A pre-season trip to remember for Villa down under

Many of us regularly watch Aston Villa home and away and take it for granted. Villa are always there, it’s the one constant we have in a modern world this isn’t very easy in so many ways.

For the first time ever, Australian Villa fans were able to watch Villa live in their home country and as the tour has concluded, it seems to have been a massive success for the club.

I wasn’t lucky enough to be able to take the trip down under but there were a few who have travelled down, mixed amongst the locals and probably made friends for the rest of their lives.

Villa made the most of their pre-season camp by putting on plenty of events in and around the three friendly games. Live Q&A sessions, giveaways and meet-ups featured heavily.

I am sure we have probably gained a few more Aussie supporters but besides all the positive vibes to have been reported, Villa has also believed to have raised a few quid also.

Undefeated

Villa finished their tour undefeated despite going 2-0 down against Manchester United yesterday. Steven Gerrard’s men dominated the second half and a last-minute goal secured a draw which was thoroughly deserved on the balance of the game. Leon Bailey with a stand-out second-half performance.

That followed wins over Leeds United and Brisbane Roar earlier in the week.

Gerrard probably learnt more from the Manchester United game than the other two games. He was forced to change his system, while also learning what players are up for the fight with the season upcoming. We have competition throughout the squad, which can only benefit us going into the new season.

I must admit, the first half stunk of the same old. Lacklustre, giving the ball away cheaply and I am not a fan of two men up top. Once the system was changed, we looked more comfortable and on another day, may have even beaten United.

Networking

We have seen Villa be linked with partnerships or even setting up new football clubs in Portugal and the United States. Could this also happen down under?

Although nothing has been announced or even spoken about, it does make you wonder if any such deal will be discussed as Cristian Purslow continues to try and grow the Aston Villa brand.

Trips like these are great for the fans and in most cases for the playing staff also. They get time together, away from the usual life distractions while also building up stronger relationships.

But they can also benefit clubs on a commercial front in so many ways. It is reported that Villa would have earned at least six figures from this trip but could they make more money long term? I wouldn’t put it past Purslow if we did.

Playing squad decisions

Gerrard will have a much bigger idea of those players he wants to keep around and those he doesn’t. The obvious are Freddy Guilbert and Berty Traore but I am sure there are others.

The midfield option that Gerrard has spoken about in the transfer market may no longer be the case or even be as important as it once was.

The future of Douglas Luiz is an interesting one for me. Those of you who regularly read my posts will know I am a big fan of the Brazillian. I don’t want us to lose him but he does only have 12 months left on his deal and he has been included in this tour, unlike a certain youngster who is playing with fire. What does Gerrard know that we don’t?

Villa will finish their pre-season with a trip to Rennes next weekend and it wouldn’t surprise me if there was a game played behind closed to allow Gerrard to make any final decisions before our trip to Bournemouth on the opening game of the season.

 

But for now, as the players are arriving back in the UK, we can look back on the past 7-10 days with fondness. Maybe a tad jealous but also happy for the so many Australians who finally got to see the club, we all love, visit their country.

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