It was the 14th of February this year, when the Sherwood love affair with Villa started. The following day saw the first signs of Sherwood's influence, when he visited the dressing room at halftime to help inspire the team to a 2-1 win over Leicester in the cup.
Before that, we were heading for yet more disappointment - with another frustrating first half performance, the sort we were used to under Lambert. But after leaving his seat in the stands and giving a morale boosting talk, a different Villa appeared for the second half. We ended up winning 2-1 and putting on a much better display for the fans.
Fast forward seven months and Tim has a new team under his control, bringing in 11 new players during the summer - transforming the club from top to bottom.
Last week saw us play Leicester for the first time since the display in the cup back in February, and this time saw one of the best first half displays we have put on for a long while. Culminating in a 1-0 half time lead thanks to Jack Grealish who scored his first goal for the club.
The second half was a different story, compared to the encounter in February. We managed to force a 2-0 lead, thanks to great work from Agbonlahor to set up Gill, but it was all downhill from there.
Gill was almost immediately replaced by Ayew - who has struggled to fit into English football so far, and the team lost it's shape - leaving us losing important battles in midfield.
And with Bacuna not being offered any support, it was only a matter of time before Leicester took advantage, with Bacuna's errors helped Leicester get back into the game.
It was only after this that Sherwood made defensive changes, but it was too little too late and the game was lost thanks to a last minute goal from the pint sized Leicester winger Nathan Dyer.
It was in stark contrast to February when Sherwood's team talk helped produce a fantastic win for Villa. This time he had no answer to Ranieri who used his experience to outwit Sherwood and win the game, when we should have taken the three points.
The loss to Leicester was followed up by a performance most fans will want to forget, in losing 1-0 to West Brom. Once again the tactics could come under fire, as Villa spent most of the game being out-battled in midfield, playing long balls to Agbonlahor and for Sherwood to be unable to react to the stubbornness of Pulis' defensive minded team.
Sherwood has done well in his short time as boss, but he needs to learn to cope when teams bring their plan a and plan b, and he needs to be able to react a lot quicker when things aren't going to plan.
Sometimes it seems as though we have 11 players on the pitch, but there is no communication and we are looking at 11 different players, instead of one team. It's sometimes hard to see where players are filling in, and to see where the fluidity is coming from to help us attack.
Even so, it's far too early to call for Sherwood's head. He has had 5 months using one set of players, and nearly two months with his own team. He does need to find a style which works, and yes he does need to stop making silly decisions which cost us points, but he also needs time to mould these players into what he needs them to be - and that might just take a little longer than we hoped.
And now, we head into tomorrow and another battle against the great unwashed. Here's to a positive performance from Tim and the team.
I've seen some really bad things happen at Villa, in my time as a fan. Losses in league cups to lower league teams (Scunthorpe, Sheffield United) but I have never felt so deflated and depressed as I do at this moment.
Don't get me wrong, Bradford deserve their massive achievement 100% and I wish them all the best for the final.
But whilst this is their finest hour, this is also my clubs darkest hour and I am not sure we can pull this around in time to save our premiership status.
It is easy to put the blame on people, O'Neill, McLeish, Houllier or even Lambert (who isn't faultless when it comes to tactics). But we really need to look at the build up to today, and the little things that have happened to cause such an incredible drop over the past three years.
From the moment he took over as the custodian, Lerner stated that he would do everything to achieve the goals he had for Villa and the ultimate aim was champions league football.
The first three years were incredible, we saw a league cup final, three 6th place finishes, inspirational moments and a team that looked well on its way to being something special.
All of a sudden Lerner decided he could no longer afford to support the wage bill, finance high earning players or make any large investment in the team. With this O'Neill stepped down and the motion was set in place.
Now, what I do not get is for a man who came in saying he had a 5 year plan, why did he not have this plan worked out so that the investment was steady, why did he let things run riot, how did he not notice there was a problem sooner?
Well, I think he made the gamble that we would get champions league football and when that failed he just cut funding dead, on the spot, gave in with the avalanche plan and looked to recoup costs.
