A couple thoughts from VillaMD, who I enjoyed meeting immensely.

“Met JC for the first time in Maryland for the Villa–Brentford preseason match. What I love about the AVL site is we didn’t know each other from Adam except for football comments. Yet when we met, there was an instant bond. I’d love to go to home games and watch the Villa with AVL fans (shame on me—I go to London and watch Villa away as my cousins can get tickets).

Why does a Galway farmer’s son support Villa? One reason: Eamon Deacy. Go back to the 80s when footballers were not wealthy. We sold eggs to Eamon Deacy’s parents’ seafood restaurant, an 8-mile bicycle ride each way in wind and rain. Eamon worked there during the summers. When I was 9 he gave me his jersey and said “You’re Villa—f#$dge Man U, Liverpool, Arsenal Leeds and Spurs. Wear the jersey.” So I’m a Villa fan for 44 years!

Hard times—yes. We’ve turned it around. Also Galway football stadium is called Eamon Deacy stadium and they look like they’re getting promoted from the 2nd tier and have billionaire owners.”


Note: As you all know (and probably remember), AVL always looks to hear from you. There are lot of well-considered posts, many of ‘article’ length. So, if like VillaMD, you ever feel the urge (I always enjoy the takes from Villa Park, for example), just pop your thoughts over through messages. -JC

Comments 76

  1. I’m very familiar with Galway VillaMD. Was often there on business. It had a vibrant town centre, the walk up from the River Corrib (St Augustine Street?) often had musicians playing on the pavement. Used to fly over to Knock, pick up a hire car and drive down past Tuam (pronounced Choom for those who don’t know). It is indeed a small world.

    But I’m still located in the Birmingham area so home match attendances are regular for me with the occasional away game attendance via business contacts around the country who help with tickets. Like every Villa fan, I’ve lived through some dreadful times but also the very best. Right now, I’m extremely excited because our prospects have moved to the top end of the scale.

    AVL is a great blog. Plenty of in depth discussion on performances by contributors. I do love the European nights under the lights. Teams from different leagues, bringing passionate support with them. The train I was on from New St. station to Witton was rammed with Hibs fans. The noise level on board was indescribable. But well behaved. The train survived the journey.

  2. Thanks JC and Plug. My sister married a lad from Tuam. I heard Hibs fans are the best that have been to Villa Park in recent years. I could only hear them on the tv, but they can sing even at 3-0 down.

    Looking forward to meeting AVL fans in the future. We all love The Villa, but this site also has a respect for opinions. Whenever I’m not keeping up, this is the 1st place that I come to see honest thoughts and discussions

  3. Hello Darren, nice to see you back. Life does get in the way of things and it’s hard to re establish things you did in the past. All the same, looking forward to your thoughts.

  4. VillaMD
    Many years ago was in galway watching cup semifinal, think it was terryland Park then,think its Comer Bros that own galway now if I remember right they were interested in buying villa at one stage when doug was in charge
    Interesting few weeks coming up for us villa fans 6/7 matches in short spell,Palace used to be a real bogey team but we have upper hand lately
    And seeing that Darren is back think Kenny is going to gone before the turkey is plucked

  5. MD,

    Ollie’ll be in there. Think it took us a while to figure out where the spaces would be. Apart from the turnover chance, can’t really fault anyone. Though not quite sure how Ollie didn’t get on the end of Cash’s ball.

  6. Villa kept going even though they must have thought they were screwed and nothing was going to work. Duran changed the game but Dougie was the motm iceman who won the game.


  7. Overall, a really important win…down after the sucker punch, stuck with it, good subs, and got the result they deserved. Especially with Palace there to play such negative football.

    Commentator I had was all over the shop, then talking about how it was harsh on Palace. Uh, no. You sit back, play the counter, get your goal then stay sitting back on 1-0, well, that’s what will happen.

    Could be a defining game. Early days, but we’ve not come back and grabbed a late win like that in a long time. That will instill/reaffirm some belief.

  8. I’m also having a hard time understanding how the penalty call is being debated. Comes across Ollie, gets him first and then the ball. The more they replayed it, the clearer it became.

