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.
All eyes will be on the players as caretaker Kevin MacDonald takes up the unenviable task of leading Aston Villa down to Millwall for the club’s first game without Steve Bruce at the helm. Stepping into a mess is not an unfamiliar spot for stalwart MacDonald, who has had seven games in charge over the years, leading Villa to a 2-2-3 record in those outings.
The Steve Bruce era at Aston Villa came to an abrupt if not surprising end after 102 games, and just as it was for Roberto Di Matteo, Preston North End was Bruce’s ostensible undoing. For the record, I don’t condone the throwing of vegetables. Unless it’s a festival-related activity like pie-eating contests.
Depending on reports, Steve Bruce might well be living on borrowed time, making tonight’s match with cellar-dwellers Preston North End sort of a must-win just 11 games into the campaign. Seemingly, key milestones determining just how much time he has are the imminent appointment of a director of football and the October international break. That’s what the papers are saying, anyway.