So we’ve survived; Now what? POLL

Well, against pretty much all the odds, we’ve done it.
We’ve stayed in the Premier league and I was of course ecstatic.

We didn’t look like had the slightest chance of surviving just a couple of weeks back and massive credit has to be given to Dean Smith and the players. Smith because he always believed when most of us fans faltered and the players because it must have been a real tough mental challenge in not letting their belief drop.
There’s no denying that overall, we looked a much better side once Project restart kicked in and that suggests some really high amount of hard work went on during the lockdown.
It seems that is indeed what’s happened and apparently the fact that Smith worked so hard has been enough for the owners to say that the manager’s position is safe. Reading further into such stories suggests that Smith would probably have been safe even if we were relegated.

Which is why I’m adding a poll. I’m interested to see if the Smith approval rating has gone up, or if there’s still a fair sized minority who still want him gone, in the belief that he won’t take us any further.

So while I was elated to see us retain our Premier league status, so I immediately found I was asking myself lots of questions.
The first was indeed “should we keep Smith?”
And it’s still a very important question for me.
First off, I like Smith. I believe he wants to play footy in the proper way. And he’s a Villa fan.
But that doesn’t mean I have a particular soft spot for him.
So I have to try and think logically and look at what’s best for the club.

I can fully understand those who won’t have any truck with Smith. Certainly, his tactics have looked incredibly poor at times during the season. It’s an area where some fans felt Smith was beyond redemption and it was something he’d never sort out.
Yet, we’ve looked a lot better organised at the back and much more resilient recently.
Has that improvement been enough? Or was it too little, too late?
Me, I think that it’s probably just about enough and the fact that we live to fight another season means he gets at least a few months next season.
It would be harsh to sack a manager who got us promoted in his first season and retained our Prem status in his second, just yet, in my opinion.
Yet while he’s “safe” we all know there’s no such thing for a football manager.
Safe for now, would be more accurate.

While I was dancing up and down and shouting my head off at the final whistle, I also watched the Villa players and staff celebrating like mad.
And it was enough to see Roy Keane commenting that he was disappointed about that, with his point being that we’d achieved nothing and won’t do either, if that’s our mentality.
Carlton Palmer has come out and said that we’re quite right to celebrate as much as we want and it’s a view I have a lot of sympathy for.
But my view is more in the middle.
Look, I know we don’t have any divine right to be in the Prem, but we know where our true position is and how we’re perceived by other club’s fans.
And it isn’t at the bottom of the league.
So while, yes, the players and Staff are entitled to some celebration, our surviving should very much be seen as only this season’s minimum requirement and a mere stepping stone.

So with the manager safe, for now, at least, where does this leave other areas?
Suso is obviously the first point to address.
And the question for me is that if we had been relegated, surely it would have been 100% confirmation that our recruitment wasn’t good enough. As fans, it’s a point that’s been repeatedly made for months even before we were relegated?
But we haven’t been relegated.
Does that mean then that if we’ve stayed up, it’s proof that our recruitment was good enough and Suso’s position is also safe?
That would be the logical assumption, but it’ll be interesting to see what happens there.

And then there’s the big question of how much we’ll fight to retain players.
Is Grealish already packing his bags ready for that house near Manchester that he was supposedly eyeing up?
Would we let Mings go for the right money? Or McGinn, for that matter?
This is obviously one for the owners to answer.
I’ve no doubt there will be investment, but it’s not just as simple as throwing money at it, is it?
Not with FFP anyway and it might be a case of even if the owners can put quite a bit in, the fighting fund might have to be assisted by some unwanted sales.
Certain players will be on their way, but I don’t see it being too many. We need to increase the size of the squad, as was oft proven this season.

And that is probably only the start of the questions.
This post is becoming overly long though, so I’ll cut it short.
The poll is merely Dean Smith. Sack him or not?


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  1. Avatar
    Sidforever July 28, 2020 at 6:01 am .

    Great questions Badger and I agree with Hitchens analysis. If at the start of the season we were informed we would keep our Premiership place and get to a cup final, we all would have taken it.

