Date: 27th June 2018 at 5:00pm
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Aston Villa’s current financial state has taken a lot of the headlines so far this summer since news broke of our cash flow issues and our unknown Financial Fair Play hole as we go into the Championship season of 2018/19.

Failure to gain promotion back to the Premier League was always going to cause us problems and unfortunately for us, things have only got worse since then.

Tony J has tried to look past the emotions associated with the latest news and stories surrounding B6 and looked ahead to the new campaign with an eye on another man who has been the topic of plenty of talk since last season ended – our manager Steve Bruce.


Writer: Tony J

First things first, I don’t rate Bruce very highly, so I guess I should come clean.

I think he will struggle without an open chequebook, not just for transfer fees, but wages too. I never thought he ‘boxed clever’, even if he did.

That all said, it looks as if he is staying, so he deserves some budget clarity sooner, rather than later. Whether Dr T is in a position to confirm much is an issue, but the gaffer needs to have an idea of who he is likely to lose and what he can do to plug the gaps.

Brucie will hanker for experience (usually costly with no sell on value), but a little bit will be necessary if, say, Chester, Grealish and Kodjia are no more. What we must do though, in my humble opinion, is not pander to his hankering for external solutions to all his problems. He has to utilise some of the youth we have.

Bruce has to demonstrate he can coach and apply some tactical nous. If he can’t, he should be honest and walk away now, rather than let things fester. What I do recognise is the need for some stability, which left me with mixed feelings over Bruce’s continued tenure. It is with is in mind, I would not be against him remaining – for now.

Although it cannot really be substantiated, I just think the game is moving on quicker than Brucie. He is a steady hand and has a formula that has worked historically. However, he seems to me to manage by trial and error, rather than having a clear method. He is also reliant, more often than not, on additional resources.

If you look solely at his incoming players (excluding loans), I would suggest his success rate has been no better than 40% at best and he has discarded most of his Villa permanent signings from his eventual XIs fielded at the back end of the season.

I also think Bruce has a tendency to panic and will act irrationally at times, stocking his forward line at the expense of any midfield for instance when chasing a game. Clearly, it is a difficult job managing a side, particularly when the expectation is very high. Self-preservation in an unforgiving world is understandable. Despite all this though, I wonder if the manager’s methods are losing their mojo?

Perhaps a couple of last thoughts.

Firstly, we cannot ignore the finances. To oust Bruce would appear to be costly. Although he is on a hefty deal, his reported severance terms would prove damaging.

How does a rolling deal work? When can you opt out with a manager without financial penalty?

Secondly, who is available as an alternative? I quite like the look of Dean Smith’s work with Brentford, but fan aside, would he leave a stable job for a maelstrom called Aston Villa? Would he settle quickly and adapt to the associated expectation/pressure?

Questions, questions, but do you have the answers?

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6 Replies to “Villa Fan Tries To Look Past The Mess & To The Future – Time For Bruce To Step Up Given The Circumstances”

  • Your article is spot on, but if a take over is imminent,then bring in Dean Smith asap
    When you’ve been let off by the media as Bruce has, the cracks can no longer be filled
    in by old pals platitudes. AVFC deserves better than this,and XIA and Bruce have nearly
    sunk this great club into years of turmoil. It’s still in deep trouble and a vote no confidence
    means they must go now

    • With what Laudrup? Bruce pay off, Brentford compensation – what can Xia tell Smith? Play with yourself, promote the youth, you might get a loan and a free transfer if you’re lucky?

      BTW I don’t know where I’ll get your first wage from yet, I’m running out of things to deal with Macquarie over. I tied to factor myself but apparently my tweets aren’t worth anything now lol

  • So Mike , what or where do you go from this moment with the club in chaos,
    It’s either Administration or Take over.

    • With everything else going on at the moment, where we can find stability we have to seize it. So much is unsure we have to have a grounding somewhere. Changing manager is pie in the sky when you consider it from a financial point of view.

      We know what we get with Bruce, it might not be pretty and he certainly has flaws, but PO Final compared to where we were when he took over needs some credit for what he achieved. I don’t believe he’s been given an easy ride for ‘failure’ because the stated aim from Xia was batsh** in the first place given the atmosphere in the group and at the club and how leaky we were in defence.

      Bruce was set up to fail by an owner who liked 13-year-olds on twitter saying how they loved him because he knew how to tweet and use emojis. Yes, the cryptic tweets were entertaining, but fans hated RL for saying nothing until there was some substance to his communication. Fans loved Xia for regularly tweeting nothing with substance. RL spoke when he had something to say, Xia hid until today’s non-statement. Doug was regular and it was always about him.

      Before fawning, (or criticising in fairness), fans should ask for far more before swallowing it and giving blind belief before it’s been earned.

      That’s not to say Bruce didn’t make massive errors during the season and it doesn’t mean I don’t have issues with his Dad’s Army approach and not a youth approach as the lack of game time for some of our Under 23s was a travesty when Onomah got game after game despite being anonymous.

      The starting point has to be takeover full stop and we find continuity where we can whilst things are reassessed properly on a sound financial footing. There are things a new owner can do that Xia clearly now can’t on an FFP front – even if that means stand or ground sponsorship and the more traditional amongst us bite our tongues out of necessity.

      I don’t see minority investment being anything other than a sticking plaster. But there’s no point changing anything unless the biggest question is dealt with.

      The biggest question is Xia’s future – everyone else’s is irrelevant until that’s sorted.

      I don’t see Xia having a choice and given a post on here earlier today saying ‘leave him to it he’s a fan’ with the blind belief he’ll sort his cock up out, he has the chance to truly prove he’s a fan. Do what’s what’s right, quickly, for the club. Not his ego, pride, or bank balance.

      He risked, he lost, Villa shouldn’t pay the price for that – and we currently are.

  • Total agreement with your views, it’s got to be a drastic change ASAP.
    Pray God it’s some group with financial clout.

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