Often Partisan

Two Meals Away From Barbarism

It’s difficult at this moment in time not to look across the expressway at our stricken brethren and smirk. After a few years of laughing at our problems while circling the Premier League drain themselves, our city rivals have suddenly become the league’s whipping boys and with fourteen games to go are all but down.

As much as it’s been Schadenfreude to watch them come to terms with the fact that Blues are more likely to be a Premier League team than they are next season, I’ve also been an interested observer in the way they have reacted to their own “ownership problems” – especially to see what they do differently to us.

I think their definition of ownership problems are very different to ours. Randy Lerner has spent £300 million on them since he took over – yet he is now being criticised for a lack of ambition. He’s gone through a few managers, but their points tally and position has steadily remained bottom six throughout the last few years culminating in this year’s pathetic effort. He has said he wants to sell – and indeed there were negotiations in the summer yet nothing came of it.

In comparison, Blues’ largest shareholder is still a convicted money launderer; the holding company is still in receivership almost a year on and while there is supposed to be an ongoing takeover, we don’t know what is happening due to a lack of updates over the last four months or so.

The main difference is Blues are winning games, and actually have some hope. We all were happy with a £1.5million signing in the transfer window (our biggest for five years) because it was evidence that money could be reinvested even though our net transfer spend in the window was still -£2million+. When results are going right on the pitch it’s easy to forget about the money worries and just be excited about the here and now, and leave the boring ownership stuff that we have no effect over until the brown stuff truly hits the fan again.

Don’t get me wrong – I think it’s right that we enjoy what we have now for what it is, celebrate the fact we’ve got a good manager in Gary Rowett and that our players have collectively raised their game to give us a tilt at promotion via the playoffs. I’m not saying we should break out the bedsheets with “sack the board” or whatever else just because Carson has resolutely stayed put.


There’s a quote (which sadly I can’t find who to attribute it to) that says civilisation is two meals away from barbarism. I think it can almost be paraphrased into football clubs are two bad months away from protests. What I mean by this is that football is a very trigger happy sport now; it doesn’t take much going wrong on the field for the grumbles to start – and it doesn’t take much going wrong on the field for people to remember their dislike of the owners of their football club.

I’m not really going anywhere with this – I think apathy rules anyway when it comes to the ownership situation; even if I do say we should think about what’s going on in HK people are going to accuse me of a) boring them and b) not getting behind the team. I just think it’s interesting how the results on the pitch can change the outlook on how things are within a club so much.


77 Responses to “Two Meals Away From Barbarism”

  • Paul says:

    I noticed the vile boys had recycled their”board outi bed sheet”
    Last night

  • John Ramsay says:

    I haven’t forgotten about the ownership issues and the lack of updates from HK is worrying it as we’ve seen over the past few years there is very little we can do about it. I think Panos is doing a great job and we just have to trust him to do the best he can.
    In the meantime I’m just going to sit back enjoy the way we are playing under our great manager and see what the rest of the season brings.

    • john says:

      John , it also makes you think, that if there was a new Board already in situ, how good would the team be. With complete stability at the top, this would funnel down to the manager and the players and the sky would be the limit. If Carson Yeung had any feeling for our club, he would do the decent thing and relinquish his hold on the club now. Somebody please explain to him, what decency means !

  • Eddie says:

    I know net spend was -£2mil. But if you count Rowets new contract and the loan players brought in. It’s probably all spent

  • macclad says:


    It’s either Arnold Rimmer, Alexander Dumas or Trotsky.

    I prefer Rimmer!

    • Kaje says:

      It’s Space Corps Directive 221A.

      Or is that ‘No Commanding Officer is allowed to pleasure themselves with a spare plasma hose whilst in charge of a monkey, or monkeys’?

  • Alf Dimmock says:

    Good article, well balanced and thought provoking. KRO

  • Lich Blues says:

    You have to enjoy the football because we have no control over what’s happening in HK. Can you Imagine how good Rowett could be with proper owners?

    • dino tiltoni says:

      Maybe, but some managers (in many businesses) do better when resources are thinner. It’s a different mindset to having ample resources and plenty of opportunity to make the wrong decisions. That’s something some of the richest English clubs are dealing with now.

  • Bazzer says:

    not sure if this is the quote you are referring to but

    The phrase ‘nine meals from anarchy’ was the expression coined by Lord Cameron of Dillington, a farmer who was the first head of the Countryside Agency – the quango set up by Tony Blair in the days when he pretended to care about the countryside – to describe just how perilous Britain’s food supply actually is.

