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« Last post by martin@ on December 07, 2019, 09:56:48 PM »
Meet Carson. He’s an ordinary man, just like you and I. A hairdresser, attempting to eke out a living in this harsh economic climate. He seeks nothing more than to be able to live his life in the manner to which he has become accustomed. To do this he was previously able to take a small amount each year from his business, but now even that meagre source of funds has all but dried up. Even worse, his family, the one source of comfort in troubled times, has turned on him.

Caron has done his best to make ends meet. He has sold the family heirlooms, getting rid of mementoes of more successful days gone by. It was, as he admitted, “heartbreaking” to watch these being carted off but the need to feed his loved ones was far more important than to relive such happier occasions and so it was goodbye to such souvenirs as the Leyland Daf cup and the Sports Argus Arctic Trophy. Even the NEC Atarti Six a Side Cup had to go.

Still this wasn’t enough. Carson then tried to sell the assets of his crumbling business. Sadly, there were no buyers. Carson has even taken to selling the clothes from off his back, such as t
Issue 180 - February 2013 / day by day
« Last post by martin@ on December 07, 2019, 09:55:41 PM »
4thJanuary: If it’s the start of January it must be Bent’s Not for Sale time. The management says it would be daft to sell him to one of our rivals, which should be the last we hear of it.

5 th January: Villa 2 Ipswich 1.Third round day should be one of the highlights of the season. Unfortunately, the Premier League obsession means that not enough of us care about it now, although at least a few of the older players could come back reasonably comfortably. Naturally we went a goal down in the first half but Darren Bent equalised and both he and Charles N’Zogbia showed that they’re good enough to get us up the table. We had plenty of opportunities before Andreas Weimann’s 82 nd minute winner showed, yet again, that he’s turning into an all-round striker of genuine promise. Jordan Bowery looked good on a rare occasion that he didn’t come on when we were three down while the much-maligned Joe Bennett did well. It wasn’t the hardest test ever but the team came through it with little real trouble. It’s a plus.

7 th January: Alex McLeish has learned one thing at least – he’s sent Alan Hutton back to us.

8 th January: Bradford 3 Villa 1. This is definitely a season to remember. We’ve already had the heaviest defeat ever, now we’ve had the worst. It sta rted off brightly, the team made enough chances even if they didn’t score any of them. Then a deflection fell perfectly for the ho me side, we were a goal down but still things weren’t too bad, plenty of time to put it right. And then the sky fell in with 45 minutes of the most abysmal football imaginable. Bradford get a second goal from a corner, amazingly enough, Darren Bent misses the most open goal of all time injuring himself in the process, Andreas Weimann puts us back into the game and surely that’s going to be the signal for the plucky underdogs to fall apart. No, it’s the signal for the
West Ham (home). The must-win of all must-wins. Stuck on TV for some obscure reason, probably so anyone who didn’t believe how bad we were last time they saw us can realise that they weren’t seeing things. Whatever the reason, we’ll be visited by the entire travelling circus that is West Ham United FC. Allardyce the Stone Age man, the Poison Dwarf, Tumnus and the Tattooed Lady, they’ll all be there. Unless, of course, they’ve gone to Rio or Beijing in search of a club with a new stadium. They started off well and have begun to play badly, which usually means they’ll start to recover round about 1.30 this afternoon. However, no defeatist talk here. Three points and a few goals. Things newfootie fans won’t know: West Ham’s most famous celebrity supporter used to be David Essex. Now it’s James Corden. This is not progress. FA Cup fifth round (vacant). Enjoy your day off lads. Arsenal (away). We shouldn’t be playing here today. We should be playing a few miles away, tomorrow. And whose fault is that? Never mind, they’ve got the chance to put it at least partly right today, and I’m sure they will. Blind optimism – it’s the only way. As we point out whenever this game comes round, we’ve got a surprisingly good record at the Emirates, or at least not as bad as our record at some other grounds. Arsenal are supposedly about to fade away, just like they are every year. They haven’t yet, and if they do we won’t be taking their place. I’d like to think we
Issue 180 - February 2013 / Editorial
« Last post by martin@ on December 07, 2019, 09:52:54 PM »
Some editorials are easy to write. Some are more difficult. This is one of the easy ones.

