Brentford 1 – 2 Villa; Great win, but a really poor show

I’m sighing as I think what to write.

What the hell was that?
To my mind, the result has been totally outdone by some of the scenes we saw.
I really wouldn’t be surprised if both clubs are charged with bringing the game into disrepute and get fined.
I think Brentford were mostly to blame, with some shocking tackling and diving.
Ben Mee demonstrated yet again what a disgusting player he is and his red card was 100% correct.
You just can’t tackle with your foot square on to an opponent’s leg. I might give him the benefit if he led with his toes, but it was nothing like and just looked totally reckless.
When the commentator said that’s the first time he’d been sent off in ten years, I was just stunned. The man is just an utter thug.

I’m not blaming our lads, because Brentford generally were doing everything to try and get decisions and I found that disappointing in itself, because I think they were the better side for about the first hour of the game.
The truth is Ramsey, Diaby and Cash were all poor and apart from Martinez, who had made a couple of great saves, nobody had come out of the game well. Again the subs worked wonders and we upped our levels. Not that I thought they weren’t already good enough. I think the workrate was adequate, but the achievement was just lacking.
I couldn’t see us getting anything out of the game, for a long time.

That tackle by Mee took a lot of their advantage away and the game began to come back towards us.
And then Moreno, who had already had chances, snuck in at the back post to score, leaving me to feel much more confident.
I still felt it was a close game though until Watkins got his goal.
Which, for me was one of the worst parts. I don’t know if Brentford’s fans had been abusing him, but why did he adopt that stance in front of their fans?
I thought it was just totally disrespectful. Imagine if Barry or Grealish had done that in front of us. We’d rightly have been fuming.
From then on, the whole atmosphere deteriorated and it got worse.
The game was littered with niggly tackles, again, mostly by Brentford, but we resorted to getting our own back.
Then Maupay deliberately ran into Martinez and that was quite simply a straight red too, in my opinion, yet nothing was given, which amazed me. Since when has blatant fouling and ungentlemanly conduct been permissable?

And then it got worse, with a melee occurring late on, which resulted in Emery being shown a yellow for acting as a pecemaker, but more likely for encroaching on the pitch and Kamara saw red for grabbing a player round the throat. Martinez didn’t help when he pulled Maupay’s shirt over his head, trying to get him up. It was all just ridiculous.

Perhaps I’m being a bit old fashioned about it all, because everyone I’ve spoken too doesn’t seem very bothered and are just glad that we got the win.
I’m ecstatic about the win too; of course I am. Brentford away is always a tough gig.

Perhaps I’m getting old, but Aston Villa has always been seen as an honourable club that does things in the right way. It’s something I want to see us upholding.
I know it’s a bit of a one-off thing and you could probably give me a very good argument that it’s actually what we need because “nice” clubs don’t win things.
I just felt disappointed, as I said.

Which is a shame, because this is yet another fantastic victory.
Any win is good, but when they’re coming on the back of generally poor performances, it demonstrates that we’ve moved up at least a notch.
Because that’s what good sides do isn’t it? Win against the odds and just somehow get the victory.
Does it mean we were lucky?

Who cares?



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  1. Hitchens60
    Hitchens60 December 19, 2023 at 12:08 pm . Reply

    Thanks guys (a) for the advice and (b) for posting the article.

    John Percy – always worth a read.

  2. Hitchens60
    Hitchens60 December 19, 2023 at 1:24 pm . Reply

    Just watched the Chris Heck interview on AVTV.

    My overall impression was that he didn’t actually say much although his overall focus is to drive revenue upwards, mainly it seems by upselling to the fans.

    His ‘step back’ on the redevelopment of the North Stand is not that surprising. Clearly he doesn’t want to lose revenue from 12,000 seats over the next two seasons even though it may jeopardise Villa hosting games in Euro 28. Perhaps money is more important than prestige?

    It will be interesting to get David Michael’s (MyOldManSaid) take on what Heck said – I have a feeling it won’t be particularly positive!

