“How long was that last 15 minutes?” Oh, Deano. An eternity. But you did it. Villa did it. And now we’re back where we belong. I really still can’t believe it.

The scenes at Wembley were fantastic, unbridled joy and a huge helping of relief. We’ve seen now how hard it is, how the Championship just seems to claw at you. Just ask Leeds. And Villa being Villa, it was never going to be easy.

Truth be told, you could see Villa were feeling it down the stretch. After the swashbuckling, nothing-to-lose 10-game win streak, the weight of expectation fell heavily on the club and players. You always had a sense they’d have an answer this time, and they did, but we were nowhere near our best in the semis or the final. We’d almost run out of gas.

But in the end, there was just enough heart, just enough quality, just enough belief to get us over the line. At the third time of asking, Villa said: Yes. We can.

And that’s the hardest part, breaking through all the mental barriers to find a way to win when everything is on the line. When there’s been nothing for years but disappointment, frustration, and failure: When that’s become the expectation.

You simply have to find a will to win. And we did.

So, it’s short from me. Doesn’t matter how anyone played. Doesn’t matter how nervy it was down the stretch. All that matters was that Villa scored two, Derby scored one, and that was how it stood at the end of the 97th minute.

Villa have done it the hard way. But they’ve finally won something, finally lifted the clouds hanging over the club. They’ve overcome adversity, near financial ruin, and disenchanted support to finally take us over the line. It’s been a wild ride. And as I think about it, it was fitting, the end. Instead of quietly securing a place, Villa had to play through a winner-take-all final on the big stage. Had to have it all staring them in the face. Had to finally give the supporters a reason to walk out of Wembley elated.

We know there’s a lot to come. We know the side will have to change. We know it’ll be tough to stay up the first year back. It’ll be Liverpool, City, Arsenal, Chelsea, United and Spurs coming to Villa Park instead of Rotherham, Reading, and Brentford. Or small heath.

But none of that matters right now. It’s time to celebrate. Time to enjoy being a Villan again. Time to be optimistic. Time to have a few too many drinks.

So let me say well done to all of us long-suffering supporters. Well done, Dean. Well done, the lads. You’ve accomplished what looked almost impossible, and in the process etched your names in the history book of our beloved club and given us all the footballing joy we’ve been lacking for so long.

Up the Villa.

Comments 191

  1. Jesus. What a ride. I do not want to go through that again. I cried most of the game. All week I’ve been a mess. Not sleeping or eating properly. This was make or break for us as a club…and I knew it. I’m drained.

  2. Thank the lord Jesus we giants of Aston have returned to our rightful place. 3 long years out in the cold. Living in korea it’s been 3 years of s**te streams as they don’t show lower tier on Telly here. But now my weekends of joy are back. UTV!!!

  3. JC – So let me say well done to all of us long-suffering supporters.

    Hasn’t been easy being a Villa fan, has it? The last 3 years have been fun in parts (beating Wolves and Small Heath are my fav memories) and depressing in between but were better than the previous three years which were just depressing. Yesterday felt cathartic as a fan, joy and optimism for the future we weren’t allowed to feel for years. Lets not discuss the tough challenges ahead today. Instead, as we savour the miracle it took to get us here today after lying in 13th in Feb, we can always remember this special journey.


  4. Thanks JC

    Woke up this morning and had a cuppa and then it struck me, we hadn’t just got promoted or won an important game we had actually won a final at Wembley!! how longs that been?

    Must admit there were few bright moments to take from the game itself other than the obvious relief of scoring some soft goals and the relief of winning, ElGhazi turned out to be the player that turned up in attack, none of our big hitters did, the defence was the Key, imagine saying that would be the case in September last year. Just shows you how much Dean Smith achieved in a very short time.

    One other thought hit me and it was thank you Derby for beating Leeds, They left their final at Elland road, Leeds would of been a tougher game, even when it threatened to boil over you knew Derby were powder puff compared to Leeds. The ref was the bigger problem dishing out some dubious yellows for us and not them I thought. Toward the end I was cheering Hauses clearances and applauding Steers routine gathers as saves 🙂

    As for the celebrations I’m going to re-watch them, the moments I remember before I left t he pub were, Tony Xia looking unsure whether he’d won or not or if he was part of it, Hutton sadly looked less than chuffed at not being involved. I do remember Jack taking Chester up to receive the cup but thats about it.

    Right who shall we buy 🙂

  5. Tony Xia is claiming he’s kept his promise of getting his promise, about as valid as one pundit claiming that Bruce got us promoted as its his team. Keith Wyness apparently tweeted a one word reply “fraud” oh dear 🙂

  6. PW- there are an awful lot of people that made a lot of money yesterday unfortunately without much positive input, players that have clauses for pay rises on promotion like RMC and the likes of Xia, Lerner etc, good job the owners have deep pockets.

    Hearing Chester has to live with pain in his knee having played through his injury for so long, deep respect to that man.

  7. PW- will be an interesting knot to unpick, Lerner might be owed up to £30m, Xia has maybe 20% which is now worth a lot more, and as I said many players from xia’s time with promotion wage rises. Shame could do with all the available funds to put toward the team.

  8. I’m back, i took a little break from AVL and it coincided with our winning run and i got superstitious and stayed away but boy oh boy am i suffering in work today and fully worth it.

    Spent yesterday with around 200+ Villans in Buskers, aka the ticketless paddy’s what a day, game wasn’t great but never felt out of control and El Ghazi’s movement to get ahead of the defender for the first goal has been watched a few times, i turned away for the second goal to get a swig from my pint as it looked like the ball had ballooned to safety following the deflection only for the place to erupt with joy.

    The countdown from their goal to the final whistle was agonising, there were a handful of visiting Derby fans who didn’t know Buskers was a Villa pub so despite a brief period after they scored, they resorted to quietly drinking, so badly need an early night tonight to recover and continue to soak in that we are back at the top table.

    And the icing on the cake is we are back with a brilliant young manager and an ownership/mgmt team that will ensure we remain premier league. The future is bright but i’ll worry about that tomorrow.

    Got to meet up with some of my Villa friends from the first incarnation of the Irish supporters club from the mid 90s, memories and plans to meet up where the topics of conversation, met some new Villa comrades who we got to celebrate Villa’s and our momentous day.

    All the best to my fellow Lifers, back for good.

  9. it is going to be the biggest transfer window ever! exciting times.

    I want mings, el gazi and tuanzabe signed up. Not fussed at all over tammy.

    We need a lb. 2 strikers? cdm. 2 winger types. cover for jack and mcguin.

