Steve Bruce; Dinosaur or Pragmatist? Kids clear-out, Kodjia crocked and Xia to sell?

It’s been a busy couple of days news-wise, hasn’t it?

I didn’t comment on the Blackburn game because I didn’t see it.
I heard about fifteen minutes of the commentary though and it didn’t sound good.
Phrases like “keep giving the ball away” and “not helping ourselves” sounded all too familiar and gave me no incentive to try and sneak away from the job.

Indeed, the performance was apparently the worst we’ve had under Steve Bruce, leading to him slating the languid rubbish the monster away support had to endure. When the CEO Keith Wyness makes a point in commenting that it was the worst he’s seen anywhere he’s been, you know things must have been bad.
I’ll bet that certain players have signed their own death warrants Aston Villa-wise after that.

The performance on Saturday has diverted somewhat a post that was meant to be about the manager and his approach to the game, but has now become more about the players, unfortunately.

Steve Bruce has come under increasing fire recently because of the boring, non-football that has been on display.
And I have to be honest, it’s something I partly agree with.
We never look like scoring many goals and if you take Kodjia out of the equation, things look frankly frightening.
There is often a gulf of space between the midfield and attack, with next to no link-up play between the two.
Are we seriously to believe this is how it’s supposed to be under Bruce’s style, though?
If so, why did he sign Lansbury and particularly Hourihane, who were known for their getting upfield and creating for previous clubs?
If the manager’s approach was to sit deep and try and nick one, would he have signed that sort of player?
I don’t see it.

Hence I don’t believe “dinosaur” is a particularly good description of Bruce.
I believe he wants to play the game the right way and he has had very reasonable resources to allow him to do that.

Pragmatic though, is a description that I definitely believe applies to the manager. Whatever your opinion on Steve bruce, it’s a simple fact that he’s the best most experienced manager in the game at getting promoted.
And you won’t convince me otherwise, because it’s a fact that you can’t get around. He’s done it four times, twice automatically and twice through the play-offs.
So let’s just leave that one there.

So he knows what’s required. Hence it’s fair to suggest that it won’t always be pretty. And if his approach is that we sometimes have to play canny and nick the points, I can live with it.
But not all of the time.

Which begs the question of why have we been so consistently poor and particularly so against a Blackburn team that isn’t near the bottom of the table for no reason?

If we consider Bruce knows what he wants, but isn’t getting it, leading to him doing his fruit in his after-match assessments, that can only lead to two possibilities.
Either he can’t get his points across/motivate the players or the players themselves are the problem.

The first part of that is easily solved. If indeed it’s true, we sack the manager.
I hasten to add, I don’t believe it’s the case, although some of you might disagree.
But if it’s the second part and I tend to think it is, we have a major problem, bigger than I think any of us fans realise.
Why do so many seemingly good players come to Villa and instantly become rubbish? is something that always plays on my mind.
I’ve become even more perplexed as the season has gone on and the question now, is who was Wyness aiming the dig at?
The players or the manager?
No doubt we’ll see over the summer.

Moving on, it seems the promised clearout has begun.
I must admit the likes of Sellars leaving has surprised me because I’ve only heard good things about him.
But I’ve often complained about how poor our youth system has been over recent years and if someone has come in with fresh eyes and is looking to go another way, more strength to him, in my opinion.
Let’s be honest, we’ve hardly produced anything over recent years, have we?
I expect to see something very similar amongst the second string too, as we have far too many players who are on high wages considering they’re never going to get a look in.
If there is some sort of poor culture down the Villa, let’s get rid.

And then there’s Kodjia’s broken ankle, which is a massive blow if he does miss the early part of next season.
Where will the goals come from?
That said, at least it reduces the chances of him leaving; not that I ever thought he was going anywhere, this season at least.
It’s nice to see he’s keeping his spirits up, with him saying “the sun comes after the rain” or similar. Get well soon Jonathan.

And the last one is Tony Xia wants to flog the club, apparently.
I just laughed at that, as I don’t see it for one minute.
Remember Bruce’s comment about Xia’s plans, just a few days back?

