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  1. 96 points
    Hi all you villains Just thought I'd give you my thoughts on the imminent transfer of our most gifted player into your ranks. Conor has been the best signing we have made in decades when we pinched him from Plymouth. His vision is superb, his attitude immense (if you can get the video of the Leeds match in full you will see him launching into a team mate who sold him short, I kid you not his neck veins are half an inch thick in his rant.) He does not suffer fools and non performers. When we first got him he used that wand of a left foot to great effect, but not much else (in terms of getting involved in defensive duties) Since then he has been taught how to tackle as well, that it is ALL the teams responsibility to throw themselves in, and he has become a much better all round player for it. He's now not afraid to get stuck in (hence his booking yesterday) You've bought a gem, and usually you'll get some rancour and sour grapes from the team you get them from, but in this case we wish Conor all the very best. We know Barnsley is a small club with a small fan base surrounded by much bigger teams, we live with that, we cannot match your spending power nor wage payments. If Conor turns out for you guys next season at Oakwell, he will be warmly applauded, he has been a huge part of our achievements in the last 60 weeks, bottom of league 1 to Wembley winners twice in one season and promotion to the Championship, plus in 8th place at the moment. I'll never see a repeat of that but as he plays for you I will always take a keen interest in his performances Thanks Conor for the memories, you will become the favourite at Villa Park just as you did at Oakwell
  2. 77 points
  3. 70 points
    First off, apologies. This is going to be long, but I’m sure you’ll find it interesting. Last night I was very, very fortunate to represent VillaTalk at what Aston Villa described as “an exclusive training session” at Bodymoor Heath. A selection of media, supporter groups and websites including Vital Villa, avillafan, Heroes and Villains, and obviously VT, were asked to send someone who would be given full training kit and put through their paces by some of the strength and conditioning coaches at the club. There was also mention of “kit launch” in the invitation too. And who doesn’t want to be first to see the new kit? Now, I haven’t kicked a football in over 20 years. Some of you will know that I had a nasty football injury as a teenager and until medical science caught up a few years ago I was unable to do anything but light activity. Quite how I wasn’t enormous at that point is a miracle, but nonetheless I had surgery, started to get active, but bottled out of playing football in case I got a recurrence of the injury. This time, though, I just couldn’t refuse. Scott (OBE) and Simon (Limpid) put it to me that they’d like me to go on behalf of VT. Not as a little treat for being a good Mod, or because of my X Factor-esque sob story, but because of my career history. Again, those of you who know me will already know my background. I studied fashion back in the 90s and went on to spend 6 years working for Puma in Nuremberg (hence the name on here). During that time I headed up the design of performance products for the brand, with a huge focus on football. I designed the Italy kit which won the World Cup in 2006, and Usain Bolt’s kit in Beijing 2008. A few years later I was back in the UK and recruited by Umbro where I was eventually Creative Director. I was honoured to work on kits for England, and also Manchester City during the first few years of the Abu Dhabi ownership period. It was a phenomenal experience. My initial response was - I can’t do it. I was worried about the fitness aspect (Scott glibly put it as “You may have to dress up and run around a bit”), and also felt that having been to several kit launch events of my own over the years it would be nice for someone else to get the chance. My mission though, should I choose to accept it, was to go in as a stalking horse on behalf of VT. These events are invariably a high quality charm offensive. We’re all honoured to be working together, lots of things in common, great opportunity, love the club, love the brand, etc. The ask of me was to cast an educated eye over the proceedings and see what it might reveal, and if there are any indicators of positive change within the corridors of Aston Villa. So that’s the background. It gives you an idea of how I’ve formed my views, and why I was so fortunate to be chosen. It’s been a long time since I was at Bodymoor Heath. Last time I was there I was collecting autographs from the likes Derek Mountfield and Graham Taylor. It’s fair to say the place in unrecognisable apart from the beautifully crafted gates that welcome you into what is now a world class facility. On arrival at 5.30 we waited at the lower car park, and were able to see some of the younger lads training in the distance. By younger lads, they were maybe 6 or 7 years old. Either that or they were very, very far away. After a few minutes we were told to drive round to the main building where everything was waiting for us. Even the road that takes you through to the training HQ brings it home to you the scale of Aston Villa Football Club. I’ve worked at the training grounds of Manchester City, Lazio, Bordeaux and others but this place is something else. Quintessentially English with it’s open space and imposing trees, but unmistakably modern once you get down to business. For all of the failings of the previous custodian, this is quite the legacy. Walking through the main doors, I felt a little like I was on Sky Sports News. Sadly I wasn’t getting out of a Ferrari and carrying a Louis Vuitton washbag, but nonetheless the presence of a club photographer gave me a split second of “what if”. Overseeing our reception alongside the Villa marketing team was Michael Taylor, the Senior Marketing Manager for Under Armour in the UK. I’ve known Mike for a number of years, but haven’t seen him in a while so it was nice to get a familiar face amidst my nervousness about if I’d have a cardiac arrest at some point during the evening. The other important factor in Mike being there is that he’s good at his job. He’s well thought of and well connected within the industry, so from an Under Armour standpoint, and more importantly from a Villa one, it’s reassuring to know that he’s key to the relationship. He’s a football fan and a talented marketeer, which bodes well for the management of our profile in the coming years. The assembled group were led upstairs for refreshments and sandwiches. The sarnies looked good, but I declined for fear of puking up on the pitch like Tommy Johnson all those years before me. From there we were taken into a briefing room which was decked in imposing imagery featuring the club crest and the UA logo. Fight like lions was emblazoned across it, and at the bottom reference to UA’s current campaign “I Will”. We were given a full understanding of why we were there (to celebrate the beginning of the UA relationship, and experience a taster of life as a professional