I can’t vote for any one option because all four have contributed to a terrible season.
A case could be made to include the owners too. They have invested heavily but it looks like they’ve got it wrong with Purslow, Suso and Smith, and their loyalty or reluctance to make a change has left us going down in style.
I’m not convinced Purslow can turn this club around. He strikes me a as a guy keen on the limelight (post play off interviews, etc.) but I don’t see him having the ability to put a plan together and lead us forward.
I don’t know much about Suso to be honest but most of our signings have been disastrous which he needs to be held accountable for. They may turn into good players but for this season, we’ve got it badly wrong.
Smith has to take responsibility for the performances on the pitch. In too many games, we have either lacked fight and heart, looked disorganised, given the opposition too much space, given up easily and generally looked like we don’t have a plan. A strong manager would demand better, even if his squad is limited. Our squad is below average but I don’t believe it is significantly worse than Sheffield United, Norwich, Bournemouth, Watford, Burnley, Brighton or Newcastle. McGoldrick just helped SU thump Chelsea for god’s sake. He’s an extremely limited player. I would question the fitness of our players too.
Finally, our players as a group have really let the fans down this season. They haven’t shown the fight we deserved, especially since the restart. Grealish has been superb for most of the season but hasn’t led us since the restart and I get the feeling he’s been flirting with Man Utd the past six months. Hardly what we need in a captain. Too many of our other supposed leaders have gone backwards as the season progressed, such as Mings and McGinn even pre injury.
For me, our owners need to reflect. They have enough experience in other sports in turning things around. I just hope they find the right advice and make the required changes. I expect heads to roll. I’d love to see them heavily invest in the academy and coaching at the club, putting proper structures in place for us to grow in the right way. Too many of our homegrown players haven’t been good enough to step up to the first team. This shouldn’t be the case for the biggest club in the midlands. Our owners have all the ingredients at their disposal to make this club a success; their wealth, biggest club in England’s second city, fifth most successful club in England’s history, huge fan base in England and abroad, strong brand in Aston Villa and its history, a renowned stadium. Very few clubs in England have these raw materials.
It is time for action. I know we’ve been saying these same things for years but I can only hope our current owners are finally the ones to put things right.