Fulham 1 – 2 Villa; Superb win. Now where’s that humble pie?

I think the headline pretty much says it all, but I guess I’d better say something.

Quite simply, I thought that was a real gritty performance; one that we dragged out despite some shocking refereeing, which was only matched by the VAR crew backing him up, seemingly because of his inexperience, according to many commentators.
What is the game coming to if VAR is letting refs off lightly because it’s their first game in the Prem, after his being promoted after not much more than a handful of games in the Championship?
This is not on at all, especially as it seems we get the rough end of a pineapple when it comes to decisions generally, as it is.

I can give three examples straight off, but there were many.

John McGinn shoulder charges a player and that’s just what it was, imo. A shoulder charge.
Granted, in today’s game it’s overly tough. Hence it’s a free kick.
Result? A yellow card for McGinn, yet no free kick and we’re given a dropped ball. That is just nuts to me. If it’s a yellow, surely an offence has been committed and that’s a very basic mistake?
Later in the game, a Fulham player does exactly the same thing to Ramsey and barges him off the pitch. Nothing given.

Ollie Watkins is blatantly fouled for what should be a penalty. From what I’ve read on a few sites, all commentators say it was a clear penalty. Result? Not given and even worse, it’s not even reviewed with VAR. That was shocking, imo.

We have a goal called off by the ref, only for VAR to re-run it and paint the line in the wrong place. Everybody says that’s wrong too, but hey, it’s only the Villa. Disgraceful.

I could go on, but this is becoming a joke now.

So rubbish officiating apart, what did I think?
Well, it was awesome and I happily admit, I called this totally wrong.

I think it was the midfield that won it, but pretty much everbody looked on top of their game.

Let’s do a one by one;

MARTINEZ 7 Didn’t really have a fat lot to do, but was caught in a bit of a mix up with Longlet for their goal. I don’t blame him and he at least made up for it with a superb one on one to keep us in it. The master of dark arts played another blinder in that sense too and continues to make me laugh as much as I’m sure he really annoys the opposition fans.

CASH 7 I thought he looked a lot better today and while I remain unconvinced about him at the highest level, I was happy enough.

LONGLET 7 He was actually a lot more competent than I expected. Okay, his being way too slow for their goal was poor, but he was otherwise very good and relaxed in passing the ball out. If he’d cost us the game, no doubt I’d have marked him lower.

TORRES 8 And probably my MOTM. He looked totally assured and the way he clears the ball, even when under severe pressure never fails to impress. He actually doesn’t look as lightweight as when he first arrived, either.

MORENO 7 Did fairly well in defence and attack and worked his guts out. Did very little wrong.

LUIZ 7 I have to be honest and say I never noticed him much. Which might well be a good thing. Hence it’s a middling score.

TIELEMANS 7 Did some things well, such as a good ball to feed Ollie for a goal, but looked to be seriously blowing when trying to keep up with Watkins, who was running with the ball. That doesn’t seem right, but I have to give him a half decent mark, purely because he contributed to a stong midfield performance. I also thought he took a lot of stick and was often doubled up on.

MCGINN 8 As per usual, worked himself into the ground and led a good midfield performance from the front.

RAMSEY 7 Contributed to Ollie’s first goal, but again, while I wasn’t convinced, he did contribute.

BAILEY 8 He was simply excellent and looked seriously dangerous all through the game. Hit the bar. I’m beginning to love this bloke and to think I thought he was never going to be any use for us, last season. I’m happy to admit I was well wrong there.

WATKINS 8 Did he do anything wrong? Not that I recall. I’m very happy that he’s got himself on the scoresheet twice and one with a very nice Dalglish type swivel for the first too.

Emery pretty much timed his subs well too, I thought.

All that said and I don’t want to be seen as a naysayer here, I’m not sure what to think about Fulham.
Well, yes I am and frankly, it’s not much on this showing.
Then again, they have a very decent home record of late, so I’m not knocking this result at all.

On a day of strange results, where the only home win was Forest over West Ham and Wolves did us a big favour in beating “everybody’s favourites” in Spurs on their own turf, we’re back up to fourth.

It’s a very good day and I’m a happy bunny again.



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  1. BFR
    BFR February 17, 2024 at 7:55 pm . Reply

    May I suggest where the officials can shove the ‘rough end of the pineapple’?

