#AVL #avfc

Here we are, the season’s final match, and what a ride it’s been. It’s only fitting that the entirely surreal 2020-21 edition of the Premier League comes to an end at Villa Park with supporters in the stands for the first time in over a year. Hard to believe, but this will be the true home debut for Ollie, Emi, and Bertrand, who have yet to play in front of actual Villans. Matty, hope you appreciate the applause, too.

The claret-and-blue faithful will certainly be in a better mood than the Spurs crowd Wednesday night, and they should be. Our future is brighter, and the present hasn’t been half bad. During these long months, football has given us all a lift, despite the almost inevitable disappointments. And me, I can’t believe it’s all coming to an end even as I scour the summer transfer click-bait. Being firmly mid-table has never felt so good.

For many, the story of the season will be the fabulous start and subsequent fizzle—what could have been. For others, the first time in a while we’ve been able to sit back and watch Villa be competitive against most anyone, even when we were slogging through the second round of fixtures. No one will forget the glorious 7-2 drubbing of reigning champions, Liverpool. Doing the double over Arsenal. Finally beating Spurs again. Snatching a late winner against Leicester to help erase the memory of the dismal 0-4 defeat that seemed to seal our fate before the pandemic intervened.

Likewise, no one will forget the piped-in crowd noise. Or the training match feel when the cameras panned the empty stands and we could hear the players and coaching staff. No one will forget nose hairs being offside, or the lottery that penalty decisions have become.

No one will forget the post-Covid slump, or the three-week lockdown preceding it. The fixture congestion featuring matches throughout many weekdays. Nor will anyone doubt any longer the massive influence Jack Grealish has had on this Villa side. The 12 matches he missed showed just how much he’s carried the team over the last three seasons.

That doesn’t mean there haven’t been some other outstanding performers, though. Ollie Watkins firmly established himself as a Premier League striker at the first time of asking. Matty Cash made the jump in what has to be the modern game’s most difficult position. Emiliano Martinez became a fan favorite overnight, and easily the best keeper at Villa since at least Brad Friedel. Ezri Konsa blossomed into an outstanding player. Matt Targett also looked so much more assured, and became as solid as they come.

But as is always the case in football, the conversation will quickly move on. Whether or not Villa’s slump was Covid related will become a forgotten point of contention, and only Dean Smith & Co. will really know what was behind the up-and-down form of a number of players. But even as the side struggled, there was a resilience that saw us grind out enough results to prevent a free fall.

The final day will see us with little to play for on paper. But Chelsea will get our attention. Jack will be fighting for a spot in England’s Euro squad. Ollie, too, perhaps. A number of players will be trying to take advantage of their last chance to cement a spot on next season’s squad, whether starting or on the bench. I wouldn’t mind seeing Carney and Jaden getting some more minutes against a side full of household names. I also wouldn’t mind seeing the club earn a small measure of redemption in closing out the season buoyed by back-to-back wins over two ‘bigger’ clubs we’ll be looking to go toe-to-toe with in a few months’ time.

Chelsea of course will be fighting to hold on to their Champions League spot. I can’t say I wouldn’t enjoy seeing Villa take all three points and Leicester and Liverpool leapfrogging the Blues. Not that I have any love for the scousers. It’d just be fun to bloody another Super Club’s nose, spoil their summer, and help Leicester break the stranglehold. It certainly wouldn’t be a bad way for Villa to go into the close season and lay down a bit of a marker for the upcoming campaign.

So even though we couldn’t stay up in the European places and even though Leeds will have just pipped us to 10th or even better, I, for one, will fondly look back on this strange season for the stepping stone I believe it to be. I like Dean and our staff. I like our owners. I like being competitive in the top tier. And I think I’ll like the business we’re about to do to make a real push at establishing ourselves as a top-seven side who can beat anyone on our day.

I’m also really going to enjoy taking my vaccinated ass out and about this summer and anticipating a bit of normalcy for football: but more important, a return to almost regular life having had a bit of reinforcement about the things that really matter. Like fixing VAR.

Over to you.

Comments 206

  1. Thanks JC. Yep, this final game gives us another chance to crack one of the greedy bastards in the face, like a few days ago. If we manage to land a blow, I will be delighted. A draw might be enough.

    I’m not an envious person, but I’m green with envy that PP has managed to obtain a ticket. I’ll have to make do with Sky and put up with all the pro Laandan comments designed to influence the result. COYVB.

  2. Thanks JC and thank you for your manful efforts all season can’t be easy with the time difference.

    I am hoping more tales will come out this summer to shed some light on the season. I massively don’t care though because in the end we were way above relegation form in truth. Some of our worst losses were in the 1st ten games and some of our best, we had two periods of double losses on the trot in that period then after the Xmas loss to Manure we lost to City after the covid but never had two losses back to back again, that’s pretty resilient in the circumstances .

  3. Almost ready to leave for my journey from Mid-Wales to Villa Park, and it seems to be appropriate that I am going to see Villa v Chelsea, as it was March last year that I was in Birmingham, about to book in to the Premier Inn to watch the game the following day, when it was announced that the Villa v Chelsea game was cancelled due to covid.

    So here we are 15 months on, and the first game to allow fans in, is Villa v Chelsea!!

    Here is hoping for the right result with the fans roaring on the boys!!

  4. Shame a few neanderthals booed the taking of the knee. Doesn’t reflect well but I guess every village has its idiots

  5. Depending on the state of the game,10-15 minutes fir the youngsters could give them an extra confidence boost for their next game

  6. Gotten a bit heated, hasn’t it? Good to see us fighting, they’ll have to earn it. Glad we have something to hold onto. They’ll be coming hard to start the 2nd.

  7. Not surprised Tuchel was keen to get into the dressing room. He needs to focus them on using their passion to play good football rather than hacking players down. I reckon it’ll be a frenetic start to the second half

  8. How did Leicester leave Harry Kane in that much space for his goal?
    Haven’t they heard he’s half decent and needs to be marked?

  9. Yeah, me, too, r0bb0. Couple dodgy moments, but worked well enough.

    Seems like when we have gotten up at them, though, there’ve been opportunities. Guess it’ll be about picking moments.

  10. Shouldn’t they have measured the var offside for their goal FROM Ming’s sticking out bum rather than his foot?
    (Not complaining)

  11. Yep Nakamba ideal in these backs against the wall games, not so when you want a playmaker there but like the lad all the same. Been a really enjoyable season for me defending Deano lol 🙂

  12. In our last 10 games we’ve been 10th in the premier league form table. Bearing in mind that’s included our very disappointing spell of games, it’s not a bad outcome at all.
    The last two games have helped hugely of course, but our expectations have risen so it probably doesn’t feel as much of a surprise as it perhaps should do.

