Villa Blog

The Hammers-Fans Early Indications And My U-Turn

The last time we played the hammers. I predicted a win would see us get out the bottom three, and felt that we needed to get something because we had Arsenal up next. This time around It also feels like we need to get something from the hammers. I don’t want to rely on Everton. Back then I wrote that I sensed the prophets of doom were already starting to surface and put a negative spin on things. Smith had barely got started on laying the foundations for the season ahead. We were five games into the season it was September. But It was clear from some fans with their doom and gloom analogies, Dean Smith was not going to, be shown the same patience that got shown, Steve Bruce.

I said I believed we would come out the other side of this transitional season a better team. But we needed to give time and accept instant success does not exist. And that we would incur losses along the way. Even be in or around the relegation zone most, if not all the season. And that finishing midtable would be fantastic, but equally so would 17th place this season.

My support for Smith as been clear for all to see, and I made no apologies for being willing to get behind him through an extended period. I believed Smith needed this season, and I suspected the owners thought so too. Especially given the rhetoric that came from Christian Purslow. “nothing happens overnight Dean Smith was the outstanding candidate, every single attribute that the owners and I had talked about, Dean had In abundance”. You can read some of that here

My U-Turn

Up until the recent Chelsea defeat following project restart, I had never given Dean Smith both barrels. Then last week, I lost the plot, and the very thing which I said was needed patience, I ran out of. I wrote that some of the board and Smith needed replacing. Not for anyone like big sam, but someone like Pochettino or Rafa.

I regret writing that now, It was an emotional knee jerk reaction to a result. I should have allowed myself time to digest the Everton game. So I am doing a u-turn. I want us to retain Dean Smith services regardless if were relegated or not. It may be an even more unpopular view come Sunday afternoon than now. But it’s mine to make, and mine to have, you still get to have yours. Because all opinions are right, That’s what makes it an opinion. It’s yours to have, yours to make, and you get to be right. so let’s not make the common mistake and confuse opinions with facts which so many do.

Why do I want to keep Smith? Well for the very reasons I spoke about back in 2018, and above. That, I believe we need to take the longevity approach. No more gambles or quick fix scenario’s.

The question I ask is this “would those of us who want a coach like Pochettino or Rafa, or someone of that ilk. Also want them removed right now if we were in the same position under them?”. Would we keep them purely because of their cv regardless?. If so, then is it not simply a case we don’t believe Smith can learn and grow like Sean Dyche did at Burnley?. Lets remember this is his first year as a Premier League Coach.

There Is No Fast-Track Route

Klopp just won the title after building Liverpool up over a few years. Pool fans wanted him out not so long ago. Gooner fans bemoaned about Wenger they don’t make top 4 nowadays. Sometimes the grass is not always greener. We all want Villa to be challenging for honours and winning trophies. But is there a fast-track route?. We do have a history of jumping on the Manager merry go round at Villa.

Whatever happens at the hammers Smith’s on a hiding to nothing. If we lose and end up relegated, fans already have their scapegoat. If we stay up, some fans will insist that Smith needs to go, on the basis they believe given the money spent we should never have been in this position.

Adapting To The Premier League

Spending money does not guarantee your survival. It’s not like we spent the money to improve an established premier league team. Hopefully, winning at the hammers will enable us to do that, for the first time in many a year.

For us, this season was always going to be about player integration, and relying on players adapting quickly. Everyone in the team learning and being aware of their role. If, we draw or beat the hammers and retain our Premier League status. Our Players will have a year’s experience behind them. We can then build on this, instead of tearing everything up and starting again. Like, what’s happened in recent years. Which, would also no doubt happen under a new coach.

Villa’s New Approach

Prior to Smith’s appointment, I said we needed a new approach. One which would see us hire a vibrant, progressive, tactically astute type of coach. Someone who can develop our youth and any young talent we purchase. I said they would need time to create a playing style that’s played across all levels of the club. So youth integration is much easier to accomplish than previous attempts. Build this footballing ethos that would become known as the Villa way. Then every coach that follows adds a sprinkling of there own.

I asked if the Aston Villa board had the longterm vision that was required to lift our great club back to where it belongs?. Or if we would just become another Leeds United?. We will find out soon enough.


412 Responses

  1. Vancouvervillan

    Here too 30 odd degrees yesterday.
    Some welcome showers and cooler today.
    Little tip
    If you don’t fertilize your lawns you won’t have to cut the buggers ???

  2. AVFCVillablog

    Considering the rumours that we are looking to strengthen and bring in a top quality striker, I decided to take a look at how these strikers in the PL performed this season
    and where possible noted how that did in previous seasons in the PL

    For the 1st seven on my list it was their first season at PL level

    It may come across as bias, but I do believe Wesley would have hit double figures especially when i look at the sitters Samatta and Davis missed between them.

    So who do fancy from below?

    Mine is Gabriel Jesus

    Joelinton 38 appearances 2 goals 1st season in PL fee 40mil  

    Sebastian Haller 32 appearances 7 goals 1st season in PL fee 45mil 

    Wesley Moraes 21 appearances 5 goals 1st season in PL fee 22mil

    Teemu Pukki 36 appearances 11 goals 1st season in PL fee free transfer

    Neil Maupay 37 appearances 10 goals in his 1st PL season fee 20 mil

    Che Adams 30 appearances 4 goals 1st season in PL fee 15mil

    Billy Sharp 25 appearances 3 goals 1st season in PL fee 1st time around 2mil 2nd
    time undisclosed

    Jamie Vardy 35 appearances goals 23 6th season in PL hit double figures 5 times fee 1 mil + addons

    Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang 36 appearances goals 22 3rd season in PL hit double figures every season fee 56 mil

    Danny Ings 38 appearances goals 22 6th season in PL only 2nd time he’s hit double figures fee 18mil + 2mil addons

    Chris Wood  32 appearances goals 14 3rd season in PL hit double figures every season fee 15mil

    Sergio Aguero 24 appearances goals 16 9th season in PL hit double figures every season fee 35mil

    Gabriel Jesus 34 appearances goals 14 4th season in PL hit double figure twice fee 27mil + addons

    Mohamed Salah 34 appearances goals 19 3rd season in PL hit double figures every season fee 42mil rising to 50mil

    Sadio Mane 35 appearances goals 18 6th season in PL as hit double figures every single season fee 34 mil

    Harry Kane 29 appearances goals 18 he’s 12th season in PL hit double figures 6 times fee youth development player

    Raul Jimenez 38 appearances goals 17 2nd season in PL 2nd successive season to hit double figures fee 38 mil

    Marcus Rashford 31 appearances goals 17 5th season in PL second time he’s hit double figures fee youth academy player

    Tammy Abraham 34 appearances goals 15 4th season in PL 1st time he’s hit double figures fee youth academy player

