Steve Bruce was named as the new manager of Aston Villa Football Club earlier this week, signing on a two-year deal. This is Villa’s second manager of the season, with Roberto Di Matteo sacked recently after a poor run of form, that saw the side sitting in 19th with only one win to their name. The position that Aston Villa are currently in is shocking to both the team’s fans and pundits alike, who prophesied the League founders to be in or around the upper echelons of the table.
However, there is a lot of time left in the season and everything could change under the regime of Bruce, who holds an impressive four Championship promotions to his name. The former Hull City will be vying for a fifth within his two-year reign at the club, providing he remains in charge for that time as he is currently the teams third manager this year alone.
The acquisition of Bruce has come with mixed emotions from the fans, some of whom are not willing to forgive the former Manchester United midfielders affiliations with the sides fierce rivals Birmingham City. Others are willing to give him a chance and will be hoping that he returns their side back to winning ways.
Roberto Di Matteo had a win ratio of 8.33% during his time at the helm of the Villans, which is surprisingly close to Remi Garde’s 13.04% – considering the Frenchman managed for nearly 12 games more than him. During his games in charge of Hull, Bruce had an impressive win ratio of 41.29%, more than any other Aston Villa manager since Martin O’Neill who left the club six years ago.
Rather than the manager, it seems the players have something instilled in them that is keeping them from the top half of the league, however with the arrival of a bounty of new talent during the summer, their losing ways should have changed somewhat. Perhaps the arrival of Bruce will usher in some well needed fierceness in the backroom of Villa Park.
The first game that Bruce will take control of is against Wolverhampton Wanderers, who like Aston Villa, should perhaps be performing a little better considering the amount of fresh talent they recruited. Fans will be excited to see if the introduction of a new leader will bring winning ways back to the claret and blue side of Birmingham. However, the process will be a long and arduous task and it is likely that his first game will be a tricky one – especially due to the Midlands rivalry.
In terms of his management, Bruce will be used to the type of players he has at his disposal at Bodymoor Heath and should be able to extract something special from them. Something he will not be used to however is the sizeable transfer kitty at his disposal come January, and it will be interesting to see how he handles himself within the transfer market.
Aston Villa’s social media loving owner, Dr Tony Xia offered his thoughts on the arrival of Bruce: “With Steve’s track record, not only at leading teams to promotion from the Championship but also vast experience in the Premier League, I believe we have secured the services of an excellent manager.”
It seems as if experience is something Villa focused on within their recruitment of players this season and they certainly have one of the most experienced managers at their disposal now. Bruce was linked closely with the England job both before Sam Allardyce’s arrival and again after his subsequent departure, and regardless of his links with the Blue side of Birmingham and any other gripes that fans may have with him, he should provide a stabilising ethos.
It is uncertain and rather unlikely at the moment whether he will manage to push towards promotion this season, however if he provides Dr Tony Xia with an acceptable finish and is given time and patience within his two-year tenure, he should be able to thrust Aston Villa back into the Premier League.