  13. SWEET CAROLINE….

    Some din from the 10,000. Watching Tuchel’s theatrics on the touch line was almost as enjoyable as decking another Laaandan outfit.

  14. Mark, you’re right that Nakamba’s assets are largely on the defe side side, but he played a few good forward passes today . . . I don’t think it’s rose tinted glasses syndrome, I really do think the creative side of his game is improving too.

  15. Plug. . . . so wished I could have been there today. Would have loved to be there for bit where the players walk round the pitch with family after the last game of the season.

  16. Didn’t see Jack doing a solo ‘cheerio’ walk round the pitch applauding the fans, so hopefully we’ll not be inundated by clickbait stories of where he’s going next season this time.
    (Wishful thinking?)

  17. Absolutely and totally stoked. Well played the Villans for fighting when we didn’t have so much at stake. I’m pleased Werner is not our striker.

    Rode our luck a little, and Emi was brilliant yet again, but Naka took the biscuit for me. He had a fine game. As did the back four and SJM. Jack once again showed the best quality on the pitch. Beaky announces his squad on Tues. I expect Jack to be in it.

  18. roBb0, me too. Completely jealous of PP and the other 10,000 who got in. One lucky lad got Jack’s shirt and another his captain’s arm band. Such items are framed and hung on the walls.

    So mate, we both went for 51 points and it ended 55 points. Have to be happy with that. But we will need to finish higher next season and start squeezing for Europe.

    The bottom end next year will be Norwich, Watford, Brentford/Swansea, Palace, Burnley and maybe Wolves. Brighton and Southampton should be OK. Possibly Spud too.

  19. I’m not sure what Tuchel sees in Werner. . . . what am I missing?
    He’s regularly caught offside, misses chances, loses the ball and seems to be on a different wavelength to his teammates. . . . oh, and he’s forever whingeing with his trademark ‘ hard done by’ face on him.
    And yet Tammy can’t get a look in?
    As I say. . . I must be missing something, because Tuchel has done a good job there.

  20. Plug, I’d not seen your comment about Werner when I wrote mine . . . at least I’m not the only one who can’t see what Werner brings to Chelsea!
    Yes it’s good that we actually underestimated our end of season points total 8% despite us having an awful second half of the season
    😉
    It would have been nice to end up in the top 10, but the telling stat is that we were 10 whole points clear of 12th.

  21. I see that Antiques roadshow will be going to Aston Hall next year. If anyone knows where John Lerwill is, he should go along with some villa memorabilia.
    Anyone who doesn’t know Aston Hall, it looks down the hill onto Villa Park. . . . I used to walk past it every day on the way to and from school.

  22. Have the last two games given Dean reason to think about the transfer market? Hause and Nakamba seem to have come of age and are on the cusp of being regular starters next year. Depending on who Villa plays of course. The alphabet twins didn’t look out of place and should be on the bench regularly. Louis Barry coming up soon….and others. Some really nice problems to sort out next year.
    Either Davis or Wesley should go out on loan with the other kept to give a different perspective to the team.
    Every goal Traore gets looks like the goal of the week and El Gazi looks so clinical on the spot. They’re young, need some more seasoning and should stay next year. I like both now, but it did take a while for Traore.
    I kept hearing the commentators comment on how profligate Chelsea were in Villa’s half…I don’t suppose that has anything to do with Villa’s defence which is one of the best in the league. All English too. Bonus.
    As far as Jack is concerned, I think John Terry will be off before he goes. And I don’t think Jack will go anywhere. His love for Villa is too great. There is a nucleus forming that will put Villa in the same position as Liverpool 4 years ago. It’s going to be fun.

  23. Europe would have been nice but I don’t think Villa are ready to make that jump yet. It’s more than skill and talent. It has a lot to do with mental toughness. Another season and that toughness should shine through.

  24. I see that Tyrone has tweeted about fans booing the players taking the knee.
    If you know any Villa fans who feels the same as those ignorant twats, tell them that even if they believe that black people are inferior to themselves, booing their own team’s players is a particularly stupid way of showing their support for them.
    The club are bringing in a new scheme whereby you can report racist or homophobic ‘supporters’ by text. I shall be doing so next season if I hear it and I hope those fans will get banned for life.
    I tend to sit in the middle Trinity Road stand near the Holte end by the way and hopefully there’ll be fans throughout the ground who will also be keen to report such idiots and clear them out of Villa Park.

  25. Back home now boys, and did try to get my Union Jack noticed!!

    Amazing just to be there and I will do a full report later.

    As for the booing, it was hardly noticeable, and only a few joined in, as Villa fans are totally against racism, but some object to the knee. It may have sounded worse on tv, and been picked up more by the sensitive equipment. Mings would have done better to comment that 90% at least supported the knee.

  26. I see that Cascarino has suggested that Spurs should target Ollie. I guess we’ll have to get used to these stories about our best players over the next few months!
    Ollie turned down Spurs when they were challenging for top 4 but now they’re not even top 6 and losing the player who has kept them up there whilst Villa appear to be on the way up. . . so why would he consider it right now?
    He has a great relationship with Dean Smith and apparently when still at Brentford his team mates joked that “his Dad’ ( Dean Smith) wanted him at Villa.
    It made me wonder though if there are any of our current players who ‘may’ be vulnerable to an approach from a competitor. . . . . none sprung to mind. Am I being naive?

  27. PP it’s great that the majority of the crowd drowned out the boo boys with their applause. Mings has acknowledged that and thanked the supporters for it.
    That doesn’t mean that we should ignore the ones that booed though. The whole idea of the kneeling is to remind us that any racism is unacceptable.
    You said that 90% at least supported the knee, but even if it was 95% that would still mean that there be 2000 racists in a full villa park. It’s worse than that though, because those are just the ones that are ‘so’ racist that they are angry enough to boo.

    I like to think that I’m in no way racist but I don’t think it’s actually true. Being made to think about it more has made me consider whether there aren’t still occasions when I am guilty of subconsciously applying a racial stereotype and I’ve found that yes. . . sometimes I still do that and I suspect that most of us do.
    We need to carry on bring reminded that such stereotypes are wrong until each of us really accepts it in our guts, rather than just paying lip service to it.
    As for the booing in Villa Park, if it happens next season then I hope genuine supporters will use the text line to report those that do it so that they can be banned from Villa Park, and that we do that until there are no more left.

  28. well what a lovely season. Just what the dr ordered after years of gut wrenching worry.

    A stress free season, young team more often than not giving it a go and playing for the badge.

    had us finishing 13th on 49 points so better than expected.

  29. again. house and nakamba fantastic.

    negative – smith saying you earn the shirt. House was fantastic replacing mings during our superb Christmas run, got dropped staright away. And probably more harsh is Nakamba. Think it was the home arsenal game where he was great then dropped. and that was for luiz who hasn’t been great as a 6 all season as he isn’t really a 6. Def deserved more of a run imo in our problem spot. looks more than capable!

