As pre-match build-ups go, reporting a loss of £80m is certainly one way of doing it. It doesn’t seem to be anything to be overly concerned about; the new regime, having cleared out most of the deadwood from the squad, has done the same with the accounts.
It’s been called an ‘impairment’, which is some kind of fancy financial term rather than a biting comment on last season, no matter how accurate it might be. The growing obsession with club’s performance off the pitch which is a thoroughly objectionable slant of football today.
Reporting comes with a ‘minion’ element of ‘oohs and aahs’ when the bottom line is mentioned without looking at the long-term health of the business. As much as £80m turns heads, take the exceptional item out and the loss is £2m which for a then Premier League club is petty cash.
Balance is in short supply, as that last comment shows! Crucially, Villa as a business is likely to be making money – or losing considerably less – and attendances aren’t dropping off the face of a cliff.
Dr Xia has shown deep pockets already this season and while his arms may be a little shorter now, there’s no reason to believe he won’t support the club as we bid to return to the Premier League.
And that in no way contrived comment segues nicely into this evening’s game. It’s a ‘relegation six-pointer’, if ever there was one. We’re well-versed in them, having had 38 of them last year. Bristol City are little better.
Having beaten Derby at the weekend, the prospect of winning back-to-back games for the first time since before Christmas. Not that it is much of an achievement. In the same way Sky are rewriting football history, gradually erasing everything pre-1992, I’m doing the same pre-last weekend; 2017 has been a genuinely rotten year, so far.
Leandro Bacuna still waits to find out how high up the naughty stairs he has to climb and serves the first match of his ban while Scott Hogan is out for five weeks so Jonathan Kodjia has a chance to show Bristol City exactly what they are missing.
It’s scripted, isn’t it? JK to bury the winner? Football romance, to a certain degree, although this seems to be the ‘Immutable Law of the Ex’ and we all know that only lawyers win when exes are involved.
If I remember correctly, he missed the August meeting at Ashton Gate, because of all the speculation about his future. Had he done so, he’d have scored no doubt, to end his time in the West Country as the answer to a trivia question.
That flippancy aside, the result on Saturday needs to be used as a foundation to something better. A win tonight would most likely end any concerns about relegation although with Villa you can never take anything for granted. But realistically, it drops City in the cart and leaves us to begin building for the new season by ending this one on a high.