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  1. 46 points
  2. 36 points
    So... with Smith's second game a little over 24 hours away I find myself excited ahead of a game, it has been quite some time since I felt that way. It isn't so much an excitement of anticipation of the game itself, its more that its the next step on a journey. Unfortunately we are at the time of year when those steps are going to be coming thick and fast and there won't be that much time on the training ground. The excitement and anticipation is more about progress, about seeing coaching in effect, about seeing a team working towards something rather than just striving for something, there is a marked difference between the two. Smith had a few days with the players, 1 or 2 in some cases but it to me at least was clearly evident that things have changed at BMH and that signs of change were already out on the pitch at Villa Park. We played higher up the pitch, we started on the front foot with a clear attacking mentality, players were in their correct positions, wingers were higher up the pitch, the defence was higher up the pitch. We worked har harder and faster to win the ball back, I thought to a small degree we used it better as well. Not bad for a few days work most of which was non ball work. Promising. But what is more promising is listening to Smith talk, I could listen to him for a considerable amount of time I'm sure. This compared to a manager I've not been able to bare listing to for more than 12 months. That isn't really about them as individuals its about what they say, their attitudes to the game, they couldn't be further apart in their views. I won't dwell on the man before Smith, I've nothing new to add about him and I want to look to the future and the future is so musher brighter when you hear a manager after a in talking about areas that need to be improved such as ball retention. I would like to think even the most ardent of Bruce supporter or supporter that was reluctant for us to make another change can see the vast difference in their respective approaches to the game. For me I think Bruce looks even more outdated ever time Smith speaks and talking about when he speaks, its so lovely to hear a local accent from the guy running our team! I thought Smith got everything right on Saturday including the subs, some of the stuff I've seen on here and elsewhere in relation to Grealish is utterly ridiculous. If him being substituted somehow makes his departure more likely then I hope he goes on January 1st. Not because I want him to go, far from it, but if we were in a situation of such a scenario then we should remove him or any player from the club at the first opportunity. Thankfully I don't buy this thinking at all. Back to Smith, what I've found interesting about his public appearances so far, other than hearing about his views on the job/game, is how he has handled the 'Villa fan' thing. It would have been so easy to jump on it, to tug on the heart strings, to talk about our shared passion. Smith hasn't gone near any of that, in fact I'd say on at least two occasions I've heard him down play it, distance himself from being a Villa fan even. That to me is interesting for a number of reasons. First of all, it shows a self belief. He isn't playing to the crowd, he isn't buying himself time by saying "I'm one of you", he isn't making a big deal of it the way someone like Gregory did when he arrived. This is a guy saying I'm a professional, there is a history there but I got this job and I took this job on merit not because of who I supported as a kid, that is some self belief and backbone and he is right he didn't get this job for any other reason than his coaching performance and pedigree. I'm hugely impressed by that about him because lets face it somewhere inside there is that kid from the Holte, the kid that went to Rotterdam. Just imagine being him right now, but he would rather talk about phases of play, resting in possession, setting traps, working without the ball, ball retention...... that is what I've wanted from someone in charge of our team. Not talking about having a right good go, rolling sleeves up and working hard' because those things alone don't win football matches any more on a consistent enough basis to be successful. I'm excited about tomorrow, not because I think we are going to win. Not because I can't wait to be entertained or I think we are going to play like Barca. But because it will be interesting to see more evidence of coaching, to see signs of improvement, of development and to get a glimpse of hopefully what we will become under Smith. Unfortunately due to our start to the season results are all fairly crucial now if we are to have any chance of getting back into promotion contention but I honestly think how we play is more important than the results. If we get that right the results will follow. Exciting times to be a Villa fan, I've not really felt that since O'Neill arrived even if I was briefly win drunk under Bruce before the reality of his approach sobered me. Anyway... I'll shut up now! It's just nice to feel passionate about Villa again after what I think have been largely two dire years irrespective of the wins.
  3. 25 points
    They told me I'd never be any good at poetry because I'm dyslexic…..but so far I've made three jugs and a vase.
  4. 24 points
    Just ordered 2 tickets in the upper trinity for me and my dad, been contemplating it all week (he's 76 & it will be a long day for him so wasn't sure) but I'm totally buzzing for it now, he used to take me when I was younger and I thought I may regret one day not returning the offer and spending the time with him! UTV!