    Dominic Calvert-Lewin 36 appearances goals 13 4th season in PL FIRST time he’s hit double figures fee 1.5 mil

    Michail Antonio 24 appearances goals 10 5th season in PL 1st time he’s reached double figures fee 7 mil

    Troy Deeney 27 Appearances goals 10 5th season in PL 3rd time he’s hit double figures fee 250,000 rising to 500,000

    Jordan Ayew 37 appearance goals 9 6th season in PL never hit double figures fee 2.5 mil

    Jay Rodriques 36 apopearances goals 8 7th premier league season reached double figures once fee 5mil + 5mil in 12 months

    Callum Wilson 35 appearance goals 8 5th season in PL double figures once fee 3mil

    Iheanacho appearances 20 goals 5 5th season in PL as never got into double figures fee 25 mil

    Dwight Gayle appearances 20 goals 4 5th season in PL he’s never hit double figures fee undisclosed

    Wilfred Zaha 38 appearances goals 4 9th season in PL hit double figures once fee 2nd time 3mil + addons and fee to man u on future sale

    Christian Benteke 24 appearances goals 2 8th PL season hit double figures 4 times three of them with Villa fee 27 mil

    1. Vancouvervillan

      Jimenez a great deal for me. At the time he joined he would have been gettable for us too. Most of the others were & are out of our league.

      Got to admire Kane and dare I say it rat face Vardy (golden boot) two huge bargains with the right attitude.
      Rodriguez & Ings also good around strikers that we could have had but for poor recruitment.

      Wesley looks a deal amongst the newcomers, just hope he regains full fitness, its a nasty injury. Expect great things in the future from our Wes.

      1. AVFCVillablog

        I don’t agree Jimenez was in our reach when he joined Wolves. They had just been promoted and although initially he only joined on loan he was getting PL football. besides without Mendes i doubt even Wolves would have got him.

        1. Vancouvervillan

          Yes, i guess he wouldn’t have come to the championship. I do remember rumours of us buying Vardy for 9 mil the season we went down, I was dead against it ! ?
          Wtf do I know ???

      2. AVFCVillablog

        Iheanacho PL record surprised me i thought it was better, and also surprised Zaha as only hit double figures once, I should look at how many goals he’s created in his time. It’s tricky when you start looking in depth at the stats, attracting a top quality striker will be our problem not paying for one.

        1. Vancouvervillan

          Problem with Iheancho, Calverr-Lewin, Jesus is the record is somewhat skewed as like Davies they don’t start games.
          Those stats are based on appearances but not necessarily full games or anywhere near in some cases.

        2. Vancouvervillan

          Never liked Zaha’s attitude tbh always whinning about something.
          Chris Woods record is a lot better than I imagined.

  3. AVFCVillablog

    Just to clarify Lange may have previously worked at a club that had to operate by the policy outlined below, because that’s how that club survived, plenty do it, at Villa the aim will be to integrate any gems unearthed into the first team.

    imo Villa will not become a selling club in the sense that we sell on our best talent like years gone by. This is purely about scouting and youth development, to help reduce the number of future expensive transfers we may have to make.

    1. Vancouvervillan

      Yeah, will be not as greater need to sell on you would hope.
      Joking apart seems like a good appointment.

  4. Vancouvervillan

    “Lange’s pitch to prospective new signings is straightforward but compelling.

    They will go through a development process that will mean they get sold to a club in a top-five league. The idea is that they learn, they improve and then we sell them.
    Johan Lange
    “What they will gain here are three things,” he explains. “Firstly, they will win trophies. We can say that based on our history. That will be nice for them to look back on in their career.

    “Secondly, they will play European football and get to test themselves at the next level. And the third thing is that they will go through a development process that will mean they get sold to a club in a top-five league. The idea is that they learn, they improve and then we sell them.”

    It has become a virtuous cycle for the club because with every success story, the next batch of talented young players are even more inclined to choose Copenhagen.”

    Oh dear thats recruitment advantages 1 & 2 out the window then ! ???

  5. AVFCVillablog

    It would appear from reading below were taking an approach similar to Brentford. Obviously not the first team, but for the development of youth. A conveyor belt of young talent spotted, scouted, purchased, developed and those who don’t make first team get sold on at profit.

    Interesting take on Lange from a Danish Fan below

    When Lange became director at Copenhagen in 2014 the club were well established as one of the strongest in the country.  

    The 2014/15 season, however, marked the 3rd 2nd place finish in the space of 4 years as an ageing squad was losing its grasp on top of Danish football.

    Lange’s first summer at Copenhagen was the start of a new era. A 19-year-old Daniel Amartey (sold a year later to Leicester for over £5m) signed for £1.6m from Djurgarden, while Zanka joined from PSV for £630k who was signed by Huddersfield just 2 years later for a £2m profit.

    Johan Lange was ready to invest heavily into promising young players for the first team and the summer of 2015 saw Kasper Kusk (23), Benjamin Verbic (21), and Federico Santander (24) all join to help FCK to their first title with Lange as director while doubling their money.

    A second title in 2016/17 was followed by the departures of several key players as Andreas Cornelius, Ludwig Augustinsson, Verbic, Zanka, and Kusk all left the club. Copenhagen were in no shape to compete for the title but Lange was thinking a year ahead.

    While FC Midtjylland did win the 2017/18 title, Copenhagen bought 21-year-olds Robert Skov and Denis Vavro for £900k and £1.25m respectively while Viktor Fischer (23) joined for £2.5m in a youth-based overhaul.

    The list of key departures grew in 2018 as Olsen and Santander left for £14 m but Lange’s arrivals were ready. Robert Skov broke the scoring record with 30 goals, while Fsicher picked up 10 assists and Vavro’s defensive performances lead Copenhagen to Lange’s third title.

    Last year Vavro and Skov left for £9 million each and were replaced by Victor Nelsson – FC Nordsjaelland’s 20-year-old captain and Pep Biel (22) from Zaragoza. A disappointing season ended up with Copenghagen in 2nd place as Lange’s time in Copenhagen came to an end.

    Lange’s strategy at Copenhagen was fairly obvious – to heavily invest into young players from lower down in Denmark for the first team, while chances were given to promising academy talents such as Jonas Wind and Mo Daramy.

    Do not underestimate the difficulty of recruiting top young players year-on-year as the first team’s top players would leave while Copenhagen stayed on top. Johan’s experience in the right markets can only be a positive.

    I anticipate Lange will look to recruit similarly at Aston Villa – looking at the EFL Championship’s most promising talents as well as a few signings from the continent.

    Lange was always very aggressive in the market, to be the first to the talent too.

    Lange’s philosophy certainly matches the Villa’s boards from what i can tell, their want for growth, and use of the academy, recruitment of younger players, and to become a real powerhouse in the transfer windows, and the Dane has already proved he can do this.

    IMO For Aston Villa, this appointment couldn’t have been much better.

