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Arrival Of The Messiah?

Perry Deakin

14 Nov 2018

So the latest ‘messiah’ has arrived at Villa Park and for hundreds of thousands of Aston Villa supporters they hope this will be the one! Dean Smith has taken over from Steve Bruce who was fired by the clubs new owners only three months into the season, following a less than impressive start, which saw his side records only 3 wins in their first 12 games to slip into the bottom half of the Championship, with fans chanting on a regular basis for his removal as manager. There was certainly a level of sympathy for Bruce across the sports media pack, if not universally across Villa’s supporter base. He had vowed to remain at the club during a very turbulent summer period when it looked highly likely that the club would fall into administration following woeful mismanagement from their Chinese ownership, and lost both of his parents to illness in a very short period of time – a dreadful burden to carry into a season which he knew would define his time at the club. New owners arrived; invested significant sums in steadying the financial ship and after a great deal of speculation surrounding their desire to appoint a high-profile manager ( and Va Va Voom! Thierry Henry seemed to be the man they considered), announced that they had faith in Steve Bruce and reassured him that he was the man for them! Three months later Bruce was no-more and left with the boo’s and jeer’s of Villa supporters ringing in his ears – but weep not for the former Manchester United Captain, his £2 Million pay off will have softened the blow somewhat! And so, the latest candidate for legend status at Villa Park arrived and this time there were a couple of differences. Not for these owners one of the old-boys network who revolve around the game, sweep in part-way through the season, fail and ultimately leave again with huge pay-offs (Think Sam Allardyce, Alan Pardew and Mark Hughes). No, Villa’s owners decided against that predictable route and appointed a manager who had served his time in the lower leagues with Walsall then turned unfashionable Brentford into one of the most attractive, attacking sides in the Championship (who had also and significantly, ‘spanked’ Villa’s backside when the sides had played one another). Dean Smith’s football philosophy revolves around a passing game which is extremely easy on the eye but crucially also has a cutting edge – Barcelona created, ticky-tacky football which saw dozens of passes before an attempt on goal does not inspire fans in England and Smiths style of passing mixed with the occasional longer ball also made Brentford one of the divisions higher scoring sides and Villa supporters look forward to seeing that type of football from their side, as they re-establish a challenge for promotion. But there is another element to Smiths appointment which made him an exciting choice as far as supporters are concerned and will also give him a much longer honeymoon period than most – He is an Aston Villa supporter and this means just as much as his experience, style and philosophy as far as the Villa faithful are concerned! Smith is from the area and grew up supporting Villa. His father also worked at Villa Park on matchdays and supporters know that wins and losses will mean as much to Smith as they do to them. It may take a while to instil his influence on the football Villa play because fitness levels will need to be improved and this is not a quick fix (players certainly seemed to lack a high level of fitness under Bruce) – but supporters will give him time and get behind him. Maybe Dean Smith is the one!!

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