  5. 22 points
    I came into this thread with the same topic in mind, I can almost guarantee somewhere in the media tomorrow someone will be talking about the 42k attendance at Villa Park and talking abou the pressure of the job, the expectancy of the fans. The reality for me is that with a succession of managers the fans have been pretty supportive, tolerant even of some fairly abject football. Yes there have been grumbles but its taken quite a lot for the fans on mass to turn, Bolton at home was the breaking point with McLeish, Bruce's was more gradual but I'd argue could and should have happened much earlier. In general though I think the fans have tried to support the managers in the main. That said, there is clearly a pressure to the Villa job, there has been in recent times a disconnection between expectations and reality particularly I feel in the post O'Neill Lerner years not so much under XIa. What has been clear though is that managers have felt pressure, just look at pictures of Lambert when he arrived, towards the end of his tenure and then now. You can see what the pressure of the job did to him it is literally all over his face. I also think the pressure of the job has influenced the way managers play, not Bruce or McLeish but definitely Lambert and perhaps even Garde and Houllier. We've seen managers come to Villa with a positive passing game, an attacking style only to morph in the job into something else. That can only be due to the pressure of the job, the demand for results and our inability to act effectively in the transfer market. In Smith we've a manager who is committed, utterly committed to playing the game a certain way. What will be crucial for his and our success is that he sticks to his philosophy, that he is strong enough to stick to it through any poor periods of results, that the pressure of the job doesn't make him buckle and change. Because there is a pressure being Villa manager and not especially one that comes from the stands, for Smith you would imagine there will be an internal pressure because of what this job means to him. What Villa needs more than anything is a manager with the right philosophy and who is strong enough to stick to it, I think we've got that guy and if you listen to Purslow speak he thinks we've got that guy. Forget what was said about FFP I think that was the most important point made in the press conference, in Purslow we've someone who understands the importance of a football philosophy, something ingrained in club and which the manager sticks to regardless of results, I hope and believe Smith will do that as Purslow does. As a club we've flip flopped, O'Neill's counter attack to Houllier's more measured approach then panicked and went for no attack and lump it McLeish, then a more attacking (initially) style with Lambert, then Sherwood and I still don't know what, then Garde and an attempt to go continental again, then Di Matteo who wasn't around long enough to know, then Bruce.... It is a mess as has been the squad throughout this period as its been ripped up and built numerous times, with various players and millions discarded along the way. We as a fan base will I'm sure support Smith as we've done those before him, what we need from him is the strength of belief and character to stick to his principles irrespective of results, much as Howe has always done at Bournemouth, as a fan base we need to recognise and support that and crucially so do those running the club. Pressure will come but if we are ever to move forward again as club, from the owners down the club needs to be united on its path but more than anything it needs Smith to hold true to his beliefs. If he does then the results will come and Villa Park will be rocking again, its been way too long since that was the case.
  6. 19 points
    About the furthest from the truth I think it is possible to be. We absolutely dominated the game, one defensive error has cost us badly. Probably Taylor should have covered better as of the two he was the only one with a view of the player and the ball. Best we've played for ages, Smith gettign us to that level of passing and movement so quickly from what we were doing before with so few training sessions is phenomenal. Unfortunately for Smith he's been left without a defence, and a fuckton of possibly not world beating wingers. Many many positives, actual good recruitment in January with that level of coaching and who knows. In the meantime that level of performance will win us more games than not. We looked like the home side whereas before with Bruce we defended the 18 yard line at home. Hit the post, missed some sitters, really should at least have got a point.
  7. 19 points
    Bit unfair, he seems like a nice lad
  8. 18 points
    Can’t be arsed for the overreaction tonight from some of our fans.
  9. 18 points
    Post match interview is strange to listen to, He is talking about tactics and phases in play. Strange situation. I was expecting something about sleeves but it wasn’t forthcoming.
  10. 18 points
    With Bakers injury record he’d probably snap his own hand off
  11. 18 points
    "... and he finished the game with 4 right backs"
  12. 17 points
    Applied for a new role at my workplace and got the job. An extra £9500 per year. Get the **** in
  13. 17 points
    We both said things that were misleading, 'Mr Longtime' You can keep the watch, I'm amazed it came back out.
