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  1. Jareth, I started to follow Villa, simply because of Tony. To be precise, because of him taking over Villa. Well, that was how it started, at least - now, I am well beyond that level as a Villa fan. I have been living overseas (from China) for many years, and like all of you, I am proud of my own country. Very often I came across some negative comments about my country (some do have grounds, some don't), and when that happened, I feel quite sad, and sometimes furious and helpless. I always want to prove a point, but sometime I actually think (and know) it is worthless to prove that point. Nevertheless when I saw Xia was about to takeover Villa, I came here to observe how people think about him. I want him to be successful (so to Villa ofc). Soon I became a villa fan, naturally and happily. I don't mind people call me Tony, not at all - I know people are having fun with it, so it is cool- although I don't think I have to clarify I am not Tony. To me, Tony is very different to normal Chinese businessmen (especially those who own football clubs), possibly due to his education background in western countries as well as his family background. That is key for him to be successful in European football imo, and why he may not be successful in football in China. It is just a pity that he does not have too many links with Chinese football, either through business or links between clubs. I have mentioned at VT a few times that I hope that his ownership of Villa can help football in China (in its most general sense). This was really my motivation of supporting Villa at the beginning, and still is. Last, let me say this forum is really a great place to be in. You guys' enthusiasm in football is simply amazing. Last season I saw how you 'celebrated' in the last home match, and I absolutely admire your love to your club. A club like this deserves, and needs, a top owner. Let's hope Xia is that person - he is not there yet, and certainly needs to do a lot more.
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  2. I hope that today shines a light on how good he was as a manager. For too long he's been defined by the England job. He took Watford from the 4th to the 1st division in five seasons. They played in the UEFA Cup. He left Watford in 9th position in D1 to come to a relegated Villa. That's how much he wanted to come here. He can tell you what he found in his own words: To put things in perspective for younger Villans: Sir Alex took over at Man Utd on 6 November 1986 when they were second from bottom in D1. Sir Graham took us over in May 1987 having just been booted out of D1 (finishing bottom) and starting life the coming season in D2. Sir Alex had just over 6 months head start on Sir Graham PLUS he had a full season of D1 football over Sir Graham in which to attract better players. Here's their standings at season's end 1990 in D1: 2nd, Aston Villa. P38, W21, F57, A38. P = 70. 13th Man Utd P38 W13, F46, A47, P = 48. I hope this gives you some measure of his achievements. In 60 months we had built on the foundation of being kings of all we surveyed to being the bottom club in D1. There is always pride in Aston Villa. It's an English football institution. What we lost was dignity. It was humiliating to watch the decay end in being dumped out of a division we ruled not so long ago. In his first season with us in D2 we finished runners-up to Millwall and went back up to D1. In his second and our first season back, we scraped survival. In his third season, he took us to second in D1. I am sorry for those who didn't see the 89/90 season. It was a hell of a time to be a Villa fan. He brought us Yorke, Platt, McGrath, Nielsen. He brought a grateful Sid back from Italy. He built a side that feared nobody. The football was often far better than he was ever given credit for. It's true that Watford was often route one. But what could he do? He showed at Villa why he came to Villa - we had the clout to extend his horizons, and how well he used this new canvas. When he left, I was heartbroken. But when you look at what he built, younger Villans, you owe him gratitude. The shade you and we enjoyed under Big Ron was because Sir Graham planted the acorn those years ago. He found a foundation of clay and built a foundation of rock. I've wondered, what would he have done if he stayed? Under HDE, I'm not sure he would have done much more. His standing would have grown, IMO. But eventually HDE would have penny-pinched him on a top player and Sir Graham would have walked. He once said - 'HDE and I have a love-hate relationship. He loves me.' The tantalising prospect is this - what if Sir Graham had a manager equally as ambitious and without ego? I think he would have strengthened us even further. I think we would have had more success. He probably would have stayed too long and we probably would have drifted, but who knows who we would have brought in at that time. Ifs, buts, maybes, couldas, wouldas, shouldas. What I know for sure is that Sir Graham was an old-school gentleman from the time when being a footballer was a profession and not a status. He treated players as adults and fans as friends. Today is not just the loss of Sir Graham but of a treasure from a great age of football that I, through rose-tinted spectacles and as I write this, a tear in my eye, miss. Younger fans don't know that time. You can never recapture what you never had. As time marches on, we lose these wonderful characters - outspoken, unspun, usually the highest paid person at the club. You may not have seen much of him, but due to what he built you will surely have felt his legacy. I feel privileged to have witnessed him and his work first-hand and I am very proud that this institution called Aston Villa is so closely entwined with the gracious, humble, fun, kind, and wonderful football man that was Graham Taylor. Graham, thank you for giving us back not just our status but our dignity and making it thrilling to be a Villan once more. Give me best to Dalian when you see him.