  10. What a great day. Sun shining, Villa back where we belong and the makings of a great future unlike the previous 5 year plan. Was tempted to wear a Villa top to work today but working in Derby probably not that appropriate although no Derby fans in my office.

    Will be nice reading gossip of transfer that doesn’t involve players from the 2nd & 3rd divisions.

  11. Mark
    re: Chester – just as well we’re promoted as he doesn’t look like he’ll be able to do 2 & more games a week ever again.

  12. IanG- such a shame mate think we both know how that feels 🙂

    welcome back Darren, should we change the site name to the supernatural Villa club? 🙂

    Right now I reckon the only signings we will definitely have is Hause, Gulibert and ElGhazi, and Elghazi’s not a certainty. Be amazed if Axle is bought, Mings? we have to match other offers, Abraham wants to stay at Chelsea if he can get a game so sod him. Could see several back on loan I suppose but either way we have our work cut out to produce a side to stay up while keeping an eye on funds.

    I can see us going for more ElGhazi type signings

    Players up for it potentially

    Grealish, McGinn, Hourihane, Steer? Kalanic, Hogan? Chester if fit, Lansbury? Ohare? Green? I’m even going to mention Wheelan though I thik he’ll be gone, its pretty Sparse.

  13. Goal keeper is a big one for me…keep steer? is kalinic up to it?

    Even if we keep tammy a decent striker is a must.

    We will go youth. Maybe a bit like howe at bournemath

  14. H&V- Our problem is we still have to buy the team that got us up before improving it, you have to ask have we got enough as we are to survive? right now without appearing too pessimistic I’m chuffed that we have avoided next season having little income to be honest. I think Dean Smith has pulled a blinder but if he keeps us up with a rebuild it will be a massive achievement.

  15. We only need to finish above 17th, below 7th doesn’t require massive amounts of investment to challenge those teams, I don’t see Norwich or Sheffield setting the prem alight, Newcastle, Brighton, Southampton, Bournemouth all struggled this season.

    Agree we are in a rebuilding phase but what better place to be than challenging our owners to really invest and challenging Smith to come up with a squad capable of retaining our prem status, so much better than losing all our loan players plus Grealish plus whoever who wouldn’t have wanted another season in the championship.

  16. Darren- Purslow was talking on the radio and said we are ahead of schedule as far as the rebuild is concerned and probably promotion. I think that the owners were looking at building a foundation of young players hence Smith for Bruce. Now that has just become a much tougher task, survival vs pushing for promotion as a learning ground? I’d take the latter.

    The Owners have said that we are aiming way above promotion though in the long run, exciting times that will take some outstanding leadership all round. The huge payday can’t be sniffed at.

  17. I can’t tell you how good it feels to see all the happy reactions, and many great Lifers. I’d felt quietly optimistic during the build-up, but beating a team three times in a row is no small ask, and Derby really had nothing to lose.

    Full credit, they did come back into it and gave us all we wanted down the stretch.

    So, yes…there’s a very big and busy summer ahead of us now. I’ll get something up, maybe for tomorrow, to segue us into the fact the upcoming PL season has already started.

    Right now? I’m still buzzing.

  18. Now back home from the euphoria of a trip to Wembley…..and winning a final at last….!!!!!!

    Thank goodness, it was more in line with our great FA cup semi-final victory over Liverpool, than our last display against Fulham.
    Started the day with a great breakfast, courtesy of the Premier Inn in Sutton Coldfield, alongside a Villa fan from Manchester, who had come to take his Dad to the final! Then a Zeelo coach ride to Wembley, or some f****king place about a mile down the road!!!! Just managed to down a few Peroni’s before the kick off. Stood the whole of the time singing and waving my flag, along with 40,000 Villa fans….Did you notice how a lot of Derby fans hardly cheered their goal!! Villans in disguise! I know , as I was drinking with a crowd of them, as well as some genuine Derby fans.

    The atmosphere was truly amazing and you had to be part of it to really appreciate it. When that first goal went in it was almost pandemonium, a great “shoulder” shot from El Ghazi just before half-time, and just what was needed to settle everyone down for the second half.

    The second goal you could almost see coming, as their young keeper was very nervous, and in the end, was really an own goal as he pushed against McGinn’s back, and then the stadium just erupted, with people hugging and kissing everyone around them!!!

    Not long after the tie should have been put to bed as El Ghazi once again showed his skills and had only to push the ball on to Tammy to tap in, instead Jack Grealish wanting the glory, was given it, and the chance was gone. This had the effect on galvanising Derby, and we were put under the cosh then, with them getting a goal back. Those last ten minutes were truly nerve racking, and Hause and Steer were outstanding in holding firm.

    The seven extra minutes were spot on, I had calculated that it would be 7/8 minutes, so not far out.

    The final whistle was just unbelievable then, and the celebrations that followed, including the singing of Sweet Caroline, which was ringing in every fans head for hours afterwards, with the odd rendition of Hi Ho Silver Lining….and at least a hundred choruses of super John McGinn, whose day it was, along with El Ghazi…!!!

    So we are back where we belong……. after three long years in the Championship, although I have enjoyed much of it, preceded by three very poor years in the Premiership, sliding down the snake.

    Sad to see that Chester has suffered so greatly, just hope he is able to restore some sort of career with us. He really put his life on the line for so long. I am so glad he was totally involved in the celebrations.

    It was also great to see John Carew with his pal, Prince William , fully enjoying the celebrations.

    I do hope that we sign Mings, El Ghazi and Hause. Much as I would love us to sign Tuanzebe, it may be difficult, as United seem determined to keep him. Tammy is a possibility, but personally, I am not fussed, as there are other players out there.

    Jo Lolly is now a strong contender, and another Villa fan in the side would be great!

    The rest I will leave to Dean and his team.

  19. JC, and all AVL posters and readers, forgot to say how great it is to see you all here, and that I enjoy all your comments.

    The profile picture problem is to do with deleting a picture JC. Once you have deleted, it will not let you use one again. As you say, may have to delete account and start again.

  20. The day after those tumultuous events. Groggy head, lacking sleep but totally happy. You’re right PP, HRH looked more than just delighted.

    MK, the article link to Purslow states what most of us Lifers already knew. We’ve wasted a lot of money. E.g. Bolasie on loan complete with his 70 grand/week wages. Wonder what his goals and assists cost us each.

    Then there’s RMC, the extended contract we gave Gabby, the 4 years of Dick Turpin and not to mention how much Everton are going to get for Gana compared to what we sold him for. Wouldn’t it be nice if we included a percentage of any sell on price in our sale to them? Stop laughing everybody.