athlete) and the agenda for the evening. Keith Wyness then took the floor to say a few words. He comes across as a confident man, reassured by his own experience. He talked passionately about the club, about the desire to get things back on track as quickly as possible and, importantly from my perspective, that this is a football club and not a brand. The crest is valuable and meaningful, and alongside a strong team on the pitch, and supported by UA it will have global resonance. Our new CEO was followed by Mike who gave us a clearer understanding of the Under Armour brand, its history and its current position. Aggressive growth plans across all sports, and a clearly defined portfolio of football clubs who share common values with the brand. Yeah, yeah, they all say that. But looking at the roster it was clear to see that it was populated by storied clubs with a lot to look forward to - Spurs, Southampton, Colo Colo, and more. It was nice to see us positioned alongside them. Mike told us about this being the 20th anniversary of the brand, and 10th anniversary of being in the UK. He even fronted up about the challenges they faced when the US speed skating team complained that their kit wasn’t functioning at the Olympics in Sochi. They ditched the kit and wore an old one, which must have been embarrassing for the brand. He explained how they’d learned from failure and were moving forward having extended their contract with the team. 20 years in, he said, and we’ve only just started. Sounds like Villa, but a bit older than just 20, I thought. Right then, niceties over. Time for training! We were led to the U21 changing room along a corridor with doors to gyms and physios, and bearing posters with helpful information for players about the danger signs of depression, and the importance of understanding what’s in any supplements they might take. In the changing room the attention to detail was superb. Lockers with specially created signs featuring our names, and full Under Armour training gear, and boots, to wear during the session. Sadly it didn’t carry the Villa crest so it wasn’t clear whether this was exactly what the players will be using, but it would certainly give an indication of the quality we could expect. Looking around the room it was encouraging to see I wasn’t going to be the most out of shape person there. It was disappointing to see that there were a few lads there who really look after themselves. The coaching team were led by Ben Petty, and our first exercise inside the huge, covered 4G arena was to warm up. We were taken through our paces in what would constitute a typical opening session for the Villa squad. It was hard. I certainly wouldn’t fancy having a go at it after a week of partying in Dubai, that’s for sure. But I guess we’ve already established I’m no professional athlete! Simple jogs, followed by jogs with more complex movement, running technique, sprints, and finally sprints pushing the metal frames you may have seen, and for those brave enough the same again with added weights. Credit to Gregg Evans of the Mail who absolutely blasted his way through it. Next were some ball drills. Not a medieval torture device, but high tempo pass and move. There was a mix of ability around the group of perhaps 20 of us. Some looking like they’d be pretty competent semi-pros, others only looking like they’d be good enough to play for England. Again, it was interesting to note the level of complexity that was brought into the exercise. Pass and go, change direction, pass to their left foot, pass to their right. It was a lot more cerebral than you’d perhaps expect. Finally we got the chance to move over to the pitch for some 7-a-side. From what I'd seen, and for the effort that had already been put in, this had nil nil written all over it. Already half broken, I took the wise choice of going in nets. I was fortunate to have been partnered with some fairly handy players and kept a clean sheet in a 4-0 win. I was excited to find myself kicking a ball again for the first time in over 20 years. And what a place to do it... Time for a final warm down with the physio, and some booklets giving us information on post workout recovery. This is part of a pack that is usually given to the younger players. Back in the changing room I had the chance to evaluate the kit. It's good quality. There's no doubt about that. I wore base layer shorts and top under some perforated training shorts and a regular training tee. We were given socks, pads and boots too. The boots performed well. UA's "speed" proposition, they were comfortable, light, and provided good traction. The heels of the boots use the same technology as that which creates a moulded bra cup - which means perfect shaping without seams. There was nothing overly fancy or tricky with the gear, but it was clearly designed and made to a high standard. My only feedback to the guys was the shorts were a little long - a few of the lads, myself included, had folded the waistband over, and the socks were quite hot because of the cotton footbed. Being honest, socks are one of the hardest parts of a kit to design. Trying to find the perfect balance of cushioning, traction, feel and moisture management is nigh on impossible, and everyone has their own preference. As an indicator for the kit, I think you can buy with confidence. And the players can wear it with confidence too. From what we saw (and we only saw pictures, the actual kit wasn't there, which was a shame and felt like a missed opportunity) the kit is detailed, innovative (the match shirt weighs in at just over 107g) and unlike some of the other big kit suppliers - it's not a template. Talking to Mike afterwards he assured me that Villa will be getting the full treatment and won't be just a team on a to-do list. Good. After all we've been through it's the least we deserve. The night was wrapped up with some exposure to the campaign that will be run - Fight Like Lions, and a talk from Jon Fear of Vital Villa. He's featured in the campaign, and I have to say it's impactful, and meaningful. I'm looking forward to see what you all think too. In closing, there are two clear messages which align between Under Armour and the club. Villa will stand for Pride, Passion and Purpose. Under Armour say "I Will". They're about the athlete, the preparation, and the willingness to achieve. Something we desperately need at VP. If you combine Fight Like Lions, with the idea of I Will, you get a potent combination. If the evening was an indicator of life under new ownership and with our new kit supplier, I'm pleased to report it looks very promising. Attention to detail in both the experience and the product. A strong mission, bold messaging, and an emphasis on carrying it out. A belief and a desire to get us back to where we belong. It's time to leave the past behind, to accept it and move forward into what we know is possible. Are you up for it? I am. I Will. TLDR; privileged Villa fan has another privileged experience, this time at Aston Villa. Enjoyed himself, very excited by what he saw. Feels like it really, truly is a fresh start. And one that brings with it a great deal of hope.
