom looks very mobile and energetic, unlike Hourihane.

    Maybe it’s a replacement for Luiz who no doubt will go man city. Or Barkley who maybe we won’t buy

  54. Howdy All. I just popped in to see if the old names are here, have a read and to wish everyone at AVL a healthy and prosperous 2021.
    The postponed games are frustrating but that’s how it is these days.

    UTV

  55. Hi trinity, good to see you mate 🙂

    Robbo- Add living in a city and pollution to the lack of sunlight too 🙂

    PP- Nationalists using social media? surely you can’t have missed its all owned by the progressive left and is used very openly to sway opinion? And what exactly has the EU done for lower paid workers other than provide cheap labour? it was and is just a vehicle for Germany’s industries. I know countless EU citizens that have come here to make money and then go home and buy several houses back in Poland etc while kids here can’t get on the ladder, I don’t see that as fair.

    Add to that the soft approach by police to BLM and extinction rebellion vs the heavy handed approach to protests about Lockdowns and enforcing the ludicrous covid laws. The Police are just part of the Government now and no longer protect us the people without prejudice and by rule of law.

  56. Sansom add quality. He’s mobile, has good pressing stats and ball carrying stats. He can replace mcginn or Barkley and we can carry on playing our way

    I’d still like the lad from Reading though l. Another Eze.

    Hope a striker is coming in.

  57. We still have a lot of things we can improve on. A lot of players would improve our sqaud and that’s what we have to do this month to get European football

  58. MK,
    Social media has been the platform for the extreme right wing of politics, starting with Farage and the formation of UKIP, in his own admission, that he targeted the membership of the BNP which had swelled in great numbers in the early noughties.
    Boris Johnson and the ERG then saw the opportunity of how breaking away from Europe and the ever increasing laws that would protect workers rights, improve pension rights, end the multi corporations and mega rich from avoiding/evading taxes, and ensure that we all work for a greener future. This is why they added to swell of fake news and downright lies about the benefits of leaving the EU.
    Of course the newer member countries from Eastern Europe have gained from joining Europe, but they will also bring added wealth to Europe in the future.
    I have yet to see a single business, especially our farming and fishing industries that see any gain at all from leaving Europe. At the moment they are all struggling to survive.
    Perhaps you are lucky enough not to have lost friends and family through covid, or you would understand the importance of having laws to control it. I would agree that the handling has been very poor, that it could be improved on, especially with test, track and trace, that there should be better systems in place to help those that need to self isolate, as well as some self employed who are getting no help.

    I have mentioned before that the name of the Reading lad arousing interest is Olise, but there are now one or two other young players being looked at, including one from Marseillles.

  59. Sad to see that some are enjoying the demise of Wolves. I understand rivalry, etc, but not wanting fellow Midland clubs to fail when what we need is a strong Midlands influence back in football and take it away from Liverpool, London and Manchester, where they have been dominating for the last sixty years!!

    I really want to see Villa the top dog in the UK and Europe, but let us the Midlands dominant in the football world and attract players to the area!

  60. PP- I would argue that the left have far greater say in what’s said or can be said these days and have been de-platforming anyone with the slightest whiff of conservatism about them let alone the illusive far right enemy real or imagined. Farage was not the only one that campaigned to leave so did Corbin.

    The EU has been in decline since the 90’s and the only thing that keeps the likes of France , Greece, Italy etc in it are they are in the Euro, we left because we could, those poor buggers can’t, we will be just fine. Macron said in an interview he dare not give the French the vote as it would be a hard one to win. Now they can’t all be xenophobic nationalist bigots can they? unfortunately we have been lumbered with that title because we dared to leave. The tactics are very dirty these days, basically call someone, racist, denier etc and keep doing it, if they won’t shut up deny them a voice.

    You have my sympathy Paul but Having someone die from Covid no matter how sad doesn’t make the policies right, nor does it make the data go away. Time and time again it has proved that Lockdowns (there are actual studies) do very little vs no lockdown except bring more suffering now and in the future, some 250m are expected to die of starvation because of this. In my girlfriends care home they have several of the residents on suicide watch. Unfortunately the same concept applies, call the thousands of dissenting voices from doctors, scientists etc deniers. Following the science? my arse.

    https://www.thelancet.com/journals/eclinm/article/PIIS2589-5370(20)30208-X/fulltext

  61. H&V I suspect the reason Wolves are having trouble is the screws are being tightened on China and they are recalling in money and spending again. Their Navy is threatening Taiwan at the moment so I am told and a close friend was given a cease and desist order to stop a deal he was brokering with them. Bit like the last time for us I suspect when the Doc was scuppered.