    Maybe we can get Axel back on loan from Manure. He is not ready for their first team yet. Tammy? He needs a lot of chances for every goal he scores so we may need someone more lethal. Although his work work was top stuff.

    Questions, questions. Glad I’m not the person that must answer them. That link MK, also states that 4 out of the last 5 play off winners have come straight back down. The one that didn’t was Huddersfield although they only lasted 2 seasons in the Prem. So we’ll just have to break that crock of schitt.

  21. And while I think the side definitely needs some work to stay up, I also think we’d have finished in the top two if Dean had had a full summer, a window, and a bit more luck with injuries. Never mind leaving the cover bare at CB.

  22. If the wages were sensible, I’d go for Benteke. We have always played well with a target man like him. Lolley…I hope he isn’t Lansbury mk2.

    Although Steer will go down in folklore for his play-off heroics, he’s not a prem standard keeper. I would take Johnstone off of Albion or maybe Butland.

    Should be fun

  23. Hey Paul
    Steer has done well where ever he has gone. He’s the least flamboyant keeper I’ve seen. Very steady. I think the job is his to lose next season. I’d get Johnstone as a backup but with Kalinic already here the goalkeeper job should be good to go.

  24. JC- Feeling the optimism? 🙂 definitely think Dean from the start would of improved things even if it was just more ingrained playing patterns and fitness. There is of course the question of if he had come in would we have had Tammy, Axle and McGinn? or maybe better of course.

    My only question would be his head to head with the better managers that finished top 3 didn’t go so well. At this point Deans ability in the top leagues is an unknown along with the team he’ll have. I hope we don’t get the situation where he is under threat by Xmas, would like to see him get the season and next regardless to build.

    Ian- Can’t see Kalanic playing second fiddle unless we pay him a fortune maybe, we do also have Nyland.

    PW- I like Lolley I think he is one that would improve in the right team, I wonder if Albrightons available? or Watkins from Brentford.

  25. I have that interview saved for after work as it’s 20 minutes long, are we agreed that there was no point having an open top bus to celebrate our return.

    I’m quite taken by their idea that we are back where we should be and there is no point celebrating finishing third, it tells me that they intend to celebrate for the right reasons winning cups or leagues

  26. Ha…I did watch the interview. Liked what Purslow said. He seems rather sharp.

    Right character, right characteristics, right quality to match what Dean wants and fit into a Dean Smith side.

  27. Back where we belong at long last with a great manager , board and backroom staff to boot who would have thought it coming from where we have been eh
    I had one for are great AVL founder member steamer who did say we would not get promoted under Bruce and as usual he was bang on the money
    thanks to Brazil and st for getting in touch and if your heads are still sore it was well worth it

    very excited for the future and thought the owners and everyone connected to the club showed the ambition and determination along with a fantastic track record for success in sports and business that leads me to belive the sky is the limit for this club as we all know it should ber

    JC i read every post and well done to you , glad to see mark still flying the flag for the orginal AVL ers always good to read the comments and its good that we dont have an aweful manager that some feel the need to defend , which of course they have every right to, … must be strange not to have too much to moan about for all villains

    bless up all next stop Europe 🙂

  28. Hello Runtings good to hear from you, thought you might be liking the outbreak of football thats broken out at Villa all the best mate.

  29. Nice to see you Runtings ….

    Time that Frem and a few others made an appearance…..where is B6toBrasil??

    Steamer 75…..and our lovely Jenny…!!

    Or even Monty…. Never did get her Baker’s shirt..

  30. Then there is Trinity Bibulus Clive Evans and more….. and JL, you are still welcome. Join in the celebrations, and accept that it took a Villa fan to achieve it….. I have, and I wanted Henry at one time….

    Maybe we could have a pre season party here with a feast of Curry goat, rice n’ peas washed down with a few pints and the odd scotch….

    We could even spend that £20 that Steamer left in an old envelope behind the bar in the Aston Social!

  31. Mark, I’d given up on Nyland and felt Kalinic was a bit on the clumsy side. If Villa keep looking abroad for keepers they should look at the MLS. Some good ones there. Other than that British goalies seem to do the best for me.

  32. Ian- I heard that Kalanic was Jesus’s pick not particularly Smiths, I hope Steer does ok although we don’t know how much load he’ll come under in the prem or if our defence will cope as well, gonna be long summer.

    PP- the £20’s mine

  33. Don’t know if any of you lads will remember me, but I’m an guy from San Antonio, Texas that used to post fairly often a few years ago. Though the Villa remained near and dear to my heart, my psyche wasn’t strong enough to endure the justifiable fear and negativity that accompanied relegation and the turmoil that followed. I’d still swing by to check up on old friends here, and was absolutely heartbroken when Steamer passed and some of his old mates stopped posting as much — I so enjoyed their tales of olden days and better days!

    Anyway, just wanted to say hello again to all of you, and I wanted to leave a link to an American sports journalist’s story about what rooting for Villa and what our Wembley victory meant to him. Though I’ve never met the gentleman, oddly enough he and I both became Villans at the same time and for very similar reasons: we were both World Cup fanatics but after the 2010 World Cup ended we were ready to choose an English club team to follow and neither of us had any interest in becoming a plastic fan of a “big club.” I chose Aston Villa because we had won many glories, had a famous and lovely stadium, had an incredibly loyal fanbase, but most importantly because we had William McGregor — league football only exists because a Villan invented it! Here’s the post:


  34. Remember you well, Texas. Good to see you. It took a toll on all of us. Me, I was simply duty bound to keep going. But it wasn’t always easy. So don’t be a stranger. You’ll see lots of people have felt the same way.

  35. Great article TexasVillan, seeing the pictures Dean had from Wembley, Gary Haddon RIP made it to Wembley anyone friends with Dean will know what I mean.

    There’s a sea change in reading Villa news, for years it was can we keep some players, can we get rid of bomb squads, can we get a player that will keep us from relegation. Now, it’s what exciting prospect will enhance our squad.

    If ever a set of fans know what fleeting glory is all about it’s us Villans, enjoy the summer lads, June 13 for the fixtures and some player acquisition we won’t even expect.

  36. DarrenO- I think Purslow’s statement that we will be after Players for Smiths style and outlined the qualities means its going to be very exciting. Having seen Hause and Mings look class I think we are in for some pleasant surprises.

    Just read this by a friend of Dean Smiths and I reckon Dean should throw his hat in for Prime minister.


  37. Blimey, it’s like waiting for a number 8 bus on here now.
    You wait for ever & then they all come at once.
    Nice to see.

    Mark – pleasant surprises all round, yes looking forward to it all.
    There certainly is less stress, & I have confidence that we’re finished with that debilitating stress that depresses.

