1. Young players coming through.
It doesn’t matter if you think they are good enough for the Villa first team or not. We have raised the experience levels and development curve for a lot of our younger squad players this season and they will either go on to have great careers with us or be sold off for more money than if they had just played a few reserve matches and cup games. Players like Lichaj, Herd, Clark, Baker, Weimann, Gardner and Carruthers came from relative obscurity for most fans outside Villa Park. Albrighton, Delfouneso and Bannan gained more valuable first team action. Look at our reserve team now compared to most other teams and you will recognise most of our players. Not because we are Villa fans and we know our squad better, but because our reserve and youth team play for our first team so much more than other teams.
Yes this means our first team is weak and we need more players, I think we all know that. But if one or two of these players can come through to be regular first team players in the seasons to come and the others go for a couple of million or so between them, then that works for me. I think Clark and Weimann will make it myself. Both look like top players in the making. I would like to see Herd make it as well, but I fear his passing may not be up to scratch. His tackling, work rate and shooting seem good, but what separates great CM's now seems to be their ability to retain the ball. His pass ratio this season was well below what should be expected of a starting CM for most teams. 66.43% if anyone cares. Lichaj looks solid and could surprise a few, but is a late developer. I think he will play Premier League football and I hope it's for us. He is a great versatile talent and seems to have an eye for a goal too. For Baker, Gardner and Carruthers it is too soon to tell, but despite one shocker against Man United for Baker I thought he did very well indeed and the other two showed glimpses of real talent. Bannan, Delfouneso and Albrighton need to step up, they went backwards this season in terms of performance, but the point of this section is playing time. Experience. This is invaluable and they all got a lot more than they would have at other teams making them better more experienced players and potentially more attractive prospects for other teams if they don’t make the grade for us. We sold Luke Moore for £3.5m remember!
2. It will never be this bad again!
We broke every record going in terms of bad performances this season. Goals scored, goals conceded, home wins, points tally etc. A real shocker! We have had 5 managers in two seasons if you include the stand-ins. We have sold 3 of our best players, our skipper was diagnosed with a serious illness, our leading goal scorer was out for the majority of the back end of the season, the fans were against the manager and not offering the best support and we had the worst manager in our history! But we still stayed up!
Surely if we fix a few of these things, players get fit and well again (please God) and we all get behind the new team and manager, then we WILL be better.
3. We don’t own the player registration for Joey Barton.
So there you have it. My reasons to be optimistic.
Role on the transfer speculation thread...