The Verdict: Were Aston Villa right to sack Steve Bruce?

Aston Villa relieved Steve Bruce of his managerial duties on Wednesday following a run of just one win in nine Championship games. But were the Midlands outfit right to sack the 57-year-old, or could they come to regret the decision? Football FanCast’s expert writers give their verdicts below…

Ben Goodwin

“While it’s difficult to see where the club go from here, Bruce’s time at Aston Villa simply had to end. They have just one win in their last nine matches, and of their summer signings only John McGinn has hit the ground running. With all due respect to Preston and Sheffield Wednesday, those two home fixtures should be an easy six points for a club of Villa’s stature, and the performances were even worse than the results. His team selection against Preston on Tuesday was absolutely absurd, and bringing Glenn Whelan on in search of a goal was a total disaster.”

Christy Malyan

“The style of football has never been great under Bruce and results this season have been far from perfect, but it feels like Villa have jumped the gun a little here. After all, Villa didn’t exactly start last season all guns blazing either but ended the regular campaign in fourth place and they’re still just three points away from a playoff spot. There are only three teams who have lost less games than the Midlands outfit so far this season, so Bruce must have been doing something right. And this is a manager with vast experience in not only the second tier but also in the Premier League. With that in mind, it seems unlikely Villa can draft in an obviously better, more proven replacement.” 

James Beavis

“It’s obvious that the owners have got it 100% right. Despite coming so close to promotion last season, Bruce has had long enough to turn Villa into real contenders in this division, and they arguably should have been comfortably in the top two last term anyway. While he was dealt a real blow early on during the summer with the financial issues, he ended up keeping the majority of his squad – including Jack Grealish – together when the ownership was sorted to leave him with few excuses. Despite that, he still didn’t get his team selection or tactics right given the array of talent – particularly in attacking areas – that he had available to him. For me, it is clear that Villa need a fresh start and a more expansive manager willing to take risks.”

Will Jones

“I don’t think Steve Bruce actually did a huge amount wrong in his time at Villa Park but sometimes a situation simply becomes untenable. A cabbage being lobbed at your head is a sign, you know? Had they stuck with Bruce then Villa would likely have improved as the campaign went on and wound up with a play-off spot at least. However, the club have determined that a change was in order and before long you’d have to imagine Bruce himself will be inclined to agree that this decision was for the best all round. Note to the Villa board: Carlos Carvalhal is still out of a job.”