  9. We don’t make it easy. Deserved win. Tielemans made a difference. Thought he was rusty initially, but grew into it. Offers so much more than Kamara going forward

  10. Good win in the end but got out of jail when we really should of had 1-2 goals lead by half time. Mr Watkins not in one of his clinical moods, seemed at half pace. Unai’s Tic Tacs played into their hands and we didn’t deal with Eze at all well, surprising as he’s the obvious player to stop. Thought it was all pretty laboured and they looked more than a little out of ideas until Unai went Brucey on us and through on the kitchen sink up top. Duran cannot be far from a start if he can stop the needless fouls, he certainly does have the killer in him as far as scoring goes, he’s be a nightmare a bit like nasty Suarez. The latest iteration of El Ghazi needs to realise falling over won’t help in this league.

    Not massively impressed with anyone bar Diaby today not even Unai, Torres not quick enough to be one on one out left but read situations in the middle well, think we need to send some get well soon messages to Tyrone.

    That said knew this would be a tough game and we pulled off the win, pint time.

  11. I’m stoked. No other word for it. Just stoked. It felt like we were going to fall to that sucker punch as we didn’t seem able to get through their packed defensive lines.

    Then at the death, Big Jhon delivers a missile. Get in. All that time wasting by Palace finally getting what it deserved.

  12. Thought the ref was really poor. But he got the peno decision right. In real time, as soon as I saw it, I shouted penalty. Thank goodness the ref had the balls to ignore the VAR review and stick to his original decision. Once again VAR doing its best to rob us. Dougie hits a cracking spot kick.

  13. The coup de grace was Diaby refusing to run for the corner flag and do what Johnstone was doing earlier. Instead, into the box, pick out Bailey and bury the sword. Cue pandemonium. All in all a tough game to win. Eze was class. They have a gem with him. Thought Ollie looked jaded.

    But the beer is on tap and my weekend is assured. Cheers lifers.

  14. That turned out well,,
    Did see it live but followed on sky comments we battered Palace,4 good chances in 1st half yet that tosser Danny Murphy said Palace were robbed
    Anyone know what speed Duran goal was,never mind it was beautiful, another great emery weekend long may they last,rhe man is god number2

  15. JG, you’re remarkably balanced this morning. . . .why so polite about Danny Murphy? (does anyone know why he hates Villa btw?)
    Credit to the referee sticking with his original decision.
    I saw a rather silly quote from the Palace substitute manager:
    “The result just leaves a really bitter taste in our mouths. If it takes five minutes to make a decision, that tells you everything you need to know.”
    Yes. . . . . you’re right you muppet, taking 5 minutes really does tell you everything you need to know. . . . it’s effing clear and obvious that no ‘clear and obvious’ mistake was made.

    I’ve been a fan of VAR from the start but seen lots of instances where referees have spent ages in front of a monitor, looking at various angles and speeds and individual frames only to ‘eventually’ decide they may have got it wrong after all. No. . . .if it takes that long, there is no “clear and obvious error” or “serious missed incident”.

    Hopefully yesterday’s referee will begin a trend where they start to use VAR correctly and only reverse clear and obvious errors.

    It would also be nice if intellectual dwarves like Murphy were able to grasp this point.

  16. On BBC 606, both Robbie Savage and Chris Sutton said it was a clear penalty. They didn’t understand why it took so long to award it.

    Looking at goal’s again, Tielemans was the key for 2nd and 3rd.

    Will be curious to see how many squad players start on Thursday.

    Olsen, Lenglet, Chambers, Dendoncker, Tielemans. Bailey, Duran, Kellyman

  17. MD,

    Tielemans did make a telling contribution and he is a class player.

    Didn’t like him having things to say so early on in the season about playing time, not sure why he thought he’d just magically replace one of Dougie or Bouba. Or SJM, for that matter. At the same time, you can understand he thinks he should be playing, and I like the self-belief.