  38. Linked to Dwight Gayle. Cant see that happening? Not young and hungry!

    Don’t wont him. Also linked to lolley who I like but is 27 soon. id prefer bowen at hull.

    Would love Maupay.

    JJ at Luton for LB

  39. We await with great interest, any news on our players who are out of contract this June. Deano did say immediately after the game that he would be meeting with those players “next Weds” which has now been and gone. As time is of the essence for all concerned I had hoped some news would break today. Anyone heard any whispers?

    You don’t need a crystal ball to find out what is happening with Dick Turpin on June 30th.

  40. Plug
    Yes, it would give us an idea of what positions are needed to fill.
    They seem to be more closemouthed than we’re used to.

  41. IanG- Doesn’t your internet talk to you? not that good anyway hutton gone as well, and some changes in one of the companies that own us Xia and purslow no longer directors.

  42. A moment to acknowledge the contribution of Adomah and Hutton, they had their limitations, they may have been sporadic in terms of contribution but i’d prefer to be positive about these guys and thank them for their overall contribution in the last few seasons in getting us back to the prem, they’ll always be welcome back at VP.

    Here’s to you Uncle Albert and the Scottish Cafu!

    F.O. Micah Richards you leech 🙂

  43. DarrenO- I think your being a bit harsh there as Richards was integral to improving moral with his cheery demeanour and handing out of half time oranges for £50,000 a week.

  44. My very best wishes for the future go to Uncle Albert and Tommy Elphick on news of their release. Albert’s goal against small heath in front of the Holte End will live in my memory.

    It wasn’t Tommy’s decision to move on loan to Hull when we needed him most. He was a good captain.

    You two guys are welcome back to VP anytime in the coming years.

  45. Dear Cafu,

    Thank you for your service to AVFC. You have been a good soldier for us. I wish you and your family every success in the future and I’m sure a warm welcome will await you when you visit us next.

    Your status at VP is assured, set in stone. Your goal against small heath will live forever. We are lucky to have had you on board.

  46. thank god hutton has left the building! Crazy how he has become a cult figure. A full back that swtiches off and doesn’t track back after one of his runs that goes no where, never provides assists. The opposite of a modern full back.

    Jedi has gone now too.

  47. All the best for the future Jedi. You have contributed to our success this year. Your penalty at the yam yams made the difference. We appreciated it.

    Darren. A joke surely. Jota is a lightweight. I’d rather keep Cafu!

  48. Sure enough our immense wage bill is coming down. Some big earners departing. Unfortunately we have Turpin for another month.

  49. Media still reporting FFP (or P & S as it’s known now) is chasing us into the Prem. Can’t see any issues myself. The owner of Man Citeh has poured far more millions into their club than Compass.

    It’s the Bolton’s and Bury’s that the EFL should be concerned about. Those clubs can’t pay their players. There will always be big sums speculated in the Championship as clubs try to reach the pot of gold.

  50. I’ll throw this out there, I don’t think Dean Smiths promotion team (mainly put together by Bruce) have played anything like the team he is about to build. I think the amount of crosses will go down and a more varied attack will be on display, Brentfords style of play is way more likely than what we have witnessed out of necessity.

  51. Mark
    Thanks for the good quality one.
    I have a feeling that he will be a success with us, even if a valued squad player, & far more use than GG.
    He’s talented player & can definitely finish.
    He seemed to go down to their level at the sty

  52. I wonder if they are waiting to see if they can get a good replacement for Whelan before they let him go.
    There is talk of Arter from Bournmouth, but I’m not familiar with him.

  53. The EFL club jealousy for us & Derby is way out of order, & I wonder what face saving nonsense is going to come out of the EPL/EFL meetings, especially as it may be aimed at us.
    The media is certainly aiming at us.

  54. Jota must be a story from our Plan B. The one in case we didn’t get promoted.

    The small heath rag bags don’t have any players of Prem quality.

  55. We are back where we belong,yes I doubted Smith for a while over Xmas,the good news kept coming players been released no more Hutton, how he got the adoration I ‘ll never know Richards only cost us money never goals or loss of points,anyways onwards and upwards looking forward to June 13th fixtures are out

  56. Good to see so many happy comments on here.
    Have been reading but its hard to keep up or add to the largely excellent analyses of the villa. With the kids growing, the business, the beers and the morris dancing time just seems to drift away.
    Feels like the football gods have finally forgiven us for all the dross we served up those seasons back. So many good things seem to be aligning, lets hope we keep moving in the right direction.
    UTV!! UAVL !!

  57. So it’s goodbye to Glenn Whelan, Mark Bunn and Ritchie De Laet. I’d like to thank them for their contributions to the cause and wish them well for the future. Don’t know how we will ever replace Turpin though.

    That clear out has certainly freed up space for some fresh incoming faces. I wait with baited breath to welcome the new recruits.

  58. This week just shows how badly we have been run under Lerner,fake doc,managed by incompetent CEO S,hopefully this all changed with new owners, come on fans crying over likes Hutton Whelan Albert been let go all I see is relegation players failed spud players Jedi 79 appearances in 3 seasons shocking value
    Good to see so many old faces back on here as well as the regulars ,big thanks out to JC for keeping this site going through all the bad times,it’s best by far

  59. There’s more solid murmurings of Abraham being potentially for sale to us if we meet the price 25 mil projected by the cr*p media.
    I’m not sure that we can’t do better, but we would have 2 thirds of a squad aiming at a youthful 2 players per position at least.
    If AEG, Hause & Mings return, which is looking possible, then another LB, we could get away with that.
    We have Elmo & Guilbert at right back, & Green &.
    There are still some players who need to be moved on such as possibly Bree or the Viking.

    We also have some very good young ones in the first team fringes, such as O’Hare, Ramsey et al, so we can do ok until we need the next upgrades.

  60. IanG- I’m in a similar frame of mind about Tammy, 26 goals is decent but I think Maupay would of put away more of the chances presented to Tammy, he got 25 plus 8 assists, the lad at Norwich got 29 and 9 assists. 9 players got 22 and above goals, even Bradly Dack got 15 and 8 assists and Bowen at hull got 22 and 4 assist from the wing. So maybe its not so hard to score in the champs for a better than average player.

    Its tough because we could spend most of our transfer kitty on standing still, I don’t mind buys like Jota as Smith knows him and we don’t know how Villa will be playing this season? think we will have more movement up top and Jota’s a sign of that.

    I could even see a bench place for Hogan if we switch emphasis from crosses, unlikely but a possibility, Can’t see Brentford going for a Hogan plus cash for Maupay 🙂
    I don’t expect Kodjia to be of much use and Davis just does not score enough and might need a loan spell. All in all its not looking an easy fix when Tammy has basically been it for us all season.