  2. BFR
    BFR February 17, 2024 at 8:15 pm . Reply

    Badger, seriously. I believe the VAR will do everything in their power to help Tottenham pip Villa to 4th. I’ve said it since it came in 2019; the club should take the PL to court over the endless shafting of our great club.
    EVERY SINGLE SECOND of what is said in the VAR centre should be recorded and accessible to ANYONE who requests it. Anyone. Under the Freedom of Information Act. Would give any half decent journalist something to get stuck into. It is a vehicle for corruption. End of.
    🖕 (to the bent arseholes who run it). In a bad mood. If you hadnt noticed.

    1. Hitchens60
      Hitchens60 February 17, 2024 at 9:10 pm . Reply

      BFR – from your post on the previous thread.

      Not sure the VAR question was meant to rhetorical but, on reflection I realise no one has an answer so, of course, you are spot on.

  3. Sidforever
    Sidforever February 18, 2024 at 12:11 am . Reply

    What an article! I go with everything said. Especially the analysis of Tielesman. Against lesser teams I think we will be fine. Against better teams I’d like to see Iroegbunam start and add steel to the team. According to sources on Claret & Blue, Emery really rates him – just doesn’t play him much.

  4. Hitchens60
    Hitchens60 February 18, 2024 at 7:07 am . Reply

    Excellent, balanced, if somewhat lengthy article which provides a perspective on Villa, as a side, seen through the eyes of an intelligent fan of an opposing team. Perhaps it takes another view from the hillside, as it were, for us to fully appreciate the team we have.

    As to Iroegbunam, if Emery rates him highly then I trust him to play him when he deems the time is right – perhaps away to Fulham wasn’t it. He certainly hasn’t been recalled from his loan spell to merely sit on the bench and with Europe back on the horizon we will need to rotate.

  5. Bill Pearson
    Bill Pearson February 18, 2024 at 12:57 pm . Reply

    Good article Badger they summed Villa up wish the FA and the shit refs they give us would take note, even match of the day placed us almost last
    ahead of a 1-1 draw and less mention. What is it that Villa in all its fight to be a top midland club find it hard to get recognition. We had a back line never played together, a season to be fourth from near oblivion yet we seem to be disliked by many officials and clubs, fair play to Uni he’s not only brought us back he’s put the midlands back as being a place to come .

  6. Badger123
    Badger123 February 18, 2024 at 1:44 pm . Reply

    In fairness, Bill, it was specifically mentioned that it was the first time the defence had played together on MOTD and they were praised for doing such a good job in holding on, when we were under the cosh.

    1. Hitchens60
      Hitchens60 February 18, 2024 at 2:55 pm . Reply

      Having watched MoTD how the hell did VAR agree that Moreno was offside – he clearly wasn’t either in real time or on the VAR lines – being played on by Ream in the centre.

      I assume the penalty wasn’t given because they deemed Watkins had ‘lost control’ of the ball before he was ‘fouled’. I’m convinced it would have been given as a foul anywhere else on the pitch!

      Just practicing my regular VAR rant ready for the next game 🙂

      Sad to hear that Aaron Ramsey may have suffered a serious knee injury – I hope not yet another ACL.

  7. Roy Bracy
    Roy Bracy February 18, 2024 at 2:21 pm . Reply

    Thanks badger for posting the article from the guardian excellent read and much better written than the rubbish from the Birmingham mail
    Nice to see what others think about villa

  8. Bill Pearson
    Bill Pearson February 18, 2024 at 6:25 pm . Reply

    Anyone watching Luton and Man game ? Luton are no mugs believe me been a very hard fought game a draw would have been a fair result. 2-1 Man .

    1. Badger123
      Badger123 February 18, 2024 at 8:29 pm . Reply

      I’ve watched Luton a few times Bill.
      They’re better than they seem, but are open to a counter, often because they have to attack.
      If we get the early goal, I’d be pretty confident that we can beat them.

  9. Badger123
    Badger123 February 18, 2024 at 7:20 pm . Reply

    “Recording 30 wins, eight draws and 12 defeats, Emery has a 60% win percentage which sees him record five more wins and nine more points than any other Villa manager after 50 league games.”
    That’s any manager EVER. Impressive.


    1. The Ron Saunders Stand
      The Ron Saunders Stand February 20, 2024 at 3:30 pm . Reply

      This article is on news now
      “Per Matt Lynch on X, 70 per cent of Villa’s revenue is spent on wages, the highest in Europe.”
      Then this in the Birmingham Mail
      “The i newspaper reports that the potential new regulations will be implemented across all four English league divisions. It will see clubs who have qualified for European competitions limited to spending 85 percent of their revenue on player wages and transfer fees, which will reduce to 70 percent for clubs competing in Europe, in line with the UEFA regulations.”
      Seeing as we are falling in line with the new proposal of 70% what exactly is the problem?