  62. We are about to go from no games to watching the villa twice per week , looks like we are trying to shuffle the pack and if players like Conor go out I would suspect the would be upgrades incoming

    Good luck to all the young lads going out on loan , lots of promising villa players to be keeping an eye out for in the remainder of the season dotted around the place.

    re BLM comments PP and rObbo coming from the group of people most effected by inequality I appreciate your views which have balance and an overstanding of what it must be like to be on the receiving end of ineqaulity

  63. Mark,
    The evidence to show that lockdowns reduce transmission and therefore can reduce the pressure on the health service is overwhelming. Not implementing or adhering to lockdown measures will result in more people dying. This morning the brother of a friend of ours died from covid and sadly, the more people who ignore the measures, the more of us will experience this.

    The article you linked to questions the effectiveness of lockdowns, but includes passages such as:

    “These findings suggest that more restrictive public health practices may indeed be associated with less transmission and better outcomes. ”

    “It was determined that viral transmission declined when social distancing and other measures were implemented.”

    “full lockdowns and early border closures may lessen the peak of transmission, and thus prevent health system overcapacity, which would facilitate increased recovery rates.”

    “These findings suggest that more restrictive public health practices may indeed be associated with less transmission and better outcomes.”

    There are plenty of interesting discussion points raised by the paper. For example it states:

    “Despite appropriate public health guidance, less than optimal population compliance in western democracies may be an important contributing factor to variation in outcomes among the various countries”

    and

    “In the case of full lockdowns, such a government policy may only be effective in those countries where it can be easily implemented and enforced. For example, the United States has had challenges enforcing lockdowns, with citizens in several states publicly protesting public health measures to limit viral transmission, and encouraging open revolt”

    in other words, this paper acknowledges that lockdowns can work, but unfortunately, their effectiveness is blunted by non compliance by individuals within those societies.

  64. Mark. . . . we never did learn just what went on when ‘The Doc’ owned us did we? There were suggestions that there was Chinese Government backing but the source and amount of cash available was always very opaque.
    You may well be right that Wolves are suffering from some of the same problems now, but as PP said yesterday, I do still want to see them in the Premiership. Whilst beating them will give an extra bit of pleasure and I enjoy seeing us above them in the table, I too would like to see Midlands football on the ascendency. It’s not right that North West clubs have outperformed Midlands clubs for so long and hopefully Villa can now spearhead the revival of Midlands football.

  65. PP, I can’t help but enjoy the discomfort of our neighbours and even more so when we are in the ascendancy. I don’t wish relegation on them (well….small heath yes) but I’ve had my chain pulled incessantly by these noisy buggers so when I get an opportunity to tug their grapevine, I do tend to fill my boots. Villa till I die.

  66. By the way, I haven’t witnessed the demise of Wolves. The last time I looked, they were alive and kicking.

    But what has happened to star man Neves? The Wolves fans agree he’s rank at the moment. Is he angling for a move too? I think losing to the Olbyon has broken their psyche. Bit like what happened to me when Mellberg took a throw in at the sty and Enkelman stood and admired it. Too painful.

  67. Robbo- thats just one study bud, another study basically said if you get bad flu seasons normally in your country and if you are in a certain latitude it didn’t matter what measures you took. They included countries that did and didn’t lockdown like Sweden which had a very similar outcome if not better than most. Also a prior mild flu seasons in 2019 meant you got a bad one in 2020. You missed this bit.

    “Rapid border closures, full lockdowns, and wide-spread testing were not associated with COVID-19 mortality per million people.”

    What amazes me is more people died from jan 2017 to dec 2018 than died in Jan 2019- to dec 2020. Also the excess death is an average of the last 5 years which if you look deaths have gone up every year for ten years per 1000 along with the population. And there is very strong evidence that the lockdown have cause an awful lot of collateral damage itself while cancer and heart disease deaths have gone down??

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