Villa – Boro; Bruce’s future in the balance?

The games come thick and fast then and it’s the first of two meetings at home to Middlesborough in a week (we play them in the League cup, in case you’d forgotten) and while the result is as important as it always is, it surely takes an extra edge for the manager.
As much as Tony Xia has recently made a plea for togetherness, you have to suspect that he’ll come to the conclusion that we can’t stick with the status quo if we continue to fail to get the wins we need and crave.
In fact, I’d go so far to say that if we lose this one and get knocked out of the cup, the axe will be hovering over Steve Bruce’s head.
After all, it’s only been a couple of weeks since the last clamour for Bruce to be sacked, yet it’s already started again.
And the only way Bruce can get away from this, is for the team to go on a stunning run of wins.
Even a couple of wins won’t placate the fans for long, because as soon as we lose a couple, so the consensus will be that “he has to go” again.
The sheer weight of “Bruce out” replies to Xia’s post-Brentford tweet has convinced me of that.

But the annoying thing is that it’s Bruce’s own fault, because he continues to encourage absolutely garbage, negative football, which is rapidly losing him any support he does have left.

My stance is still that I’m very reluctant to call for him to be sacked; at least until it’s blatantly obvious that we have no choice and it’s interesting that the vast majority of other Villa sites are of similar opinion.
Which makes me wonder if we’re somewhat out of touch, to be honest.

There’s an apparently easy answer to Bruce’s woes and that’s to get us going all out for a win, as at least us trying to win a game would gain Bruce some big brownie points. Footy is about entertainment after all.
But I just can’t see it coming, can you?
He’s promised that we’ll be better tomorrow, but if that’s so, you have to wonder why?
What will he do to get the team playing better? And why isn’t he doing it all the time?

The truth is even I’m losing faith now and I couldn’t care less about anything other than the result.
I’ve said before that I can stand rubbish footy, if it’s combined with wins.
Play rubbish and not win, well that’s not good enough. Which is exactly how I think Xia sees it.

Any positives to take to the game?
Well, Boro’s away record is almost as poor as ours (but we all know that if you want a run ending, you come to the Villa).
Gestede’s out after surgery.
Er, that’s about it.

We have a poor record against Boro at home.
Traore will probably play and he apparently tore Bolton to pieces on Saturday.

So in a game where only the win matters, it’s prediction time.
I’ll go for 2-1 to us.
But it’s more in hope, than anything.
And if we get the win, it’ll only be breathing space for Bruce.


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  1. davidjames21
    davidjames21 September 13, 2017 at 9:47 am . Reply

    i myself was a bruce fan i thought he would have no problems getting out of the championship i did think that he would then struggle in the premiership now i think the time is right for bruce and all is cronies to go not waiting any longer we are no better now than 11 months ago when he took over sorry steve but the club is to big for you go and manage a small like birmingham

  2. Villain1
    Villain1 September 13, 2017 at 12:03 pm . Reply

    Will keep saying it, every game and week with Bruce just loses us time. Already automatic promotion hopes are over, if we leave it another couple of weeks, so will the play off hopes
    Absolutely staggering that Dr Tony and Wyness are going to let this carry on any longer when they said it was essential we got promoted this season…….

  3. Andrew
    Andrew September 13, 2017 at 7:49 pm . Reply

    I honestly think they had no plan after Bruce and put all their eggs in one basket. And that they still have no plan in letting him go. Not until they can find out if Kodjia can win us points again which Bruce wouldn’t have anything to do with much like he didn’t when we went on the run last season only because of Kodjia.

    1. Andrew
      Andrew September 13, 2017 at 9:03 pm . Reply

      Not too mention we didn’t hesitate at all to sack Di Matteo for the same start yet doesn’t even look like a worse manager is going to get the same fate. Bruce wants calm. We want a legit manager.

  4. Bum Bum
    Bum Bum September 13, 2017 at 8:58 pm . Reply

    Looks like poor old GT’s reputation may have taken a hit…

  5. originallondonlion
    originallondonlion September 13, 2017 at 10:40 pm . Reply

    It was Napoleon who said “I prefer my Generals to be lucky.” SB isn’t lucky at Villa.
    He has run out of excuses except the idea that fate is yet to smile on us. Game after game the rap sheet is added to. It is now his team, even the players he has kept are his choice. For long period of most games we look second best to team who are just making up the numbers in this division, and the pace-setters have humbled us.

    Is it quality football? No. Is it exciting? No. Is it what we were expecting? That is a good one, I can say no, but plenty of posters on here can say yes.

    I prefer my Managers to be lucky.

