I wanted to write something yesterday and even after the match, but I couldn't bring myself to do it and be happy. I convinced myself that we have the right manager and we do, but that our board made the wrong decision when appointing the previous manager and they did, but it's still not hard to accept that we're not going to go up without getting lucky and possibly fortunate and most certainly without a huge element of risk.

I felt huge disappointment because we're Aston Villa and this shouldn't be happening to us.

I know many will think that we have no divine right to be challenging at the top, but I'm 42 years old and I believe we do. And you've all read my posts in the past about how I grew up in a time when going into a new season there was a real hope that we could challenge, so I'm not going to write that again .. even though at the start of this season, I thought it possible, even if my head told me we would be stuck in this league because of Di Matteo.

I conned myself into believing that the powers that be had a plan and now that plan looks like it is going to come down to a nail biting end of the season because even if I still pretend to myself that there is a chance we can go up automatically, it's not something I would bet on and I have a hard time convincing myself that we are playing good enough to end up in top six.

So I didn't write because it wasn't the start to 2017 I was hoping for. It wasn't fighting like lions.

In other news

And with that written, Rudy Gestede has left us to play in the Premier League and we have loaned Sam Johnstone from Manchester United so he can get a few games instead of not playing for them.

It's not that I don't have anything to say on either of these, it's that Rudy has scored goals in this league in the past and I know nothing about Sam Johnstone to be able to comment, but I do know it's important to build from the back and I suspect Bruce wanted someone he knew a little something about.

Spurs at the weekend and I'm going to convince myself that they are going to be too tired after beating Chelsea last night and that we can go there and get something. And you know what, I have and we can. It's the magic of the FA Cup.

Until then, I hope for breaking news that we've signed that central midfielder we've needed since the end of last season.

Author: Damian
Damian started The Villa Blog as a passion project quite a few years ago while he was living in South Africa. Now living in Sweden, it continues. He's originally from Chasetown and grew up when supporting Villa meant there was a real chance of silverware at the start of every season.
Latest Posts

Load Previous Comments
  • Mate,

    Don't forget the Wigan game, they came to Villa Park and outplayed us too...

  • Dont forget the games we won and you said they dont count unless we won the next one lol

  • #325439 anderson mon 4-5-1

    Dont forget the games we won and you said they dont count unless we won the next one lol

    Your opinion does not count because you were going to talk to real fans remember...;);) or it it you're full of **** and back like dog to bone - lol

    You criticise the blog but clearly spend time reading it, putting in your odd appearance to moans at posters - get a life.

  • bruce has 18 points won and lost 18 points hardley the great manager you think has lost all the games that matter or at least not won plays westwank flabby hutton bunn thats why he is hated brainless ******* and now he has that great tactician Calderwood the useless jock coach what chance have we got wort football ever seen in my 50 years watching the club fu ck bruce brainless ******* wasted 120 mil at hull 80 mill at sunderland both going down has done nothing pure shyte

  • Wigan outplayed us ??

    Posession - Villa 56%, Wigan 44%
    Shots - Villa 15 , Wigan 6
    Shots on target - Villa 5 Wigan 0

    If that is being outplayed, i will take it every week.

  • Mate,

    I was at the game and we played ****e - half those shots we way off target. If it weren't for the late Grealish winner it would have been a fair reflection of how we played.

    This was Spud's comment after the game:

    "Aston Villa manager Steve Bruce:

    "There is still a lot of improvement needed and we have to play better. It was a frustrating game for us masked by a great goal from Jack Grealish."

    But sadly, those stats are better then what we have produced on average!!

  • So was i, and Wigan contributed nothing except to park the bus. We certainly didn't play well, but to say Wigan outplayed us is just silly.

  • Ok mate, maybe a bit unfair...but we hardly crated squat and were lucky to take the points.

  • The results at best are average, the performances have been dire and youth development looks to be bleak with key hot prospects not been given a chance and driven out of the club. You'd have to be deluded to say he is a great manager.

  • I never criticised the blog I criticised the idiots on the blog like yourself who dont know about the sport they're trying to debate about

  • The blog is about opinion and made up of other bloggers you muppet, your to thick to understand that. And you usual comment debate, twat that's your usual crap that you come out with. You can't debate, you are to thick to debate hence the tone of your posts.