      1. Hitchens60
        Hitchens60 February 20, 2024 at 3:40 pm . Reply

        RSS – without researching this – it’s 70% of revenue on wages AND transfers!

        If we’re already spending 70% of revenue on wages alone it’s potentially a massive problem.

        Once again these rules are designed to protect the Real Madrid and MancC clubs of this world. It’s already a closed (financial) shop so, once again, just shows how greedy these clubs are by wanting a European Super League and b****cks to the rest of football.

        Even backed by a sovereign wealth fund it’s still an almost insurmountable challenge to dethrone the (financially) elite – don’t forget ManC got there before FFP took hold!

        Or maybe I’m just an angry old man!?

        1. The Ron Saunders Stand
          The Ron Saunders Stand February 20, 2024 at 4:40 pm . Reply

          No Hitch you are spot on, absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with any ‘Fair Play’ but a case of keeping a closed shop and maintaining the status quo (imo).

    2. 1874 was a good year
      1874 was a good year February 20, 2024 at 3:36 pm . Reply

      Impressive indeed. If we can keep that up, at almost 2 points per game on average, that would give us 75 points. Man Ure finished third with 75 points last season.
      Let’s keep dreaming…

  10. Hitchens60
    Hitchens60 February 20, 2024 at 3:48 pm . Reply

    Conference League round of 16 draw on Friday at noon.

    Villa are one of eight seeded clubs that will be drawn against one of the eight clubs coming though the play off round – and there are potentially some very decent clubs in that group. Hope we get a decent draw although our cup draws over recent years have generally not been very kind – and even, on the odd occasion, when they were we managed to shoot ourselves in the foot; or more accurately in both feet

  11. Bum Bum
    Bum Bum February 20, 2024 at 8:28 pm . Reply

    Some Spanish rag has been reporting Arsenal are after Ollie Watkins. This rubbish is relentless.
    Have Arsenal got a spare £100m for Ollie to go with the £100m for Luiz?
    Anyone think the Bees can do Citeh tonight? …Thought not…!!

    1. Holte
      Holte February 20, 2024 at 9:22 pm . Reply

      They just can’t help themselves can they? The rumour rag I heard about was Mbappe going to Real Madrid with Rashford to PSG meaning Watkins to Man Ure!

  12. Holte
    Holte February 20, 2024 at 9:24 pm . Reply

    I watched Canadian Pete’s Trinity show and he mentioned a staff letter from VP complaining about Heck. Has anyone read this?

    1. Bum Bum
      Bum Bum February 21, 2024 at 7:36 am . Reply

      Just search up ‘Chris Heck Aston Villa letter’ and it shows an alleged letter from AVFC staff about Heck. Nothing more has been heard about it…


      Is it real or a wind up?

      1. Hitchens60
        Hitchens60 February 21, 2024 at 12:26 pm . Reply

        Difficult to say Bum Bum but David Michael (myoldmansaid) sits on FAB so if it’s legit I would expect him to raise it on the blog – either through the podcast or through an article.

        I haven’t checked but regularly listen to the podcast – if I read or hear anything I’ll put up a post.

        What I can say is that Michael and FAB are not at all happy with goings on at Villa since Heck was appointed and have made at least one formal complaint to the FA that Villa (Heck / Hatton) are failing in their duty to properly consult with fans over the new badge which is now a regulatory issue.

        1. Hitchens60
          Hitchens60 February 21, 2024 at 12:48 pm . Reply

          According to David Michael the letter is genuine and runs to four pages detailing what has been going on since Heck was appointed (in some ways I’m not surprised – my brother worked in the UK for an American company at a very senior level and was treated appallingly by British employment standards which are an anathema to the Yanks). It was delivered two weeks ago so it’s not been an immediate release to Twitter – now called X for no apparent reason. Michael was pretty cynical about the club’s subsequent PR efforts around Heck and using Mings to ‘bury bad news’.

          No doubt we’ll be hearing more in due course but everything within the club is not all that it should be – or so it seems.

          1. Ardent Villain
            Ardent Villain February 21, 2024 at 2:59 pm . Reply

            When I look at these ‘behind-the-scenes’ rumours and ‘complaints’ about Heck, I get a strong feeling that he won’t last much longer than the end of the season.

