The beginning of October 2016 marked the end of Roberto Di Matteo’s short reign as Aston Villa manager, after only fourth months in charge of the side. He managed only one win in eleven matches, leaving Aston Villa only two points above the relegation zone in the Championship table. Does this sound familiar? Last year while still in the Premier League, Tim Sherwood’s baron run with the team, produced only one win in his second season in charge, after saving them from relegation in their previous season, until his sacking in the same month last year of October. Which makes you wonder if there is some sort of curse on Aston Villa? Last season, they made rock bottom their home and thus were relegated to the very tough and physical Championship division. We have decided to look into this and see if the curse is real or if it’s just plain human error.
The summer saw an overhaul of players and coaching staff, with also the new owner in Dr. Tony Xia, the CEO of Chinese based Recon Group, who appointed Roberto Di Matteo, which in all honesty, could not have been a better appointed manager at the time. Previously, under the ownership of Randy Lerner for a whole decade, arguably he is the main reason for the current mess that Aston Villa now find themselves in today. Lerner refused to sign talented players during that time period, but he sold many good players off to bigger sides. His stinginess and disinterest in the club was apparent very early on and he refrained from spending any serious money on new players. Each season under Lerner, Villa became worse and worse off as a team and also financially. Randy had wanted to sell Aston Villa for nearly three years before Dr. Tony Xia stepped in with his bid. (Buy Under Armour Villa Kit here)
Since then, Dr. Xia has most definitely splashed the cash this summer transfer window, spending more money than half of the current Premier League sides, with sales and acquisitions, spending net of around sixty million pounds. However, we certainly doubt he is in charge of the transfer policy. That’s the second reason for Villa’s current status apart from the dire work of Randy Lerner. Who has been in charge of the transfer policy at Aston Villa since the Summer 2015 transfer window, whilst Tim Sherwood was buzzing about the place, giving it his positive attitude and all.
Who authorized that influx of lower level French talent, whom arrived during Tim Sherwood’s reign? Tim Sherwood claimed all the twelve signings that summer were decided by a committee with Randy Lerner having the final say. They spent fifty five million on players like Jordan Veretout, Jose Crespo, Jordan Amavi and Rudy Gestede. Nobody had ever heard of these players before and then they also bought Joleon Lescott for good measure, from rivals West Bromwich Albion. This committee with the transfer policy had decided on some shocking signings and it seems like there is still some sort of committee at Aston Villa today, with the array of singings this season. This summer Villa brought in nine players in total, which are an improvement on last season’s signings, but they have managed to produce nothing special for the team this season. After signing Premier league players like James Chester, Mile Jedinak, Tommy Elphick and also Championship players like Ross McCormack and Jonathan Kodija, you’d expect them to have done much better, but so far to no avail. Not many of these players have turned up yet for their team this season. Perhaps, the team needs more time to gel? However, with the set goal of winning promotion back to the Premier League slipping away by every match, they do not have the luxury or time to do so effectively without needing to win games on the way. In the last 18 months Aston Villa have sacked three managers and also had three periods of interim and caretaker managers during that same time period.
So, is Aston Villa under some sort of curse to lose everything and fall further grace? Like a jinx, cast by a leprechaun of some sort? Or maybe it was Ian Holloway’s comment as a TV pundit at the start of the season, that Aston Villa would finish 17th in the Championship table, which prompted Dr. Tony Xia to say on Twitter about Holloway, “a failed manager and now a f***** pundit. Don’t bother listening at all”. Or is it the decade legacy left behind by clueless American billionaire Randy Lerner, which has seen Villa slump to new lows? A questionable heap of players in two successive summer transfer windows, it makes you wonder who had the final say on all the players bought this season?
I would like nothing more to see Aston Villa regain momentum and claim their season back and be gunning for the play-offs, but at this time this is looking as likely as seeing Sam Allardyce return as England Manager. Rumors are rife that Steve Bruce might be the managerial replacement for Di Matteo and as all the Villains across the world sit in waiting, this news can’t come fast enough. Steve Bruce would be the ideal candidate and we reckon here at Brainstain that this is already in the bag. Let’s hope this curse or just tragic situation for Villa doesn’t get any worse, unless you’re a Birmingham City fan of course, which may irk some supporters if Steve Bruce takes the vacant managerial post. Steve Bruce was of course manager for Birmingham City for a number of years, however, any old rivalry aside, it would be in Villa’s best interest to acquire a manager of Steve Bruce’s record of four promotions back to the Premier League, under his belt. He also has the experience and resilience to bring passion and confidence back to an admittedly low squad morale.
Steve Clarke will continue as interim manager, stepping up from the assistant’s post and if it all goes well, his job might become permanent, as they are letting him put in an application for the job. However, with expected news of Steve Bruce expected in the coming days, this may see Steve Clarke move back to the role of assistant manager. Only in the next forty or twenty four hours will we find out Dr. Xia’s next appointment, which is likely to be Steve Bruce as we expected. With a big match rivalry against Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday evening, this may very well be Bruce’s first match in charge of “The Villains”.
Come on the “Villa”, just don’t get relegated again, please!
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