  61. Welcome home Bibulus, JG, and everyone else!

    Surprised how many do not seem to think that Jota is not a great piece of business by the management team. Blues got him for a very fair price of £6.5million when he was one of Brentford’s star players, scoring 12 goals in 23 outings.. For us, as a Premier side to buy him for £4million + GG, is a tidy piece of business, and he will fit Dean’s style of play, which will improve, now he is getting the players he wants. Jota would also be the right type of player for Hogan, if we keep him.

    Pleased that Villa have released so many servants on frees, so that they can make a nice bonus signing on fee, as a thank you from us.

    Glen Whelan, apparently has a player/coach offer from Stoke City, Elphick will probably re-join Hull City, Uncle Albert will go back to Bristol City, Hutton may go north to Rangers, De Laet will go to Antwerp, Jedinak back to Australia, Richards will retire completely(due to his injuries) and Bunn may well end up at Sunderland.

    This means that there is still a future for Bjarnason, Taylor, Chester, Nyland, Kalinic, Kodjia, Lansbury, Davis, Hogan and Green, unless offers come in for them to tempt Villa to sell. I am sure that Dean is looking at having a very strong squad of players, capable of playing in the Premiership, which is why we got rid of so many youngsters recently.

    Tammy looks to be definitely here next season, as he has moved to Four Oaks in the last couple of days. It may only be an extension to his present loan deal, with a purchase clause in the January window, which would suit both clubs. I am sure that deals will also be completed in the next few days for Mings, Hause and El Ghazi. I would love us to sign Tuanzebe, but at the moment, I am not sure that United would release him, as he is set to tour with them this summer.

    I am sure we will also look to bring Jo Lolly from Forest, plus maybe a couple of others, but I do not see a huge amount of money being spent on signings at this stage of the proceedings.

    I do not thing that we will dragging our heels in the market, so that we should know by the beginning of July what players the squad consists of.

  62. PP- loans for tammy and Axle would be ideal allowing for strengthening elsewhere. If we are on a hiding to nothing by xmas then at least we will have a strengthened squad with which to grow should the worst happen, I am not expecting that as surely there are 3 worse teams out there.

    Purslow stated we have a core of players which suggests we will get the spine of the team from last season.

    rumours are Kalinic may be sold, I hope we get lolly and maupay , I can’t see us spending over £50m and I think we will see more deals like the Gardner/jota make weight one, god knows we have enough hanging around to do them.

  63. PP – I’m surprised you’ve not mentioned RMC, the dodgy gate man. He has become our Dick Turpin Mark 2. I’m guessing he just can’t be shifted due to his wages and he’s seen the original Turpin show him how it’s done.

    Tammy at 25 million is too expensive in my book. I’m not saying he won’t achieve that value in the years to come, but right now it’s a lot of money to pay for potential. But I do like his work rate.

  64. Plug,
    I would think the maximum we would pay for Tammy is around £20million.

    Other interesting names being bandied about at the moment are Bruno Andrade from Lincoln, another 25 year old, much more affordable and a real machine from Portugal, and definitely a Dean Smith type recruit. Another one is James Justin, a superb 21 year old left back, and like Bruno, has been instrumental in getting his team promoted.

  65. Amazing to think we will be going into the season with Jack as out most experienced Prem player. As PP says the players we are linked with are mostly lower league or foreign etc. I think its exciting and brave of us to go this way personally and makes some sense, I hope the fans see it that way and continue to get behind the team.

  66. I read this today, it explains why Dean Smith got the reaction he did from the squad.

    “I think Dean Smith reads a lot of books about operational management.

    When you listen to Dean Smith speak, pay attention…he never talks about ‘talented individuals’ or ‘natural ability’ he talks about the team’s ability to work hard, put in the effort, and to be willing to take on new ideas. After the playoff finals, he referred to the players as ‘sponges’ absorbing new ideas and executing on those ideas themselves, and his quote ‘be a good teammate’ is pretty much lifted from a book called ‘Team of Teams’ by a US General who talks about how they were being schooled by Al Qaeda in the occupation of Iraq and how the army had to turn it around.

    I always wondered why Dean Smith’s Brentford team could always beat a team of better individuals managed by Steve Bruce, now it’s obvious, it’s because he was able to build a team that was able to think on their own feet and adapt, whereas back then we were a team which was purely about doing ‘what the manager told them’. It’s clear to me now that he’s trying to do the same here, build a team that can be agile and adapt in games to win them, ‘they always find new ways to win’. It’s also why he’s getting them to do their own debriefs, he wants them to work on their own initiative.

    I think Dean Smith will be able to adapt to the next level up, he’s put a focus on learning, which will put him in good stead. The only problem I have a concern about is that he has long periods where he doesn’t win, and I worry whether or not NSWE will stick by him in those times, but I guess we’ll find that out in time.

    I think this summers recruitment will not be star names on big salaries, I think Smith will favour players who are intelligent and hungry and willing to learn, even if they aren’t the best footballing talents out there, I think he doesn’t want players who rely on their skills, he wants players who want to develop themselves.”

    I think this is pretty accurate and as long as we don’t buy players that are physically not up to the league then we should see a team quite quickly. Good players make the right decisions on the fly as well as follow a plan. If you think about it when ones teams plan is thrown against another’s you soon see who’s is best and whether they can adapt on the hoof can make the difference. Its also interesting to listen to the language used by managers to gain insight.

  67. i want maupay sooooo badly. Im ok with tammy staying, keeps the core together and he is still 21 and deano will improve him no doubt but we need more up top than him.

    James Justin and maupay top of my list though.


    I think the same, deano adapted to the players we had. The way we played is not his style. Will see proper smith ball next season. So much relies on the full backs. and winger types who cut in. I still think tammy could play right side. He is quick with good feet and beats a man. So much better running at people than having his back to goal. but he scores all his goals inside the box!

  68. Yeah, I don’t think he’ll be looking at Ronaldo. From what we’ve heard about recruitment, I think part of a player fitting into a Dean Smith side will include being good with the ball in tight spaces, being able to handle and pass quickly. And I’m sure he’s going to want to take pressure off Jack. PL teams ought to be able to contain a single player. Being good on the ball and retaining/regaining possession I’m sure will be a standard.

    If they can do that, and have the right attitude, speed, endurance, then I think he stands a very good chance of being successful. I’m sure Compass are being realistic. Get up, stay up, kick on from there.

    Haven’t been paying much attention to the Prem these last three seasons, so will have to take a look at the survival math. But I’m sure Dean & Co. have got that down already.