  • John. "Senegal" Rabone says:

    “It has been said that civilization is twenty-four hours and two meals away from barbarism.
    The quote is by Neil Gaiman

    • almajir says:

      I know Neil Gaiman said that in Good Omens, but the “it has been said” bit leads me to believe it’s earlier. I think it’s Heinlein originally but I didn’t have enough time this morning to check properly.

  • In today’s real world some villa fans possibly think that Andy learner has wasted £300,million on a team that is taking them into relegation , his fault being in charge he owes us , in blues real world there possibly are people that because we beat Arsenal in the cup and went into Europe again that we owe them in some profound way , many many other factors being forgotten in the reasoning because it suits them to think that ., the fact is we are heading back into another dinasaur period whereby the colour of our appearance depends on the colour of our surroundings . that way what ever it suits us to think has got to be right …..KRO

  • DaveP says:

    Dan, remind me, when is Carson due back in court?

  • Jaffa says:

    Welcome to our world Villa.They have laughed at us for as long as i can remember.I pray everyday that they get relegated.

  • BillyBow says:

    Our current positive position on the playing side had made me wonder about something; Do E&Y have a better chance of influencing Carson to sell his stake in the company if we are in the Premier League with a higher valuation or by ‘starving him out’ if we stay in the Championship?

  • BlackCountryBlue says:

    Basically I go by the saying you can only control the controllable – we (fans) can only control what we do on a Saturday afternoon i.e. support the team and manager. Although we have a massive interest we cannot influence what happens the other side of the world, but the lack of information is frustrating and the apparent inactivity can make you sceptical about the final outcome.

  • justin says:

    the big difference between our club and theirs is the fact that our club has a set of fans that have FAITH along with that “keep right on no matter what” attitude

    If the sun isn’t shinning they don’t want play, simple! and are happy to just occupy themselves with talk of “long ago” achievements and a game of scrabble at nan’s house on a Saturday afternoon.

    the future is bright, the future is Rowett, KRO brothers

  • WalmleySteve says:

    I agree with your sentiment Dan. Blues’ mini renaissance owes itself to 2 things – 1) Mr Pavlakis’ decision to appoint Gary Rowett, and 2) Gary Rowett doing a damn good job. Rowett won’t be here for ever though and he will no doubt move on within the next 18 months while his stock is high. Let’s not kid ourselves that he has some kind of special connection with the club simply because he also played for us; he’s as ambitious as the next man. That’s when things could get tricky again, particularly if the ownership issues are still not resolved. And let’s face it, none of us would be surprised if in 18 months time nothing has changed on that front given the radio silence from Hong Kong for months now. The ownership saga may be boring to some but I would urge you to continue to try and elicit answers from Hong Kong on our behalf as what happens over there will ultimately define the club’s long-term future.

    • AndyW says:

      I agree Steve. Our current uplift has potential for being short-lived if we don’t make it to the play-offs. The reality is that GR will have courted much attention with his achievements, as will some of our players, and it won’t be long before the carrots will be dangled in front of him. I would love to believe that he feels he has a job to do here, and that he will remain until it’s completed. But football just isn’t like that anymore, whether you agree with it or not? If and when that time arrives, it will be pivotal to any future success that we have a stable business platform to work from so we can encourage suitable replacements. The longer the saga continues behind the scenes, the less likely we are to attract the right sort of people?
      As for our neighbours, I am somewhat ambivalent towards their plight. I try and focus on what my club is doing and not really care too much about others as there’s no real point. However, I am prone to a wry smile each time I see a result which appears to be a proverbial ‘nail’ in their coffin!

      • AdamTrueBlue says:

        I can not see a premiership owner risking on an up and coming ‘unproved’ championship manager, doesn’t matter how good we believe he is, there is a chance that a relegation fighting team might court his services, but why would he risk his reputation when he is worshiped at home? where he is happy and must be getting job satisfaction for the results he has produced, and I see no better prospect for him from another championship team where he would not be under any pressure, face it, if we do not get to playoffs or get promoted would we ask for him to go? No, we still think the sun shines from nether orafice, if we had a bank balance to squander would we look for a different manager? again NO.
        I think you have got it wrong, I f we do make premier league and then stay up for a season then things will be different, but that will be another day and we will probably have CY to blame then. Kro

  • ChrisG says:

    Daniel, I think the quotation is “CIvilization is two meals & 24 hours from Barbarianism”, who origionally said it you can take your pick from Sir Terry Prachett, Neil Gaiman, Plato, Karl Marx or even Red Dwarf!!!. Though the popular one does seem to be Neil Gaiman

  • swissjonny says:

    The fact is that not much is going to happen until the Court of Final Appeal makes its mind up on Carsens case.There is absolutely nothing that we can do to influence or change this.So lets keep it in the back of our minds -because it will happen.Lets deal with it when it does happen.Right now all we can do is get right behind the lads and the Boss.If you can get to games-go.Shout like you have never shouted before!!! If you cant ,grip your lap top hard and pray! Whatever happens rejoice in the fact that we have had a much better season than any of us could have dreamt of or hoped for.
    As regards the people of Aston I so sincerely hope that they get a long overdue lavish, whoppa sized helping of humble pie.Their arrogance and attitude has enraged me for years The trouble is I cant help thinking that they will escape.They always remind me of the kid at school who got off being caned because he had hay fever or some such.Please great Headmaster in the sky ignore the pathetic note from their Mum. Select your most savage disciplinary tool and unleash upon these vile individuals a flogging of such immeasurable savagery that they will not be able to sit on their hideous coloured seats for many seasons to come. In case my position is unclear-I want them to get relegated!

  • Shirley Blue says:

    Big game for the Vile on Saturday – Norwich at home. Lose or draw and that’s them done for. Win and they will likely be 7 points from safety and probably feel there is still a glimmer of hope. My dream is of a sunny Saturday afternoon in April with a full house at St Andrews. We win to secure a play-off place. They lose and are mathematically down and out.

  • DoctorD says:

    I know a handful of Villa fans and they don’t seem too bothered about relegation. I think they envisage a year in the Championship before bouncing straight back up. Unfortuantely, the malaise at the club is so deep that may not happen – and I don’t think they are braced for that.

    • Shirley Blue says:

      Assuming they do go down they will get 55% of what they would have got paid of the broadcasting revenue they would have received if they had stayed up as a parachute payment. Not sure how much that is but it won’t be insubstantial. That does put them and the other two relegated at a serious financial advantage. However one Vile fan did tell me that they forgot to put relegation clauses into the contracts of the many (useless) players they brought last summer so they will probably have to offload them if they can.

  • garonsavage says:

    I think it is sad that at a time of comparative success we are still bothering ourselves about events in B6. IM(humble)O the main reason we are perceived to be living in their shadow is that we are continually “looking over our shoulders” at what is happening in the Dark Side of Aston. This is epitomized perfectly by the way that the SOTV chorus is sung with more regularity and passion than KRO. That can’t be right.

    It matters not to me what a few misguided saddos in Aston do with their time. I’d rather spend my time and energy supporting the only team on the Planet!!

  • StaffsBlue says:

    “After a few years of laughing at our problems while circling the Premier League drain themselves.”

    Drain. How very apt. :)

    I think people are apathetic about the ownership issue because there’s absolutely nothing we can do about it whichever way it goes… so fans are channelling all their efforts into supporting Rowett and the team. Fans are in total charge of how they support the team and HK can do nothing about that either.

  • Kazakblue says:

    Neil Gaiman > Quotes > Quotable Quote

    Neil Gaiman

    “It has been said that civilization is twenty-four hours and two meals away from barbarism.”

    ― Neil Gaiman, Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch

  • Bluey says:

    I think,Dan,that quote comes from Barry Fry.

  • I hope we have got Ronan Hale on a pre -contractoral agreement he sounds worthy ….

  • Perhaps swissjonny these last few years has helped to put every part of the club on a sound footing as now we are realising that every age group at the club has a great value to the future of the club , that light at the end of the tunnel can only brighten with this in mind…KRO

  • ChrisG says:

    When the Golds & Sullivan were in charge at St Andrews they saved us from being wound up, replaced the old cow shed terraces with decent stands and ran the club well financially, but a lot of blues fans weren’t satisfied with that & wanted them gone, they got their wish & the rest as they say is history, Vile fans want The Randy Learner gone even though he has spent over £300 million. Well all I can say is be careful what you wish for!!

    • Hillfield Blues says:

      Spot on.I was sat behind Gold/Sullivan once just before they sold and about 500 gathered in front of them chanting “OUT”repeatedly,it was frightening.I hope those small minded idiots could see the error of their ways when it became clear what sort of owner Carsen would turn out to be.

      • ChrisG says:

        I’d bet the majority of those 500 or so idiots don’t even go to matches anymore Hillfield, therefore they probably don’t care what’s happened to us.

      • .KC says:

        Bang on comments chaps.
        Missed Ipswich and Bristol. Can anyone tell me how Buckley is shaping up ? See Dan has queted him on £20k a week. Very decent money.

        • ChrisG says:

          He’s done ok so far KC, bear in mind he’s not 100% match fit as he hasn’t had a lot of game time, I think he will be a very useful aquisition.