    As a Danish football fan you can take it from me, Copenhagen have been wizards in the window and, if Lange can replicate this success at Aston Villa The Premier league club will be facing very exciting times ahead.

    1. HenleyVillain

      Interesting read. Going to be difficult for him here, I don’t doubt, but the philosophy looks pretty sound to me. Be good to see our own youth players coming good at Villa Park.

      1. AVFCVillablog

        If you remember years ago we had a very good youth system or i should say scouting network, or maybe it just seemed that way back then, after all there was no money in the game back in that era, most players held down part-time jobs away from football.

        It seems a lifetime away since we had our own coming through the ranks.
        Obviously when the money hit the game, clubs strategies changed a lot, managers perhaps through fear of losing their job or relegation stopped including and giving young players time. The focus was on buying ready made talent to propel you up the league or to titles and cups.

        It probably fair to say the pressures,expectancy levels and the need to be successful for Lange will be at far greater than what he ever experienced before, the philosophy is sound, delivering on it is another thing.

  6. AVFCVillablog

    I’ve not had a chance to look at our new sporting director yet, but surely it’s what he does at Vp that matters.

  7. admin

    Only got my phone and my big fingers can’t cope with keypad I got no tV as hub is down which makes it worse and i just had txt update, the engineer is on site and estimate is now 11.50 tonight Virgin can go whistle

  8. Vancouvervillan

    He was promoted in 2014 by all accounts so been in a similar job for six years.
    Must have some great connections.
    We must have had this guy lined up for a while, maybe Suso was a bit of a stop gap ?

    1. HenleyVillain

      Hmm. Seems to have done quite a lot of Manager Assisting !
      Who was he assistant to at Wolves, I wonder ?

      1. Vancouvervillan

        He has been in a DOF or SD position for a good 6 years though, so anything negative is well in his past.
        Proof is in the pudding but I wish him well.

    2. HenleyVillain

      Don’t know, but he was assistant the current FC Copenhagen manager, Staale Stolbakken. Seems to have followed him around a bit.

  9. Proper bad day my avatar as gone tits up disabled my gravatar but it as made no diifference and just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse virgin media as now had a outrage so my hub is offline till 8.30 at earliest what’s the odds of a 3rd gremlin

    1. Vancouvervillan

      Oh bad luck, what on earth did we do before wifi & the internet. I’m lost without it, don’t care so much about tv these days but if I’m off line ?

    1. Vancouvervillan

      You know we’ve never really had too much luck buying the best of the championship either.

    2. It’s un- earthing the gems that’s the problem i look at Ollie Watkins and i think he’s a real talent but i doubt he would be the same player when he’s got PL defenders all over him

  10. For the Money they would want i would rather go for others who would prove more clinical, remember he needed 3 or 4 chances to put one away and that was in the championship, he’s done at Chelsea but that’s because they have more creative players so he gets more chances, I fear that would not be the case with us,

    1. Vancouvervillan

      yeah, I’m still not sure he’s the finished article. Technically gifted player he ain’t. He does score goals though.

        1. Vancouvervillan

          Oh I think they’d want much more than that mate, but you never know with the covid factor

    2. i can only see us bringing in 4/5, well i hope that all – i hope it would be 4 quality and 1 with potential our defence striker winger positions should be priority

  11. Vancouvervillan

    Yep, could do with a tried and tested goal scorer.
    I like the look of nearly all the links BB posted below though.
    Benrahma, Henry & Watkins all look good for Brentford tonight.

  12. Vancouvervillan

    Swansea caught out with both CBs up for a corner for the 1st goal. I often wonder if its wise having Mings & Konsa both up for set pieces.

      1. Vancouvervillan

        I noticed Luiz hangs back for us at set pieces but also think he might be more useful waiting for the loose bal edge of the box, some shot on him from distance.

  13. Yes silly season is upon us, no doubt we will be linked to anyone with a pair of boots

    Just been watching the Brentford Swansea 2nd leg trouble is i was late putting it on and missed both goals ?

    1. Vancouvervillan

      Just switched on, thanks for the reminder.
      3-1 now great cross from rico but terrible defending.

  14. Transfer Rumours & Gossip

    Michael Emenalo is being touted as a possible successor to suso

    It’s reported we have significant funds available for a top quality goalscorer – I wonder which genius worked that one out?.

    We will only consider offers for jack in the region of 80m. Kaveh Solhekol SKY
    Aston Villa want to keep him and would not sell him for less than £80m. Arsenal are one of the clubs who registered an interest in signing him. The interest was not followed up.

    It’s rumoured Anwar El Ghazi will join Feyenoord on a season long loan with them having an option to buy.

    Villa’s are interested in Emiliano Buendia ~Norwich but it said that he would prefer a move back to Spain

    Villa are monitoring Dijon winger Mounir Chouiar. [l’equipe]

    Villa want Tammy Abrahams back Jimmy McCann twitter

    Aston Villa are interested in full-back Jérôme Roussillon Wolfsburg

    other wingers villa are considering
    Angel Gomes (Free agent)
    Milot Rashica Werder bremen
    Saïd Benrahma Brentford
    Ismaïla Sarr Watford
    Joao Victor wolfsburg

    Villa are one of five clubs showing interest in Ebere Eze QPR midfielder

    1. HenleyVillain

      We’ll be getting a lot of this speculation I guess. Looking forward to seeing how the window turns out. Must say though, I am MUCH more optimistic than last time. Lessons have to have been learnt. Suppose they’ll be waiting for a new DoF / SD before any major decisions are made. They could have someone already lined up for that though. Wenger would be my choice 😉

        1. HenleyVillain

          Can’t have helped but learn something, surely.
          At the very least, they have recognised that our DoF wasn’t up to his job. I sometimes wonder if they see what us fans see. I mean, a lot of it is blindingly obvious !

          1. Vancouvervillan

            Has there been a real disaster signing though ?
            (Ignoring January)
            Not sure i can say there is, maybe failure to sign Benrahma to save a few Bob, then spending on Sammatta anyway, Luiz deal? was part of the “disagreement”.
            I know he was a bit hit and miss when at Valencia.

            Anyway we move on.

          2. Probably harsh but does El Ghastly count ? he’s not stepped up looks out of his depth, shame because he had plenty of potential

          3. HenleyVillain

            He counts in my book. So does Nakamba and Samatta and Hause and Engles. Not convinced about Wesley either.

          4. Vancouvervillan

            Nakamba perhaps one who will develope, wins the ball well. Engles too slow, Samatta not good enough imo. Not sure we can have anything too negative to say about Hause, been very good fitting in anywhere needed and 3 mil.

            Like is say cant see any real disasterous signings.

      1. One would hope we have been pro active and that a replacement had already been sounded out but if the rumours that a disagreement with Purslow was the catalyst to Suso’s departure then perhaps not. We certainly need to be active with or without a SD in place.

