Dean Smith coming home and helping the manager as best we can

When Dean Smith was sacked, after eleven games of this season, we were sixteenth in the table. 174 days later, we're one place better off and third from bottom in the current form table.

We may never have one of our own as manager again, so he will get a great welcome on his return today. Maybe we should hope for one of our own as the next CEO instead. I have a feeling Christian Purslow doesn't have long left.

I have no doubt that the CEO is actively engaged and has lots of ideas and can talk the talk, I'm just not seeing the kind of overall improvement that we've seen in previous years. And there seems to be a lot of talking the talk at the moment. I want to see less talk and more walk and I don't think that happens with this CEO.

But today is about Norwich. They might not be relegated yet but they are going down and today should be three points for us. If we don't get three points today, questions are going to be asked of the manager and if I'm starting to think this and everything else I've written above, I know the owners have thought it too.

But Steven Gerrard should get the summer and we need to be blindly optimistic about him. And I think the owners will be too, because they know the possible reward is worth the gamble. But if it doesn't pay off, it's down to the CEO and if they need to support the manager better, it will mean a new CEO

But we will win today and all these negative thoughts will be put to one side and it's mostly just about that isn't it. It's not really about improvement, it's about how we feel right now. And now that this is all written, time to copy and paste and get out of bed.

The manager

Match facts from the BBC


  • Aston Villa have won seven of their last eight Premier League games against Norwich City, including each of the last four.
  • The Villans could win five consecutive top-flight matches against the same opponent for the first time since a similar streak versus Birmingham City between October 2005 and April 2010.
  • Norwich are winless in their last their last eight top-flight visits to Villa Park (D3, L5).

Aston Villa

  • Aston Villa's first goalless draw of the campaign against Leicester City last weekend ended a run of four defeats.
  • Villa have lost four of their last seven Premier League games against sides bottom of the table, more than they did in their first 37 matches against the league's lowest-ranked side.
  • Philippe Coutinho has failed to score or assist in his last five Premier League appearances - he recorded four goals and three assists in his first eight games for the club.

Norwich City

  • Norwich are the first Premier League side to lose eight matches by at least three goals in three different campaigns.
  • If the Canaries concede on Saturday they will become the first Premier League club to conceded 70 goals or more in three different seasons.
  • Norwich have the fewest shots (327), fewest shots on target (97), lowest shot conversion rate (6.7%) and lowest expected goals total (31.5) of all Premier League sides this season.
  • Boss Dean Smith is looking to become the first former Aston Villa manager to win against his old side in the Premier League. Smith has failed with one attempt, Martin O'Neill did so twice and Ron Atkinson five times.