This article is part of Football FanCast’s Opinion series, which provides analysis, insight and opinion on any issue within the beautiful game, from Paul Pogba’s haircuts to League Two relegation battles…
The last 18 months at Villa Park have been nothing short of a whirlwind with the club now looking firmly like they will be a part of the Premier League for the foreseeable future.
But that sort of statement would have been merely a dream – a long-shot – in the minds of some Aston Villa supporters as the club was staring down the brink of financial obscurity just over a year ago.
Villa were in an absolute mess – at first, there was a missed tax bill followed by takeover rumours, a worrying threat of administration, and then the loss of key players.
Aston Villa’s summer signings’ performances so far this season are rated in the video below…
It was so severe that the club were £30m short on their payments for players such as Ross McCormack and Scott Hogan, and that those high up in the chain of command refused to splash out on playoff final suits.
Funny how quickly things change.
The west Midlands club are now sitting pretty in 12th after nine Premier League matches having won promotion via the playoffs last season – the bulk of the current squad cost in excess of £140m after manager Dean Smith splashed the cash in the summer.
Appointing the 48-year-old back in October 2018 was clearly one of the most important decisions the club has made in recent times, but none are as history-defining as the takeover, which ultimately saved the club and has springboard them into stardom.
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At the time, star performer Jack Grealish was on the verge of joining Tottenham Hotspur as the club quite clearly needed to recuperate funds to aid their precarious financial situation.
Keeping hold of Grealish has potentially, actually no, has 100% been paramount to where they are today. The 24-year-old encapsulates everything about the club being the only academy graduate amongst the first-team; their leader.
His euphoric 2019 has only increased tenfold as he becomes a regular in the top-flight, shown by his performances so far this campaign, which includes matches against European finalists Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal.
Per WhoScored, the midfielder ranks third in the league for total key passes this term with 25 – only bettered by Kevin de Bruyne and Trent Alexander-Arnold.
That’s quite some company.
Had that takeover in July 2018 not occurred, then Grealish would have been playing in the all-white Spurs strip for over a year now, Christian Purslow may have never been appointed as CEO, and as a result, the club would never have clinched boyhood fan Dean Smith, who ‘just gets the club,’ as their manager.
Everything from that one moment has led to where Villa are today, and Grealish has been the spearhead of it all.
Next on the list, an England call-up.