Ever since NSWE walked through the doors at B6, we always knew the long term plan for Aston Villa was to be ‘sustainable’ and it was ably demonstrated in all the transfer talk we saw about the types of players we would be moving for, as well as the major moves being made at Academy level to not only ‘grow our own’ but also ensure players would be saleable assets moving forward.
With the sale of Jack Grealish this summer basically wiping out our spending and making a dent in Financial Fair Play figures, quite a few fans were disappointed we didn’t splurge on a few more captures, so naturally it led to questions about ambitions and whether or not playing it safe this summer would come back to bite us.
Given the money involved in the game and given the fact we are behind the top six on a revenue front, there’s a good line of thought that says if we are sustainable, we’ll never close the gap and compete – but that depends on how you define being ‘sustainable’.
Over to Vital Villa Forum Member CDX_EIRE who had a slightly different take on what being sustainable actually meant for Villa.
If you think of sustainability in the traditional sense and how Randy Lerner seemed to define it I would agree with you. However, I think our owners view it much differently. I think sustainability for us is will change as we move through different phases of our plan. The club has already shown us they’re willing to take risk so long as it fits within our long-term goals.
Sustainability as a top four club is going to look a little different to a midtable club. As we grow and build our revenue, our financial stability improves and it becomes less and less necessary to sell players. I think the club will see selling players as a secondary revenue stream. For Lerner it was sell to buy, that’s an outdated model of sustainability. I think we’re working similarly to Leicester City in that we will always have our replacements already in house.
The last point is, Leicester and Liverpool have both won things without taking on extreme financial burden or jeopardizing themselves. Liverpool and Leicester have also arguably improved significantly by selling some of their best players. While I don’t think that’s what the club wants to do, I think there is some inevitability to losing players as we grow.
I think we’re in the easy phase of growing, the ceilings from here to fifth aren’t insurmountable. It also really feels like things are aligning for us. The trajectory of our club along with the timing of the youth players coming through seems to almost carry an air of inevitability.
I think when you’re trying to break into the top four and carrying the burden of the Europa League, you need a strong second team just like the top sides. Our youth players are coming through at just the right time. If we can snag a European place this season, or next, then we’re suddenly able to jump-start the emerging players by giving them European experience too. That would put us in a position to have a strong 22 man squad as we push for fourth, without having spent additional 100s of millions, that would have been an unsustainable burden on a club still building commercial revenue.
Vital’s Villa & Sustainability Forum Thread