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  3. How ironic. There's been a recent thread about club legends. For me, this man qualifies. This club was a shambles when he took over. He grabbed it by the scruff of the neck and turned it around. We could have been title winners under him. The turnaround was amazing. One of the great names in this club's history, IMO. Goodbye, Sir Graham. Thanks for the wonderful memories.
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  4. We're not a very good team. We've got some very good players. We've got a pretty decent manager. At the moment, very good players will occasionally do enough to win a game, today that's what happened, quality individuals had moments of quality and we won. Some of these player are good enough that e can do that quite often. If we had a good team, we could do it pretty much all the time, and I don't think we're missing all that much. Bunn - 7 - I don't like him, he's too small, he looks awkward when he kicks the ball. He's kept a clean sheet, he's made a great reaction save at the end to preserve the win and played well throughout. Bunn 1 OBE 0 and congratulations to him on his victory. Hutton - 6 - He was Alan Hutton all day, committed, strong, occasionally absent, occasionally wayward with passing - he only came out of character a couple of times when he put in a couple of very good crosses - crafty. Chester - 7 - If he was a coal miner, he'd just be a blummin' good coal miner, on time, job done, no troubles. If he was a milkman, you'd always have what you expected, on time, every day, no troubles. You don't get tricks with a canary, you don't get whistling. I like this. Baker - 7 - Lie a great big dog, he occasionally looks like he might trip over himself running around corners, but he's enthusiastic, he's strong and he's surprisingly quick. He's also rapidly becoming a really important player to this team. Amavi - 6 - He was solid defensively, he got forward well, he was a bundle of energy, his passing was poor. Gardner - 4 - Positionally not quite right, passing was passable, energy was lacking a little - didn't get forward enough. Didn't get forward at all. Jedinak - 3 - Dire. This man is currently in the side because he's big. 70% of his game is heading the ball forward from just in front of the centre halves, in fairness, he's good at that - however, the centre halves are also good at it. The rest of his game involves passing the ball and not only is he atrocious at it, he seems to actively dislike doing it - there were times today when he chose to head it rather than bring it down, even in a lot of space - the rest of the time, he kicked it in the air and waited. He's immobile, he can't pass and the thing he is good at is largely unnecessary. Both the central midfielders do a strange (and bad) thing and it was particularly clear in our first goal - when we have the ball, our back four push out, to about five or ten yards outside our box. Our midfield do nothing, which means they're far too often stood on the toes of the central defenders rather than getting involved in play - this means we struggle to keep the ball, because it means Adomah and Bacuna have four men to play against, with just McCormack for occasional help. You'd think that would mean that we'd be very difficult to break down though at least, I mean it's pretty much a six man back line. The problem is, when we give away the ball (which we do. A lot) the back four drop to the edge of the box, or where necessary deeper still - our midfield do nothing. Which means when crosse come in, like the one for today's equaliser, they're not involved. They do a great job of protecting our back four when we have the ball and a great job of supporting our midfield when we don't have the ball. That's dumber than a christmas pudding. Adomah - 6 - Busy, industrious, keen. Not from the very top drawer, but will never let you down. I like this about him. I don't like his corners. His corners are the worst I've seen in the last four or five years of following the Villa. Think on that. Bacuna - 7 - This fella got booed all last season. Some of the worst booing of a player I've ever seen. What's to his credit is that he's come back and just got on with it, he's got his head down, tried to forget about it and won back a good chunk of the support through a stoic effort. It can't have been easy and by heck he enjoyed his goal; he started the move himself and finished it with a perfectly timed header on the run. I thought he was generally quite good - he's forced inside a lot because he's a right sided player at left midfield, but there's plenty of room there as our central midfield players are elsewhere, eating grass or something. He's working hard and doing okay. Today was a good day in the Bacuna household. McCormack - 6 - and two of those are for the goal. It's not that he's poor, he's not, he's got a good touch, he knows what's happening around him and he sneaks into good positions. He's just not a good fit for this team at the moment. He's not enough of a midfielder to play the really deep role well and he's not the right sort of partner for Kodjia up top. He always look a little more comfortable when Grealish is on with him and it'll be interesting to see if