Sunderland boss Peter Reid was a happy man after Frenchman David Bellion eased the pressure on him with a precious winner against Aston Villa.
The teenager struck 20 minutes from time to end a three-game losing run which had left the manager deep in crisis.
"The best way I can put it is there were a few knives being sharpened and they've just gone a bit blunt," Reid said. "But they'll be back.
"That's part and parcel of being a football manager. I feel all right. I feel a lot better than I did last week. That was a bitter blow, and I'm really pleased with them."
Reid had demanded a return to the days when Sunderland players gave nothing less than 100 per cent to their club's cause, and he got that as they recovered from an anxious start during which Villa squandered several chances to take charge of the game.
And although the respite may be only temporary - they face the daunting trip to Arsenal next weekend after Tuesday night's Worthington Cup tie at Cambridge - the manager is confident that the foundations are back in place.
"I just hope that victory, we can kick on from it now," he said. "We've got the tie at Cambridge and then we've got to go to the Arsenal.
"It frightened me to death today watching them, so you come down to reality very, very quickly in the Premiership."
The win was just reward for Reid's bravery in shuffling his pack, handing defender Jody Craddock a first start since the tragic death of his baby son Jake and throwing Julio Arca and Bellion in from the start.
And his decision to play under-fire Republic of Ireland midfielder Kevin Kilbane - on the advice of Mick McCarthy - at left-back also paid off.
"The players have responded very well," he said. "When you talk about performances, I thought they all did well, worked hard and played some good stuff in patches.
"I'm really pleased for Bellion and for Kevin Kilbane. I thought Kevin was our best player.
"Mick McCarthy, who was here today, I gave him a call and asked him about it and he said 'Stick him in, he'll do a job for you', so I must thank Mr McCarthy.
"But I was especially pleased for Craddock. We all know what he's been through, and I thought he was fantastic. I can't speak highly enough of the man. He was one of the main reasons why we dug out the result.
"I'd have taken anything today, but all in all, I thought the players gave me a performance.
"That's all I want. If they do that every week, I can't ask for anything more, and they certainly did it today."
Villa boss Graham Taylor, whose side have now not scored in four Premiership games away from home this season and are yet to pick up a single point on their travels as a result, was understandably disappointed.
Lee Hendrie, Darius Vassell and Dion Dublin all had good early chances but still could not break their duck.
"I'm very, very frustrated," he said. "Understandably, the attention has been around Peter, and he'll be very, very pleased with the result.
"I'm very, very disappointed with it because we had our chances to really have cemented our place probably in the top half of the division.
"We're win one, lose one, win one, lose one. That's what we've been all season.
"Out of our five defeats, that's our fourth 1-0 as well, and the goal, although it was well struck by the Sunderland player, was an awful one to give away from our point of view."
Source: Sporting Life
27/9 - United signs Boulding
But it isn't as bad as it sounds.
Sheffield United have swooped to sign Aston Villa striker Michael Boulding on loan and he is set to make his debut against Watford.
Blades manager Neil Warnock moved for Boulding after losing strike-trio Iffy Onuora, Paul Peschisolido and Carl Asaba through injury.
Boulding was a target for Warnock in pre-season, but he opted to join Villa on a Bosman free from Grimsby.
The 27-year-old Sheffielder, who supports the Blades, only turned professional with Mansfield three years ago. He was previously a professional tennis player.
Boulding scored 11 goals in 24 starts for Grimsby last season, but has only turned out for Villa in a couple of Intertoto games in pre-season and is still waiting to make his Premiership debut.
26/9 - Put up and shut up!
Graham Taylor says people will have to fight for their first team place.
Villa boss Graham Taylor today warned his international legion that they could all get the "Alpay treatment" in his determination to find a winning formula.
Taylor axed the Turkish international defender Alpay Ozalan from his 16 for Sundays moral boosting victory over Everton.
Alpay was reported to have stormed away from Villa Park and his agent has since been seeking a meeting with Taylor to discuss the unsettled players future.
But the Villa boss shrugged off this latest skirmish with his World Cup star and warned all of his big name players that the same fate could befall them in the season ahead.
Taylor said: "I'm hearing all these things about Alpay from a distance but he has been no problem to me.
"He left the ground quite calmly and he's come in since, done his training and not been a problem.
"We've got a big squad and some are going to be left out. Marcus Allback said he was surprised not to make the 16. Juan Pablo Angel would have been disappointed not to be in the 11 - but they've both handled.
"Choosing your substitutes is just as important as your first 11 and there are going to be disappointments for players in the future. It is how they cope with that disappointment which is important.
"No manager will ever solve the problem of keeping players happy when they are not in the 11 or 16."
Taylor is unlikely to restore Alpay to his starting line-up when Villa attempt to make Peter Reid's life even more uncomfortable at Sunderland on Saturday.
Reid is under intolerable pressure and has been given a break from training by chairman Bob Murray in an effort to lighten the burden.
But Villa are desperate for a first away win of the season and Taylor's hand will be strengthened by the return of Mark Delaney after injury.
Delaney, like Alpay, might have to be content with a place on the bench while Taylor also has to decide whether Dion Dublin's impact as a substitute in the last two games has earned him a full recall.
Source: Express & Star
25/9 - City "fan" sent to court
A Birmingham City thug, who invaded the pitch at the Villa game, has appeared in court.
A 26-year-old man on Wednesday appeared in court charged with running onto the football pitch during a derby football match.
Michael Peter Harper, of Leafield Road, Solihull, West Midlands, was charged with affray and making an incursion onto the playing area.
The offences relate to the Birmingham City versus Aston Villa match on September 16, which Birmingham won 3-0.
Harper was bailed by Birmingham magistrates for two weeks to appear before the same court on October 9.
He may face further charges after police have interviewed members of Aston Villa Football Club.
Source: Sporting Life
24/9 - You're not in the dark!
Graham Taylor has offered his assurance to some of those, who feel like "forgotten men".
Graham Taylor has insisted Steve Stone, Alan Wright and Mustapha Hadji have not become forgotten men at Aston Villa and can still play a part if they maintain the right approach and attitude.
The experienced trio have only been given limited chances at first-team level since Taylor returned to Villa Park in February and has put the accent chiefly on youth.