    1. The Ron Saunders Stand
      The Ron Saunders Stand December 19, 2023 at 2:24 pm . Reply
      1. 1874 was a good year
        1874 was a good year December 19, 2023 at 3:14 pm . Reply

        I like the ‘AV’ in Victorian script but the ‘150’ is rubbish and so the logo is not self-explanatory. They should have gone the whole hog and created a logo that might have been used in 1874.
        While looking at Victorian Villa I came across this painting from 1895 which portrays a game between Sunderland and Villa. Note Sunderland’s defensive line.

        1. 1874 was a good year
          1874 was a good year December 19, 2023 at 4:30 pm . Reply

          BTW If you’re interested the game finished 4-4. A good away draw against a top team.

        2. Holte
          Holte December 19, 2023 at 6:17 pm . Reply

          I like the painting although I’m not sure how many Sunderland players are on the pitch. There are at least 11 shown with red and white stripes and faces behind whose shirts aren’t visible 🤔

  3. Holte
    Holte December 19, 2023 at 6:10 pm . Reply

    Why has Heck back tracked on the North Stand redevelopment? We need a 50,000 capacity to fulfil our Euro’s acceptance.
    I’m getting the impression that anything Purslow started he wants to rip up and say bad idea. A loss of 6,500 fans for two seasons isn’t great but revenue from match days is only a small amount of the club’s income. We are in a world where TV and advertising is the biggest part.
    The saying short term pain for long term gain is the philosophy Heck should adopt. The guy seems a step down to Purslow in his thinking and attitude to the fans, particularly the 30,000 on the season ticket waiting list.

    1. Hitchens60
      Hitchens60 December 19, 2023 at 6:38 pm . Reply

      Holte, I think it’s about returns on investment.

      10,000 seats for £100m doesn’t actually make a lot of financial sense. So it’s not really about the fans.

      Having said that, if they can find a way to increase capacity and improve facilities in both the Holte and North Stands for less cash it makes sense – at least in terms of bottom line.

      Building a stadium just to satisfy Euro 28 criteria isn’t necessarily the way to go.

      1. Ardent Villain
        Ardent Villain December 19, 2023 at 6:45 pm . Reply

        actually, as I understand it, we would only have increased capacity by around 8,000 seats under the North Stand plan – the rest would have been ‘phase 2’ with later work on the Witton Lane stand.

        While I’m disappointed that we won’t see the Euros at VP now, it did worry me how the loss of an entire stand would have affected our home form for 2 seasons.

        I reckon they could do better with a second think on how to increase capacity, although it would be good to see it in our lifetimes!

      2. Holte
        Holte December 19, 2023 at 8:16 pm . Reply

        £100m for 10,000 extra fans doesn’t make financial sense? I think the income not just from bums on seats but food, drinks and merchandise. The revenue from hosting the euros plus concerts would be huge. When you consider one Jack Grealish cost £100m then the opportunity to reduce the waiting list for season tickets is all about satisfying the fans.

  4. Hitchens60
    Hitchens60 December 19, 2023 at 6:41 pm . Reply

    Maybe I should have added – particularly when you add in the logistics of stadium access. Villa don’t want to find themselves paying for the improvements to local transport infrastructure.

  5. Ardent Villain
    Ardent Villain December 19, 2023 at 6:48 pm . Reply

    On a completely different note: can’t believe that Forrest have sacked Cooper, and even more surprised that they’re apparently in contact with Nuno as his replacement.

    1. Badger123
      Badger123 December 19, 2023 at 9:23 pm . Reply

      Ardent, he’s only had one win in 12 or 13 games.
      You just can’t carry on like that if you want a chance of staying up.

      That said, I think the fans would have been ok to see him take them down and go again.
      That’s quality support of a manager, imo and I struggle to think of other supporters who would be like that.

    2. Bum Bum
      Bum Bum December 21, 2023 at 9:11 am . Reply

      And Cooper’s one win in 13 was against us! Bloody typical!!!
      Oh, the irony…

      Couldn’t we just fit more seats into VP? Encourage every supporter to slim down and stop eating cakes and chips for breakfast? 🤣🤣🤣

      It’s a win/win solution!!!!
      I’m bloody-well looking forward to tomorrow nights game!!!! Tasty!!! ManUre game on Amazon, Boxing Day too don’t forget…7pm.

  6. Badger123
    Badger123 December 19, 2023 at 9:16 pm . Reply

    I think we need to clarify something here.
    Has anyone actually said not increasing the capacity will result in us losing our position as a hosting stadium?

