I’ve seen Villa mocked a bit for their celebrations following the dramatic shootout victory at The Hawthorns. But when you think of all that’s happened, all that the players and supporters have been through, you can’t begrudge them one bit. It was a feat worth celebrating. A moment worth cherishing. No, we didn’t win any silverware, didn’t claim promotion. But what we did celebrate on the night was long overdue.
The players are buzzing after winning 10 in a row and securing a playoff spot. But now we’re being seen in the press as an unstoppable force. Moved from underdogs to favorites. And that’s now the challenge Villa, and Dean Smith, face going forward.
Somewhere in the near history of Aston Villa, Grealish became the anointed one—the club’s talisman—providing that magical ingredient that exists in few players. As excited as we are over his skill and ability to alter or control a game, so are the fans of other teams, only at a 180-degree view.
Dean Smith & Co. took their first bows this week, and along with Christian Purslow, seemed to quite easily make a good impression all round. Well, Purslow seems a bit tightly wound, but you know what I mean. When he talked about Villa’s FFP woes being completely resolved? He made a pretty good impression. Richard O’Kelley seems likable and no nonsense. John Terry made all the right noises. And Smith? Smith managed to not say a whole lot other than promotion remains the goal.
Weeks of speculation and tabloid frenzy ended Wednesday with the appointment of Dean Smith as Steve Bruce’s successor at Aston Villa. Smith will be joined by none other than John Terry, who was seemingly part of the package for whoever we’ve been talking to.
And strangely this new era begins just as we hear of the passing of Sir Doug Ellis. RIP, Doug.