I am hoping that Steve Bruce will be the next manager of Aston Villa after the sacking of Roberto Di Matteo on Monday after just 123 days in the hot seat.
While I felt the time was right for a change, I can’t help but feel a bit for the deposed Italian. The few few games of this season were a familiar story: missed chances, mistakes at the back and squandering leads late on in games.
Some of these games Villa were genuinely unlucky and if they got that bit of luck, Di Matteo would still be in the job. That’s football sadly, it’s a cruel game and attention swiftly turns to his successor where Bruce is my choice.
He has earned promotion from the Championship 4 times in his management career: twice with Birmingham and twice with Hull. He is a manager who favours substance over style. Results are the be all and end all and there is nothing wrong with that. In fact, Villa need that attitude right now as the current win ratio of 1 in 11 needs to be dramatically improved if Villa have any chance of promotion this season.
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His links with city rivals Birmingham could be a gripe with Villa fans but a lot has happened since then and that shouldn’t cloud Villan’s judgement. It was different with Alex McLeish as he swapped Birmingham for Villa within weeks and Villa were at a low ebb after the sales of Stewart Downing and Ashley Young respectively and the subsequent failure to adequately replace them meant a limited settling-in period for McLeish.
You could argue that previous promotions mean very little now as the Championship is constantly revolving with new teams and an ever increasing continental feel being added ( Carlos Carvahal, Wagner and Rafa Benitez for example).
Di Matteo was partially appointed because of his Championship promotion experience on his CV but that promotion occurred in 2010. That was 6 whole years ago, there are now different teams and more variety in terms of style of play and shapes to overcome. Steve Bruce has RECENT promotion from the Championship as he guided Hull back to the top flight just 5 months ago when his then Hull side beat Sheffield Wednesday in the final.
That is an invaluable asset if Villa were to hire Bruce and one fact that seems to get overlooked is he very nearly won the FA Cup 2 years ago as Hull forced Arsenal into extra-time at Wembley only to bravely lose in the last few moments. They gave Arsenal more of a fright than Villa did 12 months later!
Lets hope the new manager is appointed in the next week or two and whoever it is, I am sure our fans will back him. Let’s hope he lasts longer than the previous few!