But Taylor will not be afraid to bring them back into the picture - as demonstrated by the introduction of another fringe player in goal hero Dion Dublin against Everton on Sunday - if he feels it will benefit the club.
The Villa boss said: "For a lot of people outside of Villa Park, Dion Dublin may have become a forgotten man - but he's not and it's the same with Stone, Wright and Hadji.
"I've said to all of them 'providing you don't duck or dive with me, then I'm not going to duck and dive with you.
"I've said to them 'you've got contracts here, the club will honour them and be ready when the chance comes again'.
"Dion Dublin did that when he came on against Everton. He and Stefan Moore gave us that added bite when attacking."
But Hadji admits his chances of playing for Villa again are looking remote and claims: "I can't see where my next opportunity is going to come".
The Morocco international has been confined to just one substitute appearance in the Premiership this season and finds himself well down the pecking order of midfielders at the club.
Hadji said: "Because of the way things have gone, it's going to be hard for me to play.
"The manager has his choice, and I respect that choice, but it is hard for me to be here every morning and work hard when I know I'm not going to be in the team.
"The manager has been here six or seven months, and I've only playing a handful of games. Every game I try to do my best but it is difficult.
"It's difficult because when the opportunity comes along it is going to take you by surprise but you have to be ready and that's why I am still working hard.
"Whether it's when we play with the reserves, or in training, we give 100% because you never know when your opportunity will come along.
"It's going to be hard to get an opportunity but I will try to take it and play well if one does come along."
Source: Sporting Life
23/9 - Time runs out for another Villa legend
One thing will never show mercy to any kind of legend: time.
Pat Saward, a hero of Aston Villa's 1957 FA Cup Final winning side, has died after a long battle with illness. He was 75.
The Irish-born international made 68 appearances for Villa between 1955 and 1961 but none so memorable as the part he played as skipper in the club's emphatic cup defeat of the team of the era - Matt Busby's Manchester United.
The wing-half started his career at Millwall before joining Villa. He later played for Huddersfield before becoming a coach in the Middle East.
After years working in Spain, where he set up a travel business, Pat returned to England but was recently diagnosed with dementia. He died at the weekend at the care home in Newmarket.
Today his former teammate and fellow Cup Final hero Johnny Dixon, aged 78, of Sutton Coldfield, said: "Pat was a great player and a great man.
"I will never forget how happy we were on the day of the Cup Final beating the Busby Babes."
Source: IC Birmingham
23/9 - Seconds want a shot
Alas, satisfying everybody is a difficult task for Graham Taylor.
Graham Taylor came under fire from the Villa Park cast-offs today as "forgotten man" Dion Dublin celebrated his match-winning rescue act.
Dublin was brought in from the cold for the second time in six days and saved Villa with an 85th-minute winner against Everton.
The three points took the heat off Villa and Taylor after their bitter derby experience at St Andrew's but came on a weekend when Dublin's fellow "old boys" criticised the manager who has sentenced them to reserve team football.
Midfielder Steve Stone said: "The team have not won many games this season have they? That is down to one man - the man who picks the team every week.
"He has to take the responsibility. I know he has signed new players and has to play them. But I think I'm as good as anything he's got.
"Whether things have gone too far I don't know but I have to put myself in a position where he has to pick me."
And Hassan Kachloul, another of the discarded group signed by former boss John Gregory, had a dig at Taylor's preparations for the Birmingham match claiming: "I didn't think we were ready for it.
"We knew it would be a big game for the city and for both clubs and I think we should have been more combative and showed more spirit than we did.
"We should have come on the pitch with more hunger."
But Taylor says Dublin's 99th Premiership goal after being recalled to Villa's 16 for the last two games proves there is a way forward for the old guard.
Kachloul, Stone and Moustapha Hadji have yet to play any significant role for Villa under Taylor and believe they have not been given a fair chance.
But Taylor said: "To some people outside the club he has become partly a forgotten man but he represents what I have said to everyone else in his situation such as Alan Wright or Steve Stone - and that is to be ready when your time comes.
"That's the whole business of having a squad. You may not be involved, and you may wonder what's happening but you're under contract at the club and you have to be ready when the time comes. Dion has been first class at that.
"He's now got his 99th Premiership goals so he obviously wants another one and it's a good target to aim for - not too many strikers have 100."
Dublin, who replaced the struggling Peter Crouch with nine minutes left, played down his role saying: "It was a great feeling to get a winner in front of the Holte.
"I finished last season on loan and have not been involved much. But I have never wanted to leave Villa and it is nice to remind people I'm still around."
Source: Express & Star
22/9 - Dublin rules!
Graham Taylor naturally loved everything about Dublin after the game today.
Graham Taylor hailed Aston Villa's "forgotten man" after Dion Dublin snatched the winner against Everton.
Dublin was farmed out on loan to Millwall last year with his Villa Park career apparently on the wane.
He has remained on the fringes of the first team during the start of the new campaign - until now.
Dublin's introduction as a substitute with nine minutes left ended Everton's stirring comeback and secured a vital 3-2 win.
After after Monday's humiliation at Birmingham, Taylor was so thankful that he may even get the chance to claim a 100th top flight goal.
Taylor said: "Dion's now got his 99th Premiership goals so he obviously wants another one and he's now got a good target to aim for - not too many strikers have 100.
"To some people outside the club he has become partly a forgotten man but he represents what I have said to everyone else in his situation such as Alan Wright or Steve Stone, and that is to be ready when your time comes.
"That's the whole business of having a squad and you may not be involved, and you may wonder what's happening but you're under contract at the club and you have to be ready when the time comes. Dion has been first class at that."
Villa had taken a 2-0 lead with two excellent strikes by Lee Hendrie but Everton forced their way back through Tomasz Radzinski and Kevin Campbell. The visitors then crumbled before Dublin pounced.
The three points came as a huge relief to Taylor, who had been forced to endure his side losing at St Andrews on Monday, and he revealed he feared the worst.
Taylor added: "If you lose a two-goal lead at home when you have just lost the previous game to your local rivals then your fans are not going to be very happy.
"When Everton equalised it looked like only one side would win it - but I've got to give the players credit for showing great character. You make your own luck - but it looked like we were going to buckle."
