First off, I want to say that I am of course totally elated that we earned promotion.
Everyone at work was asking how chuffed I was and I’ve only known most of them for the last few weeks.
It’s because I’m always going on about the Villa, hence everyone knows I’m a fan.
But I commented that I felt strangely calm after the game was over and I’ll expand on that shortly.
First off, while Sky thought it was a good game, I didn’t think so.
I think the occasion got to both teams, which is no surprise as it often happens, but I just felt neither side were as creative as they have been this season.
I’m not alone either as the one Villa fan working with me agreed that we’d been below our best for the last four or five games.
Still, there’s no doubt we were the better side overall, albeit with a worrying last 10 minutes or so and there were no complaints from my Derby supporting mates who said we deserved it.
I don’t think any player stood out, but El Ghazi did well, along with McGinn and Hourihane too, who struck me by actuallly getting stuck into a few tackles. Still, it’s a team game and overall we were better than theirs.
I still think it’s a terrible way to lose out though, as we know to our cost last season.
So why was I so calm then?
Well, I was actually that calm, I lay down to contemplate what I was going to write on here and promptly fell asleep, staying the same until it was time to get up for work; a full eleven hours!
It’s the realisation that getting promoted is only a small part of the job.
While the win was great, my thoughts immediately shifted to asking how are we going to stay up next season? and contrary to some Villa fan who was on the radio this morning predicting we’ll be in the top four next season, the reality is we’ll be lucky to survive.
Which then led me to thinking about who we need to keep and let go.
Who is good enough to play in the Premier league?
And this is where you’re going to have to forgive me, as although it might seem I’m being ruthless in my assessment, I just think I’m being realistic.
In my opinion, Jack Grealish will be good enough, as will John McGinn, who I think will set the league alight in the same way Milner did.
And then I have to think harder.
Mings makes the cut, but will have to be less sloppy, as he won’t have the time he’s been given in the Championship. Hause maybe makes it too.
Taylor simply isn’t good enough and although he’s improved lately will not make the grade in the Prem. Elmohamady isn’t Prem standard either.
We’ll definitely need a quality DM, as I’m guessing Jedinak will leave, as will Bjarnason, although Whelan might have done enough to get another season.
I have serious doubts about Hourihane too, at Prem level, the same as Lansbury, who can’t get a look in as it stands (I know he’s been injured).
El Ghazi will either be brilliant or utter rubbish, I can’t decide.
Adomah is done and Green still isn’t ready, so we’ll need a better RW.
Kodjia just about makes it because he is decent backup across the front.
And I have my doubts about Abraham. He’s a good player, but I don’t think he’s come of age just yet and couldn’t see him getting us more than 10 goals in the Prem., which is decent, but would it keep us up?
I haven’t massively analysed things, but it’s more a gut feeling.
Hence, it seems obvious to me, we need a big clearout and that’s without all the deadwood the club carries.
Of course, we’re going to have to keep some of the players I’ve mentioned, as we don’t have a bottomless pot of money to do a Man City type spending spree and FFP probably won’t allow it anyway.
But we’re going to have to spend some very serious money whichever way you look at it.
I saw a Daily Mail article today, which suggests Norwich and Sheffield will have around £20 million to spend, while we’ll have £50 million.
If that’s the case, we’re all relegated before we start, in my opinion.
What does an average striker cost these days?
There’s the argument that Fulham spent £100 million plus and changed it up too much, yet they’re still relegated.
But do we think they’d have had a hope in hell of staying up if they didn’t go for it? I don’t.
And yes, Wolves have done extremely well, but they were head and shoulders above the rest of the Championship last season and we all know about the level of player they brought in. Which means they’ll prove to be a bit of a one-off. Indeed, if you look at history, they are a bit of a one-off, as the majority of promoted clubs go straight back down.
The good news is Dean Smith has a good eye for a bargain.
But he’s going to have to go some to bring in lower league players who are able to perform at Prem level.
It’s going to be very interesting times in the next few months.