  4. 69 points
    I’ve got hearts on fire and burning heart from Rocky going on in my head lol the songs while moving leg again first Time in nearly 3 weeks I feel like Rocky balboa lads been pushing myself since 5am to move Leg and worked thanks for all your kind words. It means a lot
  5. 58 points
  6. 58 points
    Right then folks, I can confirm that Sanchez has arrived this afternoon and things although not done yet are looking good. I've stayed a bit quiet on this one because the name came out very early and the speculation has often been ahead of events, with some quite imaginative stuff doing the rounds in the media and elsewhere. But he has arrived, with his team of representatives It isn't done yet and shouldn't be taken for granted as its been a complicated one from the start, not least because he has more than one agent and a lot of hard works gone into getting it this far. But, should things go to plan it should go through later tonight. I wouldn't expect to see him in action on Saturday though as he will need to be assessed in training first. I expect a Birmingham Mail exclusive shortly telling us its all fallen through
  7. 55 points
    So, another weekend has come and gone. A weekend that most people in the world won't have ny memory of in a few years time or so. But for 69 swedish Villans it will probably stay in their memories forever. Although, some will probably never remember some parts at all. But we've had a great time. For me it started on Wednesday. Flight to Manchester, with what I suspect was a couple of manure-fans going over to watch their game against barcelona. I think I know which one of us who was the happier later that night. Their I met a friend from the really grim north of Sweden, Gällivare which is north of the pole circle, and then a train to Rotherham. A nice little town. There we met two more friends from Stockholm to get to the hotel. A hotel I'd booked and of course I never checked out how close to the arena or train station it was. It was at the other end of Rotherham. We spent some time in taxi's that night. Suffice to say I won't book the next hotel. But in the end, after the game, we didn't think much about it. You saw the game, you know how it was. We were just chuffed. I have to say that I felt a bit robbed by the ref when he gave them a penalty which we thought never was a penalty and upon that sent Mings off. I guess we all did. But in the end it didn't matter much. But I guess this was shortly after that: Oh, and I met Drat in a pub just before the game. Then it's Thursday and time to go to good ol' Brum and meet up with around 20 newly arrived swedish Villans. Two beer on the train, and then we're off. That's pretty much about it. A rather quiet night with a few beer. A few new ones who settled in. No scandals. Then on Friday it all kicked off officially. The rest arrived and by the time they did, around 10, we took a taxi to VP and then Aston Tavern and never looked back. We were all having dinner together at the hotel and were told to expect one or more secret guests. And they came: So we had a few beers with these guys. I bought them all one. I think they got a bit pissed, actually. I know Shaw did. But they were great to hang out with. And after they left we left for Craven arms. I don't know why, but we always go there at least once. For me, I don't think this was the best idea, but it wasn't the worst that night. I came, took a piss, had a beer, and then it wasn't hard for my friend to talk me into going back to the hotel. The thing was that I'd promised another friend that he could stay in my room that night. He was meant to stay at couple of friends place but they weren't at home, or something, and I was alone in a single room. Of course I said yes, but somewhere along the night I forgot about that. Can't understand why. He called me about 5 times, knocked on the door, and in the end he just walked down to the reception and got a new key. When he came into the room I was lying on the bed fully clothed as if I'd just taken two steps in and fallen down on the bed. And was pretty much how I woke up but with a nagging thought in my head: "Where the hell is my jacket?" I had a vague memory of me thinking that I'd left my jacket on the room which I was quite sure that I hadn't. And I hadn't. It was gone. With my match ticket and slightly less important my passport. I felt a little panic for a while, but I was quite sure that if I'd left it anywhere it was at the hotel and then there could be a chance that someone had found it and left it in the reception. Someone had. One of us said that they'd called out in the speakers to ask if someone had forgot his jacket. I never heard that, of course. But Saturday, match day, no problem with the jacket so back to Aston Tavern to knock on the door. They didn't open untill 11, so of course we were a bit too early. But we got in in the end so we could drink our beer. Then up to Holte pub and, well, you know. Then it was time for kickoff. But before that I met the great Blandy, great even though his taste for music is less than great. Always nice to meet you, sir. 2nd time ever, but still. That's when I had my 2nd burger and that plus breakfast was pretty much what I had that day. I think I've taken the phrase "Eating Guiness" a bit too far. Anyway, game on! And again, you were there, you know how it was. We could've won 4-1, and apparently it was because their fans were sat on Witton. As good an excuse can ever get. And McGinn was still runinng. The best thing for me apart from the 3 points was that we showed that we could play quite well without Jack and Mings. And here are the Villa Sweden after the game: And I think you can guess what happened next. Holte Suit, Hyatt's hotel bar, then I went up to my room to change my shirt before I left for some pub or somewhere to eat. My mistake was that I sat down on the bed. And then I lay down just for a few minutes. Sunday, rehab day. Not much to tell. 8 of us left for Leicester as my friends son, the former Villa youth keepr Viktor Johansson, plays for leicester now and they had a game against liverpool that day. Unfortunately the scousers won 6-0. Not that good. Back again, and then I had a bus leaving for Stansted at 1 am and a flight 8:15, which of course was delayed, and now I'm back home. A bit tired. The thing is that this might seem like a lot of grown ups just on the piss, but there are som many funny things happening, and so many injokes that would take too long time to explain and it would still be hard for you to understand the fun in it, but we always have a great time. Always. Most of these people I only meet this one time a year, maybe two, a few more often as we live close, but we spend so much time together when we're over, more or less every awaken second, and we shair so many stories and do so many funny and silly things during these weekends that some of us are more or less like best friends. And when we meet there are always big smiles and I can't remember anyone ever getting angry at another person. We're simply just having a great time. And we'll be back in a year. Just wanted to share this with you all. It got very long, and if you're still reading I'm quite impressed you're still awake, but I thank you! UTV
  8. 55 points
    Piss off glory hunter!!! ?
  9. 53 points
    Hugs!!! thanks for the love peeps I am about to go out and get completely smashed. Vodka time!
  10. 52 points
    I feel really sad, so I made this...
  11. 50 points
    Morning all, I'm a Hibs season ticket holder so thought I'd join your forum to give you an insight in to John McGinn and what to expect if you manager to sign him which I sincerely hope you do. John McGinn is probably the most loved Hibs player within the support and the club and has been since he joined 4 years ago. During this time we've seen him develop from a rough diamond with potential to a genuinely top quality midfielder who IMO should be Scotland's first choice midfielder right now. John's biggest attribute is his spirit, you get these players every so often like your Gerrard's, Schole's etc that have the ability to lift a team and drive them on. John will bring that in abundance, if a game is going against you he will single handedly give everything he's got to drag the team back in to it through grit, determination and fight. On the flipside, if you're winning a game well John has the classy side of his game as well, excellent strength, ability to spray 50 yard passes with ease and a very decent turn of pace. He also has a wicked left foot on him and the majority of his goals tend to come from drives from outside the box including two 25 yard strikes in a 2-2 draw at Celtic Park last season. He will dominate the midfield in most games he plays and Scott Brown who's been the Celtic captain for 10 years said last season McGinn was the most difficult midfielder he's ever played against in Scotland. The bigger the game, the bigger the performance you'll get from McGinn and he will never ever be accused of hiding. In my opinion John McGinn will be an English premiership player within 2-3 years whether it be with Villa or another club. From a Hibs fans perspective Villa would be a cracking move though. Best of luck for the season ahead and hopefully you guys get promotion!