        1. HenleyVillain

          Back to learning lessons. I have every confidence now, having gone through the trauma of this season we’ll be much more prepared in 6/7 weeks time.

    2. Vancouvervillan

      Wow Emenalo looks a real mean character ? wouldn’t like to argue with him.
      Good to see we seem to be targetting the right positions. Not too many surprises there read similar myself.
      Roussillon seems expensive, think Rashica is wanted by Dortmund so assume a good player.

      Let the speculation begin ?

  15. HenleyVillain

    Keep Davis, bin Samatta. Cross your fingers Wes turns into a footballer.
    Lose El Ghazi, buy a replacement (Benrama ?) keep Trez.

    1. HenleyVillain

      Yeah, I read about those stats.
      They were watching a different game to me.
      Every time Davis has come on to replace him, for my money he is easily the better option. I think we’ll be buying someone better in the next 7 weeks.

    2. Vancouvervillan

      Yep, Samatta can go for me, as you said below stats or not, Davies made a bigger impact lately coming on.
      I’d be looking to start Davies as a bullying hold up man until Wesley is fit.
      Wesley hopefully will improve if the injury doesn’t affect him.
      I’d keep Trezeguet and send El Ghastly & Samatta packing.
      By my reckoning we need a winger & at least 1 striker if not 2.
      The one thing we must have without question is some signings up front with pace.
      Id love that winger to be Benrahma, we should have just bitten the bullet paid Brentford 25 mil.

      1. Vancouvervillan

        To add, talk of holding Smith accountable for signings, it’s no secret Benrahma was the winger that Smith wanted all window.
        We baulked at 25 mil but then had to spend the difference we saved signing Trez, on a very mediocre Samatta to try to boost goals anyway.

  16. HenleyVillain

    Midfield – Hang on to Grealish. Keep McGinn fit. Douglas & Hourihane plenty good enough. Lose Jota, Lansbury.

  17. HenleyVillain

    Defenders – we need a complete overhaul.
    Forget the change of fortune since the restart, the back 4 need sorting out properly.

    1. Vancouvervillan

      Think we need a partner for Mings and back up/alternatives at LB & RB.
      I would keep Elmo who I think has a year left, unless he wants to go.

  18. Vancouvervillan

    Heaton, Steer back up & a youth should be enough for me. I really hope we don’t sign Reina, he worries me just as much as “flappy” Nyland.

    1. Vancouvervillan

      Reading reports of Suso’s demise, a couple stating Heaton was Smiths choice of keeper. I think he’ll stick with him.

      1. Personally I think they were all Smith’s choice, even if that’s not the case given what’s been said he got final say, so he would have taken a look, Starting with Kalinic 1st signing under Smith, what do they say? build from the back seen as Nyland was a Bruce signing and performing awful at the time it makes sense to me.

        1. Vancouvervillan

          I do get the final say bit, but mate they all say that even utd.
          I always think of coach being asked …
          would you prefer Phillips or untried Luiz, BTW if you want Phillips theres no money for a right winger ?

          1. I know finances dictate who they go for but smith can’t moan about money or being restricted when he spending 150 mil in TF market he just’s as to juggle it about. when you consider how Lambert coped kept us up with peanuts there is no excuse.

  19. Vancouvervillan

    Strikes me if they launch a legal challenge then looking at that table most hard done by financially are wolves, missing out on a CL spot.
    The league expects the players and clubs to abide by the decisions made on the pitch, right or wrong, hypocrisy to consider a legal challenge now based on one single incident.

    The league needs to move on and come up with a way to make the right and just decision at the time, and in a timely manner using all the technology available.
    The “clear & obvious” error rule is the real issue for me.

  20. The table below shows what it would have look like had VAR not been in play

    Apparently VAR chalked off something like 57 goals and awarded 10, disallowed seven penalties shouts but awarded a further 22, and overturned three red cards while awarding nine.

    I even found another source with slightly different view on how the table would look but they still have Bournemouth losing pts and us gaining some.

    It looks like without VAR Bournemouth would have been relegated anyway. I’m with Simon Jordan i think he got it spot on Talksport in regards Bournemouth taking legal action against Hawk-Eye.
    if you have not heard him you can listen here

    1. Liverpool – 94 points (five points fewer, same position)
    2. Man City – 84 points (three points more, same position)
    3. Chelsea – 68 points (two points more, one position higher)
    4. Wolves – 68 points (nine points more, three positions higher)
    5. Man Utd – 66 points (same points, two positions lower)
    6. Leicester – 58 points (four points fewer, one position lower)
    7. Sheff Utd – 55 points (one points more, two positions higher)
    8. Burnley – 55 points (one points more, two positions higher)
    9. Arsenal – 54 points (two points lower, one position lower)
    10. Tottenham – 53 points (six points fewer, four positions lower)
    11. Everton – 52 points (three points more, one position higher)
    12. Southampton – 46 points (six points fewer, one position lower)
    13. West Ham – 45 points (six points more, three position higher)
    14. Newcastle – 44 points (same points, one position lower)
    15. Crystal Palace – 42 points (one point fewer, one position lower)
    16. Brighton – 38 points (three points fewer, one position lower)
    17. Aston Villa – 37 points (two points more, same position)
    18. Watford – 35 points (one point more, one position higher)
    19. Bournemouth – 33 points (one point fewer, one place lower)
    20. Norwich – 23 points (two points more, same position)

    1. HenleyVillain

      I can’t imagine there is a cat in hells chance of any legal action being taken. Nor even being considered. The media love to stir the shit.

      1. I agree the media jump on things because it gets clicks etc

        Bournemouth signed up like all other clubs do, to a ruling which basically says you accept any errors made by officials etc

        Bournemouth know there is no chance pursuing things with the FA premier league as no u-turn or pts deduction will come our way. the rules are clear.

        But some smart arse lawyer reckons they have a case to claim compensation from the manufactures of Hawk-Eye – sounds like something that would happen in America to me, but this Country has been going down that route for years anyway.

        All will blow over in a few weeks, they will realise pursuing this through the courts could bankrupt them with costs they would have to pay if they lost.

        1. HenleyVillain

          IMO they could never win. How could you prove that it affected the result?
          Just impossible.

          1. yes I agree it could be argued our game management and response may of been different had the goal been given by Hawk Eye there is no way of knowing if Sheffield would have gone on to get all 3pts.

          2. HenleyVillain

            It’s what pisses me off most about it. All the pundits just talk about the 2 points ‘lost’.

          3. I don’t remember the media harping on about Ryan Fredericks tackle to much on Grealish in the playoff final when he stamped on him and should have gone off. The media dislike us full stop i am used to their bias now.

          4. HenleyVillain

            Yep. I think we’ll have to wait until we start challenging for a top 4 place before they alter their attitude ?