he benefits if/when we strengthen the midfield. Kodjia - 5 - He's one selfish shellfish. It's hard to criticise him too much for that, he does have a habit of whacking the ball into the big net thing. Today it didn't quite come off. I think he frustrate McCormack in that he's not someone who wants a clever partner and he's unlikely to return the ball to his partner if he thinks he can get a shot away. He's big, but he's not a "big man up top" I actually think he'd do better with Gestede - he plays more like the small man in a partnership than the big man. He's a big small man, that's what he is. A talented one too. Subs: Grealish - 7 - Revolutionised the play when he came on by first passing the ball to other people in the same coloured shirt as him and second managing to touch it more than once without letting one of the chaps in yellow touch it. He should be starting. Ayew - 7 - changed the game with his energy, determination and the little bit of quality that set up the goal. He worked very hard in defence too, with one exceptional challenge late on. He also gave away the free kick at the end that Bunn tipped over - just to remind you that he's still him. Gabby - 6 - "Go out there and chase things for 5 minutes" - job done. We have better players than Burton, they're better balanced than we are, and they're more of a team than we are, but we have better players, we were able to bring on Ayew and Grealish, they're better players than Burton will ever have. They looked solid and well drilled and they'll have a good go at staying up, but sometimes a quality individual or two wins you games. Sometimes it doesn't - and when we play teams with good players, even players that aren't quite as good as ours - that ability to be a team will give them a very decent chance of beating us. The window opens in a week and I expect Mr Bruce to fix that, two central midfielders would put us into the play offs. In the meantime, the three points from today will do very nicely thank you very much.
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  5. When I see Schlupp and Brady together it makes me think of the noise I'd hear withdrawing from Karen.
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  6. But if he comes here he'll have a Bunn, a Baker, potentially a little bit of Bree, and some Hutton dressed as Lahm.
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  7. Absolutely gutted The first Villa manager I remember and still the best. What he did in his first spell here was astonishing. Took over a wreck of a club and got us promoted at the first attempt after a poor start. First season back in the top flight was a season of consolidation (but we put 13 past small heath in 3 cup games!) and in his third season we nearly won the league. We were the best team in the country for a long spell that season and was only inexperience and a lack of a goalscorer which cost us. McInally had been sold to Bayern Munich in pre season and we went into the season with Ian Olney (youth striker) up front before Cascarino was purchased with 10 games to go (rumours are he wanted Sheringham but Doug wouldn't pay the fee). We lost to a Liverpool team packed with stars like Barnes Beardsley, Aldridge, Houghton, McMahon and a returning Ian Rush. Our team was a rag tag bunch of discarded older players (Paul McGrath, Derek Mountfield), canny lower division signings (Stuart Gray, Chrissy Price, David Platt, Ian Ormondroyd) and youth (Ian Olney, Tony Daley). GT purchased all of them and also a young lad from Trinidad and Tobago called Dwight Yorke who he spotted on a beach! We spoke about club legends recently and I mentioned the 3 players who are the best I have ever seen down the club - all three were purchased by GT. Platt, McGrath and Yorke. Plus he brought Cowans back home from Bari. The vast majority of his signings worked out well. Am I right in thinking he purchased Rambo McInally as well? What an eye for a player! He was an absolute legend for what he did here between 1987 and 1990 and he's up there in my eyes with the likes of Ron Saunders, Eric Houghton, Jonny Dixon, George Ramsey, William McGregor and the other giants in our wonderful clubs folklore. What is staggering is that it won't just be us Villa fans dishing out plaudits like this. If anything his achievement at Watford was even greater! - fourth division to the first in five seasons and runners up in the league and FA Cup. At Watford! GT is a legend for 2 clubs and there aren't many people who that could be said about. RIP Graham. You made me love Aston Villa and football when I was a snotty nosed kid on an Erdington estate and I will always love you for that.
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  8. They'd fit perfectly into our midfield in that case!
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  9. Great free kick, but a team mate did have to tap it 12 inches to him, he can't expect that sort of service here.
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  10. Where there was darkness, he brought colour and light. RIP Graham Taylor...
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  11. Honestly, some people on here. 7 wins out of 12 (when we'd previously won 1 in 11) and it's "not good enough"? Yeah whatever.