Source: Sky Sports
21/9 - Gray: own goal was the wrong decision
Andy Gray has explained why the second goal for Birmingham shouldn't have been allowed.
Andy Gray believes two vital decisions went against Aston Villa as they lost their derby match at Birmingham, live on Sky Sports.
The pundit feels that referee David Elleray's controversial decisions to allow Peter Enckelman's bizarre own goal, and rule out Darius Vassell's 'equaliser', were the key moments as Villa lost the first ever Premiership encounter between the rivals.
Enckelman allowed a throw-in to squirm under his foot and straight into the net and Gray insists that the officials cannot be sure the goalkeeper definitely touched the ball.
He told Monday Night Football: "It was a massive call and I don't think the goalkeeper touched it. I'll be as clear as that - he didn't touch it. I've looked at this time and time again and it goes under Peter Enckelman's boot.
"The referee is about 40 yards, while his assistant is even further away. If you look at Elleray, you can see he looks away and doesn't actually see the ball go into the net.
"At most, it scraped the very end of his studs, but are you telling me that David Elleray and his assistant, from the distance that they are looking at this incident, be 100% sure that that ball has been touched? I don't think they can."
Villa boss Graham Taylor was already aggrieved after his side had an equaliser chalked off on 57 minutes. Gray thinks it falls into a grey area in the law, adding: "The officials tell us they got the offside decision right. He was in an offside position when the Villa player headed the ball on, but the assistant assumes that the defenders will deal with the situation. When they don't and the ball comes to Vassell, then the flag goes up.
"I think that's a hugely tough call, but to the letter of the law it's correct. The linesman done the right thing by allowing them to clear it and as soon as they don't, he gives offside. But Villa will argue that because they made a mess of it, then Vassell should be allowed to go on and score the goal.
"Had they done so, they may well have gone on to win it."
Source: Sky Sports
21/9 - Taylor: we'll see about that!
Graham Taylor is far from worried about Aston VIlla's season yet.
Graham Taylor has turned back the clock to warn his critics: "Write us off at your peril".
The Villa boss goes into the critical clash with Everton tomorrow (2pm) on the back of the morale-sapping derby defeat to Blues and four League defeats in six matches.
But he points out that nothing is ever won in September and, by way of proof points to Villa's record in the final year of his first term in office.
In 1989/90 Villa won just one of their opening seven matches and collected a measly six points, having avoided relegation by finishing just one point above Middlesbrough the previous season.
Yet they rallied and went on to finish runners-up to Liverpool.
Villa again stand on six points and Taylor said: "I remember the start of that season very well because it turned into the start of a very good season.
"The year before, we had only just missed out on relegation, so it was a hard start to the season for us. To only win one of our opening six games was difficult.
"But we turned it around and we went on a great run and it just went from there. Everybody will remember the 6-2 win against Everton.
"It's just a sign that it doesn't matter if it's now or all those years ago, the most important position, the only one that matters, is where you finish after 38 games at the end of the season.
"I can understand people writing us off now but, if people can remember, when we'd only just missed relegation the year before, we were well and truly written off - particularly after losing 3-1 at home to QPR in the seventh game when Trevor Francis scored a hat-trick.
"After that we were somewhat fortunate to beat Derby 1-0 when Dean Saunders should have scored a hat-trick, but then we went on a winning run and never looked back.
"That's what I'm looking for us to do, starting tomorrow against Everton."
For the record, Villa's win over Everton came on November 5, 1989 when David Platt, (2), Ian Olney (2), Kent Neilsen, and Gordon Cowans put Villa 6-0 up before the Toffees scored two consolations.
Source: IC Birmingham
Graham Taylor has told Villa's critics: "Judge us after ten games."
The Villa boss isn't even looking at the table which sees Villa languishing behind Blues and Albion after six matches.
He said: "As more and more games go on, people look at the table. I'm aware of the table but I've always said it's ten to 12 games in a 38-game season when the table starts to take real shape. That's when we start to look at it seriously. When you can move six or seven places on one result it isn't really worth looking at."
Mark Delaney is still a doubt with a sore leg which will probably see Taylor stick with his 3-5-2 formation against Everton on Sunday.
Juan Pablo Angel is fit, which points to just one likely change involving the recall of Darius Vassell for Marcus Allback. Peter Enckelman will definitely start.
Taylor said: "It's history, it's done. He's got to become a stronger character now and I'm sure he will."
Taylor said: "This Sunday is going to be a test because we're coming into a game after losing to our local rivals for the first time in 16 years.
"What we haven't been able to do since the end of last season is get two wins on the trot. We have been inconsistent but, having said that, having looked back on Monday's game it wasn't a bad performance.
"We just gave away three bad goals."
Source: IC Birmingham
21/9 - Another three months
Andrew Wells will stay a further three months with Charlton Athletic.
Charlton have given former Aston Villa defender Andrew Wells another three months to earn a contract after a recent trial.
Wells joined the club on a short-term basis in the summer after being released by the Villans - the youngster has played in all four of the Addicks' reserves games so far this season but has yet to end up on the winning side.
The 18-year-old suffered a knock towards the end of pre-season but is now back on form and Charlton are keen to see him test himself against better quality opposition in the coming weeks.
21/9 - Ellis was king
Birmingham chairman David Gold thought Ellis dignity at the game was remarkable.
Birmingham City chairman David Gold has saluted his cross-city counterpart Doug Ellis for the dignity he displayed during and after the ordeal of Aston Villa's derby drubbing.
It was the blackest of Mondays for all those connected to the claret and blue half of the Second City.
Villa are still attempting to shrug off the embarrassment of a 3-0 defeat and Peter Enckelman's howler in particular.
No-one felt Villa's pain more acutely than the club's chairman as he was forced to watch his beloved team being so soundly beaten by the club which has for so long been their junior neighbours.
Most of Villa's travelling supporters slipped silently straight out of St Andrew's.
Before the chairman departed, however, he had the good grace to seek out his opposite number to offer congratulations - and that, believes Gold, was the act of a big man.
"Doug was crestfallen," the Blues' chairman said, "as crestfallen as any supporter could be.
But he came over to shake my hand and wish us all the best for the rest of the season and I appreciated that.
"I had been grinning from ear to ear ever since the final whistle but tried to tone it down for that moment because I have a lot of respect for Doug Ellis.