  69. JC- I think the prem is a very different dog since we dropped, the rise of Liverpool, Spurs and Man city with pepe has upset the apple-cart. Much slimmer pickings for the expanded top tier. I think there is more intent on actually attacking too, much like the champs has changed as we fortunately did too. We need to crack the everton, wolves, leicester, west ham, watford area 1st and Newcastle are about to be minted too probably.

  70. Yeah, exactly MK.

    We’re definitely trying to play the right way, won’t be getting as many let-offs from teams who move it around and create but can’t finish. As you say, FBs are going to be crucial, as is whoever ends up being the ‘DM’, however Dean sets us up.

  71. Mark, some interesting points about Dean Smith’s management style. Like you, I like the way he goes about his business and he does seem to be capable of making the team greater than the sum of its individual parts. The only area I’d disagree with you is your comparison between him and Steve Bruce. Yes Brentford may have performed well against us, but the fact is that Bruce’s team ended the season 5 places ahead of Smith’s
    There isn’t one right way to coach a football team, but like you, I prefer they way Smith does it to Bruce’s method from an entertainment perspective.
    We now know that our owners had planned for promotion next season not this. It seems likely that they’d expected to develop a new, younger, energetic team in the Championship next season and then take them up to the premiership. They’ll now have to do their learning at the higher level and I reckon that 16th or above would be a good base for us to build from next year.

  72. JC, as you say, attitude, speed and endurance will be important. A team of Mcginns would do nicely thank you.
    It should be easier to sustain that in the premiership than the Championship as there are fewer games. It does now seem that the sheer number of games was just too much for Bielsa’s Leeds. I remember questions being asked well before Christmas about their potential to sustain that pace for a whole Championship season and now we have the answer . . . . they couldn’t, and they became the first team in a decade to finish the calendar year on top of the table and not get promoted.

  73. We need more pace. Hopefully guilbert is effective going forward and the new lb. full backs vital. Wolves have done so well especially against the top 6 as they counter so well as fast. Something we need. Im all for young and hungry unknown players but need to splash some money on at least 2 very very good players. A st and cdm would be ideal. Again look at Wolves got neves and raul.

  74. Robbo- Firstly Its not my comparison its in quotes, secondly can I refer you to this years league and final 🙂

    I suppose it shows that quality of player matters too as Brentford started well and faded and came back , Smith also had a blip with them as well as us in mid-season although like Bruce had injury troubles at least with us.

  75. robbo – quality of players & quality as a team as a whole don’t match yet they beat us.
    Absolutely no comparison & his first name isn’t Robert.

  76. Heroes-and-Villans- Guilbert is more defensive from stuff I have read but that may be more about the team he played for than him I don’t know.

  77. Heroes, I share your delight at the “variation agreement” that has rid us of RMC. Another good move that Compass have done.

    Looking at their investment overall, I guess they are very happy with how things are going. They paid 60 million for their share of the club, then another 30 million to RL if the reports are accurate. Then they have paid a heap into the running of the club over the last season. Only they know the true amount paid to date but perhaps 130 million ain’t too wide of the mark?

    But what are their assets now worth? Jack and SJM must be worth 60 million between them. Then there is the value of the other players, the hard assets (land and buildings) plus an annual turnover of approx 140 million now that we are Prem status. That 130 million mentioned above will not be close to buying Villa now as things stand. How much has Ashley reportedly sold Newcastle for? 350 Million? All we have to do is stay in this league and improve each season. Happy days.

  78. yeah plug 60 mill for us is peanuts! But like you say please god stay in the league and build stronger and stronger.

    They aint mucking about the new owners. 9 gone within a week! Clear the decks first. Hogan, tisbola next? Taylor, Lansbury, elmo?

    I bet the first ones announced are mings, el ghazi.

  79. Nice Summary MK, and some interesting comments, but the one statement from Dean Smith and Christian Purslow seemed to be overlooked.

    When dean was asked about what he would be happy with in his first season, i.e. Top ten or thereabouts, he quite clearly stated that 1st is the only position he would be happy with, confirming his philosophy of going out to win every game. It is part of the philosophy I was taught many years ago about POSITIVE MENTAL ATTITUDE, which I am sure was Ferguson’s too. We CAN WIN, we WILL WIN, and anything less is not good enough.

    This is confirmed with the decision not to have a celebratory tour of the city after winning the play offs. In other words, Villa will only celebrate when we achieve the accolade of being winners of Cups, leagues etc. This also makes the players realise that this is only the beginning of the journey.

  80. Hi PP

    We may be upsetting the Sky 4 or 6 or whatever it is now along the way 🙂 but without getting ahead of myself, i’d still take mid-table obscurity and an improved squad.

  81. PP
    IF you’re not REALISTIC, you end up deep in it.
    Then there’s the question of is it positive all round or just achievement orientated.
    Bit like football really…

  82. IanG- I know where Smiths coming from, the will to win has to come above all else when your on the pitch, not in a by any means way just that fire in your belly regardless of pay packet.

    There has to be realism from the club but not in terms of where we want to go just the how, look at the trouble tonys plan with no plan nearly cost us, Buy Club, spend money……………………….conquer world……….erm?

  83. Have to disagree with you IanG,

    If you start with the belief that you are not going to compete to win the league, and every match, you will end up like Villa in their final season being relegated with 17 points and bottom of the league, because if you don’t believe, then your players and your fans will not believe.

    Of course it is unlikely that you will win every game, or that you will be top, but Leicester won, because they only ever looked at one game at a time, and determined how to win that game.
    This is the same philosophy that Dean uses, and used to get us promotion.

    No-one achieves anything by wanting to come second or worse…

  84. PP
    I think you’re disagreeing with something that wasn’t said or implied by me.

    I was talking about all round positivity if you read my post.
    Being realistic is part of that, but it is very important HOW we do what we do.

    From what I have seen, they are being very realistic, with the confidence that comes from having a clear direction, along with knowing how to achieve it.
    I had no doubt that we would win the playoffs [as I posted], & from what I can see there is some good coming out of it, with continuity, which is what has been missing for years.

    I trust DS & the coaches to do a more than adequate job to keep us in the EPL, as we belong there anyway, & as a club we function better in that environment.

    It will be interesting as to what targets they manage to get in, & there are many more changes to come in the future, as Compass think & plan ahead, not spend all their time doing a football version of austerity.

    Thats what I call realistic, rather than emotive for example, but it all depends on the clarity of the approach.

    A refreshingly positive change.