  30. H&V. absolutely!
    I doubt there are many who predicted us to get 20 more points than last year and at the start of the season a fair proportion of the pundits predicted us to be in the bottom 3 again although that probably says as much about the pundits as it does about our over achieving.
    I wondered if being mid-table would be boring but it really hasn’t been. Maybe it would if it happened every season?
    Which of the young players can improve still further next year. Nakamba is one of the older ones at 27 but is improving, Ramsey has shown positive signs in recent games and Konsa is still only 23 and Hause 25 which is still young for their position.
    Douglas Luis will still improve but hopefully faded enough in the second half of the season to avoid Man City triggering their buy back clause.
    Sanson . . . . . .just haven’t seen enough to judge.
    We all like Davis and want him to succeed and have seen enough to sense that he has it in him. I guess it depends on who we bring in whether he’ll get his chance to develop at Villa park or needs a loan spell. . . .similar goes for Wesley.
    Add in 2 or 3 new recruits plus youngsters coming through . . . . .

  31. robbo

    yeah my long term concern is will the prem become boring. are we really going to break the top 8 or will it be just mid table every season with the occasional relegation scare or flirt with Europe like west ham. at the mo all new and exciting to us! doubt we will get bored with bits of progress and winning more than losing

  32. I’ve just seen that the BBC are running a fans player of the year competition where you vote for your chosen player. Neither Jack or Ollie are on the list. . . but Bamford is! In what world is Bamford one of this season’s outstanding performers?
    Just compare him with one player . . . . . the comparisons with some other players (such as Jack) are even more stark:
    Bamford has a goal conversion rate of 18% and a shot conversion rate of 51%, while Watkins has a goal conversion rate of 20% and a shot conversion rate of 62%.
    Take a look at the number of missed big chances and who is the worst player in the whole division for missing big chances. . . .Bamford!
    Begrudgingly I have to admit that Leeds have done extremely well this season and they haven’t faded in the way that I thought they would, but that is in spite of Bamford rather than because of him.
    If we can’t vote for Jack or Ollie, it’s a shame you can’t give a thumbs down against players to give a net score.
    If Leeds manage to attract a better striker next year (and again, I hate to say this) they could challenge the top 6 at least.

  33. H&V. I don’t think any of us expect us to sit mid table next season so it shouldn’t be boring.
    David Moyes seems to have finally found a club that fits again so West Ham should be mixing it in the top half again. Leeds have every chance of improving again, Leicester should stay there or thereabouts (provided they hang on to Rodgers), Everton faded really badly and should have ended higher than they did. There’s usually a surprise club that breaks into the top half of the table and and of course there’s us. Add in the greedy six and that’s 12 teams expecting to be in the top ten and challenging for Europe. It’s shaping up to be another interesting season.

  34. H&V. . . . . you mention Hause, but right now, a few of our players look like bargains. What a contrast from the years when we were buying older players and seeing their value run down, or younger players (like Gueye and Veretout and Amavi) but not having the managers or club structure to develop them.

  35. yeah man

    pretty much all our signings are quality in the last few windows. engels the only one? its amazing.

    yeah getting into the top 8 after 11th place has to be the aim for next season really. bloody tough like you say as the teams above us will make signings too! literally have to improve and get every signing right to catch the buggers.

  36. we seem to have a weird rivalry to leeds but I like them a lot! tbf bamford has 17 goals after being told he wasn’t good enough. they could really upset the apple cart next season.

  37. and Son has the same number of goals as Bamford but 10 assists to Bamford’s 7 plus much better shot accuracy and goals per chance and missed far fewer big chances. . . .but Son isn’t on the list.

    I suppose we should just be pleased that Leeds didn’t have a better striker this year and hopefully won’t have next year either!

  38. Ok . . . .so here’s the acid test. You’re Gareth Southgate and have one Euros place left for either Bamford or Watkins. . . . . .who do you take?

  39. robbo

    haha you really don’t like bamford! that’s a tough one. kane, calvert lewin, bamford, Watkins. obv kane number 1 but the rest are fairly similar. all run and work hard!

  40. H&V

    Interesting. . . . . we all know that Kane has to go so then you’re looking for players that are on form, convert the most chances (which will be harder to come by against good international sides), will complement Kane, or perhaps bring something different.

    My second choice would be Vardy because he brings something different, and if it’s backs against the wall and we’re lobbing long balls forward then he seems like our best bet.

    If it’s someone to complement Kane, then maybe it’s Calvert Lewin because of his aerial threat which is better than Kane, Watkins, and Vardy (and much better than Bamford)

    If you’re looking for a player who’s in good form now, then based on goals and assists in their last 10 games you’d go with Watkins followed by Bamford

    But the key statistic for me is who will perform against quality sides and on this count, across the whole of this season, Calvert Lewin and Vardy have identical stats against top 10 sides of 9 goals and 1 assist. Watkins however tops them both at 10 goals and 3 assists. Bamford had that one annoying game against us where he scored a hat trick but even including that he only has 7 goals and 3 assists against top 10 sides.

    You’re right that I don’t like Bamford. I see him as a spoilt child who will be a bully against lesser sides but loses his nerve when it matters as evidenced by him missing more good chances than anyone else in the Premier league. If we have just one good chance to get through to the semi final, the last person I want it falling to is Bamford.

    Based on all that, despite Ollie having more recent goals and assists than the others I’d take Kane, Vardy (for when we need someone who can operate on their own on the break) and . . . . .probably Calvert Lewin for his aerial threat, although Ollie isn’t far behind him.

    Ollie does of course have that amazing work ethic that creates opportunities for others. . . . .ok, just one more thought. . . .who is on right form now, as we go into the Euros?

    In the most recent 10 games, Ollie has 5 goals and 2 assists against Calvert Lewin’s 4 goals and no assists. Watkins has 3 goals and 1 assist against top ten sides and Calvert Lewin 2 goals and 1 assist (Bamford has just 1 goal and 1 assist in case you were wondering)

    so. . . .I’ve changed my mind. . . . . it has to be Kane, Vardy and Watkins!

  41. of course what we should be talking about is tonight’s FA youth cup final against Liverpool

    7.45 kick off on BT Sport.

    Good luck lads!!

  42. robbBo…. Don’t think Beaky will select Vardy. He seems to have overlooked him for some time now. He was quick to select Phillips, so just maybe he’ll pick your best mate Bamford.

    Personally, I’d only take 2 keepers, never understood the 3 keeper syndrome.

  43. I have a feeling that the rumours about a curtailed summer spend may have some traction. Deano also saying he has to improve too tells me he’s feeling a bit of pressure.

    Still can’t believe Spud finished 1 place below us!!!