    It cannot be underestimated the impact of putting together a new team and the time it takes players to settle. Smith used the lockdown superbly. If one player reflects our season it was Konsa. He looked good in flashes but always had a mistake in him. Post lockdown he has looked immense.

    Personally, I’m a great believer in continuity. It took Ron Saunders 7 years to get it right. It’s taken Klopp 5 years at Liverpool and it took Fergurson 7 years at Manure. I’d stick with Smith and back him. Great to see the owners playing hard ball over Grealish transfer value. Also, I’d like to see them buy out Man City’s buy back clause for Douglas Luiz.

    1. Avatar
      Hitchens60 July 28, 2020 at 7:15 am .

      That’s an interesting observation Sid (re Luiz). Is it actually possible to buy out a ‘buy back’ clause? I assume there would have to be specific provisions within the contract to allow that to happen.

      I’m thinking the buy back provision is more about Citeh wanting him back in their squad than treating him like some bit of ‘real estate’ that you turn over for a quick profit.

  2. Avatar
    Bill Pearson July 28, 2020 at 7:53 am .

    It’s started Suso
    Left the Villa , also Wolves have signed our young goalie Majic .

  3. Avatar
    Hitchens60 July 28, 2020 at 8:34 am .

    What I hadn’t remembered (realised) is that Suso was already at the club prior to Smith’s arrival. They probably will appoint a new DOF but this time I trust Smith will be involved with the process so we get someone with experience, the right philosophy but also will work with Smith and whose terms of employment will not give them dictatorial influence over signings.

  4. Avatar
    Villain 57 July 28, 2020 at 9:24 am .

    If two parties are willing a deal can be struck so AV could, effectively, have the Citeh buy-back clause removed – all it takes then is ‘moneh’

  5. Avatar
    Hitchens60 July 28, 2020 at 6:16 pm .

    The International Football Association Board (Ifab) rules state: “In principle, a match is not invalidated because of: malfunction(s) of the VAR technology (as for goal line technology (GLT)).”

    Now this is interesting – what does ‘in principle’ and ‘not invalidated’ mean? I assume, when drafted, the intention was that a failure of the technology cannot be used to change the outcome of a completed game.

    Are Bournemouth going to argue the match should be invalidated and, if so, that Villa (and United’s) point deducted from their totals or are they going to argue the game should be replayed?

    This is extremely contentious territory.

    1. Avatar
      Villain 57 July 28, 2020 at 6:37 pm .

      This is just a bad loser. Mistakes happen and we all have to live with them; large and small. How many other VAR errors have we seen through the year; not to mention refereeing errors? How many times in the past before VAR has TV shown clearly (not the 1966 type of debatable incident) that a ball was over the line but not given – and none of those got replayed (Come to think of it, didn’t Villa suffer one of those last season?). If they alter one match result they have no choice but to alter them all – which is not going to happen because it would make a nonsense of the whole thing. So, unfortunate for Bournemouth, but they ended up where they are because they weren’t good enough to stay up – or if they are then they can bounce back next year. As I’m not a Bournemouth follower I don’t know the answer but how many dodgy decisions have they benefited from during the season?
      And as I’ve mentioned previously on here, AV were robbed of a point at Crystal Palace so that cancels the Shef Utd incident in the great scheme of things. Que sera

      1. Avatar
        Hitchens60 July 28, 2020 at 7:25 pm .

        In principle (whatever that means!) I agree with your sentiments but there is a difference between the interpretation of the evidence technology provides and the actual failure of the technology itself – the latter being the case in point. In the cases you cite, the technology itself didn’t fail but the interpretation was questionable.

        I would be extremely surprised if Bournemouth were successful in actually getting the game invalidated because it’s for the IFAB to govern it’s own rules which all clubs agree to adhere to.

        To be fair, the article refers to a possible action against Hawk Eye (who run GLT) rather than the IFAB which suggests suing for compensation but as you say, if they were successful, it risks opening Pandoras Box on the quality and interpretation generally of VAR and GLT.

  6. Avatar
    Originallondonlion July 28, 2020 at 11:36 pm .

    Odd sort of fruit machine spotted on South Coast. Pull the handle and 3 Cherries turn into Sour Grapes.

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