  85. PP
    As an addition, I did a variety of representative competitive sport for 15 years.
    The clue is in the word competitive.
    I’ve never met anyone who played to lose

  86. In terms of winning mentality

    Can we move on from being the best team in the midlands, our history shows we are but that is the one accolade some fans seemed to live by down the years, as an outsider I felt no sense of achievement in finishing above whoever in the league from the midlands but I’m not surrounded by rival fans from the midlands so that does play a part, my rival fans are Liverpool and Man U and they’ve looked down on us long enough.

    The only thing from the MON years was a sense of respect from other fans that we were a genuine threat, I’d love to return to those days albeit with the Smith ethic of young, hungry for success, pace and power.

  87. From what I have observed the other factor that Smith likes in a player is not only the will to win its the thirst for improvement and willingness to learn.

    Many coaches know how to get players fit or set out a drill to imprint skills and habits. What many don’t seem to have is the ability to put across why clearly, maybe they don’t even understand why. Being able to put that over to players and keep them engaged keeps the focus on each session and not just on the game. I would imagine as fun as playing footy each day is the training could get stale.

    I believe that Smith being a good teacher and student himself rubs off, how else can we explain Wheelan mk1 amd mk2? Elmo and Taylor?

    It bodes well as Smith will learn from some of the best now and with his desire and application you would not bet against him becoming one of the greats, to top that he really cares about the people he’s involved with.

  88. You can tell by how good their golf game is and how many tattoos they have, how professional footballers occupy their down time, it really is some life to go to work 3 hours a day during the week and possibly an hour and a half on the weekend. They don’t know how good they have it.

    Hourihane’s interview was quiet refreshing that he is very driven to succeed and to put the work in to achieve it, it will benefit Villa (and Ireland) no end having a proper professional in the ranks.

    If i was in his situation, i’d forgot about jokey comments to the table tennis players and grab them out onto the pitch for an afternoon session and see who truly wanted to make a career at Villa (or any club).

  89. Interesting piece MK on Hourihane, which talks about what he has done for himself, but no reference to whether anyone else has been involved in the input.

    The improvements in Jack Grealish only came about after he concentrated on improving himself, after his life threatening injury.

    His piece also shows why a lot of youngsters at academies do not make it, as the clubs do not do enough to bring these youngsters on, with the exceptions of ones like Southampton, that have had a constant stream of good young players.

    Delfouneso and many other Villa youngsters have said how they did not really feel part of a family, in the same way that Man UTD made their young players feel part of a family.

    This should all change under Dean Smith, with better transition from the under 18’s to a squad of players that are all fighting for places in the first team, with the end of the under 23’s.

  90. PP- Hourihane does show he realised he had to work at it though, going through the motions on talent was not enough, he looked to improve himself which is exactly what Dean Smith asks of players, he also realises there is a mental side to the game.

  91. They used to say when travelling years ago, that the journey was more important than arriving, as it was the main point.
    Taking it in & taking part in what was happening was more important than thinking you’ve got somewhere.
    Speaking as a lazy git [although I used to practice guitar for 6 hours a day – not that it worked], that article impressed me, as remembering what I was like at that age, it was impossible to do that for me, but I did travel a lot fifty odd years ago instead, better than ping pong.

    DS appears to be just the right person to inspire those who are prepared to listen & to go outside their comfort zone, & refreshingly he seems to understand the main point, & I think that it will shows in his new signings to come, & with how the academy is structured & used.

  92. Welcome to VP José Ignacio Peleteiro Ramallo otherwise known as Jota. I hope your stay at our club is a total success.

    This particular fan has some reservations so I sincerely hope you prove me wide of the mark and have a lasting influence on our latest adventures. You will be given full support by our magnificent fan base and we look forward to your contributions.

  93. I think Jota is a smart business from DS. Under Smith, Jota was fantastic at Brentford – a quality player.

    I believe he will do well at Villa.

    Now all we have to do is replace the 8 players that have left the club and the 5 loan signings.

    It’s going to be an interesting summer.

  94. Apparently we have just become a prem club and could not sign anyone, something about being under an embargo. Hopefully that means others will follow quickly on Jota’s heels.

    I can just imagine him down at Bodymoor heath today hearing “hello is anybody there” in a Spanish accent coming back at him.

  95. Yes, we officially become a premiership club tomorrow, and then watch out!!!

    It is interesting that the good signings that are being speculated on, have good connections to Dean Smith, firstly with Jota, and then the possibilities of Etheridge from Cardiff, Maupay from Brentford, Kortney Hause should be done tomorrow, Mings may take a little longer, and El Ghazi fairly soon after.

    The other ones that look good if we succeed, are players like James Justin, Tavernier and Lolly. I am not sure about the likes of Sturridge, Cahill and one or two others at the moment, but again Che Adams from the Blue Noses could be a smart move, and another Peter With in the making.

  96. I’m looking forward do the blinds coming off tomorrow, where we may see what has been going on behind the scenes, & see how far off the press has been, with new faces starting to come in.
    They are refreshingly close-mouthed.

  97. How about Bradley Dack being recruited to replace Jack Grealish, if Tottenham meet his buy-out clause. I don’t think it will happen, but his stats look good against JG’s, if it does, and would be a massive boost to Villa’s kitty.

    I get the feeling that once tomorrow is here things will start to happen quite swiftly over the next few days, taking into consideration what Dean said about getting things done before he goes on holiday next week, and being able to relax with his family, before the season’ s preparations start.

  98. Well apparently Hause is about to come back for 3 million.
    If so, no great surprise there.

    PP I don’t believe in the rather exaggerated reliance the media has on stats, as on their own they give a very incomplete picture, as most of the comments by Smith tend to emphasise the rest of the picture.
    Then there is the issue of it all seemingly resembling a FIFA computer simulation.
    Having said that, if you’ve seen him play it would be good to hear how he would interact with our midfield, & how he would improve it
    I keep remembering Lansbury.

  99. PP- I have considered the sell Jack position to fund a rebuild but he is so much a part of Villa I don’t think it would be a good idea. Dacks a good player no doubt.

    IanG- Stats are a good starting point no more than that, a lot depends on the team around players for me although Ronaldos look quite good.

  100. Good article DarrenO, which basically confirms that Villa are moving in the right direction.

    Media are bandying the usual names about as to who Villa may buy, in regard to ex experienced players like Cahill, Milner and Delph, all of whom may be available now. Delph could be an interesting one, as a replacement for Whelan and Jedinak, but certainly not popular with many of our fans. Milner is a great guy, but don’t really see Liverpool moving him on this early. Cahill could be a great guy in the dressing room and with young players, but doesn’t really fit Dean’s mould of young and hungry.

