Heart Of The Holte: Villa Are Back Where They Belong

Heart Of The Holte preview Aston Villa's return to the top-flight ahead of their first Premier League season since 2016.

Ryan Pitcher

After a three year absence, the Villa are back where we belong. Our first season back in the Premier League beckons and, by God, we’re making some noise.

It mustn’t be understated as to just how critical Monday 27thMay 2019 was for this football club.

Just twelve months previous Aston Villa Football club were on the brink of administration due to an unpaid tax bill for the paltry sum of £4 million. And then came the much-needed intervention of two filthy rich businessmen in Nassef Sawaris and Wes Edens (NSWE Group).

Yet – despite their wealth – had Villa lost to Derby in that play-off final NSWE riches would be much less significant than they are now as a Premier League club.

Villa to stay up? They are 1.37 not to be relegated*

Bound by strict financial fair play regulations imposed by the EFL, who appeared to be on our case already, we’d have been stuck with a threadbare squad scrapping around for freebies, bargain buys and yet more loanees to help prop us up for another season in the rough and tumble of the Championship.

Being on the right-side of the result at Wembley a little over two months ago has seen us wafting around money as if it were going out of fashion over these summer months.

At the time of writing Aston Villa have spent over £125 million on 12 recruits and we are being linked to many more.

Darren Staples/Sportimage via PA Images

‘Doing a Fulham’

Utter nonsense! Unlike Fulham – 12 months ago following promotion – Villa released eight players and another four players that featured in the play-off final win returned to their parent clubs (three of which we’ve now brought in on permanent deals).

Unless we were to into this season resembling Captain Mainwaring, Lance Corporal Jones, Sergeant Wilson and the rest of Dad’s Army then we were left with little choice but to cull the oldies. The players that we let go just wouldn’t have cut it in the fast-paced Premier League.

Dean Smith has previously shown his nous in the transfer market.

When at Brentford not only did he search out many a bargain and brought them in for relative peanuts and later sold them at a hefty price; Andre Gray and Scott Hogan being fine examples of this. But there was much more to the recruitment strategy than what met the eye.

Jack Grealish to score over 10 Premier League Goals – 10.00*

Prior to bringing in a player Deano and his backroom team ran extensive research on whether or not said target(s) were the right fit for the dressing room and the likelihood of the player progressing and increasing in value.

I’d like to think that this is a scheme that he has implemented at Villa but on a much grander scale.

If our signings see Villa as a stepping stone then so be it. If this helps get the club to where it wants to be, a solidified top half Premier League club knocking on the doors of Europe, then so be it.

If we sell at a profit and reinvest wisely we can continue to build year-on-year. The owners that we have are ambitious and I, along with the rest of the fan base, trust that they will continue supporting the club in the market year-on-year if necessary.

Whilst CEO Christian Purslow continues to grow the club on a commercial level. The more money the club is bringing in then the less hands in pocket the owners are needing to be. Something that former owner Randy Lerner didn’t quite get the gist of despite being a successful businessman in his own right.


The Villa fan base are renown for being an impatient bunch and – despite our heavy spending this summer – we mustn’t lose sight of the fact that staying in the Premier League beyond this coming season remains our primary goal and anything above a 17thplace finish will be a bonus.

The spree that we’ve undertaken this summer was a necessity in order to become remotely competitive, and yet, despite knowing and appreciating our chief target I firmly believe that we what it takes to go out an surprise a few this term. I say that without meaning to raise the expectation levels!


Villa have spent wisely this summer and have brought in some quality players.

Douglas Luiz, Trezeguet, Tyrone Mings and Wesley Moraes being the standouts. But these signatures mean very little without the right man at the helm and in Smith we have a forward-thinking, possession minded and tactically astute Head Coach. His ideas and philosophies will be key to our success.

I fancy us to finish in just inside of the top 12 and our partners at FansBet have given us a ‘special’ price on this of 5.00 (max stake £25).

Wesley Moraes

The Brazilian forward has been likened to former Villa hero Christian Benteke and having watched him closely in pre-season I can certainly see some resemblance.

He’s a big lad and gets himself in some handy positions, both in the build-up play and in the box. He’ll be certain to get on the end of some of the insatiable deliveries we’ve seen from our marauding full-back Frederic Guilbert, among other opportunities conjured up by our new wide men.

Further, I suspect Wesley will be our main penalty taker this season and so it’d be of little surprise if he were to go and bag double figures.

FansBet have kindly offered 4.50 on Wesley Moraes to score over 9 Premier League goals in 2019/20 (max stake £25) and I think that this is a sure thing.

Wesley Moraes to score over 9 Premier League goals – 4.50*

Roll on Saturday 10thAugust and Spurs away. Up the Villa!

*Odds are subject to change

Paul Robinson’s 2019/20 Premier League season preview

Leave a comment

Follow HeartOfTheHolte on Twitter