  • You're never right about anything so i take that as a compliment

  • Well when it comes to you I'm on the money...you a sad old man who does have a life...that's my conclusion because any muppet who sits reading posts that he disagrees with only to come on and not have the capacity to debate is dim as two ****s.

  • You know nothing about me, Like most of your posts you make it up as you go along

  • I know everything I need to know...and like I said I'm on the money...you're dim as two fcuks and bitter and twisted about something...;););)

  • You know nothing thats why you're seen as the joke of the blog

  • Right I'm off to bed, been a long day at work so night all.

    For you Anderson, from now on this will be my tone of posts because that's the level you deserve you thick dimwitted twat...you sad loser who needs to get a life. Bitter twisted old man...:):););)

  • From a grown man who calls another grown man spud, I don't think you're in a position to say much, Enjoy your sleep when you wake up tomorrow you're still going to be a keyboard warrior

  • Come September 2018 Gabby Agbonlahor will still only be 31 and I can't see any reason for not giving him another 3-year contract at a lower wage of say £1m per year. After all, with 73 goals, he is Aston Villa's all-time leading Premier League goalscorer and will become a goal centurion with other great footballers before he retires.

    Whoever the owner or manager will be in 18 months time they will no doubt make sure Villa does not lose its prize asset.

    Now reaching for my tin hat and diving into the trench.

  • Nice to know Petrov is advising RHM that Rangers would be a good move for him.Who needs Enemy's when you have friends like Stan.If this story is true,then Stan should be banned from the ground.

  • Stan the man who gave us Tonev.lol

  • I'm more annoyed at the club giving idiotic contracts to poor players RHM INCLUDED - what's he done? Been crap at u23 level not even close to the top scorer in that league hardly worth all this convo really

    And even if you are 15 or 30 holding a club to ransom is holding the club to ransom.. Let's not forget how gabby was an England International in his first season scoring a load of goals UNDER MON can you genuinely see RHM doing that? No and look how gabby turned out

    And those using Cahill as an example of why youth should be used don't make me laugh.. I'm amazed that he is where he is its like sterling being at city not one of them are good enough to be on those sides look at their performances Cahill at error for spurs first goal miles outside the box when cross went in cannot defend at all since Terry has been out the side... And don't get me started on his dire England performances

    So if that's our demonstration our youth mistakes by letting them go in sorry the arguments are flawed beyond belief.

    Put Cahill in this side he will soon be another mica Richards because they are the reasons for their clubs success

  • Let's take our new owner to one side and forget that he is here for a second and jsut look at the pure actions of the club since the takeover

    - a complete novice in charge for a sporting director
    - 55m wasted with no sell on value hardly
    - 4 year deals to rmc and GG respectively one is older than God's dog and both are crap
    - offering contracts to youth players who have not done a thing to date
    - 12th in the league in a lower league spending the same money as the season before.
    - a manager that hardly any on here except a few accept as our manager and think is totally the wrong choice
    - the first manager appointed was possibly the biggest disaster since Tim sherwood.

    So based on these things can someone tell me why they think we are now heading into a new excellent future? And before people say money has been put in... That's not valid at the moment as 60m from TV 45m coming from parachute money means we are in a decent financial position this season hence why it's all about desperately coming up this season and not the next...

    I look forward to the responses folks ;)

  • Well, I couldn't answer all those points. I thought RMC was a good player even though we spent too much on him, however had we spent 5 million on him he would still have been disappointing. I'd never seen much of GG really (had many people?) but he's been disappointing as well.
    After the MON period (MON to Houllier to AMC to Lambert) I thought our biggest problem was continuity - not just changing managers but changing type of manager - different styles of play, different types of players etc. So when Lambert was appointed I thought we've got to give him time as we can't keep chopping and changing all the time - right idea, wrong manager. Although he didn't get us relegated. Or did he sow the seeds of relegation? Or was that MON?.
    So I've come full circle. I don't think we can keep on changing managers or even senior staff but we need to get the right people in and stick by them and support them to do their jobs.
    So have we got the right manager and staff in?

  • May as well just shut Villa park and build a supermarket there! Lol.

  • Would have liked to see if RHM could cement a place in the first team,not going to happen now.Used to lose our best players being sold on,the only difference now is the younger players don't get any playing time in this Crap league before they move on.