  14. 16 points
    Performance wise, Smith has done an exceptional job in 2 weeks. Tonight’s performance was a huge improvement on anything a Steve Bruce team would have produced. Yes, it’s frustrating that we lost, but the improvement in 2 weeks has been massive. Smith now has a full week to prepare for the next game, and I’m looking forward to another improved performance (and hopefully the result to match).
  15. 16 points
    Ridiculous comment - utter garbage.
  16. 16 points
    Meltdown imminent. Thought we played well overall and derserved at least a point from the game. Just need to be patient and let Smith do his thing to turn us into a more effective side. Positive signs though IMO.
  17. 16 points
    I do sense that it will take some time for the VP faithful to become comfortable with modern football. Over the last (X amount of) years the best football we have seen has been fast, direct football. Getting the ball forward quickly when possible, counter attacking and lots of balls into the box. That can be quite exciting to watch. But it's not effective if your opposition are good at keeping the ball, it's wears you out. It's an established Villa habit to have less possession against any half decent team, especially away from home. As such, when we were playing the ball around at the back yesterday I did hear some anxious "Don't mess around with it" type comments. And a few "Get it in the box" comments. That's the thing, we've been punting the ball forward from defence when under pressure for years, we're used to it, even comfortable with it. But it's less effective than being able to pass your way through that pressure, if you can you often find a midfielder with space to advance the move. I always have a chuckle with my mates, when we played football as kids we were instilled with the motto "if in doubt, kick it out", and were wildly overpraised for punting the ball out of play when under any pressure. I think this mentality runs deep. So it can be a little bit unnerving to see our back for try to play the ball around when being pressed, but I think it's important to let it happen. It almost goes against the grain. I think if we can see some success this way it will help with the development of our style of play. I have to say, I flipping love it. Tuenzebe and Chester are both capable of playing the ball around, so it seems a good fit. Please god keep Jedinak away from this type of strategy though. I am longing for the tipping point where Villa dominate games in midfield! Crikey I don't think I've ever really seen it, where we keep possession and use it well, probe defensives as well as trying to catch them out with fast direct football (that we're already quite good at). It'll come, but the green shoots of change were there for me yesterday and it fills me with hope.
  18. 16 points
    First game for my son, and he bloody loved it. He was in awe of the ground and crowd. He loved the noise, and really got into it by clapping, singing, and shouting. I even let him put his fingers up to the Swansea team coach, eh, it’s a football match for god sake, so why not. The build up, and game was brilliant, and I feel like he’s got a connection with villa now. First thing he did this morning was grab his scarf that he bought yesterday. He wants to go again, so brilliant. I forgot how painful it was trying to get a pint in the Witton arms, and trying to get the train back. Everywhere was rammed. Great day, UTV
  19. 15 points
    I can see the difference in thinking between Smith and Bruce. For Smith, attack is the most necessary form of defence. For Bruce, defence was the best form of attack. I know what I prefer.
  20. 15 points
    I think understandably it almost certainly is. Smith has probably had 3 days training with a full squad due to the international break and having 3 games in 6 days so has had very little time to implement his way of playing. Last season we were a side built on a solid defence, with players in front of them more concerned with defending than attacking and often reliant on someone creating something on the break be it Snodgrass, Grealish, Adomah, Hourihane., Kodjia. This season we are no longer solid at the back meaning despite having scored in every game we are not picking up wins as we are conceding too many. It will take time. We have been a side for years without a defined way of playing and therefore happy to let the other side have the ball, sit deep and hope to create something on the break. Smith does have a way of playing. Press high up the pitch, take care of the ball when you have it and wanting to be on the front foot looking to attack. I think given the little time he has had to already be able to see changes is encouraging. We are pressing higher up the pitch, are trying to play from the back and are trying to look after the ball rather than simply hoof it forward. It understandably at times all looks a little hurried and we have almost played ourselves into trouble a number of times. We also seem to struggle to be able to press sides for any more than around the hour mark before looking jaded. I think overall there is much to be positive about. Smith has acknowledged himself that he has inherited a very good squad of players containing a lot of quality. The likes of McGinn, Grealish, Hourihane, Abraham, Kodjia, Bolasie, El Ghazi, Adomah, Elmo, Bjarnason have more than enough about them to play the way that Smith wants us to. It will just take time for the flashes we have seen in the last two games to become the norm and we can maintain it for 90 minutes. I am in no doubt that we will get there though. In the mean time we will all have to show some patience, enjoy watching us evolve and take comfort that for the first time in years we have a manager who will implement a style of play that will reap consistent rewards.
