I remember writing a blog post several years ago now in which I talked about how Paul Lambert had a big rebuilding project on his hands at Villa Park and how he needed time and patience from the fans to be able to shift the dead wood and make strides on the pitch.
Unfortunately, I was wrong about Paul Lambert. Nevertheless, we find ourselves in a similar situation now to the ones we have faced in so many windows in recent years.
Thankfully, it is not entirely the same situation: Randy Lerner is no longer at the helm and we do not piles of dead wood without suitors. We still need numerous changes to make progress and get out of the Championship, which isn’t going to be easy.
Dr Tony Xia has only truly owned the club for just over a month and he has made some real progress, laying the bricks to pave the way to success. He has come in and promised big things yet impatient or disbelieving fans still constantly question his financial power and ambition just because they’re yet to see him flex any financial muscle. The new owner has repeatedly made clear the reasons for the lack of a new striker and creative midfielder, reasons which have not appeased many fans.
The cliché tells us that ‘Rome wasn’t built in one day’ and the changes needed at Villa Park certainly will not be executed in one summer. We can give it a good go but last summer the club spent £50 million and the team was relegated in humiliating fashion. The net spent was low but £50 million was still spent.
This summer is different and a lot more is needed to make the side competitive again. Everything was destroyed last season, leaving confidence on the pitch and off it at an all time low.
I firmly believe that there are a handful of positions that need to be sorted out before the start of the season. A striker and creative midfielder are seemingly on their way according to Dr Tony Xia. I also believe a new right back is essential having seen Alan Hutton given plenty of chances to prove his worth.
The chance to start strongly against Sheffield Wednesday with a win is one that every fan would love but the fans need to be patient: the squad is still oversized and it must be trimmed.
The so-called mercenaries will be a nightmare to move on and fans should realise that moving players on and bringing in fresh blood is easier said than done, particularly for a Championship side.
There is another month of the transfer window left to run so there is ample time to make the desired changes. The owner is communicating with the fans about his intentions. I understand the mistrust and worry but if you firmly want to be behind Aston Villa Football Club this season you simply have to appreciate that Rome was not built in one day and that the Villans’ fortunes will not be overturned in such a short period of time either.
I want promotion just as much as any other fan, although people have to realise how hard that will be with so many players whose confidence is low and whose ability is questionable.
Transfers will happen; I trust Dr Tony Xia, Keith Wyness and Roberto Di Matteo to do their best for the club in this summer transfer window. It isn’t ideal to start the season with an unfinished squad but it isn’t the end of the world. Fans need to stop the barrage of abuse aimed at Dr Tony Xia; patience is a virtue that some Villa fans have misplaced.