We were a bit unfortunate to lose to Manchester City yesterday. For the most part, each player put in a shift and tried to grind out a result. We should have been ahead by at least one by half time but teams that don’t take their chances against City will be punished; there’s a reason the Citizens are the Premier League champions.
Moving on from the mini-Champions’ League we’ve had to play over the last few weeks, I want to consider the direction the club appears to be going in and where Aston Villa may end up in the next few seasons.
Our new Chief Executive, Tom Fox, was seen in a very encouraging interview on AVTV during the week. It’s easy to tell from listening to him that he has a footballing brain – and a track record to prove it, which makes him a welcome change from Paul Faulkner.
There was one comment in the interview that stuck with me and that’s his determination to get the Villans back where they belong – playing European football. Obviously, this would be in the Europa League, as we lack the financial backing to get anywhere near the Champions’ League, but how achievable is the Europa League goal? This season? Probably not. Next season? Who knows? However, there is definitely a plan to invest in some proven players and to give players with a point to prove a chance (as Lambert has done with Tom Cleverley) so we might well be able to make the necessary improvements.
Before anyone shoots me down by saying that we have lost our last three games, I am aware that that is the case. It must be remembered that we lost to the reigning champions, the champions elect and Arsenal so there is no shame in any of those defeats. If we play like we did yesterday against teams around us then we can, and will, see more victories than last season and will not concede as many goals. That would give us all something to feel proud of come May.
Something has shifted at Villa. Lerner may very well be falling in love with the club again. Why would he appoint a new Chief Executive Officer if he is desperate to get out? CEOs cost a pretty penny and Tom Fox certainly would not have left a lucrative position to join Aston Villa Football Club if he thought his job could be whipped from under him when a new chairman comes in a few months down the line. He’s here to make his mark and hopefully change things for the better. Tom Fox should have our full backing: he’s a football man who played a massive part in ensuring Arsenal’s commercial success. Here’s hoping he can do the same at Aston Villa.
As for progress on the pitch, a solid mid-table finish would be seen as progress and there are no signs as yet to suggest that the Villans won’t achieve that this season. As far as a return to Europe goes, well, we’ll just have to wait and see…