The Unknown Manager: Life as a Villain


Aston Villa Football Club
Sky Bet Championship


This was a chance that was just too good to pass up. Aston Villa have been hanging around mid table in the Championship ever since their relegation in 2015/2016. This season has been different and at the turn of the year Villa have found themselves dead in the middle of a relegation battle. This is where I come in. I’ve proved I can slug it out at the top of a table, now to show the world I can pull it together at the other end. I’ve been given a one and a half year contract, although if I can’t keep them up I’m not sure I’ll be around next season. An eight hour drive/ferry ride/expedition through Wales finds me at Villa Park ready to take on my new role.


With almost 43,000 seats, Villa Park has been the club’s home since 1897. Quite a bit of a difference from the 6,000 capacity Oval. The club has only averaged around 30,000 attendance this season, although that’s good enough for the second best figure in the Championship. In the real world Villa are planning an expansion to take Villa Park to around 50,000 seats but I’ve seen no evidence of this in game.


This is the squad we’ve inherited. There’s some faces that have been around since the club went down to the Championship still around. The most glaring problem with the squad is that the previous manager (Russell Slade) sold first choice goalkeeper Declan Rudd to Swansea in August and didn’t bother to bring in any replacement. This left eighteen year old Vanhee as the only option for the number one. There’s a possibility this might’ve had something to do with a massive fifteen match winless streak prior to my arrival. Left back is another weak area, with only Aly Cissokho as a viable choice. Not a whole lot of goals in the squad either, I must say.

A rather quick introduction, but we’re midway through the season and embroiled in a relegation battle so I’d like to get right to it and jump into some matches. I’ve got enough in the transfer chest and wage budget to get a few players in during January. Goalkeeper is going to be my main priority but I’d like to be able to bring another player or two in as well. Tune in next time to see who we get and how we start off the new job!


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