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7500 to Holte Roundtable: A new wave of Villa optimism

We discuss how happy we are with Villa, despite some niggling concerns over FFP.

Queens Park Rangers v Aston Villa - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images

Sometimes, when there’s something worth writing - there’s opinions worth gathering. At 7500 to Holte, we got together to discuss our feelings about Aston Villa and how they’ve developed over the international break.


So - Happy international break, all! How are we feeling about Villa right now? Big three nil win over Derby must help, right?

Robb Jones:

It’s hard not to be incredibly excited right now. With the talent that this club has had over the last few years, matches like that win have been so few and far between—and yet it’s seemed like it’s been sticking and that second half was just the dam breaking. After starting so slow with such a soft schedule I was very discouraged and practically wrote the year off. I’m hesitant to say it...but I’m actually starting to buy in that this club could start knocking the door this year.

That’s scary to say so I’ll clip that with: I guess I’m excited enough that if we start looking like ‘Same Old Villa’ it’d be most painful if that comes a few months from now, so I have at least until after the January window to feel safe being optimistic. Does that make sense?

If I’m going to go back to my old chestnut of comparing Villa to lyrics from The National:

“I have only two emotions:

Careful fear and dead devotion.

I can’t get the balance right.”

James Rushton:

Of course you’d go with that National reference, Robb..

I get the point about balance though. We, as football fans, will swing happily from abyss-gazing to unrelenting and passionate optimism. I guess that’s part of the experience! In terms of Villa, I’m madly excited. I think everything that happens, win, lose or draw, brings us further forward. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever felt that way about us.

Phil Vogel:

Villa fans, myself included, are right to be excited. If the second half vs Derby is any indication this is the beginning of a great run. But if that was a false dawn -- we will know it quickly. No point in looking at the table until Jan 1 (I didn’t say I don’t but really there isn’t much of a point) -- on that day we’ll be able to address the realist goal of the season. But that second half vs Derby sure was fun.

Sean Evans:

As much as the UEFA Nations League has added a bit of excitement to the otherwise mundane international breaks, it has been disappointing to see Villa regulars pick up knocks whilst on duty.

However, that does not ruin my overall optimism with the club as a whole. Based on the situation at Monaco with Henry’s struggles and their owner purportedly involved in the Russia investigation, the hiring of Deano looks like the absolute right decision.

Unfortunately I missed the Derby match, but watching the highlights I saw three well-worked goals. One supporter on social media called one goal, “Man City lite…” Not certain about that, but the play was excellent and there has been a marked difference in the tactics since Smith has come in.

If Purslow is not just blowing a bit of smoke and the FFP is not a worry, things look a lot brighter. A win in the derby would obviously continue a build of positive momentum. However, I agree with Phil – with a busy holiday schedule, let’s see what the table looks like on January 1, 2019.

James Rushton:

Again, I can’t get FFP out of my head. We’ve got no reason not to believe our new CEO, but how can this issue, which was volcanic over the summer, suddenly not exist?

Sean Evans:

From what I’ve read, QPR received a £42m fine that they agreed to pay over 10-years. They also faced a transfer embargo. Man City received a £50m-ish fine that was drastically reduced in 2014. UEFA seemingly was willing to negotiate. Perhaps that is what the new ownership has done?

I admittedly have a novice understanding of the complex issue, but with the combined wealth of NSWE, seems like they could pay a fine in a lump sum and that would be a drop in the bucket.

Jake Fenicle:

Don’t wanna keep repeating what’s already been said on this round table and past ones, but the style of play has really picked up and even more so as the weeks go on. I know we sent a few players to play for their countries over this break (obviously a positive to have that number of quality players), some got hurt which is a whole different discussion, but I can only think this break and training for a whole 2 weeks between games will only let us gel that much more as a side. The run of matches coming up will surely be a test of our mentality and skill, but we really can’t overlook the fact that we dominated an away match at a Derby side that was entering the game 4th or 5th in the table. They had a few really dangerous chances, and that can be cleaned up from a defensive perspective, but I’m really trying to stay positive going into these next few weeks!