    Here are the requirements to host the tournament;

    1 stadium with 60,000 seats
    1 stadium (preferably 2) with 50,000 seats
    4 stadiums with 40,000 seats
    3 stadiums with 30,000 seats

    And here are the capacities;

    1. Wembley Stadium (London) (capacity 90,652)

    2. Principality Stadium (Cardiff) (73,952)

    3. Tottenham Hotspur Stadium (London) (62,322)

    4. Etihad Stadium (Manchester) (61,000)

    5. Everton Stadium (Liverpool) (52,679)

    6. St James’ Park (Newcastle) (52,305)

    7. Villa Park (Birmingham) (52,190)

    8. Hampden Park (Glasgow) (52,032)

    9. Aviva Stadium (Dublin) (51,711)

    10. Casement Park (Belfast) (34,500)

    I’d say we qualify easily at 42,000 odd.
    And it’s also my belief that if it meant us losing our hosting position, there is no way the expansion wouldn’t have been done.
    Hosting Euro games is a big deal re world status and our owners know it.

    I do agree that expanding to 52,000 seems pointless.
    We’ve been bigger and better than that for over a century, before other clubs overtook us. We had one of the biggest grounds and arguably the biggest end terrace. (anyone else remember the Holte being 28k? Wiki says 26 and I’m sure that’s not right).
    We need to think bigger and get amongst the big boys again.
    I’ve never previously been keen, but I’m now thinking 70,000 which would require a relocation, obviously.
    Blasphemy, I know 🙁

    1. Hitchens60
      Hitchens60 December 19, 2023 at 9:44 pm . Reply

      It’s a good point Badger

      According to Heck, It seems there are other criteria (rather than just stadia capacity Tharp need to be met and it may be those that Heck is now looking at.

      Fan experience extends beyond stadium capacity and I’ve read a lot of criticism over the lack of ‘fan experience quality ’ in both the Holte and North stands. The introduction of Terrace View and Lower Grounds experience whilst removing season ticket holder ‘perks’ is also not a good story.

      If Heck is going to truly prioritise investment in fan experience over expanding seating then I think that’s the way we should be going.

      I’ve no doubt that with some innovative thinking we can increase the number of seats from 42,0000 without completely redeveloping the North Stand and spending stupid amounts of money.

      Villa Park is an iconic stadium and is worthy of protective status (in planning terms).


      1. Bum Bum
        Bum Bum December 21, 2023 at 2:46 pm . Reply

        Don’t forget income from ticket sales is dwarfed by TV money, so less important overall? Apart from the fact we can’t get tickets?
        I still feel sorry for my mate who handed back his season tickets when Gerrard was ‘in charge’. He’s gutted…

    2. Holte
      Holte December 19, 2023 at 9:49 pm . Reply

      I thought we needed 50,000 Badger but you might be right. Maybe it’s more to do with the transport links which are terrible at the moment.
      Imagine the reaction from the fans if we were to do a Spurs, West Ham, Everton or Arsenal.
      To relocate for a 70,000 capacity stadium would be logistically the sensible thing to do. Somewhere by the NEC, close to road, rail and even air travel.
      Personally the thought of it makes me feel sick. Villa Park is our home and it should always be home.
      There’s plenty of opportunity to build a huge 3 tier stand to replace the Doug Ellis. They can have it over sailing the road surely. We might have to be satisfied with a 60,000 capacity, but rather that than a brand new stadium without soul.

      1. Ardent Villain
        Ardent Villain December 19, 2023 at 10:07 pm . Reply

        I can’t imagine the owners wanting to spend £1bn+ on a new 60-70,000 stadium anyway.
        The Witton Lane stand can ‘easily’ be rebuilt out over the road; that’s one of the reasons that the original row of terraced houses across the road was demolished, years ago.
        Between a new dvelopment of that & a new North Stand, they can increase capacity to 60-65,000 for rather less than a billion.
        The big problems are to do with transport (Witton rail station, the Witton Rd./Aston Lane bus route) and parking near the ground, and while Villa might expect to contribute something towards solving those, it’s not all down to the club.

