The Bells Are Ringing


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7 Days of Villa (10)

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7 Days of Villa (10)

Friday, 17th April

Tim says he'd sell Benteke. I really wish he wouldn't! I get what he's saying though; if Benteke is desperate to leave, he'd rather sell him than have a player that doesn't want to be here.

I really don't know how the Benteke situation will pan out. He has two years left so as long as we sort our safety out, I feel like an FA Cup win might be enough to keep him for next season at least, but if a genuine, real top-tier club comes in for him, can we expect him to stay? When I say genuine, top-tier, that sure as hell doesn't mean Spurs, by the way. Unless Liverpool get Champions League football next season, it doesn't mean them right now either. Man Utd on the other hand, they are a genuine top-tier club that will be in the Champions League next season. Not that I want to put ideas in their head but I'd say Benteke would boost Real Madrid's forward options too. I mean... Benteke or 'Chicharito', who would you want?

I said it last week and I'll say it again, if we *can* get Benteke to sign a new contract, that would be the best bit of business we could do this summer. Well unless we're bringing in someone of the level of a Messi, Ronaldo, Hazard etc to play up top with him.... Okay maybe we should sign all 3 just to play safe Laughing

Saturday, 18th April

Results don't really all go our way down the bottom, but that's okay; we were always staying out of the bottom three whatever happened, and it's all very much still in our own hands.

They don't particularly go our way in the other semi-final either, as I'm sure most fans would prefer to play Reading than Arsenal. The winning goal was a horrific goalkeeping mistake, and it's hard not to feel extremely sorry for all connected with Reading, in particular Adam Federici. I can't even begin to imagine how he must be feeling.

It's our turn tomorrow...

Sunday, 19th April

It's 11.33am. For some reason, I've lost a lot of confidence about today.

It's 2.51pm. I've had beer and bacon, I feel better now  Very Happy

I'll be back after the game...


That was pleasing on so many levels.

1. We were just better than them;
2. Benteke scored yet again;
3. Delph scored - someone who wasn't Benteke scored!  Laughing;
4. Grealish was fantastic. I don't mean to get all bogged down in I-told-you-so moments, as he certainly has achieved nothing yet, but I sure hope all the people who were writing him off already feel a bit silly for not at least giving him a proper chance;
5. I have to have the negative in here, because that's kind of how I am...! Kieran Richardson and Charles N'Zogbia contributed, but they were both rubbish contributions when you really analyse them (Richardson's goal-line clearance aside), and so genuinely, the positive is it felt like we won the game with practically 9 men. Harsh? Honestly, watch the game back, and just focus on those two. If you analyse their performances, it's really not harsh, especially on N'Zogbia;
6. Okore had a mare in his first few mins and Delph badly failed to get him out of jail in the lead-up to their first goal, but we sure as hell didn't let it stop us, and after that Okore did well;
7. Cleverley and Westwood both had, in my opinion, one of if not the best performance from both of them in a Villa shirt;
8. Captain Delph put in a proper 'Captain Marvel' type performance;
9. As did the (temporarily?) former skipper, Ron Vlaar;
10. It wasn't just on the pitch - our fans were simply much better, too. In fact plenty of Liverpool fans on Twitter were saying just that.

For a cherry on the cake, after a couple of recent drubbings, the ladies got back to winning ways with a 2-0 win at Oxford. Goals from Jade Richards and Olivia Fergusson did the damage, with United's Lauren Allison missing a stoppage-time penalty for the hosts.

Monday, 20th April

We have defensive reinforcements on the way! Senderos and Cissokho both played 90 minutes as the U21 side lost 2-1 to Newcastle. Harry McKirdy got our goal. Disappointing to lose but pleased to see them two involved and get through the game without any problems.

The M*rr*r have a whole host of Villa stories this evening, and various other media outlets are also carrying at least one of them.

