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Author Topic: When the going gets tough  (Read 1271 times)

Online dave.woodhall

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When the going gets tough
« on: July 02, 2020, 10:44:45 AM »
It is slightly under two years since Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens bought the Villa from Dr Tony Xia. Sawiris hails from the richest family in Egypt, which owns the Orascom conglomerate, spanning telecommunications, construction, tourism, a range of industries and technology ventures. He is a billionaire and, before the pandemic at least, was one of the richest men in Africa. 

Wes Edens is also a billionaire. He has worked in finance, investment and private equity and after the financial crash in 2008 became heavily involved in sub-prime mortgage lending. He is also joint owner of the Milwaukee Bucks baseball team.



To begin with, these two, working with experienced Chief Executive Christian Purslow, hardly put a foot wrong. They avoided rocking the boat and stuck with Steve Bruce until, after a run of one win in nine games, it was obvious that he was going to struggle to get us promoted in 2018-19, despite having taken us to the previous year’s play off final. They appointed Dean Smith in October 2018, with John Terry as his assistant, and promotion was gained via the play offs, at the first attempt.

After this brilliant start, things were starting to go pear shaped by early this year. Up to that time, the Villa had on the whole competed reasonably successfully in the Premier League and looked as though they would manage to at least stay up. Nobody had any illusions about the club setting the world on fire in our first season back, but we thought we had enough talent in the club to enable us to stay out of trouble. Attendances were at almost unprecedented levels, with optimism high at seeing the club back in our rightful league and apparently going places. For us cynical old timers, that is a bad sign of course, as Aston Villa FC generally manage to produce the unexpected.

And so it has proved. At the time of writing, we have six games still to play and it is looking likely that we will be relegated. What we need now is the traditional Aston Villa ability to confound everyone by taking points off most of Liverpool, Manchester United, Palace, Arsenal, Everton and West Ham.

Messrs Sawiris, Edens haven’t got where they are by being involved with failing businesses. Relegation will be a disaster for them. They have pumped millions – probably hundreds of millions – of pounds into Aston Villa and if we are relegated the club will not be in a hugely better position than it was when they took it over. We may have had plenty of excitement over the last two years, but hard headed businessmen want to see a return on their investment, which they won’t get if we go down. Far from it.

I am sure that a scapegoat will be required and ‘Suso’, our Director of Football, Jesus Garcia Pitarch, is in the firing line if media reports are to be believed. I have much sympathy for him because to be asked to put together the bulk of a new squad in ten weeks, as he was last summer, is a tall order. The Championship play-off final was in late May, the Premier League started in mid-August and we needed to replace a team full of experienced players, many of whom were past their peak. No doubt some of the first choice players Suso wanted were unavailable and he may well have been working to a brief from Messrs Sawiris, Edens and Purslow to target young players with lots of potential. Nevertheless, when this season started we were noticeably light on Premier League experience, from the manager down.

If we go down, I think the owners would be foolish to take it out on Dean Smith. He is probably the right man to try to get us out of the Championship next season as he has experience of that league and has got us out before. It would be tough to fire him if he keeps us up too, but he will need a good start next season.

We may well run into Financial Fair Play difficulties if we go down, having reportedly spent more last summer than any other club in Europe bar Real Madrid. Jack will have to go for our sake and for his. He has already been at the Villa longer than is good for his career and I for one wouldn’t want to see him turn into another Lee Hendrie or Gabby.

What worries me is that our owners may decide that they are flogging a dead horse. You may remember Bob Kain and Michael Martin, former non-executive directors, who joined Villa in 2006 with Randy Lerner. Once they decided that there wasn’t, in their opinion, the potential at Villa Park that they thought there was, they all slunk quietly back home to the U.S. Let us hope that, now the going looks like getting tough, Nassef and Wes, with Christian Purslow’s assistance, will prove to be more resilient than  their predecessors and, if we are relegated, will get us into good shape for a speedy return to the Premier League.

Richard Keeling

Offline Risso

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Re: When the going gets tough
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2020, 12:51:57 PM »
"What we need now is the traditional Aston Villa ability to confound everyone."

Eh?  That's about as traditional a Villa value as love and respect for the Stripeyfilth.  And as I recall, Bob Kain et al were replaced by Lerner as he preferred less able yes-men like Faulkner and Krulak.  Nothing to do with Kain not thinking we had much potential.

Online dave.woodhall

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Re: When the going gets tough
« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2020, 01:01:39 PM »
"What we need now is the traditional Aston Villa ability to confound everyone."

Eh?  That's about as traditional a Villa value as love and respect for the Stripeyfilth.  And as I recall, Bob Kain et al were replaced by Lerner as he preferred less able yes-men like Faulkner and Krulak.  Nothing to do with Kain not thinking we had much potential.

That's not true. Kain and Martin were non-exec directors who didn't really do much at all. Krulak and Faulkner were here from the start.

Online Jon Crofts

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Re: When the going gets tough
« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2020, 02:06:48 PM »
Well that's cheered me up no end.

