Opinion

Why Aston Villa’s New Owners Need to Invest in Infrastructure to be ‘Sustainable’

It seems Wes and Nassef have impressed in their first week at Villa. But in their opening statement to the fans, they mentioned ‘sustainable’ progress – which in our eyes, means that investment needs to be made in facilities and staff.
Words by Regan Foy (@FindFoy) // Follow us on Twitter (@claretandview)

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It’s now been over a week since Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens took over as majority shareholders of Aston Villa Football Club.

They’ve mad a lot of fans happy in the past week by deciding to keep Steve Bruce in charge, ‘signing’ Portuguese goalkeeper André Moreira and announcing that ‘no player is for sale’, including the likes of James Chester, Jack Grealish and Jonathan Kodjia.

There have been reports in the last few days that Wes and Nassef are going to be taking themselves down the route of using super-agents like Jorge Mendes to do the vast majority of their transfer business, yet Gregg Evans from BirminghamLive refuted this earlier today – saying that Bruce was still in charge of transfers and that Robert Snodgrass was on Bruce’s radar.

The thing is, Aston Villa still aren’t really in a position to buy players – due to restraints caused by their inflated spending in previous seasons. Whilst loans and free transfers are more viable options, some do consider the £40,000,000 figure quoted alongside Financial Fair Play to be wide of the mark – making for an incredibly confusing time for Aston Villa fans.

Before Aston Villa received their billionaire take over, somewhat of a mass exodus for backroom staff happened. Head of Science and Sports Science Dan Donachie returned to Everton, as well as Fitness Guru Massimiliano Marchesi losing his job. As well as that – Villa are without a CEO after the sacking of Keith Wyness, and a Director of Football after the sacking of Steve Round.

We’ll need to replace these. The lack of Dan and Massimiliano could probably be part of the reason why half of our strikers are still crocked, with Rushian Hepburn-Murphy, Keinan Davis, Scott Hogan and Harry McKirdy suffering with niggles, knocks and groin issues.

Without a Director of Football, this gives Steve Bruce absolute free reign regarding Aston Villa’s transfer activity. If, like mentioned earlier, the club decide to go down the ‘Mendes’ route – this removes a little of the need for a DoF – and without a CEO, the owners are forced to take on the day-to-day running of the club.

But whilst the investment in staff is an issue that needs to be addressed sooner rather than later, Wes Edens and Nassef Sawiris need to invest in the club’s infrastructure in a long term outlook.

When they first arrived at Villa Park, one of the first things they said was;

Our goal is to bring sustainable success to the club, building on its rich history while respecting its loyal fan base and unique culture.”

Whilst sustainable success means that they’re not going to throw over £10,000,000 on a player like Ross McCormack and then not play him anymore, we don’t actually have any idea what that means.

It should mean that they are investing in the training facilities, youth facilities and staff to provide some of the best experiences for senior and youth players – allowing them to reach the absolute peak of their ability.

Aston Villa’s facilities are by no means poor – in fact – they’re some of the best in the country. But investing more money in the youth facilities means that statistically less of our players should fail to break through the ranks at Aston Villa or move on to another club at a similar level. And improvement in the training facilities means that our senior players can reach the upper echelons of their ability.

As well as that, there needs to be an improvement in scouting at the club. We’ve brought in some talented foreign players to sit in our youth academy – like Indiana Vassilev – but the club should be looking for players that could fit into the senior set up on as little price as possible, rather than letting Steve Bruce look at “the top players” in the division, spending, and hoping they fit in with his system.

For the sustainable success to happen, things need to improve off the pitch as well as on it, especially in Nassef and Wes are in this for the long haul.

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One comment

  1. Villa have no problem producing quality players from the academy set up. We are among the top teams in England in providing players – sadly it is for the premier league – and for other clubs – because we keep hiring result first managers who don’t like young players and the risk they present – so our academy products get sold for a pittance – and go on to enjoy good careers for other clubs.

    It doesn’t matter how much infrastructure you put in place if the produced talent of that investment is ignored in favour of expensive experience. Villa need a progressive coach with the ability to develop young players and integrate them into the first team playing a unified style of football at all levels. This is what Manchester City are now doing. It is what Liverpool are now doing. It is what Fulham did.

    We spent a fortune on mercenaries and played other clubs youth players instead of our own.

    And it is this lack of vision, and of faith, that is Villa’s problem.

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