The one that is getting the most coverage is that Ron Vlaar may well stay. I'd be happy with that; when fit, he's absolutely an asset, albeit arguably a slightly overrated one. But I always feel more comfortable with him in the team (closing moments against Stoke aside!) and I think it would be a sign of intent if we could keep him. If we're being flexible with our options, he obviously works in a back four, but if we need to change formations, a back three of Okore-Vlaar-Clark has a lovely balance to it, and for them at least, probably fits them three perfectly. Of course, that's probably not best for the overall team though! But I digress... Either way, if Vlaar doesn't stay, then his replacement is certainly one area I don't want a 'young and hungry' type signing (unless they are exceptional, obviously), I want experience in that area, and I want ready-to-go quality.

I suppose the one with the potential biggest impact is that a Chinese consortium are ready to buy us - straight after the cup final! Though if we go down, they'll look at Albion. They've apparently also spoken to Palace. Or something. I mean, there might be some truth in it, but given that just last month they were reporting it was a UK consortium, and in-between that and the Chinese rumours, there was more than one US rumour, forgive me for not paying too much attention to the details of these things. Will we be taken over this summer? Quite possibly. Are there too many rumours to know whether any of them should be taken seriously? Absolutely.

The third story is that we're close to signing Bakary Sako from Wolves on a free. As I said on the boards here, he's the type of player that would be overpriced if a fee was involved, but on a free, then if this is true, he could be some smart business. Whenever I watch Wolves, he certainly seems the stand-out player there. I guess winning the FA Cup would affect our transfer plans - if we're in Europe, we'll need a bigger boat. Sorry, squad; bigger squad.

Finally, the Grealish England/Ireland story is back and hopefully coming to a conclusion. I'm mostly English but also part Irish so I'm cool either way  :). I guess that my heart says I hope he picks England but my head says he's more likely to figure for Ireland. I'd imagine he feels the same way, but if he's confident he can get in the England team (look around - why shouldn't he be?) then I think he may go for that.

Tuesday, 21st April

Scott Sinclair says he definitely wants to stay after his loan spell. That doesn't excite me particularly, but for the money involved then once again this could be good business. I guess I just want him to play well and stay fit, then he may be someone to get excited about; after all he's already scored three times for us. If he can stay fit and keep consistent form of a reasonable standard, he'll do fine for us.

Wednesday, 22nd April

Another player that wants to be involved next season is Gary Gardner. Anyone who knows my opinions on the Villa will likely know that this is something I also want - but again, he is a player that HAS to stay fit. Some people don't 'get' Gardner, but most of those are the same people who were saying that about Grealish, and like Grealish is starting to show, I believe all Gardner needs is a proper run in the team. He can do a bit of everything, and if you've seen some of his goals for Forest, well we haven't had that threat from midfield for too long now.

Sherwood says that players aren't interested in Europa League football. I have to disagree to a certain extent; I think players in THIS country don't care, because that's how clubs treat it. But clubs in other countries treat it properly, so any signings from abroad may well see it as a positive. Plus as well as the money from it going up, it's also now another avenue to the Champions League. Why on earth should any club not want to go all out to win it? Winning that and getting into the CL could potentially change the future of this club. I think that is the message that needs to go out to players.

We're linked with Swindon's Massimo Luongo. Sherwood not only had him as part of the Academy set-up at Spurs, but he was photographed at Swindon's game the other night, so I guess this one may have mileage. He was player of the tournament at the Asia Cup (he plays for Australia) and I gather he's comfortable in central midfield as well as the DM/no. 10 roles. But that was from a Google search, not from me watching him!

Oh and the Sun have a picture of Grealish and a balloon, and that is all the time I'm willing to spend on that nonsense this evening.

Thursday, 23rd April

The balloon story has been nipped in the bud by Sherwood. There you go.

Speaking of Sherwood, he confirms that we're looking to sign Cleverley when the season ends, that Clark and Baker are both out for the rest of the season (especially gutted for Clarky, who's been great), and Senderos and Cissokho are both available for the City game. We're also hopeful of having Gabby back. That would be handy, especially as I believe they have Kompany out. Don't quote me on that last bit though  Suspect

I honestly believe a win could be the end of our relegation worries, especially if results go well elsewhere. Come on you Lions!

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