  6. Andrew
    Andrew September 13, 2017 at 11:52 pm . Reply

    Leeds United currently sit top of the table after 7 games with a +12 goal difference with a manager who has solely managed in Cyprus. Oh and I believe some of our fans claimed they didn’t want Lasogga and he wouldn’t be all that good for us. He now has 2 in 2 for Leeds.14 goals scored oh and uhm, 2 goals against. Who knew teams could score, dominate and defend at the same time. Seeing as some of our fans are happy when our team solely defends all game, but they’re Bruce apologists so what can you expect?

    1. marvin
      marvin September 14, 2017 at 2:55 am . Reply

      The issue though is that the club, based on our past two appointments and Wyness, are only looking for managers who have previous managed in England and/or have achieved a trophy/promotion. So with that search criteria things get pretty British fairly quick… Karanka is the only one who immediately comes to mind that isn’t British and has achieved promotion in recent years.

      Personally I would love to see an outsider and someone different from the usual list of names, although I feel like the club is quickly finding itself in the same position we were in with Garde. Where the club finally appoints a promising technical manager and then immediately become unable to fund any transfers, in this case due to fair play and the inability to offload our larger wage earners (Richards, Gabby, etc.)

      1. Andrew
        Andrew September 14, 2017 at 6:40 am . Reply

        I know, I know. That’s been my biggest complaint for years, and I mean years. Crappy British managers will get picked over talented foreign ones solely because of experience. Unless you can get us Dyche or Rodgers, get off the British based manager list and find someone actually qualified. We’ve taken the supposed best ever British manager and he’s failing to far better foreign managers.

        I know Benitez has experience but two foreign managers (Spanish and German) got promoted out of like, 7/8 that were in the league. 1 Irish guy. Not even English, Irish. Year before that it was Spanish, English and English. And one of those English guys I’d take in a heartbeat in Dyche. Year before that it was who… Jokanovic and Watford? Howe and Bournemouth? Alex Neil brought up Norwich. I mean you get a bit of everything. Some British, some foreign. You clearly don’t need to be British to get promoted. I mean would you honestly take Alex Neil right now? How about Owen Coyle? He got Burnley promoted. Don’t think anyone in their right mind would take them. So what British manager would people accept at this point? (And anyone who says Allardyce needs to be dropkicked). There’s legitimately no one available that’s any good. Pardew? NO. Moyes… I’d say no but I know a lot of fans would take him. Unless we buyout Bruce, and then buyout another manager, we won’t be getting anyone taken already so it’d be out of Allardyce (who said no to Palace), Pardew and Moyes. Then again I don’t think we’ll sack Bruce until statistically we can’t go up. Even if he continues on and matches the crap record of Di Matteo.

        On the plus side, Hutton, Terry, Agbonlahor and Bunn’s contracts all end next summer. None of them deserving of a new one. Richards will be gone in 2019, as will Elphick if we don’t let him go, Whelan, De Laet, Jedinak, Steer (hope we tie him, Green and Lyden down soon). So the useless aging players are all almost out of contract at least.

        1. marvin
          marvin September 14, 2017 at 4:27 pm . Reply

          Just offloading those four (Hutton, Terry, Gabby, Bunn) would do the club a world of good… it would free the wage bill by roughly 150k a week. Which in the Championship is quite a bit. I would love to see Richards go as soon as possible. He’s now established himself as our new N’Zogbia and it’s a shame because he’s only wasting what should be his best years by staying.

          As for Bruce, we have to remember he is not on the same contract as RDM and our previous managers. He is currently on a rolling contract. No one really knows the details but I would assume in the first year the club or Bruce have the ability to end the contract at any point without a massive payout. Then after that first year the club will increase his wages accordingly each season as a sort of incentive. So if Bruce signed with the club on Oct 12 of last year, the club will have to act before that date. Again I could be totally wrong, but it might explain why Tony was so vocal about September and results.

          I agree out of the usual list there is no one available that’s any good. Plus, I honestly don’t know who we could attract right now if the club was willing to poach a manager. At the moment Bruce has a 40% win ratio and with the current squad, who can really do better when we are possibly looking at the likes of Pardew, Allardyce, Moyes, Pearson, McDermott. For me I just see the same sort of manager with small variations, but nothing to push us to promotion.

          1. badger123
            badger123 September 14, 2017 at 10:08 pm . Reply

            I’d totally forgotten about Bruce being on a rolling 1 year contract, so yours is an excellent point.
            Was Xia giving Bruce some sort of ultimatum???