  44. Plug, you’re right that Vardy may miss out. . . . Possibly because Vardy prefers a direct approach rather than the slow build up where we pass the ball sideways and backwards in the way Southgate likes.

  45. Just one more thought. If you believe that the drop in average points per game without Jack was purely down to his absence, the inference is that if he’d stayed fit for the whole season we’d have gained a further 11 points . . . . . and would have qualified for Europe.
    That would suggest that the owners are right to be funding a comparatively small influx of new players this year, particularly when you bear in mind that we need to create space for youngsters such as Chukwuemeka and Philogene-Bidace.

    Plug, I’m not convinced that DS is feeling pressure from the owners, I suspect he is however the sort of guy who creates his own pressure by always expecting more of himself. The anticipation of fewer new recruits is a sign that things are moving in the right direction rather than a requirement for Dean Smith to get more out of less.

  46. Plug, yes it is amazing that Newcastle were the ‘best of the rest’.
    Their strong end to the season does add a bit of weight to Mark’s theory that their drop in form may have been covid related.

  47. Paul, I saw your flag during the game yesterday. So I suppose we’ve met, sort of , kinda sort of, well I saw where you were sitting. -:

  48. Ian,
    Checked on the replay of the game today, and you can just about spot me for a fleeting second, waving a bit of a Union Jack, when the camera pans to the crowd in the lower Holte, after El Ghazi tucks away a first class penalty!!

    Watkins for me, is the one Villa player who should definitely be in the Euro squad, and then hopefully Mings and Jack have done enough to earn their place too.

    Looking forward to tonight’s game and seeing another great display by our youngsters!

    Yesterday was an interesting journey, arriving at the Aston Tavern and expecting to be able to down a pint or two !! However, Paul had decided not to open until next season, so I had not booked a table at the social club, so no chance there.
    I enjoyed a big fat burger and contemplated what to do next, having parked the car safely on a traffic island! Decided to walk down Witton Lane towards Tesco’s, and hopefully get a coffee, or something.
    Then spotted that there were people disappearing into the Witton Arms, so decided to follow, paid £2 to the usual bouncers, and carried on in to find hundreds of fans singing and drinking in a marquee at the back, so grabbed a beer and moved to what I considered a fairly safe area. Boy did the beer taste good and the singing really created a great atmosphere. Won’t comment on covid rules…..
    Eventually got back to go in the Holte End through my usual entrance, and everything then seemed almost like a normal match!!

  49. We could have done with getting that third goal but what an impressive first half.
    It’s hard to pick out one player as they all look comfortable, almost arrogant on the ball.
    It feels like watching the senior team a lot of the time but with creativity in every position
    Maybe they’re sometimes trying just a bit too hard to impress but hey, with a crowd, their families, TV cameras and Dean Smith there I suppose you can forgive them a little.

  50. What a superb display from the boys, playing like Manchester City, should really be at least 4-0.
    The passing and movement is exceptional, and Carney and Louie are just loving it. So many outstanding youngsters, Dean Smith must be loving looking at what could be his future stars.
    I agree r0bb0, these boys know how to use their skills and move the ball, create space, and Marshall is doing well in goal, and learning from watching Martinez, but he is a mile in front on distributing the ball.
    Good to see the boys demonstrating how to keep possession.

  51. Liverpool have good players but haven’t quite clicked yet.
    If they score their confidence will surge so we need that third goal

  52. Congratulations to the boys, who held on well in the end to see out the result.
    Lovely to see such celebrations at Villa Park, and us winning the trophy once more!

    Everyone keeps mentioning different brothers that have played for Villa, but everyone seems to forget Bruce and Neil Rioch!!!

  53. Great end to the season from the seniors and the kids , some good early links for incoming players … one or 2 first team starters would move us another level forwards i think
    Check reminds me of Pogba so much .. watching the game yesterday I was wondering how many of these player will be able to make that huge final leap into the first team ..lots of promise there but its tough actually becoming a steady prem performer

    Sad to hear about the booing of the players protest against racism and injustice with some half decent people thinking Mings shouldn’t be complaining about the boo boys it shows how far we are away from the objectives .. Its something that will have to evolve the the coming generations who are becoming more liberal in general

  54. again seeing how exactly the youth set up to the first team really is good. will make the leap a lot easier. And barry in the jack position with headband as well and young up top running non stop like Watkins!

  55. I always think for a youngster its the forward positions that are a lot harder to come through and make it. You have to be so good to break the first team as there the crucial positions. goals! teams don’t tend to gamble in that department. Kesslar at rb has a great chance. he looks so quick

  56. I see that Bamford hasn’t made Southgate’s squad. . . . always trusted him to do the right thing! 😉
    Just looking at twitter and some people don’t seem to agree

  57. yes plug Kesslar in particular looked like he could be ready to integrate into the first team , its all about how they do when thrown into the team and facing Kane and the likes as to whether they will handle it without getting major loan experience

    Raikhy and Ramsey look a bit special and Revan looks a nice prospect for me , obviously the forwards look promising too

  58. no dier either! well done gareth! well id of gone bamford. he must be thinking what more could I do!

    I def wouldn’t of gone vardy. He is finished now. had 2 pens last game but hadn’t scored for months. I love vardy but times catching up with him

  59. my 26

    pickford Henderson
    Walker Trent
    Stones Konsa
    Maguire coady
    shaw chilwell
    hendo rice
    Bellingham mount
    foden grealish
    Sancho saka
    kane bamford
    sterling rashford
    Watkins greenwood
    prowse maddison

  60. ITS ON! Villa preparing bid for Buendia. Going to go toe to toe with arsenal to sign him!

    argggghhh I will cry tears of joy if we got that little magician. exactly what we need

  61. Rashica? Noooooo.

    Buendia? Yeesssss. But if too expensive, Pereira from the Yam Yams.

    No Dire in the squad? Beaky watched Ollie run him stupid just a few days ago. An easy decision.

    Bamford? Those goals he scored against us at VP was his peak.

  62. H&V, yes, well done Southgate on not picking Dier. . . .has to be the right decision. I stick by what I said about Bamford. . . .he’s been made to look better than he is, by the number of opportunities created for him. His conversion rate of those chances isn’t good enough, particularly against tougher opposition.
    It’s good to see 3 Villa players in the squad and starting to be reminiscent of a decade or so ago when Villa players formed the backbone of the England team.

  63. Great to see 3 Villa players in the squad, and pleased to see Sam Johnson from the Baggies in there.
    He could be a great number 2 to Martinez, if we get him for the right price. Heaton will be gone, and he would be an upgrade on Jed, who we could sell on.

    We have several youngsters who could be on the bench next season, but we still need to strengthen the squad, Buendia, Olise , Turnbull, Brooks and many others are on the shoppig list, but who actually makes it through the door will be interesting, and show just how much pulling power Villa have now.