"We are adversaries of a kind but also colleagues of a kind in what is a very tough industry.
I remember back when Blues were a Second Division club and Villa were up there in the Premiership, we were nobodies but Doug invited me round to Villa Park and showed me warmth and friendship.
They were troubled times for us, so I appreciated his actions very much.
"Last Monday was a wonderful night for us - nothing in my nine years at the club and five as chairman has given me a bigger thrill than beating the Villa.
But I wished him all the best, because if this last week has proved anything, it's that this city needs both its clubs in the Premiership. How big was that game? Now let's have two like it every season."
The only shadow was cast by the handful of supporters who could not resist taking their celebrations on to the pitch.
The Football Association, having called an inquiry, was last night waiting to receive reports from several sources.
Views have been sought from both clubs, referee David Elleray and Blues' safety officer Brian Tew while the investigation could also include examination of video evidence.
* Blues' second string beat Everton 4-3 at Damson Park last night to record their first victory in the Barclaycard Premiership Reserve League. Jovan Kirovski notched a hat-trick whilst Darren Carter scored with a wonderful 18-yard volley.
Source: IC Birmingham
21/9 - I can laugh now
Peter Enckelman has showed good spirit about his midweek blunder.
Villa's Peter Enckelman has laughed off his derby horror show and vowed to come out smiling against Everton.
The popular 25-year-old Finnish international goalkeeper has endured a torrid week after his blunder which gifted Blues their second goal on Monday - but won't let the Toffees leave him embarrassed.
He said: "I've learnt that pressure is something that is self-imposed. If you want pressure, you can put yourself under as much as you want.
"The trick is to relax and enjoy yourself in every game and in every training session.
"It's always going to be tight and tense on the pitch and there are going to be arguments, but you need to enjoy it at the same time.
"You can't do this for 90 minutes, week-in, week-out, all year round and not laugh because it would eventually grind you down.
"That's why I try to play with a smile on my face. When somebody says something to you from the crowd, or if something funny happens on the pitch, you should join in.
"It's about knowing when to relax and when to be really sharp and ready.
"But I'm quite happy within myself and I know I'm good enough to pull off some good performances week-in, week-out. So I'm not worried."
Enckelman has two and a half years remaining on his current deal but is due fresh terms when he clocks up 25 Premiership starts -against Everton.
Talks to cement his long-term future could take place soon and that will delight Villa fans. The keeper would be looking back on an unblemished career but for his Blues blooper.
He broke onto the scene when he replaced David James for the final 39 minutes of Villa's 3-1 defeat at Highbury in September 1999 and has gone on to establish himself as one of the best young keepers around.
Eight Premiership and five cup shut-outs in 37 total appearances have alerted the likes of Middlesbrough and Southampton in the past.
Source: IC Birmingham
17/9 - Enckelman apologises to all Villans
Poor Peter Enckelman was heartbroken after yesterday's disaster, and apologised today.
Peter Enckelman this afternoon apologised to Villa fans for his "unbelievable" derby blunder.
The crestfallen keeper bravely faced a barrage of media questions to relive the moment that gifted Birmingham their second goal in the televised Second City clash at St Andrew's.
"I have never done anything anywhere near as bad as that in my career," Enckelman said.
"I can't think of anything to compare with it and I am just so disappointed about what has happened and that we have lost the game.
"It was just a freak. I could go out on the training ground now. And put myself in the same situation one hundred times - and I would clear the ball without any problem.
"It is a mistake and it has happened, so I have to put it out of my mind and try to make sure we pick up three points against Everton on Sunday."
The Finn, who was accompanied by goalkeeper coach Eric Steele, still believes, though, that the goal should not have stood.
Much of the post-match debate centred on whether he had touched Polof Mellberg's fateful 77th minute throw-in that ended up in his net.
"I'm convinced I didn't touch it," he added.
"I put my hands to my head because that is any goalkeeper's reaction when he lets the ball under his foot like that and it ends up in the goal.
"I was just trying to control it quickly and get it down the field because we were trying to equalise. Maybe I took my eye off the ball at the wrong moment.
"But it should have been a corner. The referee or his assistant should have given a corner and it would not have been so bad.
"I apologise to the fans because this was the first against Birmingham in the top division for 16 years. I live in the city, so I know what the fixture means."
In his hour of need, Enckelman has been praised for showing restraint when confronted immediately afterwards by a goading fan.
"The police and stuarts were there to do their job and I left them to it," he said.
"I was tapped on the face and given a lot of abuse, but there was nothing vicious and I didn't feel threatened. The guy was just taking the mickey.
Source: Express & Star
Villa threw a protective arm around shell-shocked keeper Peter Enckelman as the dejected Finnish international was ushered out of the scene of his nightmare.
Enckelman was spared a press grilling on the 77th minute Second City derby howler that now represents a major challenge to his powers of recovery by orders of manager Graham Taylor.
But Taylor was left "incredulous" by the defensive gaffes which wrecked his side's second half recovery and left Villa looking up at Premiership neighbours Blues and Albion after the opening thrusts of the new season.
"I've never seen a goal like that in all my years of professional football," Taylor said of Enckelman's slip in allowing an Olof Mellberg throw-in to roll under his studs and into an empty net.
"But I am equally annoyed at the way we conceded the other goals.
"We matched them up after the interval and it was looking promising but the second goal was so extraordinary I think it effected everyone ? the team and the fans.
"The interesting thing is he still doesn't know if he touched it. He didn't know the laws of the game and it was his reaction to turn and chase the ball which led to everyone believing it was a goal.
"But the third goal was equally as bad and we are left again having not scored from a game in which we created openings and conceding three goals.
"And the last team that you would pick this happening against would be your closest local rivals.
"But I can only tell the players what I always say in situations like this.You allow yourself 24 hours to be miserable but then you have got to get on with it."
His opposite number Steve Bruce offered his sympathy to Enckelman but was adamant that his side had deserved a victory which prompted wild jubilation among the Blues fans.
He said: "The goalkeeper's mistake is not something you wish on a fellow pro - that will haunt him probably for the rest of his life."Source: Express & Star
Peter Schmeichel has told Villa keeper Peter Enckelman: "Forget your derby blunder and move on."