        Just as an aside, I found myself waiting to pick someone up from the airport the other day, around the ‘business park’ near International and the NEC / Resorts World complex. Utterly soulless area (should have been preserved as Green Belt) – it would be absolutely horrible to put any new stadium there… just my opinion.

        1. The Ron Saunders Stand
          The Ron Saunders Stand December 20, 2023 at 3:04 pm . Reply

          Any thoughts of moving Villa out of ‘Aston’ would be just so wrong imo.
          The transport links? Well back in the day I don’t remember too much of a problem, walk to Witton road and there’d be a convoy of number 11 and 7 buses waiting for the departing spectators.
          And this problem isn’t going away wherever you pick up Villa Park and relocate to.
          I’d go as to say Villa Park with its’ two train stations and links to the motorway network is about as good as it gets.
          The problem is more probably the mode of transport IE the automobile, simply too many cars.
          More reliable public transport I’d say is the answer, tailored to need and not profit alone.

  7. Holte
    Holte December 20, 2023 at 8:37 pm . Reply

    I can only comment on my experience on going to Villa Park. Recently I have travelled from Cradley Heath to Witton with one change. It’s a decent trip in on the train with just a 15 minute wait when changing to get the direct train into Witton. I found this a lot less stressful than driving in with the ‘crawl’ through Perry Barr to park near the ground. Leaving by car is a nightmare unless you get out 5-10 minutes early. Unfortunately IMO, it’s not the station at Witton which is the problem. It’s the number of trains that they put on to go back to New Street. When you get there it’s a good 20-30 minutes before the next train appears. There always seems to be a lot more trains on the other platform. So modernising Witton station solves nothing as far as I’m concerned unless they increase the number of trains that are put on to deal with the excess amount of fans during the hour after game has finished. The West Midlands mayor Andy Street wants to improve the overall rail network and I’m sure for the euros it’s important to him to get it resolved, especially with the prestige and income generated.

  8. Badger123
    Badger123 December 20, 2023 at 10:06 pm . Reply

    Relocating to the NEC would work logistically. The area has probably the best access in the UK for any major conurbation, as much as some of us probably hate the M42.

    But to speak of moving down there is even more blasphemous than my suggestion that we need to move, in the first place!

    It’s Bloose country, so that’s just a non-starter for me.
    We go North. Back end of Sutton, springs to mind.
    I wonder how the land lies around BMH?
    M42, not far and A38????

    I doubt it’ll happen because I’m now a bit concerned that money is becoming the priority.
    As said, these “experiences” are expensive and don’t seem very popular.
    Then again, perhaps it explains why we never really pushed on under Ellis?
    While it’s fair to say he was a tight old get, he always wanted to keep ticket prices low for us plebs.
    Success has to be paid for, I suppose.

  9. Badger123
    Badger123 December 21, 2023 at 11:26 am . Reply

    The European super league ban has been ruled unlawful.
    This is disgusting, given all the protests by the fans.
    I hope the English clubs are too scared to try it again.

    1. BFR
      BFR December 21, 2023 at 1:13 pm . Reply

      They won’t be. A dark shadow looms over the game we love…

    2. The Ron Saunders Stand
      The Ron Saunders Stand December 21, 2023 at 2:36 pm . Reply

      Well as we (well deadly) had a big hand in the formation of the EPL and as a consequence shafted all the lower divisions, it’s sorta reaping what we sowed?

  10. BFR
    BFR December 21, 2023 at 1:38 pm . Reply

    I’m dismayed by Heck’s stance on the development of Villa Park. The argument that the team are playing well and VP is a fortress so don’t want to disrupt that is fine but incredibly short sighted. And it only squares if you add: we’ll wait until the team are crap again and interest has disintegrated before adding more seats. Duh. Speculate to accumulate? Supply and demand? Ring any bells?

    Does he know how many fans are waiting for season tickets?? I’ve been waiting for years. Not to mention the rest who can’t commit to that but would happily attend regularly if they could get a ticket. And what’s this utter bollocks about ‘fan experience’ around the ground? The only experience true fans want is to be inside Villa Park enjoying a successful Villa team!

