On Wednesday, Championship Aston Villa announced that Dean Smith would be their new boss, with former Chelsea captain John Terry working as his assistant coach.
The appointment came as a bit of a surprise, as Terry, Thierry Henry and even Rui Faria were mooted as the favourites to take the job in the Midlands.
Smith is a highly-rated coach
The appointment of Smith was not a surprise because of his coaching ability, more because it seemed the Villans were looking to appoint a high profile boss as Steve Bruce’s replacement.
Smith is one of the brightest young English coaches in the lower leagues, so he could just be what Villa needs. The 47-year-old has impressed with former club Brentford and at Villa’s Midlands rivals Walsall.
On a budget, he Smith produced entertaining and attacking teams at both clubs, something Villa fans have been deprived of under Steve Bruce of late. The new Villa boss is certainly not of the same pragmatic school of Bruce.
Smith does not have the same profile as some of the mooted candidates. However, what he does have is experience in the Championship and a tremendous affinity to the club, as his dad worked as a steward for 20 years at Villa Park.
The fact that Terry is offering his vast football experience as Smith’s assistant should also be a big help. The 37-year-old has admitted he does want to go into management in the future. However, for now, a partnership with Smith could prove a highly fruitful one.
Villa in a mess
The summer was a hard one for Aston Villa, as the club went into financial meltdown. Owner Tony Xia had to seek new investment in the summer to overcome the clubs money problems.
In fact, Xia sold a controlling stake of 55 per cent in the club to an Egyptian company called NSWE group for a reported fee of around £76million. The move led to the joint head of the Egyptian group and billionaire Nassef Sawiris taking over as club chairman.
It now seems the Villans are on a more steady financial footing off the pitch. However, on the pitch, things have not been going well of late. A run of one win in ten league games saw Bruce sacked as boss.
In reality, I believe Villa fans are probably sick of people talking about Bruce’s record of getting teams promoted. Last season the veteran boss guided Villa to the play-off final, only to suffer defeat against Fulham.
Bruce was never going to get much time this season, especially as the team’s style of play was not exactly great to watch. The team were underperforming under Bruce, so he had to go.
Still time to win promotion this season
Smith and Terry arrive with the Villans just four points off the top six spots and ten points off top spot. It is still early in the season and there is still time to challenge for promotion this season. In fact, Villa are currently odds of 5/1 to win promotion this season, the sixth favourites to go up to the Premier League. It would be a big achievement if Smith could win promotion in his highest-profile gig yet.
Aston Villa are historically a massive club and should not be languishing in the second tier of English football. The appointment of Smith as the Villans new boss may just lead to a much brighter future for the Midlands outfit. Even if the team do not win promotion this season, at least the fans will get to watch a far more entertaining brand of football, which is something I suppose.
Will Dean Smith be a success at Aston Villa?
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