Manchester City stopper Schmeichel got in touch with coach Eric Steele as soon as the final whistle sounded at St Andrew's after Enckelman had gifted Blues a freakish second and killer goal in their 3-0 win.
Steele has backed the giant Finn to bounce back from the million-to-one boob when he missed Olof Mellberg's long throw.
Steele said: "The nice thing was that straight away he got a message of support from the great man himself, Peter Schmeichel, telling him that's it's happened now and to move on.
"Peter texted me with that message to pass on to him. And that's exactly how myself and Peter will approach it.
"Of course he's down, that's the nature of being a goalkeeper. One minute you're a hero and the next you are a bum.
"Peter has got 15 years left in the game. He'll not die by this. He'll come back, and that's my job to make sure he does. He's made saves this season that have got us points.
"This is a big test for him, but there's a few others out there who have got to do the same. They've got to look at themselves because that wasn't good enough."
Steele also pointed an accusing finger at Villa's players.
He said: "We know we let ourselves and the fans down, and we know we've got to turn it around.
"Now our season starts on Sunday now against Everton. That's the same for Enckelman and the 10 in front of him."
Source: IC Birmingham
17/9 - Thugs shame the city of Birmingham
It would seem that the city of Birmingham also has hooliganism after all.
The Football Association today confirmed it would investigate the scenes at St Andrews.
But police hit out at a minority of rival hooligans who clashed with each other and police in the build-up to the Second City derby game for "disgracing their clubs and their city".
Rivals groups of soccer louts were found armed with CS gas canisters, home-made knives and billiard balls in socks.
The worst violence came when a group of around 200 hooligans were involved in street brawl in Rocky Lane, Nechells, an hour before kick-off. There was also sporadic fighting near to the McDonalds restaurant on Coventry Road which required a "robust" police response.
Bottles and rocks rained down on police officers as they confronted crowds. One woman officer was hit in the face by a missile. Coins were also thrown at rival fans.
A total of 41 people were arrested for public order offences, the majority inside the ground. Four people were also ejected from the ground.
Source: IC Birmingham
17/9 - Banned for life and then some
This is probably what awaits the so-called supporter, who mocked Peter Enckelman after his blunder.
Blues bosses today warned the soccer lout who confronted Aston Villa goalkeeper Peter Enckelman : "You will be banned for life".
Birmingham City FC today appealed for supporters to name and shame the man who ran onto the pitch from the Tilton Road end to gesticulate to Enckelman.
It happened after Enckelman gifted Blues a second half goal after an astounding error when he let the ball go under his feet and into the net following a defender's throw-in.
The club pledged to kick the fan out of St Andrews for good.
Blues chairman David Gold said: "It marred a fantastic day for the football club. He let us all down. He will dealt with appropriately and banned for life.
"This was a moment of insanity, stupidity of the highest order, and I hope for his sake he comes out and apologises."
Mr Gold said he hoped the match would be remembered for the footballing spectacle rather then the actions of "exu-berant" individuals.
"The vast majority of fans were absolutely fantastic," he added.
Do you know the mystery man? Ring the Evening Mail newsdesk on 0121 234 5564.
Source: IC Birmingham
The FA has confirmed that they have launched an investigation into the pitch invasions that marred Birmingham's 3-0 victory over Aston Villa.
Steve Bruce's men had comprehensively taken the spoils in the first top-flight meeting between the two sides for 16 years, but their victory was spoiled somewhat by fans invading the pitch several times during the encounter.
Referee David Elleray noted seven different pitch invasions in his post-match report, but perhaps the most disturbing scene witnessed a Blues fan run on to taunt Villa keeper Peter Enckelman after his gaffe had handed the home side a 2-0 lead.
The FA confirmed in a statement: "The FA is today contacting Birmingham City to request their views on certain issues involving supporters encroaching on to the pitch.
"We are also awaiting reports from the match officials and an FA crowd safety observer."
Birmingham have suffered from crowd disorder in the past and the FA has the power to issue a fine or even force the club to play home matches behind closed doors.
However, Birmingham chairman David Gold has been quick to praise the majority of Birmingham fans, stressing that emotions were running high with the club back in the top flight for the first time in 16 years.
Gold insists that those fans who did not invade the pitch added to the occasion and spurred the side on to victory.
He said: "We have always wanted to beat the Villa. The fans have been fantastic, particularly when we were going through that difficult spell just after half-time.
"They suddenly lifted the team and it sparked them into trying to hold on to the ball when they were really just whacking the ball up and trying to defend for 45 minutes.
"You cannot defend for 45 minutes and it was when we started to attack that the second goal came. The fans have been tremendous."
Nonetheless, Gold says the club will ban for life the fan who ran on to taunt Enckelman.
"I am really sorry that we are focusing on that one stupid young man who came onto the pitch and disgraced himself and disgraced Birmingham and spoilt it for 30,000 perfectly-behaved fans.
"We will track him down and he will be banned for life," he concluded.
17/9 - Go on, let your hair down!
Graham Taylor will understand, if fans are angry after the embarrassment at St. Andrews.
Graham Taylor is prepared for an angry backlash from Aston Villa fans after keeper Peter Enckelman's bizarre own goal handed a derby victory on a plate to bitter rivals Birmingham.
Years of taunts from Villa fans against their poor relations came home to roost as Enckelman's howler ended any hopes of a comeback.
Taylor admitted he and the players will shoulder the blame for the 3-0 defeat in the first league derby between the bitter rivals for 16 years.
He said: 'There's bound to be a backlash. It would be silly for me to think people are going to go home and be quite happy.
'Whatever they will do it's going to read 3-0 and no-one's going to explain how the goals happened.
'Football is results-oriented, so to have a result like this against your local rivals, especially after so many years, couldn't be worse.
'The Villa fans have given the Birmingham fans stick for 16 years so they are not going to like it if they get some in return now, and so they are obviously going to blame myself and the players.'
Taylor warned that Enckelman will never be allowed to forget his nightmarish own goal, which happened after he allowed Olof Mellberg's throw-in to roll under his boot and referee David Elleray ruled it had taken a touch off the Finnish keeper.
He added: 'I was incredulous. I have never seen a goal like that in all my years in the game.
'It was a vital turning point in the game, and the second goal was so extraordinary I think it affected everybody, players and fans alike.