          • Hillfield Blues says:

            Was chuffed when we signed him.He’s lost his way but earned his move to the Premiership off the back of a terrific spell with Brighton.At 26 he can come again and if there is s manager to bring a player out of the football wilderness it’s Rowett who’s steadily building a good track record for it.

  • Eric says:

    I still miss the WHU owners and think the fans were partly to blame for losing those good English owners

  • Sean O'Farrell says:

    If Villa fans think they will easily bounce back from the championship with their current squad , they should take a look at the opposition and take note of how many were once premiership teams. A quick glance at the National league and see how many were once FL teams is pretty instructive too. I follow The Blues from distance and can’t get to see them but keep everything crossed for deliverance from the current impasse.

    • ChrisG says:

      Totally agree Sean, the fact as well they will be busy in the transfer market with most of the current squad being sold. They probably won’t have any problem bringing in players as a lot of footballers, like their fans, are under the illusion vile are a big club!!lol

  • Hillfield Blues says:

    “We will bounce straight back” and “it’s just a blip” are the first things fans say in the face of relegation.What Vile fans need to understand is that since the playoffs were introduced only 23% of sides relegated from the Premier league have been promoted the following season.Thats less than one in four.Scary stuff vilers!

  • Womble Joe says:

    Love it whenever they ring the radio. Everyone of them to a man says something along the lines of ‘This is Aston Villa this shouldn’t be happening to us’ followed moments later by ‘we won the European cup y’know’ :)

    I am loving every single second of their demise and their arrogant fanbases torment.

  • Sky news says Chinese tycoons are investing heavily into football clubs.., perhaps something could happen at blues soon ,

  • Womble Joe says:

    Can’t think of any other Chinese connection other than ours

  • Womble Joe says:

    Shows what I know cheers Dan, interesting.

    Carson with a new backer maybe?

  • garonsavage says:

    I wouldn’t get too “starry eyed about the “Gullivans” They paid £1.00 for our club and sold it for £80mill.
    After calling Carson a “shyster” and wideboy they ripped his hand off for his money. Saying that they were satisfied he would take us to the next level. Unfortunately it was the next level down. The parting of the ways came not because of the way the fans treated them. They were much too thick skinned for that. When the Casino project “bit the dust” that was the reason they left. Getting the Stadium for West Ham which we all paid for was a bonus They even tried
    to rip the club off for “exes” they hadn’t earned and Ms. Brady tried to nick a company Limo.

    At least Carson never pretended to be anything but an honest crook!!

    • garonsavage says:

      In the words of the late,great Harpo Marx. I wouldn’t want to belong to any club that would have me as a member!!

    • Singapore Brum says:

      The Gold’s and Sullivan only paid GBP1.00 for the club because they took on all of its’ debt. What they did do is got the club on a strong financial foothold, didn’t spend more than it earned, got the crowds in, took us to 6th place in the PL at one stage (had we beaten Man United at Old Trafford, we would have gone to 3rd place, but Maik Taylor gave away a penalty and got sent off at the same time) and brought in some of the most exciting players ever to grace St Andrews.

      They never hid from the fact that they were life time supporters of West Ham and that their ultimate dream was to one day become their owners. That opportunity came up so who can blame them for making that happen?

  • With blues under GR the club have proved that football can be a good investment , as long as you start on the right footing , the problem we could have with chinese billionaires looking for clubs to invest in is the time it is taking to get these court cases done , God once again it is like waiting all year for Christmas only to be told that you won’t get your present until the following Christmas , let’s hope when the court cases are done that TTA make a quick decision .,

    • ChrisG says:

      The problem is mate it’s could be at least another year until TTA are even close to taking over, with all the legal wranglings & the fact that the Chinese judicial system is slower than a dead snail the best thing i’ve found is to concentrate on the here & now, I mean Pannos has been doing a tremendous job in running the club & we’re pretty secure financially. The only thing we are missing is investment but hopefully that would come sooner rather than later.

      • swissjonny says:

        Mate I dont think TTA will hold the club.They were after the listing on the cheap.If CY gets off then Im sorry to say I really believe he will be back-with money from Macau.A lot of people will owe CY so raising money should not be a problem for him-IF he gets off.

  • Stephen Wood says:

    It is a position we have been in ourselves , which has been compounded by our crooked owners. For five years now we have been as low as a snakes belly. So is it any wonder that we sneer . Great read Dan

  • Stephen Wood says:

    Dan i think the Two Meals thing comes from Larry Nivens “Lucifers Hammer”

  • Andrew says:

    Football management is easy. They even release a game annually, it’s really true and detailed and every aspect of it is exactly how real life football pans out. So I can’t see why blues can’t win the champions league in a few seasons and sign all the top strikers.

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