  64. Sorry folks the link failed unfortunately, and am not sure whether it is possible for me to activate it, maybe JC can. I thought that now we are in a period of inactivity, it might be interesting to look back at some of our old blogs during pre-season.

  65. Wow!

    If Arsenal are willing to sell Joe Willock for £20-£25 million, then Villa should be at the front of the queue, as it has to be the bargain price of the summer, and more potential than Buendia!!

    I see Azpilicueta has had his red card overturned for slapping Jack!
    Tuchel whinging about favouritism towards Villa.

  66. PP,

    Tuchel’s done a good job, but he seems like a knob. Sore loser, can’t stand his post-match comments. Won’t mind seeing them get thrashed by City.

  67. hmmm that transfer guy fabrizzo said arsenal in contact with buendia and he is open to going there. early days yet I guess but for me buendia is everything. The exact type we need his pressing and work rate is the difference as well as his chances created. The pressing he does and work makes him levels above troare and el ghazi. wouldn’t want to loose out to him to arsenal who we are trying to close a gap on

  68. paul

    good list but I wouldn’t have brooks. we need levels up from what we have to improve.

    2 attackers who are terrier like in there pressing and tracking back but treat the ball like they want to keep it forever. for me buendia is key to the top 8. the show of intent as well and someone to keep jack happy

  69. Heroes, what makes you think the Arse are willing to part with 40 million for a player? Kroenke is like Levy. Short arms, long pockets. All that debt. Out of Europe. Ground income zero like evryone else. Steptoe & Son are doing a brilliant job for us in Narf Laandan.

  70. H&V,

    I think you could be right about Buendia, with Norwich back in the Premier League, they will not be selling any bargains in the close season.

    If we are in advance talks, and a deal is near, then it could happen, but it probably means that Jack is going to Citeh, who can fulfil his final dreams. That being so, Villa will have £200million to spend without Compass having to dip in their pockets, with £122million from Sky,etc, £85million for Jack.
    Such a huge war chest would give Dean the funds to buy and build a team to challenge for the top six next season.
    He could afford Buendia, Abraham or Toney, and still have £120million to spend on a LB, RW, and any other position he feels needs strengthening.

    I don’t want to see Jack go, but at 25 yrs old he should get his chance at the top level.

  71. Don’t think Jack is going anywhere. Always could, but bottom line, Compass don’t need to sell to raise money. Don’t need to sell for any reason.

    Seems to me the idea is still to build around him. The only reason they’d sell is if Jack were to put in a request, or if they felt it was simply the highest return on an asset. But since they’ve spent nothing on Jack, there’s nothing to recoup. If they buy Buendia, for example, maybe he’s the centerpiece going forward, but not for another year, at least.

    Also don’t think £40m is too steep if that’s the player they want. Will just be a matter of budget vs aspirations, ie, how many holes they think they need to fill. The Buendia, Berge, Pereira kind of business sounds about right.

    If Jack were to go, I’m thinking Compass will start at £100m.

  72. PP, just a minor problem with that 200 million war chest. What is the club going to use to pay the salaries for the next year?

  73. We have to imagine that Compass are thinking like City now. They won’t sell De Bruyne unless he wants to go, or is past his peak. Same with United and Bruno. If it’s City coming for Jack, and I’m not exactly sure why they would other than to collect all the best toys, Compass will sit back and laugh, tell them to put a signature on a blank check.

    Now McGinn, Luiz, Nakamba, Ghazi, Traoré, Trez, Sanson…any one of them could be sold or become squad players. Not saying it happens all in one year, but.

  74. Jumping in, Plug, but remember there’s no FFP anymore.

    Compass don’t necessarily want to run at a loss forever, but to get a piece of the big pie, they know they have to for a bit, just like City did. Villa are now worth roughly £350m vs the £80m-£90m they paid. The “five-year plan” is in year three, now.

    Spurs keep missing out because they won’t spend what it takes and keep grasping at managers. Arsenal, same thing, too cheap. Compass are squarely taking aim at Liverpool, Chelsea and United.

    They won’t be foolish. They plan to use the academy, aren’t going out and buying Pogbas or Sanchos. They can find better value elsewhere. But it is a push over the next 3 seasons to build a CL squad in terms of quality and depth. Then it’s maintenance.

  75. According to Southgate Jack cannot train on consecutive days with his Loading problem. I don’t think anyone will be buying him right now (not that I think he is off anyhow) and maybe never if we get this right. I hope he gets to the euro’s but if he doesn’t it may be for the best for Villa. A good Euro’s puts him squarely in the shop window. Clubs know he’s good but do it for England would really announce him.

    The spend being low this season schtick may just be concern that teams will crank up the prices. I am surprised DS has come out and announced our plans on that front.

  76. If we sold Jack that would show that the owners are unlikely to have Villa challenging any time soon …. the owners have shown enough to convivence me that they are the real deal and that they are heading towards there targets in a professional and determined way

    Can see the culture of the club changing before my eyes and watching the kids was just like watching the first team with the kids popping it about better than the seniors

    I think we are 2 to 3 first team places away from becoming a top side . and we can see there is a pathway already for the kids to filter though in the next few years

  77. No one really wants Jack to go, but fans do need to see it from his perspective, and that may not concur with how they see it. He is a very special player, and that is why I see him going to Man City, if he goes at all, knowing that Pep holds him in high regard, and is the best placed manager to help Jack complete his development, just as he has with other City players.
    Pep also knows what he wants Jack for, and the difference he will make to Man City over the next two years or so.
    Can Villa match the opportunities for Jack in the next two years, and the truthful answer is simply no. Villa are just that couple of years or so behind in the development of the club.

    In the next five years, Villa will a top four side in the Premier League, fighting for cups, playing i n the Champions League, and they are looking to do the same with Women’s football and our young players. This club has far reaching plans to establish itself at all levels in football.

  78. runtings,

    Man Utd have bought and sold the best players in the world under Ferguson, and it never stopped him from achieving the amazing results that he did. He always seemed to know when the time was right for a player to move on in the best interests of the club and the player.

  79. Runts, spot on. Compass are the real deal. The culture of our club is changing before our very eyes.

    PP, in the next five years? It could be two years. Might be champions of Europe in five.

    I’m with you JC. Don’t think Compass will sell Jack or entertain the thought of it. As Runts says, we need perhaps 2 or 3 players of his calibre around him and then watch out the greedy bastards.

  80. PP- Jack signed a new deal because he liked what the club were telling him, Even said himself what the aim was this season so under no illusions that its a quick fix. The truth is he will improve any side he joins and if we get the recruitment right he can make a top 8 side a top 4 one, If we had not had Covid and Jacks Injury We would of got the 7 points needed for top 8 maybe higher I think.