          5. I won’t hold my breath, we will have to dominate Europe first, as i recall the media never gave us much coverage when we won the league or European cup

  21. Christian Purslow back in 2018 on the triple appointments

    CEO Christian Purslow said: “These three appointments represent the start of a new era and direction at Aston Villa and we are delighted to secure their services after an extensive search.
    “Dean has a clear and successful coaching philosophy as well as a real understanding of Aston Villa Football Club. He is also knowledgeable about the Championship.
    “The board welcomes him to the club and is looking forward to working with him and his staff.
    “John is one of the most decorated players in English football, has an affinity with the club and is ready to make the next step in his career working alongside Dean.
    “And Jesus also brings a huge amount of experience in his particular role having worked with some of the biggest clubs in Europe. He will ensure the club has an integrated approach running from the academy through the U23s and into the first-team.”

    Jesus first interview with villa, he describes his role at the club

    Reports are suggesting Suso position came under scrutiny following a disagreement with Christian Purslow. Is that their take on it because of the history with Rafa?. One of suso’s many tasks was overseeing the club’s recruitment strategy.

    But none of it adds up because at the unveiling of Dean Smith. who was appointed the following day after Suso, live on Sky sports News, Smith was asked about Suso role and Smith made it clear that he would be calling the shots on transfers.

    This was backed up later by what Christian Purslow said following playoff victory, that himself Smith & Jesus had regular meetings and had drawn up two list of players for two scenario’s prior to playoff final. But Smith would not be forced to take players he did not want, he would get final say.

    During Smith’s unveiling Christian Purslow said I expect Dean, Jesus and myself in the next four to eight weeks to listen to Dean’s initial assessment of the squad, as he sees it.

    “We’ll talk and build a plan for the rest of the season and the future. If that includes players joining and leaving in January, then that will be absolutely fine.”

    He also said Jesus Garcia Pitarch was involved in Villa’s Search for a new Head Coach even before he officially took up his post. Which means he approved of Smith appointment.

    I guess when you remove all the PR, none of us really no who was responsible for signing individual players, or who had initially put their names forward? was it Suso, Smith, The Scouts, Purslow or uncle Tom Cobley? 

    All i know the very first signing after Suso arrived was Kalinić, who conceded 8 goals in his first 3 games. regardless who ever was responsible it was not a good start for club s new approach to transfers.

  22. Vancouvervillan

    I know we have this love affair with Abrahams but is he the most intelligent of cany strikers with pace we could go after if we were thinking of spending that kind of money ?

    I actually think Wesley is going to be a superstar if he can get over the injury. Was impressed the way he learnt and upped his game last 3/4 games prior to injury he was unplayable at times.

    1. I will always hold him in high regards for the goals he got which helped our quest for promotion. But big question mark still hang over Tammy for me, but he’s young enough to learn and become a top predator. Would i take him? he’d not be at top of my list if i made one, but having said that, I would have been content had he signed permanently after his loan spell.

      1. Vancouvervillan

        Some of those loans worked well for us promotion year, his goals were invaluable, like you say will always be grateful but lots of good strikers around for 40/50 mil.
        Would love us to get Tuanzebe back in the fold, would be relatively inexpensive back up & possible future partner for Tyrone.

  23. Look for the positives Dean Smith moved us up 9 places from last season, where as Frank Lampard took Derby from 6th to 6th and now Chelsea from 3rd to 4th??

  24. Vancouvervillan

    Looking at some players going down, we could do a lot worse than Josh King as a second striker or LW.
    Work rate has always impressed me.
    Right character and wouldn’t cost the earth.

      1. Vancouvervillan

        Also good player.
        Going to be interesting who we go after but looks like there may be an addition to the regime 1st now Suso has his marching orders.
        Love someone of calibre & connections to work with Smith and CP.
        When can you start Arsene ?

        1. ? interesting few week ahead not sure if arsene is back in football at some capacity i recall something happening a while back not sure if it came to fruition.

          I remember me and Begley discussing Wenger Henry partnership when Henry was supposedly in the frame for head coach.

        1. Well it makes no diff that drinkwater was signed hours before the injuries to Heaton Or Wesley does it.
          Because he”s neither a Goal keeper or Striker – it was a loan because we had lost McGinn and Nakamba and Luiz were not performing.

          Reina was a loan and Borja was free agent so minimal cost involved all round, low risk even if a panic signing.

          Yes we paid the wages but given how much we spent in summer and with ffp what else could we do? and who else was available and willing to come.

    1. Vancouvervillan

      I always said I’d give them a pass for January, brutal time to buy, we reversed the loans idea, had no money and their was very little available.
      I can forgive what was just a gamble.

  25. HenleyVillain

    And according to the BBC, Suso will be leaving Villa. BBC reporter Simon Stone tweeted: “Day after survival, sporting director Jesus Garcia Pitarch is to leave Aston Villa. Position was under scrutiny after transfer spend and differences of opinion with Christian Purslow.”

    1. Vancouvervillan

      Got to be a little crushing for the club not getting no.1 choices in order to spread the money and still having to try to shop again in January anyway.
      Many have taken a while to settle but as I said below has their been a complete disaster of a digning ? Not sure you can say that.
      I remember reading before his appointment, Suso’s signings were a little hit and miss at Valencia.
      Be interesting to see if we appoint another DOF, SD or whatever he was or just let Dean Smith run with it a little more ?
      I suspect a bit of both or hire the Brentford Sporting directors ?

      1. HenleyVillain

        Maybe a new SD, one with a bit of kudos. Someone who could attract better players. No idea who, but hopefully Purslow has !

  26. Vancouvervillan

    Well if we see more if the same that won’t be a fear it’ll be a necessity and we’ll have time.

      1. Vancouvervillan

        Been around for a while cant be that bad but not good enough to step up ,?
        Hope we go a season without signing a keeper for a change. Heaton & Steer good enough imo with youth back up.

          1. HenleyVillain

            well, the dogheads did gift us Hause – not the best centre back ever to have graced the claret and blue. Karma maybe.

          2. Vancouvervillan

            Hause has been a great deal imo.
            Most disappointing for me given the price probably Targett, although not bad I expected better defending and injury record for his price.

          3. HenleyVillain

            Have to disagree. Mings (even though I love him), Hause, Konsa, Engles all have major mistakes in them. Every game. It’s the stand out reason for me why we ended up where we did. Don’t care if it’s the coaching or not, they have all been a liability at times. Too many times and too often.

          4. Vancouvervillan

            Absolutely they have all had a mistake or two in them, remember Bournemouth at home, shocking.
            Targett just stands out for me as the one that other teams have constantly, well targeted ? down our left.
            By contrast at a third of the price I think Guilbert has been better balanced defense/attack but both struggled with injuries.
            Hause at 3 mil looked solid at LB, LCB & RCB and certainly one of the most improved bargain buys.

