Frustratingly for everyone, Steve Bruce’s reign, which started so positively, seems to have hit the brakes in recent weeks.
Many of us were really starting to believe that everything was going to be okay and that reaching the play-offs was an obtainable objective this year, which would be a huge result considering our awful start.
Perhaps that was a little naïve. I don’t think we truly appreciated the difficulty of the league we are currently in and, when the results aren’t going our way, sometimes the relentlessness of the fixture list is not a positive as it does not afford respite.
But no one can say that Bruce isn’t trying to remedy a season which is threatening to splutter and die.
At the time of writing he has already brought in five new faces. Johnstone, Lansbury, Bree, Bjarnason and Hourihane all offer slightly different things. Youth, set piece quality and Championship and big tournament experience are but a few of the positives that should come to B6 with our new acquisitions.
The key now is that Bruce can, as quickly as possible, make a virtually brand new team gel and improve the results as we face the back nine. This will not be an easy task as, if his new signings can be expected to start, we’ll have a new look midfield, and a very youthful new wing to the defence. Nevertheless, I think we can all agree that something needed to be done.
As Bruce himself has acknowledged, many of our performances of late have really not been good enough. Whether it was from complacency at finally not holding up the table, tiredness or something else it really does not matter; what mattered was that action was taken and he has done that, backed by Dr. Tony Xia and supported by Steve Round and his team.
I for one am particularly excited about the new signings. I think they show that Bruce is really going for the play-offs. Even if a play-off place is not achieved, Bruce’s is the kind of positive ambition we need to cultivate at the club after five years or more of negativity on and off the pitch.
I wish the new lads – and any yet to may join them in this transfer window – all the best in a Villa shirt and hope they do us proud. The best way they could start would be to contribute to a win at Griffin Park next Tuesday and get our stuttering season back on track.