    Dack, Lolley, Bowen, Rongier all look Smith possibilities, but we must wait and see. I do really hope we beat the Bindippers to Etheridge’s signature for a sensible price. With him, if we get Mings and Maupay, we will have a great spine, to hang JG, McGinn and Jota on to with Guilbert, Hause, already in the bag. We really do not need to spend any mega bucks, and having got rid of around 18 players (9 first teamers and around 9 under 23’s), the wage bill is going to be sensible.

  101. Yep DarrenO, the article is a good summation.

    PP, I can’t see Deano touching Cahill, Milner or Delph. Compass have already stated young and hungry. The reason that Deano goes after players he’s had before (including the loans) in my opinion is because he has knowledge of their characters. This is important to ensure the money spent is not wasted.

    We don’t want another RMC. The clues were there, he’d had more clubs than Tiger Woods, and each one offloaded him. And there are plenty of them about. Mark Hughes paid the yam yams 12 million for Berahino!!!! Stoke have tried to break his contract but I guess they are finding it tough going without paying him up in full.

  102. IanG, we’ll take El Gassy for 8 million, although the price may be 8 million euros which makes him a bit cheaper.

  103. Plug- Difference between RMC with us and with others is he was scoring 1 in 2 for them and they made money on him. Suggest something wrong our end too regardless of his struggles. Considered the best player outside of the prem until he got here 🙂

  104. 1. dead wood quickly culled.
    2. loans getting signed up where possible.
    3. signings next.

    Villa have a plan for once. great to see.

    The thing I like with the jota deal is it’s only a 2 year deal with an option of a 3rd if We wanted to take it.

    No more stupid long contracts being dished it at random.

  105. How the mighty have fallen. Manure are now suffering from the effects of paying down the debts incurred by the Glazers to buy the club. Solskjaer has bought Daniel James for 15 million from the Championship. He is also reported as interested in Sean Longstaff of Newcastle who has only played 11 Prem games. Then there is Axel who he hopes will shore up their defence.

    These are not the sort of players they need if they want to chase a Champions League spot. We’ll be giving them a run for their money next season. COYVB.

  106. Ecstatic that we did it and we take our place in the Prem which is obviously where Villa belong. I did enjoy our little adventure in the Championship… but everything seems to be in place now to thrive in the top flight rather than just survive.
    Doesn’t it feel wonderful being a Villan?!!!! Onwards we go… UTV

  107. Sorry… Should have said Hi to you all. Haven’t posted for a very long time but have followed this great site from day one, when Matt started it… Best wishes to everyone!!

  108. Jonny Wood
    Hiya mate. I also see positivity at the Villa, with actions speaking louder than words.
    After decades of owner issues, now there seems to be someone with a brain in there somewhere.
    Compass & others seem to be talking to intelligence rather than the cr*p in people, with positive results so far.

    I wish it was reflected in our government, but I struggle to find the intelligence there myself.

    Won’t be long before the hols are done & normal service is resumed with incomings & preseason.
    I for one am looking forward to it.

  109. Apologies for being absent, and not doing anything on the departures and incomings. I’m away on business, haven’t had a chance, but trying to keep up.

  110. el ghazi done. 8mill could be a steal. Very talented and a summer with smith will improve him.

    He just needs consistency.

    House done too apparently, next mings hopfefully then start strengthening!
    Medical booked for Wednesday so who knows who that is.

  111. So what are the hopes for the transfer window, the focus has been on previous loan players, El Ghazi, Hause, Mings but does the linking of Championship players suggest lazy journalism as which ex-Dean Smith player wouldn’t want to be in the Prem or would you only be satisfied if we sign proven prem quality from our new rivals.

    It appears that practicality is overriding a boom and bust approach but there’s a nagging doubt that if we continue to sign proven championship players we are preparing for relegation such that it won’t hit that hard should it happen and we’ll be well equipped to come straight back up.

  112. Darren
    Nothing wrong with tapping up the cream of the championship. If your good your good. The most important thing we buy players that smith wants and suits his style of play and that can be coach and improved. Things we have been saying for years! Its amazing.

    Also its not like we are getting just 2 or 3 players in…we are re building a squad. Could easily be 8 new players. Not all of them will be big names or cost a fortune. Have to have your squad fillers.

  113. Maupay and Benraham id be over the moon with.

    Look at maddison, was with Norwich in the champ now with foxes and being linked with utd! Like I say if your good enough and fit deanos style it doesn’t matter to me where the players come from or have prem experience.

  114. what I like about the jota signing and players we are linked too is that they can all play and want the ball.

    We will hopefully see a team who are comfy on the ball and in possession. No more hot potatoe!

  115. Heroes & Villans
    How many wingers do you want, as we have 3 already, remember Green?Then there’s the kids & others.
    Plus the viking & Hourehane for DF.
    Then there’s the mystery called Lansbury & others
    Plus we already have 2 wingbacks at least.
    Too many sweets makes you ill (:

  116. Welcome back to VP Anwar. The forthcoming challenges will make last season look like a breeze. But if our signings step up to the plate, we’ll be fine. I wait with great interest to see who turns up next. Beats the feeling I had this time last year.

  117. Plug
    You’re telling me, it’s going forward for a change, without the extremes.
    I think many outsiders will be surprised.

  118. H & V
    Disagree about Green, 4 wingers is enough for any team, so need 1 at most, not 2.
    LB, CB, CF & DM we need,.
    Anything else is upgrading, including GK.
    We have triggered the clause for Hause, so need cover for Chester.
    Spending money for the sake of it is what got us into the mess
    Then there are the kids, who have to have a pathway to the 1st team.
    As DS & many have said, we have to keep the core of the team together as much as possible

  119. Starting the season on Sky Sports at 5.30pm on 10th August away to Spurs, with the following week home to Bournemouth.

    Which side will Jack be playing for??? and will Mings be wearing claret and blue at home????

    Hope I am only joking, but we are still a long way off in our recruitment. Will feel a lot happier when we have a fully signed up squad and all the speculation has finished.

  120. Iang

    confident in deano to strengthen areas we need. green aint good enough for the champship let alone prem! Id send him off on loan to play regulary.

    LB, CB, X2 strikers, CDM, X2 wingers needed.

  121. Saying we have signed Wesley Moraes. Even has us as he’s club on Wikipedia but I know anyone can change that. Looks good if true.

  122. H&V – Lets leave it up to DS then, as he seems to know what he’s doing.

    I think there’s more important things to consider, such as will it all come together in time.

  123. Welcome to VP Wesley. You are about to find out that Villa fans just love a big striker who knows where the onion bag is. Here’s hoping your time with us is highly successful.

    DS and co following the young and hungry route as promised. Now then…..we could do with another powerful midfielder.

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