'The last thing you would pick is for this for happen against your local rivals but that has happened.
'We now have to follow a rule I have made throughout my career and allow yourself 24 hours to sulk or be miserable and then get on with it, and that must apply especially to Peter Enckelman.
'He's very, very low and it's always going to live with him and he's always going to be reminded of it in this city.'
The decision made it a glory night for Birmingham, who had seen Clinton Morrison put them ahead. Substitute Geoff Horsfield rounded it off with a late third after some terrible defending by Alpay.
The only shadow for the home side is that referee Elleray will report several pitch invasions by Birmingham fans, including an incident where Villa captain Steve Staunton was confronted by one fan and another where Enckelman was taunted by another supporter just inches from his face.
16/9 - City keeps playing hardball
After another offensive stance from Birmingham, it seems that hostilities will be inevitable at tonight's game.
Villa are accusing Birmingham MD Karren Brady of blowing apart attempts to take the heat out of tonight's first Second City Premiership derby.
Senior officials at Villa Park are seething over Brady taunts which they fear have wrecked the appeals for peace amid the passions stirred by the first top-flight derby in 16 years.
St Andrew's will be packed for the renewal of hostilities and the countdown has seen co-operation between the clubs in promoting appeals for a trouble-free big night.
Live Sky TV cameras ensure the eyes of the domestic game will zero in on St Andrew's to capture the heat of the battle - but they will probably not be able to show the frost in the boardroom following Brady's remarks.
She used her weekend tabloid newspaper column to claim Blues were the forward-marching club while Villa were standing still and to poke fun at veteran chairman Doug Ellis.
The timing of the commentshave gone down like a lead balloon at Villa Park where Ellis opted out of becoming entangled in a slanging match.
He used the club's official website to post a response which avoided cranking up antagonism any further saying: "As far as we're concerned this game should be a celebration for the whole city of the first top-flight derby for 16 years, with the hope of many more to follow.
"It goes without saying that both Birmingham City and ourselves are out to win, but it's also a great opportunity for the whole of Birmingham to show the rest of the country that this is as big a footballing area as any other."
Villa have already formally protested about Blues' controversial £35 ticket charges for visiting fans and this latest row has erased much of the goodwill officials hoped would help de-fuse any potential for trouble following last week's disturbing outbreak of hooliganism at the Watford-Luton derby.
Source: Express & Star
15/9 - Taylor SMS-carpet bombed by Blues fans
Poor Ian Taylor cannot turn on his phone without receiving stick from Blues fans. Fortunetaly, they're all his mates.
Don't be surprised if Ian Taylor changes his mobile phone number soon - he has been bombarded with text messages from Blues fans for the last FOUR MONTHS!
Villa midfielder Taylor grew up in Birmingham and tomorrows Second City derby means a lot to him and the other Brummies in Graham Taylors squad like Lee Hendrie and Darius Vassell.
Taylor, 34, has been around a bit, though. He grew up watching his football from the Holte End as a youngster and has seen his fair share of Blues v Villa clashes over the years.
He began his career with non-League Moor Green, coming into the professional game relatively late at 23 and joining Port Vale before moving to Sheffield Wednesday.
But he never lost his Brummie roots and when he became Brian Littles first signing eight years ago, Taylor embarked on a career with his boyhood heroes.
However, it means he has also had to put up with plenty of ribbing from his Blues-fan mates.
And that has increased tenfold ever since Blues won promotion in their play-off final in Cardiff last May.
As soon as Blues went up, thats all I heard about from my mates who support Birmingham, he said.
I got loads of text messages as soon as they beat Norwich. All of them were about the derby game and how much they were looking forward to it.
They keep asking me if Villa are ready for them yet. The banter has been great to be honest.
But the closer the game gets, the more Ive been getting stick, so I dont think Ill be answering my phone this weekend!
As for the last time I actually watched a Villa-Blues game, I just cannot remember. I think the last League game was 15 years ago, and maybe there was a cup game after that.
I think I was probably playing for Moor Green on Saturdays then. But thats how long its been since the two sides met, so this means a lot.
And Taylor admits that times have changed for him since the last time Villa met Blues in a League game.
I was probably driving a forklift at the time, now its a BMW! he joked. I think I was about 15 when I started going to matches at Villa, but I used to wait until half-time when I could get in without paying!
I hope the chairman doesnt take that out of my wages!
Ive grown up in among the rivalry but the ribbing is going to get even better now that the game is here.
Seriously though, the match is brilliant for the city itself.
Its been a while and I know the Blues fans cant wait to see the two clubs play each other again. Theyve been second-class citizens for a long time.
Maybe Villa fans have got a bit complacent as a result of that, who knows?
Weve missed it, its an occasion for the whole of Birmingham to get involved in.
Ironically, Taylor has been struggling with injury and is likely to be sidelined for the match tomorrow.
That would leave him hoping he can be fit and back in the managers plans when the two sides meet again later in the season.
But, in between, he knows there will also be derbies against West Bromwich Albion before Christmas.
Thats just as bad for me, smiled Taylor, who clearly has his fair share of mates who follow the Baggies as well.
There might be a few of them calling me as well nearer the time. Personally though, I was glad to see Albion and Blues get into the Premiership. Thats got the town buzzing again, which can only be good.
As far as tomorrows match is concerned, its not just a Birmingham thing is it? Sky picked it as a live match so the whole of the country will be able to see it.
But you look at Blues and you can see this has been coming for the last few seasons and theyve just missed out.
I admit, when they got to the playoff final I thought: Surely they cant miss out again.
I had my money on them to be promoted last season. I thought it must be really bad luck if they didnt do it this time.
It was great for them that Darren Carter scored the winning penalty as hes a local lad.
I know Michael Johnson, but not too many other Blues players.
But I first met Paul Devlin when I was on trial at Notts County, so our paths have crossed.
Source: IC Birmingham
15/9 - City boss excited
Birmingham City manager Steve Bruce can't wait for the game against the Villa.
Birmingham boss Steve Bruce has admitted he cannot wait to lock horns with arch-rivals Aston Villa on Monday but is also calling for calm.
The teams are meeting in a top-flight game for the first time since the 1986-87 season and while Bruce wants the occasion to be enjoyed by all, he is also urging supporters to use their heads.