Everybody knows what happens when you try to stop a runaway train, you get a derailment and mass casualties.
Players were sold, they were not replaced with quality, managers came and went for high fee's - it felt like names were being pulled out of a hat and given a chance to manage us. From Houllier to McLeish, how can any person of logic make this choice? These appointments were like chalk and cheese, you cannot go from one set of ideals to another and expect miracles.
We have been badly run, from the top for the past three years. And just like the minor success we had with the over-the-top investment, there is a disaster around the corner waiting for us if we do not put this right with investment in the team.
This team, over the past three years has had its heart ripped out, it is now lifeless and drifting into the championship.
We need to invest in quality, players who can change games and make things happen, we miss Milner, Barry, Young and Downing and there are no players at this club who can change a game.
I cannot see this happening though, Nero is fiddling whilst Rome is burning and with just nine days to put things right, a restriction on wages, a lack of quality is going to see us have some very dark days at this club.
All thanks to the errors made right at the top.
It's become a matter of great discussion, about how important Darren Bent is to our future prospects and success. For what it is worth, if we had Young and Downing supplying from the wings, I would have Darren Bent in the team every single week. The problem is, we do not create the chances Darren thrives on, and thrived on under the attacking threat from both Downing and Young.
Simply, without the ammo, Darren is less of a threat.
In my eyes, we cannot risk playing somebody who offers so little to us as a team, especially when Benteke can bring others into the game (something I have seen little evidence of Bent doing).
So, I fully back Lambert with the dropping of Bent, we simply cannot afford to rely on somebody who has limits, especially when others are scoring plus add more to the team.
Source: Darren Bent V.2
It's nice to play a final at Wembley where we will have a really decent chance of winning, without playing one of the Premier League elite.
I can't wait to have watched the first 10 minutes of the game. I think that will tell us just how much, if any, the occasion is getting to the young Fulham "stars". If they run a ball out or cross a bad ball etc, then start laying it off rather than taking on people, that'll tell me the stagefright kicked in and that will help us greatly. But, if they just keep running at us and taking us on, it'll be a tough day for our defence.
The Fulham manager has already said this week that they need to run at us and use their pace. If they do that I think Fulham will win. But, if there is any sign of nerves from them, I think Villa will win it. I can imagine a scenario where Villa take the lead after 35 minutes then hold tight for the rest of the game with about 40,000 Villa fans chewing the tips of their fingers until the final whistle goes and the biggest piss up in recent history starts
I don't understand the people saying they are fine to stay in the championship.
For the financial well being of the club we need to get promoted this season.
We won't have a better chance than this to go up, it's make or break time.
Pretty much. I’ve really enjoyed this season promotion will seal it as a great season for me. I’m not entirely convinced by the premier league these days, genuinely think the championship was more exciting of a league this season but for sake of the club we need to be in the PL for the finances etc I get that so obviously hope we go up but in terms of entertainment I’m not sure the PL is great these days.
Bet my old boss takes two of my bosman suggestions to Sunderland lol as we couldn't afford them wages wise!
Erhun Oztumer (Walsall) and Ollie Banks (Oldham)
Oztumer may go a Championship club but he wants a lot a week in wages!
Very interested to see who he signs and whether they are any of my suggestions as made over 100 to the club since December
It's been an enjoyable season. 2 years ago we were a shambles heading the same way as Sunderland and Man City before them. It's great to have a TEAM again, players who obviously give a damn. In the space of 90 minutes it could be sheer euphoria for everyone or utter despair. Nervous as hell.
Small feature in the Guardian about SB:
When Steve Bruce is asked whether work on strengthening the team will start immediately if Aston Villa win promotion to the Premier League on Saturday, the first thought that comes into his head has nothing to do with new signings. “The one thing I need this year, more than any other year, is a holiday,” he says.
The Championship can be a grind at the best of times with all those Saturday-Tuesday fixtures and all the more so when a 46-game season is extended by another three weeks because of the play-offs, but Bruce is looking forward to a break for reasons that transcend football.
More at the link.