  • Pace fair comments mate

    It goes beyond Bruce for me... Is Steve round our answer? I says not even close we have suffered the consequences of rookies for the last 5 years at least and look where it's got us

  • Yeah, it nearly always does. A few years ago I wanted us to have a set up like Swansea. Have a culture and philosophy that belongs to the club and sits above the manager and you appoint managers who can work within that.
    Now look at them!

  • Lerner took advice from Ellis and appointed MON,The Doc bought Villa from Lerner! Who advised him as to who should be Manager?Plus Director's.The app of Fox was a disaster for Villa, also Truly,who brought in 12 players all at once and only 2 were any good.Massive job to get back to where we were under MON.Sorry but could take years.

  • Is Anderson logged on?

    I want to know if it's safe to post otherwise anything I post will deem me a troll

  • Might be safe then

    Bruce- not only does he not like younger players [Tish RHM] I sense that he isn't keen on the 'Fancy Dan' [skilful] type of player

    Calling Jack a 'circus act' when he bailed him out with THAT goal against Wigan does he also not know how to set up a team to play to RMC's strengths?

  • But apparently it is everyone else's fault but Bruce's :)

  • The other concern is what if this seemingly desperate attempt to get up fails even next season?

    It don't bare thinking about

    P. S anyone else give a fck about tomorrow?

  • No. And I hope he plays a bunch of kids because it looks like Tottingham will be making a similar but feeble attempt at patronising us.

  • James20,will King Edward play the younger lads under 29yrars of age? Lol

  • Is it safe to come on and post about young players,but one glaring fact is obvious.
    I,ve watched Chelsea youth team seeming to make the FA youth cup their own property and they,ve thrown bucket loads of cash at their youth setup.
    Pray tell me all their youth team players or should I say ex,that are setting the prem.alive.Answers on the back of a fag packet

  • The irony is... De bruyne and lukaku are the best lot to come out of it ain't they... And they are doing it for other teams and not Chelsea lol

  • I've spent some time checking out Chelsea's lower down teams and the whole thing is run as a business centre, a mini business. Certainly in S America they try to buy players at the cusp, ie just at the point or before a general consensus emerges that they are the new ****, so they are generally investing wages and smaller fees (<5m generally) with the aim of eventually turning them round for 5-10m, or once in a blue moon (ho ho) turning up a decade-changing talent (eg the autistic boy at Barca). Now that China is paying stupid money this business model will probably start to reap the divs.

    If you *don't* have the money that they have, then you have to aim to use as many of them coming thru as possible eg Soton &c.

    Where are we different ? Well apart from not knowing whether we do/will have "the money", we have a tradition of bringing through locals, since a century back in fact. That would be our USP, as it were. Jack Grealish for example, could probably have gone somewhere else as a nipper.

  • Don't really care about tomorrow but would love it if we won.. just to give some Spurs fans stick..

    Won't happen thou lol

  • The question regarding Bruce in assessing his term so far is what your are expecting out of this season.

    It's my opinion that if you think promotion is realistic then I have to say you aren't using your brain you are using your heart..

    If you use your brain then it will tell you that this squad is capable of going down more so than getting promoted because it's a poor squad

    12th - 8th at best as said before a ball was kicked.. And Bruce has got us to 12th from 20th and out of relegation worries which under rdm was a genuine threat.

    All in all he's done quite decent for me, yea the gabby thing is baffling and so is Westwood saga yet again... Which they are his negatives big style but he has improved our situation.

    Performances have been crap under rdm aswell as Bruce again also pointing to the very evident possibilities that this squad is poor

  • There's an interesting financial question here - in that what is the difference in cash you'd have to pump in, to either stay competitive in the EFL *next* season but get up, vs get up this year and what you'd then have to invest merely to stay up. Next year's parachute being reasonably close to half of what you'd make in the EPL. The season after would be the same whichever way.

    Looming over all this is Moye's reported comment when he was canvassed last year, that he'd need to build three teams - one to get up one to stay up and one to push on.

  • Looking forward to see if Westwood could actually achieve zero touches on the ball tomorrow, ie by not playing.

  • hi all,

    i think that anderson should start reading bruces post mach comments.
    he is far more critical than most posters.
    in fact he has fallen into the habit of blaming the tools,when its him that picks them,especially the bent screwdrivers.