    I agree City is a good fit with Pepe their, and yes Jack has ambitions, one might be to win stuff with Villa no? Don’t underestimate the pull of friendships and being guaranteed to start every game as captain. Smith has built a very tight knit team and Jack has eyes to see whats coming through the youth system.

    If Pepe gets a champions league cup this season he may not stay much longer.

  81. City and Chelsea are were they are because when they were worse than villa the owners did all the right things to make the clubs powerful this included keeping you best players and collecting the best players of others ,, something Fergie had a free rain on in his time

    I think we need to give Jack a lot more credit too as he could have left us over and over again but stuck it out Barr the close shave with spurs when we were still being run very badly
    Jack stayed 2 seasons in the championship and ran through walls to keep us up … Jack plays football in his football home a great club that when run right will become as an exciting place to play your football as any imo

  82. Christian Purslow saying that there is disappointment with 11th, and that they had hoped to be in the European places. Underlined the plans for men’s, women’s and youth football, and was pleased that youth football was on course with winning the youth cup final.

  83. rutings
    You are absolutely right on your comments, and also about Jack, but perhaps he feels that he has achieved where he wanted to be with Villa, and that all he has talked about in recent times, is playing for England, and wanting to lead his country to victory!!

  84. I’m not concerned about losing jack this summer. Won’t be going anywhere yet Imo.

    Purslow also said it’s a very precise and targeted summer window. Won’t be that many ins. Little concerned about the vague number but very very intrigued to see what they have planned to make us improve. Has to be 2 class ball players at least.

  85. We need imo 3 players to go straight into first team then maybe a squad player lb. we need depth, we need to control football matches to improve. We spent nearly 4 month in relegation form after having one player out. And have a terrible record chucking points away from winning positions due to no control. 2 class ball players will fix the control. Get them in and promote youth I’d be excited but enough to improve on 11th I ain’t sure

  86. H&V,

    I think whether this is the time to strike is very relevant. Compass have money, others are hurting. So, the talk may be a bit of a smokescreen, but for me, like you’re saying, 2-3 starters gets us close.

    It’s just very hard to know what the ceiling is for certain players like Luiz, Nakamba, Traoré. Sanson is still an unknown. We may have more than we think, maybe less.

  87. I am sure we will spend, with us recruiting two major signings, plus a couple of young players with the right experience and potential to be part of a solid squad.
    JC,
    I am sure that Luiz, Traore and Nakamba will continue to develop, but Sanson is n unknown quantity so far. Wesley could join PSV on loan for the season, Davis may also go out on loan if we sign Tammy.
    We could be looking at WBA for Pereira and Johnstone, Burnley for McNeil, Celtic for Turnbull, and Buendia from Norwich, with Tammy, if we bought them all, we would only be spending around £150million.

  88. The Purslow interview on the official website is a must watch for all AVFC fans. He expresses some disappointment at finishing 11th and hoping that we would be pushing for Europe. The fans are happy with 11th but not the club. He’s expecting further improvement next season.

    He also mentioned a couple of incoming players only. You may be disappointed with that statement guys.

  89. We saw last night how tactics win a game. Villareal cost a fraction of the greedy bastard’s team but took the cup. Emery got his tactics precise. It was the only way they could triumph. Don’t tell me 11 spot kicks converted was a fluke. He obviously had even the keeper drilled for taking one.

    The tactical battle is one Deano needs to improve on if Villa are going to progress further next season as Compass’s plans demand.

  90. PP. . . . . it doesn’t sound as if we’ll be spending £150m this time. . . . but we’ll find out in due course. It certainly doesn’t look as if there’ll be a cascade of new players and that sounds like great news to me! Apart from anything else, if we recruit in from outside for every position then there’s no route through to the first team for our youth players and it’s hard to imagine that Compass have invested all that money on youth development for that to happen!

  91. Plug, although when watching a game I can’t help myself routing for the British side, like you, I must admit there’s a little pleasure found in seeing one of the greedy clubs fail.

    You mention Dean smith’s need to improve the tactical side of his game. He does approach different games with different tactics but are you talking about ‘in game’ changes and substitutions?

  92. Apparently Rashford came in for racist abuse online after last night’s loss. We really must have the right to arrest, try and imprison people who do such things. Is it that the police don’t chase them or that the tech companies won’t release individual details?

  93. I think Purslow was pointing out that we are only looking to sign a couple of marque players, but we will still be recruiting young players with great potential, so that we have a flow of talent, along with our own youth players, who will all be developing, increasing in value, whilst their wages will be a fraction of the “instant fix” older players, and will have good sell-on value, all of which helps to generate a better income stream for the club and means we are better placed to compete with the top sides in Europe.

  94. RObb0, On Deano’s tactical acumen, I mean both in preparation/set up and “in-game” reactions to developments on the pitch. He’s not a novice of course, but he’s not a grand master either. Not meant as criticism, but an area he needs to work at.

    Some people are just morons. For ManUre imbeciles to pick on Rashford as the cause of the loss and give him racial abuse demonstrates complete ignorance. They could easily have picked on De Gea for missing his penalty or the manager for not seeing that Rashford is so out of form that it would have benefitted the team had he been substituted. I hope Beaky does not take him to the Euro’s due to lack of form.

    Players slip, miss open goals, score own goals and make mistakes. But you stand or fall as a team and not an individual.

  95. r0bb0,
    It is a very sad situation which the tech companies should deal with, and where necessary pass on relevant information.

    I believe that legislation will cure nothing, as it has had little real effect. Be it racism, sexism, equality or religious differences, the only real way forward is through education.
    Unfortunately, it is only racism that hits the headlines through BLM, and other causes. There is very little mentioned about the terror and bullying in schools, colleges and other institutions towards disabled, deaf, poorly sighted, female and various minority religious groups.
    Thee world has changed very little in understanding differences in human beings. I remember being called names in school and many other things that I heard and saw , but did not realise, until recently, that it it is still happening.
    All races, religions , and community groups need to be working to change attitudes in so many areas, making sure that the establishment also needs to recognise that it is one of the most guilty.

    The attitudes that have been entrenched in the Police, the armed forces, and many other areas towards women especially, not just colour , has been shocking, and has hardly been fully addressed yet.
    Our educational institutions need to be much more balanced too, as the huge growth of left wing attitudes and direction in the majority are unhealthy, as is the far right attitude in others.

    It is so sad that the world has become so divisive, due to the failure of a more liberal and democratic attitude amongst people. Is this because they see a total failure by the major powers to instil fairness among the most corrupt regimes in the world, and all they see is the destruction and killing happening, uninterrupted because major powers are happy to see the demise of the Middle East, Myanmar and Half the African continent.

    We can all do something to help, by making sure we educate our own children and families, giving them the belief that the future is in fact in our own hands. We have the vote, freedom of speech, the ability to dispose of our own litter, keep our communal areas clean and tidy, look for what we can do for others.
    Stop expecting the State to do everything for us, stop demanding our rights, and instead look at our responsibilities.

