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Author Topic: Article in today's Telegraph  (Read 2445 times)

Offline Des Little

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Article in today's Telegraph
« on: May 24, 2019, 01:28:11 PM »
I'm not a subscriber - anyone got a link to it?

Online shirley_villan

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Re: Article in today's Telegraph
« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2019, 02:27:08 PM »

The inside story of how Aston Villa restored pride, hope and a sense of identity


Grealish has won hearts and minds in the claret and blue half of Birmingham

 John Percy

24 MAY 2019 • 10:34 AM

It was on Friday 25 May, the day before Aston Villa’s Championship play-off final against Fulham last year, when the scale of their financial crisis really hit home.

A letter from HMRC had arrived at Villa’s offices, warning that the club would be wound up unless they paid a £4.2million tax bill, 24 hours before the most crucial game of the

Those monetary worries would have disappeared if Villa had won at Wembley, but a 1-0 defeat plunged them deeper into trouble and facing the very real threat of administration.

A compromise was frantically agreed with HMRC, yet the dire cash-flow issues of Dr Tony Xia remained. The future of one of English football’s founder members was uncertain, perhaps even in doubt.

Twelve months later, the picture could not be more different. Villa are preparing for another shootout in the play-off final, yet the financial outlook is now healthy and whatever happens at Wembley on Monday afternoon, the future is bright.

Since the £50million majority takeover by Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens in July – when 40 accountants were holed up at Villa Park poring over the books to complete the deal – stability has returned.

Dean Smith has overseen an Aston Villa resurgence with John Terry as his right-hand manCREDIT: GETTY IMAGES

So has the feel-good factor, with the storm clouds that hovered ominously for weeks after that Wembley defeat removed.

The appointment of lifetime fan Dean Smith as head coach in October was crucial, reuniting a disenchanted fan-base and generating a tidal wave of optimism.

The 48-year-old has provided the jump leads for this season, taking Villa to within one game of a Premier League return. He has restored pride, hope, and perhaps most importantly, an identity.

Living four miles away from Villa Park in Great Barr as a kid, Smith has already made history at the club he supports after guiding them to 10 wins in a row earlier this year.

He does not deserve to be a supporting cast member in the ‘Frank Lampard vs. John Terry’ narrative on Monday afternoon.

After Steve Bruce’s dismissal, Smith quickly emerged as the No 1 choice for Christian Purslow, Villa’s chief executive, at a time when Thierry Henry, Rui Faria and Brendan Rodgers were also under consideration.

He was identified by Purslow due to his track record of playing attractive football, bravery in utilising youngsters and willingness to work within a continental structure. He also bleeds claret and blue, which was an advantage.

Working closely with Terry and long-time assistant Richard O’Kelly, Smith has transformed the mindset at Bodymoor Heath. The focus is always on how Villa can hurt teams, not to worry too much about the strengths of opponents.

Smith has been a figure of calm through the highs and lows (it’s easy to forget Villa only won three league games from December to February) and brought the best out of a squad which was inhibited under Bruce.

John McGinn is a cult hero, a ridiculous bargain at £2.5m, and the scorer of that outrageous ‘worldie’ against Sheffield Wednesday in September.

Chelsea loanee Tammy Abraham has scored 26 goals as the focal point of Villa’s attack. Tyrone Mings has been a revelation, totally in tune with Villa since joining on loan from Bournemouth in January, and it is now almost impossible to imagine him playing for another club.

There are other key players too, such as the vastly experienced and underrated Glenn Whelan, and Conor Hourihane with his propensity for scoring crucial goals.

It is Jack Grealish, however, who is the heartbeat of this team. He has matured remarkably over the past 12 months, as demonstrated on that day at St Andrew’s when he was assaulted and later scored the winner.

Since returning from a shin injury in March, Grealish has been captain and Villa have won 10 out of the 12 games. He is flourishing as the main man and is widely regarded as the best player in the Championship.

Spurs procrastinated all summer to sign him last year, but Grealish is deserving of the Premier League stage. Some people outside of B6 still do not grasp how good he actually is.

Jack Grealish has thrived with the captaincy CREDIT: PA

More than 30 of his family members will be at Wembley on Monday – including five flying in from Australia - and thoughts of Grealish’s grandmother, Maggie, who passed away last month, will not be far his mind. The prospect of helping guide his beloved Villa to the Premier League will be a huge pull for the 23-year-old.

Inevitably, Villa fans will be wondering what happens if the play-off final ends in defeat. That question will be for another day, but sales are inevitable to comply with the Football League’s financial rules should Derby emerge as winners.

What is certain, however, is that there will be no repeat of last summer’s chaos. There will be no doomsday scenario.

Sawiris and Edens have already pumped over £70million into the club to build strong foundations for the future, and are in for the long haul.

As for Smith, at his previous club Brentford he rebuilt his squad every year due to player departures and still managed to remain competitive.

But to flip it the other way, victory over Derby will only continue the resurgence and upward momentum.

The defeat at West Brom in the second leg apart, their recent form has been formidable and they will unquestionably be favourites against a team they beat twice in the Championship, scoring seven goals without reply.

Promotion will end a three-year exile and return Villa to what they believe is their rightful place.

From one of the darkest periods in the club’s recent history, now there is hope. Villa are Prepared.

Will Aston Villa win promotion on Monday? And how would they get on in the Premier League next season if so? Tell us your thoughts below.

« Last Edit: May 24, 2019, 02:29:59 PM by shirley_villan »

Offline TheMalandro

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Re: Article in today's Telegraph
« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2019, 02:37:12 PM »
Good editing , Shirley . 😂

Online shirley_villan

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Re: Article in today's Telegraph
« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2019, 02:39:50 PM »
Good editing , Shirley . 😂

Nobody noticed!

Offline Nelly

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Re: Article in today's Telegraph
« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2019, 03:44:00 PM »
Villa are Prepared.

Offline Newby

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Re: Article in today's Telegraph
« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2019, 06:05:10 PM »
Nice stuff. Please win.


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Re: Article in today's Telegraph
« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2019, 08:29:58 PM »
Claret and Blue half of the city? More like 9/10's

Offline tomd2103

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Re: Article in today's Telegraph
« Reply #7 on: May 25, 2019, 01:10:30 AM »
Key line for me - "victory over Derby will only continue the resurgence and upward momentum". 

After a fair few years of misery, it does feel,like the club as a whole has turned the corner.  Win Monday and make some good signings over the summer and there will be a real buzz about the place.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2019, 01:12:42 AM by tomd2103 »

Offline purpletrousers

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Re: Article in today's Telegraph
« Reply #8 on: May 25, 2019, 02:21:35 AM »
Indeed. Living then in London, caught up in the exquisite stress of trying to sell and find a new home, working a lot of hours including weekends: it meant I just couldn’t face more Steve Bruce. I didn’t go this season until Deano’s first two games.
It was still then a long gap until the next, but the hope and confidence in not just good hearted but good headed leaders was unfamiliar.
I so so hope we get what I do feel we deserve Monday, but even if we don’t I won’t go into next season like I did this, I’ll know we gave it a right good go, and feel connected again. I’ve been like an excited 12yr old trying to get and since getting a tkt, even the Mrs has felt the Villa pull begrudgingly.
Spent too long on here but really grateful to this place too.

Offline The Edge

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Re: Article in today's Telegraph
« Reply #9 on: May 25, 2019, 07:41:40 AM »
Really nice article. Some great points made in there. It's rare that a London/Manchester based national newspaper give any Midlands club more than a glancing review. This was an accurate well thought out article.  It would seem we are ruffling a few feathers. Long may it continue.


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