Former Aston Villa striker Dean Saunders has sensationally declared that his Midlands side are bigger than a host of Premier League giants- including current league leaders Chelsea, Champions League Round of 16 competitors Manchester City and FA Cup quarter-finalists Tottenham Hotspur.
Whilst the aforementioned trio battle for honours and for a spot in Europe’s elite competition next term, Steve Bruce’s Villa have struggled to launch a bid for an immediate return to the Premier League following their relegation last May and are set for another season out of the top-flight.
Despite that, Saunders believes Villa are one of the biggest sides in the country and made his controversial claim when speaking to the BBC:
“Villa are one of the biggest clubs in the country – if it were down to size they would be in the top six in the Premier League,”
“That’s what their fans expect, and that is what I would expect from them too. When you think of Villa, with their magnificent support, you should be thinking of a team full of top international players that everyone knows about, pushing for trophies. They are a million miles away from that at the moment.”
“Villa are bigger than Chelsea, Manchester City, Tottenham and Everton. Compare them to Tottenham, who were trying to break into the Champions League at the same time as O’Neill was in charge, or Everton, who are trying to do it now – there is no difference in the size of those clubs. Villa are actually bigger than both of them.”
“The difference is the way they have been run. That is the reason Villa have gone in the opposite direction. So instead of doing a Spurs, they have done a Sunderland – they were hanging on and just avoiding relegation for the past four or five years, but it was inevitable it was going to happen.”
Whilst Aston Villa do boast a proud history, it’s difficult to argue they’re bigger than these Premier League giants although they do have facts to back up their case.