    1. Vancouvervillan

      Probably not a surprise that one. Having said that which players have been a total disaster ?
      When I think not too many (ignoring January of course)
      Most disappointing for me AEG and he was already here.
      Possibly Engles, although had a good partnership with Mings at one time. Nakamba ? Not really had chance imo.

      1. Engles is to slow for Premier league imo he looked decent at times, not sure if he was carrying a long time injury which made him slower

      2. HenleyVillain

        Maybe not what you could call total disasters, but defo disastrous enough to have had us scrambling for survival at the arse end of the season. Wes, Samatta, Engles, Nakamba, none of them worth anything near what we paid for them in my book.

        1. All had Champions league experience that increases cost then take their age into consideration bar Engles it’s not expensive in today’s market

          1. HenleyVillain

            I’m still thinking in £’s and shillings, that’s my problem.
            Way way too expensive for my liking

          1. Vancouvervillan

            Not sure I’ve ever been more disappointed in a striker tbh
            And I watched Nigel Callaghan ! ???

          2. Vancouvervillan

            I ghink I remember him too ???
            Fuck we were pretty crap then but I remember some greats laughs with mates standing on the Holte

  27. HenleyVillain

    And that must surely be our owners aim too. Billionaires who must want to be aiming high like we all do. No problem for me if we take a slower road getting there.

    1. HenleyVillain

      I can tell !
      But you might as well get on board – it doesn’t look like he is going anywhere soon. A few new faces, we could easily become more than competitive.

        1. HenleyVillain

          Hate the reference to ‘experience’.
          Smacks of past it and looking for a final payday to me ?

          1. HenleyVillain

            on that basis, we now have a team full of experience.
            For me, if you’ve got it, you’ve just got it. Bowen is a case in point. And a couple of the lads from Norwich – would take them in an instant. When they were at Norwich this season, they all lacked experience

          2. HenleyVillain

            but that sort of proves my point. Not ‘experienced’ at Prem level, but shining nonetheless.

          3. HenleyVillain

            Agree with you on DD. But to be fair, Reina has helped us over the line and knows how to organise a defence better than our other options. Albrighton was constantly derided on these blogs before we got rid.

          4. HenleyVillain

            well that’s down to coaching
            and shite managers like Bruce etc. playing them out of position

          5. Vancouvervillan

            Well their all experienced PL players now.
            I want us to buy better which probably means paying a little more but I think we need to add quality over quantity.

          6. HenleyVillain

            with you there VV, all the way
            and I can just see it happening too
            I have changed from glass half empty to glass two thirds full
            all in the space of 24 hours ???

          7. Vancouvervillan

            “Drinkanything” ???

            I always liked Albrighton but not sure he fits the remit anymore.

        2. How given the numbers that were needed and exited the club? given ffp limitations was we suppose to put a team together with experience and quality when the likes of Hutton Whelan Chester were the spine/core of the team coming up from the chumps we had operated with loan players prior Tammy etc

          The club said it was not going to do a spud and sign old players with experience who were ending their careers because we would just end up back in same position no sell on value and need replacing

      1. HenleyVillain

        Well it can’t be very difficult improving on last years efforts. And even they managed to get us over that line

  28. No other clubs had the turnaround in personnel we had, we saw 26 players depart and 26 players arrive before the season started. also most clubs have had multiple seasons building their squads and have established core groups among them.

  29. HenleyVillain

    Well I reckon there will be no problem staying in at least mid table next season. We are so close to the likes of Burnley, Sheff Utd, Palace. Not difficult for me to imagine us easily overtaking them. Best guess for me is 8th :-))

    1. HenleyVillain

      I just think we are in need of a bit more stability. And you don’t get that by constantly sacking managers. Most especially when there is not an obvious problem in the dressing room. We are improving as a group, you must surely agree that we are? I’m buying in to the new way forward !! Together, Prepared, and I’ve forgotten the other one 😉

      1. HenleyVillain

        I also think lady luck has deserted him on more than one occasion. Forget the none goal, we have been shafted by VAR too. And who knows how the game would have gone had we gone behind at that point ?

        1. There are plenty of times we never got rub of the green Sheffield is only time it went for us

          off the top of my head i can think of kevin friend the Crystal Palace dissallowed goal
          Arsenal awarded pen for hand ball

          our goalkeeper error gifting spurs 3rd goal ending 3-2

          The man u pen other week that never was i bet their are others also

          1. HenleyVillain

            there you go then.
            my memory isn’t what it was, but that’s easily enough to outweigh the Sheff debacle

  30. Does anyone know the final outcome of the Under-18 and Under-23 competitions. e.g promotions & relegation.

    all i could find was this statement from May 1st

    Premier League Shareholders have unanimously agreed to curtail the 2019/20 Academy Games Programme. 

    This decision, which is independent of any discussions regarding the resumption of the 2019/20 campaign for first-team football, has been taken to give Academy staff and their players clarity at this challenging time.

    The curtailment will include all Under-9 to Under-16 games as well as the Under-18 and Under-23 competitions.
    The methodology for determining the final league standings and outcomes for the season will be decided at a future date.

    1. Scrub the above I found what I was looking for

      The Premier League will not restart the Academy games programme until 12th September at the earliest following a vote of shareholders in late June and no date has yet been set for a return to training.

      The Premier League have not made a final decision on how their 2019/20 Academy competitions will be brought to a sporting conclusion, or whether the campaign is to be null and voided.

      There is uncertainty about crowning champions, promotion and relegation, as well as UEFA Youth League qualification for next season.

  31. The rumour which emerged Yesterday’s of Dean Smith being replaced by Bruno Lage as now changed too Aston Villa co-owner Nassef Sawiris is set to buy a stake in Portuguese club Vitória S.C, where Bruno Lage will become part of the coaching staff.

    Via reports on social media
    Dean Smith: said I will speak with the owners today, Jack is contracted for around three or four years. We have billionaire owners and if people want him he’s going to cost an awful lot of money.”

      1. After his 3 loan spells away from Villa Park we sold him for an undisclosed fee to Belgium outfit Waasland Beveren then he moved to Portuguese side Desportivo Das Aves
        Earlier this month he announced he was a free agent again due to the club Aves having financial problems.

        1. HenleyVillain

          Shame, he was highly rated when he arrived here.
          (although that may have been highly rated by Bruce, and that doesn’t really count)

  32. Why would the owners come out or need to come out and say anything?

    This is official from the club Dean Smith and Christian Purslow were joined on FaceTime by our owners, Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens, after we secured our Premier League status.


  33. Guys however bad things were or got this season just remember where we have come from.

    I found some of my old leader post images from spuds time at the club, I thought they were with the original posts lost and travelling around cyberspace after swapping over sites, but thankfully they were in a folder on pc so they have survived.

    so here’s a reminder of me getting up to mischief in the early days of the blog.

    apologies in advance if they offend

    1. Vancouvervillan

      Its inevitable people get carried away, nkb full of posters wanting to replace most of the team again ???