  12. 49 points
    Yeah so the time has come for me to hang up my VT boots. After extending my loan from after the man city game it is now time. Firstly would like to say thanks to everyone so far thats given Jack support on VT. Secondly is that I just beg people give Jack time. It took a while for him to get into the swing of things from u18,u21 and even being at notts it took him a while. The first team will be the same. People are right, including PL about putting too much pressure on young talented players as it can of course make or break them sometimes. And just finally I think Jacks doing brilliant so far. Finally im starting to believe he can go very far and become a talented professional within the game. He looks like one of the most natural footballers in the whole squad at such a young age IMO. Its like whenever someone tells me how good Jack is I just shrug it off and say hes got to keep doing it. Us as a family have never been hyping him up ourselves as we are the closest people around him. I hope he can let the football do the talking from now on and get on with the job in hand. Because he is villa through and through and you can tell the way he admires the fans that they are most important to him. He's living the dream and he needs to keep his head screwed on. If he does that I'm confident he will go far. No matter what villa's in his heart. Big shoutout to Limpid and the rest of the team for making such a great forum. I hope to see many of you down the games in the near future and you can all buy me a pint or two for giving you exclusive info the past few years ;D. Peace out & UTV.
  13. 49 points
  14. 48 points
    Dean Smith when asked, "Why were you shouting at your players to get up whilst 2-0 up? Surely you could have sat back and played it safe? Why take the risk?" " My philosophy is this : 1-0, 2-0 or 5-0 up: never ever settle for it, you must be hungry for more. If you do sit back not only are you inviting the opposition to get back into the game but you are showing them mercy. You have to look at the bigger picture, I don't only want us to destroy our current opponent's. I want to breed fear into our next ones "?
  15. 48 points
    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.
  16. 48 points
    To be honest, I am not a fan of Villa club, at least not yet. I became interested in the villa’s take over by Tony Xia, not only because I am a Chinese who lives in the UK for many years and a football fan myself, but more importantly I am a long time supporter of Chinese football in general (20 plus years) and wish my home country can win world cup sometime in my life (quite ambitious I know lol). So I joined this forum and wanted to see how people react to the take over. I found, not surprisingly, most people don’t seem to have a clue of how business is run in China (why would you? J), or more relevant-ly, how Xia may run Villa in the future. I therefore decided to write something about Chinese football. I have followed the Chinese top 2 division leagues in the last 15 years. Here I will try to tell you about how football as a business is run in China, based on that I will leave you to do your own prediction of Villa’s future. When talking anything about China, my own experience is most Western people won’t understand the way we do things – and I found it is mostly due to the huge difference culture we have. So I will also try to include some explanation of the difference in way how people do things, which hopefully can make your reading much easier. Happy to take any questions you may have – I always enjoyed to talk about football with my colleagues and friends from different countries and background.
  17. 47 points
  18. 47 points
    Absolutely, utterly delighted. I've really admired Smith's work for some time now, both at Walsall and Brentford and anyone who witnessed our games against the later in recent times should be the same. Some were taken in by the glamour of Henry but I firmly and have always firmly believed Smith is a far better suited appointment to where we are as a club. That has nothing to do with him being one of us. The way Smith approaches the game is what I've been desperate to see at VP for years even before the arrival of Bruce. I can't wait to see what he will do with Hogan! At last we've a manager with a real philosophy based on coaching and passing the ball, that takes control of games rather than trying to strangle the life out of them or scrape through them. With Terry's knowledge of the players and club and unquestionable defensive coaching potential I really do think its a great combination. On the Smith the Villa fan thing, a couple of thoughts. What an incredible moment this must be for the guy having once swept the Holte End and won't be nice to have a manager to gets the club and the fan base, who embraces what the club is, was and could be again. A manager who will share our expectations, hopes and dreams rather than down play our chances. Exciting times.
  19. 47 points
    Firstly, apologies that it's taken me so long to get this to you - life is complicated! On 16th August, VillaTalk were invited to the Fans Consultation Group meeting with the club prior to the Huddersfield game. We're a difficult bunch to represent at these things, because unlike a lot of sites, there isn't a VillaTalk "way" - and although Limpid does all of the work, no one really owns the site in terms of its opinions, beliefs, thoughts and ideas - we're an anarcho-socialitst collective brothers and sisters or at least we're a group of people with a lot of different opinions; but, whilst we can't agree on anything at all, there are a lot of us, so we have a voice and the ear of the club. I think that's a good thing and I'm hopeful we can make something out of it. There were representatives of other supporters groups there, including the Aston Villa Trust, Heroes & Villains, avillafan.com, that bloke from Vital Villa who keeps banging on about his advert, Lions Clubs, My Old Man Said and the independent supporters clubs. As distinguished, handsome and slightly unkempt a bunch as you could hope to meet. I'd like firstly to share the agenda with you - and then my opinions. The group are releasing a set of notes to the club collectively in order to ensure that we’re not going away and putting odd slants on things, and that we all heard the same stuff - so the answers will be with you shortly - but the topics are below. With conflicting reports during the takeover and without in any way expecting to breach any individuals privacy, what sort of funding is there now for Aston Villa? Clarification of the board structure The club own 12 acres of land close by and the new owners have expressed an interest in development of a ‘theme park’ football world. Can you elaborate on this? Can we have a commitment from the club to pioneer safe standing in England and can a transitional section for flags and banners (aka singing section) be accommodated, like those that have been successful at other clubs. Plans to address ticketing portal being a mess and phone lines being constantly engaged? What is the club doing in terms of avoiding the negative publicity of the previous ownership that resulted from poor communication? Is a re-brand on the agenda and if so, especially badge wise, will those who understand the issues the best – the fans – be consulted? Update on shelved North Stand disable seating plan / new plans Will you be prepared to consider initiating a youth forum to involve younger supporters? Any plans to increase youth support? An SLO or supporter issues Twitter address like a lot of other clubs have? Are the club moving away from player contract release clauses? Is there any progress on the recruitment of a Technical Director? (if not already announced) Are the new board aware of the previous relationship with Acorns and will this continue? Are the board aware of the Villa Midlands Food (VMF) initiative abruptly stopped by Tom Fox, giving under privileged local youngsters training from which many have excelled? Would this be something they might