Opinion

The Time Conundrum Facing Aston Villa

Aston Villa find themselves in somewhat of a conundrum at the moment, with a large number of decisions resting on having too little, or too much time.
Words by Regan Foy (@FindFoy)

Time. It’s an odd thing really. 

Sometimes, you have far too much time on your hands and nothing to do with it. Sometimes life throws things at you and you wish that you only had more time. Aston Villa are currently sat in limbo with the fact that they have both too much, and too little time. 

At the start of this week, as Aston Villa were reeling off the back of a 4-1 away defeat against Sheffield United and a mid-week Carabao Cup loss away at Burton Albion – with a significant amount of the clubs fan base turning on manager Steve Bruce and calling for his sacking. 

It’s not just the results that have created the bad taste in the Villa faithful’s collective mouth though. Steve Bruce has decidedly mismanaged what is one of the stronger squads in the Championship throughout his time at the helm and hasn’t exactly made things easier for himself by deciding to leave Aston Villa’s defence as thin as the spread on your toast before you’ve been shopping. 

That, as well as the consistent playing of players outside of their natural positions and a relatively stubborn approach to tactics, have created a melting pot of issues that is, or rather should be, reaching boiling point.

At the start of this week, it could have been the right time to let Steve Bruce go. With the arrival of a new CEO, and the end of the loan transfer window, this international break may have been the best chance that Aston Villa would have had to hire a new manager and let him start to embed his philosophy onto the squad. But, now we’re etching closer to the international games, and no decisions have been made at Villa Park.

The new owners have only been in place for a couple of months and took over a club that was haemorrhaging money – meaning that they’re not going to take any decisions that are going to cost them money lightly – regardless of how much they might be worth. 

Now with no decision made (or perhaps a decision has been made, and Steve Bruce knows that his job is secure for the foreseeable future), Aston Villa fans are going to have to get used to seeing Bruce for at least another month it seems. 

It is, perhaps, a little too early in the season to make a decision like Reading have, and sack a manager that had the ‘full support’ of the elite at Villa Park only a few games ago.  But then again, how long must we wait for a decision to be made that could make or break Aston Villa’s season?

With Steve Bruce, it seems that it has been gamble after gamble regarding the fate of Aston Villa. Most fans were heartbroken come the end of the Play-Off Final earlier this year – not only because the club narrowly missed out on promotion back to the Premier League – but because what was an impressive core of fan favourites were forced to leave the club, including John Terry, Sam Johnstone, Robert Snodgrass and Lewis Grabban.

This year, the club has relied just as much on loans as they did before. Tammy Abraham, Yannick Bolasie, Anwar El Ghazi and Andre Moreira have joined the club on loan this season, and won’t have any chance of sticking around unless the club achieve promotion this season.

That means that twice in two seasons, the squad will have been ripped apart through no fault of theirs, but rather the fault of Steve Bruce, Dr. Tony Xia and to a point, Roberto Di Matteo. 

For many, the amount of time the club has spent in the Sky Bet Championship has already become too much – and we could find ourselves languishing there for seasons to come unless Wes Edens and Nassef Sawiris show that they’re just as impatient as Aston Villa fans. 

Whilst things can quite easily change, like Fulham’s fate last season which saw them go on a lengthy unbeaten run and just miss out on automatic promotion, the club can’t rest on their laurels in the hope that somehow Steve Bruce manages to perform a similar feat.

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