On the other hand, it seems like he might be looking for some investment.
That part, I can more understand, as weighing in with £50 million or whatever it is up to now, must stick in the craw and is enough to reduce even a massive bank balance by a fair whack.

I can’t say I like joint ownership, as it lessens overall direction (look at Arsenal’s in-fighting), but if it’s what’s required for another big investment on quality players in the summer, oh well.


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    #HELENIUS May 2, 2017 at 10:21 pm . Reply

    The football is terrible and this won’t change under Bruce. More bad than good. However he was definitely the right man to bring in when it appeared we may be looking at back to back relegation!

    I want a young manager like a Rowett type who has a fresh outlook on how the modern game should he played. It could happen and all go tits up but at least we’d have tried.

    I just cannot get excited by another dreary season under Bruce.

  2. Bill Pearson
    Bill Pearson May 3, 2017 at 7:00 am . Reply

    If I was owner I’d pull Bruce in and say well done, Bruce I want now to see open play and more creative approach from our games, find us players that want to win games and creative play, this season teams attack us knowing our weaknesses, we then played defensive games with one goal losses, we have to see from Bruce how he going to start the season by giving him 6-8 game start.if he fails then the outcome would be obvious, he has to go.I don’t like what’s going on with our young guns, its the seniors that need to go, not up and coming player’s, the youths won more games than the first team lost in the cup semi finals and we only sore one or two youth players at the last few games.

  3. giddyvillan
    giddyvillan May 3, 2017 at 9:45 am . Reply

    It’s a clean slate next season for brucey he’ll have a summer to add aswell as get rid. We start struggling then obviously he ain’t the right person to take us up, he’s done his job this season but the job is far from the finished article.i wish him the best

    1. Hitchens 60
      Hitchens 60 May 3, 2017 at 12:49 pm . Reply

      Well said Giddy; if he’s not up to the job – which is to get us promoted – then we have to look elsewhere but in the meantime the fans should wish him the best and support him in that endeavour and not, as some seem to do, just want him gone. Another season, another manager and another owner – I hope not.

      1. Bill Pearson
        Bill Pearson May 3, 2017 at 1:04 pm . Reply

        Think the 3 musketeers are all for one and one for all. Giddy, Hitch,Bill.

    2. Andrew
      Andrew May 4, 2017 at 4:00 am . Reply

      “He’s done his job”, having what, 34-35 games out of 46 too get us mid-table and over-reliant on one player while bypassing the entire midfield, the one he himself bought in January, no tactics, no regular formation and hasn’t a clue that two strikers that include Kodjia works. Why does he get a clean slate? This season should very much be held against him, and shine a negative light. If we’re not off too the races within the first 10 games, he should be gone. He’s supposedly the best of the best in the Championship, didn’t prove it at all this season.

      1. giddyvillan
        giddyvillan May 5, 2017 at 10:44 am . Reply

        OK another one who don’t like him, what were your expectations this season promotion /top six????? When Bruce took over we were in the shite so championship survival was our first priority we eventually had an outside chance of a playoff place so things obviously improved under Bruce we went several games unbeaten & if I’m correct I didn’t see naff all of you on here so it’s selective criticism on your part get over it he’s here for the time being.

        1. Andrew
          Andrew May 6, 2017 at 2:04 am . Reply

          Nope, neither of those. My expectations were top half. A largely, more convincing top half push than one Bruce gave us. The fact we have one of the worst 3 attacks in the league says enough.

          You’re right, I haven’t been on here much. Well commenting anyways, because it was a bunch of “oh we love Bruce”and the one or two who disliked him were constantly called out, even if they didn’t make a comment on the article by the regulars. So what was the point?

          I don’t need too be on here to criticize him to have a go at him elsewhere. I never wanted him (which I have in fact posted on here multiple times) and still think he’s done a really poor job. Those 1-0 Kodjia wins were great too get us out of a relegation fight we shouldn’t have been in that he contributed too, ala January, where he spent a lot of money on the players he wanted and failed too use all of them bar one, a relatively average at best goal keeper who won’t make it above a Championship level, maybe low-end premier league side seeing he’s English and hell, the likes of Hennessy are playing up there.