consider re-starting? Living Wage – all contracted staff? Going forward, these agendas are open to all fans groups, including you - and any questions around the club, the way its operated and how we’ll go forward are very welcome - I’d like to use this thread to collect those. For the most part, whoever attends the meeting will take what’s being discussed in the rest of the site as an indicator of what’s important and then add anything in here. The club seems committed to continuing these meetings in the long term and I think they’re a good opportunity to get what are hopefully, straightforward, honest answers wherever that’s possible. In terms of my opinions, well firstly I was delighted that as well as Keith Wyness, we were also blessed with the presence of the good Doctor himself. Dr Xia spent a good half an hour with us prior to a game and seems keen to talk and listed to supporters. The other thing that comes through is that there's a confidence to the new set up - Wyness in particular carries a relaxed confidence that suggests that all is well. When Tom Fox did this, he was professional, confident but guarded - this was much more relaxed, and there's a feeling that they're going about their work very confidently. I won't go too much into what was said until the meeting notes are released, but there were some interesting things on the progress of the club already, the happy surprise of attendances, the importance of a Villa "way" and of character in the dressing room and elsewhere. Dr Xia listened more than he spoke, but when he spoke, he was open, honest and forthright. As the best indicator on mood, the meeting was attended by Tommy Jordan, the chap that looks after all of our press and media - when he spoke, it was like a man released into the light after last season, he was very positive, he spoke about a club that was moving forward in lots of good ways and he seemed so happy to talk about it that he spent a good fifteen minutes outside afterwards talking with a few of us on a lot of good things that were happening. I genuinely got the feeling that right now, everyone involved can't get enough of this - that they want to talk about the club, they want to move everything forward, they want to change and improve things and that they feel they have the backing to do so. I'll try and explain more why I think that's the case when the minutes are released, but I got a very positive feeling out of this one. (Even though Huddersfield did their best to spoil it.) I'll hopefully have the notes with you very soon and will add a bit more to those when they're released - in the meantime, if there's anything you want VillaTalk to raise with the club through these meetings, let us know!
  20. 47 points
    "Och aye Villa fans, it's me; Paul Lambert. Ah know some of ye are a bit grumblesome that we can nae let yer ITK'ers spill the haggis on all our transfer plans, so instead ah thought ah'd give yer a wee sneaky-peeky at just a few of mah personal targets that yer may nae have heard aboot." CLAYTON FAILLA Position: Midfielder Age: 28 Club: Hibernians FC (Malta Premier League) Lambo says: "Clay's a tricky wee chappy who's scored and made a load of goals fae his team this year, and ah'm always after wee chappys who score and make a load of goals because that's how yer win a game of football." Hipster rating: Neutral Milk Hotel DID YOU KNOW? "Ah'm nae relation to Christopher Lambert, but he was in a film called Highlander, which is a word for Scotch person, which ah am!" VAGIF JAVADOV Position: Striker Age: 24 Club: Inter Baku (Azerbaijan Premyer Liqasi) Lambo says: "A real breakoot star fae this season, mah scouts tell me this lad's also a 'captain'. This means ah can tell him all mah tactics to direct the other laddies with, like "yer should nae let the other team score" and so on." Hipster rating: Vampire Weekend DID YOU KNOW? "Despite what people think, I dunnae always like salt on mah shortbread." ANDREJS KOVALOVS Age: 24 Postion: Right Winger Club: Daugava Daugavpils (Latvia Virsliga) Lambo says: "Ah've already got a wee Andi on the right, but he's no cannie anymore. Ah asked him what ah could dae, the laddie said he's sad 'cos he's the only wee Andi. Ah told him that's a sin, and ah'll get him another wee Andi to be friends with." Hipster rating: Death Cab For Cutie DID YOU KNOW? "Ah used to called Otto Hitzfeld 'gaffer', which he did nae understand because he were from a different country" "Ah've been Paul Lambert and that's yer lot fer now, so gan off with yers." Love Paul xoxo
  21. 46 points
    These are days you remember. The sun shone, we sang songs and we were royally entertained by a team deservedly rewarded with an eighth straight victory. Individually they impressed - El Ghazi was a livewire all day, taking on the left back time and again and beating him. Taylor was busy and determined behind him. Bruce was right, Jedinak can play centre back - it just took a better manager to get him there, Tuanzebe played like he hadn't missed a beat, Elmohamady is a revelation at the moment, Hourihane Hourihane'd, McGinn McGinn'd and Whelan Whelan'd wonderfully. Adomah is learning to live without pace and making it look easier all the time and Tammy Abraham has the calmest twenty one year old head you will ever see. Individually schmindividually - this is a team, a team blessed with a fantastic attitude; positivity, determination, courage, responsibility, togetherness, belief and lots and lots of hard graft - what's more, Villa Park feels like it's part of that team, I can't remember a time when the team and the fans felt so closely joined together. This team tries; it's full of players that play for Villa like you and I would play for Villa if we were any good. The atmosphere at Villa Park is special - we're all in this together - genuinely together, not in a sloganeering way, genuinely together. What's more - the attitude and the atmosphere is developing the ability to transcend personnel - if I'd told you three months ago we'd be beating a playoff team with Jedinak at centre half, Steer in goal, Elmohamady, Lansbury and Davies you'd have thought I was crazy - but each of those players has slotted in and given us something good. The whole just seems to take on any new part and make it better - the team is making the players more and the team is taking the supporters with it. On the game, I thought the first half was fairly even, both sides had chances - they missed a header and had a goal ruled out for offside that looked marginal (with the comic sight of Weimann refusing to celebrate until a Villa player told him he didn't have to anyway) we forced a couple of saves from their keeper including one which from where I was sat was clearly impossible. Bristol City and their angry manager would have gone in at half time thinking they were a match for us and might take advantage of our missing players. We came out for the second half and upped it a gear. A gear Bristol City haven't got. A gear no one else in this division has got. From the start of the second half until they scored on 78 minutes we were brilliant - we could have had five or six. I have no idea if the penalty was a penalty, but once they're given you get on with it - their reactions were very poor and do them no credit. Seven bookings on the day and eight if you include the manager. Our players don't go in for that - they're too busy working their socks off and creating chances - Davies had a couple, McGinn on a run in from a short corner, Hourihane a header and a shot, Jedinak off the line, shots from El Ghazi - it's almost too much to remember the detail. And today, and right now as a Villa fan, the detail doesn't matter - the feeling does - the feeling that this team won't give up on us, they won't shy away from the work, they'll give you what they've got and expect the same from you - the feeling that we've forgotten how to lose, that we can't lose, that we won't allow it to happen. It's not like any other love, this one's different because it's us. It might well take us all the way. Days to remember, dreams to be had.