Relegation looks increasingly on the cards, we'll have 'done a Fulham' (be prepared to have that thrown at us from here to eternity by all and sundry) but this time round we don't look like we'll 'do a Sunderland'. That said with the beating heart more than likely to be ripped out of this side, Grealish, McGinn, Mings & more recently Luiz, I do worry about life in the second tier again without that trio for Smith to drive us back up to the top table again..

Surprise us all Villa & turn this around with a couple of wins in the coming weeks please.

Online kippaxvilla2

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Re: When the going gets tough
« Reply #4 on: July 03, 2020, 11:33:24 AM »
I think the ability to confound everyone comment was tongue in cheek.  At least that is how I took it to read.  On the sort of plus side, If Leeds and Albion come up then I don't really see much to scare us in the Championship next season.  I did say the same in 2016 though.

Offline Tokyo Sexwhale

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Re: When the going gets tough
« Reply #5 on: July 04, 2020, 05:57:52 PM »
If we do go down, I hope Brentford go up.

I was sick of them regularly doing us over.

Offline PaulTheVillan

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Re: When the going gets tough
« Reply #6 on: July 04, 2020, 10:01:17 PM »
We need to stop gambling on players who might be good enough. Or who will be good in 5 years but we don't have 5 years.

Offline Nii Lamptey

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Re: When the going gets tough
« Reply #7 on: July 04, 2020, 10:22:03 PM »
What's with this fascination that people think Smith will get us promoted if we go down? Has everyone forgotten our abysmal run last season without Grealish in the team?!

Next season will be even more difficult than last time as we'll not have Mings, Tuanzebe, McGinn,Grealish OR Abraham this time. Christ, Smith should have walked that league with that team?! We wouldn't be anywhere near the Premier League this year, without Jack's monumental efforts last season imo.

Hand on heart, would he be getting this much respite from fans if he wasn't 'one of our own'? It's bollocks - He's out of his depth and needs moving on. The owners have money, and they need to start investing it wisely - Starting with a proven top quality manager!

Online dave.woodhall

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Re: When the going gets tough
« Reply #8 on: July 04, 2020, 10:28:27 PM »

Hand on heart, would he be getting this much respite from fans if he wasn't 'one of our own'?

This is starting to turn into our very own Small Heath/1982 cliche - the people who say it's said outnumber those who say it by about a hundred to one.

Offline PeterWithesShin

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Re: When the going gets tough
« Reply #9 on: July 04, 2020, 10:30:54 PM »
Next season will be even more difficult than last time as we'll not have Mings, Tuanzebe, McGinn,Grealish OR Abraham this time. Christ, Smith should have walked that league with that team?!

He did when he had them all available.

Offline Nii Lamptey

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Re: When the going gets tough
« Reply #10 on: July 04, 2020, 10:40:28 PM »
Next season will be even more difficult than last time as we'll not have Mings, Tuanzebe, McGinn,Grealish OR Abraham this time. Christ, Smith should have walked that league with that team?!

He did when he had them all available.

No he didn't - Jack walked that league, not Dean Smith.

He had them all available minus Jack for most of the season (barr the odd player missing a game here and there). We were on a hiding to nothing till Grealish came back and sprang into life.

Smith's learnt nothing this season, except maybe a whole repertoire of post match excuses for yet more dismal performances. Fair enough, if there were signs of improvement, but there aren't - Not one glimmer of hope that he's starting to turn it around.

Offline PeterWithesShin

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Re: When the going gets tough
« Reply #11 on: July 04, 2020, 10:43:36 PM »
Yes he did. You said with all those players he should walk the league, we smashed it with all those available. The only time he had all those players our record was W12 D1 L2.
« Last Edit: July 04, 2020, 10:46:18 PM by PeterWithesShin »

Offline olaftab

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Re: When the going gets tough
« Reply #12 on: July 04, 2020, 10:59:55 PM »
When the deed is done I hope E&S will be interested enough to give both Pitarch and Purslow their marching orders.

Offline Nii Lamptey

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Re: When the going gets tough
« Reply #13 on: July 04, 2020, 11:00:08 PM »
Are you on the wind up PWS?!  ;)

My point is that WITHOUT Grealish last season we were hopeless. Now that was either because Jack was running the show, or Smith only knew how to make that team function WITH Jack in it.

Next season, we'll not just be without Jack, we'll almost certainly be without ALL of the players in that group, so stats would say we're going to perform even worse than a team just lacking Jack Grealish.

Brentford are performing better with their squad/budget than Smith managed with Villa last season. The Villa team overachieved last season, courtesy of Jack's late efforts, and Dean Smith was hailed as the messiah for it. Personally, I'm not buying it.

Offline PeterWithesShin

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Re: When the going gets tough
« Reply #14 on: July 04, 2020, 11:07:30 PM »
No, I replied to a point you made and now you're moving the goalposts. He should smash the league with those players, he did, but now it's not him at all.

Next season is irrelevant as that wasn't what you said. "Christ, Smith should have walked that league with that team?!" With them all we were W12 D1 L2.
« Last Edit: July 04, 2020, 11:09:11 PM by PeterWithesShin »

 


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