The Expectations of the Aston Villa fanbase is massive. And over the years the Villa hot seat has proved to be a poisoned chalice. So many who have been lucky enough to have held the position. Have failed miserably, aged and gone grey over night. Which surely makes it one of the hardest jobs in world football. Plenty have tried but only a few have succeeded. Only the brave need apply.
Unfortunately for Dean Smith those expectations are probably greater now, than ever. Because there is a whole generation of Villa fans who have never seen us win anything, apart from a playoff final. So once your honeymoon period is over. You need to deliver or fans will quickly vent their frustrations.
It’s embarrasing that after only three games of a new season. Some of our fans are already calling for the sacking of Dean Smith. For some, Smith being responsible for us winning promotion. Or getting us to a cup final & consolidating us in the top tier. And steadily improving us counts for nothing. It’s about the here and now for them.
It’s also true that some of our older fans have learned nothing from the past. They would still rather see our owners bring in the next messiah every 2 or 3 years. Even though under Sir Doug, it’s was a gamble that seldom paid off.
Previously it as only ever resulted in us having very short periods of limited success. Followed by long periods of being out in the wilderness. So I don’t quite see why some of our fans still insist that we go down that route. I would rather see the fanbase show some patience. And give the current incumbent more time to build something that has longevity.
One Day But That Day’s Not Now
Of course there comes a time when you have to call it a day. But for me that time for Dean Smith is not now. Sackings usually result in the club taking backward steps. So it should only be done as a last resort. And not just because some fans call for it every time we have a bad result.
There’s a reason why Dean Smith is still Villa’s head coach. It’s because he’s bloody earned that right. Fans are entitled to disagree, we all have opinions. And if were honest we have all been guilty of a post match knee jerk reaction. However I’ve still not yet heard a reason that didnt sound like it wasn’t just personal towards Smith.
Considering how far we have come under Smith’s guidance. The current excuses include, he’s taken us as far as he can. Just look at our win percentage from the end of last season to now. His team selections, or his use & timing of subs. Or the ignorant narrative that our previous success was all down to jack. How insulting is that to rest of team.
Reaping The Benefits
It’s no accident we’re already starting to reap the benefit of the investment in our academy. Were starting to see our academy players being called into our 1st team squad. And then making their debuts.
It’s the business model our owners want to follow and a key reason why they hired Dean Smith. So I don’t see a scenario where a Rafa Benitez type Manager ever gets hired. We have come a very long way in a short amount of time. You only have to look back to where we were under the Doc too now. We are making steady progress and have done so for the last 3 years.
Remember We Fell Into The Abyss
I know expectation are huge, but we did fall into the abyss. So rather than fans saying Smith’s took us as far as he can when results go against us. Maybe It’s time for those fans to look at the bigger picture. Because all I see is improvements happening right across Aston Villa football club.
From winning us promotion in his first season with us. To then keeping us up, to then improving us again last season. So why are some fans still wanting Smith out ? Common sense tells me, that the continued progress being made under Smith would not have happened if Dean Smith was truly out of his depth. And besides this, if he’s done so bloody badly then why do the same sections of our fanbase believe that qualifying for European competition this season is within reach ?
Work In Progress Continues
Yeah it’s true he’s now put together a decent group of players who can compete in the top tier. But do we have enough to get top 6 ? Is European qualification in reach or just wishful thinking ? Small margins is what separates the top six from the rest, dropping points at Watford & against Brentford are the sort of small margins that we need to avoid if we want to break into the top six come the end of season.
In fairness our early results are probably warped due to the list of players currently unavailable for selection. So it’s too early to say with any certainty, if we have filled the void that was obviously left by Jack’s departure. But expectations will remain the same because we are Aston Villa.
Finally, we now have owners who share our aspirations and have the same expectations as the fanbase. So keep the faith and trust in the process. Because with or without Dean Smith Villa are going places.