The last time we played the hammers. I predicted a win would see us get out the bottom three, and felt that we needed to get something because we had Arsenal up next. This time around It also feels like we need to get something from the hammers. I don’t want to rely on Everton. Back then I wrote that I sensed the prophets of doom were already starting to surface and put a negative spin on things. Smith had barely got started on laying the foundations for the season ahead. We were five games into the season it was September. But It was clear from some fans with their doom and gloom analogies, Dean Smith was not going to, be shown the same patience that got shown, Steve Bruce.
I said I believed we would come out the other side of this transitional season a better team. But we needed to give time and accept instant success does not exist. And that we would incur losses along the way. Even be in or around the relegation zone most, if not all the season. And that finishing midtable would be fantastic, but equally so would 17th place this season.
My support for Smith as been clear for all to see, and I made no apologies for being willing to get behind him through an extended period. I believed Smith needed this season, and I suspected the owners thought so too. Especially given the rhetoric that came from Christian Purslow. “nothing happens overnight Dean Smith was the outstanding candidate, every single attribute that the owners and I had talked about, Dean had In abundance”. You can read some of that here https://avfcvillablog.com/west-ham-smith-to-burst-the-hammers-bubble/
Up until the recent Chelsea defeat following project restart, I had never given Dean Smith both barrels. Then last week, I lost the plot, and the very thing which I said was needed patience, I ran out of. I wrote that some of the board and Smith needed replacing. Not for anyone like big sam, but someone like Pochettino or Rafa.
I regret writing that now, It was an emotional knee jerk reaction to a result. I should have allowed myself time to digest the Everton game. So I am doing a u-turn. I want us to retain Dean Smith services regardless if were relegated or not. It may be an even more unpopular view come Sunday afternoon than now. But it’s mine to make, and mine to have, you still get to have yours. Because all opinions are right, That’s what makes it an opinion. It’s yours to have, yours to make, and you get to be right. so let’s not make the common mistake and confuse opinions with facts which so many do.
Why do I want to keep Smith? Well for the very reasons I spoke about back in 2018, and above. That, I believe we need to take the longevity approach. No more gambles or quick fix scenario’s.
The question I ask is this “would those of us who want a coach like Pochettino or Rafa, or someone of that ilk. Also want them removed right now if we were in the same position under them?”. Would we keep them purely because of their cv regardless?. If so, then is it not simply a case we don’t believe Smith can learn and grow like Sean Dyche did at Burnley?. Lets remember this is his first year as a Premier League Coach.
There Is No Fast-Track Route
Klopp just won the title after building Liverpool up over a few years. Pool fans wanted him out not so long ago. Gooner fans bemoaned about Wenger they don’t make top 4 nowadays. Sometimes the grass is not always greener. We all want Villa to be challenging for honours and winning trophies. But is there a fast-track route?. We do have a history of jumping on the Manager merry go round at Villa.
Whatever happens at the hammers Smith’s on a hiding to nothing. If we lose and end up relegated, fans already have their scapegoat. If we stay up, some fans will insist that Smith needs to go, on the basis they believe given the money spent we should never have been in this position.
Adapting To The Premier League
Spending money does not guarantee your survival. It’s not like we spent the money to improve an established premier league team. Hopefully, winning at the hammers will enable us to do that, for the first time in many a year.
For us, this season was always going to be about player integration, and relying on players adapting quickly. Everyone in the team learning and being aware of their role. If, we draw or beat the hammers and retain our Premier League status. Our Players will have a year’s experience behind them. We can then build on this, instead of tearing everything up and starting again. Like, what’s happened in recent years. Which, would also no doubt happen under a new coach.
Villa’s New Approach
Prior to Smith’s appointment, I said we needed a new approach. One which would see us hire a vibrant, progressive, tactically astute type of coach. Someone who can develop our youth and any young talent we purchase. I said they would need time to create a playing style that’s played across all levels of the club. So youth integration is much easier to accomplish than previous attempts. Build this footballing ethos that would become known as the Villa way. Then every coach that follows adds a sprinkling of there own.
I asked if the Aston Villa board had the longterm vision that was required to lift our great club back to where it belongs?. Or if we would just become another Leeds United?. We will find out soon enough.