Okay, Aston Villa’s financial meltdown and rising doubts and concerns over owner Dr Tony Xia are incredibly well known amongst the fanbase.
Manager Steve Bruce has addressed those issues the best he can as he continues preparations for the coming Championship campaign and it still feels very much like ‘hold onto your pants’ and try not to soil them, but clearly things will change and are changing with finances playing a bigger part this year.
Whatever happens in terms of sales and whether we see those go that we definitely don’t want to lose, or the club manage to get rid of those fans feel we can shed (even if it’s not ideal) to keep others…one of the two will happen, we’ll just have to accept it and my bets on the former because it’s easier and takes less planning.
We’ve gone for the no plan and easy route so far, why would that change with our Chief Executive marooning himself in China.
In terms of on-pitch matters though, that will be anything but easy.
Plenty of fans want a more youthful approach – and I’ll say our youth approach – not simply training up the youth of other clubs for their benefit. On that score, it seems there has been a change of approach from Bruce and an acknowledgement that this is the direction he now needs to go in.
With first team youngsters Keinan Davis, Andre Green and James Bree out in Portugal on our training camp, Bruce also took Rushian Hepburn-Murphy, Mitch Clark, Jordan Lyden, Jake Doyle-Hayes, Jack Clarke, Harry McKirdy and Easah Suliman so he could cast a close eye over them as opposed to the regular but more distant eye he used last season.
There are others he’ll be looking at like Callum O’Hare but he’s recovering from a knee injury at the moment and will come into plans at a later date.
Speaking to the Official Site the other day, the following words from the gaffer may be music to the ears of some.
“We looked at a few last year – the likes of Keinan Davis and Andre Green. Rushian Hepburn-Murphy is another one. It’s a big season for them. We’ve got a sprinkling of very good young players. If ever there’s an opportunity for them to come to the fold, the time is now. If they do that, we’ll give them that chance. I’ve always said, if you’re good enough, you’re old enough. It’s a real opportunity for them to make their mark.”
In terms of his last line, yes he has always said that, but he hasn’t always honoured it with his experience default position. Now he doesn’t have much of a choice it is time for our young lads to step up and make the most of it, both for themselves as well as us.
The expectation is we’ll still have to challenge for promotion, I can only safely say we’ll finish somewhere between 1st place and 24th. I can’t even say it’ll be exciting, but it’s definitely going to be an interesting and intriguing year ahead.