  4. Bill Pearson
    Bill Pearson May 3, 2017 at 7:24 pm . Reply

    Aston Villa are surprisingly weighing in at 8/1 to sign Sunderland striker Jermain Defoe.

    Steve Bruce might look to add some firepower this summer considering that Jonathan Kodjia has broken his ankle and might be out for the start of next season.

    Jermain Defoe is likely to leave Sunderland this summer after the Black Cats were relegated to the Championship but Premier League duo Bournemouth and West Ham are the two front runners for the England international.

    It remains to be seen whether Defoe would be willing to join Aston Villa in the second tier.

    AdTech Ad
    The other player that Aston Villa want to bring in, according to the bookmakers, is John Ruddy.

    The former England international was released by Norwich yesterday after seven years at the club.

    Aston Villa are looking for a new goalkeeper this summer, especially if Sam Johnstone doesn’t make his loan move permanent.

    Aston Villa fans – would you like to sign Defoe and Ruddy? Can you land either? Let us know j

    1. giddyvillan
      giddyvillan May 3, 2017 at 7:30 pm . Reply

      I don’t think we have a cat in hells chance to sign defoe not only him coming down a division but also a huge wage cut nahh can’t see it, ruddy on the other hand yes I can see that one materialising he’s free now is he????

  5. Bill Pearson
    Bill Pearson May 3, 2017 at 7:57 pm . Reply

    It’s all speculation if you ask me Giddy, paper talk if you like, on the other hand are Sunderland now in trouble financially? Villa are talking saying 4 big signing? How big only last minute ones? No we will only be told when sales are not up to standard and the club will then tell us.I think players look at clubs that pay the money and just hope the good days come.

    1. Hitchens 60
      Hitchens 60 May 4, 2017 at 12:38 pm . Reply

      Hasn’t Defoe already said he needs to stay in Prem to keep his England chances going?

  6. Andrew
    Andrew May 4, 2017 at 3:57 am . Reply

    While Defoe would score 25+ goals in the Championship, Bruce’s “style” (if you wanna call it a style) is far too negative for him. Same reason Hogan doesn’t fit, he’s too small. Hogan makes the same type of runs Defoe makes, but when you bypass the midfield who are supposedly creative like Hourihane, Lansbury and even Bacuna, and just try too kick it to the striker, you need someone big, ala a Bony sized player. I definitely see us in for a striker this summer, along with a center back and midfielder, and goal keeper.

    As for the 7 Norwich players, Ruddy’s an okay goal keeper, nothing special really. Pretty sure we could do better, but he’d probably be Bruce’s second choice behind Johnstone solely because he’s English. Problem is, despite being 8th they have the 3rd worse defensive record in the Championship. Only thing that saves them is having the third best attack in the league. That’s not really favoring Ruddy by any means. Whether that be Ruddy’s or McGovern’s fault I don’t know. Norwich are what you want in a team though, where goals are spread out, and not an over reliance on one player. Not sure why it’s surprising we’re one of the favorites too sign Defoe. We have more than enough money, we’re certainly still attractive, I’d say more-so than any team coming down, including his current side. I could see him banging them in at Bournemouth though. Only player Norwich let go of that’s of any worth is Mulumbu, but dealing with a serious injury, not so much at the moment. We really gotta be looking at better than 4-5 players who couldn’t even make it into their team.

  7. Andrew
    Andrew May 5, 2017 at 3:13 am . Reply

    I’d happily take Tammy Abraham, Bristol likely couldn’t afford to permanently sign him. Young, quick, talented. If we’re going that way though I’d take a look at a few Chelsea typical loan players. Kalas, Hector, Van Ginkel, Traore (looks a great talent, though can see hims taying at Ajax). City have a few we could probably use. Not talking loans either, some of these kids are good enough too sign permanently given the chance.

    Not sure why some of our fans are surprised we’ve let a few youth players go, they are part of the 11-12 Bruce wanted gone and we’ve always had a summer where we do an offloading and “revamp” (although consistently it’s been done under managers who won’t use youth anyways).

