Aston Villa manager Steve Bruce broke his silence for the first time this summer as he continues preparations with the first team group out at our pre-season training camp in Portugal.
With Villa’s mess extremely well known as our owner gambled on promotion and lost, Bruce’s full interview covered a variety of topics as you’d imagine and our gaffer spoke with a refreshing honesty – once that confirmed our fail-safe out of the mess included sales that nobody wanted to make.
For those who don’t want to watch the video, Sky Sports have a transcript of at least the main points.
Addressing our financial issues Bruce admitted it was ‘very difficult’ but ultimately we just have to deal with it and take the hurt.
“Of course, then it unravels, all of the problems the club has got itself into. And the first thing before we go into anything is that we have to address is Financial Fair Play. We’re up against it, let’s be open and honest, we might have to make decisions that might not be easy, we have to generate some money. Inevitably that is going to be player sales. There are going to be people that I do not want to sell – and the obvious one is Jack Grealish – but people will know that we have got financial problems and they’ll sit and wait, and wait, till Deadline Day possibly. I hope that doesn’t happen but we’ve got to baton down the hatches and wait for it.”
With Bruce admitting the kind of blow it was to his preparations, and let’s not forget he wanted to build the side around Jack, he knows a second blow will be because football is ‘brutal’ and whatever valuation we have on Jack, and others, clubs know our position to will take full advantage of that.
Having admitted that Jack is off, he knows James Chester and Jonathan Kodjia is particular could also not be with us come kick-off against Hull City.
“I think we have got to be truthful to the supporters – that could happen. That is the inevitability. I didn’t like to hear that and maybe the easier thing for me to do is say ‘I don’t like that’ and then walking away from that. After thinking about it I thought the club is in trouble and if ever it needs me, with my experience to beg steal and borrow, then now is the time.”
Bruce adds that it’s time to ‘baton down the hatches’, get through the mess and ensure we come out the other side so we can look to move forward once again.
What Bruce has to remember, and he also addressed it, is it’s one thing to beg, steal and borrow and simply train players up and tolerate their mistakes for another clubs’ benefit, but we have to take care of our own and he’s looking for youngsters to step up even more this season as presumably, he has even less choice when it comes to relying on them this year.
It’s fair to say a number of fans have reacted with horror to his interview, seeing it as nothing more than a ‘come and bid’ routine that further weakens our negotiating standpoint, but our Board’s mess is clear and obvious to all, Bruce hasn’t said something we didn’t already know so he’s not going to have changed anything here.