          2. jvillan
            jvillan September 14, 2017 at 10:23 pm . Reply

            is rolling contract not more of a clause if bruce is sacked he gets 1 years wages paid

  7. Andrew
    Andrew September 14, 2017 at 7:09 pm . Reply

    I don’t know who or what Sport Witness is, but we’ve apparently contacted Saint Etienne and Oscar Garcia about replacing Bruce if you believe them. He managed Watford but had to step down due to health problems. Will he be willing to leave a team he has currently 4th place in France? Doubt it. But it’d be a hell of a start in our search if this is the kind of manager we’re looking at.

    He also took Brighton into the play-offs on his first season.

    1. marvin
      marvin September 14, 2017 at 8:09 pm . Reply

      I would love it if the club actually was actually thinking about it, but realistically it is just as likely as landing someone like Sousa, Tuchel, etc. Never going to happen. If Villa are looking abroad, or towards Saint Etienne, I think it would be more likely that we were after the person Oscar Garcia replaced, Galtier.

      1. Andrew
        Andrew September 14, 2017 at 10:16 pm . Reply

        Not a manager I’ve called for Villa to sign more than Galtier. Always wanted him and for him to bring Ruffier as our number 1 goal keeper. That would be a hell of a dream come true. Almost signed him instead of Garde, and was really happy when I read we contacted for him. He’s still out of a job so why not go for him?

        1. jvillan
          jvillan September 14, 2017 at 10:27 pm . Reply

          simple why we wont take him ,round and wyness never heard of him and unlikely to pick someone like him,should have been appointed at end last season when it was clear bruce had failed in his attempt for promotion instead of letting him spending 4m on terry wages 1.5m on samba,5m on whelans wages and fee,5m on elmo wages and fee,2m on snodgrass what where the clowns round wyness doing

    2. badger123
      badger123 September 14, 2017 at 10:28 pm . Reply

      Andrew, Sports witness are always good for a rumour.
      And that’s about all, imo.

  8. badger123
    badger123 September 14, 2017 at 10:33 pm . Reply

    JVillan, the clause could be whatever was agreed between the parties.
    Could be a year’s dough; could be a month’s: could be nowt.
    All we know is Bruce said he agreed to come before he’d even signed a contract.
    Which would suggest he won’t get a massive pay-off.

    1. jvillan
      jvillan September 14, 2017 at 10:36 pm . Reply

      he is 3.5m a year so much for coming before he signed a contract,no other manager in this league,and did tell you last december what was coming with dinosaur bruce

  9. Andrew
    Andrew September 15, 2017 at 2:46 am . Reply

    It’s no longer just Sport Witness, but Spanish paper Sport also claimed we want Oscar Garcia. Sport are claiming we tried prizing him away from Red Bull Salzburg when we sacked Di Matteo but they wouldn’t let him go. Doubt Saint Etienne would let him go so easily, they don’t let managers go easily. Their only loss so far coming against as you’d expect, PSG. This is getting my hopes up for the kind of manager we’d be looking at to replace Bruce if he does (and hope fully does) go, although I don’t think he will still.

    As for how much bruce is on debate, would it surprise you if he’s on 3.5m a year? Wouldn’t surprise me. I mean we let Di Matteo spend 40m+, as well as were going to give him a 2m bonus if he got us promoted, which was his job anyways, so shouldn’t have even been there. If he was at like, Preston, I could see why they’d give him such a bonus. So a ridiculous wage for Bruce wouldn’t surprise me at all. Not claiming it’s true as I haven’t a clue though.

    We made John Terry, a injury prone-well past it 36 year old the highest paid player in Championship history, and we have players on 55-60k a week like Richards and Gabby. So that again would probably show us Bruce’s wage is fairly high.

  10. Dan
    Dan September 15, 2017 at 7:51 am . Reply

    The silence from the good Dr. is deafening! There are no tweets of anoyance nor calls to stick together. Hmm, I might be reading too much in to that but in my mind the ‘axe’ if not ready to fall, is being sharpened.


  11. DSVilla
    DSVilla September 15, 2017 at 9:10 am . Reply

    Get rid. And fast. I wanted Bruce out at the end of last season as what is happening now is totally predictable. The problem now as others have said is that it is much harder to prise a good manager from a club mid-season.

    he should have gone in May.

  12. Villain1
    Villain1 September 15, 2017 at 12:20 pm . Reply

    Surely behind the scenes they must be sounding out people to take over. Hopefully thats where this Oscar Garcia rumour came from.
    If they genuinely are not doing anything, the naivety of Dr Tony is worrying for the future of this club.

  13. Adam
    Adam September 15, 2017 at 3:30 pm . Reply

    We will be fine! Kodjia will score our goals now. Starting tomorrow night. Up the table we go…..

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