  • jamese,

    we are where we deserve to be in this league.
    ive read today that the pending new owners would rather sell lansbury to derby than us.

  • That really don't make sense does it regarding lansbury..

    But yep you are right regarding the league.. Also if you hated the Bruce appointment just need to look at who is responsible for appointing him in the first place

  • mate,

    like you,i have appreciated with what bruce has done point wise.
    but some of his selections are irritating to say the least.its has though he has run out of ideas.
    ive said it before,his dealings in this window will be make or break for him.

  • Round said he came out top of the list in the stats over 10 managers but it was clear Xia had his reservations about Bruce being open to new ideas, he was also unemployed ;)

  • that won't please the forest fans one bit

  • probably why he has gone on strike.

  • By the way Stan was talking about RHM going on loan to Rangers not leaving Villa before he gets anymore stick ;)

  • LB,We need RHM here!Nowif he goes on loan with his contract up in 6 month's,do you really think he will come back to Villa? With Kodjia and Ayew gone Stan should be asking him to sign for Villa,Not fecking Rangers.

  • Perhaps Instead of Bruce consorting to Blackmail,show faith in the kid and play him tomorrow and this Month,, maybe then he will return the favour and sign for Villa.

  • "hypocrisy on this blog is alive and well they have a go at gabby for taking the club for ransom but yet they defend
    RHM for holding the club ransom just so they can have a pop at the manager and turn the knife "

    well i'm glad I missed Hurricane Anderson :):):):)

    hers and angle, gabby nearly ruined the club but gets second chance even though he's been unfit and hasn't scored since god knows, the clubs desperate to get back up and our strikers are in Africa, Times are hard we have to use gabby.

    Waite we have a bright young talent that is in his last 6months of his contract we could use him, he even scores goals, no lets ingnore him all season then say he'll never play unless he signs, if he doesn't we will have to sell him and get next to nothing from a tribunal or let him go without ever giving him a go.

    Can you tell me what we have to lose? he might just work out a nd score some crucial goals that get us in the playoffs or we could just pay him until the end of the season to do F all. gabby we have to use RMH we wont...... fecking madness

  • why on gods earth would rhm sign a new contract for bruce, bruce never has used youth players prefers to sign elder players,tish was only used v cardiff after no show westwood annd gg first half performance, why has lyden or any young lad not been tried at full back instead of hutton,hutton still doesn tknow how to play,as for the fat fraud the last time he was half decent was same match rhm made his debut mid march 2015 scored twice that day some one will say when he scored twice in a match before

  • LB,spot on mate,use him while we have him! Ok he leaves in the summer,but he can't say he was never given a chance! Oh wait,he is to young!!!!! Stupid statement by Bruce! Immediately sends wrong message to all the younger players.

  • Watching utd dismantle reading with ease just shows how far we are away as a club

  • If your remit was to get promotion from 20th after 12 games in the season I don't think you would be playing youth either

    So some perspective needed

  • James,we are 24 Games in and the usual suspects who have let us down from day one are still playing.So if we can't replace them in this window and don't play any youngsters,Then we have to up with same useless players for the rest of the season Brilliant.

  • He ain't the first manager to. Do this either

  • Playing youth is one thing, if the player concerned is playing so well that he is impossible to ignore. RHM is playing in U23 division two, not one, and has five goals, three against a Newcastle team who I believe were missing both their centre backs. VIilla are currently midtable in that league, our young players are not exactly setting the league alight. I have seen them only twice this season, one RHM didn't play, the other he did nothing. He certainly has potential, but at this moment in time, that is all. He would be better off going out on loan the second half of the season to get some proper football experience and score some goals. He will be a better player for it.

    As for his contract, I know people are falling over themselves to blame the manager, but the situation was going on before he was even at the club. Villa think he is being badly advised, so do local journalists who are close to the club, so you would think they would know something.

