Business done and there is now a renewed optimism surrounding Villa Park

None of you will be surprised at this – after all, I’m one of O’Neill’s sheep – but I like the business Villa has done in the window and I’m optimistic about the coming campaign.

Like most of us here, I never felt safe last season. However much we led by, I knew we could throw it away by conceding late goals. I never really trusted that defence.

After Man City, Villa are the biggest spenders in the Premier League. Dunne, Collins, Warnock, Beye, a returning Bouma and a rejuvenated Shorey will make a massive difference. Cuéllar gets better each game and Luke Young will soon be back. This is a defence I can believe in.

Downing and Delph will be massive for Villa. I actually think that Barry leaving has strengthened the team. Why? Because remaining senior players have to step up and take responsibility for success. This process has already started – Petrov has already talked about the increased effort and communication amongst the players.

There is now genuine competition for places all over the pitch which can only be good.

Any doubts? Well, goals. Will we get enough? I hope so and I think we can. I think Young and Milner will be given more freedom to roam and these two gifted players could be the catalyst for big scores.

The victories over Liverpool and Fulham also inspired optimism. It was the way Villa did it. It wasn’t like last season - frenetic and hyper-active, but measured and purposeful. Quite calm in fact, it seemed like the natural way of things.

I don’t think the team fear anyone at the moment. You can sense the self-confidence about them. Pilgrims, I’ve nailed my colours to the mast – we’re gonna do good. Tags and the fatman will believe it when they see it, I know, but I’m content. Up the Villa.

Jerry goes by the username churchill when posting comments.