If you’re anything like me then seeing the video of the Aston Villa first team back in training on Monday will have filled you with joy.
It has only been five weeks since the boys in claret and blue trudged off the Wembley pitch, although it feels like that day was a lifetime ago. Seeing the lads back at Bodymoor Heath has made me excited about the new season, more so than it usually does.
Despite the uncertainty surrounding the potential takeover of the club, there does seem to be more cause for optimism than in previous campaigns. It was pleasing to see Fabian Delph return to training a week before he was due back. Ciaran Clark is fit again and so is big Libor Kozak. Micah Richards looks to be settling in well and it was pleasing to see Carles Gil with a smile on his face. I really hope Tim Sherwood uses him in the coming campaign and that he was actually protecting the Spaniard by leaving him out of our tense relegation battle while he was settling in.
On the subject of our manager, he understands Aston Villa Football Club and its fans. No wonder the players seemed to be buzzing: Sherwood just makes people want to smile. I’m sure football fans outside of our club may not buy into his character but I do. Losing our last two games of the Premier League campaign and the FA Cup final thumping seem to have taken away from what Tom Sherwood achieved last season, when he was our saviour.
Apart from keeping us up and guiding us to the FA Cup final, the former Tottenham caretaker manager rejuvenated the fans and many Villa players. He got Benteke firing again, inspired Delph to lead as captain and even kept Ron Vlaar fit by letting him manage his own training regime, even if the defender’s performances weren’t stellar. Leandro Bacuna, who was criminally underused by Lambert, was revitalised, picking up countless assists from right back. Sherwood also utilised Jack Grealish in the ‘number ten’ role. Furthermore, the timing of the youngster’s first team introduction was flawless and a massive contributing factor to the Villans staying up. I would also have mentioned Tom Cleverley coming good but his departure still winds me up!
I’m now excited because I want to see what Sherwood can do with some of his own additions and a full pre-season with the players he inherited. I think Ray Wilkins will improve things on the training ground as well. The Chelsea players loved him a few years ago so I’m positive he can contribute to getting the best out of the Villa boys.
It is so refreshing to have some positivity around the place. It’s hard to weigh up what we will do this season with the squad being incomplete and with the possibility of Benteke and Delph leaving. Nevertheless, due to the players Sherwood seems to be targeting, I think that our manager will prove to be more adventurous than some would have predicted.
In a month’s time my excitement levels will heighten as we take to the road to kick off our season against Bournemouth at Goldsands. The line-up on August 8th should give us some clues as to who has impressed Sherwood and what kind of football the manager will hope to play in the 2015-16 season.
For now, I want to thank Tim Sherwood for bringing a smile back to Villa fans’ faces and for his unwavering positivity with regard to Aston Villa Football Club.
For the last four seasons I have thought that each campaign could not possibly be any worse than the last. Under Sherwood’s stewardship, it seems that I am finally going to be right so bring on the new season!