The international break is over and thankfully were back in action this weekend. We face Wolves and surprisingly. Dean Smith as still not had a full squad to choose from and it’s October. And with only 4 weeks until the next international break. I wouldn’t bet on it happening any time soon. Our next four results are not only going to be pivotal to our season, but perhaps Dean Smith’s future.
But for me, given what he’s achieved since being appointed. I believe he’s already deserving of that new contract. And a win this weekend against Wolves will only strengthen those claims. However, as good as Dean Smith’s been for Aston Villa. The owners do have a decision to make. Do they stick with their trust in Smith or twist and replace him? And switch to plan b before Newcastle’s new found financial clout can have an impact & hinder Villa’s chances of qualifying for Europe.
Haunted By The Past
Initially after our takeover treading water sounded appealing especially after being so close to drowning. But in the 3 years since, we have enjoyed such a rapid rise our aim is now European football. We’ll leave the treading Water for the likes of Crystal Palace & Burnley. To be honest it wasn’t difficult for our new owners to sell me their vision. Their initial plans were the reason I favoured Dean Smith. His ability to coach and improve players appealed massively to me. More so, than some va va voom guy loved by the media but new to management with a foreign accent. Admittingly at the time i was still haunted by Remi Garde’s tenure.
Scouts honour this, and no prizes for guessing why. But believe it or not the last time i recall looking forward to an international break was during Steve Bruce’s tenure. It’s also true when Dean Smith’s appointment was officially announced I was elated. That’s probably why I not only want him to be successful but need him to be. So that i feel vindicated. God knows I’ve backed a few duds over the years. Smith’s the right fit for the current business model. And given Christian Purslow was adamant that mistakes made by previous regimes were not going to be repeated. I don’t see the blueprint being torn up because of the sudden wealth in the north east.
Three Years On
It’s been just over 3 years and as much as I enjoyed the thrill of Aston Villa’s roller coaster ride back to the top tier. It would be nice to step off and ride the teacups for a while. That said, we all know taking the next step is going to be the most difficult. All business plans have to be flexible and Football is a business, so it’s no different.
There’s always the possibility of the football landscape changing further. With another Newcastle coming along. Can you see their new owners mirroring us, being patient buying players with potential and trying to improve them? I don’t think so. I think they’re more iikely to follow the Manchester blue print. Therefore, I think it impacts us more than we want to acknowledge. So on that basis do we need to re-think, tweak and expedite our transfer plans to obtain European football a.s.a.p? This does not necessarily entail replacing Dean Smith. Because that for me will just cause instability and make Europe less likely. But every season without it just increases the risk of another Newcastle appearing on the horizon.
Newcastle The Football Lanscape As Changed
Look how close we came under Randy Lerner to breaking into the top four. There are similarities to back then. We were making steady progress, and slowly bridging the gap. But then the football landscape changed with Man City wealth. I’m not suggesting that Dean Smith is about to walk out on us or that NSWE will throw in the towel and close the wallet. But let’s be realistic, Newcastle’s new found wealth has just made Villa’s job a little harder.
Over the years I’ve seen some of our better players leave Villa Park. But until this summer I’d never seen a boyhood villa fan leave us by choice. Like him, when I was a little boy, having a kick about, I also use to imagine I was a Villa Player and scoring in front of the holte end. The difference is he got to live out that dream and it still wasn’t enough. Where as me and so many of my fellow Villa fans could only ever dream about it.
European Football & At Peace With Joe
For all our talk that he was different & Villa through & through. At the end of the day we still couldn’t keep a homegrown boyhood Villa fan. Our Captain, who was adored by the masses and put on a pedestal. A fellow fan who has been living the dream from a very early age. I’m not going to lie, It still hurts. But during the international break i am at peace with him in a England shirt. However, losing him raises serious questions about our future ability to keep other players while we’re still chasing European football.
Like so many I did not choose, I was chosen. I’ve always thought it was every Villa fan’s dream to play for our great club. I just can’t envisage a Villa fan choosing to abandon that privilege to go and play elsewhere. I am on the same page as Gabby Agbonlahor when it comes to this. But at the same time if an artist is offered a residency in the Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas they’re unlikely to turn it down.