    1. Hitchens 60
      Hitchens 60 May 5, 2017 at 8:06 am . Reply

      Read somewhere Abraham looking for Prem loan next season – Chelsea unlikely to sell imho BUT would defo take him on loan if available.

      1. Andrew
        Andrew May 7, 2017 at 1:58 am . Reply

        Probably, could see him at like, Burnley. Maybe Brighton or one of the playoff sides. I do think if Abraham is sold, he’d go for like 10-12m which would be a bargain, as would a few of their players if we could get them.

  8. Bill Pearson
    Bill Pearson May 5, 2017 at 8:51 am . Reply

    I’m a firm believer of nurturing our own talents at our club, it now seems we sell and take the money, its about time the club looks to it’s own and progress forwards, all them young players now know that they would be dropped or sold, while managers bye pass talented younge men..look at Marcus Rashford thats come through Man Utd youth programs, and how many have we passed on to other clubs?what we have now is two separate teams at Villa cause we don’t see us using new blood unless injuries force’s him to play them. Bruce you need to concentrate on the dead wood in the first team instead of ruining young men’s careers. I wonder what the team will be this weekend? . Hey ho.

  9. Rocky1
    Rocky1 May 5, 2017 at 4:44 pm . Reply

    What has happened to SB as just looked at the pictures on OS of the press conference and he looks like he has been in a bit of a scrape?

    1. Bill Pearson
      Bill Pearson May 5, 2017 at 6:03 pm . Reply

      Here’s the answer Rocky Aston Villa boss Steve Bruce appeared to have been in the wars as he attended his weekly press conference.

      Bruce sat down at Bodymoor heath looking battered and bruised with scars and cuts on his forehead.

      The Villa chief also had some swelling around his eyes leading to suspicions he had been involved in a ruckus.

      But Bruce was quick to play down any talk of a bust-up and insisted the wounds were simply caused by the removal of moles.

      1. giddyvillan
        giddyvillan May 5, 2017 at 6:11 pm . Reply

        Moles????? The one above his eyes must of been huge, nahh don’t buy that

    2. giddyvillan
      giddyvillan May 5, 2017 at 6:09 pm . Reply

      Brum mail picture shows a good dozen stitches above his right eye, fell over?? Ran into a door??? Maybe had a private meeting with Mccormack???? Haven’t read anything yet

  10. Bill Pearson
    Bill Pearson May 5, 2017 at 7:06 pm . Reply

    Might be Lea Hendry back around his house, ?

    1. giddyvillan
      giddyvillan May 5, 2017 at 7:10 pm . Reply

      Lol 😁 forgot him

  11. originallondonlion
    originallondonlion May 6, 2017 at 10:07 am . Reply

    I said pre-season with RDM in the office that I did not expect us to be in the running for promotion but I expected us to finish like next season promotion contenders. We are finishing like an over the hill boxer in the 15th. Key players are crocked.

    One problem that managers may get, but cannot predict until it happens, is players that do not get on and cannot gel. They might be great players but put them on a pitch with A N Other and both players look rubbish. I wonder if Hourihane, Hogan and Lansbury have turned out to be square pegs in a round hole? All three seemed to be the types we wanted, judged from their performance elsewhere. Unfortunately the only solution is get rid of one or two. and hope the replacements do gel.

    1. Andrew
      Andrew May 7, 2017 at 3:25 am . Reply

      Nothing to do with those three gelling. Has everything to do with the fact we play the ball over Lansbury and Hourihane (and the entire midfield) from Chester to Kodjia or Adomah. We don’t play through the midfield like we should, because Steve Bruce’s tactics are crap.

  12. DSVilla
    DSVilla May 6, 2017 at 11:13 am . Reply


    1. OohAhPaulMcGrath
      OohAhPaulMcGrath May 6, 2017 at 11:13 pm . Reply

      Badgers comment re players not being motivated has been the story of the club since mon left. Whatever manager comes in he seems to have that problem. IV said before we could sign Messi and he would struggle too. The club is doomed imo there is still a losing couldn’t care a less culture at the club and we will be lucky to finish anywhere near top six next season imo

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