      1. Maybe they want to see a Man city or Chelsea type of approach, their going to be disappointed on both counts it’s not going to happen. small steps is the approach being taken at Villa Park

        The experience the players gained will only help their development and it also increase their sell on value. win win situation

  34. Vancouvervillan

    Yep, we did deserve it, terrible luck with the deflection
    looking forward to a better season next time.
    Well done mate

  35. Vancouvervillan

    Let’s hope Ancelloti is reading the riot act as we speak, just in case.
    A goal from Samatta, or anyone would really help my nerves

  36. Vancouvervillan

    Just have to not concede but the nerves could do with a goal.
    Big miss from Grealish that ?
    We seem to be picking the wrong pass at times but we are still very much in this
    come on villa !

    1. Vancouvervillan

      yep he should.
      Need to get some passing and ball retention going we haven’t been great so far.

  37. Vancouvervillan

    PL or Champo next season, I’ll still be a Villa fan.
    We’re on form, it’s the easiest game on paper, we can do this
    UTV ! ?

    1. Vancouvervillan

      I think we know your view ?
      Will that jelly be in a rabbit mould, like mum used to make ?

  38. Forget what other teams might or might not do, if we can’t go to west Ham and win on the final day to secure our premier league survival then frankly we won’t deserve to stop up and i would be questioning players attitudes. It in our hands more or less.

        1. HenleyVillain

          I reckon Lawro must have predicted about 40 defeats for us this season. At least. I think he dislikes us. 😉

          1. Vancouvervillan

            Think most ex pool seem to for some reason, dazn has had Owen predicting us dropping in an ad since the restart.
            We’ll prove em wrong dont worry
            We’ll be fine ! ?

    1. HenleyVillain

      Always considered myself more steel than jelly.
      But having second thoughts about that today.

    2. Vancouvervillan

      Yep, spot on
      It really is in our hands. Crazy thing is potentially we can still stay up without a result if the other games go according to form.

  39. HenleyVillain

    And Ancelotti has been telling half his team will be out on their ears after this game.
    Not exactly great for motivation is it ?

  40. Vancouvervillan

    Noticed late yesterday looking at BBs table we have more wins than a fair few teams above us, 5 above us, got to stay up !

  41. Vancouvervillan

    Morning all
    Just seen team news, no changes apart from Guilbert in for Elmo as expected.

  42. If we win 1-0 Watford have to win 3-0 if we win 2-0 watford would have to win 4-0 etc etc
    Bournemouth need to win and hope both us and watford lose to stop up

    a draw for us a loss for Watford a win for Bournemouth see’s us survive

    There are lots of permutations i guess

    1. HenleyVillain

      The worse one for me is, if we lose 1-0 then Bournemouth only have to win 1-0. And Everton are pretty crap in my book.

  43. HenleyVillain

    Correct. We can also draw and be safe, or not. Proper down to the wire stuff. Can’t remember when I was last so nervous before a game. Guessing when Smith said it was back in our own hands, what he was thinking was, if we win 6-0 that will keep us up.

  44. Last time Villa won on final day of PL season was 10/11 a 1-0 win over Liverpool I believe it was 08/9 before that when we sent Toon down after winning 1-0, besides that we did get a draw back in 12/13 2-2 against Wigan.

  45. I can understand them having us down as favorites to stop up, but to beat West Ham no idea how they come to that conclusion. other than it being market driven.

  46. Afternoon all
    Nerves are starting to kick in

    I’ve had a look at some stats to see how many time 2 or more newly promoted clubs suffered immediate relegation.

    Two promoted teams were relegated last season – Fulham and Cardiff and the same number of teams suffering immediate relegation back in 2016/17 & 2014/15. 40 out of 71 clubs have gone straight back down 

    There are a few exceptions thankfully, Newcastle, Brighton and Huddersfield all survived in 2017/18. But generally promoted teams have increasingly struggled to stay up since 2014, up until 2017, 30 of the 68 promoted teams approx 44% went straight back down

    Defence appears to be more important than attack you need to aim to concede fewer than 60 goals and home form is key to survival, generally a strong finish usually gets you over the line.

    There is also a strong correlation between significant spending and survival but only wise spending works, but only 6 of 19 newly promoted clubs who have axed their coach in 1st season survived.

          1. Vancouvervillan

            Lol, as the wheel was spinning I was praying for no loss as I was thinking omen for tomorrow ! ?

  47. Vancouvervillan

    “Sports data analysts Gracenote have used their Euro Club Index to work out the chances of relegation for those teams trying to stay up.

    Bournemouth’s chances of going down are rated at 95%, Watford are 77.5% while the figure is 28.5% for Villa.”

    Taken fron the BBC ?

        1. It’s been a thorn in our ar*e all season lets just hope tomorrow we get a break – obviously Sheffield United was not var it was goal line tech

          Referee: Michael Oliver
          Assistant Referees: Stuart Burt, Simon Bennett
          Fourth Official: Robert Jones
          VAR: David Coote
          Assistant VAR: Stephen Child

          Arsenal v Watford

          Referee: Mike Dean. Assistants: Ian Hussin, Darren Cann. Fourth official: James Linington. Replacement official: Adrian Waters. VAR: Lee Mason. Assistant VAR: Adrian Holmes.

          Everton V Bournemouth

          Referee: Chris Kavanagh. Assistants: Daniel Cook, Sian Massey-Ellis. Fourth official: Geoff Eltringham. Replacement official: Shaun Hudson. VAR: Graham Scott. Assistant VAR: Mark Scholes.

          1. Vancouvervillan

            We’ve had some luck lately, sheffield & bad luck, United but I’m hoping we’ll be okay, they seem a little more “sensible” lately but we don’t need any drama ?

          2. Vancouvervillan

            I can’t see the othe two winning and think a point might be enough but be nice to win and make sure.
            I’ll be really nervous tomorrow, might try and sleep in toll 7.45 am ???

  48. Vancouvervillan

    Well we were 7 points a drift of safety not too long ago and we’ve given the kind of performances over the last 4 games to suggest we are fighters.
    Bournemouth need to beat a side in Everton that hasn’t lost at home in 11 games, their players are fighting to stay in the reckoning for Ancelloti’s squad for next season.
    Watford need to beat Arsenal by at least 2 clear goals, Arsenal players will be also out to prove something to Arteta and he won’t want another lose to a lower club.
    Both Watford & Bournemouth need us to lose.

    If we keep up the performance level weve shown last 4 games I believe we should have enough to beat West ham and just put this season to bed.
    All we have to do is not lose.

    I’m way more confident than 4 games ago but I can do without the squeaky bum time tbh.
    COYL !

  49. U need to sign in at the top of page then navigation bar login – it looks like your just commenting as a guest from what i can see if not let me know

  50. HenleyVillain

    BB. Not so sure I have much confidence in your leaderboard. I get that VV and me are near the top of the list, but Ron Saunders in 6th ?? Considering he has dementure (and he died a while ago). ???