  • bfr94,mate,RHM wants to leave Villa,Jeez why cant people see that!!! his contract is up in the Summer.Use him now while he is here,he can showcase himself and scouts can see how he does on the bigger stage.Plus to late to send him out on loan,as Stan suggested he go to Rangers!if he does,then he may be signed by them.RHM owes Villa,they gave him the chance aged 8,ten years at Villa and if Potato Head played him maybe just maybe he will stay

  • I see Maureen played Rashford v Reading,What the hell is he doing?he is to young!!!!! oh wait! he scored 2 goals! all is forgiven!:):):):):):)

  • #325459 jamese20

    I'm more annoyed at the club giving idiotic contracts to poor players RHM INCLUDED - what's he done? Been crap at u23 level not even close to the top scorer in that league hardly worth all this convo really

    And even if you are 15 or 30 holding a club to ransom is holding the club to ransom


    How is RHM holding the club to ransom??

    Holding the club to ransom is when a player is not needed, has contributed nothing for 6 years and is happy to bleed the club dry by sitting on the cotract - cue Scabby.

    RHM - could have held the club to ransom and signed, then followed the Scabby route and doing sweet fa for 6 years. He's not asked for more money, he's asked for first team opportunities - lol - hardly holding the club to ransom. Spud's 5 minute gesture in the last game was frankly laughable. As for you thinking he's crap U23, I take it you came to this conclusion having not watched a single game with RHM in it - lol

  • And Rangers will not offer him any more then us in money - lol. They will offer the one thing he wants, first team football - sort it out Spud, no one is asking you to field 11 youth players, but at least show the basic capacity to integrate our youngsters over the period of time - that means more the 5 minute token gestures!

  • Well RHM has had a few injuries last season and this but still came straight back and scored goals regularly, the u23 don't play that often and first teamers have been playing a lot like kosak and Gabby, gabby managed no goals I think and missed a penalty while RHM played in one game with him and converted a cross from Gabby and created one for himself running from the halfway line Green to has scored at least 5. When we have inserted first teamers into the U23's they have generally lost without 1st teamers they have done well go figure how hard/easy this level is?

    If there is one word to describe Hepburn-Murphy’s performances at youth level for Aston Villa, it’s prolific.

    Before his first-team debut at the Stadium of Light, the youngster, then aged sixteen, had scored 18 goals in 21 games for Villa’s U18s, and has since progressed into the U21 side.

    "Despite missing four months of the 2015/16 season through injury, he returned to the U21 setup before their crucial semi-final 2015/16 play-off games, where he netted the winner in the club’s semi-final win over Swansea, before scoring the opening goal in the club’s 3-1 defeat to Arsenal in the final.

    Described as a forward with electric pace, strength and a devastating eye for goal"

  • LB,

    kosak and Gabby, gabby managed no goals I think and missed a penalty while RHM played in one game with him and converted a cross from Gabby and created one for himself running from the halfway line Green to has scored at least 5. When we have inserted first teamers into the U23's they have generally lost without 1st teamers they have done well go figure how hard/easy this level is?

    Yes I did note that too, even more baffling that Spud and some fans think Scabby is the answer to the goal scorer we are looking for.

    Before his first-team debut at the Stadium of Light, the youngster, then aged sixteen, had scored 18 goals in 21 games for Villa’s U18s, and has since progressed into the U21 side.

    "Despite missing four months of the 2015/16 season through injury, he returned to the U21 setup before their crucial semi-final 2015/16 play-off games, where he netted the winner in the club’s semi-final win over Swansea, before scoring the opening goal in the club’s 3-1 defeat to Arsenal in the final.

    Described as a forward with electric pace, strength and a devastating eye for goal"

    No mate, lets keep it simple and rubbish him, because he has the audacity to want to contribute to the first team rather then collecting his paycheck and doing sweet fa.

    Saw him at Cambridge friendly when he played as the lone striker, he did a very good job and look to have the attributes to become a top striker. He will only get better.

  • Mate I'm sick to death with comments like how did all the other strikers that come through the ranks do? what basis is that for not giving a talented player a start? the reason we won the league and euro cup was at least in part down to the likes of shaw and tony daley was another great youth product, some actually are quite good but lets just lump them with the ones that didn't make it.

  • Agree mate, our issue has not been our youth, but more our seniors players who've in general been crap. As a club we've always struggled to get the balance right between youth and experienced in the match day squad - Spud is following down the same path.

