And breathe. It’s over. Finally, we have been put out of our misery and this dreadful campaign has ended. Like most Villa fans I’ve had plenty of time to accept and to some extent embrace the Championship. New grounds, more games and who knows, maybe we’ll win a few.
The talk of a consortium and managers will rumble on but one set of decisions will await them regardless of who is in charge – who to keep and who to try and move on from the playing staff. I’ve tried to keep it brief so it’s not a horrendously long post. It would be easy to say ‘let’s get rid of the lot of them’ but let’s be clear, that’s not going to happen and some may not be so easy to move on so I’ve tried to ground my list in reality.
- Guzan – Leave. Big earner and error prone. Part of the old guard. Time to go.
- Bunn – Stay- Back up GK performed fine when called upon.
- Steer – Stay- back up GK - Need a 3rd option, why spend our money here? Adequate.
The back four
- Richards – Leave. Negative influence and performances don’t justify putting up with it.
- Lescott – Leave. His comments and tweets both me a lot less than his defending. Off you go.
- Bacuna – Leave. Not really progressed as a RB or RM and unpopular. Go.
- Hutton – Stay. Puts his body on the line. Need him in the Championship.
- Amavi – Stay. May not get the move her deserves due to injury comeback. Nurse him back.
- Clark – Stay. Chance to step up and prove his worth in second tier.
- Baker – Stay. Developed well at Bristol City, now an experienced Championship CB.
- Okore – Stay. Shown enough to suggest he would be useful but seems to want to move.
- Richardson – Leave. Experienced pro but too much of a reminder of dark times.
- Bennett – Stay. Proven Championship defender if perhaps not a first choice.
- Cissokho – Leave. High earner and not proven he’s worth it.
- Westwood – Stay. May look like a good squad option in Championship.
- Sanchez – Stay. Did show some consistency at start of season, unfulfilled potential.
- Veretout – Stay. Has showed some promise, needs to develop, may do well at lower level.
- Gil – Leave. Like him but too lightweight in PL let alone Champ. Europe beckons.
- Grealish – Stay. Has experience of lower leagues, needs to recapture potential.
- Sinclair – Stay. Pace and ability could unlock Championship defences if he can find form.
- Gueye – Leave. Unlikely to want to stay and has been inconsistent at times.
- Gardner – Stay. Doing great at Forest. Let’s hope he comes back and brings that experience.
- Traore – Leave. Might be exciting but injury prone and unlikely to want to play Championship football.
- Gestede – Keep. Proven goal scorer in the Championship. 20 league goals in 14/15 for Blackburn.
- Ayew – Keep. Desperate to keep but may be hard to prevent him leaving and who could blame him.
- Kozak – Leave. We have one big man, free up space on wage bill.
- Gabby – Leave. Time’s up for a former favourite who has rotted away. Clearly wants out, off to Middle East.
So I make that eleven departures and I think we need to bring in probably 12-14 players to cope with the extra games. Key targets needs to be a new No.1 GK, a commanding CB, a reliable LB, a RB, a creative midfielder, a box to box midfielder, two strikers and a winger. That wish list sounds familiar…oh yes, it’s the same as last season! Let’s hope we get our recruitment right this time round. Let me know your thoughts in the comments.