"The Birmingham fans have waited long enough and one thing I will say to everyone is let's behave ourselves," Bruce warned.
"The Birmingham fans have been wonderful throughout the season. Let's enjoy the occasion and let's remember it is a football match.
"We can't wait. Since the fixtures came out all the Birmingham fans have been waiting for when we play the Villa.
"Well it is here now and let's go and enjoy it and enjoy the occasion and enjoy the game."
14/9 - Delaney reacts
Unfortutalely, it is to an injection given to him.
Mark Delaney has experienced a reaction to an injection given to him to before an X-ray on his injured calf.
The Welsh international skipped training yesterday and Graham Taylor added: "He's not very well. The injection has upset him."
Taylor added that Darius Vassell is close to full training but said: "It is a soft muscle injury and you do have to be very careful with somebody who is as explosive as Darius is. We have to make sure we treat it properly so it does not become a recurring injury."
Source: IC Birmingham
13/9 - Old Stars in action
Grove Vale School has set up a charity game between the Old Stars of Villa and Wolverhampton.
I am the Chairman of the Parent's Association at Grove Vale School, Great Barr, Birmingham and we have arranged for a charity football match between Aston Villa Old Stars and Wolves Old Stars.
The game takes place on Sunday 13th October 2002 at The Birmingham County FA Ground, Great Barr, Birmingham, Kick Off 2:00pm.
All match proceed will go towards a memorial playground in memory of two pupils of the school who were killed in February of this year.
The school have a website that contains details of the match and it can be found at http://www.grovevaleschool.org.uk/pa/football.asp.
Source: Mark Wilson, PA Chairman, Grove Vale School
12/9 - Justice was done
Charlton manager Curbishley made no excuses after Villa's victory.
Charlton boss Alan Curbishley admitted that his side got what they deserved in going down 2-0 at Aston Villa on Wednesday night.
The home side grabbed both goals in the final 20 minutes at Villa Park and Curbishley was disappointed with what his team had to offer by way of an attacking threat.
He said: "We've not performed here the last couple of seasons and I think that is what has happened again tonight.
"I was hoping that we could hang on for a draw, but the first goal changed the whole thing. I know we had a chance to get back into it, but I don't think we ever looked like we were going to fashion something. Things kept breaking down for us and I am very disappointed with the way we played.
"You have got to give a bit of credit to Villa. It was a big strong side they put out tonight, they did look dangerous at set plays and they were the ones who were forcing the issue.
"Dean (Kiely) made two great saves to keep us in it, but I am disappointed with both the performance and the result."
11/9 - Agents are to blame
Graham Taylor has blamed Alpay's agent for the trouble.
Aston Villa manager Graham Taylor has laid the blame for Alpay's dispute with the Midlanders firmly at the feet of his former agent.
Turkish international Alpay has recently parted company with well-known representative Pini Zahavi and Taylor has claimed that the player was somewhat misled by his advisor during the summer.
The Villa boss made it clear he felt the centre-half had been badly advised when he returned from a triumphant World Cup finals campaign with Turkey.
Alpay was voted one of the best players of the tournament in Japan and South Korea and as Turkey clinched a magnificent third place finish, the former Fenerbahce and Besiktas stopper made it into Fifa's Team of the Tournament.
He subsequently requested a 50% wage rise from Villa and then claimed he had been personally betrayed when the club leaked details of his new contract demands. Everything pointed to Alpay engineering a transfer to an even bigger club.
However, no offers were forthcoming before the August 31st transfer deadline and, although the player has still to sign a new contract with Villa, both sides seem to be attempting to repair the damage caused by the whole matter.
Source: From the Terrace
10/9 - Supporters' Trust screams for Ansell's head
Financial Director Mark Ansell is in the firing line these days.
Disgruntled Villa fans are planning another revolt at Friday's annual meeting - this time by calling for the head of Doug Ellis's deputy, Mark Ansell.
The Aston Villa Supporters' Trust, an umbrella group for a the club's small shareholders, have polled members in the build-up to the AGM and 88 per cent are against the re-election of deputy chief executive and finance director Ansell.
Last year's meeting proved a major embarrassment to veteran chairman Ellis, who lost a show-of-hands vote on his re-election to the board.
Ellis had to use his majority shareholding via a postal vote to reclaim his place at the head of the club - but not before he had received a verbal mauling from angry shareholders which left him visibly shaken.
Now Ansell, another senior figure who has become a target of the anti-board lobby, has been warned to expect a similar reception.
"Our membership is small but growing fast," says the Trust's CEO Tony Barnes "and it is substantially representative of shareholder-supporter opinion.
"The poll results are further incontrovertible evidence of dissatisfaction among the club's long suffering, loyal supporters and an indication of growing shareholder discontent."
The Trust is attempting to bring together the voting power of the 14,000 supporter-shareholders who own 30% of Villa plc - and through that claim a place on the board.
Like Ellis, Ansell will be able to summon sufficient voting power to ride out any attempt to dislodge him - but not before the malcontents have made another verbal and public assault on a senior board member.
Source: Express & Star
10/9 - Police calls for peace
The Birmingham Police Force has appealed to both sets of fans when Aston Villa face City.
Police today appealed for calm as they put the final touches to one of the biggest ever security operations for a second city football match.
Senior officers say a "friendly but firm" approach will prevent yobs causing trouble when Aston Villa and Birmingham City clash in the top flight for the first time in 16 years next Monday.
But in a get-tough crackdown, police today warned anyone intent on violence would be arrested and face a court order banning them from future football matches.
The 'zero-tolerance' warning came as rival fans from both clubs started taunting each other over the internet.
Insp Sue Parker, of force operations, said: "Anyone arrested for football-related violence or disorder will be the subject of a banning order.
"There has been trouble between these groups in the past and there is a concern active hooligan elements from both clubs will be out, but we shall be taking a robust stance with them."
A major intelligence operation has been underway since the fixture was announced, amid fears well-known hooligans linked to both clubs were planning trouble.
It is the first time the two clubs have met in a competitive game since 1996, when they faced one another in the Worthington Cup.
Scores of extra police officers are to be drafted into the city and around St Andrews for the game.