    Watching Britain’s biggest dig also brought home how the poor people of this country lived less than 150 years ago in slums and back to back housing, dying from disease and poverty. We only reached a reasonable level of living in the last sixty years!!

  96. Can’t argue with any comments on how it’s up to us to try and bring about change. Over here we will be listened to if we report someone for racism, bullying or whatever. Years back at my old house which is only half a mile from where I am now, a neighbour who was doing child minding locked two of the kids in the shed, now I have no idea what the kids did or didn’t do, they didn’t deserve that, so I called it in and she wasn’t allowed to child mind anymore. By-law officers will come by even if for folk letting their dogs defecate without picking it up. Now we are by no minds perfect but we are slowly moving in right direction.
    Now onto the footy, I don’t want us signing any over paid primadonna’s I would prefer us to grab a few more Matty Cash’s, I mean who saw that one coming and we’d get double if not more than we paid for him if was to go now. Tammy or someone similar who would be a bit more of a transfer fee but with so many to prove wrong would also be a good bet. Anyway, those are the type of player I would like to see us go after this summer. Technically the bench should look after it self if we sign three or so starters, as that would be three of this years starters on the bench with the kids.

  97. PP- Most of the problem is state schools, as soon as government get involved in education it goes downhill and is a way to Limit not broaden the views of kids. Some succeed despite not because of state education. Taxation and fiat money also keep the downtrodden where they are, that is the cause of Inequality not Racism etc.

    Kids are not taught to think for themselves because that gives them power.

    Having watched the entire Covid episode and all it brought to the world its very clear that a power grab is underway, back in the twenties Marxists set about getting people into education and positions of power and media with the aim to cause racial tensions, these are well documented strategies. The Woke agenda is another of theirs I’m willing to bet. Thats why we are at each others throats, the original BLM although taken as something broader by most owe their allegiances to Marxism.

    There will be no end to this because there is no open discussion allowed anymore, the permanently offended shut any dialogue down, So no it will make little difference other than to provoke a war or conflict. Right now China and Russia are doing what they like while the west beggars itself with Green policies and handouts.

    Its a damn shame because people really don’t realise what we have, they are not very Grateful and have little idea of self responsibility for Health and their own dealings with others. I can bet you plenty of the racial abuse is not from where you think either, Social media is rife with trolls from Russia, China and government run ops .

    The aim is to bring down the west and they are doing a very good job aided by the wests ever willing citizens that think the world owes them something.

  98. MK,
    Good thoughts, and a feeling that we are singing on similar hymn sheets, or perhaps that is not a good likeness!!

    It really is about education, education and education. I do hope that some of our readers will appreciate what we are trying to highlight, and how w must all play a part in trying to bring about change.
    Our football club is trying to do its bit by being involved in community projects, and have now received approval for the inner city academy, which will provide opportunity for so many budding young footballers that would not normally have the chance of enrolling at a major club.

  99. Our local rag headlines “what we know so far about the inner city academy”. And then proceeds with a few words of description that doesn’t reveal a lot.

    Can’t be bothered to get off their backsides and get over to the council to inspect the plans for publishing in the rag or getting the same info from AVFC for the same purpose. A layout and location plan would be worth a thousand words and be of great interest. The media these days are schitt.

  100. Plug, you spelt shit wrong. The Media is part and parcel of keeping the population on the back foot. They fear monger, treat readers as if their IQ is room temperature, deal in non news with breathless importance, then to top it off you get a happy dog story. Not that I mind happy dog stories as I like dogs but you get my thoughts.
    Trolls, like Mark said are rife in our social media world. The sooner we can get ourselves off social media (AVL excluded) the better off we will be. Lumping everything together with the shrill cry of free speech will be the end of us. And again as Mark said Russia and China are giving us the middle finger as they sew up the South China Sea and the Arctic Ocean.
    We have a Prime Minister who announced that Canada is going to put a rover on the moon in 5 years. On the dark side FFS. No effort is sorting out the crap we get fed. Or the graft, greed, and ignorance that infests our government(s).
    Be careful what you read, choose your sources carefully, and put on your bullshit protectors. We are being wound up, the shit is being stirred and only a small part of that is owned by us. The rest is foreign doing their best to drag us down.

  101. Eloquently written Ian. You can see it, every Lifer on this blog can see it and most people I speak to can see it. The news media outlets are all opinion, with an agenda. The commies are relentlessly feeding fake garbage to destabilise us, not to mention the virus. A rover on the dark side eh? Merde Alors!

  102. Loving the various views re media and the mind … Public opinion is an interesting concept as generally if you challenge it you can become demonised and dismissed as one of the others

    Us , them , these , those, the others is way too many different types of people
    I feel in pretty much every country public opinion is media led but what I do like is that younger people are evolving in there awareness and behaviours putting the earth we all come from and go back to as the most important thing in our existence .. for me when this becomes the common thread of public opinion we will end up having not too much to complain about … evolutionally speaking

  103. Ah…the media.

    Well, as you might expect, I’ve a slightly different take since I’ve worked in some form of media my entire adult life. The first thing is narrowing down “media.”

    For example, book publishing is a form of media. And I’m in charge of producing books addressing disease prevention, management/treatment, medical research, etc. One might not agree with certain conclusions, treatments or even causes, but it is robust, honest work authored by scores of world-class physicians and researchers. It’s work I can stand behind 100%. If any of these people end up being proven wrong, it will be because there’s a compelling discovery/body of evidence that demonstrably disproves their work. It’s slow, but that’s science. If you think cinnamon can cure diabetes in everyone, for example, well, there’s no study that proves it. And studies have been done. And, depending on the type of cinnamon, where it comes from, how it’s prepared and delivered, there are different metabolic effects. (We just did a book on alternative medicines.)

    But there are all sorts of other media. Newspapers (print and online), television, radio, podcasts, social. Some are responsible, some aren’t. Some fact check diligently, some are pure propaganda.

    And there’s a big distinction between “news” (which is simply saying a Malaysian Air flight went missing last night and no one knows what happened, or, an elderly woman was rescued by firemen during a blaze at x location, y time, and as-yet undetermined causes), and “commentary/entertainment,” which is the much larger share given the need to fill a nonstop, 24/7 product—all the panels, all the pundits. Are you simply looking for the day’s major events? They’re covered. Are you looking for context? That’s another path to go down.

    Are there trolls? Yes. True disinformation? Yes. Are there owners and/or editorial boards who lean left or right? Yes. Is the average information consumer actually a “low-information” consumer? Yes. Is confirmation bias a real thing? Absolutely. As are echo chambers. And whereas I was optimistic about the positive effects of internet in the dissemination of knowledge when I was getting my master’s degree in journalism (dissecting things like the Marxist theory of media while also questioning whether Looney Toons contained cultural assumptions and biases), I’ve since come to despair the amount of pure bullshit out there. Because anyone can say anything, anywhere, anytime. Just look at QAnon, FFS. How can there be so many people so willing to believe something so ridiculous and utterly lacking in any evidence or common sense whatsoever? It boggles the mind.

