On Wednesday Championship Aston Villa appointed Steve Bruce as their new boss.
For me, it could be a very sensible and solid appointment for the Midlands club. The Villans need a boss that will bring stability after a number of years of turmoil on and off the pitch.
The team currently sit 19th in the Championship having won just once in the second tier under Italian boss Roberto Di Matteo.
Steve Bruce is decent boss
I have expressed my liking of Steve Bruce in previous editorials, mainly after he left Hull City in the summer. For me, he is a not a top level boss and probably never will. However, he is a very decent boss who will bring organisation to the Villa team.
The word mediocre may be a slightly harsh way to describe Bruce. In truth, though, I believe that Villa fans would kill for a bit of mediocre. For Villa fans mediocre would be far better than the atrocious fare on offer at the Midlands club in recent seasons.
The Villa job was always going to be a difficult one for whoever took over in the summer. In the end, Roberto Di Matteo just did not have the experience to revive the club this season. Football is about fine margins.
Villa have drawn seven of their league games this season, so if a few of those games would have been won Di Matteo may still be in the job.
The club needed to appoint somebody like Bruce, just to stop the rot. You can guarantee that Villa will not be near the Championship relegation zone for long under Bruce.
The experienced boss has won promotion to the Premier League on four separate occasions. He has also, of course, worked in the top-flight, so he has the experience to help the club move forward.
Villa is a major rebuilding job
Bruce will know that he has a big job on his hands reviving a once giant of English football. The team has been in decline for a long time. Former owner Randy Lerner seemed to care less and less about the playing side of the club as his reign came to an end.
The club routinely sold their best players summer after summer just so the team bosses would have money to spend. The money was not always well invested and the quality of the Villa team deteriorated.
The deterioration in the quality of their team led to Villa finishing bottom of the Premier League last season and their relegation to the Championship. Last season’s Villa team is regarded by some as the worse to ever feature in the Premier League, that’s how poorly they performed last season.
At least now from the outside looking in the Villans seem to have an owner in DR Tony Xia who is actually ambitious and wants the club to progress. The club spent big money by Championship standards in the summer, something that the previous regime failed to do.
Like most foreign owners, there are still plenty of questions for DR Xia to answer. The 39-year-old does seem to have made the right decision in hiring Bruce.
What are the expectations for this season?
No doubt the clubs owners are targeting promotion. However, it is difficult to say at this early stage of the season if that aim is realistic. The Villans are currently odds 6/1 to win promotion, which makes them seventh favourites to go up this season.
There are a lot of good teams in the Championship and promotion will not be easy this season. Steve Bruce is a man that can achieve that aim given time. However, whether he is afforded the time to be successful by the clubs owner’s remains to be seen.
For me, though, Steve Bruce is probably a very shrewd appointment for the club’s current circumstances. The Villans needed somebody that knows the league and knows how to win promotion.
The Villans also needed somebody that could bring in some organisation to chaos. The Midlands club will be in safe hands with Bruce and hopefully, he can help wake one of English football’s sleeping giants.
Is Steve Bruce the man to revive Aston Villa?