  • bruce had 35 games when he took over and the better of the new players codja jedi and adoamh starting to find their feet,two wins and a draw later looking good? takes back the scab foreign lads realise this is the prick amavi and ayewtold them about, things start to wobble, run of matches into xmas 4 on telly getting worse and worse ,still same failed faces keep starting midfield shambles v norwich ,no sign of tish [how can he have done more wrong than gabbby] rhm threatened sign new contract or don t play real good man management like slagging grealish off for waving arms about instead of doing inhouse and critising ref to media,slatesgollina for been too young yet signs a utd similar age with similar experience at this level and bruce is doing no wrong for some

  • Another one we let go Robinson just scored against Arsenal

  • I see Callum Robinson just scored for Preston against Arsenal. Johnson looks lively too.

  • Preston look like the premier league team. Should have been up by 2 goals by now.

  • What a chance for Bruce to rest some of his players tomorrow like half the useless morons, come on Potatoe head be a bit of a devil tomorrow and change it round a bit, Senior players can support you on the day like Gabby can distribute food round where required and Westwood can head for Scotland creating 200-300 miles distance between himself and the team.

  • why rest the old boys ,show them up for how crap they

  • didn tread that right,westwood go to scotland he would probably end up at lands end he likes going backwards,gabby distribute safe enough if its the healthy options definitly a no no if its kfc

  • nope bruce has said he's playing his strongest side if he knew what that was, wont be with RHM in it I can tell you that, and if he signs the contract it wont be with RHM in it either.

  • why rest the old boys ,show them up for how crap they
    I think we have suffered enough over the last five years

  • what is another match and then say good bye to
    bunn hutton cissko richards westwood flabby kozak and bacuna

  • Times you used to sneak to the car on a Monday lunch see who you got in the next round of the cup, how times are a changing.

  • what is another match and then say good bye to
    bunn hutton cissko richards westwood flabby kozak and bacuna
    Wecome Delph, Cleverley, Alex Bruce and whatever other Dick Brain he signs.

  • would be afraid with bruce past history in signing players,alec bruce is nearly nailed on

  • Going to have to give Tony Butler a ring to see if he can get on his prayer Mat and conjure up something

  • Always liked going to spurs they had wooden seats like ours when everywhere going plastic
    we lost trinity the holte and our status

    But we will always be AVFC
    Thanks to the new owner
    I really feared what could happen with Lerner and his fools

    Steve is making some cock ups, the football is still crap

    But we have a future

    Perhaps not tomorrow

    Roll on 11am

  • Talking about young players with F all to offer I remember a 19 year old striker from scotland playing with a 20 year old from Newcastle not doing to bad. Oh and I forgot the 30 year old drunk with dodgy knees we signed.

  • Final one and I'm off. Little played all 56 games that season.

  • Hard game tomorrow against spurs , so all i ask of you villa lads is TRy and keep the spurs goal tally to under 10. :) after all we have have a proud history in this event. Be on tomorrow to wish you good luck and think you will certainly need plenty of it.

  • Which quality player is going to want to join us now it's looking likely we'll be playing championship football again next year?! Having money to spend is one thing but attracting the right players will be a challenge.

  • Also Im not sure I trust Bruce in the transfer market. Not sure why we signed a young Man UTD reserve keeper when we have one of those already. Would much rather we played Gollini to give him experience/ match time.

  • My dad and my older brother are united fans and I tell you now Johnstone will be a good player for the rest of the season, he's a good keeper. Long term I like Gollini and hope now we loan him out. I just hope we push this Lansbury deal through, I've been an admirer for years

  • Lansbury would be a great signing, though Forest seem in a bit of turmoil so no idea if it will come off. I do like Gollini, but he is very young for a keeper and has made some errors. I really do think he will turn into a good player though. Irony is, the new keeper is also young lol, but i have read a lot of good things about him. He has very little realistic chance of being United's keeper anytime soon, but then look who is in front of him. United also recently extended his contract, so they must rate him.

Leave your comments

Post comment as a guest

0 / 1500 Character restriction
Your text should be less than 1500 characters
If you login before posting a comment, it will show straight away. If you don't login, it will be moderated first and if Damian is drunk, on his way to getting drunk or remotely thinking about having a beer, it could take some time to show .. go get an account or login. Make it easy on the man.

Member Login

An account is needed to leave unmoderated comments.

As featured on NewsNow: Aston Villa newsNewsNow is the source for all the latest football news. Click here for Aston Villa news.