    Anyway, there’s a balance for Emery to find. YT can actually change the dynamic. He does offer more vision going and quality of passing going forward than Bouba, not quite as energetic and physical breaking up play and winning the ball back.

    Like you, very curious to see the rotations. The league win makes such a difference heading into conference play, the load management, the games after. Wouldn’t be at all surprised to see YT get the start.

  18. Was a great feeling, Plug. Had me buzzing all day. We’ve not seen Villa turn it around so dramatically very often the last few years and this one felt meaningful.

    Diaby putting that back across for Bailey to finish them off…That felt really good, and said to me that the players really wanted to finish with a flourish and enjoyed that they’d broken Palace’s resolve.

  19. MK,

    Was a tough game, always is against Palace. Difference today was seeing them play such ‘away’, countering football. Obviously changes and injuries of their own.

    You see time and again it can be difficult to break well-organized sides down. City might take nearly as long some days. If Ollie slots in that first chance, would’ve all looked far more to our liking, opened things up.

    But, yeah, we could’ve played it around a bit faster. And agree with all that Torres doesn’t have the same recovery speed as Mings. Beyond that slip-up, though, thought he played with better anticipation, and had some lovely long switches.

    Not sure I’d say it was all Brucey, the changes. YT for Kamara, Bailey for Zaniolo, like for like, in the end, but different qualities. Duran for McGinn was the only real addition to the forward line. Dendoncker for Watkins, tactical and defensive.

    Always say this, “have to watch it back,” but there was something interesting going on with Kamara and Luiz, their positioning. Luiz’s heat map (wish I could post) was insane…all over the pitch.

    Not sure if Emi would’ve made the save even if he hadn’t slipped, the goal was at pretty much at Edouard’s mercy, but he did end up keeping us in it.

  20. Did see game live ,but have read that kamara played as a 3rd centre half,freeing up fullbacks,and from highlights cash should have score one and assisted Watkins for 1,emery the new tinkerman

  21. Random data point…took Arsenal 70mins to finally break through at Everton, and then from a corner (second phase). Away, yes, but the atmosphere at Goodison right now is hardly an advantage.

  22. Well I’m still buzzing. James, we might have been 3-0 or 4-0 up at half time. As Unai says, it didn’t happen, we fell behind and had to win it the hard way. Palace were reduced to spoiling tactics, wasting time all over the place but the win was most definitely deserved.

    Cash had 2 great chances. Ollie should have opened the scoring and I’ve since seen the reply of Diaby’s goal ruled out for offside. Blimey, it was tight.

    Can’t fault the substitutions. They had an effect. That in itself bodes well as our bench hasn’t been capable of such things before Unai.

  23. I think we’ll field a strong team against Legia Warsaw. It’s now mission reach the knock out phases and there is something like half a million Euro’s prize money for each win in the group stage. Looking forward to Thurs.

  24. For Thursday, hope martinez and Luis are left in Birmingham
    Konsa/cash moreno
    Lenget Chambers
    Donks kamara tielmens
    Zanola Duran diaby
    A good start would be perfect

  25. Poor from Kamara…Seems to think he should be nailed on, probably because he’s at Villa and not somewhere like City.

    His performances have improved, but Unai will need to have a chat with him. Couple egos seem a little too big, atm. He has to realize Tielemans offers something different and that it could be the case he’s not good enough to start or stay on the full 90 every game.

  26. Wouldn’t get to worked up about celebrations, donks was sitting too and then emery told him he was going on
    Kamara could been annoyed with himself more than anything

  27. Plug, yes, I counted 8 misses too, and some of them were bad misses.
    Last season he started well and then had a goal drought (after I put him in my fantasy team) despite the huge number of chances his Man City team mates presented him with.
    He’s still an exceptional striker of course, but it does highlight how strikers can’t be ‘expected’ to score consistently throughout the season, every season.
    All players go through peaks and troughs, it’s just more obvious when strikers hit a lean spell.

  28. It is a big game, Plug.

    I’ll get a fresh page up here soon.

    I should also note that I got vanity license plates for the first time ever: COYVB. I leave a lot of confused people in my wake.

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