  22. 46 points
  23. 45 points
    Just gonna leave this here.
  24. 45 points
  25. 45 points
    Me and my wife out last Saturday. She had bowel cancer last year and is now out raving again. Feck you cancer!!
  26. 45 points
  27. 45 points
    I have Leukemia as well (different form). Petrov and I compared symptoms in a brief chat once. One thing I can assure you, his red blood count was dropping long before he had a diagnosis. That means his ability to move oxygen to his cells was decreasing. He had nothing left in the tank because he ran himself into the ground while his body was not moving oxygen to his muscles as efficiently as it should. Courage, Strength of will, and character. Exactly what we are missing now. Exactly what makes him a legend. I'm thrilled he's training. I will also say that going back into training after chemotherapy is a heroic act of will, as well. I'm thrilled he's training. I hope he is able to contribute more as time goes on as a player, a role-model, and a mentor.
  28. 45 points
    Wouldn't be surprised to see Bournemouth sign Adam Johnson too. Adobe is the perfect accompaniment to PDF files.
  29. 44 points
  30. 44 points
  31. 44 points
  32. 44 points
    This is a call to arms for all Villa fans - young and old, big and small, rich and poor, negative and positive: WE NEED YOU! Everybody is hurting right now. Nobody wanted to see us slide this far and things undoubtedly look grim. But what are our options? Run away and die? Accept defeat and relegation with 11 games of football still to be played? Or do we, the fans, the lifeblood of this grand old football club, come together as one? Do we become resilient and unmoving in the face of this increasingly desperate situation? As Aston Villa fans, we've always done the latter - through the good days and bad. Football is a funny old game and this next five days could prove instrumental not just for the rest of this season but for many years to come. Win the next two games of football and we'll be out of the relegation zone and into a Wembley semi-final. We'll have beaten our rivals twice in a week and the whole mood of this football club will have shifted from one end of the spectrum to the other. That's all it will take to change things dramatically: two wins. Everybody is taking shots at us while we're down. Newcastle fans, Albion fans, Blues fans, Wolves fans. You name it, they're relishing the prospect of us completely and utterly falling apart this week. Do YOU want to give them that satisfaction? Villa Park can be a noisy fortress on its day. Unfortunately a succession of extremely poor seasons has gradually drained every last ounce of positivity from our pours. We need to forget about that now - put the negativity to one side and focus on being the 12th man. If you're debating about whether to attend either game: please do, your Club needs your support now more than it ever has done before. And for those of you already going: sing and chant until your lungs can't take any more. Back the lads and the manager 100% for 180 minutes this week - whatever the circumstances. Leave your negativity at home and ensure the lion roars. We are the famous, the mighty Aston Villa. Our past glories mean so many people would love to see us fall. We, as fans, have to play our part in ensuring that does NOT happen. So I ask my Claret & Blue brothers and sisters: spread the word. Tell everyone you know. Encourage every Villa fan you've ever come into contact with to get down to our magnificent stadium tomorrow and Saturday and play your part. It's now or never - we sink and fall or battle back and soar. WE CAN BE THE DIFFERENCE. MAKE IT COUNT. UTV.
  33. 44 points
    I think i am allowed this one!
  34. 44 points
  35. 44 points
    Hi lads, I am a long time AaB-fan and i have followed this thread about your signing of Helenius and thought i could contribute with a bit of knowledge about him. Helenius, just turned 22 years a month ago, has made 102 appearances for AaB scoring 40 goals. He has scored 14 goals in 32 games in the league in 11/12 and 16 in 33 games this season, being runner op for the top scorer title in the league both years, having missed only one league match during these two years. He tops the goals+assist list this year with 7 assist, taking his total to 23 (runner-up last year 14+7=21) - so he is not at all a selfish player (Cornelius have made 18 goals/1 assist in comparison). He is a quiete guy, not showing many feelings on the pitch - except when scoring. Despite being tall, the aerial play is not his major attribute. It has actually been a weakness, but over the last year he has developed these skills so that he is now a decent header, good at winning aerial-duels on Superliga-level, and has also scored two goals in the end of this season. His strength and 1st touches have also been a bit weak, but he has developed these as well. He is good at identifying his weaknesses and improve on these areas, so if you are concerned about his strength don't worry - he will build on the required muscles to compete on PL-level. As you have probably seen in the youtube-videos, he is technically gifted, able to challenge an opposition player. He has a good speed and has developed decent free-kick abilities (kicks a bit like Chealsea's David Luiz, but not with the same succes rate - yet ). Being a young player, he can sometimes be a bit, how can i put it, invisible on the pitch in periods of the game. This has also improved significantly during this season, and he has really raised the bar for his bottom level. I would definetly say that his main attribute is the techniqual abilities, being able to suddely do something brilliant and scoring awesome goals or making an assist out of nowhere. If you sign him, don't expect him to be a massive succes like Benteke the first season (he does not cost Benteke-money either ). He will be a fine sub at first, and with the way he is able to develop his skills, he will slowly push on for the starting eleven. I am sure that Lambert will be able help him develop into a really good PL-striker in a couple of years, if he is given the support he needs. He always works hard, on and off the pitch. For probably no more than 1.5M £ i think you are doing bargain. Hope this helps a bit, understanding what type of player he is.
