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“Thanks & Respect” – It Hasn’t Been Perfect But There Should Be Only One Reaction To Massive Villa Announcement

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There can’t really be an Aston Villa fan who hasn’t yet heard the news of Dean Smith’s departure from the club today.

The timing by the board was certainly decisive, but it wasn’t entirely unexpected after five defeats on the spin, added to the struggles we had at the end of last season. But rather bizarrely, it’s a strange and sad day with plenty of fans experiencing mixed emotions in our Dean Smith Forum Thread.

I’ve certainly not known a day like today. Smith unquestionably played a massive part in returning us to the Premier League, keeping us up and last season’s exploits definitely raised expectations around the club. The fact he’s one of us made the successes even more special and after plenty of dark times in more recent years, getting some togetherness, pride and passion back was massive.

Whether it was promotion, the spirit and feelgood factor, the Liverpool win, the Manchester United victory or seeing young lads like Cameron Archer being given a shot – there’s plenty for Smith to hold his head high about and each fan will have their own favourite memories. But that’s not to say Smith had it all his own way. There were plenty of errors during our three year journey and we seemed very hit and miss throughout his tenure when it came to performances and the over reliance on Jack Grealish – which is a problem we are clearly yet to properly solve.

Smith will also have those moments he looks back on knowing things were out of his hands. Our repeated battles with Covid outbreaks and how our pre-season this year was heavily disrupted, along with rarely being able to pick what we think is our strongest side given injuries. But those are the breaks in football and whilst some fans are more forgiving on that front than others, feelings and tensions were beginning to grow and with the board deciding time is now up, at least we completely avoid the moment where things turned toxic as Smith certainly didn’t deserve that.

We move on, he’ll have his regrets and he’ll think of those matches where a slice of luck would’ve changed this outcome, but he moves on with thanks and respect as there were far more highs during his time with us than lows – and that’s how his time with us should be remembered.

Given the circumstances, I think Christian Purslow’s statement is spot on here.

“When Dean joined us in October 2018 our team was really struggling in The Championship. He immediately transformed the atmosphere and performances and achieved the ultimate success of leading Villa back to the Premier League within the same season – a rare feat. He then secured our place in the Premier League after a tough campaign and took us to a Cup Final at Wembley. However, after a good start to last season, this year we have not seen the continuous improvement in results, performances and league position which we have all been looking for. For this reason we have decided to make a change now to allow time for a new head coach to make an impact. The Board would like to sincerely thank Dean for his many excellent achievements, on and off the pitch, during this time. Everyone knows how much Aston Villa means to Dean and his family. He has represented the Club with distinction and dignity – universally liked and respected by everybody associated with Aston Villa – our staff, players and supporters alike. We wish him the very best.”

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