I said last month that we’d gone through a period that was diabolical yet hopeful, appalling yet partially successful and still showed some positive signs. This month’s been like that, except for the hopeful, successful and positive bits. To put it mildly, it’s been awful. You have to go back to 1987, and maybe even further back than that, to 1969 and relegation to division three, for anything as bad. Words like humiliating and embarassing have been used so often that they’ve almost lost their meaning. Virtually every game has brought a new low while events off the pitch have been just as bad.

We let in too many goals, our heads drop, there’s a lack of confidence and leadership in the team. Everyone knows it and that’s the biggest problem. It’s too easy to play against the Villa – when a team from division four can stop us twice then it’s not exactly rocket science. Yet for all that the team has been poor since the opening day of the season, our problems were probably the easiest to put right out of everyone currently struggling
Issue 180 - February 2013 / In off the post - letters to the editor
« Last post by martin@ on December 07, 2019, 09:51:50 PM »
Over the Christmas/New Year period and depressed by the Villa's results I got to thinking about the players that have left the club, mostly because they wanted to go or else they didn’t fit with the manager of the time’s plans. A futile exercise some might say, but here is a list of players I can think of who are have played for other clubs in the Premier League this season: Brad Friedel, Boaz Myhill, Gary Cahill, Aaron Hughes, James Collins, Liam Ridgewell, Carlos Cuellar, Craig Gardner, Steve Sidwell, Ashley Young, Wayne rotledge, Luke Moore, Stewart Downing, Gareth Barry, James Milner and Peter Crouch. There may be others.
Keith Blackmore, Dublin.

Chelsea was bad enough, Spurs almost as bad and Wigan probably somewhere between the two. Bradford away was awful but we could say we were unlucky. Bradford at home was pathetic. Millwall wasn’t much better. Put together it’s a month of shame and humiliation worse than anything I can ever remember. Lerner, Lambert and Faulkner, it isn’t working. Go, just GO.
Paul Bennett, e mail.

Writing after the Newcastle match, which is the end of what must surely been the worst seven days
Issue 180 - February 2013 / How did it come to this?
« Last post by martin@ on December 07, 2019, 09:50:10 PM »
The title says it all. That is how I feel at the moment. Firstly though, apologies for my ramblings in the last issue. They were the incoherent rants of a man who had finally flipped his lid after that defeat against Wigan. Since then I have gone past being angry. It’s now a mixture of irritation, wonderment at just how much further we can sink, bemusement at the lack of activity to arrest our woes and, saddest of all, utter numbness as the latest horror story unfolds.

I started writing this on the evening after the night before. That night being a frozen, snowclogged one where 40-odd thousand hardy souls braved treacherous conditions to watch our match with Bradford. “Come and roar on the boys to Wembley” the club were saying in the lead into the game. Well we did our bit. We packed the place out, gave it our all, risked broken limbs and hypothermia, and our reward was getting knocked out of the cup by a team three leagues below after treated a shambolic second half display.

I could wax lyrical about the full horror of our defending, the missed chances, the quality of the opposition and the tactics unti
Issue 180 - February 2013 / Russon Reckons
« Last post by martin@ on December 07, 2019, 09:49:04 PM »
The pitiful malaise of Aston Villa can be blamed upon 101 factors or more. I’ve spent thirty seconds contemplating our lot, here I’ve whittled the reasons why we’re crap down to a mere 26 in an A-Z format.

Gabby. I have so much time for Gabby. Local lad done good, Villa fan, great servant, good history…but…we don’t need a reputation, we need a goalscorer and we need him to inspire younger players. He does neither.

Albrighton. What the hell has happened? Such a prospect two seasons back, unable to cross the road now never mind a football.

Bradford. Words fail us all when trying to convey feelings over our semi-final shame. That Lambert didn’t resign out of embarrassment before he’d even shaken Phil Parkinson’s hand at the final whistle is the eighth wonder of the world.

