Hourihane, Hogan and Bjarnason, Steve Bruce’s Lost Villa Souls

January Promise

After Jordan Amavi moved on the other week, only Micah Richards and Mark Bunn were left from the 12 players brought in the summer of the 2015/16 season, that ended in Villa’s relegation.

There was no January transfer window, as then Villa boss Remi Garde was left out to dry by the Villa board, whom waved the white flag as the club perished into the Championship.

Steve Bruce’s January window this year though, was the window that was meant to bring new hope. Bruce was the manager that was backed by the media and many Villa fans to get the club back where it belonged.

On paper, at least, the window focused on getting in players that were already impressing in the Championship. Villa bought what were regarded as the best players at several Championship clubs – Henri Lansbury (Nottingham Forest), Conor Hourihane (Barnsley) and Scott Hogan (Brentford).

In essence, Villa were happy to play the playground bullies taking away other Championship club’s sweets.

Bruce’s January business seemed sound. As well as young guns, Sam Johnstone on loan from Manchester United and James Bree from Barnsley, Icelandic international Birkir Bjarnason looked a useful buy too, as did left-back Neil Taylor.

Yet, so far, on the whole, the January acquisitions that cost over £20m have failed to impress and give the Villa boss the team he was hoping for.

Hogan, for example, has so far followed in the footsteps of Ross McCormack of being a costly flop. While what was meant to be the core of a new Villa midfield, the duo of Lansbury and Hourihane, seem to being playing within themselves and shackled.

Ironically, Villa’s best players last season were two Roberto Di Matteo signings – Jonathan Kodjia and Mile Jedinak.

‘Villa were happy to play the playground bullies taking away other Championship club’s sweets.’

In the latest My Old Man Said podcast we discuss three of the January signings in particular, the three that should have sparked Villa into the play-offs last season.

Broadly speaking, we tackle the following questions:

Is Scott Hogan becoming Villa’s latest Sick Note? Are Conor Hourihane shortcomings so far, Bruce’s fault? And what’s up with Bjarnason?

At the moment, all three seem to be lost souls in B6.

Check the discussion in podcast episode out here:

Episode 25 also includes a look at Villa’s poor start, Bruce’s situation, Andre Green’s final touch and Gareth Barry going to the Albion.

We further discussed Villa’s underperforming players in the previous podcast episode 24 too, as well as the first week of Villa’s season and Bruce’s retreat to ‘experience’ after hinting at a more progressive approach in pre-season.


What do you think?

When you look at Bruce’s January signings, considering the various player’s reputations before they joined Villa, certainly almost all of them are under-performing.

Who do you think has been the best January 2017 signing so far?

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  1. That was the window I would give my final judgement on SB, I wanted him at Villa because he’d had the experience of getting teams up. Unfortunately it appears he got kid in the candy store syndrome, and it seems the mistakes of Lerner are being repeated.
    Hogan – was a known sick note before Villa bought him
    Taylor – an admission the manager couldn’t work with the current left backs.
    Hourihane, Lansbury – although needed something in the midfield, had a doubt about buying two similar players and too many captains.
    Johnstone – good for six months, should have been cover whist a prepared transfer team worked out the target for this window, or at the very least should have wrapped up the extension before the end of the season. Sloppy to waste valuable time on a known player.
    Bjarnason – Dunno think it was a marketing buy to open up Iceland as a new fan base. Wasn’t to play football or if it was could someone tell me at what position please? Bacuna II.
    Bree – Finally someone to replace Hutton, yet Leg Breaker still played…

    Even more worrying than the above. This summers activity has been less than stellar. And tho I was for JT, I admit I got lost in the hype and would love to change that because the price was too high. But Samba? He is Micah II but without the pace, I will put aside his newly found position of striker haha.. And I don’t see any buys that would be all that good if in the remote possibility Villa were promoted this season. Finally, given the comments from the CEO, around less flexibility with funds if Villa aren’t promoted coupled with not having a lot of resale value in the team presents a strategic issue for the franchise.

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