Vital Villa member AllanJW had a thoroughly good weekend and as he relaxed with arguably the best beverage on the planet, his thoughts turned to what plans our new owners Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens will have for the club moving forward.
What a good weekend!
Basking in the rosy glow of the investment announcement and therefore under a cloudless sky, we collected the first piece a silverware of the season by beating Burton handily. Beers, sun, Villa win, what more could you ask? Enjoy it because if you can’t enjoy it at times like that then what’s the point. Seriously, I mean it; the highs should be high because sure as eggs is eggs the lows have been low.
But it’s Sunday afternoon now and while yesterday’s pleasure is fading like a bruise we can turn to thoughts of ‘What’s next?’. Well, ‘What’s next?’ is, as always, just a continuation of the situation of the recent past that still needs dealing with. In this case though we may have more chances to put things right.
Of course, no-one knows what the new owners are thinking yet, they’ll announce that when they are ready. Everyone is just speculating until then. But that’s what fans do so in no particular order:
Does Bruce stay or get replaced immediately by increasingly remote possibilities of managers coming in? For me; stay until we get towards Christmas then rethink/replace if it’s not looking like automatic promotion is probable. That gives Bruce the chance to show he still has what it takes but gives the club the opportunity to still make promotion if it is not going well by appointing a new manager with enough time to turn it around.
Who would be the new manager?
Waaaaay too early for that decision to be made yet. Worthwhile candidates will be made available between now and Christmas to add to the list available now. Take your time to choose well. Appointing even the best new manager at this stage before the new season is disruptive and could provoke the same ludicrous mistakes the club have made in recent years before Bruce came to steady the ship.
Must Chester and Grealish go for Financial Fair Play reasons?
For me; no. These new guys are perfectly able to ‘engineer’ an FFP solution come next March which covers the most likely scale of the problem which is £20 – 30m. No sales necessary at the start of this new season.
WILL Chester or Grealish go?
For me; Chester, ‘No’. He wants to stay and is valued by everyone. The sooner this gets said the better. Grealish; ‘Possibly’. The new situation puts Levy in the position that he must pay market value now and circa £25-30m would be both possible, interesting and useful for ALL concerned. This might happen and I for one wouldn’t squeal too much if it did. *Cue; screaming Grealish fans*
The new owners have the financial muscle to allow the club at least a six-month window to sort out the wage bill. This transfer window and the next in January can and will be used to decide on solutions to this FFP conundrum. ‘Sustainability’ is the buzzword being bandied around now and I agree with it and think the new owners will as well. The ‘all-in’ gamble of the last 2 years has bust, no going back on that. It has cost Xia his stake. I think the new owners will want a series of solutions to the ‘high-wage-no-play’ guys as well as the ‘too-old-for-the-premiership-next-time’ guys we have on the books. And they’ll insist on it before March. Smart sales, canny loans, write-offs when nothing else works. Brutal rationalism must be the order of the day.
Youngsters coming through
Entirely dependent upon the manager giving them chances and promoting their development but I’d really caution Bruce to give many of them a chance in the next 3 months, for this reason; if you can show that the academy players and youngsters can provide cheaper options to the first team than expensive purchases, the new owners will be able to produce 3 and 5-year plans which require less of their money to fund them. If you credibly plan to promote 3 – 5 players from internal sources you will be supporting the club ethos, team and financial stability. It’s an argument as old as the hills that needs to be delivered now.
Plans/vision for the future
Give me a break. I’ve just about had enough of grand visions, 5-year plans and messianic cults of personality both at the club and wider afield. Stop. Desist. Make the next 3 important decisions well over the next few months then I’ll breathe a sigh of relief. Make 3 more after that and I’ll think about getting more onboard. I’m not in the market for being a cult member ever again.
I support the Villa, not anyone or anything else. Up the Villa!