Chelsea. Our 8-0 humping was the worst in our entire 138 year history. It’s proved the catalyst for a meltdown of cat
Issue 180 - February 2013 / Randy Ellis
« Last post by martin@ on December 07, 2019, 09:47:47 PM »
In the dim and distant past when a Stayvie Bull-inspired Wolves were steadfastly refusing to get promoted from the second division, there was a vocal section of their support who wanted Sir Jack Haywood to sell up to

For a change, here's a different octogenarian ex-chairman

“someone with more ambition”. This was the same Sir Jack who'd pumped in a sizeable chunk of his own fortune into saving the club from becoming AFC Wanderers in the Midland Combination and turned them into what younger readers may recognise as the modern Wolves. Unsurprisingly, the rest of the world laughed incredulously at those ingrates who thought unrestrained ambition and financial stupidity were what it took to achieve their Panacea of being top flight strugglers. Jumping almost two decades, there's a poll on our website asking if people would rather have Doug Ellis or Randy Lerner running the club? It's like the first 150-odd issues of H&V never existed. This, to an outsider, frankly odd debate has run and run yet it would be amazing to think of pre-internet Villa supporters even momentarily pondering the ‘W
Issue 180 - February 2013 / heroes with dementia
« Last post by martin@ on December 07, 2019, 09:46:21 PM »
I’ve been watching the Villa for over half their existence. This is my collection of Villa snapshots. Would you like to see them? You would? Great. This one is me aged eight, going to Villa Park for a game for the first time. All my family are Villa fans but I’m very proud that I went to my first game on my own. My brothers are quite a bit older than I am and they didn't want a little kid with them. The picture shows me waiting for the 44 from Greet to town. Behind the bus stop is a big area of bombed buildings which copped it the night they hit the BSA. It was a penny child’s ticket to Carrs Lane. This next one is the long queue of corporation buses, all with 'Villa Park' on the front and the back where the bus number would usually be. That’s me crossing the road and joining the long left. It had wooden floors and they used to make a hell of a noise banging their feet on it. Over there on the right is the corrugated iron roofed Witton Lane stand. The snapshot is not very clear but you can just make out where they patched up the holes in the roof of the Witton Lane stand where it was damaged by bombing. This picture is of the turnstile down near the left hand corner flag where you could pay a tanner (6d) and swap ends. Just like these days we liked the Villa to attack the Holte End in the second half but if we lost the toss and attacked it in the first half we would spend a tanner and swap ends. If Harry Parkes, or Ivor Powell or Johnny Dixon won the toss we would not have to swap ends and we could spend our preciou
Issue 180 - February 2013 / To secure for the workers by hand or by brain…
« Last post by martin@ on December 07, 2019, 09:45:22 PM »
“We want our Villa back.” That’s the cry/internet comment which invariably follows our latest defeat. We get it on the occasional banner. It’s a noble aim – it would be great to own the Villa. But I don’t think the shouter/typist/designer has thought this one through. For a start. what does ‘we want our club back’ mean? How would we get it, and what would we do with it once we got it?

I don’t suppose they really want a workers cooperative, or every decision decided by a show of hands, so what they probably mean is please can we have an owner who spends a fortune every season and win trophies – just like every club wants. It still wouldn’t be ‘our’ club though. It would belong to the owner and as such subject to his whims and fancies. He could stick up the prices to Chelsea levels, sell players, appoint his mates as executives and give his son a ten year contract; we wouldn’t be able to do anything about it.

We haven’t been able to do anything about it for many years. Villa were unique in that the events of 1968 meant we had a shareholder base that was predominantly rooted in ordinary supporters and were probably the closest thing to a fan-owned club that English football had ever seen then, or probably has since at the top level.

In those early years at least, the board had to bear in mind the wishes of us plebs. This came to an end in 1979, when Doug was kicked off the board and sold his shares to Ron Bendall, giving a controlling interest which reverted to Doug three years later. From then on, no matter
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