            Seems like one of those square peg in a round hole sort of appointments, just waiting for who at the bery top of Villa actually realises it first; presumably they’d have to spend money to pay him off…

            1. Bum Bum
              Bum Bum February 21, 2024 at 3:44 pm . Reply

              I had a charity client a while ago and their American board member fired the CEO – on the spot, and for no real reason – and took on the role herself which is against strict charity rules!
              Boy, did the fur fly! Yep, the Yanks take a while to get to grip with the way we do things here. In saying that, it would be fun to let them loose in the Civil Service! LOL!!! That would shake things up!!!

              1. The Ron Saunders Stand
                The Ron Saunders Stand February 21, 2024 at 9:33 pm .

                It appears when he’s not busy upsetting his employees he turns his attention to the supporters trust and the FA!
                “In a statement outlining their concerns about the proposed new crest, the Villa Trust added that other than the October survey to individual fans, they are not aware of any further input from supporter groups. Regulations introduced last year to protect heritage require clubs to undertake a “thorough and extensive consultation process”, but Villa’s FAB do not believe that was sufficient under those rules.

                A club must also be able to evidence that a majority of its supporters are in favour of any proposed changes. Members of the FAB subsequently contacted the FA to outline their concerns that Villa had not engaged in sufficient consultation, despite the club arguing the contrary.

          2. Bill Pearson
            Bill Pearson February 22, 2024 at 8:06 pm . Reply

            Hitch my late son had to oversee work being done by the Americans and told me their bosses was ruthless. They could leave a job till it was finished, made to work overtime or lose their jobs , the workforce was shit scared of losing job . When he came back he felt sorry and sent some of the workers money . The yanks are ruthless in business.

  13. Bum Bum
    Bum Bum February 22, 2024 at 7:44 am . Reply

    I wonder why they think they’re in a position to okay the design? Is Heck a designer himself, with a proven successful track record in this field? Or is it feedback from a couple of tea ladies or some lame focus group?
    Frankly I don’t understand the need to redesign the badge anyway, every few years

    1. Ardent Villain
      Ardent Villain February 22, 2024 at 1:18 pm . Reply

      Quite agree.
      However, in a world where ‘Marketing’ is usually now considered more important than ‘product’, the people working in those areas need to constantly re-imagine the ‘Brand’ simply to keep themselves in their cushy jobs.

      Hence we see large organisations renaming themselves every few years, new corporate logos, etc., – all at great cost and with little actual benefit to anyone – except the ‘Marketing’ / ‘Branding’ consultancy firms…

      1. Hitchens60
        Hitchens60 February 22, 2024 at 1:36 pm . Reply

        The Fan Advisory Board generally represents the fans and are pretty vociferous.

        The feed back from the FAB and from the general fan consultation has been totally ignored by Heck and Hatton who’ve decided ‘they know best’ when it comes to brand marketing.

        But the badge is more than just a brand for Heck and his merry men to play around with. It represents everything about the club, it’s history, it’s traditions it’s present and it’s future that’s why, in the wake of the European Super League disregard for fans treating them as nothing more than consumers (cash cows), the FA – in trying to outflank the new Regulator – has put in place fan involvement regulations around certain Club decisions of which one is a change to the badge.

        Heck doesn’t care about tradition and he doesn’t understand how football support works. His only experience is in orchestrated ‘Ra Ra’ crowds in American football etc. His only objective is to raise as much money as possible from the fans (consumers) and if we don’t like it – tough! One only has to look at what he’s done with The Terrace View and Lower Grounds without any thought of or fan involvement – upselling and causing a great deal of bad feeling particularly amongst season ticket holders and within The Holte – which is potentially harmful to the team. Even ManU gave up on a similar approach of trying to upsell in the Stretton End

        Will NSWE agree with the fans or is the revenue drive more important?

  14. Bum Bum
    Bum Bum February 23, 2024 at 8:00 am . Reply

    Right, laďs! On to more important things…Forest tomorrow. I haven’t heard of any changes from the treatment room so i expect the same side as last week to turn out.
    Forest could put out any side selected from their squad of 329 players but we’ll still beat them!!!
    4-0. Go and put a fiver on it!!!!

  15. Hitchens60
    Hitchens60 February 23, 2024 at 12:15 pm . Reply

    Strictly to script we draw Ajax in the Conference League – so that will all be about Henderson.

  16. Holte
    Holte February 23, 2024 at 12:43 pm . Reply

    Aston Villa will be the bit part in the saga that is The Dean Henderson show! I’m already pissed off just thinking about it. In fact I would imagine the English media would rather Ajax win because of him.

    1. Bum Bum
      Bum Bum February 24, 2024 at 8:26 am . Reply

      Well we’ll justt have to put them in their place won’t we Hitch!!!

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