  36. 43 points
  37. 43 points
    I’ve never claimed to be an ITK and I’m not going to start now but from time to time I've heard things from very reliable people, and as some of my posts in this thread have suggested I've heard a bit in relation to events today and leading to them. I received information only two days ago specifically mentioning the phrase “the enemy within” then I think it’s only fair to assume my friend (who knows one of the players very well) has fairly accurate information. I know everyone will have their own opinions and own theories behind events today but this what he had to say about what has gone on. Some think its Lambert being undermined and pushed out, others that he is next. Well what I've been told might clear-up a lot of the speculation. I'm told Culverhouse and Karsa were hated by everyone at the football club but especially the first-team players. There have been problems for some time and Lambert wanted to sack Culverhouse when he had a run-in with a fan but wasn’t given approval by the board to do so. At the time Lambert got stick over that but by the sounds of it he was as annoyed as some fans at the time. His training methods have been terrible as if he wanted to the team to perform badly. Very hard to believe I know but that is what has been said. Karsa thought he was Mr Big at the football club and was constantly ultra critical of the players and mouthed off at Paul Faulkner on several occasions for not releasing more money for new players. They are both last in the training ground and first out while Lambert is there from 8am until 6pm almost every day. They also refused to move to Birmingham. People seem to think Lambert has had Given forced on him and that he was part of the infamous bomb squad, neither are true. Lambert never once fell-out with Shay Given. Even although he wasn’t playing, a mixture of which was down to his wages but also Lambert preferred Guzan, they always got on extremely well. Given always trained with the first-team and was never ever considered to one of the ‘Bomb squad’. Lambet has always had a good relationship with Sid Cowans. By all accounts Lambert never missed a reserve or youth game and is very supportive (although doesn’t think it’s fair to blood them when the team are under so much pressure) but will play some of them once we are safe. Everyone at BMH was informed of the news this morning and training today was better than before and the players clapped Lambert on to the pitch. Lambert was “very hands-on” which wasn’t always the case and that is to continue now. Vlaar and one or two senior players spoke to the rest of the team and everyone is desperate to get results for Lambert. They also told Faulkner they will prove that in the coming games at a meeting today. So as much as all this is pretty crazy stuff to take in, if the above information is true and if you look at my previous posts on this particular subject accurate it has been, then this might actually be a turning point. We will have to wait and see I guess starting with the next game. I don't expect this to instantly change peoples views or for some to change their views at all, that is fair enough people are entitled to their opinions. But don't attack me for sharing this it even if you think its a load of rubbish. I'm just sharing what I've been told and given who its come from what I believe. Lets hope this change signals a change in fortunes.
  38. 42 points
    When Dean Smith arrived, it was generally agreed that he had inherited a squad with some serious flaws. In addition it was widely thought that it would be difficult to get these players playing a more attacking style. He’ll need time was the general consensus. However he did quickly get us playing much better in regard to both performances and results. Recently we have had a lot of injuries, including 2 of our best players and performances have inevitably suffered. Incredibly some people are now, after only 14 games in charge and with barely any opportunity to bring in players, are questioning Smith. I find this unbelievable. I also hear people questioning why we haven’t signed players in one position or the other. It really beggars belief that anyone with an interest in football can’t see that it isn’t as simple as a trip to ASDA. People are even questioning why there aren’t any rumours, as though rumours from the internet are equivalent to hacking into the club’s private email account. I know we live in a world where people expect everything now, but a bit of common sense please.
  39. 42 points
    Cheers folks Mum had it bad with illness. Lung and breast cancer and advanced emphysema but she battled on for a couple of years in the face of being terminally ill. Mum's a Villa fan and used to tell me how she stood on the Holte End against Man Utd cheering in the lads when about 8 months pregnant with me and Dad protecting her from being squashed against the old barriers in the Holte. Fans of the show probably won't believe this but, my family are like the real Simpsons. My Mum had a brother called Bartholomew (my uncle Bart), a niece named Lisa (my cousin) and a sister-in-law named Maggie. We're only missing Homer!
  40. 42 points
    Good for him, sometimes you have to work on your marriage.
  41. 42 points
    Is that Dobby the house elf from Harry Potter? this is in fact VLC media player
  42. 42 points
    Makes about as much sense as the relegation thread at midweek. Above United .
  43. 42 points
  44. 42 points
    For a lot of this week, I've been feeling incredibly depressed, but I've come to see how funny this is, and while it made me feel like shit, I now have a story for life. I've been single for a very long time (I suspect this is due to a combination of me being a bit of a word removed, as well as ugly as ****), about 2 years in fact. So over the past couple of weeks, I decided to try out online dating. It was mostly a disaster, most women had no interest at all, the few that responded were nice enough, but conversation fizzled out pretty quickly, it looked like it wasn't going to get anywhere. Until out of nowhere, an incredibly beautiful woman of a similar age messaged me (first woman to message me first, usually the other way around), and on top of that, she was local. From a look at her profile, we had little in common (she wasn't a huge nerd), but she seemed incredibly interested in all of the stupid shit I was saying, and it was going great! I didn't really believe it, she was waaaaaaaaay too hot (slim, long blonde hair, a beautiful smile, cracking tits). I suspected one of three things: 1) She was actually a man 2) It was some sort of prank/scam 3) The photos were very old and she'd let herself go, a lot. After a couple of days of swapping messages, we agreed to get a drink after work, as she was only up the road from me. I got there, and OMFG, she was just as hot in person, and we got along just as well, it was way too good to be true, everything was going perfectly. After a few drinks, we were hungry and went to a local restaurant. We sat down, ordered, had another drink, and for the first time she took off her jacket. To reveal, all over her arms, tattoos of swastikas. **** swastikas. And I just sat there in silence for what felt like forever, hoping there was some sort of explanation. Initially I thought maybe I was confused, maybe it was the other way around (didn't hindus use it as a symbol of peace or something?), but one of them was being carried by a **** eagle! It turns out, she thought I was a white supremacist, apparently based on nothing more than me having my year of birth in my username (88 is a **** nazi code apparently - lesson learned). Obviously I walked out. the worst thing is I was so flustered, I threw down some cash, as I'd already ordered food. I paid for a nazi to have dinner. And that is the only woman from an online dating site that wanted to meet up with me.