Chief Supt Steve Rowell, in charge of the policing operation, said: "This is a significant event for the city and the fans of both clubs. All those involved in arrangements want it to be an enjoyable and good-natured event.
There will be a significant police presence in and around the ground and the police style will be friendly, but firm."
He added: "The small minority who may consider making disorder should anticipate losing their liberty and their opportunity to watch future matches. I trust that the vast majority of law abiding supporters have an enjoyable experience."
Source: IC Birmingham
10/9 - Do we look worried?
As usual, Fergie has whined about too many fixtures. Aston Villa calmly gave him a cold shoulder today.
Aston Villa have told Manchester United they fully support the Premier League's decision not to consider rearranging the two clubs' Premiership clash on October 26.
The game at Villa Park falls in between United's Champions League matches away to Olympiakos and Maccabi Haifa but the Premier League will not sanction the domestic fixture being moved so United can cut down on travelling and stay abroad.
The League have not received an official approach from United but Villa boss Graham Taylor is adamant such a plan would not fit in with his club anyway.
He told PA Sport: "Our feeling is that we have to look at our interests as well and we wouldn't want the game to be called off.
"We have a break on October 12, we play on October 21 and, if the United game was called off, we'd have a fortnight break before we play again.
"From our point of view, it doesn't suit us for that to happen. I think Manchester United have asked our view and we've said it's not in our interests to have something like one game in three or four weeks. We're all for the game remaining where it is.
"It is not us being pig-headed. It's us looking after our interests like Manchester United were trying to look after theirs. The Premier League have said 'no' and United have tried to get our support and we've said 'no' because of the reasons I've given."
United play Olympiakos in Athens on Wednesday, October 23, travel to Villa Park on the Saturday and then fly to Cyprus for the match against Maccabi - which has been moved away from Israel because of security concerns - on Tuesday, October 29.
Source: Sporting Life
8/9 - Weekend success for Villa players
Several Villans were high profiles in the international games during the weekend.
Aston Villa defender Mark Delaney played the full 90 minutes as Wales pulled off a stunning 2-0 win in Finland on Saturday.
John Hartson and Simon Davies got the goals as Mark Hughes' side got their Group Nine Euro 2004 qualifying campaign off to the best possible start.
Elsewhere, Alpay was a member of the Turkey team that cruised to a 3-0 win over Slovakia and Ronny Johnsen and Oyvind Leonhardsen both featured as a last-gasp John Carew header rescued a 2-2 draw for Norway against Denmark.
In Riga, Olof Mellberg and Marcus Allbäck played for Sweden in their 0-0 draw with Latvia, but there was disappointment for Mark Kinsella as the Republic of Ireland crashed to a 4-2 defeat in Russia.
6/9 - I'm good!
George Boateng feels he would have become a legend at the Villa, had he not quit for Middlesbrough.
Middlesbrough midfielder George Boateng believes he was on track to become a "legend" at Aston Villa before he decided to move to Teesside.
The Holland international midfielder joined the Riverside outfit for £5m in the summer after handing in a transfer request at Villa Park, and he insists he has no regrets about the sacrifice he made to take up a new challenge.
He said: "I could have probably become a legend at Villa, but I stepped out of the comfort zone because I needed a new challenge.
"People should not forget that, although I am quite mature and experienced, this is still a new experience for me at Middlesbrough."
And the 27-year-old insists that Boro fans have not yet seen the best of him, adding: "My performances will get better - I'll score goals, create chances and win tackles."Source: Yahoo
5/9 - Mellberg is handed the armband
Olof Mellberg is the new captain of Sweden.
Aston Villa defender Olof Mellberg has been named captain of Sweden for Saturday's opening Euro 2004 qualifier against Latvia.
With usual skipper Patrik Andersson of Barcelona and Celtic's Johan Mjallby, the vice-captain, out injured, Sweden coaches Tommy Soderberg and Lars Lagerback have opted for the 27-cap Villa man to stand in.
"It's an honour to lead Sweden out for this game in Riga," said Mellberg.
Meanwhile, the Swedes have strengthened the squad with in-form Djurgarden attacking midfielder Andreas Johansson.
"We have done it because there are fitness question marks about Teddy Lucic and Andreas Andersson. We were looking for an attacking player and we chose Johansson because he fits the bill," said Soderberg on the inclusion of the 24-year-old.
Source: Sporting Life
4/9 - Barry is England Skipper!
David Platt has confirmed Gareth Barry as the new captain of the U-21 team.
England Under-21 manager David Platt has confirmed that Aston Villa's Gareth Barry will captain his side for Friday's friendly with Yugoslavia.
The highly-rated defender has been installed as Platt's new skipper after Blackburn's David Dunn was promoted to the full England squad following an injury to Kieron Dyer.
And Platt is confident that the Villa defender can handle the pressure of leading out the team and says he will play an integral part in his plans for qualification for the European Championships in 2004.
He said: "Gareth has been skipper for me before when David was unavailable and has done very well for me.
"The kid has been about so long a lot of people are probably surprised he is still eligible for the Under-21s but it shows how much experience he has packed in already in his career.
"Every squad he has been picked for, he has turned up and trained with a smile on his face. He is an outstanding player and all things being equal will be in my team this season."
1/9 - Far from good enough!
Taylor wasn't in the best of moods after the defeat today.
Villa crashed to their third defeat in four matches at the Reebok, with the game decided by a 56th-minute Michael Ricketts penalty after Peter Enckelman had brought down Henrik Pedersen.
Villa had strong claims for an equaliser when Juan Pablo Angel had a seemingly good goal disallowed for offside, much to the consternation of Graham Taylor who then turned his attention to the assistant referees.
When informed the replay did show Angel was level, Taylor then added: "I think in our country we've some good referees, but I am not so certain we've all that many assistant referees.
"They are letting their colleagues down with some of their decision-making, and what could Mr (Steve) Dunn do about that?
"The flag goes up and the goal is disallowed. So he has to take his colleague's judgement. But I think the assistant referees are more of a problem than the referees."
Taylor also confirmed that Darius Vassell will miss England's friendly against Portugal at Villa Park because of injury.
"He has a hamstring injury and with the England squad being named on Monday he will be pulled out of it," he said.
"It would be unwise at this stage to put a time limit on when he will return."
Source: Sky Sports