Before I start this article, let me make it clear – this will not be an article which focusses on FFP and the penalties we may face if we do not get promoted. This is for two reasons: 1) I am not an expert on this topic and an article about it, from me, would not make for a good or well informed read; 2) I am not clever enough, mathematically speaking, to understand the figures related to FFP. If you would like that kind of information, then please see anything by @yorkshireAVFC. Instead, this article will focus on the enjoyment factor of watching Aston Villa.
Since being relegated to the Championship, back in 2015-16, we have been ‘there or thereabouts’ (sorry, I had to use that phrase) every season. Crowd numbers have been on the rise, the enjoyment has returned and we are actually seeing our team winning football matches.
And now, with only 7 games left to go, Villa occupy the final playoff place, having scored the 3rd most goals in the league, with a really good chance of making the playoffs and potentially getting promoted. So it’s at this time that I ask you, the readers, do we want to get promoted back to the big time? Or would we rather stay in the Championship, as a big fish in a very entertaining but slightly smaller pond?
Championship – Pros
As has been said previously, isn’t it a good feeling to finally be winning games again? Since being in the Championship, over the last 3 seasons (almost), we have won a combined total of 55 games, with 7 games still left to play this season. In the 6 seasons prior to our relegation, after the Martin O’Neill good times, we won a combined total of 52 games, with our final Premier League season bringing victory in only 3 games. 3 pissing games!
Coming down into the Championship has possibly been one of the best things that could have happened to the club. Finally, we have a team that we can be proud of, who are challenging at the right end of the table and are ALWAYS on Sky. Our fans have been showing their support in their numbers, with multiple sell-outs this season and our last game against Blackburn bringing in a massive 39,000+ people. We have also become a much more exciting team to watch; a team that actually scores goals. Let’s face it, that’s largely down to Dean Smith and him trying to get the team to play proper football. This season we have scored a lofty 70 goals. In our final Premier League season, we scored a measly 27 goals.
Finally, we have been able to see some fantastic players since being in the second tier. The likes of John Terry, Robert Snodgrass, Tammy Abraham, John McGinn and Tyrone Mings have graced the legendary Villa Park turf. Being in this division has also allowed Jack Grealish to showcase the incredible talent that he is and hopefully he will be with us for many years to come…
Championship – Cons
…but he will likely only stick with us if we actually get promoted. Let’s face it, he is far too good for this league and deserves to be plying his trade in England’s top division. However, this does not only apply to Jack. If we do not get promoted then a lot of the team, who are currently playing so well, will not be at the club next season. Abraham, Mings, Hause, El Ghazi and possibly even McGinn would all follow Grealish out the door, meaning that we would have to completely rebuild yet again.
We know that if we don’t go up then we would probably be hit hard and stopped from being able to use our substantial financial backing. This could come in the form of a points deduction, similar to that of Birmingham City, if something wasn’t agreed with the governing bodies regarding FFP rules. This would also mean that our ability to replace the players lost, with players of a similar calibre and ability, would be almost impossible.
Finally, it almost seems inevitable that, like last season, this is our best chance of getting promoted back to the Premier League. It’s likely that if we don’t get promoted this season then, similar to the likes of previous Leeds sides, we may be here for a while.
Premier League – Pros
It’s where we belong! Of course, nobody has a divine right to be there and back in 2016 we were rightly relegated, after being a stain on the league for a number of seasons. But, ask any other fans (probably not Blues, Baggies or Wolves fans) and they would agree that Villa, with the size of the club, the fan-base and the history, should be an ever present in the Premier League.
Because of that, if we did get promoted, think of the players we could bring in! We would certainly keep Super Jack, would sign the likes of Tyrone Mings permanently and would at least have a chance of getting Tammy Abraham. Put all that with the financial clout of our current owners and the types of players/hidden gems that were brought into Brentford under Dean Smith (even though he wasn’t solely responsible for transfers) and our Premier League transfer activity could be an exciting prospect.
Also, we are finally playing football in the right way. Wolves are a side that have done this and transitioned rather seamlessly into the top division, currently sitting pretty in 7th place. With Dean Smith in charge, playing in a similarly devastating way to Wolves last year and our ability to look so dangerous in attack, we could emulate the current success of the obsessed lot just up the M6.
Premier League – Cons
However, we could be like another newly promoted side. We have made a late dash towards the upper end of the table and are gaining momentum at just the right time. Imagine then that we get to Wembley for the Play-off Final and we get promoted. We get into the Premier League, with ambitious owners ready to spend a significant amount of money and we aim to stay there. It all sounds a little bit like Fulham, doesn’t it? Of course we wouldn’t go about it in exactly the same way but there are similarities, with our late season momentum and the type of football we are currently playing. And obviously Fulham have been brought straight back down, with 5 games still to play, having conceded 76 goals, with a -46 goal difference, and having only won 4 games all season up to this point. Sounds very similar to us, the last time we were there.
I bloody love being in the Championship. It’s been so exciting and has restored a sense of pride at being an Aston Villa supporter. I really enjoy watching my team playing good football, scoring lots of goals and often bullying other teams. I also love the current feel good factor amongst the team and the fans.
However, despite all of the positives the Championship has to offer, the Premier League is where we have to be. It would hurt to watch players like Jack Grealish playing for another team, instead of leading us, as captain, against the like of Man Utd, Man City and Liverpool and I’m not sure how well we’d deal with another mass overhaul of the playing staff.
In the discussion between which is better for us – the Championship or the Premier League – I say…bring back Premier League football!
So, I have made my decision. Now it’s time to ask you, the readers. Would you rather stay in the Championship, winning games and being towards the top of the table? Or would you rather be promoted back to the Premier League, to test ourselves against the best this country has to offer?
Let us know your thoughts by answering the TWITTER POLL on our page, replying to the article or replying to me directly (@danno1407).
Also, if you haven’t had chance to yet, then check out our latest Villa Filler podcast just here –> The Villa Filler Podcast
By Daniel Horton (@danno1407)