  45. 42 points
    Thank you for saving us from Ellis and imminent relegation when you bought the club. Thank you for restoring some excitement when you (backed) Martin O'Neill, who we all thought was a great choice. Thank you for being willing to spend when the manager asked you to. Thank you for renovating the Holte Hotel and Bodymoor Heath. Thank you for your commendable association with Acorns, it has reflected very well on the club. Thank you for coming to the conclusion, as you have now, and therefore keeping your word that you would sell the club if you could no longer lead it forward. Best of luck to you in the future.
  46. 41 points
  47. 41 points
    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.
  48. 41 points
    Just back. The march went fantastically well. Loads joined in and loads to the side as we walked down Trinity Road clapped and sang with us. Demonstration outside directors entrance went on for a good 10-15 minutes. Inside the ground the atmosphere was fantastic and exactly what we had encouraged. Fitting send off to the Prem League and a great reminder to any potential buyer as to what a fantastic club they would be taking on. Thanks to everyone who turned up to help us out today. Hopefully that it is it for us now and organising protests is a thing of the past and this club will now embark on a much better future. One that, as shown again today, us the supporters certainly deserve.
  49. 41 points
    Just on my way back from the match now. I have to say, it was noticeable, people streaming out when the clock hit 74. Particular in the North stand to our right and the upper Holte End. Pleased that our fans supported you too, lots of clapping for your chants and quite a few even joined in. I heard a lot of empathy around me too, we know it quite easily could have been us in your position. There's a lot of respect between the two clubs, and as I said, because we are so similar. I can't wait til you are back up fighting with us again. Respect to all of you who took part, I only hope the movement grows. You deserve so much better.
  50. 40 points
    So, an interesting meeting - I'll not repeat the answers in depth as the club are writing up notes which will be published in the near future, what I will do is give you my initial feelings on the new man in charge and some of the things discussed. Christian Purslow, Chief Executive, head honcho and lest we forget, investor (He describes Eden and Sawiris as partners). He's very professional, he's clear, concise, organised and serious. If you imagine what a Chief Executive of a slick company would be like; he's like that. He's smart, posh and carries a certain gravitas. I was going to put that I like him, but I'm not sure that's quite right - he's a very serious man, easily the least likely of all of those in the room to make a fart joke and he's capable of both not answering a question whilst answering it and answering a question whilst not giving the answer at all very adeptly. In short, i'd buy snake oil from this man readily, he's convincing and trustworthy, if he'd spent an hour telling me pancakes were pillows I'd have believed him. If saying I like him might not be the perfect description, I think it's definitely right to say I like the idea of him running my football club. He spoke clearly on how he believes a football club should be run and that there was a lot of work to do in order to get ours where he'd like it. He told us he'd inherited numerous areas he'd like to improve. "A lot needs to change; a lot will change." That'll be focused on the football and he's clear that in order to function well a club with our infrastructure needs to be at a higher level - within that, he was very clear that he won't be making any false promises and that we won't be taking crazy bets chasing that dream. In terms of playing structure he wants us to be able to buy and develop players, to find ways to add value to our squad, good players, developed by good coaches that either help us or provide value - what he was describing was the opposite of what we've seen in the last few years where we've signed older players on big money to try and do a quick job and then found ourselves holding the (very expensive) baby and with nothing to show for it. The future is described as being one of "strategic, not tactical signings". I for one find all of that immensely reassuring. I think it's the right way to go. I think we've needed it for a decade or more. We now have a Sporting Director, a Commercial director, a Finance director and a Legal Director - all reporting to Purslow and all accountable for their business areas - he was keen to stress that for him this means that where there's a problem, he can have one conversion and address it. I suspect he doesn't mess about. There were a couple of points made that he wanted to be clear on and for us to pass on: Stadium renaming - it isn't happening. It's not been discussed, it's not being discussed, it's not up for discussion, the story hasn't come from the club. Breakaway League - you may have seen the story that said fourteen Championship clubs were considering breaking away from the league - it's also bunkum - like everyone in football, we're looking for the best TV deal for us and for the league that we can get, but breaking up a league we founded? Not happening. On FFP, without too much detail, Purslow is still talking confidently - we won't break the rules, we're not looking at loopholes - we're looking to be sensible but we're likely to be active in January at a sensible level - without knowing where we'll be next season, spending a massive amount on individual players would be reckless, but there's the opportunity to do things in January. He spoke about the importance of showing that we're moving in the right direction in relation to the FFP rules. He helped write them, I'm hoping he knows. Tony Xia remains a shareholder and will be for the foreseeable future - the removal of the Recon label from Bodymoor Heath was part of the deal around the sale. We would consider selling naming rights on the training ground if the right type of company were interested. Throughout, probably the thing that impressed me most was that he spoke about standards, his personal standards and those that this football club should expect to have - he isn't happy with the way those standards have been maintained in some areas, he's working on those. I very much got the impression that this is a man who wants the very best for this football club, because the very best is what he wants to be associated with. When he talked about sponsorship, shirts, our media output, our PA system and indeed anything around the way the club does things, he talked about wanting to be a leader, wanting to find people who were at the right level to partner with the club, wanting the right personnel within the club. There was a confidence in the sanctity of our place in football - this is not a man who will ever devalue the idea of Aston Villa and for me that's very good news, I have a great deal of confidence in the quality of our future sponsorships and partnerships. We were also introduced to Paul Tyrrell - the clubs new man in charge of communications or marketing or media or all of that (you would be correct in thinking I didn't quite catch his job title) - he's an altogether different character, but made a very good first impression. There are lots of questions which will be in the notes which Paul answered around media content, AVTV, social media and so on, so again I won't go into detail in advance of the club releasing the notes, but he's a likeable man with good experience in the game at Everton and more recently Derby - he seems to have a genuine love for the game and for the stories of football, he speaks well about the areas of his expertise and is clearly a man who knows a thing or two about running the media output of a football club. He seems genuinely excited by the job and the club and I'm hopeful he'll make a difference. There's quite a lot more to come on the notes, I may have said too much, I may have missed out something obvious - once the notes are out, I'll add more. In short, on this evidence, Purslow is quite impressive and we're starting to put together a staff that can serve both him and the club well.
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