    Heck’s walked in to find some excellent plans ready to go – Purslow’s many hours of hard work, and binned it. I find it bizarre that the owners would give him that authority after all the progress made on the issue. Just know the North Stand down and add more seats with a huge, modern new stand to (partly) meet demand for your ‘product.’ How hard can it be? Come back Mr Purslow. All is forgiven. The scouser is but a distant memory…

    Mr Heck. I’d like some tickets for the Burnley game. Can you help? 😡🤦

    Merry Christmas to all!

    1. Holte
      Holte December 21, 2023 at 9:47 pm . Reply

      I feel the same as you BFR. It feels to me that anything Purslow got involved with, he wants to disregard. The decision to scrap the North Stand rebuild is very shortsighted. Is it the owners who have pulled the plug and he is spouting fan experience and Villa Park fortress as the bullshit excuse?
      While we stand still, numerous teams expand their capacities leaving us behind. 8 teams have much bigger stadiums than us if you include Everton.
      Chris Heck if it is his decision is offering nothing other than negativity. 30,000 fans on the waiting list clearly aren’t important.

  11. Hitchens60
    Hitchens60 December 21, 2023 at 4:14 pm . Reply

    One of the interesting parts of the judgement of The European Court (a court I’ve always detested) is that their judgement does not give ‘approval’ to the ESL only that banning it was (in their learned opinion) unlawful.

    As I see it UEFA can simply not approve the ESL as part of the European competition structure thus denying any club taking part in it from qualifying for The Champions League etc.

    The ESL is, it seems, is built along the lines of a closed franchised competition such as is prevalent in the USA and would destroy the whole ethos of football which is about striving to be better or survive. And saying they will put it on TV for free is just a lie – the major revenue in football comes from TV deals that’s why the Prem is so rich and powerful.

    Although it seems unlikely that top flight English clubs will join, the Government have already stated that, in response to the fans concern, they will bring forward legislation to stop English clubs joining breakaway leagues. And raise two fingers to The European Court in the process.

    1. The Ron Saunders Stand
      The Ron Saunders Stand December 21, 2023 at 4:37 pm . Reply

      EPL may stop teams joining but what’s to stop teams simply relocating as happens in the NFL?
      We all want our teams to be successful but at what cost?
      I don’t want to appear as a little Englander but you have foreign investment, you are ultimately going to lose that local connection and become simply a franchise, a brand.
      Manchester United for example, become the RED DEVILS? The geography is then irrelevant.

      1. BFR
        BFR December 21, 2023 at 4:48 pm . Reply

        That’s when I’ll stop watching football.

  12. Hitchens60
    Hitchens60 December 21, 2023 at 4:19 pm . Reply

    On a different tack, I see we are short of a number of players for Friday’s game. Torres and Tielemans are unavailable – both are a big miss with Tielemans an obvious choice to fill in for Kamara who is banned.

    Other players, such as Bailey, are carrying knocks so pressure will be on to keep performing.

    I assume Konsa will move back to centre back alongside Carlos unless Emery thinks Lenglet can fill in. If McGinn drops deep we lose a real element of threat so will Dendonker come in for Kamara?

    1. Holte
      Holte December 21, 2023 at 9:57 pm . Reply

      If we do have a minor selection problem because of suspension and injuries, you would like to think Sheffield United are the best team to play. However it would be typical Villa to blow our home winning run and chance to go top by losing tomorrow.
      FWIW, I would play Lenglet and Konsa and rest Carlos for the Man Ure game. Lenglet is left footed like Torres and was decent last time he played and showed good passing ability. I think Digne will start instead of Moreno and probably Cash too. It should be Dendoncker for Kamara to allow Luiz and McGinn to get further forward. Then it’s Ramsey, Watkins and either Bailey if fit or Diaby.
      Surely it’s more than enough to beat the blades!

      1. BFR
        BFR December 22, 2023 at 9:02 am . Reply

        Agree 100% on Dendonker. And decent shout on Lenglet. If he’s available. Can’t take Sheffield lightly.

        1. The Ron Saunders Stand
          The Ron Saunders Stand December 22, 2023 at 2:51 pm . Reply

          Dendonkey? The fella don’t fill me with confidence but regardless we should have enough to beat the Blades with pretty much any 11 we can muster.
          Can’t see this happening on Saint Unai’s watch but I hope the expectation and pressure of going top doesn’t get to them and they freeze on the night.
          So here we go, fingers crossed….
          We are top the league!
          We are top of the league!

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