    (Just fyi, back getting that degree, I argued at the time with my professor from England, that no, they’re just cartoons. I’ve since changed my mind: they’re loaded with an American worldview because they’re American cultural products for, at the time, an American audience. He was a fantastic professor. Just asked questions, let me answer, followed up, and around and around we went. Very Socratic. I need to look him up and tell him he was right. Anyway.)

    Long and short: There is accurate, quality information out there. Lots of it. What’s lacking is widespread skill in critical reasoning; healthy, well-informed skepticism; and the intellectual honesty/curiosity to pursue it. It takes time. The ideas challenge beliefs and assumptions. You have to sort through sources, backgrounds, experience. Go to multiple sources. Weigh it all up.

    Most people don’t have the time or inclination. They simply tune into or read what reinforces their existing beliefs/worldview. And there are an untold number of “content producers” who are happy to give them exactly what they want to hear and read. That’s why I don’t do click-bait here. I just give my opinion, and it’s only that, and I don’t play to the crowd to increase traffic. I might try to write a catchy headline, but that’s about it.

    Perhaps the biggest issue is that people don’t like to change their minds because that calls into question everything they already believe, the whole system underlying it, and how they got there. The honest (and brave) take on new information and, if suitably convinced (through real argument and evidence), change their minds, or at least allow a shadow of intellectual doubt to creep in that they listen to and don’t shut down.

    What education should do (beyond conveying facts) is teach you how to think critically and challenge your unexamined assumptions: consider sources, motivations, weigh evidence, and give you a rational framework that allows you to be willing to change your mind. I was fortunate enough to be able to attend a university that was 100% about that. I’ve changed my mind about any number of things many times, both during those years and after. The biggest changes have, of course, taken the longest.

  104. And I will say, for the record, that I’ve been greatly heartened to see footballers taking a knee. There’s racism/discrimination everywhere (going all sorts of directions). Taking a knee is a simple, polite gesture acknowledging what my black friends and colleagues have known all too well their entire lives.

    Racism is learned. My young kids never once thought to ever mention that “Sally” or “Antonio” was white, black, brown, or green. The person was just someone they liked. Someone who was kind to them, and they were kind back. That tells us all we need to know. There are good and bad people all over. That’s the only distinction that matters.

  105. villa ony want 2 maybe 3 signings.

    like buendia and mcneil. rate perirera but not as much as those 2. no plans to sign a dm yet.

    hmmmm

    im ok with it but wont be enough to grab top 8.

  106. I know purslow said yesterday about wanting Europe etc but he also said when we came back up the plan was to consolidate us for a bit. we are ahead of schedule and I honestly think they are happy to be a safe mid table prem side for a year or too. which is fine

  107. very serious in McNEIL.

    Villa fans have him trending on twitter. lots not happy with him! but I rate him and only 21. would mean jack as a 10 I guess.

    Think people unhappy as its no buendia but completely different position!

  108. Excellent piece on ‘the media’, JC. Thanks for posting: I hope some others take the trouble to read it, though no sign of that yet………

  109. Yep, Elmo leaves with my best wishes for his future. His goal at Newcastle last season kept us up. I’m forever grateful. Solid player and guy too.

  110. viva, I’m on this blog regularly through the day. Everything gets read and digested but I don’t always comment on everybody’s notes. JC is quite correct an speaks for me on the race issues.

  111. vivavilla

    I tend to stick to just the footy. corona, Brexit, politics. sick to the back teeth of it all! but like plug I read everything and don’t mind the other subjects popping up. find some of it interesting and can learn a bit!

  112. Thoughts turning to next season. What do we consider amounts to progress (in terms of league position)? For instance, 11th spot this year, 8th spot next year. Is that progress?

    We wouldn’t need many more points than we got this season to reach it. But then again, Wolves got two 7th place positions in their first two seasons up, and 8th is less than. Same goes for Leeds. First season up, they grab 9th. Next season will be our 3rd one.

    Maybe we should be aiming for 6th?

  113. Reports in today’s Daily Mail suggest Citeh are preparing a 100 million bid for Jack. What do we do if that drops on the table?

  114. I understand that most of us here really just want to talk football, and in the main, about Aston Villa,
    but there are just those occasional times when it is good to speak freely to obtain a balance among real people with no axes to grind, on subjects that affect us all, directly, or indirectly.

    JC,

    An excellent piece from you, which I also hope will be read, and not just glanced over. Such a lot could be developed in conversation, but perhaps another time.

    Good to see that Elmo has been offered the opportunity to return as a coach when he is ready, and I believe that Neil Taylor will be offered a coaching opportunity with the new academy.

    The move from Man City is gaining momentum with the bid stood to break the British transfer fee record for Jack Grealish.

  115. Plug,
    I have suspected that this would happen for some time now, and we have to accept that it is in his best interest, and that we must use the opportunity to build an even better team without Jack by recruiting the best players available.
    I am sure that a lot has gone on already, and we may be closing in on some really marque signings in the next week or so.
    This is also why Villa want to press on with season ticket sales for next season.

  116. Plug and Heroes – I wasn’t having a dig at you (or anyone) for not commenting on JC’s piece, it was just that nobody at all had responded to it in 10 hours and it seemed a pity. Anyway, I quite understand as I don’t often comment on posts myself, though I read them all. UTV.

  117. viva, no worries.

    Heroes, what were the comments further up the trial about garbage media? Not the sort that JC is involved with but the popular crap. Here’s hoping Jack is still with us come Sept.

    What’s happening then with Engels I wonder. And Keinan. According to Spud, sod all happens in June and with the Euro’s he might be right for once. Bindippers have got their business in early.

  118. I can see us standing pat at DM if we need to spend big elsewhere. Better retention and work-rate in front should ease the burden, and there’s plenty of potential yet in both Luiz and Nakamba if we decide to stick.

  119. Plug,

    Engels is probably a bit of an afterthought, atm. Looks like we want to get cracking on the top targets we’ve identified, then I think we’ll sort out the squad stuff. Shouldn’t be hard to dig up a good-value, fourth-choice CB.

    I think I’m most curious about what we do with Wes, Davis, and backup/competition for Ollie. I’m pretty sure he doesn’t need “competition,” but we do need cover and a way to change things up.

    As I think about Davis, it just popped into my head that another reason Dean may leave it late to bring him on is that he’s an in-between player, as many have pointed out, and Smith is only really interested in that 10-15 minute surge rather than exposing the side for longer while chasing.

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