  21. 14 points
    Family owns a small hotel by the NEC. Last week we won an award at the eviivo awards in Mayfair ( right swanky do....mascarade ball and all) It was only to do with our reviews but a wins a win. Only 20 chosen from the country. Never won anything in my life before!
  22. 14 points
    Which is largely one of the reasons we are stuck with shite hoofball managers season after season. Implementing a new style, that isn't as limited and far more entertaining, takes time. But too many fans refuse to see the long term.
  23. 14 points
    We'll come good, I'm 100% certain of that, even losing 2 in a row, we have showed signs in these last 2 matches that we want to play attacking high tempo positive football. The performance was encouraging despite the result. Sign good defenders in January and start finishing our chances and we are up.
  24. 14 points
    LEAVER: I want an omelette. REMAINER: Right. It’s just we haven’t got any eggs. LEAVER: Yes, we have. There they are. [HE POINTS AT A CAKE] REMAINER: They’re in the cake. LEAVER: Yes, get them out of the cake, please. REMAINER: But we voted in 1974 to put them into a cake. LEAVER: Yes, but that cake has got icing on it. Nobody said there was going to be icing on it. REMAINER: Icing is good. LEAVER: And there are raisins in it. I don’t like raisins. Nobody mentioned raisins. I demand another vote. DAVID CAMERON ENTERS. DAVID CAMERON: OK. DAVID CAMERON SCARPERS. LEAVER: Right, where’s my omelette? REMAINER: I told you, the eggs are in the cake. LEAVER: Well, get them out. EU: It’s our cake. JEREMY CORBYN: Yes, get them out now. REMAINER: I have absolutely no idea how to get them out. Don’t you know how to get them out? LEAVER: Yes! You just get them out and then you make an omelette. REMAINER: But how?! Didn’t you give this any thought? LEAVER: Saboteur! You’re talking eggs down. We could make omelettes before the eggs went into the cake, so there’s no reason why we can’t make them now. THERESA MAY: It’s OK, I can do it. REMAINER: How? THERESA MAY: There was a vote to remove the eggs from the cake, and so the eggs will be removed from the cake. REMAINER: Yeah, but… LEAVER: Hang on, if we take the eggs out of the cake, does that mean we don’t have any cake? I didn’t say I didn’t want the cake, just the bits I don’t like. EU: It’s our cake. REMAINER: But you can’t take the eggs out of the cake and then still have a cake. LEAVER: You can. I saw the latest Bake Off and you can definitely make cakes without eggs in them. It’s just that they’re horrible. REMAINER: Fine. Take the eggs out. See what happens. LEAVER: It’s not my responsibility to take the eggs out. Get on with it. REMAINER: Why should I have to come up with some long-winded incredibly difficult chemical process to extract eggs that have bonded at the molecular level to the cake, while somehow still having the cake? LEAVER: You lost, get over it. THERESA MAY: By the way, I’ve started the clock on this. REMAINER: So I assume you have a plan? THERESA MAY: Actually, back in a bit. Just having another election. REMAINER: Jeremy, are you going to sort this out? JEREMY CORBYN: Yes. No. Maybe. EU: It’s our cake. LEAVER: Where’s my omelette? I voted for an omelette. REMAINER: This is ridiculous. This is never going to work. We should have another vote, or at least stop what we’re doing until we know how to get the eggs out of the cake while keeping the bits of the cake that we all like. LEAVER/MAY/CORBYN: WE HAD A VOTE. STOP SABOTAGING THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE. EGGSIT MEANS EGGSIT. REMAINER: Fine, I’m moving to France. The cakes are nicer there. LEAVER: You can’t. We’ve taken your freedom of movement.
  25. 13 points
    The difference is absolutely vast for me. Keeping the ball, playing short from the keeper almost all the time, pressing the ball in their third - we literally did none of these things under Bruce. I'm really very, very surprised people can't spot a change in the way we're playing.


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