  51. HenleyVillain

    Glad to see the U-Turn BB. I think there are many of us caught in two minds about it. Half my friends and family are lately always in my ear, banging on about how crap he is and how we need to get shot. Survival is key for me, I just wish I were more confident going in to tomorrows game.

  52. Vancouvervillan

    Good to see you getting a bit more traffic on here, I like the new format btw, change is good.
    I notice a few regulars buying in and getting registered, good news.

      1. ?????? I actually think that could be more than just a rumour I heard he suddenly got the idea when he opened his lunchbox up one evening.

    1. It’s all good, I shall just see how it goes but Disqus is history regardless, dropping disqus was something i wanted to do for a very long time but i fell into the trap of thinking i was better off with it.

      1. Vancouvervillan

        I notice its very popular, see it a lot as the go to comment forum for a lot of online stuff I read.

        1. It very good comment system stylish and offers great cross integration, it’s also got a great built in spam filter but the negatives outweigh the positives when you look into it, well from a webmaster perspective.

          1. I have this site in a staging process at present its on the genesis framework and genesis theme and it very well coded, the only thing stopping me from switching is me losing my seo, but i may take the plunge at some point the longer i leave it the worse the damage could be.

          2. Vancouvervillan

            Seo important, changes i know can make big difference to where you show up. You can always rebuild though.
            Have to go, good to chat as always.
            Be well mate

  53. Vancouvervillan

    Was doing some research on Readings “John Swift” (Swift by name… ?) transfer mart has him at 4.4 mil valuation, scored 4 goals and 10 assists in 42 appearances, described as a box to box MF or AM.
    Hadn’t realised he was a Chelsea youth product, apparently Sheffield had bid turned down & told to up their offer.
    As below, I suspect we have 2 alternative lists for potential signings, either way I hope we can afford a little extra to get no.1 targets this time around.
    Also had a thought we don’t need to worry about PL experience anymore, they all have that now ! ?

  54. Vancouvervillan

    I suspect CP is again having to make two lists of prospects for AV as we near the window.
    It is encouraging we seem to be already making progress youth wise though, another youth coach coming fron Derby and talk of one or two younger players coming in already.
    Investment in the ladies team also good to see.
    Manager/coach is always a debate but i don’t think anyone can argue the club is being run in a much more professional manner.

    Let’s hope we stay up and get to progress the plan.

    1. Yes i have followed the ladies for a while, last season they did brilliant so glad they got awarded promotion, they came back from 2 -0 down first game of season to win 3-2 against a strong Sheffield team, and they never looked back from that moment, promotion was fully deserved and no way was the integrity of the game ruined by the decision to award them it, common sense prevailed it would have been a travesty had the decision been made for no promotion or relegation to take place.

      Is that young coach from Derby a certain Wayne Rooney? ?

      1. Vancouvervillan

        don’t know much about the ladies, only what I read on the OS, I’m assuming they play with two up front ?

        1. I think the appointment of Eniola Aluko ex England forward was a shrewd move and were now seeing the result of it with the latest signings. The thing is even when we play one up top we end up with a pair ?????

      2. Vancouvervillan

        Have to be a little cany watching ladies sport my wife just cottoned on to why I prefer to watch ladies golf ?

          1. Vancouvervillan

            some off those young asain girls on the LPGA are just jaw dropping, my excuse of well they don’t hit as long as the men and its more similar to my game for learning purposes caused a raised eye brow or two ???

    2. HenleyVillain

      Chalk and cheese on the professional front. It’s so much better than it has been for a very long time. And should we still be in the Prem come tomorrow evening, it surely can only get better on the squad / coaching / playing fronts ???

    3. HenleyVillain

      I don’t follow the ladies (except when I am out shopping with my wife and daughter), but good to see their progress. Looks like they are making a big effort to succeed in the top league.

  55. Vancouvervillan

    I’m not content with where we have been recently but I think we have been going about it the wrong way. I’d like to give this approach a little longer.

  56. Vancouvervillan

    I think i kind of knew where you stood with the Smith debate already but your leader proves your view is so similar to mine. Great minds …

    I voted Smith out in the poll below but I think i too had a gut reaction after the tedious restart. Since the man utd game where we were robbed by a bad decision & heads dropped i feared the worst but since then I think they have got their heads down to some hard work and shown the kind of fight and team ethic I was hoping we would developed.

    Better late than never, I think ive seen enough to see that Smith has learnt from a few mistakes & is capable of motivating this team.
    As if i didn’t know already one of the real issues has been injuries, disaster for us with a smaller, cheaper squad compared to many. Goals dried up (Wesley), silly goals GK errors (Heaton), lack of fight in MF (McGinn).
    No surprise we have improved in almost the same timeline that JMG has improved fitness wise.
    Luiz has been a revelation since the restart, i was his biggest critic but perhaps that shows that patience does pay off.
    I’d be happy with Smith in charge in the PL or Championship for at least the first 10/12 games, i think he deserves it the way he has learnt & motivated the team recently.

    I think we can argue whether a
    more experienced manager might have done better but when you consider he got us up 1st time of asking, got us to a cup final & now looks like keeping us up, really given the tools he has had to work with & the injuries to key players he deserves some kudos.

    As you mention in the leader, how long did we give Lambert & Bruce ? As for accepting mediocrity maybe we’ve been doing that anyway.

    1. Well i’m not the only one going on the naughty step then lol

      The injuries you have mentioned did cross my mind but unsurprisingly like a lot of things these days fell by the way side because i never made a note. But I agree about injuries hurting us, especially Wesley’s which really hurt us, and just as he was growing and showing signs he could reach double figures this season. You can see from our GF column scoring was not a problem until the restart. It been silly costly defensive mistakes integration of players, All things Considered it surprising we was not down week ago, no what with no Heaton McGinn or Wesley.

      I understand where some fans are coming from but for me it depends on your starting point and your initial expectations for this season. I think Smith deserves longer all things considered and i hope he proves me right. Like you say when you think how long we gave some managers who achieved nothing, Smith’s earned some Kudos surely.

      1. Vancouvervillan

        I think there’s always some negativety, its Villa lol,
        but he has achieved, MON was loaded for getting us to a cup final. We gave Bruce way too long.
        I think we are being run by two astute businessmen, they even gave Bruce another go at it, not sure they’ll want to blow it up before giving Smith a fair chance.
        I do think Terry should move on and have a go as manager somewhere though, think he’s been a bit of a disaster.

  57. Its’ all about opinions mate I hope smith proves me right because then we wont be where we are now but if he’s kept on and lets us down then he will lose my support i am just not ready to burn him yet. as for the edit button if your logged in level with the thumb up thumb down reply button if you scroll to the right a gear cog will appear and you can edit.