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  12. This has knocked the stuffing out of me. I was only 8 when Ron Saunders left the club so during my time of really properly supporting us then Graham Taylor is the greatest manager during that time by a long way. I was lucky enough to be at Goodison Park with about five thousand plus other Aston Villa fans for his last game as manager with us. Not one of us left that ground and all chanted Graham Taylors claret and blue army until he came back out onto the pitch 20 minutes after the game had finished. We knew he was off to manage England but we wanted to salute the man who had given us our pride back and some. I want to salute him again. So thanks for the memories Graham. I will cherish them. RIP
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  14. Well, that piece from the excellent Mark Pougatch has finally done it and I've just shed a tear for Sir Graham. In truth its been coming since the news broke and I left my office and headed for Villa Park, I'm not really sure why but it seemed like the thing to do. I'm not really one for getting upset at the passing of people in the public eye, in truth I've never really understood it. Sure its sad, but upset? For some reason its different with Graham Taylor, perhaps that is because he was my first hero. Despite England, despite the ill advised second spell at the club he never really stopped being a hero. Perhaps its because, for a number of years now football in general hasn't meant what it used to mean, hasn't had the same all conquering draw. The game quite simply isn't what it was and never will be. Taylor, perhaps more than anyone else for those of a certain age represents another time. A time when the game was more simple, more imperfect but all the more beautiful for it. A time when players drove club branded Rovers and lived like you and I. His passing, feels almost like the closing on a chapter before the glitz, glamour and utter stupidity of the PL era. Heretic does a quite wonderful job of summing up what Taylor did for the club in his post above, I hope that gives those not fortunate enough to be old enough to have lived that time an appreciation. Because anyone who loves this old club owes the man a debt of gratitude, those who were there and who are at Wolves at the weekend I know will sing his name with pride and passion. I was fortunate enough to meet the man on many occasions, both growing up during his management and in later years and always found him to simply be the most lovely guy you could meet. The first time though, that was the one. I was a kid, wide eyed and enthralled in the passion of the game, hanging around BMH in the holidays and trying to get a glimpse of my favourite players (all of whom he had signed). In those days you could walk into BMH, right up to the changing rooms. No security, no autographs through car windows, Taylor would have hated that side of the game today. So I'm hanging around outside and out comes Graham Taylor "So you're my new number 9 then?" he says with a big grin, getting down to speak to me on my level. Something Taylor was a master at in more ways than one. Before I know it he has summoned out Spinksy, Birch, McGrath and Platt. He then proceeds to get me in a penalty comp against Platt and Birch with Spink's in net, telling me McGrath's knee's will fall apart if he takes one. That was Graham Taylor. No ego, no self importance just a really decent bloke who loved what he did, took no nonsense from anyone and just happened to be bloody good at the job. But above all that he was the sort of guy who would do that sort of thing for a young and impressionable fan. Taylor was my first hero, the man more than anyone who cemented my love for the club and the game and who signed the very best players I've seen in our colours in 30 odd years. He'll be missed.
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  15. Sorry, but you are wrong. If what you said (i.e. Xia bought Villa and gets it back to a top six club in PL and sell Villa for a profit) were true, then it will need to take at least 3 years, most probably 5 (if we were lucky). And to achieve that, he will need to invest a lot more than the net profit he can possibly make in re-selling Villa. With the same amount of money, he can invest in other business sectors and get much more profit in a much shorter time. I think a lot VTers (including myself) have mentioned that his motives in owning Villa is, in addition to his enthusiasm in football (to a lesser degree I have to say because he is a businessman after all), to have an 'indirect' and more importantly long-term way of increasing the 'value' of his own or his company's brand. Of course this is even better, if you place his ownership of Villa in the current football 'environment' in China, because the potential gain could be huge. I think the point you raised is illogical, IMHO.
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  16. Totally shocked. I remember his last game, away at Everton, when we all knew he'd be leaving to manage England. "Graham Taylors" claret & blue army was sung not only throughout the game but non stop through the half time break. At the end of the game they had to get him out of the dressing room back & onto the pitch because the Villa supporters just wouldn't leave. Rest in Peace
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  17. Will the media have to label this Gategate?
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  19. Football is now full of arrogant players and managers who think there has to be divide between them and the fans. A line that shouldn't be crossed. They take the adulation but aren't interested in going out of their way to give something back. To make a real genuine connection with us the supporters. Graham Taylor wasn't like that. You couldn't meet a more down to earth bloke. A more genuine man. He bought something magic back to this club for me by just being so brutally honest and by doing so he connected with people. From the owner Doug Ellis to us the fans he bought out the best in all of us. Not many can do that and no one has done it here since. He was a great manager but more than that he was a great man. I am so proud he was associated with my club.
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  20. New avatar in place, seems only right.
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  22. Fixed that for you..... Passing Accuracy Won Tackles per game Interceptions per game Touches per game Times pushed off ball like a little girl Shots Assists Goals Appearances Ashley Westwood 79% 1.05 1.05 37.68 4,326 2 0 0 22 Henri Lansbury 75% 1.41 1.35 61.65 0 14 3 6 17
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  23. Rather get both now for a combined £4.5m and launch a late play off bid.
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  24. A bottle of water costs £1. For a man coming out of the desert, dehydrated, dying of thirst, £5 isn't being ripped off, it's a bargain, it's £5 to keep you alive. Our midfield is dying on its arse and as a result we're a terrible football team. Paying over the odds isn't being ripped off when the alternative is footballing death. Get your money out - we need two midfielders this week and I'd really like three.
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  25. It's a dessert you can get at McDonald's comprising of soft vanilla ice cream and some kind of added confectionery, usually chocolate-based, mixed together.
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  27. Did Their arch rivals 'No' make a bid too ?
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  29. I think we'll be waiting for this one for a while.
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  30. Best case scenario = goosebumps. Likely outcome = tears.
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  31. Premier League champions, Champions League winners & World Cup winners. Also hold the world record for highest away win in any league in the world. Man Utd 0 - 85 Aston Villa - May 26th 2022 Oh and one of our strikers goes and wins Wimbledon in his summer off just for the lols.
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  32. 19 appearances in 8 days, he must be knackered.
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  35. Sorry, I was too busy watching the blue-bottle racing on fly sports 2
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  37. Anyone got an email address for the BBC As I feel I should apologise to them for my team not being 6-0 down at half time as they clearly seem to have wanted
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  39. I think there has been a loss of perspective and maybe we all need to remember what Bruce inherited here. The squad was massively overhauled in the summer and whilst strong in some areas it is really weak in others so is unbalanced. On top of that for the first 12 games of the season they worked under a manager who had assembled them but didn't have a clue how to get the best out of them. When Bruce arrived we had won 1 in 11, had zero confidence, had completely forgotten what it was like to win on the road and every time we got to the last 10 minutes in games we were shaking like shitting dogs for fear of the almost inevitable concession of a goal. Under Bruce we average two points a game. We have had one dire performance under him at Norwich, one very good performance at Brighton but in the main I'd describe performances under him as effective. Points and performances wise I expected no more. We have a squad of players lacking a couple of vital components still getting used to playing together working under their second manager in 4 months. The fact it isn't at times pretty to watch should not be a surprise and used as a stick to beat the manager with. At this point I'd just be grateful we have a manager who has enough about him to pick up a good return of points whilst working around the obvious deficiencies in the squad he inherited.
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  41. The interviewer is almost forcing him to talk about himself in the third person. Straggler hates that sort of crap.
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  43. The problem is the players, Bruce is working wonders with them getting the results he is. We've so many ordinary players and frequently have to carry certain individuals. I don't agree with everything Bruce does, for instance Gardner's new deal, yet I find any criticism of his overal performance at best misguided if not a little deluded. I can't wait for January and just hope he is successful in the improvements he wants to make because they are certainly needed.
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  46. Jordan Rhodes deal done - Subject to medical, personal terms and transfer fee. #avfc
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  47. Gabby's never gonna score again, guilty feet have got no rhythm
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  48. Sorry, I don't agree. Amavi is a good young player with bags of potential. It's proving difficult enough as it is to just strengthen our existing team, why waste time getting rid of the few decent players we have and then struggle and possibly fail (which would be catastrophic) to replace them? There's simply not enough time either. Even if big offers come in, there's no point in accepting them in this window unless we have ready made replacements. We should really back these guys, seems like he could have moved on before but has stuck with us and not presented any attitude problems. We're not exactly struggling with finances either so it just doesn't make sense imo. If we want to progress as a team, we need to try and keep hold of our greatest assets who could go on to improve considerably and become very important players for us. Again, with better players around them they in turn will improve.
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  49. 19 likes
  50. Hearing reports that Julie B has been seen fiddling about with a rusty set of keys
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